Saturday, October 21, 2006

Transformation Ministries: "It Feels Just Like Independence Day!"

On Saturday morning, Transformation Ministries (nee ABCPSW) ended its first Annual Meeting on a high note. After some rather precise challenges of proposed by-laws changes by an attorney, the meetings moved toward a high emotional conclusion.

Atherton Baptist Homes' resident and double amputee Bob Shepherd belted out one his strongest efforts in years, delivering his own rendition of "My Tribute." His virtuosity, particularly seen through the lens of his own recent surgeries and hard times, left hardly a dry eye in thehouse.

Dr. Salico concluded the morning with a Bible study on associationalism in the New Testament. Reinforcing his point about the heresy of absolute congregationl autonomy, Salico found at least four examples of associations of churches in the New Testament. He ended his discussion with the Lycus Valley Association of congregations referenced in Rev. 23.

Followingg Salico's study and a brief worship time, multi-colored streamers were fired into the air in the worship center. One pastor leaned over to me, with excitement in his voice, and said: "It feels just like Independence Day [fortransformationn Ministries]!"

During the morning His Barking Dog enjoyed a good conversation with Dr. Stan Slade of the Board of International Ministries. I reiterated my belief that Dr. Trulson needs to move rapidly to secure relationships with TM pastors and executive staff. Stan reinforced the BIM position that they value partnership with TM and want to find ways to assist TM Baptists in continuing to support BIM missions efforts around the world. A couple of TM executive staff encouraged Stan to have BIM schedule a meeting of pastors in TM, either at a local church venue or at centrally located Atherton Baptist Homes. One staff member echoed the words Durable Data and I have been using in recent days: "The window of opportunity for BIM is narrow and it is closing rapidly."

Slade was not the only ABC related representative present at the Annual Meeting. Northern Seminary, Judson College, the American Baptist Theological Center, Christian Community Credit Union, Robins' Nest Ministries, MMBB, andAthertonn Baptist Homes were just a few of the exhibitors present.

Capturing the impact and the mood of the meeting can be done simply and succinctly. As Durable Data has already opined, selection of the controversial African American Ken Hutcherson as the keynoter had the effect of drawing a line in the sand, symbolically separating the emerging TM from the old order.

The gathering, with much higher attendance than any recent Annual Meeting, was ethnically diverse, enthusiastic, anticipatory, and celebratory. African American Bob Shepherd's moving testimony in song and humble Dr. Salico's passionate teaching seemed to capture the flavor of the event. Indeed, as the one pastor said, "It feels just like Independence Day!

[His Barking Dog has now become an official part of the TM board of directors. That may compromise my outsider role. However, we have not had any board meetings yet so my comments are still "kindof" unofficial and NOBODY ever accused me of being an official voice of anything ABC]

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