'Boot camp' links First Baptist & area churches
MADISONVILLE, Ky. (BP) -- A county seat First Baptist Church and the local Baptist association have entered into a partnership to send pastors to "boot camp."
The monthly training event, based loosely on the Old Testament book of Nehemiah, addresses 12 topics relevant to church revitalization, such as discovering current reality; repentance and prayer in the life of the leader; receiving God's vision; and dealing with conflict. Each session offers specific instruction by providing a speaker and related resources.
Cost for the 12-month event is being shared by First Baptist and the 48-church association.
In an interview, Stephen Seaford, transitional interim pastor of First Baptist, and Bill Egbert, director of missions for the Little Bethel Baptist Association, explained why they wanted to partner for the training initiative.
Seaford said that as a transitional interim he wants to see First Baptist take a lead in ministering to pastors and churches in the area. The church has a great facility and resources that could be a blessing to the larger church community, he noted. He also wants to strengthen relationships between the church, the association and the Kentucky Baptist Convention.
Egbert agreed that First Baptist is an excellent host church and that an effort for undergirding church leaders is needed.
Egbert said he would like for pastors and churches to recognize the need for revitalization and put action plans in place. The first step toward revitalization, he said, entails discovering how things are in one's place of ministry, then taking steps to address issues that have emerged.
Egbert said the leaders involved thus far "have loved it" and shown a desire to serve Jesus and to see their churches strengthened. And he feels the meetings have strengthened his relationship with pastors.
Seaford would like for participants to see that revitalization indeed is possible and to realize that they are not alone in regard to ministry locally and with the state convention.
Ministry can be a lonely occupation, Seaford said, and he hopes participants will recognize they are not in competition but in cooperation with each other and will encourage each other.
For First Baptist, there has been a sense of satisfaction in serving other churches, Seaford said, noting that the congregation feels good about offering their facility, staff, resources and meal preparation to benefit others.
Seaford said he has sought to help First Baptist realize that "our mission is bigger than us and that we can reach beyond our local church and minister to pastors and churches."