By Anna Keller
Correspondent, The Alabama Baptist
Some might say Community Baptist Church, Maylene, has an impressive list of ongoing ministries as well as several ventures on the horizon for 2017.
One of those ventures includes plans to partner with Flatbush Reformed Dutch Church, Long Island, New York, for its first long-term partnership.
Some of the other ministries Community Baptist is a part of include hosting a “Night to Shine” — a prom night for kids 14 and older with special needs — in partnership with the Tim Tebow Foundation; an ongoing
Community Women Connecting ministry which will host a retreat in late April; and helping provide women with tools to grow in their relationships with each other and with God.
The church is vibrant, with attendance consistently around 350 to 400.
Oh yeah, and one more detail — none of the church staff members are full-time.
Each staff member works either in a part-time position or serves bivocationally, juggling a “day job” alongside his or her ministry role.
Matt Monk, who has served as the church’s education minister since 2010, also works as an internal coding auditor for Brookwood Baptist Health in Birmingham. He says something that’s been critical to Community Baptist’s staff success has been to intentionally cultivate strong relationships with the church’s deacons and lay leaders.
“For a bivocational church to be successful and grow, the staff must work hand-in-hand with the deacons and lay leaders,” Monk said. “The deacons don’t run the church or act like ‘church bosses’ but they serve the church by supporting and providing accountability to the staff as well as minister to our church members.
Without a strong deacon body we would not be able to do what God has called us to do. We also have strong
lay leaders that we work with to make sure each age group is ministered to in our church.”
Monk credits the church’s emphasis on technology as being important to its ministry success as well. These channels help both church members and staff feel connected easily, he said. Community Baptist regularly uses email, Skype, Facebook, Periscope and other online outlets to communicate with members, sharing event reminders, prayer requests and more. They use Periscope to live-stream their Sunday services, and one Sunday School class started using Facebook Live to allow those who can’t attend to be a part of the lesson.
Bo Brown, who works as an assistant module manager for the Social Security Administration in addition to serving as the church’s pastor, advises other churches to ensure the correct staff becomes part of the team, especially if the church needs to rely on part-time and/or bivocational staff.
“What I mean by ‘the right staff’ is to hire those who do not see the job as part time or as a stepping stone but instead are called by God to your church and have a heart to change the world,” Brown said. “Vision and leadership come from the top down so having a staff that will not settle and always have a burning desire to build God’s kingdom is key.”
Enabling not only staff to be who God has called them to be, but also making sure volunteers and other lay leaders have license to bring their gifts and callings to the table, has helped their church thrive too. Brown’s seen others carry more than their weight to keep ministry, outreach and other programs and tasks going.
“They say that statistically 10 percent of the people in a church do 90 percent of the work but in our church it’s more 50/50,” Brown said. “Bivocational ministry makes Acts 2:41–47 come to life, seeing everyone — every church member — take a servant role toward one another.
“For the record, there is no such thing in our church as ‘part-time,’” Brown said. “We all give everything we have to a God who deserves our best.”