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EDITORIAL: Are local associations still relevant and effective?


What difference does it make if your church is part of the local Baptist association?

That’s an important question for church leaders and director of missions to ponder. Yet, apparently, they see things somewhat differently.

“In an effort to be the best possible stewards of their time and resources, Southern Baptist church leaders are evaluating the networks and organizations with which they choose to partner in order to fulfill the Great Commission, and associations aren’t except from that evaluation,” according to Jason Lowe, director of missions for Pike Baptist Association. Lowe has done an extensive analysis of a recent survey of approximately 450 Southern Baptist leaders, gleaning key insights from a massive 208-page report on their attitudes regarding the work of associations.

“(I)n personal conversations that I have had, there are some who question if the day in which associations are a relevant and vital partner to local churches has passed,” Lowe stated. “In other words, there are some who question if the local Baptist association has a future.” As a director of missions in Kentucky for the past four years, Lowe, of course, believes the association can be a relevant ministry partner to the local church, but he also realizes not everyone shares this view.

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