On May 9, the Caroline Baptist Association honored Nina Burgan, who has served as the ministry assistant for the association since 2003. Burgan plans to retire from the association on June 23 to begin her next season of ministry with the local school district.
Burgan shared how she came to be involved in serving Arkansas Baptists, “In 2000, I found myself unhappy with secular work and had a desire to do something in ministry; something that benefited the Kingdom. My pastor told me to look into the Arkansas Baptist State Convention (ABSC). I applied to work on the Missions Support Team where I was hired to serve as the secretary for the team leader, Julia Ketner. I later also became a secretary for Bob Fielding. In my three years there, I learned all things mission related; from local to state to national and international. I learned how to work with nearly 1,500 churches across the state and help address their needs in directing their churches toward missions. But what I learned most is that missions is truly where my heart is. And through that, I grew stronger administratively and passionately about finding ways to minister to others and share the Gospel of Christ.
Due to a serious car accident on my way to work one day, I began to pray about what God would have me do regarding my job. I loved it but the commute was becoming stressful, and I just felt Him calling me somewhere else. I made a call to Clemmie Edwards, former secretary at the Caroline Baptist Association. Because of my work on the state WMU Leadership Team, I knew she was retiring, and the office was ‘local’ to where I lived. She told me the deadline had passed for resumes but asked me to send mine in anyway. I was eventually hired to replace her. Everything I learned at the ABSC absolutely prepared me for this job. My former co-workers used to tease me that I took a demotion by moving to association work, but I always quickly pointed out that it was a promotion to go from almost 1,500 churches to only 34! What a joy it was to grow relationally with so few churches; to become more intimate than I was ever able to do on the state level.
It was at least ten years before it dawned on me how long I had worked here. I couldn’t believe so much time had passed, and I was still loving the job (ministry) I was doing in the association. God continued to grow my passion and allowed me to expand by connections throughout the communities that aided the work I did.
As I leave the office on June 23, I don’t look at it as retirement but just a transition. My time in ministry is not over, just changing locations to a school bus. I will also have more time to give in my local church where I’m very involved in the children’s ministry.”
Bob Fielding currently serves on the Missions Team of the ABSC and recalled Burgan’s time as a coworker, “NIna served as one of our assistants on what was then called the Missions Support Team. She was dedicated, worked hard, and was fun to be around.”
Jerry Miller, who retired as the Associational Missionary for Caroline Baptist Association in 2021, spoke highly of Burgan, “What a committed friend, co-worker, and ministry assistant Nina has been to me for our 17 years together in serving the Caroline Baptist Association. I’m so grateful for her dedication and love she has had for our churches, pastors, staff, and her leadership in the association’s mission work. As the Lord will say, I want to say, ‘well done thou good and faithful servant!’”
“Nina will definitely be missed. Her experience and knowledge have been invaluable to me as I have adjusted to serving the Caroline Baptist Association,” said Dennis Wilkins, Interim Associational Missionary.