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The value of a church-based RA program


Joe Westbury/Index

Mike Emeott checks RA vests bearing patches for completion of coursework and camp crafts. He says he has personally sewn many of the patches to the vests.

“Once an RA, always an RA,” maintains Mike Emeott as he thinks about the foundational precepts he learned beginning in the first grade.

Today, as executive pastor at First Baptist Church of Newnan, he works to instill those same virtues in young boys who cross his path.

Emeott grew up in Second Baptist Church in College Park and, in his mind’s eye, can still see the wood floors he walked across on Wednesday nights and the faces of the men who invested their time in his young life. He also says he can remember the RA pledge that he learned a full half-century ago.

The church long ago ceased to exist but what he learned lives with him today.

“I think it’s very important for our children to learn about our Southern Baptist missionaries. I know there are other good church programs out there but none focus specifically on our Southern Baptist missionaries like RAs does and that’s an important distinctive.

“I learned about the sacrifices Annie Armstrong and Lottie Moon made in responding to God’s call on their life. I learned about the hardships they encountered to further the gospel. And I learned that I have a similar responsibility to respond to that call, whatever form it may take.”