Bradley Baptist big in all mission work
by GREG KAYLOR, Banner Staff Writer
Jan 03, 2013 | 811 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
BRADLEY BAPTIST ASSOCIATION is a resource for more than 50 Bradley County churches. It is located at 2707 North Ocoee St. Banner photo, GREG KAYLOR
BRADLEY BAPTIST ASSOCIATION is a resource for more than 50 Bradley County churches. It is located at 2707 North Ocoee St. Banner photo, GREG KAYLOR
Bradley Baptist Association has been a fixture in Cleveland since the 1940s. An active membership in the association keeps not only Bradley County projects going, but missions in other parts of the country and world.

Ocoee Baptist Association was a group of churches which joined the Tennessee Baptist Association in 1874, according to historical accounts of North Cleveland Baptist Church.

Bradley Baptists supported Ocoee until 1850. Then, during a meeting in 1947, officials decided to look at growth and whether the area churches of Hamilton, Bradley, Meigs and Polk counties would be better served with a new association.

In 1949, BBA was organized, according to the North Cleveland history.

Twenty-nine churches have now grown to 58 Southern Baptist Conventions in the BBA.

“Our mission is to encourage, equip and empower the cooperating Southern Baptist Churches in the Bradley County area to fulfill their ‘Great Commission’ vision locally and globally, by providing resources and opportunities to be on-mission with God,” said Randy Bonner, director of Church and Community Ministries for BBA.

“There are 58 churches that make up the Bradley Baptist Association. God has blessed us with an incredible network of churches and volunteers,” he added.

Phil Taylor has served as director of missions for the past 13 years for BBA.

BBA has more than 2,000 volunteers who perform a number of services and duties.

Bonner explained some of the programs and ministries of BBA volunteers.

“By using the primary tool of home repair, Ocoee Outreach has completed more than 200 home repair projects over the past 2 years that have included new roofs, wheelchair ramps, ceiling/floor repair, painting and more. Approximately 1,500 volunteers are mobilized each summer through Ocoee Outreach,” he said.

“By helping our community partner together Project Helping Hands offers hope through assistance and the love of Jesus. In the last three years Project Helping Hands has assisted more than 850 families and more than 2,200 individuals in need with food for Thanksgiving week, Christmas week and Christmas gifts for Children,” Bonner noted.

Another local effort which has helped Bradley County during the past two years has been the Disaster Relief team.

“We led the way in local tornado cleanup work in 2011, and we have mobilized five Disaster Relief teams to New York to respond to Hurricane Sandy (Mass Feeding and Shower/Laundry Unit),” Bonner said.

“Since the tornadoes of April, 2011, our Baptist Builders have provided more than 20 home rehabilitation projects and three new home builds for families that were victims of the storms. We have worked alongside Long Term Recovery Organization and Habitat of Bradley County.

Volunteer coordinators help with the projects.

The teams respond where needed, working with other agencies which have also been dispatched for aid.

BBA also has missionaries throughout the world.

“BBA Global mission efforts have included disaster relief work in response the tsunami in Sri Lanka, the earthquake in Haiti and mission work in various countries such as Ecaudor, Mexico, Peru and Nepal,” Bonner said.

Other programs include the Christian Women’s Job Corps, The Vita Tax Ministry, Language Ministry, Jail Ministry, Jobs Ministry, Youth Ministers and conferences and workshops which provide leadership training to pastors and church leaders.

“We are all about sharing the message of hope through Jesus Christ with our local community,” Bonner said.