State of the Union (Annual Report)

Exective Director/Treasurer: Dr. Preston Collins

Annual Report 2020

Union Baptist Association is on mission with God. Our strategy is to strengthen our member churches, plant new healthy churches, facilitate mission involvement, and practice good stewardship of UBA resources.

This Annual Meeting marks the end of 99 years of ministry for Union Baptist Association. Through the years many things have changed but our Biblical mandate remains the same. The work of UBA is rooted in Acts 13 when the church at Antioch sent out the first missionaries. The churches started during those missionary journeys form the biblical basis for our own association of churches. In Revelation 2-3 Jesus delivered messages to each of seven churches. These were seven real churches who functioned as an association of churches. They passed Paul’s letters and other writings we know as the New Testament from one church to another. They encouraged one another and were used by God to make disciples, plant new churches and be on mission in a pagan world. When we network together to do more than we could separately, we are living out the biblical model God established in the New Testament. Through faithful followers, Jesus is touching the world with His love, grace, and life.

Strengthening Churches

“Go make disciples…” (Matt. 28:19-20) is a multifaceted commission from the Lord. We must communicate the Gospel with those who need salvation, teach those who become followers of Christ, and provide opportunities for ministry experience. In all of this we are to challenge individuals to be obedient to Christ in all areas of their life. We began the year following the plans we had set for providing encouragement, training, and strengthening the ministries of UBA churches. In March everything changed due to the pandemic. We had to find new methods for training and encouraging church leaders. We postponed our plans for The Intelligent Leader Conference from March until October 19, 2020. Our VBS Team adapted by making training available through videos and personal online meetings. In a matter of days each church needed a method of providing worship services online. While it was an initial surprise, many pastors and churches discovered new opportunities in online ministry. Several pastors began daily or weekly online devotionals. A few churches were able to have outdoor worship in their parking lot and some Sunday School Classes started meeting in outdoor settings. We learned about social distancing and no-contact ministry. UBA has continued to provide support and encouragement for pastors and church leaders as they found new ways to minister to their congregation.

“Training the saints in the work of ministry…” (Eph. 4:12). Every church is involved in training for service and leadership development. God’s desire is for all His children to share in His work. This year UBA offered the COME Conference in an online format. Those training videos are still available on the UBA website for churches to use with their leaders. We believe the Sunday School is the church’s primary strategy to connect people to Christ, His community, His truth, and His mission. Whatever each church calls it…the greatest work of discipleship and transformation is accomplished through small groups ministry. During these times of isolation we have all learned again the importance of this ministry. We all need the personal interaction with fellow believers who personally care about our well being. God made us for community and together we have been innovative in meeting the needs of our most vulnerable church members. This year God has been glorified in His church.

Planting Churches

“The harvest is abundant, but the workers are few. Therefore, pray to the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest” (Luke 10:2).

God has placed us in an increasing field. According to the US census our population is growing about 2% each year. In Cleveland County this represents more than 5,000 new residents this year. In McClain County it represents about 700 new residents this year. During the past 20 years the population of our two counties has increased by nearly 100,000 people who are loved by God. We must respond by strategically planting new churches. Mentoring and networking established pastors with new church planters helps us achieve healthy new church starts. One of these new starts is New Life Church in Newcastle. The Church Planter/Pastor is Darren Rice who is a former staff member of Hilltop Baptist Church and Emmaus Baptist Church in UBA. While they are still meeting in a home, online ministry has allowed them to expand beyond the number they could have accommodated in a living room. In addition to this new start in 2020, I am in conversations with two men who have expressed a calling from God to plant a new church in our area. God is expanding His Kingdom in UBA.

Mission Involvement

“You will be My witnesses… to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8). God’s people need to be given opportunities to be directly involved in mission work. The mission opportunities provided by UBA include: UBA Mission Builders who do construction work for churches and Christian campgrounds; Disaster Relief Ministry consisting of a Feeding Unit, Chainsaw Unit, Debris Removal Unit, Shower Unit, and Chaplain Ministry; Partnership with our IMB missionaries in East Asia including sixteen unreached people groups; Our partnership with churches and associations in Canada and Latvia; Local ethnic and language ministries; Ministries at both men’s and women’s prisons; Baptist Collegiate Ministry to students at local colleges and universities; Hope Pregnancy Center Ministries, and Multi-Housing Bible study ministries. These ministries are the churches of UBA taking the Gospel of Christ to the ends of the earth.

The past six months have resulted in less travel than usual for mission trips. However, we are continuing to support our mission work both in Oklahoma and around the globe. Our local ministries have continued even with adapted methods due to Covid 19. Mission Norman has provided a report detailing the changes they were able to make to continue providing food and shelter for homeless families. Our Baptist Collegiate Ministry at OU had to alter some of their usual back to school activities. Praise the Lord, they have reported more than 20 individuals trusted Christ as the fall semester began.

Stewardship of Resources

UBA receives ministry contributions from churches and individuals. We have a team of volunteers who review the financials each month to maintain clear records of receipts and expenditures. Through the years UBA has accumulated resources of buildings and property used in this ministry. On Stubbeman Street in Norman we have the office building, the Mission Builders Garage, and the Disaster Relief Garage. UBA owns a cabin at Falls Creek used by our churches year round for camps and retreats. We also have two church buildings in Norman, which are currently being used by new congregations. All these possessions belong to the Lord and we are accountable to Him for our stewardship.

In August the Executive Board of UBA voted to sell a building owned by UBA located in Moore. The building was not being used at the time when we were approached by a fellow evangelical church located in the neighborhood about a possible sale of the building. After much prayer and careful consideration the Executive Council recommended the sale to the full Board. God is clearly at work in these days of pandemic and isolation.

God continues to bless as He invites us to join Him in His work of redemption. We are praying for God to move in powerful ways in the coming year. We desire to experience another great spiritual awakening. We know God has made Jesus Lord over everything for His church!

And He subjected everything under His feet and appointed Him as head over everything for the church, (Ephesians 1:22).

Dr. Preston Collins

 
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