|August 23, 2016 by Seth Brown, BR Content Editor|
|Despite the unique challenges threatening to dissolve the bonds of 78 local associations across the state, the enduring practice of cooperation among autonomous congregations continues. READ MORE|
|August 22, 2016 by K. Allan Blume, BR Editor|
Bob Lowman, said the closing of one of Charlotte’s historic churches turned out to infuse a “fresh burst of energy and a renewed vision of what we’re supposed to be about as an association.” READ MORE
|August 22, 2016 by Liz Tablazon, BR staff writer|
Stanly Baptist Association has been living out what it means to “love your neighbor” over the past three years. When Montgomery Baptist Association, 22.5 miles away, found themselves ... READ MORE
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K. Allan Blume
Associations examine and retool
The first Baptist association in the south was born in North Carolina in 1758 during the revival known as the First Great Awakening. The boundaries of the Sandy Creek Baptist Association were said to be from the Atlantic Ocean to the Mississippi River, and from Washington, D.C. to Savannah, Georgia. That’s a very large territory, so it is not surprising that hundreds of associations have since emerged out of Sandy Creek – 78 of those in North Carolina. State conventions grew out of these associations, also.
Today in our state some associations spread across many counties, while some counties have multiple associations within their county lines. Most associations are geographically organized, but some are affinity-based, like the Burnt Swamp Association that is organized for Native American churches and expands beyond N.C.
Associations have been central to the expanded mission of every local church. Their founding purpose was to foster local church partnerships in the spread of the gospel, to facilitate local church networking for the sake of mutual edification in ministry and to share church resources for the glory of God. These purposes are still important to our assignment to make disciples according to our Lord’s Great Commission. So associations still have a reason to exist, even as processes and procedures force necessary adjustments within our changing world.
This week’s printed edition of the Biblical Recorder has an editorial and three stories about the work of associational missions. We want to tell the story of what associations are doing to become more effective. Some are partnering with other associations while others are talking about merging with a neighboring association. Some are retooling as they evaluate the best way to serve local churches. All are facing significant changes. Those that continue doing the same thing they did 50 years ago will not survive.
We hope these stories and the stories we share in coming editions of the Recorder will encourage and challenge us as we keep the focus on impacting lostness.
URGENT: Our Baptist Children’s Homes (BCH) is facing a serious potential threat from legal limits on their ministry. Please read this very important story and respond today. The legislation proposed in Washington, D.C. will harm children and it will greatly limit the great ministry of BCH. Let’s do something about this today and share it with your friends!