Monday, June 6, 2011

Ginny Diaz Celebrates A One Year Healing Anniversary

Ginny has served at the Central Florida Shiloh Baptist Association over ten years

May 24, 2011
Today we celebrate a one-year anniversary of Ginny’s diagnosis with Myelodysplastic Syndrome. It was one year ago that her hematologist indicated that it was necessary for her to go on chemotherapy to have any improvement related to her deficient blood count. She was told that with her condition she possibly only had a year to live. Her blood count was expected to decrease each month.

We celebrate with her that she has passed the one-year mark and has not had to have chemotherapy. Her recent lab reports have indicated that her blood count has improved during the last few months.

What happened? She considers it a miracle. Early after her diagnosis one year ago her family, friends, our office staff, and our pastors began praying for her. God revealed to her a special diet that would be important, “The Halleluiah Diet.” She has been guided by this Biblical vegan diet. Ginny has found improvement in her condition and has been able to maintain a healthy daily schedule. She has only missed a very few days of work during the past year. Her health condition seems to be improving each month.

We celebrate with her. The staff celebrated with her and took her out for a wholesome lunch. Joyce brought her flowers to let her know that we are so grateful God provided this miracle in her life.

Keep up the miracle and may her healing be complete during the coming year.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

DOM Report

Greetings and Gratitude,

I am so very blessed. I would like to thank our Moderator, Vice-Moderator, and Association leadership for all you do. Thank you to the Program Committee and all the participants who have made this year and today’s program a true blessing. I especially thank Ginny Diaz, our Administrative Assistant, and Julie Goff, Associate, for their labor of love producing the reports and their preparation for this meeting. Thank you for your continual prayer for Ginny as she battles a very serious illness. Your prayers mean so much to her and the Lord is blessing her continually.
It is a joy to have several pastors in my life. I feel like I have a multi-pastor staff. My actual membership is in Plant City FBC but I have a servant-membership in the churches where I have helped with revitalization. I am thankful for Pastor Michael Lewis because of his focus on prayer ministry and evangelism. His faith and vision includes providing training and teaching for others through his personal teaching and his teaching with Evangelical University and Seminary. I am thankful for Pastor Benny Keck and the other pastors on the Strategy Planning Committee as they give their support to the Lord and to you in the work of the Association. I am grateful for men like Pastor Mike Fredette (Liberty), Kevin Wynn (FBC Durant), and Hal Sexton (Parkway) all who have taken on the ministry of restoring congregations. In fact, I could name each of our pastors because I am blessed to have thirty-four of you. You are my heroes. God bless all of you.

New Association Promotion Brochure

A new brochure is available for you to explain the purpose, vision, and ministry of the Association. The center section lists the five things the Association offers. This current report you are reading gives a little more detail of those brochure items. We have used an additional title of Central Florida’s Shiloh Baptist Association to help define who we are and where we are located, distinguishing us from other Shiloh Baptist Associations in the SBC. I have used “Dr. Dan” as my name in the publication because it seemed too formal to call me Dr. Morris. My wife, Joyce, has nicknamed me that because it helps her distinguish between the other three Dan’s in her family; her late husband, her son, and my son. I really like Dr. Dan better than her original names of big Dan and little Dan and because my role is kind of like a church doctor. However, through my years and my studies I have learned just enough to realize how much I do not know. I want you to know you can call me what you like. I am your friend and just appreciate you so much when you do call me.

Association Vision

Our Association elected a Strategy Planning Committee to study the future vision, goals, and ministry plans of our Association. The process invited us to explore the use of our property, the possibility of partnership with adjoining Associations, and other evaluation points that will continue through 2011.
In this terrible economy, many denominational agencies, including our Association, have had 20 – 30 percent reductions in their budgets. The result for our Association is fewer resources in the coming years to accomplish our mission. In these changing times, a supportive nature and partnership is needed between the association and its member churches to discover how we can join together to maximize God’s resources given to us. We are discovering there is a greater need for the local Association or partnership ministry and support of local churches joining together.
I am very grateful and affirm the good work of the Strategy Planning Committee and their leadership. As we make these transitions, I look forward to offering a greater support and encouragement ministry to our churches. It is great to have such a competent team of leaders representing laity, ministry, and businessmen all from the variety of our churches to assist us in this endeavor. It is my joy to support them and encourage them in their ministry.


It is hard to believe that I will be 65 this December 18. I know I don’t look or act my age. It is a joy for me to serve the Lord and his church these 45 years as an ordained pastor with 10 of them as your Director of Missions. God has provided a blessing this year because I am able to get new health insurance that will save the Association budget approximately $1,000 per month, a needed thing this year when we are having to adjust our budget.
All of this brings on the question: “When are you planning to retire?” Well, I talked with Joyce about it and she indicated support for me listening to the Lord and following His will. God has blessed me with a wonderful supportive wife at a time I never dreamed possible. I listened to my physician, Dr. Robert Baskins, when he came to our minister’s meeting and spoke on how to live a long and healthy life. One of his points stated was, “Do not retire because research reveals that you won’t live over two years. You may change jobs or do transition, just don’t retire.” Some of my friends have said, “You need to retire while things are going good.” Maybe my friends are trying to kill me. I have prayed seriously about it and I have sensed the Lord saying “you stay close to Me daily and I will reveal when I want you to make a transition.” I have asked the Association leadership to be prayer partners with me. God has called me to continue ministry with you another year and has asked me to work harder and with less compensation. I appreciate your continual prayers as we follow God’s leading.

As you know my gifts and experience have been in church renewal and revitalization. I am developing a group of volunteers to bless our Association and getting the input of the most experienced men we have nationally in this area by writing a user manual. The volunteer organization is called Foundation Builders Ministry, and the user manual is called, “A User’s Guide to Church Renewal and Revitalization – A Renovation and Transformation for Pastors and Laity.”


This year we set a goal to have a 10% increase in our baptisms. We have five churches that have not turned in their ACP so the numbers will go up. We have a total of 555 which is already an increase by seven from last year. The previous year we had a decline. Did you meet the goal? What is your current percentage?
Fifteen of our churches reported having ten or more baptisms this past year:
Durant FBC (2), Turkey Creek (11), West Thonotosassa (12), Bethany (13), Knights (14), Midway (14), Springhead (16).
Five of our churches reported having twenty-five or more baptism: Liberty (25), Church on the Rock (33), Shiloh (34), FBC Dover (31), Plant City FBC (213).
Through our partnership with the SOS ministry we have had hundreds of professions of faith at the Strawberry Festival, car shows, church special events, community outdoor events, and various activities in Central Florida.
Let us set a goal to have at least a 10% increase in our baptisms this year. In order to do that, we have to pray and be obedient to God and His Word. Pastors and church leaders need to start doing some intentional vision, goal setting, and action plans to provide an impact with the Great Commission.
We have some God-given opportunity like nowhere else. Pastor Benny Keck and Pastor Michael Lewis have offered to train and to mentor any of our pastors in FAITH Evangelism. We have one of the SBC teachers of the materials right here in our city. Pastor Michael is teaching courses through the Evangelical University and Seminary and offers an opportunity every Tuesday evening for training. Pastor Benny offers the training every Monday evening and invites you to participate. These men have offered to guide you and your church in FAITH evangelism training and will help you customize it to your church setting. If I were pastoring and looking for an evangelism strategy I would jump on this offer. Personally, I am on my third semester of participating in Faith with Pastor Michael Lewis. I am amazed at how easy Faith is and how people I never thought could or would share their faith have learned to do so, and how God uses the opportunity for ones to come to a saving knowledge of Christ week after week. It does demand the passion, faithfulness, and focus of time and your ministry. I believe prayerful intentional evangelism is one of the essential keys to renewal and revitalization of a church.
We are so privileged to have the National SOS Ministry Evangelism organization and founders; Tom and Carolyn Curtis, here in our Association. As we speak, they are in Indiana training and facilitating hundreds coming to Christ in their personal event evangelism ministry. We are so blessed that God called them several years
ago to take leadership of our Strawberry Festival Evangelism booth. Since then we have had 100’s of people each year to make decisions for Christ. Several of our pastors have invited them to do the training at their church. Ministers and laity are encouraged to get in on one of the training events and participate in this year’s Shiloh Baptist Association booth. This year Liberty Baptist Church offered free parking to all the workers and added an additional booth at their church parking lot. Pastor Mike Fredette has been going to the Plant City downtown car show and using this approach to reach numbers of people with the gospel. He was there last Saturday night. Several have used this approach at the car show, yard sales, or at the Harvest Festival events. This is a great opportunity for church members. Ivan Cardwell is one of their Associates. He will be giving a report in our Evening Session.
The Florida Baptist Convention will be having one of their annual Evangelism conferences in Plant City in 2011. Also, David Burton is organizing a GPS evangelism outreach project that we may want to take advantage of. It is something our pastors may look at during the coming month. If you want to participate, the association will make materials and training available through the Association.

South Florida Baptist Association Partnership

Dr. Robert Roberts, Director of Missions of South Florida Baptist Association, members of our Strategy Planning Committee, and I have discussed the possibility of developing a partnership with the two Associations. Leadership, including our Moderator and Vice Moderator elect, has met on two occasions during the past two months to discuss the possibilities. Dr. Roberts, myself, and leadership from both Associations agree that we can explore a partnership with a desire to bless each other and better strengthen our churches. Just for clarification Dr. Roberts, our Association leaders, and I do not have interest in merging the Associations. We are only looking at partnership possibilities.
South Florida Baptist Association is about twice our size (80 churches), however there are some fellowship, support, events, and ministry we can do together that will be a blessing to them as it would be to us. We desire to partner because we are neighbors and need to share ideas, resources, events, and fellowship. We believe we can work together in some areas and be more effective than if we work separately. It may model some of the ways that churches effectively work together in the Association during these changing financial and cultural times.
Our Association leaders have agreed to meet together monthly and explore possibilities. Following the dialogue and exploring various opportunities we hope to develop a covenant agreement similar to what our Association had with the Richmond, Indiana three-year partnership covenant. We realize that South Florida Association has good strengths in Pastoral/Evangelism Conferences, Women Ministry/WMU ministry, and other ministries. We have good strengths in Renewal/Revitalization Ministry, SOS Strawberry Festival Evangelism, FAITH Evangelism, Men’s (Point Man) Brotherhood Ministry, and other ministries. Together we may strengthen our churches and more effectively grow the Kingdom. Other adjoining Associations include Tampa Bay, Orange Blossom, and Pasco Association. Churches closer to these areas are recognizing certain specialized ministry opportunities and may desire to network in order to get in on events or conferences they offer. We are developing healthy relationships with them to hopefully make you feel comfortable and enable you to take advantage of those opportunities. Of course we cherish our Association’s fellowship and unique relationship and ability to be a personal ministry of support to each other. We are local churches working together and affirming God’s inerrant Word with an emphasis together to impact the world with the Great Commission. We are actually one church with a diversity of locations and mission points where congregations are meeting. Obviously, a major reason we can feel comfortable sharing a partnership with adjoining Associations is because we have these strengths. Our vision, goals, and action plans will be to develop those further this coming year.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Urgent Prayer Requests Related to Major Actions Being Considered in the Property, Finances, Mission and Ministry

Shiloh Baptist Association Executive Committee elected a Strategy Planning Group. Their immediate task assigned relates to making recommendations concerning Association property and next year’s financial planning. Additionally, they are to review and recommend future Vision, Mission, and Ministry Action Plans of the Association.
Pastors and laity business men along with our newly elected officers including Finance Committee and Administrative Committee leadership are on the committee. Pastor, Benny Keck, FBC Dover is Chairman, and Mr. Coleman Davis, layman, Plant City FBC, and owner of Badcock Furniture, is Co-Chairman.
Other members include: Rev. Kevin Wynn (Pastor FBC Durant), Rev. Bob Dygert (Pastor Knights), Mr. David Sullivan (Plant City FBC and vice-president Platinum Bank), and Mr. Bill Burnette (Dover FBC and CEO of Harold’s Farm Supply).
Additional support from Finance Chairman, Rev. Joe Bowles (Pastor Shiloh Church), Rev. Darrell Jones (Pastor Cedar Grove and newly elected moderator), Mrs. Ginny Diaz (Clerk-Treasurer) and Rev. Mike Fredette (Pastor Liberty Southern Baptist Church, formerly Westside, and currently doing effective Foundation Builders Ministry revitalization).
This last week’s initial meeting concluded:

  1. The Association will have to do major adjustments to next year’s budget. Possibly as much as 20 to 30%.
  2. Churches’ mission giving to the Association has decreased by 20% in the past three years. The Free Rider Fellowship Church is purchasing property for their church. They are moving out of our building in December. Financial support for further use of the building is depleted.
  3. The consensus of the Strategy Planning Group in the last meeting was:
    a. Recommend the selling of the building (to one of our churches or place on the market for immediate sale). A plan to pay off our $235,000 liability and hopefully have available funds for the mission of the Association.
    b. An official request of our mortgage company, Florida Financial Services, has been made to allow us to pay interest only until the property is sold.
    c. A search has been authorized to seek relocation of our offices at a small affordable cost. Three of our churches have offered space. Truth Christian Bookstore has offered free meeting space and the building owner has a passion for us to use an adjacent office suite at whatever the Association can afford. They want our presence downtown to be a visible witness to offset the Church of Scientology and other anti-Christian influences.
    d. A meeting is planned with Dr. Robert Roberts and the leadership of South Florida Association (80 churches of Lakeland/Polk County) to see about planning together this coming year. The hope is that we can offer more services and have a more relevant ministry support to our churches while decreasing our expenses. This would allow Central Florida churches consisting of West Polk County (South Florida Association area) and East Hillsborough (Shiloh Association area) working together. This would include doing more things like the Central Florida Sunday School Training Event being held at Dover First Baptist, this Saturday, September 25, 2010.
    e. This would allow me as your DOM and pastors and laity of our churches to focus on a Foundation Builders Ministry to save churches through a revitalization strategy planning process, a crucial ministry of our Association over the past seven years. South Florida Association has emergency funds to provide immediate small loans to churches; something we have not developed.
    f. Survey our pastors and laity to discover more effective resources, support, and ministry to strengthen pastors and laity of our Central Florida – Shiloh Baptist Association churches.
    g. Clarify our identity through our name, vision, mission, and ministry for these times, culture and area served.


1. There is an aging and loss of membership and attendance in Southern Baptist life. The last ten years has recorded a loss of 10 to 15% in membership and attendance

2. The past three years of terrible economic conditions on families and individuals has brought the average church offering down 10 to 30%. Cooperative program giving is down 25% this year from a couple of years ago.

3. The Florida Baptist Convention has cut their staff and mission support by 25%. When I came ten years ago they were leading the SBC in starting new churches. They offered a partnership start-up support fund and grants up to $50,000 to purchase property for new churches. When we were doing revitalization at Berea, Florida Baptist Convention was the major contributor to help save the church with crucial repairs and expenses to keep the church alive. Today, they have no money for grants. They are limited or have nothing in this emergency fund.

4. The Southern Baptist Convention affirmed a report from a committee related to Great Commission Resurgence in the Orlando 2010 Convention. The major emphasis I heard in the last two conventions was really how to effectively do more with less resources, finances, and people. Reorganizing seemed to be necessary to do Great Commission missions. Humanly, we can’t do the same with 25% less financial support. Nationally, they need and want to do a greater per cent in the international missions.

5. A recent survey related to pastors or clergy across America indicates a crisis is at hand: (Survey by Duke University, George Barna, and Fuller Institute)
a. Discouraged and Depressed – many are on anti-depression medication.
b. They and their family’s health and emotional spiritual life is breaking.
c. More and more churches have to cut their salaries and depend on bi-vocational support.
d. Aging congregations, shrinking budgets, and unmanageable conflicts are adding to the
stress of pastors, laity, and their families.
e. Many are saying if I could I would change vocations.
f. Seventeen hundred monthly are leaving the ministry
g. They are dying younger than ever before

6. Laity are more discouraged and are dropping out of churches.

7. The aging congregations are dying off or becoming unable to volunteer and fund the property and ministry of the church.

8. New churches are starting and old ones are renaming themselves leaving the name Baptist out indicating a lack of interest or loyalty to the denomination by the younger generations.


I am grateful for your support and appreciate the work and good leadership of our Strategy Planning Group. I encourage you to continue your support and do the following:
1. Pray for Divine guidance in the important and necessary transitions in your Association. Become prayer partners with other pastors, laity, and churches across our Association. Gather with me in prayer, October 18th, afternoon or evening at Cedar Grove Baptist Church at our 60th Annual Shiloh Baptist Association Meeting.
2. Continue your financial support and increase your involvement in the Association. Give your prayerful input to the Strategy Planning Group. Their names and contact information will be available to each church office.
3. October is pastor appreciation month. Do something. Give your pastor more time off and every seven years give him a rest of a three month sabbatical. Be patient, forgiving, and understanding in all things. Celebrate the coming month as pastor appreciation and give him a special love offering and a day of celebration. If you treat him good and he leaves just know that you did God’s Will and God will bless you. If he stays know that you have changed the direction of care for pastors and you will have modeled the way for renovation and transformation of pastors in our Association needing care.
4. Pray and help your Association make this painful transition.
5. Join me in the work of Foundation Builders Ministry. Let us save a local church and provide opportunity for hundreds to be baptized, discipled until the Lord comes.

Thank you for your love, support, and great faithfulness. We love you.

Danny L. Morris

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Evangelical Seminary & University

The Evangelical Seminary and University provides a foundation Biblical and theological education for local bi-vocational pastors and leaders of local churches who have not had an opportunity to obtain seminary education. I believe students will want to especially focus on classes that will help them in their ministry.
The specialty area of Evangelical Seminary is the courses and special training in Evangelism. Our president, Dr. Gary Williams, and Vice-President, Mr. Bob Westlake, are excellent Bible scholars and teachers of God’s Word in basic courses each semester. Dr. Michael Lewis, Plant City FBC pastor and national SBC Lifeway trainer of FAITH Sunday Evangelism, offers a course with applied leadership training each semester in personal evangelism. Other local pastors (Dr. Benny Keck, etc.) and missionaries-pastors (Dr. Danny L. Morris, etc.) offer courses not only providing Biblical scholarship but also providing coaching, mentoring, and encouraging in their ministry. Excellent Bible scholars are teaching God’s Word and providing good foundations for pastors and laity in their preaching and teaching of God’s Word. These courses and study with ESU are sometimes noted to be more valuable than internet courses or courses from accredited schools. Following the study with ESU the students will have a more excellent Biblical background and a more excellent ministry to bless God and His people. It builds a great foundation for clergy and laity to serve God effectively.
Technology is enabling a number of schools to do internet or virtue courses. Accredited courses and degrees may be obtained through this method; ESU recognizes the values of those courses and may offer some in the future. However, they affirm that there is no replacement for the mentoring provided through the personal touch offered through a local relationship. Personally, I believe it is essential to have this personal and applied ministry education process.
Three years ago I began serving as a trustee in the founding of the Evangelical University & Seminary. The financial undertaking and my commitment to SBC seminaries and colleges made me a very reluctant participant. I saw the school as a competitor to these other schools. I saw that churches may have to cut their giving to Cooperative Program and local Association. Funding the school would not only be difficult but diminish further the mission giving to existing organizations.
The school is not accredited with any accreditation organization. However, the University is in process of application for accreditation with the Association for Biblical Higher Education (ABHE). There is not an assurance of a date or that such accreditation will be secured. If or when the University is accredited, the courses or degrees will not be retroactive to the accreditation. Students are not assured that any class will be accepted by or transferable to other schools or that the degree will be recognized by any other education institution. The courses and degrees granted are recognized as advanced Biblical and theological education exclusively under the guidelines of the trustees and faculty of Evangelical University and Seminary.
Some have asked since it is not accredited and is more comparable to a Bible School or Institute why call it a University? Perhaps the school has taken some liberty in that issue because of the passion and vision of what they want to become. It is more a goal of becoming a University than it is being a University. However, it is licensed with the state of Florida to grant degrees and has granted both bachelor and master degrees. This by some standards allows the name. The school has taken advantage of that liberty but acknowledges its limitations to their students.
Others have been concerned as to the theological beliefs of the school, the conservative ethical values, and whether or not the school would affirm the Southern Baptist faith as expressed in the Baptist Faith and Message. Would it be a hyper-Calvinist view or an Arminianism theological view? The trustees and the faculty have addressed each of these issues. The trustees and faculty declares a central view of the Calvinist/Arminianism deliberation and focuses on the Biblical Evangelist mandate that God’s son gave in the Great Commission. The trustee affirms the conservative Biblical evangelical views as indicated in the Baptist Faith and Message and expressed in the 2010 SBC resurgence of the Great Commission.
Evangelical University & Seminary is a school that serves the bi-vocational and small churches of our area. It’s goal is to provide a solid conservative Biblical and Theological Education to the hundred’s of men and women who are within the West Central Florida region. It provides Biblical and theological education for lay teachers, pastors, missionaries, church planters, and students in preparing for the ministry. It has a heart for the bi-vocational pastor who has accepted God’s call but cannot afford to leave a job, move their family, and go a distance to earn a degree to prepare for the ministry. Among Southern Baptist churches 81 % of our churches are small churches with 125 average attendances in Sunday school or Sunday Morning Worship. Only 1 % have 1000 or above in attendance. That means of the 45,010 SBC churches 30,000 of them are small churches. (Source: Bivocational & Small Church Leadership Network BSCLM web page:
Historically, these churches and bivocational pastors are the most productive and essential to reach the lost. These churches cannot afford a fully funded (full time) pastor. Those able may pay up to $35,000 annual salary. However, more and more are finding necessary to call a bivocational with an annual salary of around $10,000.
Many of the pastors have accepted the call after they have established their family, home, career, and could serve the churches if they have affordable local education. Personally, I understand the issue. Three of the churches I served over a fifteen year period were small churches where I was a bi-vocational pastor. Four of the small struggling churches I have served over the past seven years have been bi-vocational churches. If I had not had a Baptist College in my home town of Campbellsville Kentucky, Southern Baptist Seminary within 80 miles of my home, and parents willing to help me as I bi-vocationally worked through the educational process, I would have not been able to fulfill the calling God extended.
Evangelical Seminary and University has now had three years of providing that opportunity. Every month I am finding churches in our Association or beyond blessed by that wonderful opportunity provided to their pastors and leadership. I praise God for the trustees, faculty, churches, and supporters making the school possible. I rejoice at the report given at last week’s board meeting that the school is becoming self sufficient. Obviously it is a challenge to pay faculty or to pay them sufficient wages. The school is blessed to have a spirit of volunteerism as they continue to grow. Also, the school will need a tremendous amount of additional funding over the coming years and a foundation of stability to get accreditation from ABHE. However, the trustees and faculty are passionately committed to following the guide-lines and developing such foundations to provide the quality of the education for the current students and the future students.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Director of Missions Report

I have had the opportunity to attend a Florida Director of Missions Conference, A National SBC Director’s Conference, and be a messenger at the Southern Baptist Convention in Orlando, Florida. Those opportunities came while having the privilege to meet with pastors, visit and proclaim the gospel with several of our churches, here are some observations and encouraging words for pastors, church leaders, and Christians today.

Church leaders and researchers from our local churches and in various areas of our Baptist and evangelical network are seeking ways to turn the trends around and seek a new prosperity, evangelism, discipleship, and transformation of the local church.

The SBC in the national convention affirmed the answer to be in a resurgence of Great Commission focus as the local church focuses on Biblical evangelism and mission giving that prioritizes reaching persons and people groups all over the globe with gospel of Jesus Christ. They deeply challenge tradition and doing things as usual. Instead, they emphasis radical change and deep passion exclusively toward the Biblical goal of reaching people with the gospel of Jesus Christ.

LifeWay Resources is producing books and materials with the Romans 12 emphasis declaring that effective and growing churches changing lives and communities are in their term “transformational” churches. A term that will be used abundantly in the months and years ahead. A name they have picked up to declare what it takes to be an effective Godly church and a truly Christian disciple in today’s culture setting. The way we do things are challenged in the traditional church setting and the way we measure our mission and ministry demands new score cards that involves a deeper or more extensive way of measuring what we are doing.

National mission leaders and the network of new church planting indicates that to effectively reach the communities and to have thriving churches the pastors and church officers have to become and apply effective leadership. They must become aware of who they are in Christ Jesus, identify their visionary passion calling, and intentionally apply their calling in the setting of the people groups and culture where they live, and the times we live. A vital foundation is that Christians and the church members allow the Holy Spirit to be the empowering, creative, and personal leadership to define the church and its intentional mission in today’s world.

As Baptists even though we have the same faith and message, we observe that local churches will continue to be diverse and no longer are going to be seen as similar in buildings or institutional structures. They will not only have different “score cards” but will be viewed differently by one another and their communities. There is a greater emphasis on defining the Church as Biblically viewed in the New Testament by our Lord. This is a definition that doesn’t claim it to be an event, a place, or a building rather it is a people and more theologically defined as the people who are the body of Christ on mission. As some of the leaders declare it is redeemed missionary-evangelistically Christians who are “live and sent” into a lost and hurting world.

As difficult and sometimes discouraging as it may be to live during our transitional times I find that it has tremendous opportunity to follow our Master. Let us not let the world or the religious societies or religious politics define us; rather let us let our Lord Jesus Christ and His calling consume us.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Grace Ministry Gathering to Share Ideas

Grace Ministry Gathering to Share Ideas

Notes and Pictures from Meeting
Monday, March 1, 2010

Organization, Purpose and Agenda: This meeting was organized by Shiloh Baptist Association, Danny L. Morris, Director; hosted by Northside Baptist Church, Wayne Roberts, pastor; and the meal prepared by workers from Restoring Hope Global, Ron & Julie Dixon, directors.

Its purpose was to network, share ideas and share needs. Hopefully, the group can develop a more effective approach to work together to be a blessing to the community.

Pastor Wayne Roberts and Pastor Ron Dixon desired to have an across the community participation in the development of a new Plant City Life Recovery Center.

All pastors and church leaders participated with desire to have guidance and assistance in helping with the increasing needs of individuals in crises. Some came to improve their current food/clothing pantry while others sought information to develop a plan. Other just desired to know what churches and organization in East Hillsborough were doing related to these community needs.

Evangelical pastors and churches desired guidance related to how they might effectively be an evangelistic witness to provide the “Bread of Life” while they are attempting to help with the food/clothes/household items or shelter of individual or families in their community.

People Present: Wayne Roberts, Paul & Linda Pickern, Jerry & Cynthia Taylor, Marianne Lovelace, Rev Benny Baker, Marianne Parks, John Parker, Mary McCarter, Bob & Terry Dygert, Rose Marie, Libby Combee, Jason Leland, Julio Santana, Tom Mull, Ron Dixon, Hal Sexton, Chuck, Edmondson, Nancy Chaney, Earl Smith, Dave Robinson, Tim Johnson, Margaret Djekovic, Tracy Crocker, Skip Athey, Wintely Ingram, Erik, Jim Morgan, Jennifer Currence, Danny Morris, Julie Goff

Ideas and Ministries Discussed:

Paul and Linda Pickern are looking to share with pastors and churches who can partner together in our community. We help pastors make trusted Friendships with encouraging accountability. Paul can be reached at 813-967-5144.

Julio Santana’ program is emergency food and clothing. He provides food and clothing for 25 people each Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. His plan does not allow the same family to come weekly unless it is an emergency. He or his assistant, Alicia, may be reached at 754-2840.

Rose-Marie (Bilingual Spanish) indicated they offer case management service to the public in the process of extending free HIV testing and other services in Plant City and Polk County. They offer mobile case management. Rose may be reached at 813-474-2437.
It is an organization in the county partnering with Hillsborough County businesses and individual to end homelessness. Tracy Crocker and Margaret Djekovic may be reached at 813-223-6115. Their web page is

Wintely Ingram indicated that they are looking for information to start a food ministry to meet the needs of families with the community. Also, they will be feeding community program feeding program for children. Wintely may be reached at 813-404-8514.

Pastor Wayne Roberts asked that we all pray that the Plant City Life Recovery Center will happen in the near future. It is a vision that he and Ron Dixon share related to those who are in life crises. It does not exist at this time. However, anyone who would like to help make it possible should fill out a card or contact him. Pastor Wayne would like to partner with the Homeless Coalition and other life crises ministry organizations and come under one umbrella and work together. The definition of the “Homeless has changed” explained Tracy Crocker, Homeless Coalition, the government definition of homeless is now “Not having a place to live of your own and having to move in with others or relatives. The crises center would be more than an optional place to provide shelter for the homeless. It would help with the over all crises of life. The crises might include issues of drugs or other needs.
Tracy Crocker shared a personal story. Her life testimony indicated how she understood the need for a Life Crises Center because she found herself in a needy place. Previously she had always thought it was only others who faced those life crises. Now, she said it is possible that it could be any of us.
One of the homeless men just a few weeks ago made a profession of faith and is now a Christian sharing in this event as an act of helping others.
Pastor Wayne Roberts and Pastor Ron Dixon are working on a business ministry plan to develop a Life Crises Center. Any one interested in helping is invited to participate with them in the planning. Those filling out the card will be contacted.

Cynthia and Jerry Taylor have the Food Bank Ministry Monthly Outreach through out the United States.
They mainly have food and non-food items. They are a food bank ministry for nonprofit organizations.
They are open Mon-Tuesday 7 am – 1 p.m., Wednesday – Families Only 9 a.m. – 1 p.m., and Fridays 2 p.m. – 6 p.m.
We make pallets (18 banana boxes) available to non-profit organization at $95.00 donations nonfood (ex house wares, feminine products, adult diapers available at $55 donations amounts.
Jerry Taylor, “Taylor’s Outreach Ministry,” (see directory) indicated that their operation had food. Their food bank has food donated from Publix and other food items is purchased from various sources. There is a modest cost because they need to cover their operation costs.
Jerry Taylor stated that Publix donates food to Taylor Outreach Ministries. They are willing to partner with any church or organization desires to help people.
Jerry Taylor may be reached at 813-263-9917 and Cynthia Taylor at 810-7032

Their ministry and workers provided the lunch and preparation for the event. Ron Dixon indicated that they had food for distribution. They help as a food bank and help the needy directly.
Their ministry includes an evangelism ministry and they celebrate the numbers who have come to a profession of faith in Christ while their physical needs were met.
Ron Dixon asked the question, “How do we get our food banks to partner with the local churches”?
We give out food door to door on Tuesday’s. We helped 70 families monthly through community outreach and feed 100 families.
Pastor Ron Dixon and his wife, Julie, or their assistant Jeannie White provided an on going ministry for the needy. The workers cooked the meal for today meeting. They can be reached at 813-737-4656 or 813-299-1583 or or .

Jason Leland operates an addiction recovery program, food bank, and a clothing warehouse. They are open Monday – Friday 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Jason Leland may be reached at 863-660-5399.
Libbie Combee indicated that they have drug education of additions and recovery programs. They are starting a drug awareness and resource program in Plant City. Also, they are starting an Addiction Recovery Groups in Plant City. Libbie Combee may be reached at 863-519-0000 or cell phone 863-602-9202

Meet The Need connects churches and ministries in a community so they can communicate their needs and work together to meet those needs. Meet The Need (at is the system behind Feed the Bay, Metropolitan Ministries, BSBC Connects (Bell Shoals), iServe (Idlewild), The Crossing, and the local missions activities of many other churches in Tampa Bay. After 8 years of development, Meet The Need is now available to all churches in the Tampa Bay area as they prepare to grow nationwide. It is designed to mobilize churches and church members to do much more to serve the community in Jesus’ name by taking nearly all of the administrative burden off of the church's staff.

Because all of the churches and ministries using Meet The Need are on a shared “platform”, Meet The Need ensures that families are only in the system one time. Therefore, it coordinates all assistance efforts by ensuring families are not getting the same help from multiple churches or ministries. Note that families cannot post their own needs – they must work through a local church or ministry or call Meet The Need’s Help Line, which Meet The Need shares with the Joy FM. Ministries who are recommended by local churches are able to post their own needs into the database. Then, members of local churches can sign up through their churches’ web sites to meet the needs of local families or ministries based on their skills, interests, items they want to give away, etc. Because it is a common system shared by many local churches, Meet The Need makes church members aware of the needs in the community and coordinates how the Body of Christ works together to meet all of those needs.

For more information, Jim Morgan can be reached at 813-230-0189 or Jennifer Currence can be reached at 813-361-9352 or

Tom Mull showed a package that his organization is able to provide equipment and training to a church to feed hungry people. It is a sealed package that feeds families in crisis and can be shipped to people in any country. He is willing to provide the equipment and training for anyone desiring to provide this ministry. Tom may be contacted at 813-477-0068

Churches Reporting their Grace Ministries:


Marianne Lovelace, Director of Bethany’s Food Pantry, indicated that they have a great demand on their church food closet called Food Pantry Community Outreach.
They were serving around 20 families weekly. Now they are serving around 60. They are open the 2nd and the 4th Saturdays of the month from 8 am to 11 a.m. Food and clothing are donated. Marianne Lovelace may be reached at 813-293-1951.
Mrs. Lovelace indicated that they have seven of their people present. One of their needs as John Parker indicated was to find out what others are doing and see how they might improve.
Rev. Benny Baker, a retired pastor and a member of Bethany, indicated that he sits in a chair in the entrance of the Food Pantry. Each week by invitation only he is available to share the Gospel with those interested. He indicated that several have made professions of faith. One this last Saturday came to the Lord. They are receiving physical food but most of all the “Bread of Life.” They have had three to be baptized and become members of their churh..
They continually need to affirm the validly and integrity of their ministry to their congregation as it relates to an effective church ministry. Also, they look to assure the church and the governmental agencies to validly of the use of the USDA or any other foods.

Tim Johnson was present from the Church on the Rock. He indicated that they provide financial assistance with needy church families and those connected to them from the Food Assistance for emergencies and ongoing needs. Tim and the Pastor, Jeff Howell may be reached by calling 813-752-3740.

Pastor Earl Smith indicated that they have a Jericho Road Fund people with emergency funds such as electric bills and help meet financial needs. They have a SHARE food program where ones sign up on the 2nd Saturday and distribute or pick up food on the 4th Saturday.
He indicated that they have an excellent kitchen and they would like to offer a hot meal program through their kitchen. Pastor Earl can be reached by calling 813-754-3519 or e-mail at
Nancy Chaney, Minister Congregational Care indicated that they are a Plant City Food Bank partner. She indicated that their major source of food is the Plant City Food Bank.
Nancy can be reached by calling cell 813-763-2297.

We have a Grace Ministry and we are seeking ways to help individuals and families. Pastor Skip may be reached at 813-478-4800.

Chuck Edmondson asked the question “Is there a central food bank in the Plant City area?” Their church, Springhead Baptist does the “Angel Food” where you pay $30 for a box of food valued around $60. However, they could use more. (The Taylor’s and the Dixon’s responded.) Pastor Church indicated that they wanted to help more but they were not sure what they were able to do. Pastor Chuck can be reached by calling 813-752-4879 or e-mail

They are open and seeking how they might assist with the community needs. Pastor Hal Sexton may be reached at 813-737-1212 or e-mail with a web

Pastor Dave Robinson reported that they give out food on Monday and Thursday mornings 9:00 a.m. They call their program “Manna Ministries.” They have had some shortage of food. They provide help one time each two weeks. Pastor Dave can be reached: Church 813-759-0523, Home 813-567-5835, and cell 941-713-2648.

They have a clothes closet with shoes, clothing, household items and toys. They are open the first Tuesday of each month. Pastor Bob Dygert and his wife, Terry, can be reached at 813-752-4972.

Mary McCarter, Food Ministry Director and church sectary, feed people 2nd and 4th Thursday of the month from 9 – 10 am. They would like to know other food services and the list of those who can help with housing, clothing, and food. Presently, they are in need of a bread supplier. Mary may be reached at 813-986-2924 or e-mail

Other Churches Not Represented:

Mount Olive Baptist Church, Plant City has meals available on Tuesdays and Thursdays for those in need. The lunch is provided by the Metropolitan Ministries and is served in their fellowship hall. Dr. Roy Liburd is pastor. The church contact is (813) 754-3834 or e-mail

(Add other Churches)


The meeting was very helpful and successful. Follow-up meetings will be set by various organizations or pastors needing additional information and participation. Another gathering would be good to be planned in late May to continue the dialogue and add to the network information. A suggested date to consider would be the week of May 24th. A directory of persons, churches, and ministry organizations will be placed on the Shiloh Baptist Association web page: Also, notes of the meeting will be posted on the web page. Any corrections to the directory or meeting notes updates, revisions, or questions may be addressed to the Association by using the e-mail address or

Friday, February 26, 2010

New Vision and Evangelism Training

Our Association leadership met during December and guided us to set a goal to turn the trend of loss around by increasing our baptisms, church membership and church growth during 2010. We are providing action plans for our churches to reverse the trend.
First, we are focusing on encouraging each church to develop, involve more people, or sharpen the skills in evangelism. We have the advantage of having two pastors who have experience in FAITH Evangelism strategy. Michael Lewis and Benny Keck are effectively leading their churches and have experience in the previous churches where they have served. Monday, February 22, 2010, they made a presentation to twenty-one pastors and lay persons. It was well received. So much so that some of the pastors wanted to accept the offer to have an Associational FAITH training program to enable pastors and laity to be trained. We are searching for a week-end during April – May that may be available for the trainers and the pastors. This will enable any of our pastors and a leadership team to receive training right here at home. Be sure and plan to participate in this event. We will be announcing it soon.
One of the great things about this training is participating in actual witness visitation. Since the excitement and effective teaching is more caught than taught, it will be a far more effective approach to evangelism. Even if you do not choose to use the strategy of FAITH in your church the participation and training of your people in the witnessing is very valuable.
Second, we know that Vacation Bible School is one of the most effective events to both discover prospects as well as reaching children and adults with the gospel. Therefore, we want to encourage every church and mission to do a Vacation Bible School this year. If you are unable because of space or workers please call the Association office and we will help discover workers and a location for you to have a Vacation Bible School this year. We offer training for trainers Feb 27, Plant City First Baptist, 8:00 am-1:30 pm. Then we offer training for all our workers April 8, Mt Olive, 7:00 p.m. The following churches have set dates for a VBS:
Church VBS Director Dates Phone #

Shiloh Baptist Church Nancy Willis July 25-29 752-8345
Lindsey Murray

Eastside Baptist Church Sally Mallalieh June 14-18 754-2681

Northside Baptist Church Bobby June 20-25 752-2779
Elizabeth Lane

Mt Olive Baptist Church Ella Jackson June 13-17 737-1362

Bethany Baptist Church Kelly Schulte June 13-18 752-9209

Celebration Church Carolyn Leone June 21-25 661-8625

Crossroads Baptist Church June 21-25 737-1121

East Thonotosassa Church Scott Coldwell June 13-18 986-4346

Knights Baptist Church Larry Smith June 13-18 752-4972
Rhonda DeShong

Turkey Creek First Baptist Linda Herman June 20-24 752-7890
Church Lynn Roberts

West Thonotosassa Church Mary McCarter June 13-18 986-2924

If you are not listed please call and let us know your plan. If you need assistance call the Association office 813-752-6740. We encourage every church to have a VBS this year. Let us know how we can help you have one. Also, if you are interested in sharing supplies or resources please call the Directors of VBS before and after your schedule and see how you might share reducing the expenses of both churches.

Third, we have set some greater goals with SOS in the Evangelism Booth at our Strawberry Festival. Bro. Mike Fredette, pastor at Liberty Baptist Church, has enlisted some of his people to work in the booth. Each year his people park cars in their lot to provide ministry funds for their church. This year they are offering free parking for all workers in the SOS Evangelism booth. Workers are invited to be trained to witness enabling us to have each time slot filled by our witness workers. This year we are encouraging churches using FAITH or some other effective visitation approach to follow up on the hundreds of decisions immediately. This should bring a greater effectiveness in the evangelism-discipleship as it relates to the local church growth. If you have not been trained to participate we hope you will take advantage. Remember, as Billy Graham crusades always indicated, “The churches with workers participating are going to be in the best position to increase from the harvest.” The list of hundreds of decisions will come to us for every church who will participate in follow-up. Pray for a great harvest at the Strawberry SOS booth and the Campers-On-Mission booth.

Fourth, we are encouraging pastors and churches to partner in efforts to reach the community for Christ. These are times that demand a greater working together. It may be churches of similar size and pastors in partnership to reach people in their extended community. On the other hand it may mean one pastor servicing two churches like in the early missionary days. Then again it may mean a larger and a smaller church sharing partnership together to provide resources and people to reach the infinity group or the ministry needs of a church on missions in a challenging community in need of Christ. It may mean a young possibly new church planter working hand in hand with a pastor of an existing established church to effectively reach both the new culture and the traditional culture. There may be several other missionary approaches to reach the people in today’s American culture. As most North American Mission leaders are saying, “We all have to be more of a missionary today.” Today our “professional ministry” needs to transition into “missionary ministry.”

Fifth, there is a greater need for encouraging, equipping, and restoring pastors today. There are hundreds of pastors leaving the churches each month across America. The stress on marriage and family is intense. The most common reason given is that the church or church leaders do not want to accept the leadership direction of the pastor. A blessing for the pastors is for them participating in a covenant group similar to the groups encouraged by Paul Pickern of All Pro Pastors. These groups have four pastors meeting weekly often from different Evangelical denominations to develop trusted friendships and keep each other accountable for their relationship as a man, husband, father, as well as their personal relationship with God. Another equipment and organization is a local school such as the non-accredited Evangelical Seminary and University in its mission to provide Biblical and theological training to pastors in service without formal education opportunities. This school seems to be moving toward more evangelism and church growth enrichment for ministers and lay persons. Today, there is a greater need for applied evangelistic ministry rather than accredited seminary diploma.

Sixth, churches, pastors, and laity have a greater need for financial adjustment and planning. All of us including the church have to do more with less. Learning the skill of placing God first, providing effective volunteerism and improved combination of shared ministry work is most important. This stewardship of time and money declares a greater need for focus on the Great Commission through intentional evangelism. One example is the intense and greater need to help the benevolent needs of people with food, clothes, and shelter with the primary purpose of sharing the gospel of Christ. We will continually have great needs in this area. Our first priority needs to be evangelism and provide the needed support to the Christians willing and committed to the Great Commission.

Seventh, one of the most important needs today is the applied ministry process or strategy planning with a church we call “Church Revitalization.” The term combines church renewal with foundation building through prayer, obedience to God’s Word, and a fresh Great Commission commitment for long term church growth. The plan begins with an evaluation of the needs of the church through, prayer, renewal of the evangelical Great Commission vision, a survey, and strategy planning process. It concludes with an implementation of action plans to actually fulfill the Great Commission. Our Association, Convention, local school, and all of our resources are needed to focus on training of ministry teams to assist in this endeavor. Pastors, staff, and persons assisting in this effort are truly God’s “Foundation Builders.” Churches do not have to be in crises to participate. Some may have the vision to be proactive and seek the strategy planning and request the guidance of the “Foundation Builders” The workers are trained to facilitate the process with a church in any area of need from church planting, church renewal, church restoring, and church in crises.

These Transitions Calls for A Fresh Approach and A New or Additional Name

Name: Director of Mission

It seems that the mission of those in position such as Association Director of Missions is more of “Missionary-Pastor.” People in our community understand both of the words in that title. Some other Associations in Florida are using the term; “Executive Director” others are using “Director” and in earlier times the title, “Superintendant of Missions.” Obviously, the name Director of Missions is a term identifying the role in the SBC and Florida Baptist Convention. That title will remain until there is a national change. However, on the local level the best title for this role seems to be “Missionary-Pastor.” That may be more accurate as a role for effective service to you and our Lord.

Name: Shiloh Baptist Association

We recognize that our Association may need to update our identity and it takes on a fresh missionary work. We were named “Shiloh Baptist Association” 59 years ago when the geographical area we covered was known as the Shiloh region. One of the earliest churches established in 1866 was Shiloh Baptist Church. Later, 1910, the church moved to Plant City and changed their name to Plant City First Baptist Church. The Shiloh Baptist Association was established in 1950. Then in 1969 Plant City First and churches of the Association started a new church that is now known as Shiloh Baptist Church.
Some of the suggestions made by pastors and others in round table discussions related to name included these ideas:
1) Often the name of Associations relate to the geographical area it covers, a new or additional name may be very helpful for identity. Since these are times of change it may be most valuable to consider this update as we update or renew our mission work.
2) One of the round table discussions expressed that the name “Shiloh Baptist Association” should remain in the incorporated documents as the original name to provide historical and legal identity. Many churches and other organizations may have this name in their constitution or legal documents. Leaving the original name may be most helpful.
3) Several pastors and laity are indicating that a name change or additional name as a promotion name may be most helpful because it helps to clarify our identity, location, and mission. It may clarify a fresh mission that we have today.
4) Several expressed changing or adding a new name may be of little value unless we actually are changing and renewing our mission to be relevant. Since these are times of change it may be most valuable to consider a name update.
5) Several names have been placed on the table to be considered as an additional name for the operation of the Association. They include: Greater Plant City Baptist Association, Hillsborough-Polk Baptist Association, East Hillsborough Baptist Association, and West Central Florida Baptist Association. There may be others you have that have not been listed. If you have one please place it into consideration.
6) The best names describing our location seem to be East Hillsborough Baptist Association or West Central Florida Baptist Association. One expressed that the use of a county name may express that we are some how involved in the government. If that is true the name of preference might be West Central Florida Baptist Association.
7) Before we proceed further with the name consideration, we want to review our mission today and see if that brings a new understanding to what we call ourselves. As a part of that consideration we want to do a survey and additional round table discussions in our Association.