Pastor Jay Hale and the congregation of the First Baptist Church in Burlington hosted the annual Flint Hills Association of Southern Baptist fall meeting Sunday evening. With over 100 participants the worship center was full of members and leaders from the fifty churches that comprise Flint Hills Baptist Association. While it was promoted as a “meeting” the atmosphere and evening would better be described as worship and fellowship.
Our prayers were with our moderator, Pastor Jerry Boaz , who was absent – providing care for his wife Kathy who is undergoing cancer treatment. In his place Casey Ingold of the Covenant Baptist Church in Topeka led our meeting. The theme for the evening centered on the value of partnering together to do Kingdom work. Emporia State University campus minister, Jason Huebner talked of how the ESU Christian Challenge benefits from their relationship with churches in the Flint Hills Association.
Gary Cargill, pastor of the Baptist church in Madison spoke of the Serve Day event in his community and thanked pastors and churches for helping proclaim the gospel in the tiny community of Madison. With over 200 people invading Madison last June, the idea of serving families in Jesus name reinforced the intentions and reputation of First Baptist Church Madison.
Jim Presnell of Rock Hill Church in Lawrence encouraged those in attendance with the value partnering when starting new churches. Relationships with campus ministries, local churches and area pastors have been foundational in the planting of Rock Hill Church.
The association was introduced to new churches and pastors to the Flint Hills Association. Pastors Randy Johnson at First Baptist Iola, Charles Spurlock at Northern Hills in Topeka, Doyle Pryor of First Southern Baptist in Topeka and Doug Ebert of Eudora Baptist were welcomed. New churches, New Life in Wamego, Free City, and Rock Hill both of Lawrence were introduced and welcomed.
A report of the association-wide mission trip to Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan was presented. Pastor Bob Butt and his wife, Laura from Calvary Baptist described the work and ministry accomplished this summer by Flint Hills church members. But they also gave a challenge to us: Partnering in ministry between churches adds tremendous benefit to individuals and churches, but also to entire associations who partner with other associations. A commitment between sister associations (Flint Hills and Northern Lights) was affirmed with plans for a mission team from Saskatchewan to travel and minister alongside us in the Flint Hills.
The last item of the evening worship was devoted to recognizing Debbie Carter. Long time minister and staff member of the Flint Hills Association. Debbie will be retiring from her position this December as funds for her position are no longer available through the North American Mission Board or Kansas-Nebraska Convention of Southern Baptist. Both Debbie and her husband Craig were recognized for their steadfast work and commitment to Flint Hills churches. Matt Maestas presented a commissioned painting of the Flint Hills representing their home and ministry for the last 16 years.