Sorry this so long but…
My name is Ken Thompson and I’ve been asked to serve as the Part-Time, Interim, Associational Missional Strategist (Wow! That’s a mouthful!). Since 2021, I’ve served on staff at the Suncoast Baptist Association as an associate staff member and as an Interim Administrator too. Along with serving the SBA, I’ve also had the privilege to plant and pastor Bay Cities Fellowship for the past six years(!!). However, more recently, I have been asked by our Guidance Team to provide leadership at a higher level as Interim AMS while they continue their search for a permanent solution.
That said, please allow me to say the obvious: our Association is in trouble. Not financially (yet, thankfully) but certainly relationally, missionally, and I would even dare say, spiritually too. Since 2020, we’ve all felt the trends, societally and personally, towards isolation and individualization. Consequently, our churches and pastors have grown further apart than ever before and our collaborative activity barely exists, if at all. This is no indictment but merely my observation as an SBA staff member as an SBA Pastor too.
As Southern Baptist Pastors, we’ve historically cooperated in local Associations, in our State Conventions, and through a variety of national initiatives and events (Annual Convention Meeting, Seminaries, Mission Boards, etc.). Yet, for us in the Suncoast Baptist Association, especially over the past few years, we’ve grown apart in both camaraderie and cooperation. However, I believe that can change if we’re ready and willing to act.
As I’ve considered the state of our Association, my thoughts have been drawn to a familiar story in Scripture. In the first chapter of Nehemiah, we learn of a tumultuous but catalytic moment for God’s people. The text tells us that “The remnant in the province, who survived the exile, are in great trouble and disgrace. Jerusalem’s wall has been broken down, and its gates have been burned.” When [Nehemiah] heard these words, [He] sat down and wept. [He] mourned for a number of days, fasting and praying before the God of the heavens” (Nehemiah 1:3-4).
At our Annual Meeting on 10/12/23, I would like for us to gather for a moment of lamenting over our present condition, but also, an evening of asking God to begin renewing, restoring, and rebuilding the Suncoast Baptist Association. Will you join me?
Here are two simple ways we can begin cooperating together again:
1) Register (and attend!) our annual meeting by clicking here.
2) Fill out this short form by clicking here.
In the meantime, if you have any questions or concern, you can call/text me at (727) 530-0431 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, if you’d like to schedule a meeting, in person or virtually, just click here.
See you soon,