Cherokee Baptist Association - Centre, Alabama
Cherokee Baptist Association
Wednesday, January 16, 2019

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."


December 1, 2018

   One of my favorite authors is Dr. O. S. Hawkins, president of Guidestone Financial Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention.  Dr. Hawkins is best known for his series of best-selling “Code” books which are spiritually insightful and will bless the reader.  I want to share some brief insights from one of his installments, “The Christmas Code:” 

"For centuries Christians all over the world have celebrated the Advent season leading up to Christmas.  Advent means arrival, appearing, coming and anticipates the coming of Christ to Bethlehem's stable.  In the midst of all the busyness of this season, the celebrations, the shopping, the lights, the decorations, the parties, and all the other tinsel, trappings, and trimmings, Advent offers a time of spiritual preparation.  It provides a time of reflecting on the true joy, peace, hope, and love that the coming of the Christ child makes possible for each and every one of us."   
   My prayer is, that as we celebrate the birth of Christ, we would remember that Christmas is all about Christ, and primarily, Christ alone. He stands at the center of human history and He should stand at the center of our lives every day.
   So, as we look back and celebrate His first Advent, may we also look forward with earnest anticipation to His Second Advent, His glorious appearing (Titus 2:13, Hebrews 9:28). Let us hear again the words of the old Christmas hymn written about His First Advent that points us to His Second Advent:   “O come, O come, Emmanuel and ransom captive Israel, that mourns in lowly exile here until the Son of God appear.  Rejoice!  Rejoice!   Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.”
   May you experience the best, brightest, and most blessed Christmas and a very Happy New Year!                                     
                                                               Bro. Wendell
                                                               Isaiah 9:6-7

November 1, 2018


   Thank you, Tates Chapel and pastor, Bro. Lynn Hughston for the great job you did in hosting our 185th Annual Meeting. As we have done for several years, our afternoon session focused on ministry reports and the business matters of the association. To many, these reports may seem boring or unnecessary; however, these reports inform, instruct, and inspire us about what we have accomplished together working in partnership. Our evening session has served as a time of worship for our family of churches. We appreciate so much Bro. Steve Sellers, from the Alabama Baptist Children’s Homes, preaching for us during the evening session.   Bro. Steve challenged our churches with a powerful message of church revitalization that begins with an “Awareness of the Presence of the Holy One,” and what it will do. I pray to God that we would have a renewed awareness of His presence that results in a fresh touch from Him, that without a doubt, will bring revitalization to our churches.   
   In just a few days, we will be collecting Shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child. Last year, we collected 2,146 from our churches. This number is down a bit from past years; so, this year, we are prayerfully seeking the Lord to increase that number. Through the simple gift of a shoebox, a child will possibly receive their “first –ever” gift. Most importantly, each child that receives a shoebox will also be given the opportunity to receive Jesus. So, just remember as you pack your shoebox, you are giving the Greatest Gift anyone could ever hope to receive. 
   On November 22, many of us will gather with family and friends and celebrate Thanksgiving with the blessing of plenty of food and wonderful fellowship. As we gather for our time of celebration, may we not forget the words of Psalm 100:4,  “ thankful unto Him, and bless His name,” and the words of the great doxology hymn, Praise God from whom all blessings flow.”
   I am so deeply thankful for the churches of this great association, our associational leaders, and pastors. It is truly a blessing to serve with you.                                     
                                                      Bro. Wendell    
                                                      II Corinthians 3:18


October 1, 2018

On October 15, our churches will gather at Tates Chapel for the 185th Annual Meeting of the Cherokee Baptist Association.  We can only imagine what those annual meetings were like for many of those early years.  Nevertheless, from the historical records we have, there were four common features about those meetings that carry over to our modern annual meetings:     
   1.  An emphasis on powerful Bible based, convictional preaching—especially about the social issues of the day.  Sin was pointed out and believers were called to live holy and separated lives, with a faithful commitment to their church.  
   2.  There was a strong appeal for evangelism to be at the forefront of everything the local church and association did.  It appears that our spiritual forefathers lived with the belief and urgency that everyone needed to be saved.    
   3.  Those associational gatherings centered around fellowship, which was a very important component.  Because of their methods of travel and limited means of communication between communities and churches, the annual meeting was an extremely important time for fellowship.
   4.  They held an unwavering belief in the value of the partnership of associational missions.  They understood, “They worked best when they worked together and they did best what they did together.”      
   Over the past one hundred and eighty-five years, our annual meeting has changed dramatically.  Some people may wonder why we still have an annual meeting and does it hold any meaningful value.  Our spiritual ancestors left us a great example and reason to gather and meet.  We, too, believe in the necessity of preaching, the priority of evangelism, the importance of fellowship, and the value of working in partnership.           
   I encourage you to pray for and to attend the 185th Annual Meeting of the Cherokee Baptist Association, October 15, at Tates Chapel.  I look forward to seeing you there.    
   Thank you for allowing me to serve as your associational missionary.                        
                                                      Bro. Wendell
                                                      II Corinthians 3:18

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