Associational leaders gather in Jacksonville


Associational leaders from around the state gathered in Jacksonville on May 16 for the annual Director of Missions Retreat.

“Our Florida Baptist directors of missions (DOMs) are the local Baptist missionaries in the areas where they serve,” said Craig Culbreth, East Florida Catalyst, who organized the event. “The opportunity to spend time with them, pray with them, and learn with them is always an amazing time.”

Brett Patterson, pastor of Hatch Bend Baptist Church just outside Branford, is new to the role of DOM for the Lafayette Baptist Association. Coming in with fresh eyes and limited experience, Patterson said he didn’t know what to expect of the gathering or exactly what he was going to be able to contribute.

“What I found was a genuine love between brothers in Christ, and a passion for the mission of the gospel we share,” Patterson said.

Mark Gonzales, executive director/DOM for the Royal Palms Baptist Association, was also in attendance. He said he was thankful for the time spent in conversation with Florida Baptist Convention staff about how best to partner for effective ministry throughout the state.

“I heard several DOMs sharing their sense that a new day of collaboration and connection between DOMs and the state staff is dawning,” Gonzales said. “Our annual DOM Retreat seems to be morphing into a focused time of sharing hearts and comparing notes about what God is doing in Florida and how we can get in on it, in addition to being a time of personal and spiritual refreshment.”

Gonzales was also excited about his new role on the DOM leadership team.

“I feel so blessed to be asked to serve on our new DOM Leadership Team that now has reps from all six regions in Florida,” he said. “Outgoing team leader, Chip Fox, and his team have been laying a solid foundation to build upon, and Troy Varnum, our new team leader, has already pulled us together to continue the conversation about fresh initiatives to work better together with each other and our state staff in reaching the lost in Florida and beyond.”

During the course of the day, leaders met with Convention staff and later broke into regions and met with their regional catalysts for further connection and conversation.

Patterson walked away from the event with some new insights about being a DOM.

“There is no ‘one size fits all’ in being a DOM, but the Lord leads, guides and equips us for the part of the harvest we are responsible for,” he said. “My field is much different than my friends in Miami or Tampa, but the results ought to be similar in that we glorify the Lord Jesus Christ and make disciples.”

The DOMs and Convention staff fellowshipped over lunch and dinner between meetings and the night ended with worship and a message brought by Richard Blackaby, president of Blackaby Ministries International.

By Nicole Kalil, Florida Baptist Convention, May 25, 2018

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