A couple weeks ago I met retired Director of Missions, Bill Kneisly for breakfast down at BETO truck stop. As we were leaving Bill handed me a stack of papers. I perused through those papers a couple of days ago. The papers were mostly ministry reports from days gone by. One report written by Bill caught my attention. In the report Bill takes references from a leaflet produced by the Home Mission Board and J.C. Bradley. The report started out like many blogs do today: “6 Ways the Church Shapes the Association.” I thought I would share this with you and ask for your thoughts. Have times changed that much since Bill Kneisly and J.C. Bradley discussed association work?
1) Churches shape their association by their expectations – unstated, perhaps – of what it should be. If you don’t expect much, you don’t receive much.
2) Churches shape their association by the significance they give to the role of their messengers and executive board members. Instead of sending whoever happens to be going, a church should elect and send the most spiritually mature leaders of their church.
3) Churches shape their association by the manner in which they relate to associational planning. A church that doesn’t intend to do anything has no basis for deciding what kind of assistance it needs – and as an association’s effort to help may wind up as nothing more than something the churches “like” instead of what the churches identify they need.
4) Churches shape their association when they make decisions about their church budget. A church’s budget is really a theological document that reflects the values and priorities of a church. A church’s budget tells quickly how missionary minded the church is.
5) Churches shape their association by the priority they place on the association when they write the checks. No church or pastor teaches “pay it if you can afford it” giving to the church. Yet, some churches do that in their mission giving.
6) Churches shape their association by their attitudes and actions toward leadership for the association. God provides all the resources needed – including leadership – for the local church to do all He wants them to do. The same principle applies with the association. A church should feel privileged that they have in their midst those God has given the ability to minister to more than just their congregation.
Please keep in mind that the last sentence came from Brother Bill (or maybe JC Bradley). I exude more humility. Right?
As we look to the future of association ministry are there insights we can gather from the past – are there truths from our predecessors that would benefit us today? How do you view your relationship with the association? Is joining together with other like-minded churches of value? As you make plans for 2015, can you name one item where the association could be of help?
Director of Missions