HARROGATE — Bob Finch served for six years as a director of missions in Kentucky before accepting the same position with Cumberland Gap Baptist Association, headquartered in Harrogate, two years ago.
“The Lord put me there to get me ready for here,” affirmed Finch who is from Rochester, N.Y. and is retired from the Air Force. He has ties to Tennessee through his wife, Sharon, who grew up in nearby LaFollette.
After serving in the association for a while, the association’s Executive Board realized that there were “all kinds of mission opportunities” available for members of the association’s 45 churches that they were not aware of.
“We came up with the idea of a missions fair to expose the churches to ministries of all kinds,” he said, adding that as far as he knows, it is the first missions fair the association has ever sponsored.
The underlying goal, he stressed, was “to inform our people about ministry opportunities” already available the local church members could plug into.”
The missions fair was held Sept. 9 at Pump Springs Baptist Church and included nearly 30 ministries, including Tennessee Baptist Mission Board, Tennessee Baptist Disaster Relief, the International Mission Board and Tennessee Baptist Children’s Homes.
Bill Duncan, pastor of First Baptist Church, New Tazewell, observed that the missions fair “helps us discover opportunities to serve the Lord with other churches and ministries in the area that we might not be aware of.
“There are a lot of exciting things happening that are simply not known by our congregations,” Duncan said.
He also noted the event provides an opportunity for the association’s churches to form a connection with each other. It’s interesting to see how God gives a burden to churches for different ministries and how God is at work in different ways through His churches.
“There is a place for everyone to plug into ministry here in our association and our community,” Duncan affirmed.
John Ditty, pastor of Pump Springs which hosted the missions fair, agreed.
“I have been impressed by the variety of different ministries, both local and nationally, and the variety of ages of those involved.
“It lets us know that God is still calling out missionaries,” Ditty said. B&R