What is The Association
The Southern Baptist Convention was organized on May 8, 1845 in Augusta, Georgia by 236 representatives from165 churches for the “propagation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the whole world.” It has since grown to 16 million members worshiping in 42,000 congregations. The name “Southern Baptist Convention” refers to both the denomination and to its annual meeting which takes place annually during two days in June. The Southern Baptist Convention works together with approximately 1200 local Associations in 41 State Conventions. Southern Baptists sponsor about 5,000 international missionaries serving in 153 countries and about 5,000 missionaries serving in North America.
Southern Baptists share a common bond of basic Biblical beliefs and a commitment to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the entire world. More information about beliefs, institutions, agencies and programs may be found at www.sbc.net The website for the Florida Baptist Convention is www.flbaptist.org.
WHAT IS THE HARMONY BAPTIST ASSOCIATION?
Harmony Baptist Association is one of 49 local Associations working together with the Florida Baptist Convention. Our Association is a group of Southern Baptist Churches in Alachua, Columbia, Gilchrist and Levy Counties who voluntarily cooperate together to strengthen the ministry of local churches and to start new churches. There are currently 28 churches and missions in Harmony Baptist Association with approximately 10,000 members.
One of the core beliefs of Southern Baptists is the autonomy of the local church (a self-governing entity) under the Lordship of Jesus Christ. Jesus established the church and not the Association or the Denomination. While there is much Scriptural support for cooperation and working together, each congregation is self-governing. Each Southern Baptist church cooperates and participates financially at the level determined by the local church. The Southern Baptist Convention and the local Association exists to strengthen the ministry and mission of the local church but in no way has authority over the local church. Just as the local church is autonomous, so are the Southern Baptist Convention and the local Association.
WHO RUNS THE ASSOCIATION?
The Association convenes in a Semi-Annual and Annual meeting each April and October. The Nominating Committee Report is approved during the Semi-Annual meeting and the Association Budget is approved during the Annual Meeting. The Executive Committee meets bi-monthly and is made up of the pastors, full-time staff and two elected laymen from each congregation, along with the officers, committee chairmen and program directors of the Association. There is an Administrative Committee which meets monthly and may act in emergency situations. The nine members of the Administrative Committee are the Moderator, Vice-Moderator, Treasurer, three committee chairmen and three At-Large members from the Association. The Administrative Committee also serves as the Personnel Committee of the Association. The Moderator and Vice-Moderator are elected to lead the affairs of the Association through these three types of meetings. The Association is an autonomous organization established to serve the member churches and is led by members of those churches.
The Director of Missions works with the Association's Ministry Assistant to carry on the day to day work of the association.HOW IS THE ASSOCIATION FUNDED?
Funding is provided by volunteer contributions from the participating churches. Most give a percentage of the offerings received by their church each month. The goal is for each church to give 5% of undesignated receipts to the Association. Some give more than that amount and some give less. Some churches choose to give a fixed amount each month.
Training events and opportunities for fellowship in almost every area of church life are offered through the Association. Senior Adult luncheons and mission trips, youth events, various levels of church leadership training, and the list goes on. The Association Calendar provides an example of the events and opportunities planned each year.
The Media Center has available for loan an extensive collection of Bible study resources and discipleship material by some of today’s leading authors and teachers. Media is available in CD, DVD and VHS formats. Generally, if a church requests a specific Bible study which we do not have, we will get it if it is available. Other technology and equipment such as video projectors and office equipment are available for use by our churches.
The Director of Missions is available for consultation and assistance upon request. Because of the autonomy of the local church, the Director of Missions will not interfere or intervene in a local church matter unless there is an invitation.
- He ministers to and with the pastors of the Association.
- He assists whenever asked by a church or organization within the church. Pastor Search
- He preaches in the churches whenever asked: specific topics, missions, pulpit supply, etc.
- He serves the Lord as he serves the churches of the Harmony Baptist Association.
- He seeks to serve you and your church.
– By giving regularly to your church budget.
– By encouraging your church to give liberally to the work of the Association.
– By volunteering to work in one or more of the ministries of the Association.
– By sharing your expertise in a particular area of ministry with other churches in the Association.