There are some in SBC life who would respond “yes” to that question. Why?
The above title was the topic of an SBCAL Pre-Conference Workshop I led in Dallas last month. (To listen to the entire Workshop click here.) I could not cover everything on this blog, but I wanted to share highlights that might be of help to potential DOMs/AMSs who could not be there.
Why do you want to become an Associational Leader?
Prayerfully examine your heart, motives, calling.
Is it to serve the Lord and His pastors and churches in fulfilling the Great Commission?
Is it to get out of a difficult pastorate or other ministry position?
Is it to have a stable ministry position to finish your career between now and retirement?
Is it to be a denominational leader for the sake of being a denominational leader?
Or is it because you believe - and other trusted individuals believe - you have the calling, compassion, skills, giftedness, and leadership ability to lead an association of churches?
At the recent SBCAL Midwest Regional Associational Leaders Conference, Mark Elliott, DOM of the Heartland Church Network, Omaha, NE, led a workshop on helping churches in transition between pastors. It was excellent.
As Associational Leaders, we are often inundated with resumes of candidates for pastor, associate pastor, as well as for ministry positions of music, youth, children, etc. If you are like me, I receive many more resumes than I have positions open in my churches.
What do you do with all these resumes? How do you respond with love, care, and concern to the person sending the resume, and yet not give them false hope? Do you “screen” your resumes before sending the names on to Search Committees to try to protect your churches, or not?
As you know, there are different ways to handle pulpit supply. Some DOMs post the list of preachers who have told them that they are available to preach on the association website and/or send that list to pastors and churches who ask for pulpit supply.
While that takes minimal effort, I believe it is not protecting and caring for our pastors and churches as we seek to “shepherd” those God has entrusted to our care, as much as it depends on us. I am reminded of Paul’s statement in 2 Cor. 11:28, “Not to mention other things, there is the daily pressure on me; my concern for all the churches.” (CSB)
I have been praying about how to best restart this blog so that it would be most effective and helpful. I have decided to stop the Top 5 and write about something I know a little bit about: being an Associational Leader in Southern Baptist life.
As the Executive Director of the Southern Baptist Conference of Associational Leaders (SBCAL), and as the DOM of five associations since 1993, I care deeply about the effectiveness and relevance of our associations. Therefore, I am going to be writing primarily to Associational Leaders and for Associational Leaders – as well as to other readers who are interested in helping associations be more effective and relevant.
I hope this blog will be a resource and an ongoing discussion of how to make a difference as Associational Leaders.
As a leader of a Southern Baptist Association and the Executive Director of the Southern Baptist Conference of Associational Leaders (SBCAL), I care deeply about the effectiveness and relevance of our associations. This week I highlight various perspectives and food for thought about the health and future of Baptist associations.
I may not agree with every thought expressed, but these writers give us all pause to pray and reflect on the strengths and weaknesses of our association, and then to seek ways to enhance effectiveness.
I hope these articles will be helpful to you.
To the praise of His glory,
Quotable Quote: “In short, the mission of the Association is to bring churches together to bless their region in the name of Jesus, and the role of the Associational Missionary is to help pastors and lay-leaders understand how best to get this done, and equip the churches to lead the effort. You can’t do that if you don’t know the churches AND the communities in which they reside.” Joel Rainey, The Future of Baptist Associations: Identity Crisis, as seen in SBC Voices
I’m Ray Gentry, the husband of Debra & father of April & Allison. I serve over 80 congregations on the southside of Atlanta as Associational Mission Strategist of the Southside Baptist Network. I am also the President/CEO of the Southern Baptist Conference of Associational Leaders (SBCAL). I’ve served Southern Baptist churches & associations in various roles for over 35 years.