2019 Associational Missions Strategist Report

Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters,] that what has happened to me has actually served to advance the gospel. Phil 1:12 NIV
 
2019 Associational Missions Strategist Report  
I want you to join me as we seek to Advance the Gospel! The Apostle Paul, although, writing from prison and chains, continued to “advance the Gospel.” As we approach a new decade of ministry, may God use us as His instruments of grace to take the Gospel of Jesus Christ across the street to every neighborhood and people group in our geography and literally around the world. This report will describe out intentions and plans to advance the Gospel and accomplish the mission! On a personal note, I am grateful for the opportunity of serving as your Missions Strategist for the past 24 years. These have been the most rewarding days of my ministry! Our staff serves the greatest churches and leaders anywhere!
 
Where Are We as an Association of Churches?
Over 20 years ago we adopted a 2020 Vision:   “We see a day in 2020 when the Stone Mountain Baptist Association has 125 healthy reproducing churches.” While we haven’t achieved this goal yet, we have seen the Association of Churches grow from 39 to 98 congregations. However, in an effort to be a blessing to the larger evangelical body of believers in our geography, we have touched an additional 42 churches through the launch of our Network.  So, in essence we are touching the lives of 140 congregations!
 
WHY Are We Here as an Association of Churches? A group of our leaders attempted to address this question over the past year. Strategic meetings were conducted with key leaders and input has been sought from participants in our Roundtables. This all resulted in the recommendation that we adopt as our Mission Statement: “SMBAC strengthens churches to start churches and mobilize laity in partnership to ignite a spiritual awakening.”
 
WHAT Will We Do To Make this Statement a Reality? Several action words compose this statement: Strengthen Churches! Our Association will continue to provide the best we can offer in resources to our churches to strengthen them as they fulfill the Great Commission and the Great Commandment. We will continue to offer Roundtables for ministers to encourage one another and to share best practices and resources. If you aren’t attending a Roundtable, I encourage you to join one or help me start another one! We will also provide quality conferences from practioners in our Association of Churches as well as those from other areas. Start Churches! Biblically Churches start churches! Healthy organisms reproduce. We want to help your church grow and multiply. We have added Larry Black to our staff this past year as our Church Planting Strategist. He, along with Bill Johnson, our Multi Cultural and Community Strategist, are developing our church planting system. Along with the support of our New Work Foundation led by Dr. Bobby Gilstrap, Executive Director, we are the more resources available to new churches than any other Association in the State of Georgia.
 
HOW Will We Accomplish the Mission? By Mobilizing the Laity! It is imperative that the Pastors, staff and leaders in our churches, fulfill the Biblical job description of a leader to “equip the saints for the work of the ministry.” (Eph. 4:12) Our Association provides many opportunities to deploy On Mission Christians to the mission field. Here’s some great opportunities:
Stone Mountain Missions: Our Association is the sole provider of Christian ministry in the 3rd most visited Park in the country and the largest park in our State. People from all over the entire world visit this Park every year. Through the deployment of volunteers we share Christ at the Park festivals in the park (Yellow Daisy and Pumpkin Festivals) We also plan and present the Sunrise Service on Easter Sunday morning where thousands of people gather on the mountain to celebrate the resurrection of our Lord. For years we have provided worship services in the campground. In 2020 we will be expanding this ministry by planting a Campground Church! You are encouraged to lead your church to participate! Contact Rick Kirkland at rkirkland@stonemountainbaptistassociation.org
Bold Mission Builders:  Currently we have over 500 volunteers in our database. Our Builders have served all over the southeast. This past year under the leadership of Joel and Bernice Brown, the team completed many projects including Peace Baptist’ expansion and a church roofing project in Thomson, Georgia. Plans are underway for 2020. If you are interested in joining our Bold Builders contact Joel Brown at joelbernice@boldmissionbuilders.com
Disaster Relief:  Our Association has been involved in Disaster Relief since the early ‘90’s. We are the first responder feeding unit for Georgia. We own equipment capable of feeding over 15,000 meals a day. Training is required to be a volunteer and is offered annually by the Georgia Baptist Mission Board. To view the training schedule visit this site: www.missiongeorgia.com
 
What will be Necessary for us to accomplish the Mission? Partnership Together: Our Association of Churches is like an extended family of churches filled with all kinds of people in large and small churches who worship and serve the one true God! The New Testament referred to believers as a body, a fellowship, a flock and as a family.   The primary term Paul used to refer to the church was “brother”. It is recorded 98 times in the New Testament! In Galatians 6:10 the Apostle Paul shared with the church at Galatia, “Therefore as we have opportunity, Iet us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.” Paul thanked the Church at Phillpi for their “partnership in the Gospel.” (Phil. 1: 5)   We are seeing glimpses of Churches “partnering together! “Here are a few examples:
  • Seven of our churches of similar size and location, led by Pastor Kendrick Meredith of Life Abundantly, and Dr. Richard Bumpers, of Park Place have led this group of churches to conduct a workshop together and a Men’s Rally. They have plans to help each other to evangelize each church’s community.
  • First Baptist Stone Mountain needed some assistance with maintenance and building repairs in preparation for hosting our Annual Meeting. Discover Point Church sent over 30 volunteers to help. The Baptist Collegiate Ministry of the Newton Campus also brought a group of students to help.
How can your church benefit in partnership with other churches? The opportunities are endless! Let’s talk about it!   Our Ultimate Goal….   To Ignite a Spiritual Awakening!   It has happened before in our area and I want you to join me in asking God to do it again! You can listen to a video about that awakening in the Sandtown community of Newton County in 1827 as told  by Claude King here: https://blog.lifeway.com/growingdisciples/great-georgia-revival-of-1827/ The Great Georgia Revival of 1827 began in prayer and impacted a region in the revival of God’s people that led to a spiritual awakening in communities across the state. Adiel Sherwood was pastor in Eatonton, GA where over 100 were converted. Revival struck a crowd of 4,000 at the annual meeting of the Okmulgee Baptist Association where Sherwood spoke. Others pastors, churches, and denominations became involved in preaching and sharing Christ. During the season of revival over 16,000 were added to Baptist churches. In Sandtown, GA every person of accountable age was saved, and they renamed their town Newborn, GA. Revival is the preparation of God’s people to be used in a Spiritual Awakening where large numbers or high percentages of people are converted to Jesus Christ and communities and cultures change for God’s glory. I am encouraging you to lead your church to embrace this mission statement and let’s join our hands and hearts together to see God ignite a spiritual awakening in our community once again!
 
Respectfully Submitted,
 
Dr. Larry Cheek
Associational Missions Strategist