JEFFERSON CITY — Impacting the future through associations and the state convention working with local churches was the theme of the Oct. 9-11 Directors of Missions Fall Conference held here at the Baptist Building.
For Jim Wells, former DOM of Tri County Baptist Association, it was his first DOM gathering in his new position as Strategic Partners team leader for the Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC). Guided by MBC Executive Director John Yeats, Wells is an advocate for simple Kingdom service. Having begun June 1, he brings to his MBC role DOM experience that is seen as a plus.
“My commitment is to serve the churches, and I know that the teams in the Missouri Baptist Convention have the same commitment,” Wells said.
The role of the association is changing. Concepts like affinity and network are more in vogue. In the days to come associations will be retooled or even eliminated. Resources are scarce; DOMs know this.
“If we’re here for the sake of sharing the gospel, it is the role of the association to facilitate and resource the church to do that,” Wells said. “Resourcing may not be just dollars. It may be bringing manpower—the North American Mission Board, the Missouri Baptist Convention—to the table and helping them.”
Wells said that when he faced this as a DOM the outcome was a more strategically focused association that was able to identify its limitations. It also realized that it could confidently go forward doing some things well.
Yeats put it this way.
“We’ve got to stay fluid,” he said. “We’ve got to be able to respond to the churches and their heart. We can do this collectively and cooperatively, whether you want to call them associations or networks or affinity groups or just ‘the association’ as you have traditionally known it.”
Yeats believes in the concept of strategic partners, which is a new designation in MBC life. In the Baptist Building, Wells is the one team leader who offices the closest to the executive director.
“The largest network in the state is the network of associations,” Yeats said. “Bringing those associational leaders together to work with us collectively toward
reaching the state for Christ, making new disciples—the churches that we support and serve are on the front lines of doing that.
“It is a process of building relationships, strengthening this network, and facilitating the work that we do collectively and cooperatively to serve our churches in accomplishing Great Commission goals.”