The Wright Word June – August 2018

Moses and Ministry
Recent conversations with young men interested in ministry have included encouragement to read the ministry of Moses in the book of Exodus. God used Moses mightily in spite of his reluctance to serve “Who am I that I should go…? (Ex. 3:11, NIV) and in spite of his anger issues (32:19-20). Even after the refugees had seen the power of God they continued to grumble about the food (Ex. 16:2-3), they ignored his clear instructions (16:27) and eventually led a coup against him (Num. 11-17). Moses asked the Lord the pastors’ plea, “What am I to do with these people? They are almost ready to stone me” (17:4, NIV).

However, Moses repeatedly saw God’s faithfulness in spite of (and even because of) tremendous challenges. Deuteronomy 34:10-12 describes the ministry of Moses, “Since then, no prophet has risen in Israel like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face, who did all those signs and wonders the Lord sent him to do in Egypt…. For no one has ever shown the mighty power or performed the awesome deeds that Moses did in the sight of all Israel” (NIV).

We can find encouragement and effectiveness through the biblical lessons of Moses’ life and ministry.

CWP Plan for Financial Self-Sufficiency
The Executive Committee approved on April 16, 2018 a five-year plan to bring Camp Whispering Pines to financial self-sufficiency. The joint proposal came from the CWP and Finance committees. The plan allows CWP to erect a new 40-bed dorm and bring improvements that allow the area below the dining hall to host meetings, recreation and housing. The proposed increase in income is anticipated to offset the current yearly financial subsidy from the MBA budget within five years. These changes help offset financial reductions from NAMB and other decreased income. CWP remains a ministry of the MBA.

Additional 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 that began meeting Easter Sunday. The Biblical Prayer emphasis has seen progress as #prayerwalkmobile continues to cover the county. Church Development training options involve over 80 percent of our churches.

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 for as many people as possible. This year, we again are meeting on a Sunday evening, probably from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. at Redemption Church (North Campus). Dinner and missions fair probably from 4:45 – 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.

Improving Social Media Communication
We are grateful for Jerry Bousard joining the MBA as volunteer Social Media Marketing Consultant. As you know, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter have become important sources of information for church leaders and members. We are trying to find solutions to the oft repeated, “I didn’t know about…. and would have liked to be involved.” Please help us by signing up for our news alerts and newsletter at mobilebaptists.org and inviting church leaders to do likewise.

Constitution and By-laws (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. Any congregation is susceptible to power struggles to stop progress or change. Smaller congregations are often targeted by unethical independent and other denominations to lose their facilities.

Other issues are also arising in today’s ever changing culture. Attention should also be given to protecting children, the use of facilities security, and other legal issues. Visit alsbom.org/safe for helpful resources on all such topics.

#prayerwalkmobile Continues in 2018
Prayer unites believers. Matthew 18:19 shows that cooperative prayer (“if two of you agree…”) brings devastating defeat to the enemy. We have 31 churches who have completed about 55 pages of the 94 pages in the Keith’s Map Book. Training details, registering and reporting are at prayerwalk.mobilebaptists.org.

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 latest 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 are delaying the sale of our two buildings until the Lord provides a donation of the 3.5 to 5 developed acres, or an existing 8,000-12,000 sf facility.
  3. The current anticipated income from the sale of both buildings is not adequate to build on undeveloped property.
  4. When we know the new location, we can finalize building size, time frame for temporary location(s) and better negotiate the price of both MBA buildings.
  5. It is unnecessary to hinder ministry effectiveness with long term or multiple temporary locations.
  6. We cannot divert the limited proceeds from the buildings sales to rent temporary facilities for an indefinite amount of time.
  7. 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.
  8. Committee members have approached, and need to continue to approach, individuals, MBA and other congregations to donate 3.5 to 5 acres or existing 8,000-12,000 sf building. Options so far have not been viable due to location or refurbishing needed.
  9. 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
Welcome Sanghwan A. Lee at the International Baptist Church and Bobby Morton as Bi-vocational pastor at Smithtown Baptist Church. Churches seeking a pastor include Higher Ground, Kushla-Bethany (Tim Morgan, Interim), Riverside (Billy Burtt, interim), Spice Pond, Vietnamese Obedience (Tien Van Tran-Interim).

Orientation Guide for church staff and churches exploring MBA membership
Please visit mobilebaptists.org for a copy of our Orientation and New Member Guide. It presents an overview of MBA ministries, staff, philosophy and strategy. It also includes a membership application for churches wishing to explore membership with the MBA. Please download a copy for your staff and share a copy with potential member churches.

Impact Mobile Associational Missions Offering
Our Executive Committee affirmed a goal of $20,000. This offering 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 May, but we can adapt the materials to reflect 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. Visit mobilebaptists.org/mba-impact-offering-materials for more information and printable materials.

Church Financial Procedures
Recent figures indicate that 15% of churches have been impacted by a trusted leader who embezzles money from a church. Wise stewardship requires each church to establish financial guidelines to protect against the growing number of offering collectors, counters, church staff and treasurers who are stealing or incorrectly processing money from the church.

  1. Insist on a yearly independent audit or review of the church financial records in your congregation.
  2. Insist on accountability processes so that no single staff member or individual (or members of the same family) are ever solely responsible for collecting, counting, depositing and spending church funds.
  3. Insist on at least two counters, who are not related, and deposit cash immediately.
  4. Insist on monthly or quarterly public financial reports that document all income and all expenditures.

Thank You
Cooperation requires diligence and commitment. People and organizations gravitate toward isolationism. Satan can more effectively discourage, undermine and compromise people and churches who isolate themselves from fellowship and accountability. Cooperation can be cumbersome and takes time. The results are good for the Kingdom, each believer and the lost.

Bro. Thomas

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