Yesterday I was organizing my home office and aggressively throwing out things I no longer need that have piled up over the past 11 years. I came across a couple of boxes of family archives. Much of one box were various papers from my father. As I anticipate the possibility of my election as the director of missions for the Columbia Metro Baptist Association this Thursday, I had a good time reading through some of the papers and remembering my family commitment to Baptist associations.
(For any readers not familiar with associations, they are the local denominational dimension for various Baptist tribes.Think of them as districts, circuits, presbyteries, dioceses, classes, etc.)
From stories told by my parents, I suspect it was through associational meetings in Wilmington, NC where my parents met in the 1930s. Beyond these gatherings, Dad would preach at churches who needed someone to fill in, and often he would take Mom to play the piano. Not a bad way to court one another.
My father did not attend seminary until he was 30 years old. He loaded up Mom and my two older sisters, and went to Fort Worth, TX where he and Mom did a two-year certificate program. Neither had a college degree. To do this Dad had to resign from a church where he was serving as pastor.
Following seminary they moved back to North Carolina for Dad to serve as associational missionary for the Roanoke Baptist Association in Rocky Mount. He served there three years before going on the staff of the regional denomination known as the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina.