I write this column on the first day of summer. There is no doubt summer has arrived as the heat and humidity find a home in Arkansas this time of year. Seems that with summer more than other seasons, I think back to previous summers. As a boy in south Arkansas, my summer was marked by two activities, mowing yards, and playing baseball. The distinctive smells of the gas powering the mower, the scent of cut grass and my baseball glove all oiled up trigger a lot of memories.
Summer represents a change from the rest of the year. School is not in session, vacations are planned, days are longer, and the regular routine of life is sometimes altered. As Arkansas Baptists, it is both a busy and blessed time. Many churches go on mission trips in our state, nation, or other countries. Vacation Bible Schools are held and camps like Super Summer and the weeks at Siloam witness hundreds and hundreds of young people gathering. These ministries impact lives for eternity. The number of young people that come to faith in Jesus through VBS and camps is truly amazing. The way the Lord calls out people for Christian service through camps and mission trips is often recounted in personal testimonies.
These months remind us of the cycle of nature and our lives. So many of us benefitted from VBS when we were young. I think of the church members who served in teaching, corralling, crafts, recreation and handing us punch and cookies through the raised window of our old church building. Choir trips and camps were a part of my life. The Lord touched my life through Siloam nurturing in me a call to ministry. Year passed and my generation became the one to lead, plan and serve. We continue to see how some of the old tried and true methods and events still have tremendous influence. How thankful I am for these experiences.
Summer in Arkansas is used for ministry, outreach, and evangelism by our churches. Your state convention staff understands the ministry you allow us to do. Our job description can be summed up in two words: assist and encourage. Have you read this before? The purpose of the ABSC is to assist churches of the convention in fulfilling their mission and to encourage cooperative support of and involvement in our worldwide mission enterprise. Let us continue to pray for each other and serve with each other in the cause of expanding our Lord’s Kingdom.
I am grateful for the memories of long ago and blessed by the opportunities of today and tomorrow.