The local Baptist Association has no desire to run your business. But a Baptist church needs other churches to compare notes with, see what other churches are doing, and realize that they are not alone. You can learn much about Baptist doctrine and practice by cooperating in the Association. Sometimes they can even keep someone from going off the deep end in doctrine, policy, or legal matters. Believe it or not, we all need that accountability.
On the other hand, every church has its own personality. For example, Southern Baptists have traditional and contemporary worship styles and everything in between. Those details (and many others) are for you and your church to decide, under the leadership of the Holy Spirit.
Help / Assistance
Help, whether formal or informal, is available in the Baptist Association. They want you to succeed. What can you get at an Executive Board meeting of the Association? The latest joke to share with your congregation. The sermon illustration or outline a fellow pastor used last Sunday. The best new Soul-Winning program around. A study book you can teach Sunday or Wednesday nights. What’s available in Sunday School, doctrinal, or new believer literature. Good Christian fellowship.
An Association may offer conferences throughout the year on topics such as the Doctrinal Study, January Bible Study, Evangelism Rally, Sunday School Worker Training, Vacation Bible School Training, Church Legal Matters, Deacons, Seniors, Youth Work, Evangelism, Ministers Fellowship, etc.
Having difficulty in your church? If you pastor a Baptist church you are! The Executive Director, as well as other pastors in the Association are ready and willing to pray with you, give you confidential counsel, or to just provide a listening ear. Often, they have “been there and done that” and can offer very helpful advice and support.
A Place to Serve
Whether you are a pastor, church staff minister, or a layman in your church, you can find a place to serve, to lead, and to fellowship with neighboring churches. Share your knowledge and encouragement with fellow believers in the Association. For young preachers, it’s a great place to get to know other preachers, and receive opportunities to preach. You need the Association; the Association needs you.
The local Baptist Association began in North America before the national SBC or state conventions were even formed. Then as now they offer assistance and encouragement. Not every church can give large amounts or percentages to the mission work of the Association. But every church can give something. Giving to the Baptist Association is another way of strengthening God’s work in your area, and ultimately throughout the world.
-David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, January 11, AD 2010.
Why I Support the Baptist Association, Part 1
Basic Baptist Doctrines / Beliefs