New officers for the Liberal Ministerial Alliance for 2011 are President Chuck Scroggs, left, Ann Holman, vice president, Randy Thornburg, secretary, and Dr. Jack Jacob, treasurer. Daily Leader photo/Robert Pierce
By ROBERT PIERCE
• Daily Leader
Christmas is a season of giving, but the Liberal Ministerial Alliance believes giving should be not only for the holidays, but a year round tradition.
Wednesday, the alliance hosted its annual meeting, and during the gathering, the group named its new officers for the upcoming year.
Among the new members of the board was Chuck Scroggs, minister of Central Christian Church, who was chosen to replace outgoing president Dr. Jack Jacob of First Southern Baptist Church.
Jacob, who was named as the group’s treasurer for 2011, explained some of the services the Ministerial Alliance provides, including those for homeless people coming through Liberal.
“If they come into town, they’re on their way somewhere, they break down or they’re stranded, we provide them with a hotel room,” he said. “We provide them with a meal. We provide them with gasoline. The churches of the Ministerial Alliance contribute funds to that so that we can together take care of that.”
Jacob said the alliance also does many community worship services throughout the year.
“We do a Thanksgiving service every year,” he said. “We do what’s called an Easter Afterglow, which is a chance for the choirs to come together and share some of the music that they did with the rest of the churches in a service that we do together.”
The alliance provides a volunteer chaplaincy program at the hospital. Jacob said this helps meet the spiritual needs of people who are in the hospital who are not connected with a church, and it provides needed spiritual advisement and prayer.
Jacob said members of the alliance take any opportunity to help spread the gospel and work together to bring hope to the community.
“We’ve done concerts together,” he said. “We do See You at the Pole. We do Super Bowl outreach every year together.”
FSBC itself has begun hosting an outdoor movie to help work with race issues in Liberal. Jacob said this helps build bridges between the sides of the community.
“We pass out bibles to the seniors every year at baccalaureate,” he said. “We also provide bibles to the jails, high school classes, college classes.”
Liberal’s alliance has been in place for many years, and Jacob, who had served as president for two years, said the role of all ministerial alliances has changed over time.
“Ministerial alliances used to be primarily just a fellowship time for pastors to get together, have lunch, maybe pray together,” he said. “What we’ve done since I’ve been here continued on and carried for is trying to create more of a sense of serving together in serving each other.”
Another way the Ministerial Alliance helps, is sponsoring and bringing movies to the theater. Jacob said what group members are attempting to do is make the alliance more about doing something rather than just being together.
Jacob said there are currently about 20 churches claiming affiliation with the Ministerial Alliance.
“We have what’s kind of a floating membership,” he said. “Each year, you pay dues to be a part of the alliance. It’s a whopping $10. If your church can’t afford that, just talk to us, and we may be able to cover that for you.”
Jacob said the number of active churches in the alliance fluctuates as well.
“Right now, we’re probably at a low because we lost the pastor from First Assembly, the pastor from First Christian, the pastor from South Church of God,” he said. “All those churches lost the pastor, and either they don’t have a new pastor yet or the new pastor hasn’t found the alliance yet. Right now, about 10 to 12.”
The money used by the alliance comes from the churches themselves, according to Jacob.
“Whenever we do a project together, we ask the churches to kick into that project,” he said. “A big project every year is the bibles. We spend about $1,500 on bibles. We just ask the churches if they will support this.”
Jacob said in the past, much of the alliance’s end of the year balance depended on an offering taken during the Thanksgiving service. That has changed in his time on the board.
“We hoped that the Thanksgiving offering, that’s the only public offering that we take is at the service, would be $500 or $600 so that we’d have $500 or $600 left in the bank at the end of the year,” he said. “After it gets colder, more people take advantage of the hotel room services because they’re not sleeping in the parks or in their vehicles because it’s just too cold. The thing that’s been exciting for me is churches catching a vision for what we’re doing together and just voluntarily giving offerings to the Ministerial Alliance. We’ll close at this year with about $2,800, $2,900. It’s been exciting to see that.”
Something the alliance started last year is a tour of churches in the group. That will continue this Sunday.
“Rex Petty, the pastor from Faith Tabernacle, thought with OTLR doing the tour of homes, why not have a tour of churches as well?” Jacob said. “As they’re traveling around to the homes and seeing the way they’re decorated for the holidays, why not let them see our churches?”
Jacob said the tour gives people a chance to educate themselves about different denominations, churches and traditions.
“Last year, we had a group of 12 churches that said we’ll have somebody there to open our doors, let you tour our facility, look at our decorations,” he said. “We’ll have some light cookies, punch for you when you come. We were really surprised.”
More than 100 people toured FSBC alone during last year’s tour.
“I was pretty pleased with that and pretty amazed,” Jacob said. “It really is a good chance to kind of reach across the aisle, take another hand.”
The tour of churches will take place from 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday.
“Unlike the tour of homes, there’s no tickets,” Jacob said. “You don’t pay anything. You can just tour the churches.”