See Captured By Vision--George's newest book released at http://astore.amazon.com/tcpresourcesstore-20/detail/151276986X

Baptist Associations are a Family Heritage

Church Pin MapFor my family, Baptist associations have been part of our DNA since at least the 1940s. I suspect they even goes back even farther.

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.

Continue reading "Baptist Associations are a Family Heritage" »


Eddie Hammett Endorses Captured by Vision -- George's Newest Book

Eddie HammettGeorge has given the church of today and tomorrow a real gift as he shares his wisdom gained through his decades of consulting with churches. The bite-sized approach to sharing heavy truths is masterfully crafted to provide pastors and lay leaders points for prayer, reflection and action. Captured By Vision is truly a treasure of truths that inspire, encourage and guide!

--Edward “Eddie” Hammett, www.TransformingSolutions.org

Click HERE here to see and purchase Captured By Vision: 101 Insights to Empower Your Congregation.


Captured By Vision Insight 096 to Empower Your Congregation

Captured By Vision Final Cover  01.17.17Vision Insight 096: In general, the longer people are connected with a congregation, the more difficult it is to see a new vision.

The routine patterns and habits within the fellowship of a congregation blind people to new vision. In older churches, there is a group of people I call 60-40-20 people. They are at least 60 years old, have been in church at least 40 years, and have been attending your church at least 20 years. This is a cohort for whom it is almost impossible to see new vision.

They are also overly churched culture people. They have difficulty being led to see new vision by people of a short tenure. They cannot speak the language of the unchurched culture. They can only speak the language of the churched culture.

They know the language of Zion and the secret handshake, and do not understand why non-churched people might think that hymns with the word “blood” in them are talking about some form of cannibalism, vampires, or perhaps zombies.

They still understand highway signs that suggest people are going to hell without Jesus. They do not realize the next generation of pre-Christians do not understand the signs, and if they did, they would be driven away rather than attracted.

The book of 101 insight--Captured By Vision--is now live on Amazon.com. Click HERE to see and purchase it.


Where Have All My Sundays Gone?

United Baptist ChurchDo you remember—or even know about—the folk song written by Pete Seeger in 1955 entitled “Where Have All the Flowers Gone?” I did not know it from Seeger. I knew if from the recording made famous by folk singers Peter, Paul and Mary.

That tune is already swirling around my head as I consider the possibility that I will be elected Director of Missions for the Columbia Metro Baptist Association a week from today. Only the words associated with it are “Where Have All My Sundays Gone?”

A core commitment of a leader who comes alongside a family of congregations in a Baptist association is to worship with, enjoy the fellowship of, and encourage the ministry of pastors and congregations by being present in their weekend worship services. It is also essential to learn and understand the worship and fellowship characteristics of all congregations in the family. 

If elected, and thus I acquire the privilege to serve these churches-in-association with one another, I will start the role two days later. Thus, I am already having to think about a plan for visiting with congregations on Sundays and at other times. Three Sundays my first month are already tentatively planned.

This will be the first of many issues where I must do what I have been advising the staff of Baptist associations and other local denominational organizations/judicatories to do for the past 40 years. Or, I must declare I gave them bad advice. 

This side of the practice of serving as the director of missions for a local Baptist association, here is my plan for the four Sundays in the month based on the advice I have given others:

Continue reading "Where Have All My Sundays Gone?" »


Captured By Vision Insight 095 to Empower Your Congregation

Captured By Vision Final Cover  01.17.17Vision Insight 095: When vision wanes in congregations they can become angry at God for forsaking them, when they may actually have forsaken God.

Congregational vision does not move forward on auto-pilot. Congregational participants must believe in the vision sufficiently to be part of God’s empowering force. When vision wanes within a congregation, then it is not being cast assertively, movement toward its fulfillment is not a high enough priority within the congregation, or the congregation has become distracted and lost its focus. Vision killers love to distract their congregation.

God does not forsake God’s empowering vision for a congregation. Congregations forsake God’s empowering vision. Anger is never a great response. Perhaps as close as a congregation ought to come to anger would be the concept known as “righteous indignation.”

During the second and following generations of a congregation, when vision wanes in less than seven years, congregations need to recalibrate and move forward. When vision wanes at or after seven years, it may be time to go through a season of renewing vision. If a congregation does not renew vision within ten years since its last vision was cast, it is likely to become aging, declining, and perhaps even dysfunctional.

The book of 101 insight--Captured By Vision--is now live on Amazon.com. Click HERE to see and purchase it.


Capture By Vision Insight 094 to Empower Your Congregation

Captured By Vision Final Cover  01.17.17Vision Insight 094: Vision which is not fulfilled in new and innovative ways each year will become stale and lose its cutting edge.

As empowering as it is to be captured by God’s vision, that vision does not come with a playbook for living into it. New and innovative methods for living into the vision still must be crafted annually. Recruit the most passionate and creative people in your congregation, who are committed to continual innovation, to help navigate the way forward.

There still will be resistance to change. This will come particularly from people who cannot see or accept new methodologies. No one ever told them they would have to change.

They also may never have affirmed the congregational vision and its future story of ministry. So, they feel no ownership. They kill vision. They feel justified in resisting change to old ways they find acceptance and comfort.

When congregational vision becomes stale, that does not always mean vision is gone. It may only mean ownership and excitement surrounding vision has drifted away. It may be possible to reactivate this ownership and refocus the vision.

The book of 101 insight--Captured By Vision--is now live on Amazon.com. Click HERE to see and purchase it.


Captured By Vision Insight 093 to Empower Your Congregation

Captured By Vision Final Cover  01.17.17Vision Insight 093: Vision does not call for the rejection of heritage. It sees heritage as a foundation, a centering, and a mooring.

Heritage provides a foundation. For example, the substance of worship, such as who congregations worship and why, never changes. We always worship the Triune God. That is not open for negotiation. Congregations are not planning to worship a popular entertainer, actor, politician, or other persons of notoriety.

I did once visit a church on the west coast of the United States that had persons of notoriety painted on the ceiling and they danced around in a circle celebrating these people. Let’s not go there today.

Our theology, which is our substance, gives us a centering and mooring about our long-term commitments as a congregation. It is when this centering changes that congregations and denominations split, or separate into multiple parts, and vision becomes confused.

The book of 101 insight--Captured By Vision--is now live on Amazon.com. Click HERE to see and purchase it.


Bob Dale Endorses Captured By Vision -- George's Newest Book

Bob Dale“We know a thing or two because we’ve seen a thing or two,” says the Farmers Insurance commercial. Captured by Vision is a wise companion for church leaders because George Bullard has seen 101 things about congregational vision firsthand.

George’s vast experience takes readers on a grand pilgrimage into how vision is found and followed. Some of George’s insights are surprises, some are counter-intuitive, but all feed leaders’ spirits. There are too many guidelines to master quickly, so let Captured by Vision soak in slowly and deeply. It will open your eyes and heart to God’s future for your church.

---Robert “Bob” Dale, Prolific Writer and Wise Teacher

Click HERE here to see and purchase Captured By Vision: 101 Insights to Empower Your Congregation.


Captured By Vision Insight 092 to Empower Your Congregation

Captured By Vision Final Cover  01.17.17Vision Insight 092: Vision is always about the future, never about the past. The past is a prelude to the emerging future.

Congregational vision is never about going back to the past. It is always going forward to the future. I tell congregations one four-letter word to eliminate from their speech is the word “back.” While our God is the God of the past, present, and future, I believe God celebrates when congregations become more Christ-like and are more prophetically involved in missional engagement with a future consequence.

The past does have an important role to play in the future. It is prelude to the future worship of the Triune God as we live into God’s empowering vision.

Prelude is not just that music played before the worship service begins, while people are still visiting with one another, the choir or praise band is getting in place, or a countdown clock on screens is letting you know visiting time is short. Prelude is what happens before actions of a deeper scope or high importance begin to take place.

The book of 101 insight--Captured By Vision--is now live on Amazon.com. Click HERE to see and purchase it.


Focus on the Essentials: The Dilemma

Fit SpinnerLooking at myself in a mirror, seeking to show conviction, and in the spirit of the times attempting to self-coach, I admonish my image, “George, remember today and every day to focus on the essentials.”

If your brain—like mine—seems to function like a fast-moving fidget spinner . . . excuse me, an e-mail just came in from someone who wants to purchase 12 copies of my latest book and I will have to get back to you later.

Let’s see. Where were we? Oh, yes, I remember.

If your brain—like mine—seems to function like a fast-moving fidget spinner . . . oops, my telephone alarm just went off reminding me of something I agreed to do.

Two hours later I am back.

If your brain—like mine—seems to function like a fast-moving fidget spinner . . . wait, I just heard the postman go by. I want to go check the mail.

Okay, let’s try again. While checking the mail, my wife reminded me of something I said I would do, so I took care of it first. Let’s try one more time.

If your brain—like mine—seems to function like a fast-moving fidget spinner, it is hard to stay focused on anything for very long, and the list of things on which you try to focus at any given time are voluminous.

Continue reading "Focus on the Essentials: The Dilemma" »


George Bullard Nominated as the New Director of Missions for the Columbia Metro Baptist Association

CMBA Logo 01Today, Thursday, June 15, 2017 it is being announced that I am the nominee of the search committee for the new Director of Missions for the Columbia Metro Baptist Association that involves the city of Columbia, Richland County, Fairfield County, and the southwest portion of Kershaw County in South Carolina.
 
The Executive Board of this @110 congregation fellowship will meet on Thursday, June 29th to consider my nomination. If elected, I will begin service on July 1st.
 
Local Baptist associations have been a part of my life since birth. This is a great capstone spiritual call for my full-time ministry. I was asked by the search committee to project a five to seven year strategy for the Association. I have done that. But, as anyone who knows me will realize, I believe that is simply a statement to get the dialogue going. Any real strategy must be deeply and broadly owned by the member congregations of the Association.
 
More information will be forthcoming about this transition and how the my Ministry Legacy Season will feed into and help empower this ministry. Stay tuned.