Thank you to the churches and messengers that joined in the Annual Fall Session of Union Baptist Association. The Union Baptist Association was formed in 1854. The association exists because the churches decided they could do more together than separately. They also joined together for fellowship purposes. The Baptist churches in Union County shared a common theology. They were committed to a common mandate of carrying out Christ’s mission in Acts 1:8. We as Southern Baptists have a great heritage.
Thinking about this, I remembered that my mother was raised a Primitive Baptist, but later changed churches to become a missionary Baptist. Missionary Baptist came to be known as Southern Baptist. The title was missionary because they believed in missions. We don’t use that title today, but we have the same mandate that formed the name. Today, we hear phrases like ‘Baptists on Mission’. So the title changed, but the meaning is the same.
Baptists formed an association to fellowship and work together. Sometimes I hear people say they are Independent Baptists. I am not sure what that means. Even the so called independent churches work with other independent churches. Southern Baptists are ‘self-governing’ or autonomous. That means the church decides it policies, and direction. I am not sure a church can be more independent than Southern Baptists. The church can choose the Pastor, where they spend money, how to receive members, worship style, worship music, what programs to be used, what missions to support or none, version of the Bible to use, type of dress, and you can continue to add to the list. This sounds and looks very independent to me. Yes, Southern Baptists are very independent, but choose to work together to support missions and for fellowship.
Southern Baptist churches can even be part of the local association and never participate in anything that the association provides and promotes. But it would appear to me that at least churches would send messengers to the annual session once a year for fellowship and to show they want to work together in missions. Let’s encourage all our churches to associate together by attending associational meetings!