Changing Role of the Baptist Association

Most Southern Baptists are familiar with the term “Association” since each church is typically part of a local Association of Baptist churches, historically because of geographic location, but sometimes because of theology or doctrinal positions.

Associations of Baptist churches have been around since 1650 and their purpose has changed over the years to reflect the needs of member churches.  The first Associations in England existed to encourage fellowship and assistance between member churches.   Some of the first Baptist Associations in America were instrumental in developing a broader concern for missions.  Decades to follow saw Associations change from a focus on their congregations to being program promoters of the SBC and state conventions.   Years later another philosophical shift took place and the role of the Association was to develop a local missions programs with local strategies.  Churches Together

The role of the Association over the years has also been to:

  • lead and assist churches to impact lostness through church planting, community ministry and evangelism.
  • support and assist churches in the making of disciples through leader development, training and resources.
  • lead churches to cooperate and accomplish what one church cannot do alone.
  • provide strength and support for needy churches.
  • commend individuals to ministry at other churches.
  • maintain doctrinal and moral integrity of churches.

What do you believe should be the role of the Baptist Association today?

The role of the Baptist Association will continue to change and must, if it is going to endure and remain relevant in our constantly changing world.

Josh Ellis, Unity Baptist Association, Houston, Texas, has said that:

“If an organization is relevant, it will endure.  If not,whatever replaces it will demonstrate what was needed.”

What is needed in your Association and will your church commit with others to that purpose?  In light of our current reality, there’s never been a more critical time for Association’s to re-dream and evaluate their role.  I challenge Associations to assess and review their current strategies and organizational structure to ensure they are providing value and effective ministry assistance to their member churches.

The Kentucky Baptist Convention offers assistance to Associations wishing to review current structure, evaluate effectiveness or develop new strategies.   I believe strongly that Baptist Associations today must be functional, streamlined and practical in their approach to strategically challenge and assist member churches in fulfilling the Great Commission.



Salem Baptist Church Gets Help from Carpenters for Christ

DSCN2990Salem Baptist Church in Pembroke (Christian County), KY has a new multipurpose/educational building, thanks to a team of 125+ Carpenters for Christ from Lakeview Baptist Church in Auburn, AL. Men from six different states (Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, Virginia, South Carolina, Florida,) made up the team that came to western Kentucky the week of May 24 – 31 to construct a 60’ X 80’, 6400 square foot, 2-story building.

Carpenters for Christ is a missions oriented group sharing the love of Jesus Christ by helping churches reach out to their communities. Through local projects and yearly mission trips, members donate their time to assist other Christians in building places to worship God and study His Word. Their primary purpose, however, is the building of disciples through prayer, Bible study, fellowship and service.

The men pay their own way and many take their summer vacation to be a part of the team. They take time out of each day for worship and give the God the glory for the work He has called them to do. Twenty-one members of this year’s team were under the age of 20. This is a great opportunity for the older men to mentor these young guys in work skills and ethic, as well as spiritually, helping to build men of character and godliness.

This process began back on January 4, 2013 when an email was forwarded to me from Don Green, Building Site Coordinator, introducing himself, stating that they were a team desiring to minister through a construction project during the Spring of 2013, and asking if I knew of a church that could use a team the last week of May. The Salem Baptist Church project, posted in October 2012, was sent to them, and the rest is history.

Salem Baptist Church is in a rural area, has an average worship attendance of 125, and is in an area that is 87% unchurched. They are located near Fort Campbell and have set a goal to reach the military families, as well as their community, for Christ. In addition to Carpenters for Christ, Salem Baptist has 2 or 3 other teams scheduled to come in this summer to help with outreach activities.

Thank You, God, for our Southern Baptist family, and a cooperative spirit to reach out to one another.