Thursday, April 30, 2015

Annual Meeting Recap

Churchnet's annual gathering at FBC Jefferson City last weekend was a wonderful experience.  We kicked the event off as we do each year with our missions banquet.  Forestal Lawton and I shared about the trip to Cuba last October, including pictures of countryside, modes of transportation, churches we visited, etc.  I also gave a briefer description of the most recent Guatemala training trip for pastors and leaders Brian Kaylor and I led this past January.  Each year during the banquet, we receive an offering that helps fund our missions partnerships and this year's response to the offering was very generous.  Between money received and pledges made, the total was right at $7500 toward our goal of $10,000.  I expect we will reach and surpass that goal in the coming weeks as others contribute who were unable to attend the meeting.

FBC Jeff City's choir and orchestra led us in a beautiful time of worship on Friday evening, followed by a challenging and prophetic message from my colleague, Brian Kaylor.  Brian addressed the theme of the gathering which focused on sharing hope by building a community of peace and reconciliation.  It was a timely message in light of the ongoing racial unrest in our nation.  Brian made several references to the pioneering work of Clarence Jordan in the area of racial reconciliation with the establishment back in the 1940s of the Koinonia Farm in Georgia.  Those who lived there (both blacks and whites) were targeted by violent protests as many opposed any efforts toward racial equality and mutual understanding.  Jordan is perhaps best known as the author of the Cotton Patch Gospel, a paraphrase that sets the message of the New Testament in the language and context of the South.

Saturday morning we had a brief business meeting after breakfast to elect officers and approve the adoption of the new Vision 2020 strategic plan that has been hammered out over a 9 month period or so beginning last year.  Here is a video introducing the plan and outlining its main components.

Following the business session, 7 different breakout sessions were offered.  I had comments that several of these were outstanding.  I was unable to attend any other than the two which I led that centered on preparing one's church for a cross-cultural missions experience.  The 5 of us present in the first session had a lively discussion about issues to consider in planning and carrying out a missions trip overseas or in a cultural context other than our own.  In the second session, Jeff Buscher (who serves as a chaplain and professor at William Jewell) and I had a chance to converse about mission philosophy and what Jewell is doing with their students in Honduras, working in a couple of villages there to do community development.  It was a very profitable time of sharing.

Finally, we wrapped up Saturday morning with a beautiful time of worship led by Second Baptist Church in Jefferson City.  The music of their choir and the message by their pastor were both outstanding.

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