When someone brings up the subject of the annual Arkansas Baptist State Convention (ABSC) meeting, what comes to your mind? Too long? Too boring? Waste of time? Not for me? You might add others. But for me, I am always excited about the annual meeting.
You might say, “But, you work for the ABSC. You have to go.” You are right; but I still find this meeting has some great benefits and blessings that can only come from these two days each year and that I do not want to miss. Please allow me to share some benefits that I have experienced.
One of the greatest blessings of attending each year is fellowship. You will see many friends that you haven’t seen since the previous year. You will have the opportunity to meet new friends. A few minutes talking and sharing over a cup of coffee with a long-time friend or a person you just met might be the thing you remember most about the two days spent at this “business meeting.”
Related closely to fellowship is the networking you can accomplish. You will have the opportunity to share ideas, discuss problems in ministry, get new ideas about reaching and discipling new believers and much more as you get involved in networking with ABSC staff and with other church staff members.
There are planned meetings of various identity groups that allow for great networking. Church planters, young leaders, youth pastors, children’s leaders, pastors’ wives, and others are provided the opportunity to meet and network at special mealtimes as well as at impromptu gatherings at the coffee stations.
Another great benefit involves the reporting of the various entities of the ABSC. You can hear how God is at work in these various entities. What a great blessing to hear about the number of students in our two universities, the work of the Arkansas Baptist Foundation, the evangelistic work of Camp Siloam, the children and parents that are blessed by the Arkansas Baptist Children’s Home & Family Ministries, in addition to the reports of the various teams of the Executive Board.
Another blessing you will experience is the opportunity to worship our Heavenly Father. Music led by great worship leaders, praise teams and choirs are part of the meetings. Also, you can hear preaching by men from Arkansas as well as out-of-state preachers who will certainly bless your life and ministry.
Of course, one of the important benefits of attending the annual meeting involves conducting the business of the convention. The ABSC only meets one time a year; thus, direction for the next year and the approval of the budget for the next year are important.
Many people do not like business meetings because of bad experiences in the past; but, in order for any organization to continue functioning, it must have directions from the governing body which, in this case, is the annual meeting of the ABSC. Then, entities of the convention carry out the work assigned to them by the parent body.
At the end of the day, the primary reason for the annual meeting is to conduct business. That should be a blessing to everyone—to know that you are part of something bigger than you.
I challenge you to make plans to attend this year’s annual meeting of the ABSC which takes place on October 26-27 at First Baptist Church in Cabot. I hope you will give it a try. You might discover that you will decide not to miss another meeting because of the benefits and blessings you receive.
By the way, counting the SBC annual meetings I have attended and annual meetings of other state conventions, I have probably attended more than sixty annual meetings.
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