The Rev. Larry Baker, president of the association, said the idea for an emergency fund rose out of the September floods that devastated parts of Cherokee County. At $52 million in damage, it was the worst natural disaster the county has seen.
"It would be good if each church could make a contribution," Baker, pastor of Prayer & Praise Christian Fellowship in Woodstock, said about the new fund. The association, he said, would not dictate any figure for a church to contribute. "We need to have a designated fund as things pop up as they do from time to time."
Woodstock Christian Church Pastor Lynn Eynon, treasurer for the association, said this is an area where the association can be more proactive.
"We can pray and we can talk, but without funds, we are not able to do real things," he said, adding that the money raised by the association's membership fees do not go very far.
The association kicked off 2010 this week with its monthly meeting conducted the first Wednesday of every month at Dayspring Church in southwest Cherokee. Baker and Eynon were re-elected for second one-year terms, as were Secretary Marya Wroten, a member of Daypring, and Vice President the Rev. Fred Goodwin, pastor of Church of the Messiah in Hickory Flat.
The association also is trying to grow its numbers this year. A goal for 2010 is to double the membership from 25 to 50.
Mrs. Wroten said the group tries to grow through word of mouth and by inviting church leaders to its monthly meetings, which include lunch and guest speakers.
"All we want to do is help in our community," she said. "The more churches that are involved, the more we can do."
Other goals for the year, according to Baker, include encouraging local pastors through personal contacts, e-mails and phone calls; inviting local pastors to participate in the Billy Graham crusade at the Georgia Dome in April; and continuing to support ministries such as Give Kids A Chance, the Hope Center, Bethany Place and the National Day of Prayer.
The association also is planning a mission trip to Haiti to conduct evangelistic and leadership seminars for Haitian pastors. The group has been backing a mission in Haiti since 2005, where more than 100 Haitian pastors and laypeople are being discipled by Pastor Jean Paul.
Baker said one of the successes the association had last year was starting a discipleship program. He said some churches have implemented the program, which includes taking disciples through a workbook of lessons so they can be a disciple of their faith.