Why Your Church Should Join
About the High Desert Baptist Association
We are a fellowship of diverse churches, cooperating to encourage and empower one another to carry out the will of God by taking full advantage of Kingdom-Building opportunities.
Our Association of churches will base our decisions on the following values:
- Our decisions and actions will be guided by God's Word.
- Praying without ceasing, we will seek God's guidance and the empowerment of His Spirit.
- In obedience to our LORD’s command, we will endeavor to resource our churches for the spread of the gospel and disciple all peoples at home and abroad.
- Since God has blessed us with such rich diversity, we will grow in Christian fellowship by loving one another as Christ loves us, providing a forum for our churches to grow in health and in effectiveness as they determine to fulfill the vision that God has given them.
- At all times, in all things we will respect and work through the local churches, never in competition with them. We are a resource only. We will be the servant, and the local church the object of that service. We will continue to improve as workers, who bring honor to our LORD, being equipped to our best ability to serve our member churches for the expansion of the kingdom.
Why Should Your Church Family Join our Association?
If you strongly believe in the autonomy of the local church yet you have a heart for reaching the High Desert, California, the nation and our world for Christ and recognize that churches of like faith working together can reach more people for Christ than you can alone you will probably want to join us in these efforts.
If your pastor and leaders need feed-back and desire help in equipping your church family to be more effective in reaching people for Christ and developing the believer then you will be pleased to join our Association.
If you would enjoy fellowship that is so often needed but lacking, this association is for you. The HDBA is extremely helpful because it provides a context for dialogue, for comparing struggles and successes, for engaging in mutual prayer and partnerships.
Again, our statement of Faith – The Baptist Faith and Message reveals we unapologetically stand on the Word of God and are theologically conservative and evangelical.
Through our Cooperative Program we are able to do more together than we could ever do apart. Small churches are often not able to support even one missionary or pay for the education of one seminary student, but through the Cooperative Program we are able to partner with other churches to help send missionaries around the world and educate thousands of seminary students.
Mission and Vision
The ministry of our association is to assist, support and resource the unique, God-given vision of our churches to carry out the Great Commission. With the commitment of our pastors and their leaders from our churches we are convinced that the purpose of our association will be carried out.
Therefore, we will work to plant new churches and praise our LORD for each person led to Christ and then following Him in obedience to His commands! We also work to promote and maintain healthy pastors and churches as we help equip pastors and church leaders to accomplish missional ministries whereby God gets the glory!
We will work for a greater ministry action budget, not to increase the association, but to increase the percentage given back to ministry action whereby God gets the glory!
Responsibilities for the Member Church
Membership does not require financial support but receiving financial benefits from the HDBA and California Southern Baptist Convention does require each member church to financially support the Association and CSBC. A certain amount is not required, but each church is expected to give something as you prayerfully give regularly each budget year. This is one of the best ways to pool our strength to reach our Jerusalem and the world for Christ. Each participating church is supplied with a giving packet from the Association.
The recommended Cooperative giving for an SBC church is 4% of receipts to the Association, and 6% of receipts to the State Convention. The principle however is sacrificial giving to reach our area and world for Christ. We realize that at the time of affiliation several churches may have missions’ dollars going to individual missionaries, or the church may for a time be dually aligned with another denomination making these percentages difficult. We would strongly suggest that you start with a percentage that is comfortable, yet retain the commitment (as the Lord enables) to increase to meet this 4%/6% standard.
Annual Church Profile
Each fall our churches receive a short information form from the State office called the ACP. This form helps the Association, State and National Conventions tract our progress as we work together. Benefits provided a sister church is determined by this report. For example: Financial aid from one of our agencies along with your commitment to our HDBA will be a determiner in receiving assistance.
Participation is the Life of the Association
While attending every meeting is not essential the benefits of being a member are greatly diminished if the pastor and leaders don’t attend the meetings with the other churches. A church's rewards enjoyed by belonging is directly proportionate to its participation. Opportunities for participation include, but are not limited to:
Annual Association Meeting and Executive Board meetings
Participation of Associational Teams
Training Events and Resourcing Seminars
Regular Concerts of Prayer and Praise
Monthly Association pastor and leader fellowships
Annual Association Golf Fellowship
Yearly Christmas Banquet (Our Fellowship Premier Event)
Responsibilities of the Association
The responsibility of the Association toward the member church can be stated in one sentence: We exist to help the local church fulfill its God-given mission.
This means, standing with a church in times of crisis and/or when they may become pastorless. Giving referrals to SBC benefits, keeping each church informed of SBC life, offering conferences and other training events and together do mission projects which a single church could not do alone. Furthermore, our Association leads out in the responsibility of planting new churches in the greater High Desert area.
The Association exists to serve the local church. It is our passion to fulfill this mission to the best of our abilities. Because we cooperate together as Southern Baptists and pool our many resources, we can offer practical help to the churches that is unparalleled. Because of the sheer quantity of services the Association offers, the greatest challenge we face is effectively communicating to our pastors and churches that which is available.
The following is only a partial list of those resources that are available through your Association and State Convention. The Association is your main point of contact to request any of these services:
Church Growth Consulting
Church Community Ministry
Apartment Complex Ministries
Church Bond Programs
Capital Fund Raising Campaigns
Church Planting Strategy Assistance
Men's Ministries Assistance
Women's Ministries Assistance
Youth and Children Ministries
Mission Project Opportunities
Local and International
Theological Education Advantages
Technological Advice, Planning and Support
Church Legal Advice
Pastoral Tax Planning and Advice
We exist to bring these and other programs and resources to the churches of our Association. We stand ready to respond to any need upon the request of the pastor and local church. Working together we can help our pastors, leaders and churches to fulfill the mission God has given you!
About Southern Baptists
Since its organization in 1845 in Augusta, Georgia, the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) has grown to over 15 million members who worship in more than 45,000 churches in the United States. Southern Baptists sponsor about 5,000 home missionaries serving the United States, Canada, Guam and the Caribbean, as well as sponsoring more than 5,000 foreign missionaries in 153 nations of the world.
The term "Southern Baptist Convention" refers to both the denomination and its annual meeting. Working through 1,200 local Associations and 41 state conventions and fellowships, Southern Baptists share a common bond of basic Biblical beliefs and a commitment to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the entire world.
You become a Southern Baptist by uniting with a Southern Baptist church, one in friendly cooperation with the general Southern Baptist enterprise of reaching the world for Christ. Typically, church membership is a matter of accepting Jesus as your Savior and Lord and experiencing believer's baptism by immersion.
The fact that Jesus died for our sin, was buried, and then rose from the grave is foundational for Southern Baptists. He lives today and stands ready to give abundant and eternal life to all those who repent of sin and place their faith in Him. Southern Baptists invite everyone to receive Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.
A Relationship with Jesus is of First Importance
Though the articles that follow deal with important topics, they are not the most spiritually important ones. The key issue is how a person or church becomes truly Christian - anointed, Biblical, fruitful.
Not all Southern Baptists are Christians; some have proven to be nominal Christians — Christians in name only. And not all, or even most Christians are Southern Baptists. Countless non-Southern Baptists, and indeed, non-Baptists, have received Christ as LORD and Savior.
Having said this, we believe that it is a wonderful thing to be a Southern Baptist, and commend the denomination to you. Our aim is not to recruit members from other groups, but to have ready information for those interested.
The information presented here is not meant to stand alone, but to be read in conjunction with other introductory information. For more information, please read on.
Why a Denomination?
Some people feel that denominations are constrictive, and that when you identify with other churches, you suffer compromise. Southern Baptists are sympathetic to these concerns and so firmly hold to the principle of church autonomy and self-rule.
The Southern Baptist Convention does not ordain ministers, assign staff to churches, levy contributions to denominational causes, dictate literature and calendar, or assign persons to churches according to place of residence. These are local church matters.
Southern Baptists are wary of interdenominational councils. While Southern Baptists work with other churches on matters such as abortion and pornography they do not enter into covenants with others who wish to speak for them.
The Convention is an alliance of churches working in friendly cooperation under the heading "Southern Baptist." A Southern Baptist church is strongly independent, autonomous and yet voluntarily works together with sister churches/the denomination.
Why belong to a denomination? Denominations give churches a way to collectively express their convictions and realize their vision. It is Biblical for like-minded churches to work together to accomplish common objectives. Denominations allow churches to be a part of a larger enterprise, pooling their resources to establish and advance Great Commission work. A denomination can have an impact larger than the sum of the impacts of the individual churches.
Again, the Bible pictures financial and operational cooperation among New- Testament churches, and virtually all churches cooperate with other churches in some fashion or other. Southern Baptists have merely formalized that spiritually-natural phenomenon, and God has blessed their blend of freedom and cooperation.
Within the Body of Christ, there is a great diversity of gifts, temperament, tastes, and experiences. Churches benefit from this range of qualities within their own fellowship and across the denomination. Churches learn from and complement each other.
This is not a matter of moral or doctrinal compromise. You cannot believe and do just anything and remain a part of the Southern Baptist fellowship. All Baptist bodies have limits. But within those limits, there is room for significant cooperative diversity.
While there is a place for Biblical separation no church is perfect. Each will have sinful and wasteful features. The same goes for denominations. Just as with churches, denominations must find their way between putting up with anything and fighting over everything. There are rocks on both sides and the need for a great deal of patience as we chart our course between them.
Why a Convention? Isn't a convention a meeting and not a denomination? Technically, the Southern Baptist convention exists for only two days a year, at the annual gathering. The rest of the year, denominational entities carry out the instructions of the messengers to the Convention. The authority, then, resides with the messengers elected by churches and participating in the two-day meeting. Still, those churches and individuals who identify with this enterprise typically call themselves Southern Baptist.
Churches- A church technically becomes Southern Baptist by contributing to the mission causes of the Convention in the same manner as she contributes to the HDBA.
If that contribution is made within the church’s fiscal year preceding a particular annual meeting (June), then the church is entitled to send as many as ten messengers to the Convention. The messenger card spells out the criteria. These cards can be secured from the High Desert Baptist Association.
We encourage churches who wish to identify with the Southern Baptist Convention to notify the convention offices. Even if they've not yet qualified to send messengers to the annual meeting, their report of current giving to denominational causes will signal their prospective affiliation and prompt their addition to the convention contact list.
Individuals per se do not join the Southern Baptist Convention. Rather, they become Southern Baptists by joining one of more than 45,000 Southern Baptist churches. Each church determines her own membership procedures. Those wanting to familiarize themselves with the denomination will want to read through this information, or contact the Association for more information. Any SBC church may copy any portion of this book for distribution to its members. You may also purchase additional copies through the local Association.
Ministers- Within the Southern Baptist Convention, the licensing and ordination of ministers is a local church matter. There is no denominational ordination service. The list of Southern Baptist ministers is simply a compilation from the reports of the churches. The Southern Baptist convention neither frocks nor defrocks ministers.
Guidance and support for the ordination of ministers is available through the Association office.
Though the local church licenses and ordains a minister the HDBA reserves the right not to recognize the ordination when a person is deemed not qualified for a clear Biblical reason or if he is not in agreement with the Baptist Faith and Message 2000.
Insurance & Annuity- The GuideStone Financial Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention provides avenues for Southern Baptist ministers to insure themselves and to financially undergird their retirement years. GuideStone Financial Resources exists to assist the churches and other denominational entities by making available retirement plan sendees, life and health coverage, risk management programs and personal and institutional investment programs. In addition we receive and administer funds for retired ministers or their widows in need.
State Conventions & Local Associations- Though a church may be a Southern Baptist church without affiliating with a state convention or local Association of Southern Baptist churches, it is customary to participate in all three. Joining the local Association provides a contact point that is close and personal, able to respond to your requests quickly.
Each has its particular ministries, fellowship, and mission outreach, and there is a great deal of cooperation among them. The state and national bodies have traditionally relied upon local Associations to determine the baptistic character of churches.
There are currently 42 state conventions and fellowships listed. There are more than 1,200 local Associations. A list is readily available at both the national and state offices or through your local Association.
Materials, Training & Service Opportunities- The Southern Baptist Convention offers churches a wide array of literature, workshops, retreats, conferences, consultants, volunteer mission opportunities, video and audio materials, fellowships, and prayer requests.
As a financially cooperating Southern Baptist church, you will receive numerous media materials including the latest technological data and other material promoting missions, missionaries, and local and national events that you may participate in.
We are excited about the great support and network system provided through our Association and Convention.
Career Mission Service- Members of participating SBC churches seeking to be career missionaries should contact:
North American Mission Board (NAMB) (770-410-6000) to serve on the mission field of North America.
International Mission Board (IMB) (888-I-CAN-GO-1 [888-422-6461]). To serve outside the USA
The beauty of mission in the SBC is that our missionaries are fully funded. Unlike other denominations, our missionaries do not have to return from the field to raise support. Because they are fully funded through the Cooperative Program, they are able to stay on the field, bringing souls to our Father. Each organization (NAMB and 1MB) has a carefully prescribed candidate process.
Education- Southern Baptists subsidize seminary education for ministers who are members of Southern Baptist churches which have voted to commend them to a Southern Baptist seminary.
Our Seminaries are:
Gateway Baptist Theological Seminary
Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary
New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary
Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary
Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary
Doctrinal Statement-Basic Beliefs
Southern Baptists have prepared a statement of generally held convictions called The Baptist Faith and Message. It serves as a guide to understanding who they are. Copies are available through your local Association office. The topics here provide only a brief, partial summary. The full text of the Baptist Faith and Message can be found here: just copy and paste.
The Holy Bible was written by men divinely inspired and is God's revelation of Himself to man. It is a perfect treasure of divine instruction. It has God for its author, salvation for its end, and truth, without any mixture of error, for its matter.
There is one and only one living and true God. The eternal God reveals Himself to us as Father, Son and Holy Spirit, with distinct personal attributes, but without division of nature, essence, or being.
God the Father
God as Father reigns with providential care over His universe, His creatures, and the flow of the stream of human history according to the purposes of His grace. God is Father in truth to those who become children of God through faith in Jesus Christ.
God the Son
Christ is the eternal Son of God. In His incarnation as Jesus Christ, He was conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. He honored the divine law by His personal obedience, and in His death on the cross, He made provision for the redemption of men from sin.
God the Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of God. He exalts Christ. He convicts of sin, of righteousness and of judgment. He enlightens and empowers the believer and the church in worship, evangelism, and service.
Man was created by the special act of God, in His own image, and is the crowning work of His creation. By his free choice man sinned against God and brought sin into the human race. The sacredness of human personality is evident in that God created man in His own image, and in that Christ died for man. Therefore every man possesses dignity and is worthy of respect and Christian love.
Salvation involves the redemption of the whole man, and is offered freely to all who accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, who by His own blood obtained eternal redemption for the believer. In its broadest sense salvation includes regeneration, sanctification, and glorification.
God's Purpose of Grace
Election is the gracious purpose of God, according to which He regenerates, sanctifies, and glorifies sinners. All true believers endure to the end. Those whom God has accepted in Christ and sanctified by His Spirit will never fall away from the state of grace but shall persevere to the end.
A New Testament church of the Lord Jesus Christ is a local body of baptized believers who are associated by covenant in the faith and fellowship of the gospel and seeking to extend the gospel to the ends of the earth. This church is an autonomous body. The New Testament speaks also of the church as the body of Christ, which includes all of the redeemed of all the ages.
Baptism & the Lord's Supper
Christian baptism is the immersion of a believer in water. It is an act of obedience symbolizing the believer's faith in a crucified, buried, and risen Savior, the believer's death to sin, the burial of the life, and the resurrection to walk in newness of life in Christ Jesus. The Lord's Supper is a symbolic act of obedience whereby members memorialize the death of the Redeemer and anticipate His second coming.
The Lord's Day
The first day of the week is the Lord's Day. It commemorates the resurrection of Christ from the dead and should be employed in exercises of worship and spiritual devotion.
God, in His own time and in His own way, will bring the world to its appropriate end. Jesus Christ will return personally and visibly, the dead will be raised; and Christ will judge all men in righteousness. The unrighteous will be consigned to Hell. The righteous will receive their reward and will dwell forever in Heaven with the Lord.
Evangelism & Missions
It is the duty and privilege of every follower of Christ and every church of the Lord Jesus Christ to endeavor to make disciples of all nation and to seek constantly to win the lost to Christ by personal effort.
The cause of education in the Kingdom of Christ is co-ordinate with the causes of missions and general benevolence. There should be a proper balance between academic freedom and academic responsibility. The freedom of a teacher in a Christian school, college, or seminary is limited by the pre-eminence of Jesus Christ, by the authoritative nature of the Scriptures, and by the distinctives of that school.
God is the source of all blessings, temporal and spiritual; all that we have and are we owe to Him. Christians have a spiritual debtorship to the whole world, a holy trusteeship in the gospel, and a binding- stewardship in their possessions. They are therefore under obligation to serve Him with their time, talents, and material possessions.
Christ's people should organize such Associations and conventions as may best secure cooperation for the great objects of the Kingdom of God. Such organizations have no authority over one another or over the churches. Cooperation is desirable between the various Christian denominations.
The Christian & the Social Order
Every Christian is under obligation to seek to make the will of Christ supreme in his own life and in human society. The Christian should oppose in the spirit of Christ every form of greed, selfishness, and vice.
Church and state should be separate. The state owes to every church protection and full freedom in the pursuit of its spiritual ends. A free church in a free state is the Christian ideal.
God has ordained the family as the foundational institution of human society. Marriage is the union of one man and one woman in covenant commitment for a lifetime. The husband and wife are of equal worth before God, since both are created in God's image. The marriage relationship models the way God relates to His people. Children, from the moment of conception, are a blessing and heritage from the Lord.
Steps to Affiliation
By affiliating with the High Desert Baptist Association (HDBA) you, by that act, affiliate with the California Southern Baptist Convention (CSBC) and the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC). Your Director of Missions (DOM) will process all paperwork necessary for these affiliations. As a cooperating SBC church, your Director of Missions, Charles Speelman, is available to resource you and guide you in all steps related to the convention, retirement and annuity, and Associational ministries. Feel free to contact him at any time.
About the Director of Missions
The Director of Missions is your immediate contact point for denominationally related issues. He is your missionary, supported in part by the cooperative giving of the churches of our Association. He serves as a CEO type minister for the local Association of churches, able to implement strategies for church health and church planting in the High Desert area. Each church is encouraged to utilize and participate in the Association. The DOM has been chosen for his unique mix of talents and conviction to see the gospel of Christ preached in your local area and to help your church become what God intends for it to be. He cares for his churches, and especially his pastors. He is a resource for you.
The Affiliation Process
The process for becoming a member of this Association is as follows:
Step 1: Request Affiliation
If you desire to continue the process of applying after reviewing this booklet, please write a letter on your church stationary to the Association requesting that the Advisory Ministry Team proceed with the process of affiliation.
Step 2: Submit Church Documents & Application
The church must send a complete set of church documents to the Association for review. If the church is new, or does not have certain necessary documents, at their request, the Association can assist them in drafting those documents. Include the following documents with the request for affiliation.
A copy of your Articles of Incorporation (if applicable)
A copy of your Statement of Faith
A copy of your Constitution and/ or Bylaws
Your Annual Church Profile (if applicable)
Completed Application For Affiliation
Note:Step 1 and 2 can be combined and sent in together.
Step 3: Association Advisory Team Review of Application
After the letter and the application are received the Director of Missions will schedule a meeting with the Association Advisory Ministry Team to review all documents submitted. Upon Approval by the Association Advisory Ministry Team, you will be notified and your application will be forwarded for approval by vote at the next Executive Board or Annual Meeting of the Association.
As a part of the process, the DOM as well as other representative are available to address your leadership team and/or congregation to answer any questions that you might have.
Optional Follow Up
Once you have been accepted into the HDBA we will provide any and all resources available to us, but only upon request. Remember the word Resource. The Association will never demand, insist, or seek to steer the member church. We exist to resource you!
Remember, we are here to help you discover God's purpose for your church as well as to assist you personally and the church as a whole with any difficulties that you are currently facing.
You should also become familiar with the Association web site. It is a resource for a number of different tools, newsletters, forms and informational pieces. The web site is located at: http://www. HDBA.net
Other Important Web Sites
The following web sites are important to know about. They are websites which are related to the Southern Baptist Convention and Baptist Life. They are provided here for your information.
The High Desert Baptist Association www.HDBA.net
The California Southern Baptist Convention www.CSBC.com
The Southern Baptist Convention www.SBC.net
The North American Mission Board www.NAMB.net
The International Mission Board www.IMB.org