For the best experience, please make sure that Javascript is turned on in your browser settings

ABSC Annual Meeting Tuesday afternoon session informs and inspires
A performance by Williams Baptist University (WBU) choir led by Bob Magee, chair, department of music and director of choral activities at WBU, opened Williams’ annual report to the convention. Photo by Margaret Colson

ABSC Annual Meeting Tuesday afternoon session informs and inspires

Oct 23, 2018

Margaret Colson
Arkansas Baptist News

JONESBORO – The Tuesday afternoon session of the 2018 Arkansas Baptist State Convention (ABSC) Annual Meeting Oct. 23 at Central Baptist Church, Jonesboro, opened with a Master’Singers instrumental ensemble performance followed by worship led by a team from Word Baptist Church, Jonesboro, and focused prayer led by David Cox, pastor, Mt. Carmel Missionary Baptist Church, Plumerville.

Williams Baptist University report and choir

A performance by Williams Baptist University (WBU) choir led by Bob Magee, chair, department of music and director of choral activities at WBU, opened Williams’ annual report to the convention.

A brief video highlighted numerous 2018 accomplishments for the university, including the school’s transition to university status, the naming of Stan Norman as the seventh president of the university, additions and renovations in the school’s facilities and new academic offerings, among other accomplishments.

Norman then gave his first report on behalf of the university. His report included research highlighting the value of Christian higher education, saying, “The need for Christian higher education is as great as it’s ever been.” He said that Williams equips its students to be salt and light for Christ in the secular world.

He urged attendees “to continue to support us and give to the Cooperative Program. …
We could not do what we do without your partnership.” He also asked for prayer for WBU.

In a surprise reference to a hit song, “I Want You to Want Me,” by 1970s rock band Cheap Trick, Norman said, “I want you to want us. I need you to need us. I want you to see what we do as a part of what you do. I want you to understand that the essence of a Baptist university is an extension of the local church.”

With his message punctuated by applause and sometimes laughter, Norman said, “It’s a good day to be in Walnut Ridge, Arkansas. It’s a good day to be at Williams Baptist University.

“The best is yet to come, and we want you to be a part of the Williams Baptist University journey,” Norman said.

Missions team report

The ABSC missions team presented its 2018 report via video. The video highlighted various aspects of the missions team responsibilities, including disaster relief, community ministries, the Acts 1:8 One Day Mission Trip, Dixie Jackson Missions Offering, Arkansas Woman’s Missionary Union and more.

It was reported that the Dixie Jackson Arkansas Missions Offering exceeded its goal by raising more than $1.6 million for missions. The 2018 Acts 1:8 One Day Mission Trip involved more than 2,000 Arkansas Baptists in missions and resulted in many professions of faith, which are being followed up by local churches. Disaster relief continues to be deployed to areas hit hard by natural disaster, helping individuals in recovery efforts while sharing the gospel. Also, a new booklet directing Arkansas Baptists in 15 days of prayer for unreached people groups has been developed.

Miscellaneous business

Greg Sykes, pastor of First Baptist Church, Russellville, and president of the ABSC, moderated a miscellaneous business session. During this brief session, Arkansas Baptists voted unanimously to dedicate the 2018 annual to Ben Elrod, recently deceased and retired president of Ouachita Baptist University, and David Perry, who is retiring as president of Arkansas Baptist Children’s Homes and Family Ministries.

ABSC nominating committee report

Arkansas Baptists unanimously adopted the ABSC nominating committee report presented by Brian Whitney, pastor, First Baptist Church, Searcy, and chairman of the 2018 convention nominating committee. A full list of nominees was published in the Sept. 20, 2018, edition of Arkansas Baptist News.

Arkansas Faith and Ethics Council

Following worship by a team from Word Baptist Church, Jonesboro, Larry Page, executive director, Arkansas Faith and Ethics Council, presented his 2018 report. Page focused on Issue 4, which would authorize casino gambling in four Arkansas counties and is to be voted on by Arkansas voters on Nov. 6.

“This is a really sorry piece of public policy,” he said, noting that it “violates a number of biblical principles” and supports “an industry that is predatory.” He also highlighted numerous facts about how gambling negatively impacts society.

Casting a missions vision panel

Sykes moderated a panel discussion focusing on how pastors can cast a missions vision. Panelists were: Jay Ham, equipping pastor-mission/outreach, First Baptist Church, Russellville; Archie Mason, senior pastor, Central Baptist Church, Jonesboro; Wyman Richardson, pastor, Central Baptist Church, North Little Rock, and Sam Roberts, senior pastor, First Baptist Church, Stuttgart.

Panelists discussed how to cast a missions vision, how to recruit missions leaders, how to train missions volunteers and how to create missions partnerships.

Mason explained, “A vision is a picture of a preferred future,” and he urged pastors to “paint that picture every day.”

Ham credited a legacy of a missions vision at First Baptist Church, Russellville, as a key in keeping a missions vision part of a church’s identity.

Roberts said that when missions leaders “rise to the top,” it’s important to get these leaders in front of other church members so they can share their missions passion. Richardson explained the importance of “empowering” lay leaders to serve as missions leaders.

In training missions volunteers, Ham said that his church examined how the International Mission Board trains its volunteers and then “streamlined” that process for their missions volunteers.

Many missions partnerships form in the hallways of the state convention annual meeting each year as church leaders get to know one another, Roberts said. Panelists also pointed to ABSC staff who stand ready to assist in developing missions partnerships, and Richardson said that often such partnerships “develop organically. Churches that love missions will do missions.”

Sykes concluded the panel discussion by saying, “Once you get a missions DNA going, it has a life and breath of its own, and you just have to get out of the way.”

Following another time of worship led by a team from Word Baptist Church, Jonesboro, Mason preached a sermon on the Great Commission (read related story here).

The afternoon session concluded with prayer led by Chris Roller, pastor of students, First Baptist Church, Rogers.

Contact Margaret Colson at


Share this: