Remember this from HS lit. class? “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”(Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities) A week’s circumstances can be an emotional roller coaster. This past week: 1) our annual meeting (10/20) had 103 attendees, a large increase over last year. We had great spirit, outstanding speakers, a majority of MSBA pastors in attendance, and were encouraged by what we heard and experienced; 2) however, I am writing on 10/26 and yesterday was the last service for Sun Valley Baptist Church. They voted to end the 15 yr. church plant between Athens and Lerona and asked me to lead worship and preach the final sermon. Please pray for the members to reintegrate soon into our sister churches and for the next directions in regards to a Southern Baptist presence in that area. 3) Last night I gave an AK Mission Trip presentation to Lilly Grove in a joy-filled atmosphere. This evening I consult within a difficult situation outside our association. Tuesday is an annual Endowment Fund trustee meeting. Wed. Jana & fly to TX for a short visit with her mother (we will stay in WV for the holidays). I fly back next Tuesday, lead a Missions Development Committee that evening, and leave next Wed. for the WVCSB state convention meeting in Ceredo.
I could ride that roller coaster and internalize every dip, swing, curve, and jolt. My love for our churches and the men and women who lead them increases each year, and with that a tendency to weep with those who weep and rejoice with them who rejoice (Rom. 12.15). It is a difficult balance to strike between empathy and yet maintain an even-keeled approach to the work where my hope is not in circumstances but in the Lord and His unchanging Word (Ps. 130). I need your prayers as I attempt to render assistance, resources, encouragement, and challenge when asked by brothers and sisters in the association. I’m not asking for a lighter load, but for wisdom and discernment in meeting the present and future needs of our association and to keep my focus on Christ and not circumstances. That is one reason (among many) I recommended at the annual meeting that we add a new Program Director for Prayer to the Associational Council. If you know a true prayer warrior for Christ who could help strengthen the corporate prayer life of our association, please contact our office.
I also challenged our churches to start one evangelistic Bible study outside the proverbial four walls this year. It will turn our focus outward, perhaps establish a mission point or even a church plant, and be a connection with each respective community. There are many approaches, curricula, and programs available, but the main thing is to get started. Please contact our office if we can help with that first step.
MSBA M2M Mission Trip 2016 Interest Meeting---Monday, 11/9, 7pm, MSBA office
College Retreat---Nov. 13-14, Pipestem St. Park; any college aged student is welcome; Theme is Spiritual Disciplines, 1st 25 receive an autographed copy of the main text; to register contact Kevin Howerton, 304-716-6213 (does NOT text) or firstname.lastname@example.org
Disaster Relief Trip to SC---Nov. 20-22; contact the MSBA office or Jim Dillingham (DR Program Director, 304-888-4584 or email@example.com) to participate
Pastors/Wives Retreat---January 29-30, Pipestem St. Park