Alabama Baptist entity leaders provided ministry reports to messengers to the 2022 Alabama Baptist State Convention during the annual meeting Nov. 15–16 .
Here is a summary:
Rod Marshall, president and CEO of the Alabama Baptist Children’s Homes & Family Ministries, urged Alabama Baptists to keep “praying for our children, praying for our families, praying for our ministry.” Marshall spoke of the need for foster homes for children in care, homes that will “introduce these children to the God of hope,” and asked those present to “help us recruit foster families in our churches.”
Russell Klinner, executive director of Shocco Springs Baptist Conference Center, noted how Shocco ministers to campers and groups throughout the year, but also to the 250 or so employees that work on campus. “At Shocco, it is a consistent every year, without doubt, that lives are changed,” Klinner said. “Your Cooperative Program gifts help us do that.”
Marie Cook, manager of Baptist Village in Dothan, a campus of the Alabama Baptist Retirement Centers, shared stories of aging residents who celebrated birthdays and eternal home-goings and volunteers who pitched in during the challenging days of the pandemic. Such stories illustrate how the Retirement Centers “will continue to minister to our residents the best that we can no matter what the circumstances are,” Cook said.
Candace McIntosh, executive director of Alabama Woman’s Missionary Union, said Alabama WMU is celebrating “the goodness of God [who] allows us to be just a small part of His work.”
McIntosh noted the return of Missions Adventure Camp to WorldSong Missions Place following the pandemic and the commissioning of the first Hispanic Women’s Leadership Team in Alabama, who held their first missions discipleship training. “I look forward to the day when God calls out Hispanic youth … to be His hands and feet among the nations,” McIntosh said. McIntosh added that a preliminary count shows Alabama WMU exceeded its goal to collect 12,000 Christmas backpacks this year, which means “the true Christmas story will go to 13,000 children, and their families will have the opportunity to hear the gospel.”
The Baptist Foundation of Alabama
John Ashworth, president of The Baptist Foundation of Alabama, thanked Alabama Baptists “not only for the report that we receive from you all but for the opportunity we have to serve you.” He said TBFA wants to help churches thrive financially and do even more ministry.
Alabama Baptist Historical Commission
Lonette Berg, executive director of the Alabama Baptist Historical Commission, recognized Pat Musselwhite, ABHC administrative assistant, who is retiring in February.
“Thank you for what you’ve done for me, for the historical commission and for Alabama Baptists,” Berg said. “We love you.”
Berg also shared the story of a church whose historical minutes and the story therein could have been lost but were preserved through the microfilm resources available through the ABHC. She invited Alabama Baptists to get in touch so ABHC can “help your church preserve its records free of charge so we can continue to protect and celebrate the story of Kingdom work through Alabama Baptists.”
Alabama Citizens Action Program
Greg Davis, CEO and president of Alabama Citizens Action Program, said ALCAP is celebrating transitions this year — transition to a new leader and transition to a new building.
“We’re your missionaries to Montgomery. We’re representing you in a way that’s hard for you to do,” Davis said, referring to the presence they have during the legislative session at the Statehouse. “You can’t be walking the halls, attending committee meetings and speaking out on the issues that have negative effects.”
ALCAP is privileged to do that on behalf of Alabama Baptists, he said.
Christian Life Commission
Bill Morgan, chairman of the Christian Life Commission, reported on their work and said Alabama Baptists are celebrating the overturning of Roe v. Wade.
“But it’s not over, folks,” he said. “We need to continue to pray, we need to continue to be involved, we need to continue to minister to those who are hurting.”
The Alabama Baptist
Jennifer Davis Rash, president and editor-in-chief of The Alabama Baptist, shared that TAB is celebrating four things — the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, the Alabama Baptist family, the faithfulness of the TAB staff and the expanded vision of TAB media group.
“You are why we exist,” she said. “You make it possible, and we’re here for you, so we thank you for that.”
University of Mobile
University of Mobile President Lonnie Burnett said that despite the challenges of the pandemic, the deaths of faculty members and other difficult circumstances, there has been a lot to celebrate in his three years at UM’s helm.
“Two of my core beliefs have been proven correct,” he said. “We have at this university the very best people, and God is faithful.”
Burnett said the UM community has seen God’s faithfulness in every area, and he expressed gratitude to Alabama Baptists for their continued support of UM and the Cooperative Program.
Board of Aid to Students in Church-Related Vocations
Randy Johnson, chair of the Board of Aid to Students in Church-Related Vocations, also thanked Alabama Baptists for their support of the Cooperative Program.
“What we do is a result of your faithfulness to the Cooperative Program,” Johnson told messengers.
The Board of Aid provides scholarship aid to students at the University of Mobile who are preparing for church-related vocations.
Samford University Beck Taylor said his first year at Samford has been a “delight.” He said he has enjoyed visiting Alabama Baptist associations and churches and sharing what’s happening at Samford with them. He also highlighted a record 927 students in this year’s freshmen class and successful fundraising and building projects.
Taylor acknowledged the recent controversy at Samford regarding LGBTQ concerns.
“Friends, I want you to hear my heart on this,” Taylor said. “I don’t need to tell you that this is an important issue facing our churches, facing our Christian universities. There’s no running from this. The cultural headwinds are blowing strongly.
“We want to love … we want to serve our students well. At the same time, our Christian commitment, our mission, calls us to stand on the Bible. What else can we stand on? … You have my commitment that as long as I am president of Samford University, Samford will always stand on truth, particularly as it relates to God’s design for human sexuality and marriage.”
Taylor said he and the Samford community appreciate the prayers of Alabama Baptists as they navigate contemporary challenges and strive to “lovingly and graciously talk about truth as well as grace. … Simply put, our mission at Samford is to help students grow closer to Jesus Christ while they’re on our campus.”
Read more about the past year of ministry through Alabama Baptist entities in the 2022 issue of Fruitful. Click here to download this year’s issue.