The month of March offered a variety of different opportunities for ministry. It included a nine hour training with leaders from a local church, preaching at Dexter King Memorial Baptist Church, at Christchurch, at the Holy Spirit Conference, teaching and preaching in Buenos Aires and Cordoba, Argentina, and doing District Pastors’ Conferences in three different Districts.
The one thing about ministry I did not anticipate was the amount of travel that would be required. Most everything I do is out of town. I decided to figure up the number of hours in March that I spent either in my car, or airport, or airplanes. It came to just over 83 hours. That is almost two full work weeks in just travel.
The following is a brief recap with some pictures.
- March 1 & 2 – Preached a revival at First Baptist Church in Eufaula. It was my third time for this event. Dr. Ken Bush has been the Senior Minister there for 30 years. I always wondered how Baptists have so many men participate. Below is a picture of a steak dinner that they had on Monday night. The fellowship hall was packed with men, I think they require you to attend worship if you eat the steak dinner. One of the differences in Methodists and Baptists is that they had steaks left over at the Baptist men’s meeting – that would never happen at a Methodist church. The other picture is one of the worship services. They had a sanctuary full even for the noon day services.
- March 3 – I went to Ozark for a noon day Lenten worship service. I actually have kin folks who live in that area as most of the Mathisons came from Skipperville. As you know Ozark is a suburb of Skipperville!
- March 5, 6 & 7 – I went to Elizabeth City, North Carolina. The District Superintendent there is Carl Frazier. We had a Pastors Conference with one section of the District on Saturday morning and another Pastors Conference near the Atlantic coast on Saturday afternoon. One of the pictures below shows some of the pastors and a shot of one of the groups of pastors in the workshop. Sunday afternoon was a rally of all of the churches in that District. They really have a lot of Duke fans up there. They gave me a Duke cap and I have worn it a couple of times during March Madness.
- March 9 & 10 – Pictured below are some of the people from radio stations here in Montgomery. Dr. Sam and Andi Scott are with WLWI. I have a 2-minute devotional on WLWI every morning. A very popular duo is Leanne and J. T. on Mix 103. They invited me to participate on air in one of their special programs. The third picture is John Longshore. He and Barry McKnight have one of the most popular sports talk radio programs in this area. I enjoy being on with them live. I actually should have had Barry’s picture on here because he is much better looking than John, but he normally is in the studio at Auburn.
- March 12 & 13 – Spoke at the Holy Spirit Conference at Blue Lake. They had over 200 people participating. Pictured below is a shot of one of the worship experiences. The other speaker was Dr. Steve Seamands who is a professor at Asbury. Below is the Praise Team from the Sardis United Methodist Church. As you can see they had about 20 people in the Praise Team and they are all in same Sunday School class in one United Methodist Church that we would consider to be small. It reminded me that the size of the church never limits the numbers of people that can be reached and participate.
- March 14 – Preached at Christchurch. This is a congregation that is building a large church building out on Vaughn Road. They presently meet at the Dexter United Methodist Church at 9:00 on Sunday mornings. They are related to the Anglican heritage.
- March 15, 16, & 17 – I went to Argentina to teach pastors there as a part of the Billion Soul Initiative. I was in Buenos Aires one day and in Cordoba the next day. Pictured below is the pastor of the church that sponsored the event in Cordoba. He is retired military and started this church 20 years ago and today they have over 20,000 people every weekend. They also have planted churches in seven other countries. Below is a picture of me doing part of that teaching through an interpreter. Also there is a picture of a group of the leaders there who all of their congregations average more than a thousand in worship each weekend. They are forming a core group to host a major summit there in 2012. They have invited me to come and participate. I didn’t stay long in Argentina. I spent one night in the hotel and two nights on the airplane.
- March 19 & 20 – I went to Dalton, Georgia to work with about 50 leaders from this great church in North Georgia. They had used my book Tried & True, about visioning for the future and this was an opportunity to look at how the work of that Joel Committee would be implemented in that church and that community. I was so impressed with Rev. Robert Lindsey and his staff and the tremendous leaders. You would know Dalton as being the carpet capitol of the world. Today they have one of the highest unemployment rates in the country—yet they have an optimistic energetic spirit. Pictured below is part of the group that spent nine hours together on Friday night and Saturday.
- March 21 – Preached at Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church. I wrote a blog about it last week. It was an awesome experience.
- March, 27, 28, & 29 – I went to Stone Mountain, Georgia to be a part of the Mountain Park United Methodist Church witness. It was an extremely busy weekend as we began on Saturday morning with about 50 of their church leaders for a 3-hour session together. I preached Sunday morning at the 8:30 and 11:00 worship services and then taught Sunday School as all of the adult classes met together. At noon I met with some of their church leaders. I taught a workshop on evangelism at 3:00. It was open to the churches of that area. I preached the evening worship service. Monday morning we had a session for all of the ministers of that District. The District Superintendent James Cantrell did not require the pastors to come, but most every pastor in the District attended the 3-hour seminar.
Please pray for me and for the leaders of your local church as we all strive to make the Easter message the dominant message of our day!