The Wright Word September – November 2018

Will Not Wither
Psalm 1:1-3 is a good reminder. The biblical passage applies to pastors and members. Unfortunately, there is a cascading amount of counsel from the wicked, a proliferation of sinful paths and overwhelming media full of seated scoffers (vs 1).

It is our choice to delight in the Lord and to meditate on His law day and night (vs 2). Doing so allows us to be firmly planted, to yield fruit and to prevent withering (vs 3). Withering is surprisingly easy. The Jeremiah 17:8 version includes the inevitable arrival of spiritual heat and drought. We need to be prepared and protected. We do so by walking with the Lord through our personal, daily prayer and Bible Study, which increases our commitment to corporate worship.

Eight Characteristics of a Church in Need of Revitalization
An article in the July 26, 2018 edition of The Alabama Baptist shared some information applicable to MBA churches. Churches willing to honestly evaluate will find one or more of these characteristics that need to be changed for growth to occur.

  1. Plateaued or declining attendance
  2. Lack of evangelistic fruit
  3. Church does not reflect the community
  4. Missing generations in attendance or leadership
  5. An idealized vision of the past
  6. Preoccupation with other churches
  7. Competing agendas within the church
  8. Allowing a person or group to exercise control

Camp Whispering Pines (CWP) Plan for Financial Self-Sufficiency
We already see significant progress from the April 2018 approval to move CWP toward financial self-sufficiency. The CWP report updates the new dorm is in place, the new meeting space is underway and the Finance Committee will be recommending a balanced 2019 MBA budget.  Each CWP director for the last 14 years has helped us move toward financial self-sufficiency. Steady progress over those years has allowed us, with confidence, to anticipate complete financial self-sufficiency by 2023.

Annual Missions Celebration, Sunday Evening October 7, 2018 at Redemption Church (North Campus)
Our moderators and leaders continue to explore ways to make celebrating associational missions as convenient as possible. This year, we again are meeting on Sunday evening, October 7, from 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. at Redemption Church (North Campus). Dinner and missions fair will occur from 4:45 p.m. – 5:45 p.m.

Please relocate your evening service to join us. The two-hour program will provide an overview of missions work across the county. It can help church leaders understand why cooperative missions is important. It provides clear testimony for churches to continue financially supporting the work of the MBA.

Sunday night provides an opportunity for Mobile Baptists to celebrate missions cooperatively and worship together with a myriad of languages and cultures. Please join us.

Disaster Relief Preparation Time Again
Carolyn reminds us to prepare both aspects of hurricane response. One, be ready to follow the process to receive help if your building and community are damaged. Two, let us know if you are willing to let us use some of your facility/parking lot to house or process teams, local feeding station, supply distribution or supply storage (et. al.).

GOOD News
The March 22, 2018 edition of The Alabama Baptist shows the churches of the MBA as leading the state in the number of Baptisms. Our Evangelistic Ministries Emphasis has helped move us from near the bottom of that list 12 years ago. We also see progress in the Church Planting Emphasis with three new works meeting on Easter Sunday 2018. The Biblical Prayer Emphasis has seen progress as prayerwalkmobile continues to cover the county.

Constitution and Bylaws (C&BL) Updates
Please do not wait until there is a problem to discover the C&BL is outdated and weak. The updated document should include clear guidelines for membership, business meetings and for the facility to relate to SBC/MBA. Smaller membership congregations are targets of unethical, independent and other denominations to lose their facilities.

Future Focus Committee (FFC) Update
Please pray for the FFC, the needed gift of property and the timely sale of the two current facilities. Our summary:

  1. The FFC has a unanimously approved assignment from the October 2014 Annual Session to sell and combine the IMC and MBA office building. Expenses must stay within the amount received from the sales.
  2. We have decided we can sell the IMC facility before the donation of the relocation property.
  3. The efficiency at the Port of Mobile now allows ships to unload and load in as little as 12 hours. Additional security measures also reduces the number of seafarers who can get off the ship.
  4. We are awaiting the Lord to provide a donation of the 3.5 to 5 developed acres, or an existing 8,000-10,000 sf facility. The current anticipated income from the sale of both buildings is not adequate to build on undeveloped property.
  5. The best-case scenario still is to know the new location so we can finalize building size, time frame for temporary location(s) and better negotiate the price of both MBA buildings.
  6. It is unnecessary to hinder ministry effectiveness with long term or multiple temporary locations.
  7. We cannot divert the limited proceeds from the buildings sale to rent temporary facilities for an indefinite amount of time.
  8. Multiple MBA congregations have been contacted about temporary housing. Churches with adequate space wisely will require rent and cannot commit for more than a year. Availability depends on when we start/end.
  9. Committee members have approached, and need to continue to approach, individuals, MBA and other congregations to donate 3.5 to 5 acres or existing 8,000-10,000 sf building. Options so far have not been viable due to location or refurbishing needed.
  10. EACH OF US needs to please continue praying, looking and talking to find the person who will be the answer to the prayers for a new location.

Churches Seeking Pastors and New Pastors
Churches seeking pastors: College Park, Gulfcrest, Higher Ground , Kushla-Bethany (Tim Morgan, Interim), Riverside (Billy Burtt, Interim), FBC Tillman’s Corner, Vietnamese Obedience (Tien Van Tran, Interim).

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