Craig Golden, pastor at First Baptist Church in Viola, has served as the associational missionary for Big Creek Baptist Association for the past two years.
Golden described Big Creek Baptist Association as a small association comprised of 10 churches in north central Arkansas. Even though they’re a small association, Golden said through partnering together they are able to have mission projects, attend church camps, host youth and children rallies and more.
Last year, they funded a mission team to Malawi, Africa, through Flame of Fire Ministry. Golden said that team saw more than 2,500 people accept Christ. Recently, they even had the president of the Baptist Convention of Malawi in Africa, Dalitso Matekenya, speak at an association rally.
“There are no small churches and there are no small associations when God is the one leading. When we come together, we can still do big projects,” Golden said.
This week, children of the association are attending camp at Cedar Glade Baptist Encampment, a camp owned by a group of associations.
“We partner with other associations to have our church camp week. That is how even as a small association we are able to do big things – partnerships,” Golden said. “It’s a great camp for associations that might be looking for a place.”
Golden was born and raised outside of McCrory in a small community called Pumpkin Bend. He received a degree in Christian ministries from Williams Baptist University. He continued his education at Baylor University’s George W. Truett Theological Seminary, where he received his master’s degree in theological studies.
Golden has served a total of 11 years at First Baptist Church in Viola. He served as the church’s youth pastor before taking on the role of lead pastor, a position he has held for the last four years.
“My goal is to just help churches realize their importance and to maximize their potential by cooperating together to do greater things for the kingdom,” Golden said. “Just as church members are all part of the local church body, associational churches are part of the church body that makes up the association. It’s important that we all work together to accomplish more for His kingdom.”
Golden and his wife, Michaela, have three children – Ryleigh, 13, Case, 9 and Ottie, 1 – and another little boy on the way.