Healthy Churches

I have been to a great many Baptist meetings this year, including in-person and by zoom. Last November, at our Tulsa Metro Baptist Network (TMBN) annual meeting, when I was again elected to serve as the Clerk/Secretary of the Association, I reported that I would serve one more year.  I desire less meetings. Tulsa Baptists have been in the middle of an intense self-examination as a network of churches, and I wanted to finish my commitment to that process. At this year’s meeting on November 1, most of the findings were presented and well received. I would like to share with you some of the framework of the efforts.

In church leadership circles the question is often asked: If your church closed today, would anyone in the neighborhood notice?  A more positive question that we addressed was: If the churches of today were to invent an association, what would it look like? We have been working on this “simple” topic for two years now, led by a national church development group in partnership with a half-dozen similarly sized associations from Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Texas, and Washington. We’ve redefined who we are: We are a network of leaders helping one another fuel the mission of the local church. A key discovery was found in the personal pain and conflict many of our congregations, and their key leaders, are facing. Healthy churches require healthy pastoral leadership. Our group outlined an overall vision and strategy: Encouraging Leaders; Forging Partnerships; and Planting, Replanting and Strengthening Churches. To this purpose, we have organized the work of the Network into three working teams: a Church Health team, a Leader Care and Development team, and a Church Planting team. This is a work in progress and is being refined as we go forward. 

I want to personally thank Dr. Charles Cruce, Missions Director, and the Officers and Administrative Leaders of the Tulsa Metro Baptist Association for allowing me to be a part of this reshaping effort. At the annual meeting, I was recognized for over 40 years as the TMBN Secretary with a plaque and a gift certificate for Dorothy and I to spend a few days in Branson. I think they are suggesting the time away may help us model a healthy relationship.

Keep healthy. Pray mightily. Enjoy your life today. Model healthy. And let’s experience the love and power of God together.

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