Our ministry display booth at the 2017 Southern Baptist Convention in Phoenix proved to be very productive. We have already filled several resource orders that came from contacts made there, including books for Hispanic pastors in New Mexico and several cases of books for a deaf pastors conference in Alabama. By the way, we are having Shepherding the Sheep in the Small Church (Spanish Version) reprinted and are working on a Spanish edition of Uniquely Bivocational by Ray Gilder. Several pages of email addresses were also added to our working list. We have already initiated arrangements to display at the 2018 SBC in Dallas.

I was not able to be in Phoenix, but Cliff Woodman (our Chairman of our Board), Henry Luckel (Board member and Regional Consultant) and Shannon Smith (Regional Consultant) represented us wonderfully. Shannon arrived early to set up and represent the BSCLN at the Conference of Associational Leaders and Cliff and Henry joined him for the Pastors Conference and SBC. I want to thank these men for a great effort and a very fruitful week of ministry in Phoenix.

The North American Mission Board co-sponsored our BSCLN Pastors Luncheon which followed the closing session of the convention. They invested $5,000.00 in this effort. We deeply appreciate their interest in our ministry. Brad Briscoe, NAMB’s newly appointed Director of Bivocational Church Planting, introduced this emphasis to the luncheon attendees. NAMB has come to realize that if they are to plant thousands of churches across our nation in the coming decade, it will require many bivocational participants. Bivocational planters will take the pressure off of new churches with respect to raising support for a full time pastor quickly. They will also make the Annie Armstrong Offerings for North American Missions go much further. The BSCLN will continue to relate to NAMB’s church planting efforts. We anticipate small SBC churches becoming prayer partners with church planters and eventually sending mission teams to assist in their efforts. The BSCLN can play a significant role in this process to God’s glory and for the reaching of the lost.

Many smaller churches are worried about reaching younger adults in order to keep their churches alive. Millennials would much rather go and do than come and watch. Becoming a mission active church is good for what ails most Baptist churches. Please forgive me for reverting to my Director of Missions mode. Sometimes I just can’t help it!

The 2017 BSCLN National Celebration will be held at Baptist College of Florida: Blue Springs Campus in Marianna, FL on September 29-30. The Baptist College of Florida, where our friend Tom Kinchen serves as president, will co-sponsor this retreat. There are 96 motel type rooms and 30 RV hook-ups. You may make reservations by calling Laura Sowell, Dr. Kinchen’s Ministry Assistant, at 850-263-9046. The cost is $105.00 per individual or $135.00 per couple.

You may recall from my last update that I did not go to Phoenix because my 43 year old daughter, Angie, was diagnosed with a benign brain tumor and was scheduled to have surgery on June 5. As it turned out, she was sent to a specialist in Kansas City. Because there is a 3-4% chance of leaving irreversible damage with this type of surgery, the Doctor at St. Luke’s prefers to monitor the tumor and take it out as late as possible. She will have MRI’s on a regular schedule and have the surgery at the appropriate time. Angie waited throughout June for a work in appointment and received this news on June 15. Thank you for your prayers and for your many expressions of concern.

Have a great summer. See you in Florida!

Larry Barnes
Interim Executive Director