When Baptists get together it is like how the great theologian, Forrest Gump, described life, "like a box of chocolates--you never know what you gonna get." What we got was a sweet time in the Lord--a very encouraging meeting. I so wish more of you had been there to hear what God has been doing, how He is at work, and to trust God as we seek the vision for the future He has in mind!
Let me hit some highlights for you:
Nate Hannah, Kris Estep, and other musicians led us in worshipful music. Starting off with a cathedral style setting on the organ for a rousing congregational rendition of, "A Mighty Fortress is Our God," we concluded the meeting with the Doxology, interspersed with hymns and a solo, "His Mercy is More." Ben Curfman manned the sound board. Thanks Barberville for leading us to the throne of grace!
Steve Frazier concluded his tenure as Moderator. He was deservedly recognized for his faithfulness, and now the gavel has been passed to Nick Smith.
The Orchard Church is now officially part of Haywood Baptist Association and we are grateful! Several of the staff were present and Pastor Stephen Buys preached the Word, challenging us to be people of vision--God's vision, and not our own. It was a powerful and practical message.
Exciting reports were shared. Deb Boone challenged the ladies to get involved in mission and ministry. Bob McCleary reported on the wonderful work done through the ministry of Broyhill Children's Home. He wants to establish a base for training foster parents and those considering adoption in one of our churches. Would you pray about being that one? The Hispanic Ministry is diverse and flourishing under the capable direction of Robert Fernandez. All the messengers were stirred by the report of this Gospel effort. Our Baptist Men's Leader, Joe Cassada introduced Bill Martin who is heading up the disaster recovery effort for Baptists On Mission. Bill shared what had been done and the ongoing needs. Again, we can be involved. Would you adopt one of these families as a church? This is an open door for ministry! I shared my report (which you can read on this blog under the heading "The State of the Association 2021)and we had a word from Mark Tice about the needs of East Fork Baptist Church due to the flooding. We prayed for him and the church family.
There were business items voted on: the election of new officers; an ambitious budget proposal; amended by-laws. All passed without debate or dissent.
Our Administrative Assistant, Laurel Smith, and I were recognized and gifted for our work. That was much appreciated. Laurel works hard and helped set up for our meeting.
We appreciate the gracious hospitality of Barberville and its members. We were fed, physically and spiritually! The fellowship was sweet. When the meeting concluded, people lingered and talked--a sure sign of enthusiasm, love,and unity.
Let us give thanks for all that God has wrought and pray for Him to do greater things through us in the year to come as we give ourselves to Him in greater devotion!
Dennis Thurman, AMS