The Power of Baptist Associations in Supporting Community Outreach in Valrico, Florida

The West Florida Baptist Association is a society that is devoted to spreading the Gospel to those who are lost, disciplining Christians, and addressing the needs of the community. To achieve its mission, the Association is managed by a board of directors that meets on the second and fourth Friday of each month from August to April at Idlewild Baptist Church in Lutz, Florida. This event emphasizes the importance of working together and is held at the First Baptist Church of San Antonio. The formation of the association in 1707 was a demonstration of their shared commitment to act and strive zealously in missions, evangelization, and theological education.

This showed that churches can do much more when they collaborate than when they work alone. The association carries out community ministries throughout the area that no single church could do on its own. The association also keeps an open line of communication between churches and Baptist Conventions in Florida and South Florida. WCHE, a ministry of Willow Creek Church in Winter Springs, Florida, initially began as an outreach activity for their families but has now expanded to include families from all over Central Florida. Although most associations no longer serve as a framework for sending missionaries, Southern Baptist scholars say that they can still play a crucial role in sustaining the health of churches and encouraging evangelization. David Waltz, executive director of the Pennsylvania-South Jersey Baptist Convention, stated that associations in his state and in Southern New Jersey use confession to inform churches that want to take part in associative life. Southern Baptists also have a Philadelphia Metropolitan Area Baptist Association which functions as part of the Pennsylvania-South Jersey Baptist Convention.

The association was created to express biblical fidelity in the doctrine and practice of the church, and was the agency for cooperative missions and theological education. Associations can preserve churches if they exercise their responsibility as stewards of church doctrine and practice in their members since membership in the association is an endorsement of the acceptability of the doctrine and practice of all member churches. Greg Wills, professor of church history at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky believes that associations must play an active role in the life of churches. Keach, who converted through his own preaching, took the church's ministry to the woods and held quarterly meetings with other Baptists in the area. This was an example of how associations can promote fellowship between churches and encourage missionary and evangelization work.