JACKSON, MI – Over the last few years, there has been much discussion on whether we need associations or state conventions? There are as many opinions on this subject as there are many people involved in the discussion. I would like to share my opinion of this subject.
Let me give you some background that will help you know from which I speak. In 2002, I was invited to Springfield, Illinois to a meeting of Executive Directors, State Staff, and Directors of Missions. We were given an assignment to do a timeline of mileposts in our Christian journey and include the names of the individuals who had greatly impacted our lives. We were to write a paragraph from this to define our life’s purpose. I soon discovered many of the people who had impacted my life the most were my Director of Missions- C.T. Edmondson Jr. in Wise, Virginia, Charles MacGruder and Ed Copeland in Columbus, Ohio and Richard Rogers in Michigan. After struggling and praying that afternoon in the hotel where I was staying, God showed me that I was to become a Director of Missions and work with Pastors, wives and families in the ministry.
Since June 2003, I have served the Pastors’ families and churches of the Central and Lendale Baptist Associations. I have walked with them through personal struggles in the churches, personal lives, and death of family members as well as rejoicing with them in the victories in their personal situations, ministries and churches.
Throughout my ministry, local associations and state conventions have assisted me in my own ministry. In Virginia, the state convention supported me with a $300.00 a month state assistance to help my family serve in a small church. They later, granted the first loan ever in their history, to build a parsonage for the Pastor and family. In Ohio, they helped with a scholarship to attend preacher’s school and provided many training opportunities for our church and assisted us in starting a new mission/church plant and truck stop ministry. In Michigan, our associations and churches have received funds from Frances Brown State Missions offering, The Baptist Foundation monies, Evangelism grants and mission/pastoral support to accomplish much in advancing God’s Kingdom. In this past year, the greatest partnership has been in prayer ministry for my health and family.
I have seen what partnering together can do as we pray, give, and serve together. As associations, we have partnered with ministries in Argentina, Costa Rica, Ukraine, and Bulgaria. We have helped 3 of the churches in the Upper Peninsula with various needs of money, outreach, and supplies. We spent time in Oscoda at Fresh Start Fellowship helping with the building by providing workers, building materials, and paint.
We could not have done what God has led us to do without all the partners, churches, Pastors, BSCM, other Director of Missions, and NAMB. So from my years of experience I can without hesitation state I have seen the investment of associations on the local church and ministry. Associations are more important today, than ever.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Chuck Turner is the Director of Missions for Central and Lendale Baptist Associations. He is the husband of Debbie, father of 4, grandfather of 10, and great grandpa of 4.