Messengers to a special called meeting of the Piedmont Baptist Association March 22 voted 92-14 to admit churches of the Central Triad Baptist Association (CTBA) and merge into one entity. Central Triad Association members voted for the merger March 2.
The new association — now with 120 member churches — will be known as the Piedmont Baptist Association. Larry Doyle will continue as associational director of missions. Central Triad Association Director of Missions J.C. Bradley, 76, will retire effective March 31.
While financial crisis from slumping support by CTBA churches prompted the merger, the reason for merger is mission, Doyle told 106 messengers, meeting at Life Community Church in Jamestown. The CTBA, which formed from Piedmont Baptist Association churches a half century ago, will not be investing its limited funds simply in maintaining an organization, and can instead free resources to the Piedmont Association which has a vision to “transform its community.”
The merger will benefit the Piedmont Association by “increasing the missional workforce,” Doyle said, adding as many of the 37 CTBA churches as wish to participate. Additionally, the Piedmont Association will “expand our territory, geographically and demographically to cover all of Guilford County,” and will bring together the association’s greatest resource, “our people.”
Piedmont Association Moderator Patrick Fuller said earlier a merger of Baptists in Guilford County will have the added benefit of helping to unify political and social divisions within the county.
In effect, Doyle said, the Piedmont Association was answering a “Macedonian call” from its sister churches.
Leading up to the vote, listening sessions were held in both associations and leadership teams worked out details after the merger was first proposed between executives last September. Three members of the leadership team from CTBA will join a temporarily expanded leadership team from Piedmont, for staggered terms to expire in 2012.
Ken Evans, chairman of the CTBA leadership team and pastor of Trinity Baptist Church; Tony Moore, pastor of Trindale Baptist Church in Trinity, moderator of CTBA, and Charlie Waller, vice moderator of CTBA and pastor of Lexington Avenue Baptist Church in High Point will join the Piedmont leadership team.
Physical assets and liabilities of CTBA were assumed by Piedmont Association. Assets include two office suites, which are for sale and valued at $315,000; commercial property valued at $205,000 and a disaster relief trailer, valued at $5,000.
Liabilities include a mortgage on the office suites of $84,500 and miscellaneous bills of $14,000. Monthly contributions from CTBA churches have been averaging $5,265 — more than enough to cover liabilities if churches continue to support the expanded association.
Doyle said the mission and objectives of both associations were “in harmony.”
The vision of Piedmont Association “is to see our community radically transformed by the power of Christ,” he said. To bring about transformation, associational leadership assists churches to develop leadership, connect with their communities and network with other congregations and ministries.
CTBA objectives were to strengthen churches, mobilize resources and network churches for mission.
“There is a harmony here in the sense of direction where we’re going,” Doyle said.
While the doctrinal guide for Piedmont Association is the Baptist Faith and Message Statement 1963, the doctrinal statement of the CTBA does not conflict with the BFMS, Doyle said.
A special service is planned May 3 to celebrate the merger, with other informal events being planned for pastors and churches to get better acquainted.
Josh Parrish, chairman of a networking group from Piedmont Association and pastor of Awestruck Church, said that although CTBA churches were “non-supportive” they were not negative and the Piedmont Association is not “bringing on negativity or dead weight.”
“We’re seeing a large increase in support and excitement over being a part of the vision of the Piedmont Association,” he said.