First Priority is not only the name of my blog, it is also my passion. I serve as Strategy Development Team Leader for Churchnet--A Baptist Network Serving Churches. Churchnet is a ministry of the Baptist General Convention of Missouri. Our First Priority is "serving churches!" My blog provides a setting for my dialogue with pastors and church leaders regarding their successes, challenges, opportunities and needs.
Our Churchnet Annual Gathering is only about a month away,
and I am looking forward to a great time fellowship and worship.We will be meeting at First Baptist Church in
Jefferson City where I have been a member for more than 17 years.Our gathering begins on Friday evening, April
24, at 5:30 p.m. with our Annual Missions Banquet.We will hear reports on our partnership
efforts in Guatemala, the Ukraine, and Cuba.
Following the banquet we will have our Share Hope
Worship.Our theme this year continues
our Share Hope emphasis as we focus on Building
a Community of Peace & Reconciliation.Dr. Brian Kaylor who serves as our Communications and Engagement
Leader will be speaking on Friday evening.Brian is an award-winning author and journalist and a sought after
speaker.I know you will want to be
present to hear his message.First
Baptist Church will be leading our worship Friday evening.
Saturday morning, April 25, we will begin with a light
breakfast and business session.Following the business session we will have our Share Hope Workshops at
8:45 and 10:00 a.m.The workshops will
focus on our Share Hope theme.The
gathering will conclude with another Share Hope Worship Service at 11:00
a.m.Rev. Cornell Sudduth, Sr., Pastor
of Second Baptist Church in Jefferson City, will be speaking, and Second
Baptist Church will also be leading our Saturday worship.Second Baptist Church was established by
slaves who were formally members of First Baptist Church in the period prior to
the Civil War.What a wonderful
opportunity for us to think together about what it means to build a community
of peace and reconciliation as we gather with these two great congregations.
The tragic events this past year in Ferguson, Missouri, and
in other communities across our nation have made it clear that we have a long
way to go if we would live out the ideals upon which our nation was founded,
and even further if we would build a community based upon the justice and
compassion found in the covenant relationships in the scripture.
The Annual Gathering will also be the time when our Board of
Directors recommends approval our Vision
2020: Engaging the Future with Hope strategic plan for 2015 through
2020.The revised mission statement is: Churchnet serves churches by fostering
collaboration and hope for engaging new generations and cultures.This mission grew directly out of our
conversations with congregations and leaders across our state.
The plan establishes four areas of strategic initiative
which will guide our ministry as we seek to serve churches:
Engage New Generations
I hope you will come to the Annual Gathering and learn more
about the Vision 2020 plan as we
consider God’s will for the future of our ministry together.
This article was originally written for our Churchnet page in Word&Way.
I recently began an interim pastorate at Kirkwood Baptist Church in the St. Louis area. During the Lenten season we have been Celebrating the Covenant as we have explored God’s covenant
relationship with his people.This
Sunday we conclude the series as we begin our celebration of Holy Week and
Easter.A few years ago I preached a
series of messages on the Lessons from the Last Week.The series was a study of the last week in
the life of Christ beginning with his triumphal entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday ending with his
resurrection on the first Easter morning.
study I learned how central the ‘last week’ was in the scripture. Jesus lived
approximately thirty-three years.That
is more that 1700 weeks.The writers of
the four gospels dedicated a great deal of their accounts to only one of those
weeks.It was the last one.By the present chapter and verse divisions
the four gospels include 3779 verses comprising 89 chapters.The first thirty years of his life are
recorded for us in only 208 verses.The
background, announcements, and record of his birth are parts of only five
chapters including John's unique approach to the beginning of his gospel.
of the gospels is dedicated to the three years of his ministry.This is more than 3500 verses to record the
significant events in the life and ministry of the Son of God.The amazing thing is that 1258 of these
verses are dedicated to only one week—the last week.More than one-third of the verses in the four
gospels are committed to the last week which we call Holy Week.What an impact the week made upon their
lives.What vivid and penetrating
memories they must have had of the events of the last week.
ever thought about how important that week was in the lives of the
disciples?Sometime after the death and
resurrection of our Savior they began to write.It was after the emotional highs and lows.It was after they had had the opportunity to
reflect upon everything that had happened. Sometime later the gospel writers
were led by the Spirit of God to begin to record the events of his life.There was so much to be written.How do you capture his life on paper?What do you include?Everything seemed so important now.
that God led them in their writing and in their choosing.I also believe that God led them in a personal
way.Each writer reflected from his own
perspective as he recorded life changing words.Maybe God led them like he leads us.Maybe they wrote what they remembered most.Maybe they wrote about the things that
impacted their lives most.Whatever the
method of inspiration they wrote about the last week.
we will have our Palm Sunday Worship.The children of Kirkwood Baptist church will lead us in our processional.We will explore one of the most intriguing
and challenges days in the life of Jesus.As you prepare to celebrate Palm Sunday and Holy Week let me suggest
that you spend some time during the coming week reflecting on Jesus’ life and
ministry.Let me suggest that you spend
some time reading about that last week.Maybe it will impact you like it did his disciples!