Baptist Associations talk merger as historic session ends!

By: Pastor O.W. Billups, Jr., Mount Olivet Baptist Church

Note: The Three Baptist Associations met jointly for the first time in over 40 years last week, ending with a celebratory worship and pledges to continue the combined effort in years to come.

It was a gathering with representatives of over 50 churches for worship, Bible Study and music.

The following summary of the activities was prepared by Pastor O.W. Billups, Jr. of the Mt. Olivet Baptist Church.

“Reading the tenor and tone of today’s society and recognizing the mission of the church as mandated by Christ, thus the birth of the Tri-District Baptist Association.

The Tri-District Baptist Association is the vision of three associational presidents: Rev. Ike Byrd, III (Tenth District MBA), Rev. John L. Perry (BB&O Association) and Bishop Rodney McFarland, Sr. (North Louisiana Old Line Association). These Associations have a long and storied history with the oldest being the Tenth District (One-hundred fifty years old).

After many meetings, collaborations, and negotiations the date was set for August 4-11, 2019, to convene the Inaugural Joint Session of the Three Associations which heretofore have held their Annual Sessions separately.  Each Association’s Ministries met together to carry out their mission (i.e. Youth, Young Adult’s, Mission, Laymen, and Ushers).

All attendees were enrolled in Christian Education classes for five nights, two hours per night. Twenty-eight classes were offers with the high total attendance of 649 students (ages 3 to adult).

All adult classes and instructors are certified by the Sunday School Publishing Board, National Baptist Convention USA, INC.  The certified Christian Leadership School was led by Dean John L. Russell, II. and assisted by Deans Geneva C. Birdon and Lovely Callaway.

God provided all things needed and gave to the Tri-District the best meeting site we could have had, The Greater New Antioch Baptist Church family and Pastor John L. Russell, II. “Praise the Lord!”

Memory fails to call forth any time before like this past week of Christian fellowship.  The week started with a glorious praise worship at the Monroe Civic Center Theatre and ended in sublime worship at Greater New Antioch. The future hope is one Association, the Tri-District, with the mandate of going into the entire world, making disciples…as one.”