ALBUQUERQUE (BNM) - Outgoing Baptist Convention of New Mexico President Jared Bridge delivered his final presidential address during the BCNM Annual Meeting, Oct. 20 at Hoffmantown Church, Albuquerque.
Preaching from John 16:25-33, Bridge’s address focused on remaining faithful and flexible amid various challenges and uncertainties facing New Mexico Baptists. According to Bridge, those uncertainties include the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 U.S. presidential election, the disagreements between the BCNM and the North American Mission Board, and the transition between executive directors at the BCNM.
Speaking to the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, Bridge said, “every single one of our [BCNM] churches were forced to reinvent themselves.” He added, “[We had to] rethink how we do ministry, how we connect with lost people, how we equip the saints for the work of ministry.”
Bridge expressed gratitude for the BCNM’s Hope Fund, saying, “The Baptist Convention of New Mexico helped pastors who literally didn’t know where their next meal was going to come from, who would have had to close the doors [of their churches] had it not been for the generosity of Baptists, New Mexicans, and the vision of the BCNM to come alongside and help those people not with a repayment plan, but a blessing.” The Hope Fund is a grant program to assist BCNM churches that are facing financial difficulties due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Regarding the BCNM’s ongoing disagreements with NAMB, Bridge noted his appreciation for NAMB Church Planting Strategists Dennis Garcia and Chad Spriggs. “… we love them. They love us. And, they’re a part of an organization that has a different mission that operates differently than what it has in the past. And, we’re trying to figure out the pieces of the puzzle so that we can all move forward,” Bridge said. Garcia and Spriggs are both members of BCNM churches.
Bridge encouraged New Mexico Baptists to work together by “the unity of the [Holy] Spirit through the bond of peace,” adding, “May we strive for that and not be ruled by fear but allow our faith to triumph over any fears we have.”
In his address, Bridge preached through John 16:25-33 and spoke of various moments in his life related to the passage, including his journey as a church planter. He urged messengers and guests to remember that Jesus came to earth, died and rose again, “so that we could be at peace with God. So, you cannot have the peace of God until you’ve made peace with God. You will be ruled by fear if your faith is in the wrong thing. And, until we have made peace with God, we will not experience the peace of God. So, Jesus came to leave so that we could have peace through the peace that He makes between us.”
Bridge concluded by saying, “the threats we are facing in our world ... are no match for our Maker. He has told us that we will have trials and tribulations, but we have the confidence that He’s overcome this world and we have His peace; let us march forward. Let us not step back. ... Let us embrace the moment as an opportunity to see God do great and mighty things more than we could ever ask or imagine.”