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AMS REPORT January 16, 2024

It is hard to imagine that I have now begun my fourth year serving Haywood Baptists!  I am grateful for the privilege. Thank you for the prayers and encouragement.

This past couple of months have seen us put this facility up for sale. East Waynesville Baptist Church now belongs to the Association, and we are hoping that we can renovate it and turn it into Haywood Baptist Association Mission Center with the money we realize from the current office’s sale. East Waynesville has already come into use. West Canton Baptist Church is doing a major renovation of its facility and will worship at East Waynesville for a few months. They will attempt to impact that community with a Gospel witness that has been absent there for some time.

I am currently serving as Intentional Interim Pastor at Mt. Zion, leading in a revitalization effort. Please pray for the church as they seek a pastor and the Lord’s work in them and through them. In addition to preaching and other pastoral responsibilities, I have trained the pastor search committee and have begun training of the deacons. This month, I will lead evangelism training for the congregation on Sunday evenings, beginning January 21. If your congregation does not have Sunday night services, we would be happy to have you join us at 6:15 PM.

Our Association hosted Dr. Jim Shaddix, preaching professor at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary for a preaching seminar. He also spoke at Riverside and Mt. Zion. His messages were inspiring and instructive.

The Baptists On Mission flood rebuild effort continues. Cavalry Baptist Church has graciously hosted the work teams entering a third year. When a shortage of staff to supply meals happened, several of our churches stepped up and provided meals to the workers.

My wife and I attended the Baptist State Convention in Greensboro, November 5-7. The Pastors’ Conference and other meetings were edifying. The meeting itself was meaningful as we heard how God is working in these challenging times through the Convention’s churches. I was privileged to nominate one of our pastors, Jason Miller of Dutch Cove to serve a second term as First Vice-President, and he was unanimously re-elected. It was a pleasure to finish my tour of duty on the Convention’s Nominating Committee—serving the past two years as chair. I presented that report which the messengers accepted.

I continue to attend our pastor’s conference most Monday mornings as the men meet at 10 and then several go to lunch. It is an encouraging time of fellowship in the Word. What pastor doesn’t need that on a Monday?

A number of Tuesdays find me at Meadowbrook Elementary School, teaching children in the after-school Bible Club. I would encourage you to consider opportunities to do likewise in your neighborhood schools. Dare we complain about the government “taking the Bible out of schools,” when we do not enter the doors that are still open? Additionally, I spoke in chapel at Haywood Christian Academy. The Lord is doing a wonderful work there among the dedicated faculty and students.

I had a conflict resolution meeting with some leaders in one of our churches. It was a positive outcome—thank God!  This will always be a needful ministry and if I can facilitate reconciliation then call me.

I met with a couple of young men in ministry—a pastor and youth leader. We had lunch together and I hope that I encouraged them. We are better together. Ministry is not meant to be a “Lone Ranger,”effort—and even he had Tonto!  If you need a partner to pray with, a shoulder to cry on, an ear to listen to your challenges—however I can support you, do not hesitate to call.

With Gratitude,

Dennis Thurman, AMS

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