By Patrick Henry

What Does It Mean To Serve, Advise, and Encourage?

By Patrick Henry

By definition, the Arkansas Baptist Foundation exists to serve, advise, and encourage Arkansas Baptist churches and ministries. On August 1, I stepped out of a position on a local church staff and into a new role with the ABF. The transition actually began in the Fall of 2019 when I knew that the Lord was calling me to something different. Something new. Was it possible that the Lord was preparing my heart, after 20 years of serving in the local church, for a new season of life and ministry? Much prayer and wise counsel led me to several conversations with those who are closest to me. 

In November of 2019, I had a meeting with Bobby Thomas, President of the Arkansas Baptist Foundation. Bobby has helped me with several projects over the years and had become a trusted friend. I began to share what the Lord was teaching me and then, openly shared my story with him. He proceeded to ask me an important question, one that I’d been wrestling with, “If you were not working for a church, what would you do?” Almost immediately, I responded by saying that I would love to be able to serve the Church at large. Using the wisdom gained through a wide variety of collected experiences, I have a passion to work with churches who need help with administrative solutions with a focus on those churches with deep needs. I have a desire to see churches flourish and from a healthy place, to make a maximum kingdom impact. In the future, occupying this unique space is where I would love to be. 

After I shared this dream with him, Bobby suggested that perhaps there was a solution within the ABF. Following this initial meeting, we continued the conversation over several weeks/months prior to a worldwide pandemic. Once the impact of COVID-19 initiated a virtual worldwide shutdown, surely, the conversation about a possible transition was closed. However, COVID-19 proved only to highlight the need to help churches across our state with administrative processes and procedures. What could be perceived as a “deal-breaker” only ramped up the need to make a move? The ABF consequently created within the organization, a new position that allowed them to “Serve, Advise, and Encourage” churches in the area of administration. 

After the position was created and I was in the process of making the move to the ABF, new information was revealed that only reinforced my faith in the providential nature of God’s sovereignty in His world. Prior to my initial meeting with Bobby, the ABF Board of Directors mentioned that they would soon begin to pray over and seek someone to partner with the Foundation to help churches across our state. The Lord truly was preparing the way for something special. I am excited to now serve on the ABF staff. If you need help with administrative solutions or know a church that would benefit from a little guidance in administration, please contact Patrick Henry (Patrick@abf.org) to set up an appointment.

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