Members of Central Triad
Baptist Association in High Point approved a motion March 2 to merge with the
Piedmont Baptist Association in neighboring Greensboro.
Piedmont members will
consider the merger during a meeting at Life Community Church March 22. If the
vote is positive, the two will merge into a 120-church Piedmont Baptist
Association March 31.
Merger talks were prompted
last fall when the largest contributing church to the Central Triad Association
cut its contribution in half and the second largest contributing church dropped
its associational gifts altogether.
That decrease put the association in a
financial squeeze, and it is “flying too close over the treetops” to go on,
said J.C. Bradley, director of missions in Central Triad.
It has an $85,000 debt on
its office condo which is worth several times that amount; and a single staff
Central Triad, formed in part out of the Piedmont Association in 1958,
has 37 churches. Piedmont has 83.
Bradley is 76 years old and
will retire March 31.
Bradley, recognized last fall with a lifetime achievement
award from the North American Mission Board (NAMB), has been a missiologist in
Baptist life, working for many years with NAMB in associational
Patrick Fuller, Piedmont
Association moderator and president of the board, says a merger will help to
unify the two Guilford County communities. Greensboro and High Point are
practically connected by a highly commercialized artery called Wendover Avenue.
But politically they’ve wrestled for the funds and affection of Guilford
“This can be a statement to
the community at large that we’re coming together,” said Fuller, pastor of Southside
Baptist Church in Greensboro.
Response at listening
sessions conducted thus far is positive, although Russ Reaves, pastor of
Immanuel Baptist Church in Greensboro, has published opposition to the merger,
based on questions of autonomy, efficiency and the wholesale admission of High
Point churches into the association without a doctrinal examination, as each
would have if they applied for associational membership individually.
After the vote March 2 Bradley said throughout the
process he has stressed to Central Triad churches the importance of the mission
still to be performed in a growing population with increasing diversity.
face of diminishing finances “survival of the association” was never the issue
for Bradley. Instead, he sought the merger to guarantee High Point churches can
continue to work together to “accomplish the mission.”