Thomas Wright, Associational Missionary
Emphasizing Biblical Prayer, Evangelistic Ministries, Church Development, Church Planting, Partnership Missions
Everything Changed Rapidly
It is remarkable how the entire culture changed in four weeks. Our churches have responded creatively and heroically. None of us like massive change, but most MBA churches made essential changes to maintain worship and evangelistic ministry during the stay-at-home orders.
The change to an online format was essential and will need to continue. The change to providing online giving options also is essential and ongoing. The use of online registering, online meetings and online training options are also here to stay. Please let me know if you still need help with online options. We have seen wonderful partnership from Tillman’s Corner First and 3Circle selflessly sharing their technology expertise with smaller membership churches.
The MBA weekly news alerts and mobilebaptists.org continues to provide resources to help churches respond. We are grateful the restrictions are loosening, but the virus will continue to influence attendance and activities for months to come. The online training and online options for Vacation Bible School are currently being uploaded.
Camp Whispering Pines is reopening for retreats, class meetings and worship options including new sanitizing precautions. We also need volunteers and teams to continue with repair and upgrade projects.
Even in the midst of changes, we are hearing encouraging testimonies of how the Lord has moved during these days. The first three chapters of Genesis have applicable lessons. God’s enemy continues to try to influence humankind to blame God for Satan’s activity. Satan also whispers to us to reject any consequences from our sin. Change, stress and danger to life causes even the hardest heart to seek ultimate answers. Believers need to be available and faithful to bring biblical truth as the solution. As you know, there are no secular solutions to spiritual problems. Remain faithful. Stay sanitized and sanctified.
Future Focus Committee (FFC) May Update
Please pray for the FFC and the location to combine our two current facilities.
- The International Ministries facility-rezoning request was denied and the potential buyer withdrew their offer. Please pray for a new buyer that does not require rezoning.
- As you recall, the FFC has a unanimously approved assignment from the October 2014 Annual Session to sell and combine the International Ministries Center (IMC) facility and MBA office building. Expenses will stay within the amount received from the sales.
- The efficiency at the Port of Mobile now allows some ships to unload and load in as little as 8 hours. Others are in port for as long as three days.
- 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 income from the sale of both buildings is not adequate to build on undeveloped property.
- Myers Memorial Baptist Church is generously allowing us to store furniture from the IMC until the new building is ready.
- The IMC van is at the MBA office. Teams continue to go to the ships with great evangelistic ministry and more volunteers are needed.
- We will wait to sell the MBA office until a new location is completed using proceeds from the IMC. The MBA Finance and Executive Committees have approved a possible bridge loan from the MBA until the MBA office sells.
- Committee members continue to approach individuals, MBA and other congregations to help find an existing 8,000-12,000 sf building. Options so far have not been viable due to location or refurbishing needed.
- Please continue praying, looking, and talking to find the person who will be the answer to the prayers for a new location.
Saturate Mobile October 2019-October 2020
The Evangelistic Ministries Committee is challenging MBA churches to saturate Mobile County with prayer and gospel witness. Registration provides a map of your zip code and enough free materials to saturate that zip code. Churches in the same zip code will work together to pray for and share literature with every home in each zip code. Free materials include a door hanger bag, Jesus Movie CD and a tract. Churches also should include information about their church and perhaps a New Testament. Visit saturate.mobilebaptists.org for more information.
Annual Missions Celebration October 4, 2020
Calendaring seems to be reliable to maintain our October date. Our moderators and leaders continue to explore ways to make celebrating associational missions as convenient as possible. Many large associations have found a Sunday night format helps promote fellowship and missions focus.
It is not unreasonable to ask churches to spend one night a year to look outward and receive a mission’s challenge. The Great Commission includes looking beyond the comfort of just Jerusalem. Cooperation can be cumbersome but it is biblical and necessary.
Our two-hour program in 2019 helped church leaders understand why cooperative missions is important. It provided clear testimony for churches to continue to financially support the work of the MBA. Meeting on Sunday night provides an opportunity for Mobile Baptists to cooperatively celebrate missions and worship together with a myriad of languages and cultures. Please place the Annual Meeting on your calendar, October 4, 2020 at 3Circle Church Midtown.
2020 Budget Year Challenges
The MBA Finance Committee approved the MBA and CWP applications for Payroll Protection Program funds. The two applications were approved and those funds are helping with expenses. We still need your help to communicate to your church the importance of cooperation and the results from the investment they make financially by supporting the MBA.
We need your help please to communicate with Finance Committees the need to continue the tithe to missions during the Covid-19 response and limitations. We have reduced the MBA Budget $213,008 since 2008. As you recall we lost $54,000 in subsidies from NAMB for IM and Church Development Director positions. Health insurance costs have increased $26,000. We have reduced insurance costs by having a part time Director of International Ministries. We have not been able to provide raises for the last nine years. We have reduced office days to four. We are praying and working to sell both facilities and combine them into a more efficient facility with lower overhead expenses.
We would be severely challenged if so many churches had not faithfully increased their missions giving to the MBA. We need additional churches to consider redistributing their missions tithe to the MBA. We average .91 percent of church missions gifts coming to the MBA. Please discuss with the Finance Committee increasing the MBA percentage of your church’s missions tithe.
Intercession for the MBA Staff on your Prayer Lists
Jesus gave the example of praying for other believers in John 17. Your associational staff face challenges every day as we consult with church leaders and members. We need wisdom and direction as we consult in church conflict, staff changes, growth options, building needs, disaster relief and every other component of church life. Please add us to your Wednesday night prayer list. Please pray that financial needs will be met.
Constitution and Bylaws (C&BL) Updates
These days of uncertainty are a good time to update church facilities and systems. Please do not wait until there is a problem to discover the church C&BL is outdated and weak. The updated document should include clear guidelines for membership, business meetings and for the facilities to relate to SBC/MBA. Smaller membership congregations are being targeted by unethical independent and other denominations to lose their facilities. The C&BL is the legal document for the church. It should include a statement-defining member in good standing. When conflict occurs, it is too late to think about updating. Visit alsbom.org/safe for helpful resources and sample statements.
Impact Mobile Associational Missions Offering
The Executive Committee affirmed a goal of $20,000. This is one way for churches to teach about Associational Missions and help church members know why we give and work cooperatively. The emphasis dates are during Associational Missions Week each October, but you can use ANY date that works better with your church calendar. Please use this opportunity to teach the importance of Cooperative Missions and the impact we are having in Mobile County and across the planet.
Churches Seeking Pastors and New Pastors
Churches seeking a pastor: Faith (Mobile), Fulton Road, FBC Satsuma, Higher Ground, International, Shiloh, Spring Hill, Turnerville, Woodridge and Vietnamese Obedience.