M.R.I. Have you ever had an MRI? Not the most pleasant experience perhaps, but it is a great blessing to have this kind of diagnostic tool available when it is needed. It can be a life saver. It can help doctors prescribe treatments to make your life healthier and more enjoyable.
At the Annual Meeting recently, Greene County Baptist Association launched a new program called "M.R.I." In our situation that stands for MAKING RENEWAL INTENTIONAL. It is a process designed by an association task force to help churches that are plateaued or declining. We are looking for 2 or 3 churches to volunteer to be "pilot projects" for us to test and refine M.R.I.
The association will provide the participating church with the consulting services of three persons without charge to the church. Those three will form a team to work with church leaders to make plans for the future effectiveness of the church. The three persons are:
  • A Spiritual Guide to work with the church in a course of prayer and Bible study to seek God's will for the future.
  • A Facilitator to work with church leaders to devise a process of assessment and the development of plans for the future.
  • A Pastor Coach to walk alongside and be an encourager to the senior pastor for a period of months.
The task force that engaged in many hours of research, reading and discussion was comprised of a number of pastors and church staff members, with most of them being in their 30s and 40s. We believe that these young leaders made the product of our work much more creative and in touch with the 21st Century. As we work with churches we will encourage them to also utilize the involvement of their younger laity. Many of these young leaders have a great love for the Lord, a genuine commitment to the local church, and a desire to see the church change and adapt to our changing culture.
Anytime a church is not fulfilling its mission in service to Christ, change has to be considered. It has been said that it is insanity to keep on doing the same things we have been doing and expect a different outcome. The better outcome we hope and pray for can only come as we make appropriate and God-directed change.
Very often when a church leader feels that the church is not doing well, he or she gets worried and frustrated. But worry and frustration do nothing to change the situation. Prayer and seeking the heart of God can and does make a difference in church life. When we honestly and openly ask God for answers and for guidance, He provides it. Greene County Baptist Association is fortunate to have a Director of Missions who deeply cares about churches, pastors and church leaders. Call Mike Haynes or myself if we can be of service.
Bob Perry,
Church Health Consultant

I am pleased to be working with Greene County Baptist Association, assisting Dr. Haynes with the new process we are calling M. R. I. That stands for "making renewal intentional," and it is designed to help churches that desire to shape a better and healthier future for themselves. I served for many years as a pastor, missionary and director of associational work, and I developed a great burden for churches that struggle with declining memberships and aging congregations. The Bible tells us that Jesus loves the Church. Our parents, grandparents and great grandparents, invested themselves in building the wonderful churches we have today. Now it is up to our generation to keep the church healthy and to prepare it for accomplishing God's mission in days to come.
Please pray for our churches that have already engaged in the MRI planning process or some adaptation of it. That list of churches includes:

Cedar Bluff Baptist Church
Liberty Baptist Church
Hamlin Baptist Church
Glenstone Baptist Church
National Heights Baptist Church
Bois D’Arc Baptist Church
We love and support one another as sister churches in the service of Christ. We are invested in one another’s health and well being, and together we advance God’s Kingdom on earth.
Bob Perry