In recent weeks I, along with other state missionaries and entity representatives, have made visits to associational annual meetings. This is an important time for us to engage with those in leadership of local associations and to learn about what our Lord is doing in the churches of those particular regions represented.
This year was another special time of worship and fellowship with various associations. One of our longtime associational missionaries, Larry Felkins, announced his transition to the next chapter of his life, which is retirement.
That was truly a high moment of recognition for him at the Chilton Association’s annual meeting.
Larry has led the Chilton Association for 22 years. During that time, he has helped churches in times of need, and he has worked collaboratively in numerous ways with the State Board of Missions, especially in disaster relief and in church planting.
Larry and his wife, Judy, have been a solid team for the Chilton Association. Judy labored by his side as the ministry assistant for the association, but she was far more than someone who worked in the office: She worked with the people of the Chilton Association in ways known only to the Lord and to the recipients of her labors of love.
From my early days of ministry, I have been keenly aware of the Chilton Association. As a college student, I preached all over Chilton County. I have been in many of the churches through the years for all kinds of occasions, including church anniversary celebrations. I have grown to love that part of the state, and I admire the people of the churches in the association.
I wish Larry and Judy Felkins the best in retirement. They are moving to Auburn to be closer to children and grandchildren. This will be a fulfilling new phase of their lives and ministries.
Associational missionaries often fly under the radar in Baptist life, but they are an important group of leaders in our state convention and in Southern Baptist life. I am so glad to have them as partners. They have been a rich source of encouragement to me and my ministry.
Yes, I and so many others will miss Larry and Judy Felkins, but I believe the Lord already has someone set apart for this new time in the life of the Chilton Association.
I look forward to working with that new associational leader as together we help advance the Kingdom of God in doing Great Commission Ministries.
Take some time and say a word of encouragement to your associational missionary. Like all of us, he needs a periodic “atta boy.” It might be the spiritual B12 vitamin he needs for the days before him. It will certainly make a positive difference in his ministry.