TOCCOA — When Hurricane Michael barreled into southwest Georgia last fall, Ken Cloud didn’t hesitate in checking on churches and pastors throughout Bowen Baptist Association before getting cleanup and recovery efforts underway as soon as possible.
It was primarily for the work he initiated and oversaw in those weeks that Cloud was named Associational Missionary of the Year on Feb. 6 at the close of the Associational Missions Workshop in Toccoa.
“We appreciate you … and are thankful you’re a part of this community,” Georgia Baptist Executive Director W. Thomas Hammond, Jr., said in presenting the award.
Visibly emotional, Cloud voiced that he “did not deserve anything like this. I’m thankful that by [God’s] grace we’re allowed to serve Him.
“I could not have done what we did in southwest Georgia without ya’ll. It’s been awesome what God has done. I’ve overwhelmed by your love.”
‘On the spot’
Frank Nucholls, state missionary in Associational Missions, praised Cloud’s leadership in the days after Hurricane Michael’s damage.
“Ken made contact with churches and pastors to see about their needs. He connected them with Disaster Relief and other organizations for follow-up. Even though his house received some damage and didn’t have power for days, he was on the spot in the cleanup and recovery efforts.”
Cloud served as an evangelist for 21 years as well as senior pastor on two occasions at Midway Baptist Church in Cairo before accepting the position to direct Bowen Baptist Association in 2005.
“It’s something I never expected to be doing, but God brought me here to serve the 41 churches in our Association,” he testified. “We’ve got an awesome group of people who love the Lord and love souls. No man can do all the work. It takes the Lord and a team.”
He also stressed it takes a lot of support from home.
“My wife [Brenda] is my mainstay on this earth. We’ve been married 52 years and she’s fully supported me. It’s unreal. Wherever I go, she’s with me and always there for me.”
Understanding importance of associations
Paul Day, former associational missionary at Grady County Baptist Association, first recommended Cloud take the training to become one.
“In the first year they asked me I said ‘no’ because I was in a building program at church. I couldn’t look at anything else. But God opened it up and I took the training the next year.
“I ended up being able to use all those years of preaching revivals at churches to know how to work with pastors. That experience helped me learn how to listen to their heart. It’s been invaluable.”
Being an associational missionary also opened up his eyes to its importance, he said.
“I never really considered it before. I had some fantastic associational ministry leaders, but becoming one helped me see the connection. Churches need that encouragement; pastors, especially, need that encouragement.
“They need somebody supporting them. They need somebody praying for – and with – them.”