Marion Baptist Association churches see God at work

Marion Baptist Association churches see God at work

Keith Box said he feels privileged to get to be the one to sit behind the desk at Marion Baptist Association.

“These churches have a heart for missions work and evangelism,” said Box, who serves as director of missions. “It’s a very active association.”

It’s an association that’s on the small side, he said — its 21 churches range in size from about 15 to 550 in attendance.
But they’re hard at work. More than 70 people from across the association’s churches went on a recent missions trip to Lamar County. One church held a judgment house in October and saw God really move, Box said. Some others have held joint Christmas programs this month.

“It’s a very missions-minded association,” he said. “They believe in trying to share the gospel here at home with the people we live with and work with.”

One of those missions-minded churches is Hines Memorial Baptist Church, Bear Creek, where Pastor Ricky Mann has served for a total of 40 years — four years the first time, then for the past 36.

The church, which is out in the woods, runs about 200 on Sunday mornings, with between 20 and 50 youth on Wednesday nights.

Like a family

“We’re a millennial church now,” Mann said. “Young people want something real, and we’re just trying to give it to them.”

They operate like a family, he said. They take care of the older people in the community. They raise money for missions efforts and disaster relief, and over the years they’ve tried creative ministries like archery outreach.

Box said they “do church a little bit different,” but they’re drawing people from five towns around them.

“It’s a unique church. They’re really out in the country, but people are coming,” he said. “There are a lot of young folks there who are wanting to do Kingdom work. And that’s a blessing.” (Grace Thornton)