It takes all kinds of mature, gifted believers to help a body of churches work together.
About 30 years ago, my pastor asked me if I would be interested in serving on an IBSA Committee. Frankly, I had to ask him what that meant. I had little idea how a statewide association of churches operated, or what its committees did.
I imagine there are a number of folks like that today, active church members who have a lot to offer the larger family of Baptist churches, but perhaps have never been given the opportunity.
Next month the IBSA Committee on Committees and Nominating Committee will meet to prepare their slates of committee and board members for the coming year. Once again we have the opportunity to invite some new leaders into the task of helping more than a thousand Illinois Baptist churches cooperate in fulfilling the Great Commission.
Just as in the body of Christ, it takes all kinds of mature, gifted believers to help a body of churches work together. I see the work of our IBSA boards and committees as motor oil for the many moving parts of our churches that desire to operate together, but sometimes scrape against one another.
For example, IBSA’s Credentials Committee oversees the affiliation of new churches, a role that requires sensitivity to Baptist doctrine and polity, as well as relational skills. The Resolutions and Christian Life Committee represents the convictions of our churches on the major issues that influence culture and society. It requires a thoughtful, informed perspective on those issues, as well as an understanding of Baptist autonomy and how our association does and doesn’t engage political processes.
The Constitution Committee and Historical Committee guard both our integrity and our legacy as an association of Baptist churches, and the Order of Business Committee helps us plan an orderly and effective Annual Meeting.
These IBSA Committees often meet only once or twice a year, and offer a closer look at how we help churches work together productively. If you or someone you know is interested in committee service, the Committee on Committees would be glad to receive your nomination prior to their August 17 meeting.
A bit more demanding is service on one of the boards of the IBSA entities (the Baptist Foundation of Illinois, Baptist Children’s Home and Family Services, and IBSA organization itself). Each of these has their own committees that oversee strategy and budget and policies.
These boards usually require four or more meetings per year, and a little more preparation and time investment. But in the process you will make friends and do significant work with other church leaders from all over the state, including the devoted staffs that work at those entities. If you or someone you know is interested in board service, the Nominating Committee would be glad to receive your nomination prior to their August 16 meeting.
By the way, those named to the IBSA board of directors become my 33 bosses. So I have a very personal and practical interest in asking you to nominate the best folks you know to serve there.
But the most important reason that I invite you to nominate the most devoted and mature church members you know is that together we are lubricating the sometimes-challenging cooperation of a thousand autonomous churches. And we’re doing it for the sake of God’s mission to the world.
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Nate Adams is executive director of the Illinois Baptist State Association. Respond to his column at IllinoisBaptist@IBSA.org.