N.C. Baptists declare ‘Glory to God!’ during annual missions event
    April 25 2012 by Shawn Hendricks, BR Managing Editor

    Angie Yelverton remembers clearly the child that died in front of her eyes during a volunteer mission trip to Haiti last year.
    Yelverton, of Northside Baptist Church in Wilmington, N.C., could barely speak as she shared before a crowd of nearly 1,200 Baptists about the father who carried his daughter to a clinic right before the girl died of malnutrition and malaria as Yelverton watched helplessly. Yelverton had never been on a mission trip outside the United States before that trip.

    The experience she said, “changed [my] life.”
    “Today I’m looking at you through different eyes,” Yelverton said during the 37th Annual North Carolina Baptist Missions Conference – presented by N.C. Baptist Men – April 13-14 at Hickory Grove Baptist Church in Charlotte.
    “My church is going back in August, and I’m going with them,” she said. “We’re all ordinary, but God can use us to do extraordinary things. Not everyone can serve everywhere, but someone can serve somewhere.”
    Yelverton’s story was one of many that were told at the conference with the theme “Glory to God!” The crowd learned how men, women and students could get involved through N.C. Baptist Men efforts in a variety of places, such as India, the Appalachian coalfields, Honduras, Ukraine and more. Some other ministries going on across the state include Operation Inasmuch and a project to build wheelchair ramps through Rampin’ Up! For more information, go to baptistsonmission.org/Home.

    BR photo by Shawn Hendricks

    Dandee King, right, and Shirley Smith make sure participants in the North Carolina Baptist Men’s Missions Conference get a lunch and drink. Both are members of West Albemarle Baptist Church. Food preparation is a big component of Baptist Men’s disaster relief efforts. View photo gallery.

    Throughout the conference, guest speakers shared messages about glorifying God through better relating to the culture, being more than simply ‘religious,’ and what it means to really reach a city for Christ.
    ‘A Google world’
    Holding up his smart phone, Leonard Sweet, author, speaker and founder/president of Spirit Venture Ministries, challenged the crowd to explore new ways to share the story of Jesus Christ.
    “I was born in a Gutenberg world … when this was the Bible,” He said while holding up a thick Bible with the other hand. “Now I’m in a Google world where this is the Bible,” said Sweet, referring to his smart phone.
    “I call it a TGIF world, not ‘Thank God It’s Friday,’ … [but] Twitter, Google, iPhone, Facebook. This is as much the Bible as this. In fact, I’ve got 26 Bibles in [my phone], so if you asked me to swear on a stack of Bibles I can do it.”
    A Christian’s lot in life is missions, Sweet said. While generations over the age of 50 focus on sharing words and verses from the Bible, Sweet contended that younger generations respond more to stories. Each year companies spend billions of dollars to sell their products through stories, he said. “It’s not tell me the verses of Jesus,” he said. “Tell me the stories.”
    More than ‘religious activity’
    And the culture is hungry for seeing the story of Christ being told and lived out in our day-to-day lives, said Henry Blackaby, author of Experiencing God and founder/president emeritus of Blackaby Ministries. “Would it not be tragic if the only thing they see in your life is faithful, religious activity,” said Blackaby to the crowd. “It is not adequate.”
    Talents and abilities will only take you so far, he said, challenging the crowd to be more available to God.
    “You may say, ‘Well I’m just an ordinary person,’” Blackaby said. “‘I don’t see how my talents and abilities can make a difference in my nation.’ 
    “The world will not be changed because of what we are doing for God,” he added. “The world will be changed by what they see God doing when we are with Him, strategically in our world at this time.”
    Reaching the city
    Later that afternoon, David Nasser, author, speaker and lead pastor at Christ City Church in Birmingham, Ala., spoke to the crowd about what reaching “the world” or “the whole city” for Christ really means. “Anybody really want to start a church for the whole city?” Nasser asked the crowd. “It’s going to look really different.”
    While most Christians would answer “yes,” Nasser explained how starting a ministry geared for an “entire city” is going to present challenges that might make most people in the pews feel uncomfortable. “Really want to be a part of a church where it looks like Revelation 5?” said Nasser, who was born in Iran. “That means black people, white people, in-between people all in the same pew.”
    “Everybody is like … ‘We want that,’” he said. “But then you start connecting the dots even more. The banker is going to be sitting here, and the homeless guy is going to be sitting right next to him.”
    “Anybody want to baptize 10,000 people?” Nasser then asked. 
    “Not a bunch of white soccer moms and their kids named Brody and Britney,” he said. “It’s going to look like this: The guy who is super skinny, his veins are showing … he’s probably on heroin. And when he comes off that water, you’re going to be looking in the front row and you’re going to go, ‘Wow, there’s needle marks. That guy might have AIDS. My daughter is next. I wonder if you can get AIDS being in the same water.’”
    Nasser asked the crowd again if they were ready to address the issues that are going to come with a church that is actually for the entire city. He acknowledged that not every church is called to that type of ministry. But all churches are called to be on mission. “Mission isn’t the arm of the church,” he said. “Mission is a function of a church.”
    “Jesus said, ‘you’re going to be my church,’” he said. “You’re going to be on mission. You’re going to have trouble in mission.  Jesus said, ‘But take heart I have overcome the world.’”
    4/25/2012 2:25:36 PM by Shawn Hendricks, BR Managing Editor | with 0 comments
    Filed under: Baptist, BSC, Conference, Missions, N.C., NCBM, Relief

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