Arkansas Baptist Foundation President/CEO Bobby Thomas speaks during the 170th Annual Meeting of the ABSC.
JONESBORO, Ark. – God is on the move in the state of Arkansas.
The agencies and institutions of the Arkansas Baptist State Convention (ABSC) on Tuesday, Oct. 24, during the 2023 Annual Meeting gave updates on His impact in their ministries.
Arkansas Baptist Children & Family Ministries
“God is on the move,” Derek Brown, Arkansas Baptist Children & Family Ministries (ABCFM) director, told those in attendance.
Brown shared about the various ministries of ABCFM, including Desired Haven, Connected Foster Care and Adoptions, and Living Well Counseling, which began in 2019 and serves as a resource to point people back to the church during times of crisis. This year, they integrated mental health into foster care, allowing adoptive families an assigned counselor from day one.
Additionally, Brown mentioned their Explorers Academy that is being launched this year. He said children need an environment that cultivates their sense of safety and nurtures discovery.
“In order for a child to develop in a healthy trajectory they have to be able to explore their world,” he said.
For more information about Arkansas Baptist Children & Family Ministries, click here.
Williams Baptist University
“God continues to bless,” Williams Baptist University (WBU) President Stan Norman said.
He noted WBU is one of only 21 schools in the United States recognized for its teacher education program and was awarded the 2023 Frank Murray Leadership Recognition for Continuous Improvement. Additionally, he said the school’s board recently approved the launch of its Center for Healthy Families, providing a platform to help minister and restore individuals and families.
WBU is also a recent recipient of a $4 million gift from the Mabee Foundation. This was the largest donation ever bestowed upon the university, Norman said, adding it is to be used toward the construction of the J.E. & L.E. Foundation Wellness Center.
For more information about WBU, check out williamsbu.edu.
Ouachita Baptist University
Ouachita Baptist University (OBU) saw record enrollment this year, welcoming 1,815 students, a 20% increase since 2016.
OBU President Ben Sells said the college attracts academically motivated students, noting an average high school GPA of 3.8 for the school’s first-year class.
“Because of this increased enrollment, because of your generosity, because of stewardship by the Arkansas Baptist Foundation endowment and careful budget management, we’re stronger than we’ve been in decades,” he said.
Along with record enrollment numbers, OBU is seeing record graduate numbers. Ouachita’s four-year graduation rate is about double the average of other universities in Arkansas with a 99% placement rate, Sells said. He noted the national average 84%.
For more information about the school, visit obu.edu.
Camp Siloam is celebrating 100 years of ministry. Thousands of young people have gotten saved over the years at the camp and accepted their call to missions or full-time ministries.
Just this year, Director of Operations Chad Plummer said they saw 451 campers make professions of faith, 123 rededications, 43 call to missions, and 106 campers expressed interest in baptism.
Plummer noted another 20 salvations during Replicate and 10 at Radiant, a retreat for young women.
“God has done amazing things at Camp Siloam this year,” he said.
A celebration was held Tuesday evening to celebrate the camp’s centennial.
More information about Camp Siloam can be found at campsiloam.com.
Arkansas Baptist Foundation
The Arkansas Baptist Foundation (ABF) serves, advises and encourages the churches, agencies, institutions and ministries of the Convention.
Over the last eight years, the Foundation has had the opportunity to distribute money and resources to ministries in Arkansas and around the world. Over the last year, the Foundation has been able to distribute just over $36 million for ministry.
“That really is an unbelievable feat,” President/CEO Bobby Thomas said.
Nearly 70% of distributions this year went to Arkansas Baptist agencies, churches and institutions. In the last 74 years, Thomas said the Foundation has been able to distribute $550 million to the ministry through the generosity of Arkansas Baptists.
These ministry distributions may represent Cooperative Program support, help for families and children, scholarships for students, support of missionaries and funding for churches and any ministry in Baptist life, Thomas said.
For more information about the Foundation, visit abf.org.
These agencies and institutions gave their reports during the first day of the 2023 Annual Meeting. Videos of the meeting can be found here. ABSC teams also gave reports, sharing how they have seen God moving throughout Arkansas.