Below are some of the highlights of our ministry during the month of February.
- February 5 – Spoke at the annual meeting of the Alabama Hospital Association in Birmingham. At the banquet 10 people throughout the state were honored as Hospital Heroes. Last week’s blog concerned this event. If you want to read some inspiring stories of these 10 people, you can go to the website of the Alabama Hospital Association.
- February 6 – Spoke at the opening session of the Every Member in Ministry Conference at Frazer. We began this conference about 25 years ago, where people from all over the country come for a weekend of study together on how to get lay people involved in ministry. Over 22,000 people have attended this conference over the years.
- February 7- was in Mobile, Alabama, to preach at the Springhill Baptist Church. They are without a pastor. The preacher the week before was Coach Bobby Bowden. My good friend Jerry Gunnells is a former pastor here in Montgomery and at Springhill Baptist. He will be serving as the interim pastor. It is a great church. I had the opportunity to be a part of a commissioning of a pulpit search committee. Some pastor is going to be fortunate to be called by that church.
- February 7- had the opportunity to give leadership in “The Real Halftime” on Frazer television during the Super Bowl. Jay Wolf from First Baptist Church and I have done this for a lot of years. This year Jim Carpenter joined us, along with Gary Cramer, who is the Chaplain for the Alabama Crimson Tide. He has access to the inner workings of football at the University and is having a great ministry there with not only the football team but other sports teams. I always enjoy going to the University of Alabama to speak at a FCA meeting.
- February 8- helped lead a 5 hour seminar for some 80 pastors from the Montgomery/Prattville and Montgomery/Opelika Districts of the United Methodist Church. Dr. Karl Stegall and I led this seminar on some of the best practices that we have discovered. It was fun working with Karl because he has been one of my best friends in my ministry. I also was able to tell them that I was sharing the seminar leadership with a man who was much older than I and who had mentored me when I was just a young fellow!
- February 8 – participated on the panel to ask questions of the gubernatorial candidates. It was an interesting experience to be able to ask questions and hear the answers from all of the candidates running for office. You would be interested to know that the very first question to the gubernatorial candidates came from another panel member, a college professor, who asked the question, “Do you believe in the inerrancy of scripture and how would your answer to this question shape the way you make decisions as governor?” Wow! I didn’t know I was at a political meeting – I thought I was a part of a process of interviewing a potential minister. Actually, I hope all of the gubernatorial candidates will see the possibility of the position of governor as being a ministry that will glorify God and lead the people of Alabama.
- February 9 – led a seminar in Birmingham, Alabama, at the Vestavia Hills United Methodist Church for pastors of North Alabama Annual Conference. Charlie Carlton from Stewardship Resources in Birmingham and I did six of these seminars last year in our Annual Conference and this was the first we have done in the North Alabama Conference. My focus was on leadership.
- February 14 – spoke at the Valentine Banquet and Worship at Taylor Road Baptist Church with Pastor Andy Hepburn. It was a fun time that Lynn and I enjoyed. Our anniversary was February 13, so I told them that this was my way of taking her out to a special dinner on our anniversary. That is a growing church here in our city and the people were most gracious. It takes a brave Southern Baptist preacher to invite a Methodist to come in and preach. I had that opportunity two weeks in row.
- February 16 – went to Atlanta, Georgia, to see Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets play the University of North Carolina. My good friend and a great supporter of this ministry is Phillip Cook from Stockbridge, Georgia. He is a trustee at the Shingleroof Campmeeting. He and his wife Julie invited my son Si and me. You know how I love basketball. The North Carolina Tarheels are defending National Champions, but they are not defending much – they are having a tough year.
- February 19 – spoke at a surprise birthday party for Dr. George Washington Carver Richardson, pastor of Hutchinson Missionary Baptist Church. I had preached in his church back in December and feel a real kinship with his congregation. It was a surprise party out at the Gateway Park. He was thoroughly surprised. It was his 70th birthday so Lynn and I had an opportunity to share in a special moment with him, his wife, and his congregation.
- February 23 – was in Huntsville, Alabama, for the second seminar on leadership offered to the pastors of the North Alabama Conference. It is encouraging to see the eagerness of pastors, especially young pastors, to learn about leadership.
- February 23 – spent the morning down at the Cumulus Radio Stations. I have always enjoyed radio and doing a two-minute devotional on WLWI every morning at 5:55 a.m. I have been doing that for years. I also enjoy periodically being a part of the Sports Talk program with John and Barry. I am amazed at how many people listen to Sports Talk Radio. I recorded a segment for Mix103 in one of their special promotions. It will be on some time the first week in March during the 7:00 a.m. hour. LeAnne and J. T. are the radio hosts and are a great asset to our community.
- February 26 – wanting to save expenses, the Confessing Movement holds its’ Board meeting by conference call. I have always been actively involved in the leadership of the Confessing Movement. In my opinion, it is one of the reasons why the United Methodist Church is still a vital force in society in many parts of the world. Please pray for the Confessing Movement. You can go to their website and learn much of the work that the CM does. Actually, the first office for the Confessing Movement was at Frazer and I served as the first President.
- February 27 – preached at the Eufaula First Baptist Church for the morning and evening worship services and will be there in revival services on Monday and Tuesday. I believe this is my third time to go for a revival at First Baptist Eufaula. Dr. Ken Bush has been pastor there 30 years. He is also a brave man to invite a Methodist to be a part of his ministry. I will share more about that next month.
God has opened several doors for me to do some individual consulting with churches. I spent several hours doing that this past month. I also enjoy one-on-one time with young pastors.
Our Board joins me in thanking you for your financial support of this ministry. Many of the seminars I do have no charge for those who come and participate and sometime we even help pay expenses for younger pastors. In March I have the opportunity to be a part a teaching team in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where a huge number of pastors will gather for training.
I try to write a blog each week. If you would like to have this e-mailed to you, please send us your e-mail address. The blog will also appear on the website. Thanks for your support.
For the Cause of causes,
John Ed Mathison