by Steve Engram, SWCC Regional Executive,
2014 has been a great year for the Southwest Church Connection!
Working together we are seeing God do some amazing things in and through our Association. We have a number of churches that are growing and reaching people with the gospel of Jesus. We have a number of churches that are refocusing on the mission of the gospel and seeing rebirth to their ministries where God has planted them. God has blessed us with many people who give time and effort working with others outside of their own churches to help make this Association happen. These people include those who serve on our ministry team by giving us time in their busy ministry schedules. It includes those men and women who serve faithfully on our board representing the Connection in their areas of our region. These people include pastors who meet together to encourage and coach one another and to help churches and pastors that are going through difficult times. It also includes church members who partner together with people from other sister churches to learn ways and encourage others to serve the Lord even more effectively.
This past year we have been able to help two of our larger sister churches (First Baptist Prescott and Trinity in Mesa) who have undergone some difficult times, to transition to Intentional Interim pastors who are moving them forward in renewal and growth. These Intentional Interim pastors are coached by fellow pastors in our Association who give from their wisdom and experience to help lead the needed turnarounds. We have also been able to bring a Ministry Mapping process to a few of our churches that are looking to move ahead to the next level of ministry. We’re excited to see how these churches have responded to the challenges and their desire to reach their communities with the gospel.
This past year we commissioned two new church plants which will launch this year. The Morenci church plant is being led by a few of our churches in the southeast part of the state. We are also very excited about our church plant in Glendale which has already launched here in early 2015! As an association we were able to host our first church planting boot camp last summer, with our second one scheduled for late May of this year. Perhaps you have some young leaders that might be interested in attending, you can find information about it at our website. We were also able to have a “refreshment” retreat in January for our church planting couples. A number of our pastors were able to encourage, love and do some training with these new planters.
Our Connection gatherings were numerous this past year with our Leadership Retreat in July and Remedy events. The Leadership Retreat started with a 24 hour Pastor and Wives event and then staff and board members joined with us for the last 30 hours to be challenged to think through a gospel centered ministry. We held Remedy events in two different regions. These events are designed to provide training and equipping for those in our churches who do the hands on ministry in our churches.