What does the Baptist Association do? The roll of the association is to train and educate our church leaders so that they are better prepared to minister to their members and communities. That is the short answer, but we do so much more. Twenty-three years ago, a lot of churches did not know why the association exists or what we do. “What does the association do? This was the question I had to deal with. It was very challenging because I did not really know. I decided that if I was going to serve here, I needed to have the answer to this question. As time passed and with more experience, it became very clear why the association was so important and why it exists.
Jefferson County Baptist Association has been serving churches for 103 years. Although things have changed over the years, our mission remains the same. Training strong leaders to minister to the lost and hurting.
I came to the association 23 years ago, broken and seeking God’s help to heal. I had just lost my very young daughter to suicide. My grief was deep and more than I could bear. I did not see any way that I could make it without God’s help. Then one day I cried out to God for help. I asked God to give me a church to work in, around other Christians. I thought being around other Christians would be encouraging and would help start the healing process. That same day God put the association on my mind, and I called the director of missions.
There was a position open for a ministry assistant. I drove to the association office in Jefferson City and gave my resume to them. A week later I received a call asking me to come down for an interview. I did and was chosen to fill that position. I asked God for one church, He gave me 32. “But God, I only asked for one.” I was overwhelmed with God’s goodness. As I have learned what the association is all about and why it exists, I know it is a ministry calling and not a “job.” (See related story HERE).
Serving in the association has changed my life. Helping people everyday is such a blessing. Helping churches prepare for ministry events, praying with someone who is going through hurts and trials, assisting the associational missionary, planning and preparing the monthly newsletter, helping our churches complete the ACP (Annual Church Profile), working with Disaster Relief, and so much more is how I serve in the association.
Yes, it is a big ministry and there are many challenges, but God is with me in all that He has called me to do. Our now 31 churches, have become my extended family. When they lose their pastor or a church member, or go through turmoil, my heart breaks. I immediately go to the Lord in prayer. It is the most important thing I can do to help.
But God didn’t stop with the association when He called me. Not only did He give me 32 churches, He gave me an entire convention, the TBC/TBMB. WHAT? But God, I only asked for one church. How amazing is God? He knew what I needed and He had a plan for my life in spite of my brokenness.
I attended many training events for associational secretaries provided by the TBMB, and led by Lana Rose and Joy Clay-Corby. The training events helped me become what I am today. I also had opportunities to serve as vice president of the Tennessee Baptist Secretaries Association, served on the Committee on Committees, and worked in registration for the annual meeting of the convention for many years. Along with other secretaries, I had the opportunity to go on several mission trips, including Canada. God has blessed me with many friends all over the state of Tennessee.
As I look to the future and think about retiring, I see God’s hand in every step of my life. My time serving at the association and the Tennessee Baptist Mission Board has been more than I could have ever asked for, and I am eternally grateful. My cup is over flowing!! To God Be the glory! B&R