Thursday, May 23, 2024
Thursday, May 23, 2024
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Associational Spirit Evident

      The 75th annual meeting of the Baptist Missionary Association of America was held at the Chateau on the Lake Resort in Branson, Mo., April 16-18. The theme of the meeting was “No King But Christ.” According to the final Enrollment Committee report, 206 churches were represented, with 438 messengers and 122 visitors registered. The total Minute & National Meeting Funds collected at the meeting was $14,674.75. There were no petitioning churches.

      The meeting began on Tuesday night with a concert from Point of Grace, followed by the president’s message. BMA President Dr. Clif Johnson (see the printed sermon on page 1) shared a message from Eph. 1: 22-23 with the same title as the meeting’s theme — “No King But Christ.” He reminded us that the truth of the resurrection of Christ is not merely a historical event to be acknowledged but a dynamic force that empowers and distinguishes the church today. Christians should understand and embrace the power demonstrated through the resurrection of Jesus, as well as Jesus’ eternal reign, to influence how we live and how churches operate. It was a challenging reminder to allow Jesus to be King of our lives, churches and association by committing to make disciples who will live countercultural lives.

      After the message, the 75th Annual Meeting was officially opened with First Vice President Charles Johnson presiding. He introduced the presiding officers for the meeting and Parliamentarians James Schoenrock, Bobby Tucker and Kevin Clayton. (See the Business of the Association article for details of the business sessions.)

      Wednesday morning consisted of the Women’s Conference sponsored by the Women’s Missionary Auxiliary (WMA), the Brotherhood and the Pastors’ Conference, sponsored by Healthy Church Solutions. The Pastor’s Conference featured Mac Lake as he shared about the importance of creating a discipleship culture in our churches to raise up leaders. In the afternoon, there was a worship service featuring a message by Kirk Shelton, pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in Fayetteville.

      The highlight of Wednesday afternoon was the Legacy Missionary Service, where two missionary couples were honored — David & Shelley Dickson and Bill & Jeanette Gibson. BMA Global President Dr. John David Smith then led in the Missionary Commissioning service. On behalf of CrossWork Baptist Church in Tahoka, Texas and Pastor Mike Watt, BMA Global Regional Coordinator for South America and Africa Johnmichael Poulin introduced Jarred Etheridge as a new BMA Global missionary to South Africa and BMA Global Ministry Coordinator for Arabic People in the US Asher “Ashraf” Sara introduced Safa Banosh, our newest elected Arabic-speaking church planter to Phoenix, Ariz. The service concluded with prayer over these and all BMA Global missionaries and staff. A short business session was held following the service.

      BMA Theological Seminary President Dr. Charley Holmes was honored at the annual BMATS Seminary Dinner for his 25 years of faithful service and devotion to the seminary.

      The Wednesday evening service featured the annual message by James Schoenrock, pastor of Sheppard Drive Baptist Church in Euless, Texas. After some personal remarks regarding his early childhood and family, Bro. James encouraged those in attendance to send a note of encouragement to Ronald Morgan, former BMA of America president and retired pastor, and his wife, Diane, who is in poor health. Their mailing address is 2126 Brisbon Street, Fate, Texas 75189. He then showed the audience a copy the Baptist Trumpet issue from May 20, 1981, showing “‘Til the Storm Passes By” as the title when he preached the annual sermon at the meeting in Biloxi, Miss. that year. He introduced his wife of 66 years, Wilma and reflected on the many “storms” of life and proclaimed “the anchor holds!”

      He then shared a message entitled, “The Anchor Holds,” looking at the life of Joshua — God had a plan for Joshua’s life, God gave Joshua a promise and God gave Joshua the Word. He closed with the challenge that God has a plan for your life, His promises and grace are sufficient for our every need, His Word can be your food and foundation and a reminder that, “If you walk with God, you will never walk alone.”

      The Thursday morning session consisted of the reports from each department director, followed by the concluding business.