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April-May 2022

Everyday Discipleship


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better together


Let's Put "Associate" Back Into Associations


Ecclesiastes 4:9-11


We now give ourselves to one another…

So says the first paragraph of the Free Will Baptist Church Covenant. How do Free Will Baptists give themselves to one another? Certainly, this happens on a local church level, but it is not limited to the local congregation. The fourth paragraph begins, “We will not forsake the assembling of ourselves together for church conferences.” Our founders saw the church conference or association meeting as a key to striving together to proclaim the gospel.

Coming out of COVID (and for many, even before), involvement in local associations has waned. Should we rekindle our associations? Ecclesiastes 4:9-11 teaches the value of working together and warns against the danger of isolation. This is true for individual believers, congregations, and even the denomination. When we come together (associate), we accomplish more (verse 9), can help one another (verse 10), benefit from fellowship (verse 11), and are protected from outside threats (verse 12).

How can we rekindle our associations? We can’t control the behavior of others, but each of us can choose to be the “spark that gets the fire going” in our association. Let’s begin by praying for one another (James 5:16). Think about your counterpart at another church, whether you are a pastor, deacon, teacher, sound technician, or some other role. Pray for them daily. Watch them online. Pay attention to their social media, and reach out to them through calls, notes, mail, or posts and messaging on social media. Look for reasons to get together for coffee, lunch, or a game. If another church has an activity, attend if you can, and invite them to activities at your own church.

As you interact, “watch over one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bonds of peace, to be careful of one another’s happiness and reputation.” In other words, the fifth paragraph of the Covenant reminds us to downplay differences and accentuate what you hold in common.

What happens when we put the associate back into associations? We “strengthen the weak, encourage the afflicted, admonish the erring, and…promote the success of the church and of the gospel.”

Recently, we published a podcast demonstrating this with Pastor Duane Littlefield of the Salem Association in Florida. The association has been working with First FWB Church in Sneads, Florida. The church had been decimated by COVID. The association began working with the church to help renovate their facilities. Pastor Littlefield noted every member of the church who worked with association members had clearly been blessed. Further, the pastor of the Sneads Church reports the community has been making inquiries about the renovations and activities.

The work of the Salem Association with the Sneads Church has had far reaching impact. Really, the whole endeavor has been a testimony of the love of Christ to everyone who observed.
This is what happens when we put associate back into the association.


About the columnist: Eddie Moody is the executive secretary of the National Association of Free Will Baptists.


©2022 ONE Magazine, National Association of Free Will Baptists