Thursday, April 24, 2008

A Gulf-Coast Partnership

I’ve just returned from Gulport Mississippi, where I spoke to the bi-annual session of the Gulf Coast Baptist Association. Over the past several years, our two associations have had multiple opportunities to bless each other, and this year, we are codifying our already warm relationship by entering into covenantal partnership with each other.

The Gulf Coast Association voted unanimously on Monday night to enter this partnership, and pending our association’s approval at our October meeting, it will be official. Partnerships are good because they promote cooperation, accountability, and greater Kingdom impact. I was thinking about this yesterday while preparing to speak to our Mississippi brothers and sisters. Basically, I took an inventory of all that God has accomplished in the Mid-Maryland area over the past four years, and here is what I came up with:

-Leadership development in one form or another has been provided to over 250 pastors and laity.
-There are presently 16 new churches in MMBA that did not exist four years ago.
-More than 500 volunteers have been deployed for mission efforts in North America.
-More than 250 volunteers from our churches have served in International mission efforts.
-More than 120 church planters have been trained and helped to deploy internationally.
-Our association has a significant presence on four continents, and when the ministries of all our member churches are considered, we have a significant presence for missions on every inhabited continent.
-In one way or another, we have helped to equip more than 50 churches to more effectively reach, bless, and change their own communities.
-19 churches have been planted in our area, and surrounding areas.

More is coming next year. So far in 2009:

-We will deploy to the Gulf Coast for at least two mission efforts.
-We will send missionaries to Mexico, the Carribean, East Asia, India, and the Pacific Rim.
-We will continue to plant churches in our own area.
-We are planning for joint leadership development, mission efforts, and disaster relief efforts by both Gulf Coast Association and Mid-Maryland Association.

We have 53 churches in MMBA, 19 of which are less than 5 years old, with many who do not own their own property. Yet all of the above was accomplished for one reason: 53 churches decided that they could do more together than they could apart. Add to this the 66 congregations that make up the Gulf Coast Association, and one is pressed to ask; what kind of Kingdom impact could 119 churches have?

I can’t wait to find out!

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