The BSCLN summers always start with preparation for and participation in the annual Southern Baptist Convention. The 2017 SBC will be held on June 13-14 in Phoenix, Arizona. I will not be attending this year. I’ll say more about that in a moment. However, we will be well represented by BSCLN Board members and Regional Consultants. Cliff Woodman, Bobby Clark, Henry Luckel and Shannon Smith will represent us at the our booth and luncheon. I suspect that Willie McLaurin will also be there. It’s possible that additional members of the Board of Directors and/or Regional Consultants will also attend. I appreciate these men attending the convention and representing us. This yearly opportunity enables us to meet new friends and let messengers from all spheres of Southern Baptist life know that we exist and what our mission is. Please join me in praying that the Lord will use this year’s SBC to further the BSCLN’s ability to engage and encourage bivocational and single staff pastors.
The North American Mission Board will partner with us again this year to provide a convention luncheon for bivocational pastors on Wednesday at noon. I deeply appreciate their investment of $5,000.00 in this ministry. NAMB has recently appointed Brad Briscoe of Kansas City to serve as its first Director of Bivocational Church Planting. Brad will be our special guest at the luncheon. He will remind us of the critical importance of bivocationals in Southern Baptists efforts to plant thousands of new churches across our nation. I have a meeting with Brad planned for this summer. We will explore the possibilities of a partnership between the BSCLN and NAMB in this exciting area of ministry. Cliff Woodman and Bobby Clark will also speak on behalf of the BSCLN. Free tickets for the BSCLN Luncheon at the Southern Baptist Convention will be available at the BSCLN booth. They will be given first come, first serve. The room capacity for this event is 175.
Our North by Northwest emphasis is underway. This is an effort, in part funded by a grant from First Baptist Church of Nashville, to strengthen enrichment ministries for bivocational pastors in nine state conventions in the northern and western portions of our nation. These states lost many associational missionaries and some state convention staff members due to re-prioritization by mission agencies and tightening budgets. I deeply appreciate FBCN’s concern for these state conventions and their churches. We at the BSCLN look forward to adding additional resources to this grant to encourage pastors, their wives and the churches they serve. Henry Luckel, Larry Orange and I will represent the BSCLN. We will work with leaders within each N by NW convention to find creative ways to minister to their pastors.
Please remember the 2017 BSCLN National Celebration that is coming up on September 29-30. We will meet at Blue Springs Baptist Assembly in Marianna, FL, just one hour north of the beautiful Gulf Coast. The Baptist College of Florida will be our co-host for this event. We will have great worship music and preaching, helpful and practical breakout seminars, and the opportunity to fellowship with pastors, associational missionaries, state convention staff and educators from across the SBC. This will be a spiritual, practical, affordable retreat in a beautiful setting for all who participate. You will be able to register for this event on the BSCLN website beginning on June 15th.
Back to my reason for not attending the 2017 Southern Baptist Convention. My 43 year old daughter, Angie, has been discovered to have a tumor at the back of her brain. The doctors believe strongly that it is benign, not cancerous. But it is also a threat to her facial nerves and has to be either removed or rendered dead. The situation is somewhat fluid, but it will be dealt with in mid-June and I did not feel that I could be away from Bolivar, Mo at this time. Angie and her family live in Bolivar and both she and the family will appreciate Nana and Papa being close at hand throughout the month. The greatest concerns of the doctors are the things that can complicate any surgery- infection, bleeding, etc. Of course, the family wants confirmation that the tumor is benign. Please pray for Angie Cochran. Her husband Rich is Discipleship Pastor at First Baptist Church of Bolivar. Your prayers will be deeply appreciated. I will update you next month.