Thursday, June 17, 2010
Criswell radio in the Dallas/Fort Worth area today had guest host Jeff Campbell, Pastor of Bethany Baptist Church. Jeff is a biblically minded leader, an evangelical. He brought up the issue of Christian associations among churches/ministers. In the area of evangelical life and Baptist life, an association offers the fellowship among pastors and the support of local missions every church should want to celebrate. Beyond this we might add that local Baptist associations or similar associations pool their resources into one, so as to rejuvinate ministries, help ministries and churches find land which they may not otherwise be able to do, provide a means to help the poor in more efficient ways, and a whole host of other things. One caller to that radio program on 90.9 FM said that he doesn't believe in associations and proceeded to call them a number of things that were inappropriate. Rightly, he was challenged on that by Jeff and by a local director of missions. Associations assist with churches working in the world to glorify the Son and thus the Father as a result. Associations in Baptist life are not over the church but augment and support it. They encourage pastors. The goal is to do more when we are together than we could do if we all stayed isolated. It facilitates children's camps, youth camps, and disaster relief efforts (especially in LA and TX in recent years). These are all made possible by believers working together to do something more efficiently or better with combined resources and gifts. Praise the Lord for the associational ministry we have in the fellowship (by willing partnership) among gospel teaching churches in the US.