March 2012

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Which Parking Spot for You?

Among the critical questions every minister and staff needs to ask as we begin a new year is this one: Which parking spot will you choose? Clearly, this question needs to be put in its proper context.

My father was the finest and healthiest minister I have ever known. While that sounds like typical son-talk, many others have concurred, and he had a unique and profound influence on my life. His piety, wisdom, life-balance, integrity and passion for leading a church to both reach out and reach in were unique and memorable. One of his traits that I have come to appreciate more and more across the years has been his humility. As I work daily in congregations and with clergy, I have a growing sense that humility, as Scripture defines it, is a needed and often missing component of a healthy ministry. In Romans 12, Paul makes it clear that pride is the enemy of our ministry. In verse 3 he insists “Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought to think,” and in verse 10 he suggests an alternative to our tendency toward self-absorption: “Outdo one another in showing honor.” Even more forcefully, he reminds the Philippians: “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.”

One of my childhood memories as a pastor’s son was going to church early on Sunday mornings with dad. We would get there before anyone else, and he would pull into the large parking lot and head to the far end, eventually finding the parking spot that was the longest distance from the building. I would complain every time, about passing by all those good spots up near the building, and he would just smile and remind me that someone else would need that spot more than us.

I knew that not everyone thought that way. At banks, businesses, schools and some churches, the leaders had designated choice parking spots. Not us. We parked in the far country.

That simple act hinted at a fundamental understanding that clergy and congregations desperately need to emulate. Humility is at the heart of what it means to follow Christ. Self-absorption or narcissism will negate and destroy us if left uncorrected.

When I went to seminary, I naively thought every minister was like my father. I had a rude awakening. I eventually found my circle of like-minded friends and graduated full of optimism and hope. Unfortunately, my first congregational experience found me in the midst of a group of clergy who embodied pride rather than humility. I soon found that my clergy colleagues were guilty of embezzlement, theft, adultery, alcohol abuse and habitual lying. On the verge of leaving ministry, I decided instead to try and embody a healthy orientation to ministry for those I would encounter in the future.

Thankfully, I found three wonderful congregations and a host of colleagues across the ensuing years who also wanted to live out a Christ-centered model of ministry. I had seen the dark alternative, and I was convinced that we needed a clear voice for the kind of leadership that chose the distant parking spot rather than the prime one.

All of this personal reflection is intended to lead us back to the original question: which parking spot will you choose?
Congregations and clergy face a daily choice regarding our approach to our ministry. Will this be an exercise in self-fulfillment, or will we lose ourselves in the greater good of helping the kingdom come here on earth as it is in heaven? No clergy or congregation is pure in our motives, to be sure. We all have our dark sides that clamor for attention and resist the light.
However, if we can acknowledge our pride and submit it to the gracious lordship of Christ, there is hope. When we choose to forego the temptation of “me first” and instead practice the radical notion of “outdoing one another in showing honor,” something very special happens in a church. Conflict withers, minor irritants subside, competing views become cooperative and the community senses a fresh aroma (2 Corinthians 2:14) that defies conventional wisdom and is attractive and compelling.
In the end, we accomplish great things for God when we give up our need for attention and acclaim. Some of those will be things others notice and praise us for. But there will be times our actions will only be seen by those who look to the far reaches of the parking lot.

It all starts with a choice by each of us. Which parking spot will you choose?

—Bill Wilson (, president of the Center for Congregational Health in Winston-Salem, N.C.


Linda Blair is a year round volunteer for Operation Christmas Child and is on the local Church Relations Team.

At the request of the state WMU office, she will be at the Mom and Me conference at Eagle Eyrie in April. The Shoebox Lady (as she is known by many) would be happy to present her Operation Christmas Child skit to churches/women’s groups.

You may contact her by calling her at home, 434.528.4649; at work, 434-299-7397; or emailing


Mar 2 Philip Ayers (Glade Creek)
Mar 4 Daren Davis (IMB Missionary)
Mar 7 Rick Mallory (Morgans)
Mar 24 Dennis Moore (Retired)
Mar 31 Harold Lewis (Walnut Grove)
Apr 9 Jackie Carver (Palestine)

Focus on Our Family

For “Baptist Women’s Day” on February 26, Rev. Margaret “Peggy” Hames was the guest speaker during morning worship at Bedford Baptist.

Tapley F. “Skip” Irby began serving as intentional interim pastor of Big Island on February 19. He and his wife Christine have five adult children and five grandchildren. His most recent pastorate was at First Baptist Suffolk.

Mentow will host a Gospel Sing followed by a Pancake Supper on Saturday, March 31, 5:30 p.m. The Mentow Quartet will be among those singing.

Each month, Hunting Creek’s food pantry reaches out to those in need. In November, 116 families were helped; in December, 108 families; and in January, 35 families and 92 individuals.

Hunting Creek welcomes Susan Massie as the part time Church Secretary/Administrator.

Hunting Creek is installing a “Phone Tree” to make reaching active members, inactive members, and the community more comprehensive, easier, and quicker. To God be the glory for the many ways we have of reaching others!

Hunting Creek’s Pastor Snellings is in the process of planning a mission trip to Haiti the first week in July. The congregation is much in prayer for those whom God will send.

Thaxton’s youth will host a Spaghetti Dinner on Wednesday, March 7, 5 p.m. Proceeds will go toward the summer mission trip.

Walnut Grove ordained Bob Auxier as a Baptist minister in a special service on February 26. Rev. Harold Lewis and Rev. Auxier will be co-pastors of the church.

SBA’s Church Development Coordinator, Rev. Dennis Moore, would like for pastors to contact him with the titles of books they have found helpful relating to Church Health. His contact info is (Home) 540.947.2091; (Cell) 540.339.5761, or (email)


Music Minister - Part Time
Hunting Creek Baptist Church
Big Island, Virginia

Hunting Creek Baptist Church is a Southern Baptist Congregation in the reformed tradition. We are looking for someone to lead our Music Ministry. This will primarily include preparation, and the leading of music for three weekly services (Sunday AM, Sunday PM, & Wednesday PM); and seasonal services. The music style of the church is “blended”. The Music Minister must be able to lead, and be excited about leading, the congregation in both older and newer songs. The Music Minister will also be charged with leading the choir, either directly or indirectly. Candidates must also be adept at playing either keyboard or guitar, and be able to lead other musicians, as well as have a basic understanding of audio equipment. In accomplishing the work of the ministry, the Music Minister will work under the direction of the Senior Pastor and with other church leaders. The new Minister and their family will become members of the church and be expected to participate accordingly.

Salary: $15,000
Contact: HCBC Personnel Committee
Contact Address:

2011 Annual Report

Copies of the 2011 Annual Report of the Strawberry Baptist Association may be picked up at the office the middle of March. Please call 540.586.8345 before coming by.

Mark Your Calendars!

Children’s Summer Music Camp
(Children who have completed grades K-6)
Monday, July 23, through
Friday, July 27, 2012
9:00 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Bedford Baptist Church

Musical Program, Friday, 7:00 p.m.

“The Lost Boy: Young Jesus in the Temple”

Click for March Calendar

SBA Leadership Team

SBA Leadership Team (formerly Executive Board) Meeting
Tuesday, April 17, 2012, 7 p.m.
Quaker Baptist Church

A Place for You in WMU!
Mrs. Rebekah Overstreet, WMU Director
1813 Oakwood St., Bedford 24523
Phone: 540.586.2956

Women on Mission: Radford will complete its three-month ministry of leading weekly devotionals at Oakwood Manor in March. Thaxton will lead them in April. Diamond Hill will host the March birthday party for residents of Bedford County Nursing Home; Palestine will host it in April. In December, Bethlehem sent several hygiene packages to the Fluvanna Correctional Center for Women.

The 2012 WMUV Mission Trip to Standing Rock Indian Reservation is scheduled for July 29-August 4. Volunteers will engage in construction, medical, VBS, cooking, adult crafts, recreation, and a traveling fair. The first training session for new volunteers will be Saturday, March 3, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., at the Virginia Baptist Resource Center. To register, call 1.800.255.2428. Items for collection are: NEW shoes, new socks and underwear for all ages, money or gift cards, make pillowcases for boys, girls, teens, and adults.

Shine 2012: April 13-15, especially for teen girls and their adult leaders. Mission Focus: Pajama pants and pillowcases will be collected for teenage girls living on the Standing Rock Indian Reservation and an offering will be taken to provide food for families living on the Reservation. Register online at

Mom & Me 2012: April 27-28 and April 28-29, for girls (1st-5th graders) and their moms. The theme is: Heart/Hand/Hope/Haiti. Mission Focus: Each participant will fill a shoebox for Operation Christmas Child and will have the opportunity to give to support a water purification program for Haiti. Register online at

Strawberry WMU
Annual Meeting/Prayer Retreat

Flint Hill, Saturday, April 28, 2012, 9 a.m.
(Covered dish brunch)

Our mission project for this year will be to collect household items—blankets, sheets (king/queen), towels, pots & pans, and silverware—for Bedford Christian Ministries. We want to provide the best to people who have little or nothing. So, as you donate, please either purchase brand new items or give gently used items (nothing broken/torn/smelly/stained/rusted.)

The Executive Board will recommend that the offering taken at the meeting (plus enough from our treasury to make a total of $500) be sent to the Metropolitan New York Baptist Association to purchase bed linens for their 50 beds.

The Women’s Ministry of Sedalia Baptist Church Presents
“Fruitburst! Living Life
Filled with the Fruit of the Spirit”

Saturday, March 10, 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Sisters of Grace, the Sedalia Baptist Women’s Ministry, invites you and the women of your congregation to be part of this very special opportunity with Julie Nash sharing from the word of God and Shana Canada ministering through music.

Julie is a wife and mother of four children. She works full-time as the Assistant Director of the LCA Early Learning Center. She is very active with the Women’s Ministry at Thomas Road Baptist Church and leads a Tuesday night Bible study for professional women in her community. Shana, born and raised in Appomattox, has been married to her high school sweetheart for 17 ½ years. They have three children. She is a graduate of Longwood University and currently works as a PRN Therapist at Virginia Baptist Hospital and is a Personal Trainer at her family’s Fitness Center. Shana pursues her love of music as a Christian singer and in recent years has become a Nashville published songwriter. This past year, Shana and her band led worship at the Extraordinary Women’s Conference overflow at Thomas Road Baptist Church. She is an active member of Liberty Baptist Church and is called to Women’s Ministries, sharing her testimony whenever and wherever God presents the opportunity.

The registration fee of $15 ($20 if you want lunch) is due by March 5. If you have questions or would like more information, please call the church at 434.299.5039.

Wedding Anniversary

Apr 29 Elmer & Tiena Sellers (65 yrs.) (Retired)

Church Anniversary

Mar 1 Bill Mitchell (Pastor/5 yrs./Mount Zion)

SBA’s Vision Statement: Due to our common faith in Jesus Christ and His body, the Church, we Commit ourselves to Connecting with one another for Coordinating the missions and ministries of our member churches and Communicating opportunities to partner together to fulfil the Great Commission and Great Commandment.

"He who is truly born of God is sure to resemble his Father."

Help us all stay informed. If you have information about what's going on at your church, please share it with us. Items for the next newsletter should be written and in the association office by Wednesday, March 21.

Occasionally the administrative assistant has to close the SBA office for errands or meetings. Before coming by to drop off or pick up items, please call 540.586.8345 to be sure the office is open.

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Strawberry Baptist Association
163 West Main, Bedford, VA 24523
Tel.: (540) 586-8345

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Updated 2/28/2012
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