- ReadThe ConnectionAugust 2022
Local Mission Saturday Aug 30, 2022 8:00
When did you last go on a mission trip? Here is one in your own backyard. Let's do this!
We now call individuals, families, Sunday school classes, small groups, and church groups to join God and others on a mission this month.
Cassia Baptist replanted this year, and they are already leading our association in baptisms. Join God where He is working and increase your area of reach, reaching lost in Lake County.
The picture above that's the Cassia Baptist Church building. We have a huge opportunity to make a significant impact.
What to bring:
- A pickup truck for store runs
- Painting tools (extension for ceiling useful)
- Carpentry and power tools
- Plumbing tools and items
- General cleanup supplies
Suggested personal items:
- bottle water
- bug spray
- jeans, gloves, and protective items
Click the "Event" item at the bottom of this newsletter for additional information.
How to help if unable to attend?
- Pray the word gets out to all that need to hear.
- Spread the news, even if you can't attend, so others know about the opportunity.
- If you want to help financially, visit the association website and note your transaction with "Cassia Baptist."
- Celebrate how much more we can do through local cooperative associational missions.
- Let others know about this newsletter and stay connected to our shared ministry beyond the church (Acts 1:8).
If you know of other local mission opportunities, don't hesitate to contact your association. Team Mission wants to hear from you.
"Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered." Proverbs 11:25
- ReadThe ConnectionJuly 2022
"Every Church" Ideological Experts
What happened to us in 2020? We experienced the most rapid succession of events that permanently changed life for everyone in the USA and on the planet. I know you have thoughts on 2020; who doesn't? Think about the events that changed everything we continue to contend with today: the first impeachment, George Floyd, COVID, and the lockdown. Thoughts that invaded our lives are part of the 2020 ideological predicament I want to address in this article.
I'm confident we can agree that ideological transformations brought about discussions in our churches that, in 2019, we never anticipated. Also, I'm convinced that instead of asking, "What does the Bible say?" people began to make ideological statements such as, "We need to wear masks," or "The government will not tell this church we can't meet." As a whole, church conversations shifted from how to better reach people for Jesus to rhetoric from self-proclaimed experts on matters nobody was qualified to address.
The death of George Floyd spurned riots, and churches began to talk ideologically about race issues and riot justifications.
Politics, social issues, sicknesses, and control were widely spoken about and often addressed from the pulpit. The ideological attention drastically changed something in our churches.
People started leaving churches and joining others, not because of doctrinal issues or matters we often heard in years past (disputes over decorations, music wars, or personalities).
Today we're looking at a 30% transfer rate directly linked to ideological differences. In our association, we lost one church to this ideological identification crisis. And undoubtedly, every church feels compelled to address ideological issues while contending with the fallout; ideological issues always cause a divide.
The church had another decade to learn how to address many issues we're wrestling with now. What would be 2030 discussions became 2020 conversations. The learning curve that overcame our ability to grasp individually is now overwhelming our collective conscience. It is not just in the SBC. Ideological problems are affecting the Methodists, who may not recover from this shift. The Lutherans are wondering if they will survive. Sadly our ignorance of the problem plaguing the church even impacts our great conservative SBC, which today sells ideological-driven headlines with words such as "liberal, race," and "CT."
I wish I had the answer, but you need to turn to Jesus for that. Yet, sadly, people are looking less to Jesus because the fact is that ideological manifestations are prompting mass member migrations. We must shift from the temptation to tangle with less essential to the primary person Jesus. Like clickbait, we can learn to identify what wastes our time, drags us down, or is somebody shouting from a soapbox.
While the fact people are leaving churches and churches are leaving the SBC is not so reassuring, there is some good news. In our churches, the 5% that were strong givers, intensely involved, and supporting their church grew in size and impact. That was unexpected. The moderately involved haven't moved up in their level of dedication but are less likely to leave the church. They're not so motivated to move membership. Yet the few that frequented the church on occasion, well, most never returned following COVID. These are the people we try reaching during our Christmas and Easter outreach events. So, hardships brought out the best and separated the weak from the rest. That's not so bad, although we miss our infrequent folks and need to work harder to find them again.
The future will continue to challenge. We thought technology made us change rapidly, but 2020's ideological impacts are doing more in two years than we expected in ten. Keep the faith; Jesus is still in control. I know; I read the book.
- ReadThe ConnectionJune 2022
We are the SBC
We gather together as Southern Baptist Churches at our annual convention. If you are reading this the day it was published, I'm currently in California with thousands of our fellow SBC church messengers and guests.
The BIG news is, of course, "What next with all the sex abuse stuff?" Unless you live under a rock, you know that since 2007, and it really hit us big time last year, the SBC started looking into matters pertaining to sex abuse claims.
I'm not going to restate the news, but if you click the picture above can gain access to tons of useful resources and learn more about this very pressing matter.
- ReadThe ConnectionMaking History with a Lesson
Helping Churches reach More People
One of the most extraordinary things about being a Southern Baptist Church is that no church has to do things alone. Churches of all sized go through life cycles. Thom Rainer, in 2008, mentioned that 1 in 5 churches will cease to exist by 2030. But that was before NAMB, especially the work of the replant team, went to work. Today churches are finding ways to keep the doors open in our communities.
One such example of helping churches happened just recently. Last month Dr. Tommy Green, Florida Baptist, approached our area Catalyst, Dr. Jeff Singletary, with the challenge to work with me to identify ten churches that can benefit from a financial gift. Christmas is coming early this year for several of our churches!
We used the ACP, church cooperative giving, and participation with the association to identify ten candidates for gifts to help pastors advance their vision for reaching their community and making disciples. In total, the Florida Baptists were ready to pour $100,000 into our association.
Tommy and Jeff are compassionate and giving people serving SBC churches across the state. Yet, nobody has the advantage of knowing the churches like the local association. NAMB is well falimar with this citing, "The work of the local Association is vital and critical to the work of replanting struggling congregations, no one is more familiar or closer to the church than the leaders in local associations" (https://www.namb.net/church-replanting/partnerships/). Immediately, conversations with pastors came to mind.
It is my pleasure to note Jeff and I met back to back with pastors and some of their leaders at Lake Yale last month. Nine pastors were able to meet, and everyone benefited. Financial gifts for some, challenge to expand their vision for others and rekindling cooperative associations for others.
A special thanks goes out to Director Jeff Yant and Chef Bradly of Lake Yale Baptist Conference Center (https://www.lybcc.com) for providing a space to meet, food, and drinks. Thank you, brothers.
Click on the picture above to learn more about the Florida Baptist Convention.
- ReadThe ConnectionUnprecedented Association Days
Replant and Revitalization
NAMB Church Replant might be new to you. It's been around for about five years and developed into something highly encouraging to churches needing help and for churches considering assisting dying ones.
Last month, I attended the AMS NAMB Labs and am now the "go-to guy" in our area. The labs provided the training and tools to Explore, Examine, Recommend, and Present a replant or revitalization strategy best suited to the needs of the dying church.
Like a medical doctor, helping a dying church requires diagnosis. Knowing the problem is not as easy as you think, and NAMB has the tools proven effective at revealing the truth about a dying church. We can pick up a book on revitalization, take a survey, and perhaps land on something that works. However, until NAMB started working on the problem, most revitalizations were unsuccessful.
Additionally, healthy churches might approach with a genuine desire to help but find the church unwilling to let go until it is too late. The NAMB process utilizes a third-party system and tools effective for making a healthy transition.
I'll have more on this in future newsletters. For now, click on the dead church above to visit the NAMB Chruch Replant page and learn more about this happening trend in the SBC. Saving churches and reclaiming the local mission flied for Jesus.
- ReadThe ConnectionCelebrating New Works
Meet Pastor Clint, Church Planter
In the Summer of 2021, a group of Christian believers had a burden to plant a new church in the Leesburg area. Grand Island Baptist Church is the sending church to support this new church plant.
The core group members met for over two months in a living room. After much prayer, Hometown Baptist Church started at Ross Plumbing in Leesburg on October 3rd, 2022.
Pastor Clint Patterson is leading the church planting effort. Hometown Baptist got its name from Pastor Clint’s hometown of Leesburg, Florida. Clint was born and raised in Leesburg and wanted to be a part of something special in his hometown.
Hometown Baptist has averaged over 40 people attending since beginning in October. One of the key distinctions of Hometown Baptist Church is expository, verse by verse, teaching of the Bible.
We are excited to see what God has planned for Hometown Baptist Church this year.
Pastor Clint Patterson
- ReadThe ConnectionNew Dawn of Associations
Healthy Home Active Association
The carob pod grows in the southern Levant, the Mediterranean, and southern Europe. It's a high-fat food which is why it's excellent for pre-slaughter swine. For the Prodigal Son, the carob became a go-to food source.
While some things seem good at the time, in the end, we see just how far from God's intention we can drift. Like the prodigal, Baptist associations are not immune from the "off-track trekking." Like the prodigal, an off-track association must return home; ask their churches, "How can I serve?"
Leaving the wrong for the right path begins a new life, improves relationships, and leads to great potential. The prodigal never imagined the loving reception waiting for him at his father's home. Association calls are increasing. State Conventions are shrinking. Churches are calling for change.
The story of the prodigal reminds us that a person, a relationship, even a home can celebrate restoration. Your association is beginning to recognize the reestablishment of our "associational home." More pastors are getting connected. Churches are being revitalized. Churchs are being planted. Additional churches are joining us.
We are on the precipice of a "wave" that is happening across our state and even the nation. Churches are more increasingly turning to their local association for help. Help during the conflict. Help finding the right leaders. Help with finances. Help sending next-generation leaders through college.
We are becoming a post-Baby Boomer people where Generation X and the Millenials are opting for more intimate entities. Associations have the "ground level" knowledge helping make connections with like-minded people advancing the Kingdom instead of promoting a church.
IMB and NAMB have new "pipeline" processes that make use of associations, helping even the smallest church raise up next-generation missionaries. Baptist College of Florida is reaching out to associations seeking ways to make education available to everyone.
Churches want to plant more local churches, revitalize local churches and are asking the association to help make these things possible. Access to demographic tools, NAMB and Florida Baptist financial support, local knowledge, and sending churches are finding ways to ensure we reach every person in Lake County with the message of Jesus.
I'm happy to come to your church and share with a congregation, small group, or leaders some of the tremendous new happenings in your association. Click on the picture above to see some of the existing benefits available to member churches.