AN ENCOURAGING WORD FROM TERRY
July 19, 2021
First, let me say the state of our association is good and God is moving among us in wonderful ways. As we continue to open back up post covid, we are seeing life come back to many churches after many months of uncertainty. Sunday School is coming back to life, weekly missions’ groups are meeting once again, the gospel is being shared as never before and many are coming to new life in Christ (the baptisms are up), outreach is increasing, VBS is back, summer youth camps are back, revival services are returning, mission trips are occurring once again, mission rallies are returning, fellowship is occurring once again, attendance is beginning to tick up even during the summer slump, and there seems to be a new sense of joy among God’s people within our association. While there are still many hurdles on this journey of recovery, I am overly optimistic about our future. The challenges we continue to face are not overwhelming to the point God cannot handle them, but we must be willing to allow Him to work out all things in His time and allow Him to recreate that “New Song” (Ps. 40:3) in us as we view our ministries in new and fresh ways.
To be sure there have been casualties during this time and many have experienced deep loss both physically and spiritually. Obviously, we mourn with those who experienced loss and pray for the recovery of the families affected. Additionally, we pray for the churches who have suffered loss as well. Another hurdle we have before us is the social temperature that has been heated up by bad politics, misinformation, and people with agendas that do not honor and glorify God. Racial battles have become more of an issue than they should, primarily from people, again, with wrong agendas. Just last week, while on a connecting flight from Chicago to Norfolk and heading home, Greta and I sat next to an African American Bishop who works with 37 churches in the city of Chicago. During our delightful conversation he indicated to me, after living through the horrible violence being experienced where he lives (we have it good here folks), that the problem is not race, but rather a lack of Jesus in the hearts of those involved in the violence both perpetrating it and attempting to fix it politically. In fact, my new friend Bishop Gerald Anderson joined me in calling for a Holy Spirit, barn burning, and no-holds-barred revival to return within the churches of America, therefore leading to a change in our society that would bring glory to the Father. That would include us folks. Oh, that we would see and feel, once again, the powerful movement of God among His people who would then touch those without Him and follow the mandate to “Make Disciples” (Matt. 28:20)!
Secondly, please allow me to update you guys on my health. No doubt many of you have heard I had a bit of a setback a couple of weeks ago that required a brief hospital stay. While many, including Greta and I, believed I had had a heart attack, the good news was and is I DID NOT! In fact, the condition I was diagnosed with is “pericarditis” which is an inflammation of the sac that surrounds the heart. While this is a serious condition, it is very treatable, and I am undergoing the prescribed steps to recover from this issue. Additionally, by discovering this issue it may explain some of the other issues I have faced in the last 5 years. In short, my heart is doing good, I am feeling better, and am learning to adjust my schedule to allow the kind of healing for me to continue to serve the best association in the state of North Carolina.
Finally, given the situation we all find ourselves in, it is time to reevaluate the ministries we have and seek new ways to reach the communities we all love. This reevaluation will involve assessments that I am beginning to accomplish, training that is designed to meet your needs, and a renewed sense, from your associational leadership, to make the West Chowan Baptist Association one of the best sources of resources to assist you in achieving God’s will for your congregations and lives. This season we find ourselves in is difficult but is clearly something we can overcome. Working together, participating together, and giving to the cause will certainly go along way in preparing us for what is next from our Lord!
So, what does your church need to accomplish His will within your ministry? What can the association do to assist in your journey? What do we all need to do for the world to know He loves them and for them to know we love them? Finally, remember we, at the association, stand ready to serve you. In fact, that assistance is only a phone call, text, or email away. Our contact information is the following: 252-332-3235 (office), 252-241-5872 (cell phone), and by email at email@example.com. The association email is firstname.lastname@example.org. I want to leave you with a picture that helped me realize, once again, what God has blessed us with and reminded us of what is important in life after our relationship with Jesus: family! Remember, I love you and consider it an honor to serve you!