by Mike Proud, Executive Director
I cannot tell you how blessed Sally and I feel to be back in Colorado and serving the churches of this great state! Though I have not been “on the job” for very long, the Lord is beginning to establish a vision in me for the work here in Colorado. I have had the great privilege of meeting with pastors and leaders in the various regions of our Centennial State. And in the diversity of these areas, I have heard needs expressed which are unique to each context.
What is being reenforced for me is what you already know; No one approach will work for everyone. The western side of the state does not look like the eastern plains. The people near Royal Gorge do not think like those in Ft. Collins. Even the Denver Metro Area has unique needs when compared to those of Colorado Springs. It has become apparent that ministry strategy which is not informed by the needs of the local area will not be effective. But more than that, I have become even more convinced that ministry strategy which is not created in collaboration with local leaders will never last.
It is from this I believe the Lord is bringing into focus a vision for how we can add value to our churches that is based on their own unique needs as they seek to reach people for Christ. When I came to the Colorado Baptists Annual Meeting last October, I shared how I desired to work with pastors and regional/associational leaders to find solutions to their specific needs. For me, this is not just a desire but a genuine passion! We do not just need to work for a common goal, we need to own the work God has called us to as ministry partners. And the only way we will own the work together, is to share in the development of the work together.
What has been true of Southern Baptists for years has been our cooperative spirit.
One of my favorite narratives in Scripture comes from Nehemiah 3:1-4,6. It is the account of how people from various regions, and diverse walks of life, came together to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. Merchants worked alongside officials. People from the hill country worked beside those from the valleys. Priests and goldsmiths gave their all in the work before them. And for me the climax of this passage is found in Nehemiah 4:6, “So we built the wall and the whole wall was joined together to half its height, for the people had a mind to work.” And why did they own the work? I believe it was because they all had an equal part in it. They worked in front of their own homes, but they also worked for the good of all. And in this passage, we see the power of partnership.
I have had the privilege of seeing the Lord bring this kind of powerful partnership first hand. I have witnessed how invigorating it is when people have a voice in creating what they will carry out. I have experienced how involvement breeds camaraderie and how camaraderie brings authentic partnership. My life was genuinely impacted as I watched pastors of different backgrounds and cultures coming together, not because they naturally had anything in common, but because they knew they needed one another to reach their cities for Christ. This is my heart for Colorado Baptists! To see the power of partnership realized in all corners of our state and effective Gospel ministry celebrated by all.
What has been true of Southern Baptists for years has been our cooperative spirit. It is what has made us unique among other denominations. No other denomination does missions as effectively as we do because of this cooperative spirit. No one else does church planting like we do because of this cooperative spirit. In these ways we have all experienced what partnership can accomplish. Let us carry this on as we strive together to reach our great state for Christ. We really are better together!