The Greenup Association, under the direction of associational mission strategist Brian Horton, recently held its first ministry day. Called "All In," it was an effort by the churches of the association to engage their community in ministry projects.
More than 150 people from multiple churches passed out water at intersections, washed cars for free and held block parties on one of the hottest days of the summer. They also handed out gasoline gift cards, cleaned windshields and even played dominoes while visiting at a nursing home. Activities included community canvassing and taking care packages to area businesspeople who work in the heat.
Brian shared that they wanted — first of all — to give a witness of Christ and to show we are moving forward together, as our motto says: "We're all in this together." He said the work completed showed what could be done when the association comes together as one.
"Together we're stronger than we are when we are separate," Brian said. "Opportunities like this give the small church the same opportunity as a big church."
It is so exciting to see churches of an association come together to participate in ministry, missions or church planting efforts. That's the beauty of the local association. Churches participate together and strive toward a goal that they may not be able to reach individually.
There is great synergy when churches in an association strive together to impact lostness. There are 69 associations in the Kentucky Baptist Convention and each of them is leading member churches to partner together. Effective associations have developed strategies that enable the participating churches to strive together for the sake of the gospel locally, nationally and internationally.
DOM Rick Reeder led the Caldwell-Lyon Association in an initiative called 'Saturation Staten Island.' They distributed packets of the Jesus DVD, gospel tracts and information about partnering churches. To date, over 24,000 homes have received a gospel witness.
The churches of the Green Valley Association, led by AMS Bill Patterson, strive together to meet local needs through the 'Answer Center.' The Answer Center shares Christ and serves the community with free clothing, household items, seasonal evangelistic events, a Kids Korner ministry, medical clinics, tutoring and utility assistance.
Three Forks Association, led by AMS Jamie Reynolds, has a partnership in Brazil and is sharing the gospel internationally. They are helping to plant and strengthen churches through prayer support and the sending of volunteer teams.
There would be very few individual churches, if any, in any association that would attempt such large goals. But an association can effectively reach those goals because multiple churches strive together to do so! We are certainly better together, and associations illustrate what it means to strive together as we seek to impact the world with the gospel of Christ.
Eric Allen is team leader of Missions Mobilization of the Kentucky Baptist Convention.