SBCAL Called to Apply the Gospel ‘Relationally, Personally, Missionally, and Spiritually’
Keynote speaker Tom Wood, president of Church Multiplication Ministries and author of Gospel Coach, urged associational leaders “to deliver the Gospel of Jesus” as a means “to increase the health and probability of your pastors.”
The Gospel must be applied relationally, personally, missionally, and spiritually, he said, speaking at the Southern Baptist Conference of Associational Leaders’ (SBCAL) 2016 annual meeting in St. Louis, Missouri.
Associational leaders can fill a role as a Gospel coach by helping pastors “revive and thrive” through accountability, training, and communications. Noting burnout and moral failure are primary reasons pastors leave the ministry, Wood reminded attendees the Gospel remains the priority for growth and discipleship in the Christian life.
“The Gospel is how we become Christian but also how we live Christian,” he said.
Formed in 1960, SBCAL is the oldest and largest Southern Baptist directors of missions’ organization.
Meeting in concert with the Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting, SBCAL’s mission and vision statements are “to assist associational leaders in advancing the Gospel through leadership development, ministry partnerships, and networking” and “to see increasing numbers of healthy churches—existing and new—making disciples and transforming communities through Christ.”
Speakers for the SBCAL 2017 annual meeting include Robby Gallaty, senior pastor, Long Hollow Baptist Church, Hendersonville, Tennessee; Jeff Iorg, president, Gateway Seminary; former SBC President Johnny Hunt, pastor, First Baptist Church, Woodstock, Georgia; and Byron Paulus, executive director, Life Action Ministries, Buchanan, Michigan.
AIM Leaders Address Church Legal Issues, Tour Gateway Seminary
Directors of missions from twenty-eight metropolitan areas received training on topics ranging from leadership to church legal issues to ministerial self-care during their February 9–10 meeting at Gateway Seminary in Ontario, California.
Jeff Iorg, president of Gateway, led a discussion of leadership principles he implemented and lessons he learned while transitioning one of America’s largest theological seminaries to move to a new campus four hundred miles away while remaining fully operational.
Other speakers included Brad Dacus of Pacific Justice Institute on “Culture vs. Church Legal Issues”; Steve Gladen of Saddleback Church on “Year of Hope”; and Jim Wilson of Gateway Seminary on “Self-Care for Ministry Leaders.”
The two-day Associations in Megacities (AIM) meeting concluded with a lively exchange on best practices to equip churches facing significant cultural, spiritual, and denominational changes.
Mike Carlisle, director of missions for San Diego [California] Southern Baptist Association, noted that “the association is the closest organization to the local church in Southern Baptist life” and challenged participants to consider ways more effectively to assist churches in their respective fields of service.
David Smith, with Austin [Texas] Baptist Association, facilitated the discussion. The group closed its meeting by committing to design its 2018 gathering as a working meeting to process the changing role of the association in the current Southern Baptist environment in order to help bring positive change in collaborative church ministry and denominational relationships. The group will also seek to discover ways to assist churches in evangelism and discipleship.
AIM is an annual gathering of associational leaders in cities with populations of one million or more.
Network of Baptist Associations Engage, Connect for the Future
Summit 2017, the twelfth annual gathering of the Network of Baptist Associations, was designed to help associational directors of mission across the United States “Engage.”
The Summit opened and closed with plenary sessions on understanding millennials and engaging millennials. Led by Jess Rainer, pastor of The Church at Spring Hill (Tennessee) and coauthor of The Millennials: Connecting to America’s Largest Generation, the sessions shone light on many of the creative ways millennial adults prefer to do ministry and offered suggestions to enlist for collaborative missions and ministry.
Brad Briscoe, director of bivocational church planting for the North American Mission Board and cofounder of missional training center Forge Kansas City, called on DOMs to engage a missional lifestyle, while Hal Seed, church planter and lead pastor of New Song Community Church in Ocean-side, California, urged participants to engage churches to “create healthy systems.”
Each participant had opportunity to select four topics for breakout sessions. These included engaging the nations, engaging pastors to turn around churches, engaging churches in revitalization, and engaging leaders to mentor other leaders. Videos of each session may be viewed at www.nobasbc.org/summit.
NOBA was launched following an associational summit held at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in January 2006. It seeks to be an advocate for associational directors of missions, to hold an annual training summit led by fellow DOMs, and to provide web-based networking and training to assist associational directors of missions in their work.