A WORD FROM: Ray Gilder
BSCLN National Coordinator,
WHO IS GOING TO CHECK ON
No one has done more to influence the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ than the Apostle Paul. He readily accepted and fulfilled his assignment as the Apostle to the Gentiles.
He is the model for much that we understand to be the work of the church. His missionary journeys set the tone for church planting or the starting of new churches for generations to come.
He helped us understand that being bivocational is an honorable way to meet the needs of your family while ministering for the Lord (Acts 18:1-3; II Thes. 3:7-9). When the pastor is bivocational more funds can be freed for ministry and starting new churches.
The Southern Baptist Convention through the North American Mission Board has adopted an aggressive plan to plant churches throughout the major population centers in North America. This is a worthy effort which deserves our eager support. No one can deny that we are losing the battle of impacting lostness in our nation.
Paul set a good example for an additional aspect of church life. That is helping existing churches stay healthy. While we focus on church planting, we must not overlook the need to encourage and strengthen existing churches; especially those served by bivocational pastors and those whose membership is relatively small. Larger churches usually have the leadership and resources required to address their need to stay healthy. Paul was eager to plant new churches and labor where no one else had been. However, he frequently realized the importance of retracing his steps and checking on the churches that have been in existence for some time (Acts 15:36). This effort helped encourage and strengthen the disciples in these churches (Acts 18:22-23).
This was the primary focus of the letters he sent to these churches. Sometimes, he had to rebuke or set things in order; plus, there was the constant need of leadership training (Titus 1:5). The needs of these churches were a continual concern of this great church leader (II Cor. 11:28).
The responsibility to check on these churches and assist them in their development is one of the primary focuses of the local association and the state convention. A partner in providing this assistance is the Bivocational and Small Church Leadership Network.
The question may be asked “Why does the Bivocational and Small Church Leadership Network exist?”. We see ourselves as the champion of the needs and causes of the bivocational and smaller membership churches across the SBC. The percentage of this group of churches is much larger than most folks realize. 75% of our churches run 100 or less in Sunday School. 81% run less than 125. Each of these churches has a significant role to play in the community in which they are planted.
The BSCLN (Bivocational and Small Church Leadership Network) is organized to provide resources, encouragement, training and fellowship opportunities for the leaders of these churches.
- The following groups make up the BSCLN:
- State Convention Staff Network
- Educators for Bivocational Ministries
- Regional Resource Centers for Bivocational Ministries
- Pastors Fellowship Network
- P.A.L.S. (Partners Assisting the Lord’s Servants)
- Directors of Missions Network
- Bivocational Church Planting Network
- Regional Consultants for Bivocational Ministries
Much more information about the BSCLN is available on our website bivosmallchurch.net.
There is an annual Celebration in April, a mid-year Coordinating Council meeting in August and regional meetings throughout the year.
A thought that may prove helpful as we move forward as Southern Baptist: While we celebrate the arrival of a new baby or church, let’s not forget to feed the other kids or churches. They need to be healthy so they can grow up and produce offspring themselves.