Reinventing Rural Old Convention Baptist Associations

In October the annual meeting of the association will be hosted by the Bethlehem and the Stansel congregations, both rural. This will be the 173rd anniversary meeting. The association has reinvented itself four times across these years. Let me describe and date each of these forms taken by the association, believing that the story of many of your associations will be very similar to mine.

ASP Vision

(1997-2017)We have stressed the need for associations to do strategy planning. When the HMB was closed down in 1996 we had had about 15 years of experience in using a particular process. We were wanting to revise it. I went ahead and developed a process in the months after the closing of the HMB. Since then NAMB has developed a new process which seems to be designed for large metropolitan settings. Here I offer a rural alternative.

Association Functions

It is important to understand the vitality and viability of an organization is tied to its understanding of its functions and its meeting of them.

Association Funds

This was an effort to help an association–taking a rational look at what it might expect in terms of financial resources.

Associational Missionary Role

Here I draw upon the insights of others to consider that basic functions that a DoM must address.

Association Reflections

Outline of a presentation I made to Kentucky DoMs about a year as a DoM.

Association Observations

It is important for associations to assert that they are full partners in the missions enterprise. Here are some of my thoughts related to this. They appeared in several state Baptist newspapers.

Bill of Rights and Responsibilities for Baptist Churches

Our church, collectively and individually, has the right to expect from our pastor the following characteristics and actions. But, we also recognize that each right carries with it corresponding responsibilities…

Concentric Rings

One of the mistakes Baptists have fallen into is speaking of levels. Baptists have no levels. Levels speak of hierarchy. Baptist work is on a flat plane. We have only larger and smaller rings of focus. I try to address this issue here.

J.C. Bradley’s Possible Scenarios for the Future

Prepared by my old colleague J. C. Bradley. A good piece for thought and discussion.

Questions for the ADoMs

Some questions that I developed to use in interviewing DoMs about the future.

Redford Rural

An interesting list by a former head of the Home Mission Board concerning the work of a DoM.

Toward a Sociology of Baptist Associationalism

As many of you know, for almost two decades prior to coming to the HMB in 1984 I was a college instructor in the field of sociology. I continue to approach my missionary work, in part, by employing the perspective of sociology as a means of comprehending and organizing my thoughts. What I wish to do today is share with you three sociological paradigms which can assist you in getting on top of your work as an associational missionary.

What DoMs Are Good At

This is a piece that I build off of the work of Loren Mead to look at the functions that a DoM needs to be effective in doing.

Dr. Gary Farley was the Director of Missions for the Pickens Baptist Association (1997-2017). From 1984 to 1997 he worked at the Home Mission Board in the Rural Church Program of the Southern Baptist Convention. In that role he published many articles pertaining to rural church and community life. Many of these articles have been collected here as a small library. We invite you to freely distribute these materials under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.