October 21, 2018
Potomac River Baptist Association Leaders and Members,
I'm excited about what God is doing in our Association. I am writing to share the vision that the Lord has given me for our Association for the next few years (2018-2022).
While the Association's theme continues to be "The Best is Yet to Come," we will focus on "Transforming Another Generation." Our Association has been transforming lives through the gospel of Jesus Christ for over 118 years. During this season, the world around us is slipping farther away from the principles of Christian living and we are challenged to deliver a relevant word to this generation. The power of the Association is revealed most when we come together, work together, learn together, and sharpen each other to do God's work and all the more as we see Christ's return approaching. I feel like we are looking through the telescope of God's word into the depths of space and see that Jesus is on the way back. We have to develop a sense of urgency and expectancy to transform another generation.
We will get this work done through three thrusts:
- Mission (local and foreign),
- Youth (empower leadership), and
- Family (strengthen family relationships).
I remember this by saying, "PRBA is MY Family."
For Mission: I envision us focusing on local mission work annually and conducting at least one foreign, short-term mission trip before June 2022. For the mission work, we can partner with an existing mission organization, like the National Capital Baptist Convention Mission Board or Four Corners International Mission. Four Corners did a local mission trip to Nanjemoy in the past, so I'd like to pursue doing local mission work in Nanjemoy, where the Association land is located, with them. The planning and coordination work will be done primarily through our Missions Department and Social Action Committee, under the leadership of 1st Vice Moderator Carlton Burns, Sr. The Social Action Committee was just added to our constitution in July 2018, so we are looking for members to build up this committee. Please let our Corresponding Secretary, Minister Legette, or me know if you are interested in participating in either the Missions Department or Social Action Committee.
For Youth: I envision getting our youth involved in the Association through leadership assignments that will benefit their resumes, personal and spiritual growth. I want the youth to hold special leadership assignments for one year at a time. I want the young adults and adults to hold regular leadership positions for four years or special leadership positions for two years. We need to conduct at least two youth retreats by June 2022. I also want to challenge our youth and young adults to create a social-media, web, and digital team that can improve our on-line presence with on-line giving, discussion groups, prayer groups, etc., which is another good resume item and the foundation for empowering the other efforts in Mission and Family. The planning and coordination work will be done primarily through our Youth and Sunday School Departments, and Scholarship Committee, under the leadership of 3rd Vice Moderator Reginald Farmer.
For Family: I envision empowering engaged and married couples, parents, and children with knowledge and practice about healthy living, spiritual growth, and building up families God's way. I envision promoting FamilyLife ministry, which has a host of events (the Weekend to Remember is in Solomons, MD on Nov. 9-11) and materials that we can use. The Balm in Gilead is a wonderful ministry that can also provide information for elder care, caregiving, breaking addictions, healthy habits, and other challenges that our families face. I believe in learning by doing, so I will encourage our planning teams to incorporate practical activities into their learning whether it's actual healthy cooking or actual exercise following scriptural-based teaching. The planning and coordination work will be done through our Men's, Women's, and Ushers/Nurses Departments, under the leadership of 2nd Vice Moderator Floyd Patterson, Sr.
When the Executive Board met on September 29th, we were in agreement on these thrusts. We also discussed how busy 2020 could be if we do everything that may call our attention, such as conducting a banquet to celebrate our 120th year in July 2020 and participating in the National Baptist Convention in September 2020 in National Harbor, MD. We will discuss it further at our next Executive Board meeting at the end of December. Whichever we decide, we will form a planning committee so look forward to those announcements starting in mid-2019. 2nd Vice Moderator Patterson will continue to oversee the Nominating Committee and 3rd Vice Moderator Farmer will continue to oversee the Time and Place Committee.
The highlights of our activities are in the attached 4-year calendar. You will see the events in the first column, the constitutional basis for the date of the events, and columns for each year 2018-2022. A "Region" column of DC, SoMD, or PG means that we will look for a host church in either Washington, DC, Southern Maryland, or Prince George's County. We will send out letters and emails to the member churches in those regions asking for them to volunteer to host the scheduled events.
Please pray for our great Association as we seek God's face in this work.
Again, I'm excited about what God is doing in our Association as He continues to Transform Another Generation for truly the best is yet to come!
Transforming another generation,
Rev. James F. Harris, Sr.
Moderator, Potomac River Baptist Association
Theme: The Best is Yet to Come
"That is what the Scriptures mean when they say, 'No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.'"
1 Cor. 2:9 (NLT)