Posted on : Thursday October 18, 2018

By Sharon Mager

SALISBURY, Md.,—The Eastern Baptist Association (EBA), like most Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) associations, is in transition, with the inevitable highs and lows. Recently, they’ve been on a “high,” tossing around words like “revival,” and “re-energized.”

Eastern Baptist Association pastors enjoy pizza and fellowship at EBA monthly meetings.

Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware (BCM/D) President Mike Trammell recently had lunch with Keith Myer, Eastern Baptist Association’s acting director of missions (DOM) and other EBA pastors.

“Once a month they get together at Delmar Pizza, have fellowship, and break bread. Back in the early spring, there were times we’d have a handful of guys. This week, we had almost 20,” Trammell said. “It’s going well. The guys gave good reports, and people are getting baptized. I think it’s a new day for the EBA.”

Myer, too, is pleased. His goal has been to help pastors reconnect, and he’s done that through listening, communication and fellowship.

“A lot has changed over the past 10-15 years,” Myer said. To discover what is now working and what isn’t, Myer invited pastors together for two “listening sessions,” giving them a chance to share their feedback.

He began working on communication. First, he made sure he had the right contact information in the database, then started sending out weekly emails. He also encouraged pastors to send him announcements and other information to include. Pastors responded, replying to the emails, and then more of them began attending the informal monthly meetings.

“Two months ago, we had six guys, then eight, and this past month we had 18 at our pastors’ fellowship. It’s a big upswing,” Myer said, enthusiastically.

“Traditionally, a director of missions goes to the individual churches and offers to serve them,” Myer said. “What I’m trying to do is step back and say, ‘you guys start serving each other, make opportunities for each other, empower one another.’” That’s happening as the men are bonding and getting to know each other better. Pastors are sharing about ministries in their churches and upcoming mission trips. Additionally, there are discussions about churches potentially partnering together on some of those trips.

Myer said pastoral relationships are one of the greatest resources among associations. He is encouraged by the pastoral responses in the EBA and hopes what he sees is the beginning of revitalization.

“As associations get stronger that benefits the state convention,” he said. That strength, of course, gradually affects the whole SBC.