The 2017 BSCLN National Celebration and Pastors Retreat, which was held on September 29-30, was a blessing to all who attended. We need to continue to work on participation by local pastors, but the pastors and wives who attended and the folks who came to show support for the BSCLN expressed their joy in God’s gracious work during our brief time together. Prior to the retreat, the BSCLN Board of Directors met and others gathered for fellowship, testimonies and snacks. Following our opening meal, we praised the Lord through song and were blessed richly by God’s Word. Craig Conner preached from the verses in Hebrews 11 that remind us that not all won great victories or experienced miraculous deliverance. Some suffered for their faith, proving that their faith to be authentic. Our breakout sessions were varied and well presented. The ladies present seemed to really have a great time as Sonya Tucker led teaching, sharing, and prayer sessions. Pastor’s wives who had been such from one month to fifty-four years laughed and talked and studied and prayed their way through through three great sessions. Tom Kinchen, President of the Baptist College of Florida, the co-sponsor of the event, dismissed us with a humorous but powerful sermon on the Acts 1:8 Church. If you were not able to attend this year’s National Celebration, please prayerfully plan to participate in next year’s event. It was a joy watching each person present play a significant role in making our Celebration a blessing. Your presence will add to the ministry mix of next year’s event. And please make every effort to bring a friend! Thanks.

Small Books, Big Impact!

Both secular and Christian publishers are discovering that in our busy day small, simple, well written books can produce a very powerful impact. In recent years, LifeWay has published a number of books that fit this description. These books can be very useful in smaller churches. The trend started with Thom Rainer’s set of small books on doing church well. They are:

I Am a Church Member, a book that reminds Christians of the Biblical necessity, responsibilities, and blessings of local church membership.
Autopsy of a Deceased Church, which explains why churches die and how to prevent decay and build a vital, mission minded church.
I Will, in which Christians are reminded of the power of five simple commitments.
Who Moved My Pulpit, and excellent introduction to change in the church with great advice concerning the do’s and don’ts.

Added to these more recently are:

I Am Going by Danny Akin and Bruce Ashford, an encouraging tool to launch your mission trip whether it is around the world or across the street.
Sing! by Keith and Kristyn Getty, a guide to worship for individuals, families and churches.
The Money Challenge by Art Rainer, which offers guidelines for developing a wise, Christian financial plan for individuals and families, especially recommended for pastors.
Pray Like This by Steve Gaines, a simple journey through the Lord’s Prayer that reminds us of the principles of prayer that Jesus taught His disciples.

These books are written to be used individually, in small groups or as a congregation. They are great for use on Sunday or Wednesday evenings. With careful planning, they can even be used on Sunday morning. Some of these titles are available in boxes of twenty for a greatly reduced price.

I am not telling you about these books because of the authors or the publisher, but because of their ministry value. One of the greatest seasons of spiritual awakening that I saw in a congregation as a pastor occurred when I discovered Oscar Thompson’s Concentric Circles of Concern, an introduction to relational evangelism. I didn’t know any better as a young pastor than to buy copies of the book and pass them around from family to family as I preached through the Biblical content and principles of the book. People were saved locally and among family members across the nation. Our mission was greatly blessed because new Christians discovered that they could be used by the Lord to minister to others through prayer, loving actions and witness. Revival occurred though we had no series of meetings seeking it.

The books mentioned above are designed to be used in a similar manner. Check them out. You might find just what you have been looking for as a ministry tool.