How to pray the week before camp 2017 and take action.

In the week before the Christian Baptist Camp Meeting, preparations are still being made, sermons are still developing, songs are being practiced, volunteers recruited, tasks assigned, numbers crunched, and reports written.  It is effortless to come into camp and think that everything picks up and continues from where we ended the previous year.  In reality, life happens the other 51 weeks of the year.  Bills need to be paid, pipes burst, and leaders and volunteers have shuffled around because of life changes just to name a few.  There is a lot of work going on during the year in the association, and it does seem to culminate in a time of celebration, reflection, and aligning during camp.  However, while some leaders and volunteers are working around the clock, we need more help.  One of the most critical areas is prayer.  Here is a list of prayer and action items for each day of this final week leading up to camp and council.

Day 1: Pray for the leadership of the association, ministers, and local church delegates to come into a sense of celebration of spiritual victories over the past year and seeking of God’s will as a deliberative body during general council.  Take action by learning who is on the general board, ministers, and the delegates to general council and prayer for them or send a note of encouragement.

Day 2: Pray for the worship leaders and singers to in the worship services to be led by the Holy Spirit as they lead the congregation in praise and thanksgiving before God Almighty.  Take action by participating in the choir or congregational singing.  Even if you can’t carry a tune in a bucket, make a joyful noise.

Day 3: Pray for the preachers to be anointed by the Holy Spirit as they study and prepare their sermons and in delivery.  Pray that the hearers are stirred to greater faith and conviction of sin.  Take action by writing down notes from the sermon, sharing on social media quotes or scripture from the sermon.  Also, speak to the preachers and let them know that you are praying for God to use them and encourage their spirit.

Day 4: Pray for the financial support of the camp meeting and association.  It is a big week but only one out of the entire year.  Pray that God would use the churches, members, and you as partners in ministry and are actually invested in a bright future.  Take action by putting aside your offering designated for the camp and be ready to give at the first opportunity.  Take further action by giving over and above.  Be a cheerful giver.

Day 5: Pray for the youth that will be attending camp periodically during the week and the youth that will be staying the full duration.  Pray that God would help settle a call to holiness and ministry in their life.  Take action by speaking words of kindness and encouragement to them.  

Day 6: Pray for conversions and revival among the attendees.  Pray that the services will be attended and the distractions would be minimized.  Take action by inviting as many possible.  Take further action by bringing as many as possible.

Day 7: Pray that camp ignites a fire among the people in the local churches to make an impact in their local worship community and the greater community where they are located.  Take action by taking notes, pictures, and other memories to remember what transpired during the camp meeting.  Take further action by observing spiritual disciplines, ministering through your local church, and leading your family closer to God.

Why Christian Baptist? Four Reasons.

Last year I wrote a couple of posts about the Christian Baptist Association (What is Christian Baptist? here & here).  This is the association of churches that I have my ordination through and pastor.  There was a time when I was a member of another group of Churches in the local area, but, the Lord led me to move into the same association that I had grown up loving.

The full name of the group is The Ohio Valley Association of Christian Baptist Churches of God.  You can only imagine the questions people have about this long and unique name.  However, that is not where this post will have its focus.  Instead, the focus is on why I find such a deep love for the Christian Baptist.  There are four reasons given here, among much more that I think will help readers to learn more about the Christian Baptist and to encourage my fellow members.

The Bible is our final authority.

It is our conviction that all things must be brought to Scripture.  Scripture is the revelation of the Triune God and any work outside of it is opinion.  It seems that many denominations are moving away from this standard and have elevated personal experience and emotional biases above the Bible.  I have witnessed outside of our association and a few within it, who receive any teaching that labels itself as Christian and balk at any attempt to reconcile it with Biblical teaching.  However, everything we need to know about worshipping God and living Christlike is found solely in Scripture.

We love God’s Word and are fully persuaded of its integrity.  We do not need to add personal experiences or opinions to Scripture to validate it.  Sure, those things are helpful in interpreting, but the Word of God is sufficient in and of itself.

The Holiness Accent

I am not speaking of stereotypical “holiness” groups.  Instead, we preach and teach that Salvation of the person is complete and perfect for making a person whole.  One reason that I hear many of my fellow members give for being Christian Baptist is that “We have the great doctrine.”  What does this mean?  Are we the only group with the right belief?  No, and I don’t believe anyone in the association implies that as well.  We share doctrines with other denominations that are essential for one to be called Christian.  There is truly only One Church, and it reaches across the globe and throughout time.

This section is labeled The Holiness Accent.  An accent is the”accentuated” or distinctive pronunciation in a language.  So, when I speak of my holiness accent, I am referring to my underlying assumptions and inclinations.  The holiness accent does not relate to our focus on external prohibitions of dress and behaviors (though we ought to have a godly lifestyle).  Rather, we accentuate the fact that believers are saved to the “uttermost.”

God does not justify a person and leaves them with their old nature.  Instead, when we are saved we are made new in Christ, and He imparts His nature to us.  Believers do not sin every day when they are entirely given over to be led by the Holy Spirit.  I heard it recently said, “It is our responsibility to keep from sinning, but it is God who gives us the power to keep from sinning.”

In summary, our holiness accent is that we preach and teach that believers can be fully transformed by God’s grace in this lifetime.

Freedom of Worship

There are many expressions of worship.  Shared in Scripture is that God seeks worship from those that are in spirit and truth.   These Biblical requirements for worship can be seen in both spontaneous and planned worship.  However, with planned worship, it is very easy to write God out of the plan and focus on man’s emotional and intellectual experience.  One thing I love about the Christian Baptist Association is that we are not afraid to worship God audibly and visually.  We are not Pentecostal in several regards of expressive worship, but we are certainly not afraid to express our love and thankfulness to God.

Our Heritage

I was raised Christian Baptist (my wife is from the Churches of Christ in Christian Union). However, I did not join one of the local churches at first.  I joined the Kentucky Christian Conference that was based near Morehead, Kentucky.  After a few years, God directed my path back to the Christian Baptist, and I have been here for last eleven years, pastoring one of the congregations for almost nine years and still there.  Now, I am raising my children in the Christian Baptist.

My heritage is in the Christian Baptist, and a significant portion of my family call this association home as well.  Yet, I also share a great love for our more extensive history.  I have studied the history of its coming together in 1931 and the leaders and laity of previous generations.  Listening to stories of past victories, miracles, and blessings that God has brought to pass in our camp meeting and the local congregation have been and continue to be formative in my spiritual walk.