A Word from the Executive Minister

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A Word from the Executive Minister

 Spring is here! A sign and a time of new life, new beginnings and new hope.

This Spring, the pastors, congregations, delegates and leaders of the Cleveland Baptist Association will gather once again at the CBA Annual Spring Meeting. Will we see sings of new life, new beginnings and new hope as we gather?

The theme for the Meeting, “Sacred Assembly” is based in the Old Testament Book of Joel, the 12th through the 17th verses.

Our theme passage reads in part: “Even now,” declares the Lord, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning. Blow the trumpet in Zion, declare a holy fast, call a sacred assembly. Gather the people, consecrate the assembly; bring together the elders. . .”

I am deeply grateful to the CBA Board of Trustees for their spiritual wisdom in calling for this Sacred Assembly. The Board in their collective spirits have discerned a call from God to gather God’s people for times of unified prayer and corporate discernment.

The Cleveland Baptist Association, not unlike other regions in ABCUSA, or other denominations in our country, is facing a time of declining membership, declining loyalty and declining mission giving. We cannot allow this trend to continue without facing the dire consequences this downward trend will have on our capacity and ability to further the mission of the Gospel. We do not want to see God’s work go lacking!

The third verse of the passage in Joel tells us to “Rend (our) hearts and not (our) garments”.

In this movement of prayer, as we gather to listen to God’s voice and direction, we will seek to hear where God is leading us as a Body of Believers and a Covenanting Body of local churches, committed to be on mission together; seeking to do ministry together for the sake of the Kingdom of Christ.

Again, let us listen to Joel: “Let the priests, who minister before the Lord, weep between the portico and the altar. Let them say, “Spare your people, Lord. Do not make your inheritance an object of scorn, a byword among the nations. Why should they say among the peoples,     ‘Where is their God?’” (Joel 2:17).

Amen.

A Word from the President

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A Message from Board President

A Message From The President of Board of Trustees

     In the spring of each year there is typically a refreshing, optimistic mood following a harsh winter. More sunlight, warmer days, and various expressions of nature revitalizing things around us helps us as we get ready to do new tasks. Spring is a season to focus on work, whether we live in a rural area or an urban area. In the spring we turn our attention to work.

Jesus reminded his disciples as well as the people who watched him perform miracles that his ministry represented a time to work. He told them, I must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work (John 9:4). He elaborated later by saying, If I do not do the works of my Father, (then)  do not believe me.; but if I do, though you do not believe me, believe the works, that you may know and believe that the Father is in me, and I in Him. (John 10:37, 38). Actually, during his earthly ministry, Jesus put more emphasis on work than on worship. Worship should prepare us for work in the name of the Lord.

Early this morning, many of us joined together in a sacred assembly to devote ourselves to prayer (Joel 2:12-16). We were spiritually preparing ourselves for more work in the name of the Lord. Now, as a group of believers, representing several dozen congregations in Metropolitan Cleveland, we must commit ourselves to leading our local congregations to a greater intensity of work. Just as we have social, economic, ethnic, age, and gender diversity; we have a diversity of spiritual and pragmatic gifts that can glorify God as we expand his kingdom on earth.

When we go forth in collective ministry some people will believe and accept Jesus because they see our works. Therefore, our work will be multi- dimensional. (1) Our work will produce tangible results. (2) It will keep us focused on our divine purpose rather than the human bickering than may be a human temptation. (3) Our work will be a witness that will cause some unbelievers to accept Jesus. (4) It will glorify God. And (5) it will be evidence of our faith.

We have many challenges ahead of us. We have made a commitment to increase our involvement as we support our ministry in Burundi Africa. We are supportive of the advocacy issues related to creating a meaningful response to excessive force demonstrated by local police. We have mediation work to do on behalf of some member congregations that are seriously divided.  We must go forth in planning for another youth retreat. We need to increase our efforts to embrace diversity within our association. We have ongoing leadership development activity related to preparing candidates for ordination. We must continue to add more local churches into our association and strengthen their leadership. And we must increase our financial base during this period of economic scarcity. This list describes work! However, we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us.

Forever In His Service,

Rev. Andrew Edwards, MSW, M.Div., Ph.D.

President of Board of Trustees

 

 

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