When Dr. J. Fulton Amonette became the associational missionary for the Arkansas Valley Baptist Association nine years ago, he wanted to “strengthen the cooperative relationship between pastors and churches.”
“The focus of my ministry as an associational missionary was not only to try to meet the spiritual and physical needs, but also to encourage fellowship in our association,” he said.
Last year, the Lord laid it upon Amonette’s heart to become the full-time pastor at Moro Baptist Church. As he transitioned into the pastoral role, he dropped to part-time as associational missionary.
“They were about to close their doors. Churches are having a difficult time finding pastors, especially rural churches in places like the delta of Arkansas,” he said, noting two churches in the association closed their doors in the last couple of years. “I prayed about it. My wife prayed about it. And I couldn’t stand the thought of any more churches closing their doors.”
During this transition period, Amonette said the association has gone to more of a team concept. This past year, as a part-time associational missionary, Amonette has mainly performed administrative work while remaining a resource for pastors and churches.
Over the years, Amonette said the association has hosted Bible conferences and various fellowship opportunities to get together over a meal and get to know each other.
“All the different things that would bring people together that was my focus. Just building relationships between pastors and fellow church members within the individual collective churches,” he said.
Additionally, he said the association has several involved with Arkansas Baptist Disaster Relief, including himself and his wife. They are also trying to set up a food pantry and counseling.
The Arkansas Valley Baptist Association is comprised of 18 churches in three counties.
Amonette started preaching when he was 16. He graduated from Dallas Baptist University with a bachelor’s degree in pastoral ministries. He is also a graduate of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.
As Amonette leaves his associational missionary role completely, putting his focus on pastoring Moro Baptist Church, he said he will continue to work with the association as an advisor.
“I’ve always said in 40-something years of ministry I’ll go wherever God wants me to go. I’ve pastored some fairly good-sized churches over the years, and this is probably the smallest church I’ve pastored. I’m not about numbers except that numbers do represent souls. God will add to his church as he sees fit when we are faithful and committed to the work,” Amonette said.