WEST GREEN — The local association is an important and vital part of what Baptists do to advance the Kingdom of God on Earth. For many pastors, Baptist associations serve as the primary support system for their work and ministry. In fact, the Baptist association is the oldest cooperative unit in Baptist life, tracing its existence back more than 300 years.
Most associations are small enough to be able to know 100 percent of the churches in their area and yet large enough to be able to have a significant impact upon the churches.
Every autumn scores of Baptist associations in Georgia have their annual meetings (some have bi-annual meetings, because some associations have meetings in the spring and the fall).
These associational meetings feature business sessions, times of worship and inspiration, and fellowship in the host church’s dining hall with good food and an ample supply of homemade desserts. Some of the best apple pies, coconut cakes, and bread puddings on earth may be found at Baptist associational meetings.
Smyrna Baptist Association met at West Green Church just north of Douglas. The theme for the meeting was “The Future – Our Mission Field” based on I Timothy 6:19 where the Apostle Paul wrote about, “… a good foundation for the future….” Ed Lycett, pastor of Sand Hill Baptist Church and member of the Executive Committee of the Georgia Baptist Mission Board, presided over the meeting as the moderator of the association.
Speakers and emphases
As with most associational meetings there were several associational ministry reports and a collegiate ministry emphasis led by Jeff Ford, campus minister at Valdosta State University, and Brandon Elrod, ministry intern at South Georgia State College.
Mark Mercer, pastor of College Avenue Baptist Church in Douglas, preached the missionary sermon in the early afternoon session of the meeting. Ron Sweatt, pastor of First Baptist Church in Alma, delivered the doctrinal sermon on “The Lordship of Christ.”
The choir of West Green Church provided the special music for the evening session. They concluded their part on the program by singing “I’m Feeling Mighty Fine.”
Dr. Ray Coleman is the missionary for the 43 churches of Smyrna Baptist Association and has served in that capacity for f15 years.
The association adopted four significant resolutions: The first was the customary resolution of appreciation to the West Green church and Pastor Kevin Bounds for the hospitality shown to all those in attendance.
The second resolution was an expression of thanksgiving for Mr. Ed Graham. Graham, referred to as “The Literature Man,” worked for many years with the association through “Compassionate Outreach Ministries” to collect, sort, and forward the used and surplus literature from churches in the area so believers in over 70 countries might have access to edifying Christian Bible study lessons and commentaries.
The third resolution was against the expanded sale of alcohol in city of Douglas. The City Commissioners of Douglas voted to put Sunday alcohol sales on the November ballot. So, Smyrna Baptist Association went on record expressing their opposition to the referendum. Shep Johnson, pastor of First Baptist Church in Douglas, voiced his disapproval of the measure in his sermon on the previous Sunday morning.
With the culture infiltrating the church one would have to wonder how many Baptist pastors are preaching sermons decrying the evils of the beverage alcohol.
The fourth resolution urged all registered voters to go to the polls and cast their ballots in the upcoming election on Nov. 8. This resolution also “encouraged” every church in Smyrna Baptist Association to make Sunday, Nov. 6 a day of prayer for the election.
Every church in the nation would do well to heed the admonition of the Smyrna Baptist Association and pray for the upcoming election.