The feeling of being part of something bigger
EDITOR'S NOTE: Nancy Spears is filling in as guest-writer for Mick Schatz's column this month. She serves as administrative assistant for Mick Schatz and the Bambi Lake Baptist Retreat and Conference Center.
ROSCOMMON, MI – As a member of a smaller Southern Baptist Church, one of my favorite times of the year is annual meeting time. I look forward to the days of great preaching, inspiring teaching, and awesome worship times. Back “in the day,” the associations would meet for three sessions over two days, and then the state convention would meet for at least as long with nationally known speakers and Bible teachers. Missionaries, home on furlough, shared about their work in different areas of the world, too.
One of the best parts of the experience is the feeling of being part of something bigger, a group of Christian people/churches uniting together to impact the world. My church is committed to this partnership, participating in the support of missionaries, seminaries, and the work in our state through the Cooperative Program. It inspiring and affirming, and we take that renewed passion back to our church to those who were not able to attend.
Today is a different day. People are not impressed with long, leisurely meetings with meals and coffee breaks. Our society is face paced, and we want the crib notes. The associations meet for a half day or maybe a few hours. The convention’s annual meeting this year is following suit with a one day event, but the content of this meeting has not changed significantly. There will be great preaching and wonderful times of worship. Reports from the North American Mission Board (NAMB) and the International Mission Board (IMB) will be a part of the event as well. Displays will include our mission boards, some seminaries, Guidestone Retirement Plan as well as local information from SEND Detroit, Disaster Relief and Bambi Lake. And of course, there will be a brief time of business as is necessary for any organization to stay organized!
Seeing the impact that we are making in the world as we partner together is a big deal for me. Sometimes, it is easy to look at one church or one part of the body of Christ, and feel a little overwhelmed. It is not about you or me. It is about all of us, together, in one voice, raising our praises to the only ONE who is worthy.
The worship experience alone is a great reason to attend the BSCM’s Annual Meeting at Grace Church in Jackson. It is always interesting to check out another church - get ideas from them for worship center décor, what information is in their welcome center, or how the bathrooms are decorated. And there is always some information to be gained through the meeting, if only the schedule for the upcoming events and retreats at Bambi Lake and other places around the state that can help train and refresh your church members and leaders.
The most important reason to attend the BSCM Annual Meeting remains networking, meeting like-minded people of faith, face to face. The people you will meet are reaching out in their communities, reaching a culture that is unique to their area, and yet similar in the struggles of being relevant in a technological and impersonal, fallen world. Personal contact is rare and precious. Our churches are spread over a large geographic area. It is a time for putting names and faces together. Meeting people from big churches, small churches, city churches and rural ones. Hearing from church planters who are starting churches in our state. Committing to pray for one another. Getting a renewed vision of what we can do together that we cannot do alone.
As part of the BSCM family, we want everyone to be present when we meet. We are many churches, but one body of believers. There is a family bond-undeniable and indescribable, as the Holy Spirit indwells Christians fellowshipping together. Be a part! Each person, each church, is important as we work together to reach the lost people of Michigan.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mick Schatz serves on the staff of the Baptist State Convention of Michigan. He is the State Director of Spiritual Enrichment and Retreats and lives at Bambi Lake.