JONESBORO, Ark. – Vilonia native Ed Gillham has served the churches of the Mount Zion Baptist Association as associational missionary for the last 12 years.
After attending college in Virginia, Gillham returned to Arkansas for law school then earned a M.Div. and Ph.D. from Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary in Memphis.
He served as pastor of five churches in Arkansas, most recently at South Side Baptist Church in Pine Bluff. While serving as pastor, Gillham said he never envisioned doing anything else, until Dr. Emil Turner invited him to the potential associational missionary training at Camp Paron.
“On the way home from that training, I knew that this is what God called me to do. I love serving in this role and I love serving this association,” Gillham said. “My goal is to serve the churches of our association in any way but especially in fulfilling the Great Commission. Our people cooperate so well to this end, and it is a joy to serve alongside them.”
As an association, Gillham said missions is the heartbeat of all they do. Their Mission Development Team is organized by an Acts 1:8 strategy whereby they offer opportunities and support for mission work at the local, state, national, and international levels. Gillham said they have had partnerships everywhere from Uganda to Philadelphia to New Orleans.
Their most recent partnership in New Orleans resulted in the Living Rock Baptist Church in the city’s St. Roch community becoming a member of their association. They also offer scholarships for first time international trips.
Recently, Gillham said they have been able to assist two new Spanish speaking church plants in Jonesboro—gifting property to one and connecting one to a local church for a building sharing partnership. They also have two established Spanish speaking churches and one Chinese church.
Additionally, the Mount Zion Baptist Association operates a 60-acre campground where they conduct three weeks of camp. Furthermore, they have a shower trailer for Arkansas Baptist Disaster Relief as well as a four-bedroom missionary house that they offer to IMB missionaries free of charge.
Gillham has been married to his wife, Robbin, for 35 years. They have one daughter and son-in-law and one son.