Brethren, I am glad to be able to announce, despite COVID-19 and its many side effects, your State Missions’ program has continued to move forward on several locations. For time’s sake, I have shorted my comments to mainly just pertinent information. If you should have any questions, please feel free to contact me and I will do my best to answer them.
• Last year at this time we elected Clinton Morris to serve in the Springdale area. That gave us eight men on the field.
• Last year in the mist of the turmoil, your Revolving Loan Fund Committee and Advisory Committee stepped forward to help our men by enacting some much-needed adjustments to help our works maintain stability.
• Regrettably, we experienced the demise of our Green Forest work upon Bro. Carter’s decision to shut it down. All equipment was divided between the rest of the missions, and the building was sold and their Revolving Loan paid in full.
• On Aug. 28, Connection Point Mission in Brookland organized under the leadership of Chad White, who was elected pastor at that time.
• On Dec. 4, the Cain Baptist Mission, under the leadership of Jim Tollison, is scheduled to organize.
• Life Journey and Darrin Smith in Fort Smith are contemplating organizing in the next few months.
• This year, through your generous giving to Special Emphasis, we were able to assist each missionary in getting much needed equipment and furnishings.
I, along with your missionaries, want to thank you for your faithful and consistent offerings all year long. We know this Covid has been tough on churches in the areas of attendance and income, and to see our support remain steady ensures us that we will be more than ready to add more workers as they become available. Thank you for your love for the lost.
Pastors, we need your help. I know, in this day and time, it is hard to get a man that is sold out to God to come alongside of you to do ministry, much less consider sending them out. But please remember that churches send missionaries, not departments. So if you know of someone whom you feel could be a church planter, please get in touch with me.
This past July was my 11th anniversary as your director of Missions. Being given the opportunity to work along side brethren with a desire to be church planters has been one of the highlights of my ministry. Thank you for your love and support.
Recommendations from the Advisory Committee
• We recommend the continuation of the following mission projects of the BMA of Arkansas: Connection Point Baptist Mission (Church), Brookland; Mustard Seed (Cain Baptist Mission), Alma; Creciendo en Cristo (Growing in Christ) Hispanic Mission, North Little Rock; Life Journey Baptist Mission, Fort Smith; Ebenezer Hispanic Mission, West Little Rock; Faith Chapel, Flippin; and The Table, Springdale.
• We recommend the following missions personnel for Arkansas State Missions: Paul White as nominee for Executive, Michael Hight as nominee for Hispanic Coordinator, Chad White as nominee for missionary/pastor working with the Connection Point, Brookland through December 2021; Jim Tollison as nominee for bi-vocational missionary working with Mustard Seed (Cain Baptist Mission) in the Alma area; Juan Carlos Posadas as nominee for missionary working with Creciendo en Cristo (Growing in Christ), North Little Rock; Darrin Smith as nominee for bi-vocational missionary working with Life Journey, Fort Smith; Ruben Isturiz as nominee for bi-vocational missionary working with Ebenezer Hispanic Mission in West Little Rock; Johnny Shew as nominee for bi-vocational missionary working with Faith Chapel, Flippin; and Clinton Morris as nominee for missionary working with The Table, Springdale.
• We present the following guidelines for interim missionary: interim missionaries shall be secured as needed by the Executive Director and the Advisory Committee; the interim missionary shall be under the supervision of the Executive Director; the salary will be a day wage of $200 per day and a maximum of two days a week without prior approval from the director; the mission or mission church utilizing the interim missionary’s services shall pay his expenses while on the field; we recommend that the mileage benefit to and from mission projects shall be consistent with the IRS; the interim missionary shall not receive the fringe benefits provided for the full-time missionaries.
• We recommend the following salaries: 2% cost of living increase of base salary for the Executive Director and all other present benefits remain the same; 2% cost of living increase of base salary for all our missionaries and all other present benefits remain the same; that we grant tenure to an incoming Executive Director or missionary at a rate of one year for each five years of pastoral experience. (This tenure would apply toward the tenure policy adopted by the association in 1997, which is: 3-5 years — 1% of base increase; 6-8 years — 1.5% of base increase; 9-11 years — 2% of base increase; 12-14 years — 2.5% of base increase; 15-17 years — 3% of base increase; 18-20 years — 3.5% of base increase; 21 years or more — 4% of base increase; base increase — that part of salary not designated as housing).
• We recommend the following benefits: dental coverage for all full-time office staff and missionaries. (Reimbursement on each visit would be 50%, up to a limit of $1,500 per year. This coverage would be for the whole family and not $1,500 per member. It would only apply toward children living at home and not graduated from high school. The Missions Office would issue reimbursement upon receipt of a copy of the paid bill from the dentist’s office.)
• We recommend that all salaries and benefits be effective at the beginning of the associational year.
• We recommend the following special guidelines for work outside the state of Arkansas: missionaries of the BMA of Arkansas are allowed to work anywhere in the continental United States. (In those states having an organized state missions program, no work shall be done except by consent of that state’s missions director.); applications for new missions projects outside the state are to be considered at the annual meeting and that such application be submitted to allow adequate time for thorough investigation in advance of the meeting of the state association, and that such application be processed by the Advisory Committee, recommended by the Missionary Committee, and that they be elected by the association in annual session; the Missionary Committee be authorized to fill out-of-state missionary positions that might become vacant during the associational year; that salaries, housing allowance and other fringe benefits which apply to missionaries working within the state be applicable to those working outside the state boundary; that all regulations concerning missionaries in the state also be applicable to those working outside the state boundary.
• We recommend the following policies for state missions: to be considered current, all applications must be received since the last associational meeting; those persons who make application during the association year and desiring to serve as a missionary of the BMA of Arkansas shall submit an application form which the office will furnish, allowing adequate time for investigation before they are considered. (All applicants for state missionary status must be a licensed and ordained minister who meets the qualifications of a minister as stated in II Timothy 3. Every missionary applicant shall supply a formal letter of endorsement from the church where he holds membership before he goes on the field. And every newly recommended missionary shall go through an assessment before being presented to the association for election.); missionaries shall be limited to four revival meetings per year and shall be permitted to retain the proceeds from these meetings; all first monies paid the missionaries shall be designated as housing allowance not to exceed the scheduled allocation; upon investigation, if the Executive Director shall find any missionary’s work to be unsatisfactory, he and the Advisory Committee shall make further investigation, and at a called session of the Missionary Committee a full report shall be made and a vote taken to retain or dismiss the missionary; moving expenses of the missionaries shall be paid while under actual employment of the BMA of Arkansas State Missions and shall be under the supervision of the Executive Director. (For clarification, this is to help in self-moving efforts as truck rental, etc. and does not refer to a professional moving line as such); a moving loan up to $3,000 be made available to the Executive Director and missionaries when they move to a new field. (This would be to help with down payments, deposits, incidental expenses, etc., that occur in a move.) The interest free loan would be paid back at the rate of $50 per month to be held out of the housing allowance. After faithful payment, the final 20% of the loan would be forgiven. Should a missionary or Executive Director resign or be dismissed before the agreed payment, the remainder of the loan would be due immediately, with any salary or housing allowance due being applied to the amount of the loan; A start-up fund of $2,000 be provided to each new mission for the purpose of advertisement and promotion material (signs, newspapers, etc.) and paid from receipts brought or sent to the office; all full-time mission congregations shall assume a portion of the missionary pastor’s salary on a graduated basis with an increase of $20 per month. (The payment will remain at $20 for the first six months with new missions, and they shall begin the graduated plan on the seventh month. If necessary, the mission congregation may suspend the increment increase for 60 days and if additional time is needed, they shall counsel with the Executive Director and the Advisory Committee concerning their future plans. After seven years a mission/church congregation will assume all the pastor’s salary and cost benefits); a mission congregation shall not organize into a church until such time as they are able to assume full financial responsibility for the RLF loan payment. (Assuming full financial responsibility means paying the appropriate amount on their indebtedness to the RLF each year as described below, unless specially authorized by the RLF Committee, the Advisory Committee and the Executive Director); Payment on a RLF loan will be repaid as follows beginning either when the building has been completed or two years, whichever comes first — Year 1, $1,500 per month; Year 2, $2,000 per month; Years 3-4, $2,500 per month; Years 5-6-7, $3,000 per month. (A mission project will be given a total of seven years (interest free) to repay their entire indebtedness to the RLF. If a balance remains on the loan at the end of the seven years, the mission/church will secure financing elsewhere to retire the RLF debt).
• We recommend the Missionary Committee be authorized to approve the relocation or replacement of missionaries whose mission church becomes self-supporting between sessions of the annual association.
• We recommend giving our Executive Director and our missionaries a rising vote of appreciation for their work in missions.
• We recommend and encourage the churches of the BMA of Arkansas to continue supporting Special Emphasis, and that the months of May-June-July be dedicated as Special Emphasis with no set dollar amount, and the last Sunday in July be set aside for Special Emphasis offering for BMA of Arkansas State Missions.
• We recommend that the churches of the BMA of Arkansas pray for our state missions director, missionaries, the prospects of new missionaries and mission projects.
• We recommend that should the Executive Director decide to resign or retire between sessions, that the Executive Director and Advisory Committee serve as a Search Committee for a replacement. Applications will be received and a nominee presented to a called Missionary Committee meeting for approval. If possible, the Executive Director will stay on to train the new Executive Director for no more than two months. Both men would receive the same salary and benefits for the transition period.
• We recommend the continuation of the Silas Connection, which allows the Executive Director to work with each missionary to secure a bi-vocational assistant to the ministry with a stipend of $875 per month for a period not to exceed three years.
• We recommend the following guidelines for bi-vocational missionaries: the compensation for a bi-vocational missionary shall be worked on an individual basis between the Executive Director, Advisory Committee and bi-vocational missionary; the amount of compensation can be designated as housing, travel, insurance or retirement for the purpose of tax requirements as meets the guidelines of the federal government; a bi-vocational missionary can be elevated to full-time status as the need arises with the work; a bi-vocational missionary that has moved to full time for the sake of building will have the option of going back to bi-vocational should this be deemed best; a bi-vocational missionary shall receive a week of extensive training on the field of an existing missionary (this is the same as the training for a new full-time missionary); the bi-vocational missionary shall be compensated for his week of training; the Missionary Trainer shall receive $250 extra for the training he gives that week.
The following is to give a record of the policies of the State Revolving Loan Fund:
• In agreement with the Executive Director of Missions and the Revolving Loan Fund Committee, mission congregations will be given interest free loans for the period of seven years.
• The seven-year repayment of the loan shall begin two months after the final draw on a construction loan. Payments for an equipment loan provided for start-up will begin no later than two years.
• If a balance remains on the loan at the end of the seven-year repayment schedule, the mission/church will secure financing elsewhere to retire the RLF debt.
• The missionary shall provide invoices for all monies spent to the Executive Director during the construction of their building.
• A schedule of payments will be given to the mission congregation.
• Should the mission not be able to make her full payment, she is to contact the Executive Director and work out an agreement with him.
• Continuing problems, lasting more than 90 days, in making loan payments are to be brought before the Executive Director and Revolving Loan Fund Committee to establish the best way to help.
• A deed and a signed loan agreement will be held by the BMA of Arkansas Revolving Loan Fund Inc. for all loans granted.