The Role of Baptist Associations in Valrico, Florida: Exploring Membership Fees and Uses

The Baptist faith is deeply rooted in the Southern United States, and Valrico, Florida is no exception. Many churches in the area are members of a local Baptist association, and these associations have a variety of purposes. In this article, we'll explore how Baptist associations in Valrico, Florida handle membership fees or dues, and what those funds are used for. When it comes to understanding the purpose of the partnership between churches and associations, there are many different perspectives. Members of the local church may have their own ideas about why the association exists, as do pastors and association leaders.

Similarly, state conventions have their own ideas about why the association exists. To find some kind of cohesive purpose for the local Baptist association, we must take a look at what this purpose has been historically. The State Mission Board, acting on behalf of the State Convention, has the authority to approve permanent loans requested by a cooperating ministry of the State Convention or the Florida Baptist Convention, Inc. Richard Harris, mission director of the Santee Baptist Association in Sumter, South Carolina, wrote: “There is a need for fellowship.” This fellowship is often facilitated by membership fees or dues. The money collected from membership fees or dues is used for two main purposes: an administrative membership fee and aid to other churches. The State Mission Board will recommend to the State Convention all ministerial budgets not related to the programs, which will include all expenses of the Florida Baptist Convention, Inc.

The year following approval by the State Convention, and in the following years, the newly organized or reorganized association may become a member of the Nominating Committee of the State Convention and shall have the right to have at least one member of its cooperating churches nominated to serve on the State Mission Board. In addition, a cooperating association is entitled to certain defined benefits provided by the State Convention through its cooperating ministry, the Florida Baptist Convention, Inc. Each year, a copy of the Yearbook will be given to each cooperating church and Baptist association in Florida. Local churches join a Baptist association on the basis of a promise to cooperate together and defend agreed biblical positions (BFM, for example). The proposed budget will specify a percentage distribution of the Cooperative Program's revenues for priority items approved by the State Convention, the Florida Baptist Convention, Inc. The same procedure will be followed as specified in Regulation 16, D (d), which will be approved by the State Mission Board before being recommended to the Florida Baptist State Convention. Any church or association that is dedicated to a questionable theology, faith, practice, or policy will be subject to the Florida Baptist State Convention withdrawing its scholarship.

John Sullivan, executive director of the Florida Baptist Convention wrote: “The association is the theological guardian of Southern Baptists.” The State Missions Board may convene special meetings of the State Convention as provided in Article 11 of the Constitution of the Florida Baptist State Convention and procedures defined in its Bylaws. I believe that all churches that choose to cooperate together in an association must have certain agreed doctrinal positions and commit to maintaining them. To facilitate Baptist cooperation, this State Convention has empowered its State Board of Missions to enter into cooperative agreements with selected agencies of the Southern Baptist Convention related to mission, ministries and support services provided by its cooperating ministry -the Florida Baptist Convention Inc. In conclusion, it's clear that local Baptist associations play an important role in Valrico, Florida. Membership fees or dues are used for administrative costs as well as aid to other churches. Additionally, associations provide fellowship among members and ensure that agreed upon doctrinal positions are maintained.

Through their cooperative agreements with agencies of the Southern Baptist Convention related to mission and ministries, local associations help ensure that churches are able to provide support services for their members.