June 2018 FOCUS
Bowie Baptist Association
"For I do not want to see you now just in passing. I hope to spend some time with you, if the Lord permits. But I will stay in Ephesus until Pentecost, for a wide door for effective work has opened to me, and there are many adversaries."
(1 Corinthians 16:7-9, ESV)
The Lord dropped a great ministry opportunity in our laps last month when the BBA was invited to partner with Texas Baptist Men in providing a Correction Officer / Staff Appreciation Meal for the Telford Prison Unit. In two days of service 65 volunteers from eleven BBA congregations served more than 700 meals and distributed 500 Bibles. In addition, more than 700 letters were written by children, youth, and adults from the churches, communicating the prayers and appreciation of our community. These letters were especially meaningful for the officers.
The best part of this story, though, is that it's not over. Through the relationships developed in this event, God has opened a door for ongoing ministry to the prison staff. What this will look like is the subject of ongoing visits with the wardens, but I clearly see God at work. Hearts are open. How many will meet Jesus through this effort, only the Lord knows. But there is potential to touch hundreds.
The open door has become somewhat of a cliché among Christians. Many pray for doors to open, only to miss when they do. Others see the opening, but hesitate to pass through. But in scripture, the open door was often an indication of God's direction. In the passage quoted above, the door before Paul was so significant he altered his course, choosing to serve at Ephesus rather than visit Corinth, despite the opposition.
I look forward to sharing with you the opportunities that develop through the open door with the prison staff, as well as other opportunities the Lord presents us. And while I realize that not every open door is meant for everyone, my prayer is that for each opportunity God will stir the hearts of His people so some will see the need and alter their course to join in His redemptive work.
BBA Pastor's Monthly Fellowship
Monday, June 4th, 10am
Pleasant Grove Baptist Church
A time for pastors of the Bowie Baptist Association to gather for coffee and fellowship. The schedule is the 1st Monday of every month, 10 am, at Pleasant Grove Baptist Church.
Administrative Team Meeting
The next Administrative Committee Meeting will be Thursday, June 14th, 10:00 AM, at the BBA Office. Meetings are open to participation from interested persons within the association.
2018 Ignite Children's Camp
Earn your Diploma in Christian Ministry through Gateway Seminary of the Southern Baptist Convention.
The Fall Semester class offering for the Bi State School of Ministry is Baptist History and Practice. A required course for the Diploma in Christian Ministry, this course follows the story of a people seeking to apply God's word to the challenges of their day, resulting in the distinct convictions definitive of Baptist Christians.
Class begins Monday, August 13, 6:00 - 9:00 PM, at First Baptist Church in Wake Village. The cost is $165 plus the textbook. For more information or to begin the application process, contact Dr. Jim Turnbo at email@example.com.
2018 BBA Navajo Mission Trip
Please pray for the BBA Navajo Nation Mission Team, departing June 2nd for a week of ministry. Pray for safe travel, for powerful ministry, for souls saved, and for Navajo believers to be better equipped for reaching their people. The team returns Friday night, June 8th.
1st Choice Pregnancy Center's Walk/Run for Life
Kristie Wright, Executive Director of 1st Choice, wishes to thank the volunteers from BBA congregations who served or otherwise participated in the Walk / Run for Life. More than fifty persons from eleven associational churches either participated in the walk/run or volunteered in support of this event.
Please note, there is a Volunteer Orientation for persons interested in serving with this ministry, at noon, Wednesday, June 6th. Click HERE for information or to register.
“Above All Else” - Proverbs 4:23
Session 1: June 4-8, 2018 / Session 2: June 8-12, 2018
Cost: $190 per camper
Camp Pastor: Todd Reed, FBC Redwater
Worship Leader: Abandon
Entertainment: Jared Hall
Registration for camp is now open! Reserve your spots by paying the $50 deposit per camper. Final payments are due May 14, 2018.
Disaster Relief Update
The BBA has recently partnered with the Southern Baptist of Texas Convention to field a Disaster Relief Laundry Unit. SBTC has provided the trailer. The BBA will equip, operate, and staff the unit. Several congregations have already made special gifts to purchase washer / dryer pairs, but we still need gifts for two more washer/dryer units, the AC, and water heater. Gifts may be sent to BBA, designated Disaster Relief Unit.
Recent gifts to for the Feeding Unit have been well spent. We have a few more items to buy with funds on hand, but our unit is fully deployable. We hope to upgrade the trailer once the laundry unit is complete, but what we need most now for the feeding unit are volunteers ready to go when called. Watch for Disaster Relief news as hurricane season approaches.
Change in the Office
Change has come to the BBA Office. Valerie Mills has recently begun service as the Ministry Assistant for Highland Park Baptist Church. She will continue working part time as the BBA Financial Secretary and will oversee Children's Camp registration, but will no longer staff the association office.
To contact the association for information or assistance, or to update us concerning you and your church, please contact Bro. Jim directly. You may leave a message at the office number, call or text his cell number, 903-276-2102, or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We appreciate Valerie's service to BBA and look forward to continued work with her in this new capacity.
It’s often hard to separate the fluff from the substance when discussing church revitalization. Much of what one reads in articles and blog posts is anecdotal, based on a particular situation, described from a determined point of view. And even the best sources are often in conflict as to how best proceed in strengthening congregations today. Despite this, I’d like to share two observations I believe are most clear about the need for revitalization today.
First, the vast majority of congregations are struggling. While the oft quoted statistic that 80% of SBC congregations are plateaued or in decline has proven untrue, Thom Rainer with Lifeway reports that 65% do indeed fit this description. The good news in this report is that 35% of SBC churches are growing! But further research indicates that only about 6% of growing churches are growing by conversion. Most simply “shift the sheep.” What does this mean? In terms of reaching unbelievers for Christ, most churches are in need of some level of revitalization.
Second, most congregations are late to see this need. I have no fresh Rainer quote for you on this point, just my experience as a missionary and congregational coach. I’ve visited churches that have not baptized anyone in years and today serve a quarter of those reached at their peak, but still believe they are healthy. Why? Many believe that, so long as they are meeting their budget and have a comfortable number of attenders, they are ok. Few see the need for significant change until they face the pressure of financial insolvency.
As I share these thoughts I am not at all pessimistic about ministry today. I believe God still reigns and continues to work through His church. But for any local congregation to share in this work, they cannot conduct business as usual. Something must change. Actually, several things! And yet this isn’t as much about learning new tactics as it is returning to the simple process taught in scripture. The Great Commission, after all, is summed up in two words: make disciples.
In future posts I’ll share about the shifts that I believe must take place for our congregations to be up front and center in our Lord’s ongoing work. Along the way I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Churches Seeking Staff
Please continue to pray for the numerous churches in the Association that are seeking staff members.
- Victory City
- Midway FBC
- Hooks FBC
- Pleasant Grove (903-838-5558)
- Pleasant Grove
- Flower Acres (903-824-8412)
- Korean Mission
- Midway FBC - Send resume to 1415 FM 2148, Texarkana, TX 75501, ATTN: Youth Minister Search Committee
- Cross View - Send resume to 3268 North FM 2148, Texarkana, TX 75503, ATTN: Youth Search Committee
For more information, you may contact the respective congregations with the information provided, or contact the BBA Office.
2-8 BBA Navajo Mission Trip
2-8 Net Xtreme Camp 1
4 Pastor’s Monthly Fellowship, Pleasant Grove, 10 am
8-12 Net Xtreme Camp 2
14 Administrative Team Meeting, BBA Office, 10 am
10-13 SBC Annual Meeting, Dallas, TX
17 Father’s Day
2 Pastor’s Monthly Fellowship, Pleasant Grove, 10 am
4 Independence Day (Office Closed)
10 Administrative Team Meeting, BBA Office, 10 am
11-14 Ignite Children's Camp 1
14-17 Ignite Children's Camp 2
17-20 Ignite Children's Camp 3
24 BBA Executive Board, Noon, BBA Office @ FBC Nash
June - Mission Texarkana
- Circle J Cowboy Church
- Buchanan FBC
- Cross Pointe
- Gravel Hill
- Highland Park
- Moss Springs
These churches have been asked by Mission Texarkana to get involved in the food drive for this month. The Center needs all kinds of canned goods, flour, corn meal, dried beans, macaroni and cheese, powdered milk, baby foods and formulas, and diapers. Any effort made for Mission Texarkana will be appreciated. Some churches have chosen to include Mission Texarkana in their annual budget and send a monthly check for support.
Runnin’ WJ Ranch needs financial support, volunteers, and supplies as well.
Mission Texarkana Director
Lakeview Baptist Assembly
Runnin’ WJ Ranch
Hospitality Director, Telford Prison Ministry Inc.