April 2011

Fed up with Hollywood, churches make own films

April 13 2011 by Kim Lawton, Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly

YORBA LINDA, Calif. — This year’s Oscars may have been passed out, but for some churches across the country the major motion picture season is just getting started. Frustrated with the movies Hollywood has been releasing, more and more congregations are making their own feature films.

One is Friends Church here in Yorba Linda, a Quaker congregation with an evangelical megachurch worship style where members are finishing production on a film called “Not Today.”

“I still hear people say it in the church, ‘What are we doing? We’re making a movie? What are you talking about?’“ Jon Van Dyke, Friends Church’s media director, told the PBS show “Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly.”

Van Dyke is director of “Not Today,” which tells the story of a spoiled young American who goes on a partying trip to India and gets pulled into the search for a little girl sold to human traffickers. The film was partly shot in India and centers around Dalits, the so-called “untouchables” on the lowest rung of the traditional caste system. Friends Church connected with Dalits during mission trips.

“I had never heard of the Dalits until I went to India,” said Brent Martz, producer of “Not Today” and pastor of creative ministries at Friends Church.

Friends Church committed to help free Dalits who had been trafficked and to build 200 schools for Dalit children. And, because the congregation is in the backyard of Hollywood, members decided to make a movie as well.

“It wasn’t just to make a movie, because we’re not in the movie business; we’re a church,” said Matthew Cork, the congregation’s lead pastor. “But as a church, we do have an obligation and a responsibility to tell the message, and we believe that this was the best way for us.”

Some experts question whether this is something local churches should be doing.

RNS photo courtesy of Sony Entertainment

Frustrated with Hollywood’s fare, churches are making their own films, such as “The Grace Card,” which was made by Calvary Church in Memphis.

“I guess I have an outdated notion that churches are there to inspire parishioners to then go and do things, in whatever genre, whether it’s politics, or media or whatever,” said Mark Joseph, a film producer with the MJM Entertainment Group who writes about religion and pop culture.

“I’m not sure about church as film studio or church as commercial enterprise,” he said. “But that’s, I think, the danger down this path.”

The church filmmaking trend began at Sherwood Baptist in Albany, Ga., where associate pastors and brothers Alex and Stephen Kendrick have released three feature films since 2003. They are finishing the fourth one, “Courageous,” about policemen struggling to be good fathers.

In Sherwood films, volunteer church members make up nearly all the cast and crew and do everything from catering to building sets. Sherwood teamed with Provident Films, a division of Sony, and found a very receptive audience. Their third film, “Fireproof,” starring Kirk Cameron, was made on a $500,000 budget, and it took in more than $33 million at the box office, making it the highest-grossing independent film of 2008.

Sherwood films have a specific message, and making their own movies allows them to express it. The films have an overtly Christian tone, and the upcoming “Courageous” continues that.

Sherwood’s efforts have inspired other congregations.

“You’ve got these church media directors and their pastors going, ‘Hey, why can’t we do that?”’ Joseph said.

At Calvary Church of the Nazarene in Cordova, Tenn., optometrist David Evans wrote and directed the church’s annual passion play for 15 years. He says after watching “Fireproof,” he came away believing Calvary should make a film too.

“I realized that God had been preparing us for the last 15 years to do something far greater than we could ever imagine, and that’s what set off the course of actions for me to begin writing the basic story of ‘The Grace Card,’” he said.

“The Grace Card, which Evans also directed, is a story about forgiveness and racial reconciliation. Although many in the cast are Calvary Church members, the film stars Academy Award winner Louis Gossett Jr., and it has several Hollywood partners, including Samuel Goldwyn Films.

“We want, number one, for God to be glorified through this movie,” Evans said. “We want to plant seeds that result in people demonstrating forgiveness and extending grace. That’s something we all need to do on a larger scale.”

At Friends Church, filmmakers said they tried to incorporate their characters’ faith into the story in a natural way.     

“This isn’t a Christian movie,” Martz said. “It’s a movie about human trafficking that happens to be (seen) through the experience of a couple of Christians who are really struggling to live a good Christian life.”

Friends Church intends to deliver Hollywood quality with “Not Today,” and they have an advantage over other churches. Director Van Dyke spent more than 22 years working in Hollywood and other church members are in the business as well.

He says it’s important the film, which the church hopes to release early next year, not be perceived as a “B” movie.

“Clearly, there’s tons of talent in the church, so why are we making crappy home movies? I mean ... Hollywood should be following us. They should be going, 'Wow, look what the church is doing.’”

(SPECIAL NOTE — Thank you for your continued support of the Biblical Recorder site. During this interim period while we are searching for a new Editor/President the comments section will be temporarily discontinued. Thank you for your understanding and patience in this. If you do have comments or issues with items we run, please contact dianna@biblicalrecorder.org or call 919-847-2127.) 

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4/13/2011 6:51:00 AM by Kim Lawton, Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly | with 0 comments

‘Grace Card’ wears its heart on its sleeve

April 13 2011 by Mike Scott, Religion News Service

“The Grace Card” is part of what appears to be a growing trend of ministry movies, films made by churches and released into theaters in a novel attempt to spread the word to mainstream audiences.

Almost by definition, though, the people who stand to benefit the most from the films’ positive messages are the first ones likely to turn up their nose at them.

That’s true even if the movie in question is well made. It’s especially true when, as with “The Grace Card,” the movie is dragged down by earnest but amateurish performances and an overall “Afterschool Special” vibe. The film was made by Calvary Church in Memphis, Tenn.

“The Grace Card” gets points for its positivity and love-thy-brother message. The story centers on an angry Memphis police officer named Mac who, 17 years later, still is tortured by the death of his toddler son. The pain is threatening to tear apart what’s left of Mac’s family.

Mac is paired with a new patrol partner, a part-time preacher named Sam. Mac is none too pleased with this new arrangement — in addition to being generally angry, he’s also a racist sort. So he would probably have precious little patience for Sam even without all the patrol-car preaching. But this new relationship turns out to be a blessing in disguise when another family tragedy strikes.

“The Grace Card” is a movie that wears its heart on its sleeve. In addition to prominently featuring a Bible quote on its website, it offers a wealth of resources for ministries and Bible classes interested in using the film as a teaching tool. That also means, however, that it’s easy to see where the film is going long before it gets to its maudlin and preachy third act.

If Calvary Church measures its film’s success by reaching, and perhaps changing, at least one person, then maybe it will be a success. If it measures success on the entertainment value of its film, however, that’s another story altogether.

(EDITOR’S NOTE — Scott writes for The Times-Picayune in New Orleans.) 

(SPECIAL NOTE — Thank you for your continued support of the Biblical Recorder site. During this interim period while we are searching for a new Editor/President the comments section will be temporarily discontinued. Thank you for your understanding and patience in this. If you do have comments or issues with items we run, please contact dianna@biblicalrecorder.org or call 919-847-2127.) 

Related stories
Fed up with Hollywood, churches make own films
'Soul Surfer' rides wave of 'real' Christian films
4/13/2011 6:50:00 AM by Mike Scott, Religion News Service | with 0 comments

Child sex trafficking is growing, even in U.S.

April 13 2011 by Amanda Kate Winkelman, Baptist Press

WASHINGTON — Commercial sexual exploitation remains a major problem among the young in the United States, with an estimated 100,000 U.S. children trafficked annually, experts say.

“The majority of the victims that we’re finding who are child sex-trafficking victims are U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents,” said Sarah Vardaman, senior director of Shared Hope International.

Vardaman’s comment came at a live webcast hosted by Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council in Washington, D.C. The event focused on the reasons minors and young adults are sexually exploited in the U.S. in such great numbers.

“The sexual entertainment and the sexualization of our culture is encouraging a growing number of people who are demanding these services. And so, if we want to look at the factors of supply and demand, then we would say (the sex trafficking industry) is growing,” said Vardaman, whose organization seeks to rescue and restore women and children victimized by trafficking.

The sexual entertainment industry is booming because of greater access to pornography through technology. People are becoming desensitized to what the sex industry offers, Perkins said.

Pat Trueman, chief executive officer of Morality in Media, said the porn industry is a $12-$13 billion industry.

Morality in Media, which published a report in February, “Links Between Pornography and Sex Trafficking,” created a letter to Congress explaining the harm of pornography and asking Attorney General Eric Holder to enforce obscenity laws.

“There is as much money going under the table as there is above the table,” Trueman said. “So this is an industry that some of it’s organized crime, some of it’s involved in money laundering (and) trafficking.”

The March webcast — titled “Sex Trafficking in America: From the Boulevard to Planned Parenthood” — featured two video clips that gave viewers a look into the sex trafficking industry. One of the clips was Live Action’s recent undercover video of a New Jersey Planned Parenthood manager giving advice to actors pretending to exploit young girls from foreign countries. The clinic manager tells the “pimp” to lie to get discounts and instructs him on ways he can continue to exploit the girls for money after they have abortions.

Another video, filmed in a major East Coast city, showed a man on the street letting another man name the price of the youngest girl he had — a 14 year old. Such exploitation of young teens can be found frequently in any city, Vardaman said. People are selling children for sex, and people are buying, she said.

Organizations are helping children and women get out of the industry and informing the Justice Department of the slavery occurring in America. The key is partnerships, said Lisa Thompson, the Salvation Army’s liaison for the abolition of sexual trafficking. Thompson works with more than 30 different religious groups to create organized partnerships to stop sex exploitation.

“A lot of our effort is aimed at services at the grassroots level to actual victims, to outreach in the community, to advocacy and awareness, and education efforts,” Thompson said.

Thompson cited the efforts of the Salvation Army in Chicago with the group Partnership to Rescue our Minors from Sexual Exploitation (PROMISE), alongside Faith Alliance Against Slavery and Trafficking (FAAST), a Christian alliance working to eliminate human trafficking and help survivors. Other organizations — including SAGE, Veronica’s Voice and Breaking Free — help adult women trapped in the industry.

“Unfortunately, I think there is a real disconnect for people to understand that children who are trafficked into prostitution grow up to be adult women in prostitution,” Thompson said. “And so many of our services that have developed have focused on providing care and services to the minors, which that’s very good and well needed. We need to do that. But for those that we miss, they will continue in that (trajectory) of continuing in prostitution.”

Thompson believes the problem will continue, because people have desensitized themselves to sexual explicitness.

“We have accepted pornography; we have accepted the sexual objectification of women. And this is conditioning girls to look at themselves as sex objects and to think the sex industry doesn’t pose any threat or harm to them,” Thompson said.

The March 15 webcast guests also included Robert Flores, former administrator of the Department of Justice’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention; Lila Rose, president of the pro-life activist organization Live Action, and Tina Frundt, director of a help home for trafficking victims.

The webcast and downloadable audio can be found online at www.frc.org/traffic. More information on battling the exploitation of children in the U.S. can be found at www.missingkids.com.

(EDITOR’S NOTE — Winkelman is an intern with the Washington bureau of Baptist Press.) 

(SPECIAL NOTE — Thank you for your continued support of the Biblical Recorder site. During this interim period while we are searching for a new Editor/President the comments section will be temporarily discontinued. Thank you for your understanding and patience in this. If you do have comments or issues with items we run, please contact dianna@biblicalrecorder.org or call 919-847-2127.) 
4/13/2011 6:40:00 AM by Amanda Kate Winkelman, Baptist Press | with 0 comments

Former Chowan president Jerry Jackson dies

April 12 2011 by Chowan University

MURFREESBORO — Jerry F. Jackson of Shelby, Chowan’s president from 1989 to 1995, died April 2 at Mecklenburg Healthcare Center in Charlotte after a lengthy illness.

Jackson is survived by his wife Carolyn Grace Laughlin and their two children, Jami and West, and two grandchildren.

The 20th president of then-Chowan College, Jerry Francis Jackson was born in Clinton on Oct. 1, 1938. Attending Mars Hill College, Jackson received his A.A. in 1958 and his B.A. degree in 1960, and in 1961, Jackson earned his M.S. degree from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, Ill. In 1988, he earned a Doctorate in Education from the University of South Carolina, with additional postgraduate studies at East Carolina University, N.C. State University and the University of Cincinnati.

Jackson has had a distinguished career blending his love for education with his strong faith. As a faculty member in history and political science at Campbell University in Buies Creek, Jackson advanced to assistant to the academic dean and to dean of students and director of admissions. Jackson also served as director of development with Sampson Technical College in Clinton before moving on to become vice president of advancement at Wingate University and later, vice president for development with the Foreign Mission Board (now International Mission Board) of the Southern Baptist Convention in Richmond, Va. In 1989, Jackson was named president of Chowan College.

“The Chowan family mourns with the Jacksons. We are indeed grateful for his past leadership,” said current Chowan University President Chris White of his personal friend and professional colleague for many years. “Through his leadership, Chowan returned to four-year status and significant property was acquired to house the Jenkins Center and now Reed Hall.”

Perhaps the most important decision of Jackson’s six-year tenure at Chowan was the formal transition from a junior college awarding associates degrees to a four-year senior college eligible to award baccalaureate degrees, which was voted into approval by the Trustees in 1990.

Expansion also marked Jackson’s presidential tenure through the acquisition of additional acreage for athletics surrounding the Helms Center on Union Street and the purchase of what now houses the Jenkins Wellness Center and the new Reed Hall on Lakewood Drive. Jackson also increased the number of female trustees on Chowan’s Board, and Elaine Myers of Ahoskie became the first woman to serve as Chowan’s Chair of the Trustees under Jackson’s presidency in 1994.

Also hallmarking his tenure, Jackson began the Ambassadors program to highlight campus student leaders who excelled academically to host special activities and campus events as a way to set the tone for moral values and spiritual life on campus. Jackson strove to emphasis the importance of Chowan’s quality of student life and student retention and development of academic support services, even going so far as to travel the roads himself to visit students, schools, and guidance counselors.

In 1991, a scholarship was established in honor of Carolyn Jackson’s parents, the James Marion and Grace G. Laughlin Scholarship, and all gifts to Chowan University to honor the passing of Jerry Jackson can go to support this endowment.

(SPECIAL NOTE — Thank you for your continued support of the Biblical Recorder site. During this interim period while we are searching for a new Editor/President the comments section will be temporarily discontinued. Thank you for your understanding and patience in this. If you do have comments or issues with items we run, please contact dianna@biblicalrecorder.org or call 919-847-2127.) 
4/12/2011 10:12:00 AM by Chowan University | with 0 comments

SBC leaders issue Annie Offering challenge

April 12 2011 by Mickey Noah, Baptist Press

ALPHARETTA, Ga. — Easter Sunday 2011 comes later this year — on April 24 — than any other Easter since 1943. The next time Easter falls so late will be on April 25, 2038.

Beyond the ancient tradition linking Easter to the spring equinox, the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering is always vital to the North American Mission Board’s (NAMB) never-ending work of sharing the gospel throughout the United States and Canada.

Photo by Adam Miller

Jan Vezikov in Boston is only one of hundreds of North American Mission Board missionary church planters starting new churches across North America, supported by the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering. Vezikov moved to Boston in July 2009 to reach fellow Russian speakers and has since caught a vision for reaching young professionals and intellectuals through three churches: Mosaic Boston, Grace Church Boston, and Russian Church Boston.

Some 5,000 Southern Baptist missionaries in the United States and Canada count on support from the offering’s 2011 goal of $70 million.

“As Christ-followers, we should have a consuming passion to reach our homeland for Jesus Christ,” said Ronnie Floyd, senior pastor of Cross Church in Springdale, Ark.

“With 233 million lost people in the United States and 258 million lost people in all of North America, we need to give financially to further the work of Christ, penetrating the darkness of lostness.

“With the exciting new commitment of the Southern Baptist Convention toward church planting, we need to increase our funding of the Annie Armstrong Offering for North American Missions,” Floyd said.

Kevin Ezell, president of the North American Mission Board, said more than half of NAMB’s budget comes from the annual Annie Armstrong Easter Offering.

“We are very dependent on this offering,” Ezell said. “As Annie Armstrong goes, so goes the opportunities NAMB has to support missionaries.”

Ezell said during his first three months as president of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) mission entity, he and other NAMB leaders worked to eliminate everything possible to get more money in the field for missionaries.

“We downsized our staff by 36 percent. We decreased the travel budget by 50 percent. We deleted millions of dollars in other expenses so that in 2012, we’ll have $15 million more than ever before for church planters,” Ezell said.

“Hopefully, churches will respond to Annie this year — knowing that NAMB will be a good steward of their money, ensuring that it goes directly into the hands of church planters and our missionaries.”

Gifts to Annie so far this year have been encouraging, Ezell said, but it’s far too early to celebrate.

“The offering has been down for several years,” he noted, “and we need a good year in order to meet the needs.”

Bryant Wright, president of the SBC, said the church he leads is giving the largest Annie Armstrong Offering in its history.

“We so believe in what NAMB is doing in church planting,” said Wright, senior pastor of Johnson Ferry Baptist Church in Marietta, Ga. “I want to challenge pastors from churches across our convention. Knowing how important the Annie Armstrong Offering is and with Easter fast approaching, I ask pastors to pray about how to challenge their church. We hope to have thousands more churches throughout the Southern Baptist Convention to give more to Annie this year and be great lighthouses for Christ.”

(EDITOR’S NOTE — Noah writes for the North American Mission Board. For more information about the Annie Armstrong Offering for North American Missions, go to www.anniearmstrong.com.)

(SPECIAL NOTE — Thank you for your continued support of the Biblical Recorder site. During this interim period while we are searching for a new Editor/President the comments section will be temporarily discontinued. Thank you for your understanding and patience in this. If you do have comments or issues with items we run, please contact dianna@biblicalrecorder.org or call 919-847-2127.) 
4/12/2011 10:07:00 AM by Mickey Noah, Baptist Press | with 0 comments

China arrests nearly 200 Christians

April 12 2011 by Baptist Press

BEIJING — China’s abuse of religious freedom, which often takes place behind the scenes, was on display for the entire world April 10 when approximately 200 members of an unregistered Protestant church were arrested and placed on a bus during broad daylight in Beijing, the nation’s capital.

It was one of the largest crackdowns on an unregistered church in years, with upwards of 1,000 police involved.

The scene, recorded on a BBC video and reported by newspapers such as The New York Times and The Toronto Star, took place as members of Shouwang Church attempted to meet in an outdoor public plaza. The congregation had lost its indoor facility and had used the Internet to advertise the outdoor church meeting.

At least 169 church members were arrested, ChinaAid reported, and most of them had been freed by the next day, although the pastor and his wife and another woman were still in police custody. But that does not mean the other church members are free to worship again. ChinaAid, which monitors human rights abuses in the country, said surveillance vehicles “remained outside the apartment buildings of many Shouwang members” and that “their freedom of movement” likely “will remain restricted for some time to come.”

For a church to be legal in China, it must register with the government. Churches not registered can face restrictions on growth and evangelism. The underground church movement is far larger than the registered church membership.

The Shouwang Church members were scheduled to gather at 8:30 a.m. Sunday, but some were seized as they left their homes and others arrested when they arrived off the subway at the plaza, located in the Zhongguangcun commercial area of Beijing. Police had surrounded the plaza. Most members were put on buses and taken to an elementary school, while others were taken to a police station. The Christians “sang hymns and worshipped” while in detention, ChinaAid reported.

“Police interrogated the detainees, took down their names and other personal details, fingerprinted them and ordered some to write statements of repentance and personal guarantees,” ChinaAid said. “Many refused and were not released until well after midnight.”

Undeterred, the members who eluded arrest gathered in smaller groups at other locations and — with the worship order sheet in hand — proceeded to hold smaller-scale services. One group met at a Kentucky Fried Chicken, where police found the members and broke up the service, ChinaAid said.

“A tweet from a church member described the police as behaving ‘like wolves and tigers,’” ChinaAid said.

The government took the church’s website down and apparently also shut down cell phone coverage in the area hoping to “keep news of the crackdown from getting out,” ChinaAid reported.

Some of the church’s leaders were put under house arrest beginning the Saturday night before the meeting.

The church’s pastor, Jin Tianming, had warned the congregation the previous week that they might face resistance at the public meeting, The New York Times reported. “At this time, the challenges we face are massive,” he said in his sermon at the time. “For everything that we have faced, we offer our thanks to God. Compared with what You faced on the cross, what we face now is truly insignificant.”

It isn’t the government’s first confrontation with the church, The Times said. In 2008, China forced the church out of a rented facility. The church then paid for a floor in an office building but the building’s owner — “under pressure from the authorities” — never gave the church the keys, The Times reported. The church “had been meeting in a restaurant.”

In the days leading up to the meeting, the government apparently tried to pressure members not to attend the meeting.

“Shouwang church members were called in for talks by various authorities, including the local police, work supervisors, school leaders and neighborhood committees, who warned them not to participate in the outdoor meeting on Sunday,” ChinaAid said.

(EDITOR’S NOTE — Compiled by Michael Foust, associate editor of Baptist Press. Watch the video of the arrest on BBC’s China affiliate.)

(SPECIAL NOTE — Thank you for your continued support of the Biblical Recorder site. During this interim period while we are searching for a new Editor/President the comments section will be temporarily discontinued. Thank you for your understanding and patience in this. If you do have comments or issues with items we run, please contact dianna@biblicalrecorder.org or call 919-847-2127.) 
4/12/2011 10:04:00 AM by Baptist Press | with 0 comments

Missions event urges new perspective

April 11 2011 by Melissa Lilley, BSC Communications

With each passing day, time continues to tighten its grip on all aspects of life.

It seems these days the clock controls everything and people have more gadgets than they know what to do with to remind them of this fact. From wristwatches and alarm clocks to clocks on computers and cell phones, clocks are everywhere.

BSC photo by Mike Creswell

Anne Graham Lotz encourages North Carolina Baptists to live aware of the needs around them. See photo gallery.

“Every moment of my day is mapped and planned out. I live by the clock,” Anne Graham Lotz said to those gathered at Calvary Baptist Church for the North Carolina Baptist Missions Conference. Lotz is founder of AnGel Ministries and daughter of Billy Graham.

But what happens when time is up? With each breath, every person on earth draws one day nearer to the day when his time on this earth will be up. When that day comes, every person on earth will stand before Jesus Christ. Are Christians living in light of that reality?

These are the questions Lotz pleaded with North Carolina Baptists to keep at the forefront of their minds. Lotz spoke about how many of the signs mentioned in scripture that signal the end of human history and Christ’s return seem to be not only evident in the world today, but are increasing in frequency and intensity. For example, one indication of a spiritual sign that signals Christ’s return is near is the persecution of believers. Last year 200 million Christians around the world were persecuted for their faith.

National and environmental signs are also mentioned in scripture. Lotz said more than 130 wars are going on in the world today, 10 of those considered major.

The last century saw more wars than all other centuries combined. Earthquakes and tsunamis and natural disasters are dominating the news.

Lotz believes the signs indicate Christ is returning soon. But regardless of whether or not people agree, the reality remains: Christ is still returning one day and everyone will stand before Him.

“One day, at any moment, could be my last,” Lotz said. “Live your life expecting to see Jesus any moment.”

Lotz said this means believers live in such a way that they are aware of the needs of those around them. Believers should work hard as unto the Lord, diligently and faithfully serving Him in the work in which He has called them.

“Your overarching purpose is to reveal the glory of God,” she said. “Watch for opportunities to tell someone about Jesus.”

BR photo by Dianna L. Cagle

North Carolina Baptist Men volunteers get lunches ready April 2 hungry participants of the annual Missions Conference April 1-2.

Lotz challenged the audience to live holy, blameless lives and to live in unity with one another. She asked believers to strive to make all they say and do a reflection of God’s love and glory.

Love God, Love Others
This year’s conference theme was “Love God, Love Others,” based on Mark 12:30-31. “First, we must love God. Then, we can love others,” said Richard Brunson, executive director-treasurer for North Carolina Baptist Men (NCBM). “You can’t love others if you don’t love God. If you love God, you’re going to want to love the things of God — which is other people.”

The April 1-2 conference featured worship led by the Annie Moses Band, break out sessions and testimonies from North Carolina Baptists about their involvement in missions through NCBM.

Testimonies came from people who served in places like Vermont, Ukraine, Kenya, Haiti, Cuba and South Africa. North Carolina Baptists also gave testimonies about their involvement in mission efforts such as Deep Impact, Operation Inasmuch and Disaster Relief.

Author David Nasser spoke during the plenary sessions as well as during the youth conference

Another keynote speaker was Gary Chapman, author and speaker about marriage and family. Chapman also serves as senior associate pastor at Calvary.

Chapman spoke about how believers can gain a new perspective on life when they commit to “love as a way of life.” Drawing on research from his book Love is a way of life, Chapman explained seven ways believers can commit to loving others.

Christians can show love by simply showing kindness — even when others do not initiate or reciprocate that kindness. Love is demonstrated when people are patient and accept the imperfections of others.

“Realize that impatience never changes reality,” Chapman said. Believers must be forgiving, doing unto others as Jesus Christ has done unto them. “If you hold a lot of anger inside it will come out,” Chapman said.

Chapman encouraged the audience to begin thinking of every person they meet as someone who is valued and loved by God, and to show courtesy and humility toward people.

“Life’s deepest meaning is found in relationships: with God and with others,” he said. “The most satisfied people are those who have invested in the lives of others.”

For more information about North Carolina Baptist Men ministries, visit www.baptistsonmission.org.

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(SPECIAL NOTE — Thank you for your continued support of the Biblical Recorder site. During this interim period while we are searching for a new Editor/President the comments section will be temporarily discontinued. Thank you for your understanding and patience in this. If you do have comments or issues with items we run, please contact dianna@biblicalrecorder.org or call 919-847-2127.) 
4/11/2011 10:16:00 AM by Melissa Lilley, BSC Communications | with 0 comments

North Carolina Baptists receive Heritage Awards

April 11 2011 by N.C. Baptist Foundation

The 11th annual Baptist Heritage Awards in Greensboro April 5 allowed 13 North Carolina Baptist entities to recognize people who’ve helped contribute to making that entity better.

Baptist Children’s Homes of North Carolina (BCH) honored Raymond Blevins.

Blevins, a lifelong resident of Wilkes County, is a member of First Baptist Church of North Wilkesboro where he has held every major office. He is not only devoted to his church and the Brushy Mountain Association, but he also has a heart for the children and families served by the BCH. He is a long-time supporter and has visited virtually every campus and location. His devotion, along with his wife Marie, includes financial support and his presence, hard work and encouragement.

It is not unusual to see Raymond arrive on one of the campuses bringing donations he has collected. As ministry has expanded, so has his support.

His passionate love is expressed especially in our newest program, the North Carolina Baptist Aging Ministry (NCBAM).

In addition to devotion he is a person of great humility. The Bible says that “humility comes before honor” (Prov. 15:33) and Blevins embodies that verse, because he felt he was undeserving of the honor bestowed on him. This man chooses to focus attention on others rather than having attention focused upon himself. Baptist Children’s Homes is the beneficiary of Raymond’s passion, generosity and devotion.

The Baptist State Convention of North Carolina (BSC) honored Milum O. “M.O.” Owens Jr.

In 1944, Owens came to North Carolina to pastor churches and now, at age 97, has yet to stop.

Owens, born in Aiken County, S.C., first sensed God calling him to preach a few years after he graduated from Furman University. He then went to study at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and upon graduation became pastor of First Baptist Church in Myrtle Beach, S.C. From there he served one year at a church in Florida and then moved to North Carolina to pastor First Baptist Church in Marion.

Owens served in Marion about 10 years before becoming pastor of First Baptist Church in Lenoir. In 1960, Owens moved to Gastonia, where he still lives today. He pastored East Baptist Church several years before founding Parkwood Baptist. Although retired as pastor, Owens still preaches every Sunday morning at Parkwood. The church has three worship services, and Owens preaches during the traditional service.

From serving on the Board of Directors to serving on committees, Owens has served the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina in numerous ways. He was president of the pastor’s conference twice and spent a year in Belgium as a missionary sent by the Convention.

Owens was instrumental in the process of buying property for the N.C. Baptist Assembly at Fort Caswell and Fruitland Baptist Bible Institute. He also taught at Fruitland for a number of years.

On the national level, Owens served with the Baptist Sunday School Board (now LifeWay Christian Resources), Home Mission Board (now North American Mission Board) and Education Commission (discontinued in 1997).

Owens and his wife Margaret have three daughters.

The Biblical Recorder honored William “Bill” H. Flowe Jr. of Greensboro for his strong support of the Recorder and for his exceptional leadership as a member of the Board of Directors.

Flowe is an attorney who has practiced in Liberty as a sole practitioner since 1979. He graduated from Wake Forest University in 1973 and Wake Forest University School of Law in 1976. He attends First Baptist Church of Liberty where he has served as a Sunday School teacher, deacon and trustee. He is married to Cheryl B. Flowe. They have two children, Meredith Flowe and Matthew Flowe.

Elected to the Board of Directors of the Biblical Recorder for the term of 2006 to 2010, he was vice chairman for the year 2009 and chairman for the year 2010. He believes the Biblical Recorder needs to be a strong voice for North Carolina Baptists, keeping them well informed on issues and focused on tasks that Baptists join together to accomplish.

Campbell University honored Ester H. Howard who has spent her life dedicated to education and young people. From her years as a classroom teacher, as supervisor of elementary education for Harnett County and as a life-long supporter of Campbell University, Howard has been an advocate for the enrichment that education can bring to one’s life.

A Campbell College graduate, Howard went on to obtain a bachelor’s degree from Meredith College and a master of education from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Her career as an educator spanned 43 years. In 1994, Howard was named a distinguished alumna of Campbell University. In 2010, she was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award from Campbell’s School of Education and her philanthropy has led to the establishment of three academic scholarships. Howard has received other honors as well. She was named Woman of Distinction by the Gamma Pi Chapter of Alpha Delta Kappa education sorority and holds life memberships in the Harnett County Friends of the Library, the North Carolina Association of School Administrators and the North Carolina Association of Education.

At Campbell University, she has served on the Trustee and Advisory boards, as president of the Harnett County Loyalty Campaign and Cape Fear Friends of the Fine Arts. She has received the Presidential Medallion for her contributions to Christian higher education. 

Chowan University honored R. Clayton Lewis. Born in 1930 in Green Sea, S.C., a progressive community in Horry County, Lewis attended high school at Carlisle Military School in Bamberg, S.C. Religion was his intended major when he was a freshman at Wake Forest but he later changed to history and education.

He did graduate work at East Carolina and UNC-Chapel Hill. Counting his two years in the U.S. Army, he had a 43-year career in education — 14 in public schools and 27 at Chowan. Lewis believes there are similarities between the work of educators and ministers. He’s integrated the Golden Rule, self-management and citizenship into his teaching.

Lewis fell in love with Chowan. He and his wife, Mary Alice, along with other faculty/staff and spouses contributed to campaigns for construction and renovations. He and his wife endowed four scholarships and continue to donate to the Lewis Student Development Trust Fund. Their son, Superior Court Judge Hugh Lewis, graduated from Chowan and has two sons.

The Lewises are active members of Myers Park Baptist Church.

Fruitland Baptist Bible Institute (FBBI) honored John Foulds Rymer, who lives in Hendersonville, for his years of service to Fruitland Baptist Bible Institute.

Rymer was born on October 25, 1928, in Irwin, Pa. After graduating high school in 1946, Rymer attended Bob Jones University where he completed a bachelor degree and master of divinity degree. He also completed graduate work for the doctor of ministry at Southeastern Seminary. Rymer holds an honorary doctorate from Fredericksburg Bible Institute in Fredericksburg, Va. 

Rymer served several churches in Henderson County. He was pastor at Mills River Baptist Church for five years. He was at Etowah Baptist Church for 30 years. He also pastored Shaws Creek Baptist Church. Rymer began teaching at FBBI in 1953. During his tenure as professor at FBBI, Rymer taught church history, English, minor prophets, theology and old testament. He became the academic vice-president in 1990 and served in the position until 1994. He was on the Board of Directors of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina and served eight terms as moderator of the Carolina Baptist Association. He and Velma have been married 55 years.  

Gardner-Webb University honored Frank Alberto Stewart.

Stewart was born in Barranquilla, Colombia. He was educated in American schools and moved to the United States in 1982 to pursue his college education. His career began with a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

He received his citizenship to the United States in 1992, and currently lives in Gastonia with his wife, Michelé. They have three sons, Philip Andrew, “Drew”; Frank Alexander, “Alex”; and Christian Paul. He and his family are active members of Bethlehem Church in Gastonia.

Stewart founded Ultra Machine & Fabrication in 1989. Over the last 21 years, the company has evolved into an accomplished precision contract manufacturer with several divisions.

Stewart’s leadership and commitment to excellence is carried over into the community, serving in various capacities including: Gardner-Webb University Trustee and President’s Advisory Board, First National Bank Advisory Board, Cleveland Community College Foundation Board of Directors, and formerly on the United Way of Cleveland County Board. Appointed by Governor Beverly E. Perdue, Stewart is currently serving his second term on the North Carolina Advisory Commission on Military Affairs.

Stewart received the Cleveland County Entrepreneur of the Year 2007, and Ultra was awarded the Cleveland County Chamber Small Business of the Year 2007. He received the Gold Eagle Award from the Boy Scouts of America in 2009. Most recently, Stewart received the 2010 Patriot Award, given by the ESGR for his support of the U.S. Guard and Reservists. Stewart is a lifetime, sustaining member of the Association of the United States Army (AUSA), and a member of the National Rifle Association (NRA).

Mars Hill College (MHC) honored Wayne Higgins, who does not limit his service to one cause, but rather provides leadership available to several denominational and civic organizations.

Since its inception, for example, he has been chair of the Mountain State Fair Ministry Team, an outreach of the Buncombe Baptist Association. Higgins’ goal is that fair workers and participants alike will see that “God doesn’t have any second-class citizens.” 

For his service through Mountain State Fair Ministries, Higgins was honored by the Buncombe Baptist Association at its Fall 2010 annual meeting. Higgins has held numerous positions within the association, including Brotherhood Director and Board Member of N.C. Baptist Men. He was also the first layperson to serve as the Association’s moderator. 

An active member of First Baptist Church in Weaverville, Higgins is involved with the church’s ministry at Craggy Prison, serves as chair of deacons, teaches Sunday School, and leads the Denominational Relations Committee. For several years, he was a board member and chair of Western Carolina Rescue Ministries.  Higgins is also committed to service beyond the region.  In 2002, he was inducted into the NC West District Optimist International Hall of Fame for his active participation.

Professionally, Wayne has enjoyed a career of integrity and leadership as senior vice president with Carolina Farm Credit in Asheville.

Seeking to give back to the alma mater that he says “changed his life,” Higgins became a member of the Board of Advisors for Mars Hill College in 1993. After five years on that board including service as chair, Higgins joined the MHC Board of Trustees in 1998. He has served numerous terms, including one as Board Chair. Higgins and his wife, Patty, also fund a scholarship for North Buncombe High School students attending Mars Hill.

The North Carolina Baptist Foundation honored Ted C. and Helen E. Stallings.

Through their series of charitable giving instruments, the Stallings have become the consummate planned givers. Their generosity includes perpetual support to benefit churches, youth ministries and the N.C. Baptist Foundation. The Stallings have been “unsung heroes” all their adult lives. Both are active members of Macedonia Baptist Church in Raleigh.

Following military service in the U.S. Navy during World War II, Ted operated a full-service gas station on Hillsborough Street in Raleigh. Helen had a 36-year career in the accounting and purchasing departments of Carolina Power and Light Company. In their 55 years of marriage, they “adopted” numerous college students and young people in their church as their own.

During recent difficult economic times, the Baptist Foundation had to cancel its annual Noel Inspiration Conference for lack of funds. Ted and Helen stepped up and volunteered to financially sponsor the event.

North Carolina Baptist Hospital honored Sam P.L. Hickerson.

The distinctive characteristic of Hickerson’s life is his steadfast love for God and his joy in sharing Christ’s love with those he serves.

Hickerson is widely recognized among the 13,000 employees at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center by the way he treats people with heart-felt compassion and respect, from distinguished physicians to indigent patients. As the manager of patron services, Hickerson is the “face” of the Medical Center, greeting and serving hundreds of patients and visitors every day.

For 29 years, Hickerson has demonstrated immense dedication. “Baptist Hospital is his ministry, the place where his purpose is fulfilled,” said his wife, Sylvia.

“Sam is an ambassador of good will, integrity and commitment. Observing him at work renews my faith in humanity and the promise of care that we make to our patients and visitors,” said Rachna Atwal, Hickerson’s department director. “I feel blessed to be given this opportunity to work with a legend.” Hickerson goes well beyond excellence in daily customer service. He sings in the Medical Center Chorale. He joyfully plays Santa Claus for the Medical Center’s Angel Tree ministry, annually serving scores of indigent patients and families. After delivering the gifts to each family’s home, Hickerson gathers them in a circle of prayer, thanking God for the abundance of Christ’s love.

In addition to his full time “ministry” at the Medical Center, Hickerson is the pastor of New Light Baptist Church in Winston-Salem. He has served New Light for 26 years, leading them to join the Pilot Mountain Baptist Association and the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina.

North Carolina Baptist Men (NCBM) honored Scott and Janet Daughtry.

Following their retirement, Scott and Janet approached NCBM about available mission opportunities. It began with a two-week trip to Sri Lanka in 2005 to assist with recovery efforts after the tsunami which then advanced to an additional eight-week stay as temporary on-site coordinators. Scott and Janet continued to volunteer in other countries such as Nicaragua, Honduras and Kenya. In December 2007 they led a team to Greece to help with cleanup after devastating fires. In 2008, they were instrumental in the recovery and rebuilding of 16 homes in Johnston County following a severe tornado there. They also served in New York, Montana and Mississippi.

Most recently, the Daughtrys left a Hawaiian mission site in order to serve in Haiti following the January 2010 earthquake. They have been instrumental in organizing and implementing a volunteer response strategy there which has created a structure that has provided medical treatment for 62,000 Haitians and temporary shelters for approximately 3,600 Haitians. 

They have two sons, two daughters and four grandchildren. Scott is a deacon and men’s ministry leader at Selma Baptist Church. Janet is active in the women’s ministry there. Janet is a basket maker and member of the craft guild at the N.C. State Fair, Village of Yesteryear.

Wake Forest University honored Jeanette Wallace Hyde.

Hyde was born and raised in Yadkinville and gives credit to Flat Rock Baptist Church and her father for instilling in her a strong commitment to the church, particularly the Baptist church. She readily and eloquently acknowledges that all of her life’s values, including her commitment to service, can be traced directly to Flat Rock Baptist Church.

Hyde served as the U.S. Ambassador to Barbados, Dominica, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and to Grenada, St. Kitts and Nevis and Antigua and Barbuda from 1994-1997.   Hyde served as a member of the Wake Forest University Board of Trustees for 12 years (1995 to 2007) and in 2008 she was elected a Life Trustee. Her philanthropic leadership for the university and its divinity school has resulted in numerous scholarships for students from all over the world.

Hyde has also served on the Boards of Directors of the following organizations: North Carolina Board of Transportation, the North Carolina Global Transpark, the North Carolina International Trade Commission, and the North Carolina Child Advocacy Institute. She is the recipient of numerous awards including: Citizen of the Year Award, 1998, International Visitors Council; Outstanding Women in Public Service, 1994, Wake County YMCA; United States Coast Guard presented her with the highest civilian award for Public Service for treaty work in drug trafficking in 1996; Civilian Service awards in 1997 from the U.S. Department of Defense, the FBI, and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency.

Woman’s Missionary Union of North Carolina honored Donice Harrod.

Harrod still has vivid memories of being a Sunbeam in Northside Baptist Church in Rock Hill, S.C., singing a Sunbeam song about “carrying the light to make the world bright.” Harrod grew up involved in all age level organizations of WMU, where the seeds were planted that grew into a life committed to missions. When she and her husband J.D. felt called to the mission field, they were appointed to Brazil. While there, she worked closely with Brazilian WMU and used her bachelor of science in music education degree to lead music in many churches as well as to be a seminary professor of music at Seminario Batista Equatorial.

After returning to the United States, Harrod continued to use her music ability in churches, associations, and statewide WMU events.

Harrod served on the Executive Board of WMU-NC for 15 consecutive years, serving as 2nd vice president, 1st vice president, and president for 4 years.

She has led prayer retreats, taught mission studies, and led in training sessions all across the state. In addition, she has held various offices in church, associational, and state WMU. Even this past year, she was still teaching the children in her church about missions and serving on the associational WMU leadership team.

Having been on mission trips to Brazil, Ukraine, South Africa, and Alaska while serving through WMU, Harrod says, “WMU continues to open opportunities for me to fulfill my calling to missions.”

(SPECIAL NOTE — Thank you for your continued support of the Biblical Recorder site. During this interim period while we are searching for a new Editor/President the comments section will be temporarily discontinued. Thank you for your understanding and patience in this. If you do have comments or issues with items we run, please contact dianna@biblicalrecorder.org or call 919-847-2127.) 
4/11/2011 8:53:00 AM by N.C. Baptist Foundation | with 0 comments

Committee announces Convention writing contest

April 11 2011 by BSC Communications

The Historical Committee of the Baptist State Convention (BSC) announces its annual writing competition that seeks to recognize and reward excellent historical publications.

North Carolina Baptists may submit entries in the following categories: church history; association history (includes agencies and institutions); and biography, autobiography, memoirs, and personal reflection.

In order to be eligible for the 2011 competition, entries must have been published in 2010 or 2011. To submit entries, mail two copies to: Baptist State Convention of North Carolina, Historical Committee, P.O. Box 1107, Cary, NC 27512-1107.

Deadline for submissions is June 30. Winners will be recognized at the Annual Meeting in Greensboro in November.

For more information contact Norma Jean Johnson at (800) 395-5102, ext. 5618, or njohnson@ncbaptist.org.

The Historical Committee seeks to encourage churches, associations, institutions and agencies affiliated with the BSC to preserve their historical documents, artifacts, correspondence and records.

All competition entries become the property of the Historical Committee and will be added to the North Carolina Baptist Historical Collection at Wake Forest University.

For more information about the collection, visit the Wake Forest University website here.

(SPECIAL NOTE — Thank you for your continued support of the Biblical Recorder site. During this interim period while we are searching for a new Editor/President the comments section will be temporarily discontinued. Thank you for your understanding and patience in this. If you do have comments or issues with items we run, please contact dianna@biblicalrecorder.org or call 919-847-2127.) 
4/11/2011 8:44:00 AM by BSC Communications | with 0 comments

Youth leader: Missions about who, where you are

April 8 2011 by Dianna L. Cagle, BR Assistant Managing Editor

“All the money in the world will leave you wanting,” said David Nasser to youth at a recent event.  

But students need to follow Jesus’ example of meeting needs, said Nasser, an author and speaker based in Alabama. Nasser was the main speaker April 2 at the Student Missions Conference at Calvary Baptist Church in Winston-Salem. He said a lot of church members “need Jesus plus something else to be satisfied.”  

The student event, which drew 210 students and leaders, coincided with the April 1-2 North Carolina Baptist Men’s Missions Conference, also at Calvary (see story, page 16). Using John 6:35 Nasser said that when Jesus claimed to be the “bread of life,” He was also laying claim to being the Messiah.  

“Jesus is basically saying I’m everything,” Nasser said.

People had followed Jesus because he had fed the 5,000 with a young boy’s lunch. He had also performed other miracles.

“This is real life,” Nasser said, emphasizing that the miracles Jesus performed were real. Basically, Nasser explained, there were almost 15,000 people who forgot to pack a lunch. “The greatest preacher of all time walks into an environment where there are hungry people and He feeds them,” Nasser said.  

“The next day … He confronts them with the truth.”  

Nasser said meeting that immediate need usually results in the question, “Why do you care?”  

This opens the door to share about Jesus.  

BR photo by Dianna L. Cagle

Youth get in a row boat and sing during Captain’s Coming at the April 2 Student Missions Conference at Calvary Baptist Church in Winston-Salem. The game was part of a class on Icebreakers for students to use in their youth group or on a mission trip. See photo gallery.

Worship for the youth conference was led by Giles Blankenship, minister of worship and college students at Snyder Memorial Baptist Church in Fayetteville.  

“I think it was very successful,” said Tom Beam, Baptist Men student missions and mobilization consultant. “We heard very positive comments.”  

Breakout sessions  

There were times for mission action conferences aimed at youth and their leaders. Students and leaders going with Deep Impact trips to Honduras and New York had to attend two training sessions to discuss travel arrangements as well as expectations and projects.  

Brandon Powell, minister of education and students at Cross Road Baptist Church in Asheboro, brought his group of 18 that will be going on the Honduras trip. Powell also led their training sessions as well as a couple of conferences on effective evangelism.  

Trips to Honduras and New York are overbooked said Beam. The cutoff is usually 100 people, but 104 are going to Honduras and 117 to New York.  

“The good thing is the relationship that the N.C. Baptists have with the locals is incredible,” said Powell, who also is state coordinator for student mobilization. Powell has worked with youth since 1998 and is amazed “to see the desire that the students have to be involved with something.”  

Powell said he tries to teach his youth that missions is not just who they are but where they are.

“It’s just so cool to see them realize, ‘Hey, I can do this,’” Powell said.  

Other sessions were taught on leading/participating in worship, planning a mission trip, human trafficking, icebreakers, evangelism, recognizing God’s gifts, etc. Powell said conferences where youth leaders could discuss what is and isn’t working are also helpful. At least two of the conferences were led by students.  

“If you have a student that is passionate about something and you can tell it’s important to them, it’s important to connect them with a ministry they can … take ownership of,” Powell said.  

Although this was the first time Baptist Men offered a youth conference with its annual meeting, Beam said it will not be the last. Next year’s event is slated April 14, 2012 in conjunction with the Baptist Men’s annual meeting again.  

Beam set aside time to recognize people for participating in Challengers, a ministry centered around missions for teen boys and girls. The recipients were from Faith Baptist Church in Salisbury and Liberty Baptist Church in Thomasville.

(SPECIAL NOTE — Thank you for your continued support of the Biblical Recorder site. During this interim period while we are searching for a new Editor/President the comments section will be temporarily discontinued. Thank you for your understanding and patience in this. If you do have comments or issues with items we run, please contact dianna@biblicalrecorder.org or call 919-847-2127.) 

Related story
Missions event urges new perspective
Baptist Men take search & rescue to ends of earth

4/8/2011 8:52:00 AM by Dianna L. Cagle, BR Assistant Managing Editor | with 0 comments

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