SHOWING OUR READY MIND, WHICH IS AN EAGERNESS TO HELP
Paul writes to the Corinthians his second letter “…and not only that, but who was also chosen by the churches to travel with us with this gift, which is administered by us to the glory of the Lord Himself and to show your ready mind” Chapter 8:19
The gift that Paul mentions in the eighth chapter of this letter is an agreement of a group of churches, it was administered to the glory of God and to show that these churches were eager to help, or as the King James version has it, to show the ready mind of such church members. It was a testimony of their faithfulness.
What is Paul writing about? It is a missions offering. It is what an association of churches agree to designate for those that support and encourage sharing the Gospel in any language to all the peoples of the world with the intention of discipling them. So, it is Biblical to support a missionary and it is also Biblical to give them money. It glorifies God when churches designate money that represents the work, wages, and their time, to bless their missionaries.
As your missionary visits our local churches, voices are heard saying, “Association of churches is something from the past, where the convention could not communicate with local churches” or “we are big enough to need an Association, we can minister, worship, disciple, train and evaluate our church without a local Association.”
It is amazing the parallelism of Pauls’ writing to Corinth with today’s local association. Verse eight says “I speak not by commandment” is reflected in your local Associational Missionary, as he does not rule over churches, nor hires nor fires pastors or staff. He is an encourager of pastors and churches to fulfill the Great Commission in their area and to the ends of the world. But not as a pastor of pastors, not as one that gives orders.
In verse fourteen, Paul mentions “your abundance will supply their lack and their abundance will supply your lack.” This is a beautiful pattern God has made among our churches. We collect VBS materials from a larger church and give it to a smaller church. We provide training from volunteers at larger churches, to help the smaller ones. We look for ways to help revitalizing or replanting churches, like Crosslife, with the aid of Baptists on Mission from Trading Ford, Faith Baptist, Emmanuel Baptist or others.
There are other parallelisms that we will examine in our June Newsletter, but be sure, that your local Association serves you with Biblical principles and we are accountable to our local churches and to God who sends us every morning to reach lost people and encourage our churches.
Has your church supported your local association? Take a look at the last page of this newsletter and ask your pastor or your treasurer why, if we are Southern Baptists and we cooperate using Biblical principles, why does our church hold the blessing of participating with our Missionary efforts.
Your Rowan Association had a deacon’s training in February, a County Wide Revival in March for three days, a Vacation Bible School Training in April and a Pastoral Conference every month. Actually, we are receiving goods to deliver to the Baptist Children Homes of North Carolina. We also organized the National Day of Prayer that this year was in North Main Baptist Church.
Your associational missionary is visiting our 42 churches, specially the smaller ones to see how our larger churches can be of support and encourage. Communication is constant also with those churches seeking senior pastor. The norm in Southern Baptist Life is to designate 2% of your general offerings to your local Association, 3% for local missions that the church decides to engage and 5% to the Cooperative Program. This way, at least 10% is given to missionary efforts.
I am thrilled to see churches like Rowan International, Laotian Church, Nueva Vida and Fe en Jesus giving as much as they can, to support missions progress in Rowan County. I hope your church is blessed by supporting your Rowan Association, and if not, try to start a nice conversation with your Sunday school class, your treasurer or your pastor about how your church can pray and be part of this blessing. I also need to let you know that your local association is not supported financially by the Baptist State Convention. We only receive an annual offering for missions from the State Convention. We have what God sends us through our local Rowan churches.
Your local missionary,
Association Missionary Strategist