FENTON, MI – I have discovered that with any journey it's important to know where you have been in order to understand and truly enjoy where you're going. The fact is, if you don't know where you’ve been, it is very difficult to know where you are and the progress you have made along the way.
Over many years Sabrina and I have had the privilege of traveling across the United States and literally around the world. During our travels, it has been Sabrina's habit to photograph and visually record what we have done and where we have been. The reason being is that we've discovered, it's not so much the destination that is to be celebrated as is the journey itself. I cannot tell you the number of times that I have pulled up digital files of Sabrina's photographs of our trips and/or possibly one of her photograph albums, and just reminisced about the wonderful experiences that we've had. Each picture takes me back to that exact time and place. It amazes me how one picture can bring back so many emotions, and even the very smells of that very location and time.
As we look forward to a new year here at the Baptist State Convention of Michigan (BSCM), it's important for us to know where we have been so that we can truly understand where we are going. This past year has been filled with some great events and wonderful experiences for many of our leaders, churches and pastors here in this great state of Michigan. In January, our state board officially called Michael Schatz and wife, Jackie, to be the new directors at our conference and retreat center at Bambi Lake. Mick began his duties on March 5, and has been working diligently to make a difference at Bambi Lake like never before. I
encourage you to check out what's been going on up there over the last few months. Later in the year, we had Dr. Paige Patterson and Dr. David Allen from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary come and lead him an expository preaching conference for us. It was one of the best conferences and training that we have been able to have here in the state for some time. Pastors across the state told me how much they appreciated it, and how God bless them through this event.
As you know, evangelism has been on our heart this year and we have provided numerous opportunities to help prepare our pastors and leaders to do a better job at evangelization. Many revivals, evangelistic events and evangelism training, both personal and corporate have taken place. One of the seminal events that took place this past year was the retirement of our long tenured and well loved employee's, Anne Glissman and Yolanda Chapa. These dear ladies have been the bedrock of our convention for many years and an ever-present stability during some trying transitional times. They are truly missed, but their legacy lives on.
Encouragement, development and training to help strengthen churches have been at the forefront of our efforts as well. One of those events that stand out is our annual Church Equipping Conference. Practitioners from all across our country came here to Michigan to help us do a better job in our respective areas of ministry. It is one of the finest conferences you will find anywhere. This has been a wonderful year and our future is bright.
As we move into 2018 we will be focusing on the theme, “The Power of One.” The power of one is manifested in the power to change lives, communities, churches and the world. One person sharing the Gospel has the unlimited power of the Father behind every word they speak. One person giving of their resources has the potential to impact thousands. One pastor faithfully preaching the Word can be the very hand of God in making an eternal difference in his church and around the world. One person volunteering to help others who have been impacted by disasters can bring hope in the midst of despair. One person loving the hard to love can open doors that have been closed for decades. One person praying can __________________________, (fill in the blank).
The power of one, when joined with the power of another, results in an exponential and ever expanding force that is unlimited in potential. May the power of one be evident in our midst as we continue to punch holes in the darkness of Michigan.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Tim Patterson is Executive Director/Treasurer of the Baptist State Convention of Michigan. Elected unanimously in May of 2015, Patterson formerly served for 9 years as pastor of Hillcrest Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Fla. He also served as trustee chair and national mobilizer for the North American Mission Board.