Cooperation – the process of working together to the same end.

Cooperation – the process of working together to the same end.

By Brian Everett
Pastor, Allen Heights Baptist Church

Brian Everett Pastor, Allen Heights Baptist Church

I fear that we are losing “cooperation” as Baptists as time marches on.  I have been that pastor that has gone to all the meetings of the state convention, national convention, associational meetings and gatherings only to leave with a feeling that there is a lack of unity and lack of cooperation with Baptist churches that desire to work together for the kingdom of God, even the churches that are just a few blocks away.

We would rather compete, than cooperate.  Because in the end, there must be a feeling that God is keeping count of the numbers instead of “Well done, good and faithful servant.”  (Matthew 25:23)  How well did you serve is the question, not how many you gathered.  In Matthew 25, Jesus teaches a strong lesson in His story, “the Parable of the Talents.”  Jesus was talking more about the slave’s attitude towards what he had been given, not all about what he accomplished with it.

Founded in 1707, the Philadelphia Baptist Association, now affiliated with the American Baptist Churches (USA), has assisted countless churches in starting, developing, growing, and extending the Gospel through a unified message and effort.  (  We are the ones who “cooperate together”, since the formation of associations, to do the work of the kingdom.  From the smaller church, who are doing everything they can to keep the few together that gather on Sunday, who need a helping hand with Vacation Bible School this summer because they have two kids in Sunday School from K-6th Grade, to the larger church who has the resources, capacity and “servant’s heart” to reach across the county to help and serve them.

To the one hundred person church, the average size Southern Baptist Church, that needs help with evangelism training that finds another church right next door to them who are willing to give of their time and resources to disciple them and even take them out in the city to show them how to share the gospel.  This is the association.  This is cooperation.  This is the kingdom work that we can do together that makes a greater impact on the communities and cities we are trying to reach.

I appreciate the efforts that churches in our association are making to help one another.  To disciple one another.  To care for each other.  Here is where we see “assisting” and “developing” take place that was the spirit of the Baptist Association over 300 years ago.  To extend the gospel to every home in our cities.  To labor side by side to see Jesus made famous.  Obeying the Great Commission that Jesus has given us.

I desperately need the fellowship and prayers of other pastors.  Pastors that are facing the same battles and struggles that I am.  I need to know that they care that I am serving right down the street from them.  I need sincerity in conversations and actions.  I need help with certain things in the church I serve.  I am not an island.  I must also be willing to invest in others.  I am willing.  I would give the needed time.  My spiritual, physical and mental health depends on it.  But the looming question is, “Are you there?” A mentor once told me, “Brian, they know you care when you’re there.”  The ministry of presence is huge.

Some of the greatest relationships with other pastors who are good friends are made in the association.  Some of the most meaningful prayer times I have had are with other pastors in the association who had the time to pray with me and I with them.  Some of the greatest mission and ministry moments I have experienced were when I was a part of churches working together for the kingdom of God.

I encourage you to reach out – to connect, collaborate and engage – with other churches in our association.  You will be amazed as to what the Holy Spirit will do, when you take a walk with Him working side by side with brothers and sisters in Christ to reach Collin County.


VBS Road Trip


There is nothing more Southern Baptist than Vacation Bible School!
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What images pop into your head when you hear the words Vacation Bible School? Do you have fond memories, or are you wondering what is VBS? VBS stands for Vacation Bible School, and it is a summer church outreach focused on giving kids a fun and creative place to learn about the Bible and to build relationships with churches and other kids in the area.
If VBS has been a great experience for you as a child or adult (or both!), you are probably smiling. Some may think of VBS as “old school” or not an event for your style of ministry. You might think VBS is OK, but you feel pressure because you need an event that sets your church apart from others in your area.

What Is the Purpose of VBS?

Many people may wonder what the purpose of Vacation Bible School is and if it’s still relevant. The answer is actually very simple: the purpose of VBS is to minister children in the church, create outreach to the surrounding communities, and to create evangelism opportunities. This purpose is supported by a creative theme of Bible study, activities, worship, and even time for some tasty snacks.
If you are not sure VBS is for you, here are a few things to consider.

1. VBS is a dependable ongoing ministry.

For 95 years, LifeWay has provided trusted VBS resources to churches, reaching more than 25,000 churches and 3 million people annually.
VBS can be a short-term event with long-term results.
With a typical five-day time frame, VBS offers a chance to pull out all the stops and create an unforgettable experience. Research shows connections made during VBS result in salvations , discovery of church prospects and potential workers for other ongoing children’s programs. Also, it is not uncommon for a leader to volunteer to help for “just one week of VBS,” and feel God’s tug on his or her heart to work with kids permanently.

2. VBS creates lasting memories.

VBS is a special event that creates memories that help lock Bible truths in a child’s heart and mind for a lifetime. Birthday parties and other special events have themes that use creativity to evoke feelings of excitement. Games, food, decorations and fun all link together in a total package. VBS does the same thing. When we connect with kids through this ministry, the biblical truths that permeate all aspects of VBS also connect with their hearts and minds.

3. VBS is an opportunity to share the gospel.

VBS is an intentional evangelistic opportunity.
The biblical content built into the curriculum lays foundational truths that help kids understand who Jesus is and why they need a personal Savior. The relationships you develop with kids and their families can provide many opportunities to not only show the love of Jesus, but to share the truth of the gospel.

4. VBS is an event that you can customize.

VBS is what you make it.
Whether you provide an on-campus experience that encourages your church kids to bring their friends or an off-campus, community-centered Backyard Kids Club, the purpose of sharing the good news about Jesus is the same. Some churches are finding that it’s worth the effort to do both. After a great on-campus experience, you can take those resources to backyards and community rooms, or on mission trips.
VBS is the resource. The name you choose can be your own! You can call it VBS, Kids’ Week, Fun Zone or any event name of your choice. Kids will come to love and talk about the events that excite them, engage them, and help them know that God and the people at your church really care about them.
VBS is an opportunity to ignite the imagination of your church, involve volunteers for a specific “doable” commitment and connect with the kids in your church and community. The methods you use will create memories. The message you share will change lives.
Rhonda VanCleave is a publishing team leader at LifeWay Christian Resources. She leads children’s church at Rock Springs Baptist Church, Columbia, Tennessee where her husband is pastor. Reprinted from: