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AIM Leaders (Associations in Megacities) Address Transitions, Church Revitalization

Associational Leadership Groups Hold Winter Meetings

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AIM Leaders (Associations in Megacities) Address Transitions, Church Revitalization
Network of Baptist Associations Strategize for Effectiveness, Discuss Future of Associations

Associations in Megacities

Donnie Simpson, director of missions for the Kansas City Kansas Baptist Association (foreground), served as coordinator for the 2016 Associations in Megacities meeting in San Diego, February 4–5. Photo by Mike Carlisle.

Associations in Megacities

Terry Sharp with IMB gives ADOMs an update on IMB’s “reset” for future health and effectiveness. Photo by Roger S. Oldham.

“Flexible” and “fluid” are key words as we step into the future, Donnie Simpson told associational directors of missions (ADOMs) in megacities.

Associations have had to change in the face of challenges in several key areas, including funding, technology, culture, and philosophy, he said at the group’s annual meeting in San Diego, February 4–5.

Some transitions pose serious threats to cooperative work, such as the number of plateaued and declining churches, he said, while other transitions, such as the mobility afforded with smartphone and portable computers, provide the ability to work from anywhere, enhancing opportunities to engage pastors and church leaders directly in their ministry settings.

Brad Brisco with the Missional Church Network led two sessions setting the theological foundation for churches to transition to a missional approach for ministry.

Noting that as many as nine hundred Southern Baptist churches close each year, John Mark Clifton, lead national strategist for revitalization/replanting at NAMB (www.NAMB.net/replant), addressed ways directors of missions can help at-risk churches, often in major urban centers that have experienced significant demographic change, be willing to be replanted, repurposed, and/or revitalized for effective ministry under new leadership.

Network of Baptist Associations Strategize for Effectiveness, Discuss Future of Associations

Network of Baptist Associations

Keith Shelton, franchise owner of Chick-fil-A in North Druid Hills, Decatur, Georgia, teaching “The S.E.R.V.E Model” of leadership to associational directors of missions at the Network of Baptist Associations 2016 Summit at First Baptist Church in Jonesboro, Georgia, January 5, 2016. Photo by Roger S. Oldham.

Asking the question, “Do you shine online,” Scott Smith challenged associational directors of missions (ADOMs) to help their churches take advantage of the “number one internet strategy” visitors look for when searching for a church to attend—the red-star rating Google Maps displays when the church address is searched on a tablet or smartphone. The red stars also show up on the Google search page.

Research has shown that the number of stars displayed on a web search for a church is more influential than the recommendation of friends or family, Smith, Evangelism Consultant with the Georgia Baptist Convention, told participants at the two-day conference sponsored by the Network of Baptist Associations. The conference was hosted by First Baptist Church in Jonesboro, Georgia.

Other plenary sessions were “The S.E.R.V.E Model” by Keith Shelton, North Druid Hills Chick-fil-A franchise owner in Decatur, Georgia, and “The Future of Relevant Associations” by Rick Wheeler, director of missions, Jacksonville Baptist Association, Jacksonville, Florida.

Seven break-out sessions led by directors of missions addressed a variety of topics ranging from strategic thinking and planning to legal issues facing today’s churches.

All sessions from the Summit are available online at www.NOBAsbc.org/.

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