At the conclusion of our last meeting, our mission team that was headed to Vermont was commissioned and prayed over. I am thrilled to report that the motivating factor in having Tim Owens here to speak to us is the good work we saw God doing there. As Henry Blackaby said, “Watch to see where God is working and join Him in His work.” On our trip there, we had the opportunity to share the Gospel, encourage believers, and pray for a vision for Kingdom progress in not only Vermont but all of New England. It is a partnership this Association is committed to, and now I believe ready to pursue it in a larger way.
I am enjoying teaching at Fruitland Baptist Bible College. By this, I see Haywood Association impacting future leaders—potentially here and many other places. There is a pool of young folks whom God may be preparing for ministry in Haywood County. I am on the lookout. Additionally, I am serving as Chairman of the Nominating Committee for the Baptist State Convention. We have done better electing leaders in the Convention from this area of the state.
My home church, Crestview, has been looking at revamping its Sunday School and small group ministry. This is part of their effort to find God’s future for them in reaching the lost and discipling the saved. They invited me to be part of that process. I started a young married class during the Sunday School hour, reaching some who had not been attending. This has transitioned to an ongoing Bible study group, which I plan to hand off to another teacher at some point. If I can provide help to your church in developing strategic plans, finding God’s focused intention for your mission, training your workers, or anything of that nature, I would love to do that. Another thing I did for Antioch was to take their deacons through training. In the fall, I begin that same study with Clyde First.
The work of church revitalization and replanting continues to be a burden on my heart. I have had video training to help me be better prepared to help declining and dying churches. The North American Mission Board gives out a Replant Award. I was able to present that to Pastor Stephen Buys and the Orchard Church. The former Rehobeth Baptist Church was replanted as The Orchard, and God is blessing that fellowship with fruitfulness. How do you like them apples? Sorry, I couldn’t resist.
I preached at East Waynesville. I also spoke at Crabtree. In June, I preached at Allens Creek. I was blessed to attend revival services at Hazelwood First. I filled the pulpit at East Fork. I spoke for the commissioning service for Ben Curfman, as he has answered the call to pastor North Point Chapel in Albion, NY. I delivered a sermon on Father’s Day at Emmanuel. I preached at Clyde First. I spoke at Fairview. I taught the adult VBS class at Crestview. Last Sunday evening, I began a study of the Book of Revelation at Dutch Cove.
A Slavic congregation in Asheville had a fundraiser for victims of the war in Ukraine. I was able to assist them with that. I was involved with Canton’s July 4+1 outreach by the Canton churches. I had several opportunities to share the Gospel, pray with, and minister to those attending.
Our Baptist State Convention EDT, Todd Unzicker, visited with us on July 20. We toured Broyhill Children’s Home. Did you know that one of the cottages is called “Haywood House” because this Association raised the funds for its construction? Linda Morgan has invited our pastors to meet there on a Monday morning conference, tour the ministry, and they will feed us lunch. As soon as we nail down a date, we will let you know. Todd, Jason Miller, and I left Broyhill and went to a home in Cruso that was being rebuilt by our NC Baptists On Mission crew. It is amazing to see the progress that has been made. We also rejoice in the repairs done to East Fork Baptist Church. We relocated our Pastor’s Conference there for that week, heard Todd’s heart, and had a Q & A with him. Then, East Fork fed us lunch. It was delicious!
As to upcoming mission and ministry opportunities—there are many:
· Canton Labor Day Festival, September 4-5. We will need people to staff this beginning after church on Sunday, the 4th, as it gets underway at noon. We will need to set up some on Saturday. The first night ends at 9:30. It all cranks back up at 10 AM on Labor Day, and we will need to tear down that evening after supper. Get your church involved! You can wear t-shirts promoting your church if you have them. We plan to have an inflatable water slide. There will be a first-aid station where we can use medical personnel to staff. Also, we will offer a baby-changing and feeding tent. Giving out water, balloon yo-yos, and salvation bracelets for the kids are planned. If you would like to do face painting, we would be glad to offer that.
· Mountain State Fair Ministry, September 9. We will staff the Break Tent for the workers on the 10 PM to closing shift. We will need a couple of folks to help us.
· Ongoing rebuild efforts in Haywood. There is still a need. You can sign up at the Baptists On Mission website: https://baptistsonmission.org/haywood
· Flood relief for Kentucky. This is just cranking up but is a big need. Sign up and give here: https://baptistsonmission.org/Mission-Projects/By-Mission-Type/Disaster-Relief/Kentucky-Flooding
Thanks for the privilege of serving you and serving alongside you!
Dennis Thurman, AMS