Next week, June 1, will mark eight years serving as the Harmony Baptist Association associational missionary for Mike Manning.
The Arkansas native has spent more than 50 years in the ministry, primarily in the role of pastor. His first ministry position was as a youth minister at First Baptist Church in Conway. Prior to his current role, he served nearly five years as an associational missionary in northern Missouri.
Manning said there were several factors that drew him and his wife back to the Natural State, including the opportunity to be closer to family in central Arkansas
“As it played out, we became confident that God wanted us here,” Manning said. “Since we’ve been here, we still believe that.”
Manning, who claims Conway as his hometown, spends most of his time working with pastors and churches, assisting them however he can. For instance, Harmony Baptist Association has nine churches without pastors.
“I’m trying to help them navigate those waters,” he said.
Manning frequently interacts with a significant number of pastors within the association. He said the associational missionary is often “a pastor to the pastors.”
“I am here to help build the Kingdom and to help build the churches in that process,” Manning said.
A few main ministries of Harmony Baptist Association include Hope of the Delta and Arkansas Baptist Disaster Relief. Additionally, they support a cowboy church plant in Sheridan, Wyoming.
Manning said he has two ministries in the pipeline – an internship ministry to help raise more pastors within the association and in-person and online classes. He said they try to make sure everything they do as an association is relevant to their pastors and churches.
Harmony Baptist Association includes 38 cooperating churches. For more information about the association, visit harmonybaptistassociation.org.