Cherokee Baptist Association - Centre, Alabama
Cherokee Baptist Association
Thursday, July 19, 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."

 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


March 8, 2018

     In just a few days we will celebrate Easter, a very special and significant time for those of us who are Christians. It is the day that we celebrate the resurrection of our LORD. The resurrection is the completion of the gospel, which means “good news.” Christianity is built upon two great pillars: the death of Jesus on the cross and the resurrection of Jesus. The unspeakable cruel death of Jesus on the cross, was for the atonement or payment of my sin debt and the sin debt for all who will turn from their sin and trust Christ (Rom. 3:23-26, 1 Peter 1:18-21). Furthermore, Paul writes in
2 Corinthians 5:19-21, that the death of Jesus was the means by which a Holy God could and would reconcile sinful man to Himself.
However, God’s work of redemption and salvation for us did not end with the crucifixion and burial of Jesus. If that were the case, Jesus would have been nothing more than another martyr who    died a meaningless death. That means as described by Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:12-19, our faith would be in vain, and we would have no hope. But, thanks be unto God, Jesus was raised from the grave, and today we serve a risen, living, LORD and Savior. 

Let me mention just a few key components of the resurrection:
1. It validated His virgin birth and that He was the sinless Son of God, who is the Savior of the world.
2. He then ascended into Heaven where He is seated at the right hand of the Father and now serves as our great High Priest and Intercessor.
3. Through His resurrection, He has forever conquered death, hell, and the grave.
4. Our adversary, the devil, was dealt his final blow of defeat and he has no claim or control over the life of a believer.  
5. Because of the resurrection, we have hope. This hope is anchored in the resurrected Jesus; therefore, it is stedfast, secure, enduring, and eternal. I love the words of Jesus in John 14:19, “Because I live, ye shall live also.” 
     What a wonderful, crucified, buried, risen, and yes! soon coming again, Savior we have!

Bro. Wendell
Luke 24:6


February 1, 2018

     We are already well into 2018, and it appears to be a busy year filled with many challenges.  As I think about not only the challenges that are before us, I am reminded of the challenges that currently exist.   The major challenge we are facing in our churches is the continued decline in baptisms, Sunday School, giving, on-going discipleship, and fewer people attending worship.   In a recent Alabama Baptist newspaper commentary (Dr. Bob Terry, January 18, 2018), this decline was highlighted by the statistic that since 2003, membership in our Alabama Baptist Churches has fallen by 16.4 percent.   Because of these downward trends, we must continue to focus on revitalization for our churches.  We must be willing to make an honest evaluation of our churches and be ready to make the necessary changes that will lead to revitalization.              
     So, that brings up the question: “How do we confront these challenges?”  We must view them as an opportunity, because with every challenge we face, there is a door of opportunity.   The   definition of opportunity is: “A good chance for advancement or progress.” —(Miriam-Webster’s Dictionary)  That means when our baptisms are down we have the opportunity to see more people saved.  Jesus said, “Lift up your eyes and look on the fields, for they are white already to harvest.” —John 4:35b.  That statement has never been more true than it is right now.   When our Sunday School and discipleship is down, it provides us the opportunity to enroll and involve new people and grow in these ministries.   As we see our financial giving dwindle, with it comes the opportunity to teach people about biblical stewardship and how God blesses the cheerful giver.  As we deal with the current challenges and meet the ones that are yet to come, let us do so by   understanding that God has provided an opportunity for us with each challenge we encounter.           
     I believe that in 2018, if we will recognize the great opportunities we have and act upon them, God will begin the work of revitalization in our churches.  I am excited and look forward to what God has in store as we seek Him and serve Him together.         
                                                Bro. Wendell
                                                2 Corinthians 3:18