Have you ever experienced this dilemma—your vision is larger than the time and energy you have to accomplish it? I find myself at that point. For nearly eleven years I have served in the role of National Representative for our Association of churches. When I accepted this assignment, I presented to the churches my vision for the road ahead. As I review that vision statement, I realize that many of my objectives have been achieved. However, as the years go by, I am adding many new aspirations to the list. There remains much that I want to accomplish. Yes, the role of National Representative has challenges that could be demoralizing from a human perspective. But to my amazement, the Lord continues to give me a fire in my heart to serve the churches and the pastors and wives of our Fellowship. I believe in the ideals of the GARBC. I am convinced that we have a solid platform from which we can make significant contributions to the work of the Lord in this day. I can honestly say with conviction, “Together we can accomplish more.”
So what do I do about this desire to serve pastors and wives and churches in an even greater way? I have been in extended discussions with the Council of Eighteen. Both the Council and I believe this is not a time to retreat but instead to move forward aggressively. We have assessed the needs of our Fellowship and the ministry opportunities that exist at the outset of the twenty-first century. We have assessed my competencies and the demands of my position. It is our enthusiastic conclusion that the time has come to expand our ability to assist the churches and pastors and wives of our Fellowship. We are proposing to add to our GARBC staff the position of Director of Pastoral Ministries. We are praying that, Lord willing, we will be able to select a veteran pastor and wife who have excellent ministry skills, a firm commitment to our Association’s core values, the ability to travel, a thorough knowledge of trends and movements that are affecting churches, and the ability to humbly come alongside churches with information, training, and strategies to increase their effectiveness. We desire to assist churches in furthering church-planting efforts, in developing leadership competencies, and in improving communication skills for teaching and preaching the Word of God. We plan to recruit new churches for the Association and to offer additional pastoral placement assistance. We desire to provide more personal encouragement to our pastors and wives. We aspire to promote the ideals of our Fellowship in schools that are preparing leaders for church ministry. And we aim to improve our Annual Conferences year by year.
Daria and I count it a great privilege to work with our GARBC colleagues Chris and Deb Hindal (International Ministries), John and Hope Murdoch (Chaplaincy Ministries), and Michael and Kristen Nolan (Director of Operations and the Baptist Builders Club). This team works continuously on behalf of the churches and ministries of our Fellowship. The addition of a Director and wife of Pastoral Ministries will further increase our ability to move toward our ever-expanding vision. I look forward to sharing with you the specifics of this vision and plan at the Annual Conference in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, June 26–29, 2007, and possibly introduce to you a couple who will assume this new position. I am asking you for your prayers and your participation as we move forward for the cause of Jesus Christ, the Head of the church. I hope you will be in attendance at the Conference to share in launching this new initiative.