From Chris Crain, Director
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August 9, 2017, 1:12 PM

Thank You!


St. Clair Friends,

Thank you for your tremendous show of support during my first year of leadership as Director of Missions! I could not be more pleased with your willingness to partner together for the Gospel in one of the three fastest growing counties in this state! For the last twelve months, I have had only two Sundays without a specific appointment in a local church. I have been treated with kindness and encouragement in every single church. 

I hit the ground running after several years of decreased giving among churches and partners. I am happy to report that God has provided our needs for the first half of 2017! Please help us finish summer and begin fall with strong financial support. Why does your Association need support?

Impact Campus Ministries is launching a new year Fall ministry at Jefferson State, Pell City.

St. Clair Disaster Relief has an aged fleet of vehicles and equipment needing updating.

Our mission strategy is advancing toward rural, urban, and international partnerships.

ESL has expanded to three classes. Many other ministries, meetings, and partnerships are happening at the Ashville office.

We have multiplied our equipping ministries and have assisted local church leaders with support.

Our mission to Encourage, Equip, and Engage in the Great Commission is just beginning.

If I can come and share the vision for a NEW strategy for associational missions with your leaders or church committees/teams, I would be glad to visit at any time. Please keep your St. Clair Association in mind as you begin to prepare your budget for 2018. We are honored to steward Great Commission resources for the glory of God!

The Uniqueness of the Association

The Association is not a conduit for what comes from the state or national levels of the SBC. Likewise, the Association is not a pipeline for Lifeway Christian Resources. (These are great friends and partners.) Your Director of Missions and Association provides customized, personal leadership to propel the Gospel forward in St. Clair County. If you have a need, I will come to support you; it is that simple.

Thank you for your generosity and encouragement!

Sincerely in Jesus,

Chris Crain, Director of Missions

St. Clair Baptist Association




November 1, 2016, 10:59 AM

The Problem of Isolation


“The Problem of Isolation”

Sometimes success (or failure) breeds isolation. Pastors and churches that have experienced great “success” sometimes allow it to cloud their judgment. Recently, Pastor Perry Noble of NewSpring, the largest church in the SBC, spoke of the isolation which led to his alcohol abuse and the loss of his pulpit. He stepped down from leading the Anderson, SC church several months ago.

Breaking the silence on Facebook, Noble wrote, “I was a hypocrite - I preached, ‘you can't do life alone’ and then went out and lived the opposite. Yes, the Scriptures do say we should seek solitude from time to time. However, solitude is refreshing, isolation is destructive. Isolation is where self-pity dominated my thinking, thus justifying my abuse of alcohol. Isolation is where self-doubt dominated my emotions, causing me to believe I just could not carry the weight anymore, and alcohol was necessary for me to make it through another day. Isolation is where self-hatred dominated my mentality - I hated myself, literally HATED myself for doing what I was doing, but believed the lie that this was just the way things were and there was no way it could ever get better. I chose isolation - all the while knowing that a strong community of people who really loved me would rally around me and walk with me through the valley I was in.”

I can understand how a pastor of over 30,000 in weekly attendance would want to isolate himself! My intention is not to throw stones! Please pray for Perry Noble and NewSpring Church!

Isolation is a consequence of current trends in churches today. We see a growing trend among some leaders and church members to unplug the local church from fellowship with other churches and denominational connections. “We live in a post-denominational society,” I have been told. After all, “why trouble yourself with the collective problems of churches trying to cooperate to make decisions, do missions, and spend money?” For a growing number, partnering with other churches in a denomination is an open and shut case: “I am a Christian and denominations are not needed.” However, is being isolation-minded wise as a church?

Isolation is against everything we teach. Let’s consider the "isolationist" mindset. Would we ever ask a Christian to unplug and disconnect from other believers? Would we ask a believer to do life in isolation? I hope your answer to these questions is a resounding NO! When I have isolated myself in my leadership, I’ve gotten into trouble. Isolation is not good for members within the church. Isolation is not good for the church as a whole either! When churches isolate themselves, they can become vulnerable and less effective with the Gospel.

Isolation makes no sense. Of course, I am biased. From my vantage point as Director of Missions, I believe we can do more together. We have great synergy—a cumulative effect—when churches collaborate. When our churches “hang out” together, they learn from each other’s successes and failures. We share resources and do more for the Kingdom.

Jesus Prayed for Unity, Not Isolation

Jesus prayed for spiritual unity among believers in what is called the “High Priestly Prayer.” The main theme of the prayer was God’s glory. Jesus’ death on the cross brought glory to the Father and this glory is displayed to the world, in part, through the unity of believers. The unity Jesus prayed for was a vibrant, divine fellowship that is compared to the relationship of the Father to the Son. Jesus prayed that our blood-bought, heavenly position of unity in Christ would become our earthly disposition.

Practically, unity begins at home and extends to all believers. The unity Jesus prayed for is far beyond a denominational unity. However, if we cannot get along with people we are supposed to agree with on the core teachings of the Bible, how will we ever experience unity with other believers? So, to apply Jesus’ words, it would be good to begin our quest to live out the answer to Jesus’ prayer to the Father by being personally unified with members of our own congregation and helping our church connect with our sister churches in the St. Clair Baptist Association!

Unity is an ongoing effort that continues from generation to generation by sharing the Gospel. Jesus prayed for believers in all ages. Jesus purposed that his disciples would carry out their mission and reach others. Jesus designed his Body to include baptized believers from a diversity of generations, cultures, personalities, and passions. This unity was experienced by the disciples who actually walked with Jesus 2,000 years ago and can be experienced by believers today. Reflect carefully on what Jesus prayed in John 17:20-23:

John 17:20-23 (KJV) Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; 21 That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. 22 And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: 23 I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.




August 26, 2016, 12:00 AM

We Need Each Other


I remember praying the final prayer for our Wednesday night worship service. As I finished praying, my life changed in an unpleasant way. The weather alarm sounded. Then, thunder boomed, and the church went dark. As a young, part-time pastor working my way through seminary, I had never dealt with a severe weather situation in a church. “Everyone remain calm and move into the hallway,” I shouted. Although our church was safe, we began to get word that many of the families in our close-knit community had been impacted by an F-5 tornado that rumbled through western Birmingham. 


By sunrise, I was confronted with a frightening reality: I was ill-equipped to bring hope or healing to those who were left in the wake of this fatal disaster. This was a time of "firsts" for me. It was the first natural disaster that I had experienced as a pastor. It was the first time I had to deal with death on such a scale. It was the first opportunity I had to organize a church to face a crisis. It was the first time I stood in front of someone's home and cried with them in a time of total loss. Most importantly, it was the first time I was able to experience the comfort of Southern Baptists working together. 


Imagine my excitement and appreciation when I discovered that Alabama Baptists along with men and women from other states were arriving nearby to bring supplies and to assist in clean-up efforts. Because of the Cooperative Program, state missionaries were able to help in the recovery process. In that terrible circumstance, God gave me a deep appreciation for what can be done when churches participate together through the Cooperative Program. Since that galvanizing moment in my life, I have supported the Cooperative Program wholeheartedly. 


I have been blessed with opportunities to meet missionaries from all over North America and the world—men and women who are supported by the Cooperative Program. Many of these faithful missionaries have been guests in our mission home during their furloughs. Each missionary has expressed to me their conviction that Southern Baptists have the most efficient way of placing and keeping missionaries on the field. 

I am grateful for the comprehensiveness of the Cooperative Program. Churches of all sizes and types partner through the Cooperative Program to reach the world. Your church does not have to be a certain size or of a particular worship style to participate in a global missionary effort. I am amazed when I consider that churches both large and small, in many locations, assisted me through the Cooperative Program as I attended New Orleans Seminary and my wife Carol as she attended Judson College. Churches can give with confidence, knowing that they are in a partnership that has stood the test of time. 

Over the past several years, I pastored a church located on two campuses-one campus in eastern Birmingham and a newer campus in Margaret (north of Trussville). Missionaries funded through the Cooperative Program provided wisdom and resources when we were adding a second location to our church. Associational, state and North American missionaries helped us to make sound decisions. Without their prayer and expertise, our church would not be as effective in reaching people for Jesus. Our church has learned that you can make a greater difference when you work in cooperation. 


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