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"Re-engaging, Re-visioning, and Re-vitalizing Under the Cross of Christ"

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The Unfolding Vision 


"...Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it. For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end - it will not lie." -Habakkuk 2:2-3 ESV


Vision - by definition it is perception, range of view, discernment, expectancy, etc. However it may be defined, in the context of our faith, we look to the Lord to provide it. Unlike the prophet Habakkuk who had lodged a complaint and waited for an answer from the Lord, we seek to know what God wants from us and how He wants to use us in the fulfillment of His work in the world. Similarly, He provides it in a vision that is distinct and that provokes an urgency that we might "read it on the run." Dr. Jerry Young, the president of our National Baptist Convention has challenged us to "Envision the Future Exceptionally." That is, to view our potential to address the issues which are ahead of us and to provide solutions, and the possibilities for advancement of our work with unprecedented hope and promise. For us as the Consolidated Missionary Baptist State Convention of Arkansas this view is locked in a theme - "Re-engaging, Re-visioning, and Revitalizing Under the Cross of Christ."

Re-engaging. The picture of numerical growth, the growth in membership and participation is bright as we make intentional moves to reach out to pastors and churches that are not a part of our Convention. We must develop a strategy for growth that involves engagement of those who have not been a part of our fellowship and re-engagement of those who once were but for one reason or another no longer are. We will set membership growth goals and make every effort to meet them.

Re-visioning. This is changing our mindset. It is heightening our efforts to know the highest pinnacles that we can reach in understanding God's word and what we can become in it. It means being willing to part with ideas and ways that have been outlived by the times and circumstances. It is changing, not for the sake of just changing. It is not putting new wine in old wineskins but developing new expectations for new outcomes.

Revitalizing. We must move toward denominational development. That is, that we must; as there is now movement in our national work, to think and act as a denomination (those bound by a common faith, and that seek a common understanding of the teaching of Holy Scripture, and share in efforts for the advancement of the kingdom of Christ) rather than as a convention of churches that meets to worship and support some common causes and are otherwise independent of each other.

Together we will be more ministry focused. Constantly we will seek to discover what we as a convention and or its auxiliaries do to serve the needs of our churches, pastors, district associations and persons in the communities. I see it in ministry teams being developed to do VBS in areas of need; in developing "Go Teams" to be a part of disaster relief efforts wherever we can serve; in offering in our Convention sessions relevant seminars such as "Young and Managing Widowhood", "The Challenges of Single Motherhood, "Getting Back Up When You Have Been Knocked Down," etc. "Real Men...," Developing Ministry to Men", etc. Always we will seek to answer the question. How can we "serve this present age [our] calling to fulfill?" This will be the driving force that will energize our fellowship. As well, we will seek to "youthanize" our Convention rather than watch it become euthanized. Everywhere we can we will be intentional in involving younger persons in every facet of Convention work.

Ultimately under the Cross of Christ, we envision a continually growing Convention numerically, in financial strength, in greater support of Arkansas Baptist College, in mission support, in advancement of the kingdom of our Savior.