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A Word From Bro. Mike

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A Fitting Tribute

Wednesday, January 04, 2017 View Comments Comments (0)
A Fitting Tribute
by Dr. Mike McLemore
January 5, 2017
On Sunday afternoon, December 4th, Wanda and I had the wonderful opportunity to be in the service where First Baptist Church of Rocky Ridge and Celebration Church honored Dr. Lowell Vann, the pastor of Rocky Ridge Church, for 60 years in ministry.
Oh, what a delightful service it was! I have known Dr. Vann and his dear wife, Myra, for over 40 years.  He was my art professor while a student at Samford. Wanda and I were members of Green Valley Baptist Church in 1974 and while there, we got to know Dr. and Mrs. Vann on a more personal basis.
Dr. Vann was licensed in the ministry by First Baptist Church in Cullman, Alabama, in 1953 and ordained in 1956.
He has been a teacher, teaching in the schools in Cullman in his early years, and later went on to teach at The University of Alabama and at Samford University.
Dr. Vann has pastored churches in Cullman, Tuscaloosa, Birmingham, and Tallassee, Alabama.
He has been the Pastor at First Baptist Church of Rocky Ridge since 1992. The church just joined with Celebration Church, a new church plant that has been deeded the property of the church.
Their vision is for Celebration Church to continue the work in the community in the future. Both churches meet in the facility with separate worship services and styles.
Dr. David Bradford, Pastor of Celebration Church, and Dr. Vann have given great leadership to both churches in their partnership of ministry.
They are presently engaged in a renovation building program to help provide more efficient space in the facility. It is a beautiful thing to behold when you see two generations of Christians come together to share one vision for the work of the Lord in the future.  
This group of Christians gets it! They are willing to do whatever is needed to insure that the work of the Lord continues in the Rocky Ridge community.
What a model of togetherness and faithfulness these two churches give us in the BBA family.  I pray that many more of our churches will consider doing the same thing as they face the challenges of the future in their communities. To God Be the Glory!
In the work together,
Bro. Mike

Merry Christmas to All!

Wednesday, January 04, 2017 View Comments Comments (0)
Merry Christmas to All!
by Dr. Mike McLemore
December 22, 2016
Well, Christmas 2016 has arrived and we are all getting ready to gather with family and friends to celebrate the coming of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
The Christmas story is a story above all stories.  What a wonderful revelation that God gave to man on that holy night. He revealed His plan for his Son to come to bring salvation to all who will believe on the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Our salvation was made available because of the love and grace of God that was demonstrated for the whole world to see at Calvary. As the songwriter expressed, “Years I spent in vanity and pride; caring not my Lord was crucified. Till my guilty soul imploring turned to Calvary. Mercy there was great and grace was free! Pardon there was multiplied to me. There my burdened soul found liberty, at Calvary!”
Oh, yes…Jesus’ earthly ministry began in a stable and was finished on an old rugged cross! On that holy night in Bethlehem, God became man so that man could become a child of God by faith.
As we celebrate His advent, let us celebrate our acceptance by Him. It is “in Him” that we find peace, joy, love, and fulfillment in life.
Oh, let the bells of heaven ring this week as we bow before Him in worship; sing the songs of Zion; and look up to heaven and catch a holy glimpse of his glory!
Merry Christmas to all of you from your staff at the Birmingham Baptist Association!  Thank you for your prayers and support of our ministries together!
Yours in the Christ of Christmas,
Bro. Mike 

Sharing the Love of Jesus

Wednesday, January 04, 2017 View Comments Comments (0)
Sharing the Love of Jesus
by Dr. Mike McLemore
December 15, 2016
During the week of Thanksgiving the BBA partnered with Daniel Cason’s ministries to host a community-wide Thanksgiving meal for the community as well as providing clothing, sacks of groceries, free medical screenings, haircuts, and above all, an opportunity to share the Gospel at two praise and worship services.
What a day it was! Over 3,000 were in attendance and a full Thanksgiving meal was enjoyed by all.
As always, I brought greetings from our churches.  I want to express appreciation to the churches in the BBA family who helped with volunteers and who also provided food, clothing, and other items for this event.  Thank you so very much!
The BBA helps secure the Bill Harris arena at the Crossplex where this event takes place each year.  I am so grateful that the churches of our association can be represented in this way to help minister to the needs of the people in the Western area of our city. It is a beautiful demonstration of the love of Jesus.
The next time someone asks you, “What does the BBA do?” You can share about this ministry along with the other 13-14 different ministries our churches support in an effort to meet needs to change lives.
I do not know of any association in our state or our SBC that gives leadership and helps facilitate as many ministries in the inner-city and surrounding areas as the Birmingham Baptist Association.
God has truly blessed us with great pastors and churches that really care for people and are willing to join hands and hearts to do what we can to minister the grace of our Lord to those in need all around us!
Thank you all for your support of your association!  Let me take this opportunity to wish all of you a very blessed Christmas and a great New Year as we embark on 2017!
May the Lord bless you all REAL GOOD!
Yours for the Christ of Christmas,
Bro. Mike

A Wonderful Experience

Wednesday, January 04, 2017 View Comments Comments (0)
A Wonderful Experience
by Dr. Mike McLemore
December 8, 2016
On Sunday afternoon, November 20th, Wanda and I joined with the congregations of Brookwood Baptist Church and True Vine Baptist Church to dedicate the sanctuary of the old Inglenook Baptist Church in the Tarrant area for services again.
The BBA received the property from Inglenook Baptist Church when it closed several years ago. I will never forget when their pastor, Rev. Wayne Campbell, came to me to tell me the church was down to 8 members and they could no longer keep it up.
Later, I went to the church to do a walk-through and as he and I sat down on the front pew in the sanctuary, he began to cry. I also cried as he said to me, “Bro. Mike, this has been a great church and it breaks my heart to have to close it down. I don’t guess it will ever be filled again.”
I replied to Bro. Wayne, “Whether it will be filled again or not, the work and the legacy you and the dear people of Inglenook have left has not been in vain, because God has always had a people and he will bring another group to worship here in His time.”
Well, sitting in my pew Sunday afternoon at the dedication of the opening of the refurbished sanctuary, I recalled that conversation with Bro. Wayne. As I looked around the sancturary, I saw a packed house. Oh, how proud he would have been to see that sight! 
As we celebrated the wonderful partnership between the BBA, Brookwood Baptist Church, and True Vine Baptist Church, tears welled up in my eyes as I saw a miracle of God unfold before me! The BBA made the property available to Brookwood Baptist who in turn deeded it to True Vine, a new church plant of Brookwood Baptist. The True Vine congregation currently worships in the facility and continues to meet the needs of the Inglenook community.
An old church had been revived and a new people worships there now as they stand on the shoulders of those who went before them to build a great church in the Inglenook community. So the work continues and the church of Jesus Christ at Inglenook marches on. 
Thank you Brookwood Baptist and True Vine Baptist for demonstrating to our association of churches that partnerships work and that if we will let the Lord lead His Church, He will make a way when there seems to be no way. Oh, bless His Holy Name!
I Am Praising Him,
Bro. Mike

What Togetherness Can Do

Wednesday, January 04, 2017 View Comments Comments (0)
What Togetherness Can Do
by Dr. Mike McLemore
December 1, 2016
Well, December is finally here and it came like a mighty rushing wind. It is hard to believe the election is over (praise God!) and the last month of 2016 has begun.
What a year 2016 has been! Although some great things happened this year, I am ready to begin a new one. 2016 will be remembered by the violence that has ripped our nation apart. I hope 2017 will be a year of victory for our nation as we begin a new year.
I hope we can all come together and chart a new course for our nation and the world, and begin to solve the many problems that are before us all.
All of us as Christians know that the answer to the problems in the world is found in Jesus Christ and in Him alone.
With that being said, we at your BBA are getting ready to launch our vision for next year under the theme of “Strengthening Relationships.”
Our goals are to strengthen our relationships with our pastors, churches, and communities. We will also increase our efforts to work with sister non-profits. 
I will be sharing more about this as we look forward to January 2017.
I hope this will also be a year when our pastors and churches will seek to strengthen their relationship with our association in order for us to do more for the Kingdom.
We can do so much more when we work together as a team. That truth has been proven over and over again in our work together as Alabama Baptists.
At our State Convention held in Montgomery on November 15-16, 2016, here’s what we did TOGETHER.
We adopted a $40 million base budget.
Cooperative Program Budget Breakdown:
Southern Baptist Convention Causes.............$19,191,762.00
State Board of Missions Ministries...$11,172,660.00
State Convention Entity Ministries.......$9,635,578.00
52% of this amount serves Alabama ministries.
48% of this amount supports Southern Baptist Causes.
We adopted a special offering goal in addition to the above amount.
Lottie Moon Christmas Offering goal............................$11,600,000.00
Annie Armstrong Easter Offering goal...............................$6,100,000.00
Alabama Baptist Children’s Homes and Family Ministries goal....................$2,700,000.00
World Hunger Offering goal................$800,000.00
Myers/Mallory Offering
GRAND TOTAL...$62,200,000.00
This is how much money 3,200 Alabama Baptist churches gave TOGETHER!
TOGETHER is better than going it alone!
Bro. Mike

Among the Churches

Wednesday, January 04, 2017 View Comments Comments (0)
Among the Churches
by Dr. Mike McLemore
November 17, 2016
Hello everyone in BBA land!  Hope all of you are doing well. The holiday season is upon us and boy did it come quickly! This is an exciting time of the year for all of us and our families.
I have had the joy of preaching at two of our great churches over the last several weeks. On Sunday, October 16th, Wanda and I were at First Baptist Church of Center Point. What a wonderful group of people!  We felt right at home and the dear people welcomed us so graciously. Thank you, Pastor David Haynes, for inviting me to come and worship and share the Gospel with your dear people. Keep up the great work! Center Point is a great supporter of our work collectively and they are seeking to move forward toward the future.
On Sunday, November 6th, we were at Huffman Baptist Church.  They are without a pastor, so I went to preach for them. We had a wonderful time in the Lord! Huffman is one of our strong supportive churches that has a great history and also has a bright future.  Thank you, Huffman, for a very warm welcome to Wanda and me and may the Lord bless you as you move forward in faith.
We also visited with the precious people at Fellowship Baptist Church on October 23rd.  Fellowship Baptist is located in the East Gardendale area and is truly seeking to be the people of God in their community. Pastor Ron Reid has just announced his plans to retire on December 31, 2016. He has served the church for the last 9 years.  Please, pray for Bro. and Mrs. Reid as they transition to retirement and also pray for the church fellowship as they plan for the future.  Blessings on all of you.
I attended the installation service for Rev. A.B. Jackson on Sunday afternoon, November 6th, at Saint James Baptist Church. This church and New Good Hope Baptist Church have joined together as one church.  Rev. Jackson will be their new Pastor. He is a dear man of God and has become very supportive of the BBA.  Congratulations, Rev. and Mrs. Jackson and the dear people at Saint James Baptist Church for coming together to reach the Ensley community for Christ.  We are very proud of you!
I just received a report from Bro. Butch Henderson on the results of our backpack efforts to help our state convention send backpacks to the needy children in the Mississippi Delta area.  We collected 130 backpacks from the churches in District 11. The Birmingham churches that participated were FBC Trussville, FBC of Birmingham, Central Baptist in St. Clair Association, Lake Highland, FBC Pleasant Grove, and FBC Overton. These churches provided 87 of the 130 total backpacks. Thank you to all of the churches in District 11 that helped with this project.
This coming Tuesday, November 22nd, the BBA will be partnering with Daniel Cason Ministries in feeding the community a wonderful Thanksgiving meal in Five Points West in the Central Park neighborhood and surrounding areas. The event is called, “I Cared Enough.” Last year we fed over 3,000+ people and saw over 100+ people make decisions for Christ.
Volunteers are needed to help serve at this event. Come to the Crossplex in the Five Points West Central Park neighborhood area which was the site for the Alabama State Fair for many years.
You can come any time during the day from 9:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. The evangelistic services are at 11:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. Please, pray for this ministry effort.
May the Lord bless you all as we celebrate Thanksgiving next week. Our office will be closed November 24th and November 25th. Happy Thanksgiving Day!
In the work together,
Bro. Mike

Our State Convention

Wednesday, January 04, 2017 View Comments Comments (0)
Our State Convention
by Dr. Mike McLemore
November 10, 2016
Greetings to all of you!  Our Alabama Baptist State Convention will meet this next week, November 15-16, at Eastmont Baptist Church in Montgomery. Messengers from over 3,200 plus churches in our State Convention will meet to conduct the business of the convention.
I want to encourage you as lay people, as well as our pastors, to attend the State Convention. You will learn a lot about our work in Alabama and around the world.  You can be elected as a messenger from your church by simply letting your pastor know that you want to represent your church as a messenger.  However, you can attend the convention without being a messenger. You can simply attend the sessions as an interested lay person.
This year’s convention will elect new officers which consist of the President, First Vice-President, and Second Vice-President. Usually these officers serve for two years.
Our out-going President, Dr. Travis Coleman, Pastor of First Baptist Church of Prattville, has done a great job in leading our convention the past two years. The other officers have assisted him and have been a blessing as well.
The convention will vote on the proposed base budget for 2017 in the amount of $40,000,000.00 as well as hear reports from the entities of the convention as they report on their work this past year.
The convention is also a time of fellowship for all Alabama Baptists to see friends from across the state. There is always a great and exciting spirit among us as we collectively join our hands and hearts together to do a mighty work for the Lord and His Kingdom.
Please, pray for the convention this next week as well for the Pastors Conference that will meet all day on Monday, November 14th, at Heritage Baptist Church in Montgomery.
Thank you all for your support of our association, our State Convention, and our work around the world as Southern Baptists.
Oh, brothers and sisters, the fields are white unto harvest and we must give our very best to our Master, our Savior, Our Lord, and King while we can. He is coming soon!
In the fields together,
Bro. Mike

Volunteer of the Year 2016

Tuesday, November 01, 2016 View Comments Comments (0)
Volunteer of the Year 2016
by Dr. Mike McLemore
November 3, 2016
At our annual “Gathering” this year we recognized this year’s recipient of the BBA annual “Keith/Cross Volunteer of the Year Award” for 2016.  Mr. Jeff Senkbeil was chosen as this year’s recipient. Congratulations Jeff!
Jeff has served as Treasurer of the Association for 20+ years. I have often said that Jeff is a “walking encyclopedia” of knowledge as to the history of the association. I have called upon Jeff for information, advice, and counsel many times since assuming the position of Executive Director. I cannot begin to tell you what he has meant to me and our staff over the years.
He and his wife Rhonda are members of Valleydale Baptist Church. Rhonda (Wisener) Senkbeil grew up at Lakeside Baptist Church and I had the wonderful privilege of officiating at their wedding ceremony on September 7, 1985.  Jeff and Rhonda have two grown children, Neil and Audrey.
Jeff is a deacon at Valleydale Baptist Church. He has just completed a term of service on the Board of the Brother Bryan Mission, a sister non-profit ministry in our city. Jeff has served on several committees and boards of the association. He presently serves on the Stewardship Committee, and the BBA Foundation Board as an ex-officio member. 
Jeff has been on several mission trips with his church and truly has a heart for the Lord, His Church, our Association, and above all, the Kingdom work of our Lord around the world.
Rhonda has served as a volunteer both in her church and at the BBA Caring Hands Medical Apartment Ministry. She and Jeff are a committed team of servants for the Lord.
We love you, Jeff and Rhonda, and are so very proud of both of you, as well as Neil and Audrey. Congratulations, again for being this year’s recipient of our annual Keith-Cross Volunteer of the Year Award! 
In the work together,
Bro. Mike

Basics in Welcoming Visitors to Your Church

Monday, October 17, 2016 View Comments Comments (0)
Basics in Welcoming Visitors to Your Church
by Dr. Mike McLemore
October 20, 2016
Greetings to each of you! Over the last nine years as your Director of Missions, I have been visiting our BBA churches. Let me draw your attention to certain things that I have personally had the opportunity to observe. 
In some of our churches, there is no visible signage at major points on the roads that give direction to the church.
In some of our churches, there is no answering machine at the church to accept calls from those who would like to visit the church. Visitors need to know the physical address of the church, the times of services, experience a warm welcome, etc. I called one of our churches and the only thing on the answering machine was the name and phone number of the deacon on call. Most churches today have some kind of website presence or a Facebook page where basic information can be obtained. If you can’t provide this, you can certainly afford an answering machine at the church office to receive calls and give basic information about the church. 
We must all think like visitors if we are going to reach them. When they get out of their car to walk toward the entrance of the church, it would be wonderful for someone to greet them in the parking lot and to help them know where to go. When they walk into the church, there should be greeters that greet them (both men and women) with a warm welcome, a smile and a bulletin/hand-out for the church service.
If people come into the church from a back parking lot through a back or side door, there should be church greeters there as well. Make sure there are visible directional signs that point the way to the nursery, the fellowship hall, and the worship center. Bathrooms need to be clearly marked and clean.
The nursey must be well kept with friendly nursery workers and some kind of security system in place to assure families that their children will be safe and well attended while in their care. It must be clean with an inviting fragrance. I would seriously recommend that there be adults in the nursery as workers. It is great to use older youth as helpers, but their needs to be adult supervision in this critical ministry area. If a husband and wife are the only workers in the nursery, there needs to be at least one other adult in there as well. This has become necessary today because of sexual abuse of children. All nursery workers should have a background check before they are allowed to work in the nursery.
Take time in the worship service to welcome visitors and try to get basic information from them on visitor’s cards. Be sure to ask for those cards by the end of the service. On the following Monday morning, someone should be designated to go through those cards and assign church members to call those visitors. It can be either the Sunday School teacher of their age group, a deacon, a pastor, or a church secretary who calls those individuals or families letting them know you were glad to have them as your guests on Sunday. The pastor should send a personal letter to them as well. Ask them if they have any questions or would like a visit from the pastor or deacon. If you provide dinner on Wednesday night, invite them to come as special guests of the church and provide them a meal at no cost to them. The pastor or his designated staff or church member may want to sit with them and introduce them to others in the church that night.
These are just some of the things that need more attention in my opinion. I hope this will be helpful to you as you think about how your church is welcoming visitors. Blessings!
For the growth of the church,
Bro. Mike

God Ordained Government

Monday, October 17, 2016 View Comments Comments (0)
God Ordained Government
by Dr. Mike McLemore
October 6, 2016 
I have been reflecting over all of the issues our nation is facing in this critical hour in our history. You have heard the two candidates who are seeking the office of President of The United States in this year’s election speak to these issues.
Americans will go to the polls (I hope!!!) and vote for one of these candidates on November 6, 2016.
I want to share with you what the Bible teaches about government before we all go and vote.  The truths about what God intended government to be and do is spelled out right here in God’s Word.  
These truths should guide all of us as we cast our ballots.  Many people have forgotten that God ordained three institutions…the home; the church; and government!
In Romans 13:1-7, the Apostle Paul speaks to the…
I. Source of Government.  He says in verse 1…”For there is no power but of God; the powers that be are ordained by God.” God ordained that government is to exercise its power with the acknowledgement that God Himself is the very source of power! So when government officials use the power that their office gives them they should always remember that the power they have has been given by God. Therefore, it must be administered fairly, equally, and justly without respect to a person’s position, political convictions, etc.  This is how government is to honor the God of all power.
Paul also speaks to the…
II. Submission to Government. He says in verse 2…”Whoever resists the power, is resisting the ordinance of God. Those who resist in honoring the power that God has given will receive judgment.” In other words, all of us are to be submissive to God’s power because He is the source of it!  As Christians we submit to governmental power because we know who gave the power to government.
However, if government abuses its power and forgets that God is the source of it and does not acknowledge Him, then we have every right to protest the misuse of that power because it no longer represents or respects the sovereign God who has…ALL POWER.
Paul also speaks to the…
III. Security of Government. He says in verses 3-7 that…
Government is to punish those that do evil. (v. 3a)
Government is to praise those that do good. (v3b)
Government is to protect those that do what is right. (v.4) Here in this verse he compares the role of government to that of a Minister. Government is to be an agency for the good of the people, not harm them!
Government is to provide a tax structure that is fair, just, and impartial. Jesus said, “Render unto Caesar the things that belong to Caesar, and unto God the things that are God’s.” (Matthew 22:21)
We as Christians are willing to render unto Caesar the things that belong to Caesar (taxes, obedience to the law, etc.).  However, we will not render unto Caesar the things that belong to God such as our God-given values, convictions, our honor, our character, and our love for God and country.
Yes, we believe and will support God ordained government!
GO VOTE ON NOV. 6th and honor the God who, in His goodness, gave us government as a blessing, not as a curse!
Praying for America,
Bro. Mike
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