On a crisp fall Saturday in Emporia, more than 60 people from our churches gathered together to worship, conduct family business, and most importantly celebrate through story, just a small piece of what God has done in the life of our new Association over the first year.
Our second Annual meeting conducted on October 5th, was hosted by 12th Avenue Baptist in Emporia with Pastor Al Areheart welcoming us through prayer and sharing in God’s word. Outgoing moderator Joe Stiles from First Southern in Lawrence, served as our emcee for the morning, guiding us through our schedule for the day.
What followed was a great mix of worship, led by the team from 12th Avenue, and several presenters. Brian Whitaker, leader of Bridgeway International, the international student ministry at The University of Kansas, began with engaging stories of God’s activity among college students; and was followed by Chad Chambers, sharing how God is working among those involved in a regional rodeo circuit, an under-reached people group in Flint Hills. Chad ended sharing pictures of 4 baptisms that took place recently through his ministry! Prayer was offered for both Brian and Chad and what God is doing through them in eastern Kansas.
Director of Missions, Richard Taylor gave a report presenting the budget for the upcoming year and the challenges Flint Hills faces in efforts to become self sufficient. Over the last several months, Richard, along with members of the administrative team have met in small groups with local pastors to discuss changes in how the North American Mission Board is funding church planting efforts and our new responsibility to become self sustaining in light of those changes. Taylor spoke of how in terms of reaching people, Flint Hills is on the right track! Churches are being planted and lives are being impacted. Over 2014, our challenge is to strengthen our efforts in both planting new churches and strengthening existing ones, by becoming self sustaining.
Joe Stiles gave the report of the Administrative Team and led the business portion of the meeting. The budget for 2014 and the calendar for 2014 were adopted. The new slate of officers elected was: Moderator – Mike Quinn, Pastor, First Baptist Church Iola; Vice-Moderator – Jerry Boaz, Pastor, First Baptist Church Troy; Clerk – Jay Hale, Pastor, First Baptist Church Burlington; Treasure – Mary Wolfington, Layperson, First Southern Baptist Church Lawrence; At Large Members – Sarah Jones, Director of Adult Education, First Southern Baptist Church Topeka; Don Henrikson, Pastor, Wanamaker Road Baptist Church, Topeka; Gary Roten, Retired Pastor. Topeka.
Flint Hills was also blessed this year to add two new churches to our growing Association. Celebration Church, a church plant in Atchison Kansas, led by Scott Murphy, and Ruhamah Baptist Church southeast of Ottawa. Ruhamah is an existing church seeking affiliation next year and led by David Pease.
We concluded our meeting with a challenge by Dr. Cory Schliep of Christ First Counseling Center in Topeka and a testimony of partnership by Greg Durant of True Light Church Ministries in Topeka.
Dr. Schliep talked about the importance of the health and wellness of Pastors and church leadership. He shared that “healthy leaders are essential to having healthy churches.” Pastor’s must be intentional in evaluating their health but churches should also be intentional in caring for their pastor.
Durant shared testimony of True Light Church Ministries and the difficulties they have faced in their journey. True Light was on the verge of closing when association churches stepped in. Churches and pastors began praying and caring for us. The relationships with those churches had a huge impact and changed the focus for True Light. Durant said “the relationships saved us. Even though we shared the gospel, we were inward focused. We have learned that we can have a real impact and make a difference in our community and around the world. We follow the Acts1:8 formula.”
Lunch followed the meeting and was enjoyed by all