A BAPTIST ASSOCIATION: WHAT DOES IT MEAN?
We are Haywood Baptist Association. But, what does that mean?
It means CONVICTION. We are Baptists. The Bible is our unfailing guide to faith and practice. Our statement of faith is the Baptist Faith and Message 2000. These are the core doctrines that make us Haywood Baptists. To deviate from them is to depart from this association. While there will be differences in disputable and peripheral matters in our different churches, the central truths must be embraced, or we are not Haywood Baptists.
It means COMMITMENT. This is a voluntary choice. Each Haywood Baptist church is autonomous. They have committed to each other to be on mission for Christ. We live in a day when commitments are often neglected if not outright rejected. Many have a membership roll in their local fellowship comprised of "active," and "inactive," members. Despite entering into a covenant relationship, not many churches seem willing to practice loving discipline to the unfaithful. Many members appear ready to drop out of the weekly gathering of believers. Doubtless, some members will become "shut in," and for health reasons cannot attend. But, the issue of unfaithfulness in membership goes far beyond those few. Of course, the homebound need ministry too! Our Haywood churches need to attend the meetings, support the ministry financially, and communicate their annual church profile to help gauge the health of the local church and maintain updated contact information.
It means COOPERATION. As an association, we acknowledge that together we can accomplish more. There is a world that needs the Gospel. The effort to make disciples begins in the individual communities of Haywood County, extends to our state, throughout North America, and to the ends of the earth. Let us partner together to get the job done!
I hope to see someone from every one of our churches this Tuesday for our quarterly meeting at 7 PM, at Crestview Baptist Church. Don't forget we have a meal planned beginning at 6.
Dennis Thurman, AMS