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The Open Door


I would like to take the opportunity of this article to express appreciation to Jim Maran, president and CEO of the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce, and Kerry Armstrong, chairman of the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce, for honoring the Georgia Baptist Convention as a leading non-profit in Gwinnett County.

The actual certificate presented says, “This certificate is awarded to the Georgia Baptist Convention in honor of being a 2009 Pinnacle Non-Profit Awards Finalist for staying power, organization growth, and significant contributions and economic impact to Gwinnett County and Georgia.” Printed along with this article is a copy of the letter that I received from Jim Maran and Kerry Armstrong. I like the fact that it refers to the Georgia Baptist Convention as, “one of the best of the best in 2009.” What an incredible compliment this is and especially impressive since it is coming from the county where our Convention is now located.

In Acts chapter 2, verse 47, we are reminded how important it is for the church to have a good reputation in its community. The latter part of that verse says that the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved. Our evangelistic and missions message will not ring true throughout the community if integrity, character, relationships, and good business practices do not exist in the church’s relationship with its community.

Though the Georgia Baptist Convention is involved in the greatest business in all the world, technically for the purpose of the Pinnacle Award, the Convention fell into the category of the “Pinnacle Small Business Awards.” We qualified in the 100 plus number of employees. In a front page article in “FOCUS,” a publication of the Gwinnett Chamber, it is stated, “If history is a guide, entrepreneurs are likely to be the heroes of this economic downturn by helping to lead America out of the current recession through their innovative products and services. By looking back and analyzing the economic statistics from prior recessions, one can determine that recovery often started with America’s small business and entrepreneurs.

“Every year Small Business Week honors the estimated 30 million small businesses in America, including Gwinnett’s own vibrant small business sector. Combined, these small businesses employ more than half the country’s private work force, create three out of every four jobs, and generate a majority of American innovations.

“In support of National Small Business Week, the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce and Presenting Sponsor Entaire Global Companies will honor Gwinnett’s top small businesses of the year at the Pinnacle Small Business Awards on April 24 at the Atlanta Marriott – Gwinnett Place.”

It was at this presentation that the Georgia Baptist Convention was recognized as a leading non-profit corporation in Gwinnett County and Georgia. We should all be honored that the local community recognizes the presence of the Georgia Baptist Convention as a good thing for the business and health of the local community and the state.

It has always been my desire to see the Convention relate strongly to the local community and build a positive reputation throughout the state. The fact that this also resides in the heart of Dr. Bucky Kennedy, president of our Convention, is the reason we will be going out into the community around Woodstock First Baptist Church in November to minister to city and county government schools and local residences in an effort to be a positive voice in the community and strengthen the local communities’ interest in the local church, and most importantly, in our message about Jesus Christ.

I take to heart the adage, “people do not care how much you know until they know how much you care.” It is my hope and prayer that every Georgia Baptist church will be devoted to having a strong and positive impact upon their local community. Whether any of us ever receive an award of recognition is not important. What is important is that we allow our light to so shine in the community that men may see our good works and glorify our Father in heaven!

I want to publicly thank Jim Maran, Kerry Armstrong, presenting sponsor Entaire Global Companies, and other sponsors including: Delta Credit Union, Moore Stephens Tiller, LLC, Gwinnett Business Journal, AT&T, Cisco, Gwinnett Medical Center, The Sign: Marketing and Sign Professionals, Stephen Gould Corporation, Brand Banking Company, Hi-Hope Service Center, and Next Star Communications.