Cherokee Baptist Association - Centre, Alabama
Cherokee Baptist Association
Thursday, August 16, 2018

From The Director's Heart

            Wendell Dutton - Association Missionary

                              Partnership Principle:  
              "We work best when we work together
                and we do best what we do together."


     August 1, 2018


   School will start in a few days, marking the end of summer vacation. As school begins, it puts most of us on a more normal (whatever normal may be) routine or schedule. It has certainly been a very busy, productive, and exciting summer. Many of our churches have been involved with mission trips, youth retreats, VBS, and several other activities. One thing that has really          encouraged me this summer is the number of churches across our association that have had a VBS. This year, 30 of our 39 churches conducted a VBS. This is the most we have had in years! Also, we had a team of volunteers help lead a Saturday afternoon VBS for the residents at the Cherokee County Health and Rehab Center. What a blessing that was!    
     As I think about the end of summer vacation, I am reminded of the words of Jeremiah 8:20, “The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved.”  This is such a solemn word as Jeremiah speaks of the doom and coming devastation of his fellow countrymen because of their spiritual decline that led to an all-out spiritual departure from God.      
     In just a few short weeks, all our churches will be filling out and returning their Annual Church Profile (ACP) to the association office. I cannot tell you how important and valuable these ACPs really are as they most often diagnosis the overall health of our churches. Each church should use this information to address areas of ministry that are in decline or might be in need of redirection. From my perspective as your associational missionary, it provides me with the  information needed to formulate trainings, provide resources, and encourage ministries that we can do together to help make our churches healthy. It also gives me a better understanding of how to pray for our churches. We now live twenty-six hundred year removed from the words of Jeremiah 8:20, but they are crystal clear and stand so true. I believe, that for us, the harvest has never been more plentiful, and there has never been a greater need for laborers to join the Lord of the Harvest. Our Lord is still keeping the summer of opportunities open so that one day we will not have to look back and say the sad words of Jeremiah — there are so many that are not saved. May God help us in the coming church year to love Him more and to have a new-found          motivation and determination to serve Him.            
     I count it a great privilege to serve Him through serving our churches!          
                                          Bro. Wendell
                                          II Corinthians 3:18

 May 30, 2018

Summer is just a few days away, and for most of our churches, that means it is time for Vacation Bible School!

     VBS is a fun-filled, Bible based ministry that provides churches the opportunity to reach their communities and impact them with the Gospel. It still serves as the single greatest evangelistic tool for most churches. In 2017, 29 of our 39 churches conducted a VBS, with a total enrollment of 2,451 and 108 individuals making a personal decision to trust Christ as their Savior.      
     I want to share a few tips that may be helpful and lead to a more effective VBS:          
~Be flexible. Although your planning and preparations have been completed, there will be things that will come up that you did not expect, so don’t panic. Make the needed adjustments and go on.
~Be enthusiastic. 
Do everything you can to make VBS an enjoyable experience for everyone.     
~Show love, respect, and genuine concern for every child.  
When talking or counseling with a child, give that child your full attention. Let the child and the Holy Spirit guide the conversation. The true intent of the child can be better determined this way.
~Teach and use the Bible.  After all, it is Vacation Bible School.     
~Share the Gospel!  Be sensitive, but don’t miss a single opportunity to tell boys, girls, and even adults about the love of God and His salvation found only in Jesus. When we fail to teach the Bible and share the Gospel, all we have done is provide church related entertainment.   
~Be patient. When teaching the Bible and sharing the Gospel, begin with individuals where they are and go from there. Not everyone will have the same level of understanding or a Bible based foundation to build on.      
~Teach Missions. When making out your schedule, please make time to teach your children about missions. So often we pass over this, and by doing so, we fail to teach our children about what God is doing all around the world.        
~Have a follow-up plan. Follow through with it to connect your church with everyone who attends your VBS.  
~Make sure prayer is the primary component in everything you do!            
     Please know that I am praying for your VBS. If you need anything, don’t hesitate to contact us. Be your best, do your best, and God will do the rest! This will guarantee you a great VBS.  
                Bro. Wendell          
               II Peter 1:3


 April 23, 2018

     Because of our Mission Partnership, I want to share with you and recap some of the outstanding things we are doing together.
     Our churches came together and collected 14,600 pounds of food items for our Annual Food Pounding for the Alabama Baptist Children's Homes -- and has been delivered to the Oxford Campus.  Thank you for your compassionate heart for this ministry.
     Our Spring Bi-Annual Meeting that was scheduled for March 19, at Unity Hill BC, was canceled due to the severe weather that evening.  Several people have asked if it would be re-scheduled, and the answer is no.  The business matters and reports will be taken care of at our May Executive Committee Meeting.  That meeting will be a little longer than usual, and I encourage our pastors and Executive Committee Representatives to please be there.
     Our "Becoming Missional Men Conference," held on March 3, was a great event.  It was well attended and there was a real spirit of worship and a genuine sense among those in attendance to being what God has purposed for them -- that is, to be on mission with Him all the time, every where.  Thank you to East Centre BC for hosting this outstanding event.  Also, I am very thankful for the volunteers from some of our other churches who cooked the fish and helped serve in so many ways.
     On April 15, we held our Associational Bible Drill.  I must confess, this is one of my favorite things we do each year.  This year we had thirteen drillers from Centre First BC to participate in the Childrens, Youth, & High School Bible Drills.  I am always amazed at their memorization ability and all the hard work that has taken place in order to do this.  These Bible Drillers are to be congratulated, and Mrs. Grace Hayes and her team of workers, who so faithfully work with these kids, is to be commended.  A big thank you is also due to those who served as judges, registration clerk, and time keeper in order to make the Bible Drills possible. 
     Most recently, April 22, we held one of our main training events, our VBS Clinic, "Game On" (theme), at New Bethel BC.  I deeply appreciate the leadership of Mrs. Sharon Anderson (Assoc VBS Director) and the entire team.  They freely give their time and efforts in order to help our churches be prepared to have the best VBS possible.
     Those are just a few of the things that are happening because of our Mission Partnership.  The week of May 20-27, is the time that we highlight and emphasize this Mission Partnership as we observe "Associational Missions Week of Prayer."  I would ask you to remember this week and set aside a time to pray for Marcille and me, as well as all 39 of our churches.  This is a good time to focus on the work and ministries that we do together.  If you would like for me to come to your church that week (if possible) or anytime to share about associational missions, I would love to.  Thank you for allowing me the wonderful privilege of serving with you.
                          Bro. Wendell
                          2 Corinthians 3:18