Cherokee Baptist Association - Centre, Alabama
Cherokee Baptist Association
Sunday, September 23, 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."

 
                      





September 1, 2018







     September is here. In so many ways it is a month of transition as football season takes off, summer gives way to fall, and we start a new church year.  
         
     As we begin this new church year, there are several very important questions we need to consider: What will the upcoming year hold for us? Will it be a year in which we see a turnaround from the decline we have been experiencing for more than a decade? What new opportunities will be presented to us for growth, ministry, and overall church health?   What unexpected challenges will we be confronted with? Will we continue doing the same things we have done in the past? Certainly these are interesting questions and the answer to them is unknown at this point. However, now is the time that we need to address these questions if we expect to see a positive change and be effective in making a difference. It is now that we need to position ourselves to take advantage of opportunities and be best prepared for challenges we may face.  

     Let me offer a few simple suggestions to help chart the course for you and your church in the coming days:
           
     ~Pray fervently and regularly for your church as if it really                    matters, because it does matter.
     ~Be intentionally evangelistic telling others what Jesus has done        for you and what your faith and church means to you.       
     ~Be a growing disciple and become a disciple maker.     
     ~Take advantage of opportunities, such as seminars,             conferences, training sessions, and other resources that will             help you be better prepared to serve the Lord.        
     ~Lead in areas where God has placed you to lead and be a good          follower in areas where God has placed you to follow.        
     ~Be honest and objective about the spiritual health of your            church and how it got there.
     ~Be willing to accept and embrace changes that will make your            church healthier, reach people with the gospel, and bring glory          to God.    

        
     It is my prayer that this new church year will be the best ever for each of our churches.    
                                   Bro. Wendell       
                                   II Corinthians 3:18


     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.  
~Listen. 
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