In historic meetings Saturday, September 29, at First Southern Baptist Church in Topeka, Kaw Valley Association of Southern Baptist and Blue Stem Southern Baptist Association each met and voted to become Flint Hills Baptist Association. Following a fellowship lunch everyone came together for the inaugural session of the Flint Hills Baptist Association. George Boujakly, KNCSB Mission Director, gave a blessing and exhorted all “not to deny the differences in the local churches” and to “take courage” in the new adventure of combining the two associations into the Flint Hills Baptist Association. Joe Stiles, Pastor at First Southern Baptist Church in Lawrence then asked all Blue Stem Baptist Churches to stand, then all the Kaw Valley Churches to stand. And with everyone standing, he encouraged everyone to look around at the faces of the churches now in partnership.
In the first business session of the newly formed association, constitution and by-laws were adopted as recommended by the Joint Administrative Team. The budget and calendar for 2013 were also approved. New officers elected for Flint Hills include Stiles as moderator; Mike Quinn, Pastor of First Baptist Church in Iola as Vice-Moderator; Jay Hale, Pastor, First Baptist Church in Burlington as Clerk and Wayne Ireland, Covenant Baptist Church in Topeka as Treasurer. At Large officers of the administrative team include Randy Smith, Pastor at Lakeside Baptist Church in Silver Lake; Sara Jones, Director of Adult Education at First Southern Baptist Church in Topeka and Don Henrikson, Pastor at Wanamaker Road Baptist Church in Topeka..
Church Planter Strategist, Matt Maestas previewed the new web-site, www.flinthillsbaptist.org. The web site will be a key piece in the communication of information for Flint Hills. The Associations’ Face Book page and twitter account also offer venues for churches to share information and communicate events. Everyone is encouraged to utilize these tools and add to the content via email to Matt ([email protected]).
During the Introduction to Ministries, Debbie Carter, Love Loud Missionary, encouraged churches to share the stories of what Jesus is doing! She highlighted some of the ministries across Flint Hills then exhorted those attending to pray and get ready for what is next. Maestas reported that most of the church planters are planning to attend Abide – Refreshing Church Planters. He exhorted churches to pray for church plants and reach out when Jesus opens the doors to do so. Richard Taylor, Director of Missions, shared that the new Flint Hills Baptist Association is home to a number of universities and colleges including Emporia State University, Kansas University, Washburn University, Baker University and Haskell Indian Nations University where each campus has campus ministry. Other campuses with a potential for ministry include Allen Community College, Ottawa University, Highland Community College and Benedictine College.
Taylor brought a challenge to the churches based on the real meaning of the word “association”. He submitted that the idea of community comes from the beginning, rooted in God as the Father, Son, and Spirit, and extends to Jesus’ relationships with His Father, with His children and with the world. Richard called for a commitment to relationships and to find those with whom accountability can be achieved. Mike Quinn closed the meeting in prayer.