Las Cruces (BNM) - Rain didn't stop a group of bi-vocational pastors from enjoying each other’s company during the Baptist Convention of New Mexico’s 2018 Annual Meeting, Oct. 23.
Thirteen pastors and wives attended the Tuesday luncheon. Attendees included Beau and Melissa Lamb, from First Baptist Church, Santa Rosa. Beau has been preaching at First Baptist for seven years. He and his family also own a cattle ranch between Santa Rosa and Fort Sumner. Lamb was the convention’s second vice president, 2017-2018. This year, convention messengers elected him to serve as first vice president.
The Lambs sat with the pastor of Tyrone Community Church, Trent Petty, and his wife Diane. Tyrone Community recently joined the BCNM and sent messengers to the annual meeting for the first time in the church’s history, five of them.
The Tyrone church has met in the town’s community center for twenty years. Someday, they hope to have their own building, but they are grateful for the space God has provided them. Petty has been preaching at the church for two and a half years. Prior to serving in Tyrone, he was an interim pastor for several small town churches in the Silver City area. In addition to their church ministry, the Pettys run a karate dojo in Silver City. “Retirement just wasn't for us,” Diane Petty commented.
Over lunch the Lambs and the Pettys shared the struggles and joys of bi-vocational ministry. Because many of the churches’ members are ranchers, who do most of their work in the early morning, the Lambs made the decision to schedule First Baptist’s Sunday school after lunch. The change has led to an increase in attendance.
Lamb and his wife encouraged Tyrone Community to take advantage of a number of state convention and regional association resources. BCNM churches can use association block party trailers for community outreach events. And, WMU materials can help start kid’s programs.
Melissa Lamb told the Pettys that the BCNM is available to help with most church-related needs. She noted that small town churches with an older demographic sometimes have difficulty reaching out to the community, or even finding out how to reach out to the community.
Elaine Henderson, of First Baptist Church, Moriarty, who hosted the event with her husband Tar, reminded the group of an era when those seeking a new church would visit several on their own volition. Now things are different, she argued. Often, people conduct research on a church before they visit. They go online and look for a website or social media page. BCNM staff writer Danny Porter, mentioned that it’s crucial for churches to have a well-designed website that informs people about the church’s beliefs, a list of outreach and mission opportunities, staff contact information, service times and an updated calendar of events. Henderson serves as the BCNM’s rural and smaller membership church consultant.