What We Do: Not Just Drinking Coffee
When my daughter was about 3 or 4 years old, a few years after I had begun at UBA, someone asked her what her Daddy did. "Oh," she says, "my Daddy is a Chaplain. He works in a hospital. When people are sick, he prays for them and helps them feel better." "Oh, that's fine," the person responded. Then came the follow-up question, "And what does your Mom do?" A brief pause. "Oh," my daughter says, rather nonchalantly, "Mom goes to work and drinks coffee."
Dian R. Kidd, UBA Associate Director (email Dian)
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She's not the only one I've encountered over the years who's confused, unclear, or just flat out misinformed about what the associational staff does. One day I found myself on the listening end of a phone call with a very exasperated woman who could not understand why I could not just drive down to her church and fix her pastor. Finally, after I had declined her suggestions of a number of fairly untenable and definitely un-Baptist actions that I might consider, she said somewhat impatiently, "Well, just what is it that you do do up there all day?"
A good question. Just what do we do all day? If you'd like a clearer picture of how your associational staff serves our churches, our city, and communities throughout the world, read on. And, I say "your associational staff" intentionally because we are employed by the churches. Over 85% of our budget comes directly from gifts from member churches - those who include us monthly in their budget and those who include us in special offerings such as a World Missions Offering or a Love Offering.
If you could follow in our steps on any given day, evening, or weekend, you might find one of us visiting with the Russian pastor planting churches in the Houston area; another meeting with a young intern on leadership issues or training a new volunteer in community research techniques; a third at an early morning prayer gathering for pastors; and one with a group of Hispanic women planning the next sessions of Líderes Transformadores Mujeres.
You'd see us meet with the young pastor serving in the inner city who is reaching and discipling youth influenced by the hip-hop culture; with the African-American pastor who is planting a church on the north side of town; with the Cambodian pastor who's trying to re-vision and re-structure his congregation; with the Hispanic pastor who's looking for a place for his church to meet for worship; with the Chinese pastor who's celebrating the constitution of her new church; and occasionally with the pastor whose needs a referral for some legal advice or the one who feels burned out and needs a listening ear.
On the road with us, you might drive with a couple of the consultants to Huntsville to the prison to meet with the prisoners scheduled for release soon and planning to start a house church; or travel to several Hunger Ministry sites located in churches throughout the city. You might drive around the city researching changes in the community and noting the locations of the new mosques going up. You could sign up for a City Tour (view video) to visit mosques, Hindu temples, and Buddhist prayer gardens or hop on a bus for a Red Flag Tour to view and pray over potential human trafficking sites (link to anti-trafficking resources) right here in our own city.
If you could fly with us, you'd accompany our staff to places like England, Brazil, Colombia, Japan, Russia, Morroco, Egypt, West Africa, and the Ukraine as we use both English and Spanish (sometimes with translators to yet a third language) to teach in church planting schools, provide leadership development seminars, lead mission trips, and sharpen our own skills, such as the time that one consultant spent several days in very primitive conditions in Africa as she learned about oral Bible storying (link to orality resources) or another led a group from a Spanish-speaking UBA church on a mission trip to Morroco.
Church planting, leadership development, hispanic ministries (en español), church health, discipleship, and discovering effective ways to reach unreached people segments - these are the things that we are about at UBA.
And while both the coffee and the laughter flow freely here in the UBA Offices, we are, indeed, daily about the serious work of the Kingdom, partnering with God to mobilize churches to take on lostness. To read more about our daily activities and initiatives, check out our "UBA In Action" page or come by to visit with one of our staff.