Cherokee Baptist Association - Centre, Alabama
Cherokee Baptist Association
Friday, August 18, 2017

From The Director's Heart

            Wendell Dutton - Associational Missionary

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

August 1, 2017

From The Director’s Heart                                                  
     It’s hard to believe that summer will soon be over and school is about to start.  I trust you have had an outstanding summer.      
     As we turn our attention to the days ahead, I want to share with you about a great opportunity for training and motivation.  On August 27, our churches will come together to participate in a “Church Reset Conference.” (see insert)  For quite some time, you have heard me talk about the     decline of our Southern Baptist churches nationally. Unfortunately, the churches in our association are also experiencing a steady decline as well.  In order to stop this disturbing trend and turn our churches around so that they are healthy and growing again, we must experience genuine revival and revitalization.  Church revitalization is defined as:  moving the church from its state of decline and lifelessness to once again being a supernatural force for God, on track with His mission.
     To help illustrate the decline of our churches both nationally and locally, we must look at the   statistics showing where we are now as compared to where we were just a few years ago.
   As Southern Baptist nationally:  
   *We have the fewest members since 1992, in spite
      of having several thousand more churches.  
   *We have the fewest reported baptisms since 1948,
      while our nation’s population has doubled. 
   *In 2014 alone, we lost more than 236,000 members.
     That is equivalent to the population of Birmingham, Ala.

   In the Cherokee Baptist Association, we have
   seen the following major declines since 2007:

                                                   2007     2016
   Baptisms                                  169       119   down 50
   Sunday School Enrollment 3,917    2,916   down 1,001
   Worship Attendance            2,986    2,645   down 341
   Discipleship Enrollment      1,252       766   down 486
   VBS Enrollment                    3,133    2,315   down 818

As you can see, this is extremely alarming!  Unless we do something to change this rapid downward spiral, we will see some of our churches close in the days ahead.
     This “Church Reset Conference” is targeting three basic areas in order to “reset” our churches anew to fulfill their God-given mission.
1. Age Graded Sunday School Training   Sunday School must be our primary means of reaching   people, caring for people, and involving them in the ministries of the church.
2. Church Revitalization Conference (with Dr. Chuck Kelley)   This is for pastors and key church leaders to help us catch a vision and hear about practical ways to lead our churches out of decline.
3. Associational Evangelism Rally   This will be a time of motivation and encouragement to help us reach people for Christ.  Dr. Kelley is a real Christian statesman and a tremendous preacher who has a heart for the local church and is deeply broken over the current decline of the church.
     I pray that all of our churches and pastors will take advantage of this extraordinary opportunity for Sunday School and church revitalization training that will culminate in a time of worship and   motivation.                      
  --  Bro. Wendell
                                              Habakkuk 1:5


Church Reset Conference
Sunday, August 27, Pine Grove BC

Sunday School Training 4:30-6:00
Pre School    Children    Youth    Adults
Church Revitalization Track for Pastors with Dr. Chuck Kelley

Meal 6:00-7:00
(for Registered Trainees)

    Evangelism Rally 7:00
    Dr. Chuck  Kelley, President of
    New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary

    Special Music by Pine Grove BC Choir

 June/July 2017

   . . . Connecting with families through VBS! . . .   

     Another school year has come to an end and summer is just around the corner.  That means it is time for Vacation Bible School!  Across the years, VBS has changed quite a bit and the way we do VBS has changed as well.  However, there are some things about VBS that have not changed and must never change — the core principles of VBS:   it is a full-filled activity provided by the local church    designed for kids of all ages; to teach the Bible, share the Gospel, and connect with families.          
     The LifeWay theme this year:  “Galactic Starveyors,” is so relevant, timely, and  personal.  Based on Colossians 1:15-16, children, youth, and adults will be “Discovering the God of the Universe.”  Each day’s lesson will teach us about the character of God and that He desires to have a personal relationship with each individual.      
Day 1 The Relationship Began - tells us the God who created everything wants a relationship with us.
Day 2 The Relationship Broken - reminds us that sin messed everything up, but God is still in control.
Day 3 The Restoration Promised - points out God sent His Son, Jesus to be the Savior of the World.
Day  4 The Relationship Restored - we  learn  the  wonderful  news  that Jesus gave His life to save us from our sin.
Day 5 The Relationship Continues - teaches us that even though we mess up, God still loves us and will never leave us.         
These are tremendous life changing lessons!
     It is my prayer that whatever curriculum you choose to use, that you will give your best effort, and God will certainly bless it.  If I, or any of our Association VBS Team members can help you in any way, please contact me.  Thank you for all you do to reach kids, teens, and even adults through the wonderful ministry of VBS.                    
                                              Bro. Wendell    
                                               Colossians 1:15-16