I have the wonderful privilege of serving as the Moderator of the Morgan Baptist Association. I must admit to you that when this journey started back in October 2014, I never believed that I would make that statement. Being the Moderator was anything but a privilege, and it certainly was not wonderful. Our association was in a mess, but weeks before the Nominating Committee began meeting, God had spoken to my heart and told me that they would be contacting me to take the Moderator’s position and that I was to immediately say yes. Well, I must say that was something I wasn’t extremely happy about. I had all but dropped out of the work of the association because our Association was in turmoil. In fact, it was anything but an association. Even the weekly Minister’s Conference felt as if it were full of tension and discord. I was warned by certain pastors not to align myself with this group or that I would regret it. I was accused of abusing (this is a much nicer word than the one that was actually used) one pastor by just stating that since the first meeting was in my church that I was going to take a moment to share a few thoughts about where our association was. Add to that the fact that, as I have said for many years, I don’t even like preachers (only half-joking, and if you would like to hear the rest of that story, you will need to contact me directly), and you can understand a little of why I felt great trepidation over this new ministry assignment.
It took a while to sort through a lot of this, but after talking to many of the pastors, staff members, and laity of our association and after praying extensively for the association, God began to reveal the reason for the discord and the distrust that was so prevalent in this group of 73 churches. I will not go into those reasons here because it is irrelevant for the purpose of my writing. What I will say is that God was gracious to reveal the truth and open the doors for actions that needed to be taken to begin the healing process of our Association. Let me be clear. All of the distrust is not gone, but that’s okay for now because healing is a process – not a one-time event. We are continuing to work through these issues, and God has put in place a tremendous leadership team along with an outstanding Interim Director of Missions that is leading us to a new day. In fact, we are using terms like “paradigm shift” to describe the way that we are doing associational ministry, and we believe that God could use us as a model for associational ministry in the future. Please understand that I am not bragging (at least not much) because it is God who is orchestrating every bit of this.
But I am writing this because I have experienced/witnessed the miracle of God’s transformational power at our Minister’s Conference this morning. Following a dynamic meeting of the leadership team where we prayed and laughed and planned, I walked into Hacker Hall, our meeting room, and saw pastor’s hugging each other, praying for each other, laughing together, celebrating the victories in our churches, and enjoying being part of what God is doing. No tension. Only transformation. And I’m here to tell you that only One Person can accomplish what I witnessed today. If you need to ask His name, please let me know because I would love to introduce you to Him. He is awesome! I know my wife would kill me for saying this, and my church would probably support her actions, but I’m beginning to wonder if there are term limits for serving as Moderator. Hmmmm. I’ll have to check on that.