Greetings OCSBA family!
August is finally here and its an exciting month for families with children going back to school after the summer months of rest, traveling, and for many more school. This time of year can be a tough time for pastors and their wives as they recommit getting their kids and grandchildren dressed, preparing lunches, combing hair, loading kids back in their cars and rushing them to school on time while doing all the other work of ministry. Yet, what a blessing it is to do so rather than having to log on, zoom all day, while being tempted with all the temptations of the internet. As you suffer, remember that your parents and grandparents prayed that these moments would return for our kids and grandkids and God lovingly answered that prayer.
In the same way, many of our churches are experiencing the same. People are returning to church but ministry leaders are finding that it is difficult to manage both online and in-person services. When do we stop doing online? Do we stop using Zoom for our meetings? When do we give up on those people that never returned? I would encourage all of you to not lose the knowledge and the methodology that you gained during the challenges of Gospel ministry. There is a reason why there are so many different fighting styles in every fighting discipline; Tiger style, crane style, and even drunken style. We are all developed in times to break through the enemy’s defenses. In the same way, churches desperately figured out new techniques to serve the Lord through the challenging times. Therefore, don’t lose your abilities to stream online, to have zoom prayer meetings, while rebuilding what you prayed for: The ability to return to live worship with all the challenges of live worship. Oh, and we never give up on the people that have not returned, but we move with the people that want to move while loving everyone.
Our association is doing well and growing well together. We appreciate all of your continued giving to support the strategies and needs of the association. As we implement that strategy in the Victorian era of the OCSBA, I also would covet your prayers. Many of the things we continue to do are traditional such as: the weekly Ministers’ Breakfasts, prayer meetings, CPMC groups, methods of associational membership, and church planting. Yet, there are new things that God has put on my heart. Things such as helping to encourage all our ministry leaders to stay healthy through exercise and fellowship in exercise. This is so that your time on earth may be extended and that you can be encouraged to take care of yourselves while you take care of others. We are doing this through our new director of athletics, Mr. Dante Perez. Dante is from Bolivia, loves the Lord, and has many years of experience as an AD in Orange County. He is volunteering his time as he loves pastors and ministry leaders and would see them live a long time by God’s Will.
The ambassador system is forming and organizing. This will bring men and women of many different ethnicities, cultures, and subcultures that will help plant churches in the strategic places that God wants but also in the cracks and crevices where God needs them to reach the lost. Pastor Abel Galvan will oversee this international and eclectic group of people that will serve as "people of peace" as our churches look to plant churches throughout Orange County. If you want to plant an Indian church, an Indian church wants to rent from you, or are organizing a mission trip to India, here is our Indian ambassador: Prashant Joseph, who is volunteering his time to help our association. In the past we had a few paid strategists who did good work like Pastor Ronald Vides. In the future we will have an army of ambassadors operating to bring unity to the nations and the cultures in our association.
Finally, the most important group in our association are the children and the youth. We have had great strategists for this in the past like Ms. Joni Lum, Pastor Josh Sanchez, and Ms. Faye Martnick. Now our new Director of Next Generational Ministries will emerge to help coordinate these strategists and the groups they oversee. This person will add more to encourage the growth and training of children’s ministries, youth ministries, college ministries, Christian education, and afterschool programs in your churches. The person we have hired to take the lead is an expert known nationally and locally, Pastor Josh Sanchez. He will attempt to unite the association’s youth groups, children’s ministries, and more so that as a Kingdom we can worship God together and our next generation will be inspired not just to serve God but to serve God together. They will learn to go outside of their context, to go on missions together, and to build an associational culture that would not have it any other way!
On Saturday, November 12th, we are celebrating our 70th anniversary and we are celebrating God’s faithfulness with a worship celebration and international festival at our annual meeting. We are returning to the site of our first meeting, the First Southern Baptist Church of Anaheim, where in 1952 after helping plant FSBCA, EW Moon, helped bring the Southern Baptist Churches in the OC together since he knew then what we continue to know now: Jesus loves all of us and we are better together. We will feature all the new things God is creating in our association while celebrating what God has done and continues to do! Our theme this year, ROOTS, will remind us of where we came from, who we are, and will look at the fruit we are bearing through God’s grace and power together. Mark your calendars and be ready as it will be a glorious celebration that I hope makes God smile and feel honored most of all.
I love you my OCSBA family! I answered the call so that we might come together in an even mightier way. We bask in the afterglow of God’s blessing at our SBC annual meeting, but we have not yet reached the pinnacle. We are just getting started! Let’s keep it going until the day, our Lord returns.
May God Bless you!