OPENING TABLES - UNITING IN MISSION
Tables provide a place to make connection with others and space for building relationships. In Luke’s Gospel, the table is one of the most common and yet most significant elements where Jesus is either going to a meal, at a meal or coming from a meal. In each setting, we see that the Gospel is exampled in the way that relationships are formed through the open access both to Jesus and to one another.
Like the tables in Luke’s Gospel, the 80 churches of the CBA create places to connect and spaces for relationship with Jesus and with one another in specific geographical areas in Greater Charleston. Through the Charleston Baptist Association, each church (“table”) connects for the shared mission of making disciples of every man, woman and child. The Preamble from our constitution states our purpose, “…To enable the member churches to cooperate in accomplishing the Great Commission of our Lord (Matthew 28:18-20). With each individual congregation maintaining her autonomy, the Association would be enabled to accomplish together what no one church could do alone.”
The CBA represents the largest evangelical association of churches in the tri-county
area. However, the over-all average church attendance of all evangelical churches on a Sunday morning is now into single digit percentages for each county averaging around 9% of the population. Missionaries are usually sent into places where the church attendance moves into single digits. By the year 2028, it is estimated that there will be 1 million people living in the tri-county region of Greater Charleston.
In the same way that our SBC cooperative giving unites our national and international outreach, so does our shared geography provide an opportunity for a cooperative mission by sharing the Good News that through Jesus there is access to God’s family. Because our cooperative ways make us better together, we have clustered our 80 churches into 7 groups that share a common geography with diverse demographics across Greater Charleston.
Our first goal is to create a leadership table in each cluster group to connect pastors and other church leaders to introduce the latest demographic information, explore ways to strengthen our churches and build cooperative relationships in carrying out the mission of making disciples.
As we move into the fall, CBA pastors & church leaders will be invited to come together at a table in these 7 cluster areas. We are praying that each pastor and each church will be willing to open hands and hearts as we unite around our shared mission to make disciples of every man, woman and child as no one church can reach everyone. May we join the prophet Habakkuk in his vision to see “The earth (Greater Charleston) filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.” (Habakkuk 2:14)