Mobile Baptist Association (MBA) 2005- 2015
C. Thomas Wright for the Future Focus Committee
Churches need to be diligent stewards of where they invest missions giving and volunteer time. Unfortunately, churches and individual believers routinely support parachurch organizations or individuals that have unbiblical theology, compromised financial procedures, improper polity, and limited eternal return on the investment of missions’ money and volunteer time.
MBA Executive Committee Reports provide extensive evidence of effective associational philosophy, strategy and function. Due diligence toward the MBA will confirm conservative biblical theology, excellent financial procedures, SBC polity and an eternal difference for their investment of missions giving and volunteer time.
- Since 2005, the MBA has had several difficult struggles protecting the theological integrity of the MBA. The definitive conclusion shows MBA theology is biblical and conservative.
- The MBA has had challenges to the financial credibility of the MBA including an audit uncovering a trusted staff member misappropriating funds. Concurrent audits confirm the MBA financial processes now are fiscally sound with excellent accountability from a functioning finance committee.
- The MBA has maintained a balanced budget with staff and ministries in spite of losing $60,000 in subsidies and $20,000 increases in health insurance costs. We have reduced spending by $147,000. (In 2015, $18k from our $700k in savings was needed to balance the budget. In April 2016, the Executive Committee approved a proposal temporarily reallocating $18,700 to help balance the budget.)
- Our association has continued to grow in the number of churches, diversity and baptisms. We had 99 churches in 2004 and 121 churches and missions in 2015. We are larger than four state conventions.
- In 2015 the MBA once again led the state in the highest number of baptisms. We are not the largest association nor do we have megachurches present in other counties. We were much lower on that list in 2004.
- We have grown from 2 to 10 African American churches.
From none to three autonomous ethnic congregations (Korean, Vietnamese, Lao) and
From 3 to 11 ethnic mission congregations/cells among Hispanic (3), Vietnamese, Russian, Ukrainian, Syrian, Filipino, Japanese, Khmer and Deaf.
- We have reversed the 50 year trend of churches dying almost yearly. We negotiated the revitalization of two struggling congregations and have multiple others in process.
- Over 80% of our churches have been involved in MBA sponsored trainings.
- Pastors, staff and members find consultation and encouragement in every aspect of church administration and growth. Most of those conversations have to remain confidential.
- We yearly minister to over 1,800 seafarers with over 200 decisions. We have done extensive repairs and upgrades to the International Ministries Center, improved transportation and online options for seafarers. We have reversed the decline in International Language Schools and balanced International Ministry for county wide evangelistic ministry and language churches.
- Camp Whispering Pines has reversed completely from financially insolvent and struggling. We had 3,891 campers at CWP in 2015 and 27 decisions in just one weekend. We continue to conduct extensive repairs and facility upgrades. We have a balanced budget.
- Our disaster relief capabilities have improved and readiness maintained for the next event. We were instrumental in the rebuilding of Celeste Road Baptist Church after the fire. We processed over 8,000, yes 8k volunteers, after Katrina. We organized mud-out to over 500 homes, in addition to hundreds of roofs, yards, churches and small businesses that were helped.
- The Executive Committee meetings have demonstrated remarkable unity and harmonious approval to significant changes, including consolidating IMC and MBA office facilities into a single location; bold move to reduce expenses and improve ministry capabilities.
- The weekly Ministers’ Conference has grown from 5 to 30 in average attendance.
- It is understandable that people want to support entities that have a significant public presence through obvious events, activities and promotion. But associations exist to support churches. It is not appropriate for associations to usurp the function, ministries or public presence of the local church. Similar to a drinking straw, the MBA is a conduit of consultation, training, support and ministry that often is behind the scenes. The indicator of an effective association is an increasing number of churches that are effective, healthy and growing.
MBA competes for effectiveness and efficiency with any Association or any parachurch organization. Careful stewards can have absolute confidence in the MBA for the eternal impact of their missions giving and volunteer time.