Recently I had the honor and privilege of attending our annual conference for associational mission strategists (AMS) and potential associational mission strategists at Caraway Conference Center. The theme of this year’s event was “Moving into a New Future: Sowing and Reaping.”
You may know associational mission strategists by other names, such as directors of missions (DOMs) or associational missionaries. In conjunction with last year’s Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting in Dallas, the Southern Baptist Conference of Associational Leaders unanimously approved a recommendation to change the titles of directors of missions to associational mission strategists to better reflect the nature and scope of their work.
No matter what they’re called, associational mission strategists and the 77 local Baptist associations in our state have played and continue to play a vital role in our statewide strategy to impact lostness through disciple-making. We as Southern Baptists value cooperative ministry and missions endeavors at the local, state, national and international level, and AMSs and local associations are valuable partners in ministry.
Chances are the local association in your area sponsors a variety of trainings, outreach events and other opportunities for you and your church to get involved in missions and ministry. The Baptist State Convention of North Carolina also works closely with AMSs and associations to sponsor and facilitate events such as prayer gatherings, prayer walks, training events and consultations related to disciple-making, church planting, church health and revitalization, and more.
This year’s AMS conference was well attended, and I was especially encouraged by the number of attendees who were interested in becoming an AMS or learning more about missions and ministry on the associational level. I was also encouraged by the testimonies of what God is doing in our local associations.
During this same conference two years ago, attendees spent time prayerfully developing a personal ministry plan and strategy for their association. At this year’s conference, one associational leader reported that while developing his personal ministry plan, the Lord had impressed upon him to be more intentional in the area of personal disciple-making with the pastors and leaders in the association where he serves.
Through this associational leader’s obedience to the Lord, he has seen God grow and multiply five generations of disciples. To God be the glory!
If your church isn’t connected or engaged with your local Baptist association, I would encourage you to get involved. The popular statement that we as Southern Baptists uphold is true — we can accomplish more together than we can apart.
“You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit….” — John 15:16a (NKJV)