April 2014

Wingate president announces retirement

April 22 2014 by Wingate University Communications

Jerry E. McGee, Wingate University’s 13th president, announced plans today (April 22) to retire in May 2015. McGee is N.C.’s longest-serving university president.
 
At the time of his retirement, he will have served at Wingate for 23 years. McGee’s remarks are available here.
 
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Wingate photo
Jerry E. McGee announced plans today to retire from Wingate University in 2015.

“During these years I’ve enjoyed watching thousands of young men and women receive the skills necessary to graduate from our university fully prepared to live great lives,” said McGee in his video statement. “Our institution has been blessed by the dedicated skills of an exceptional faculty and the tireless efforts of a highly qualified staff.”
 
Through his leadership, Wingate has secured hundreds of millions in gifts and grants for scholarships, endowment and campus development. During his tenure, Wingate has achieved university status, nearly tripled enrollment, became a doctoral-granting institution and built a number of new facilities, including The Levine College of Health Sciences and J M Smith Residence Hall.
 
New graduate programs initiated during these years, included: pharmacy, physical therapy, physician assistant studies, sport management, accounting, MBA, leadership and licensure programs within graduate education. Undergraduate programs have been added, like nursing, political science and criminal justice.
 
Additionally, McGee officiated 404 college football games in 36 years. He is a member of the South Atlantic Conference Athletic Hall of Fame, Wingate University Athletic Hall of Fame, the Union County Business Leaders Hall of Fame and North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame.
 
McGee has also found time to be actively involved in the community. He has served as a member of the Board of Directors of the North Carolina Affiliate of Fifth Third Bank, the Wilma McCurdy Trust and the McSwain Foundation. He also is a past district governor of Civitan International. He served as a member of the NCAA Presidents’ Council and twice served as the National Chairman of the Football Issues Committee for NCAA Division II. He served as Chairman of Union County’s Economic Development program and as Chairman of the Presidents’ Council of the South Atlantic Conference, as well as Chairman of the Presidents' Council of the North Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities. 
 
In 2008, he was honored as a Distinguished Alumnus of East Carolina, where he received his undergraduate degree. He also holds a master’s degree from Appalachian State University and a doctorate from Nova University. He has completed two books, The Sitting and Talking Place, which tells of his special relationship with his maternal grandfather and Roberdell – A Village of Grace, which describes life in the small textile community he grew up in. In 2006, McGee received North Carolina’s highest civilian honor, The Order of the Long Leaf Pine, in recognition of his extraordinary service to the state.
 
McGee will complete the 2014-15 academic year as president. A search for the next president will begin immediately. 
4/22/2014 2:14:44 PM by Wingate University Communications | with 0 comments



Heritage Awards recognize 17 for leadership

April 22 2014 by BR staff & press reports

Seventeen North Carolina Baptists were recognized for their persistent dedication to the state during the 14th annual Baptist Heritage Awards ceremony April 8 at the Grandover Resort & Conference Center in Greensboro.
 
William Hoffman Jr., director of development at the International Mission Board, was the keynote speaker. “Legacies are things for which someone is remembered. It is the things that really matter to them,” Hoffman said. “The folks here are being recognized because of their lifetime of supporting and giving time, talents and resources to the things that are part of God’s kingdom.”
 
The Baptist State Convention of North Carolina and the N.C. Baptist Foundation co-sponsor the annual ceremony. This year 12 agencies presented awards to the following individuals for their contributions to the state’s Baptist entities.
 
Mars Hill University honored Max Burgin.
 
If you want to see Max Burgin’s heart, ask him about the people of India.
 
He will tell you a story of abject poverty, want and hopelessness. He will tell you about children who wander the slums of Bangalore in search of food and shelter, and families in Bangarapet who are too poor to care for their own. 
 
And then, with eyes alight and hands gesturing at points of emphasis, he will tell you about the providence of God, which he believes has led him and his wife, Mickie, to involvement in three ministries which seek to better lives for some of India’s poorest people.
 
Dr. Max Burgin, a 1954 graduate of Mars Hill, is in his second term as a university trustee and currently serves as chair of the building and grounds committee. He retired as an army chaplain after a much decorated 30-year military career during which he attained the rank of colonel.
 
For more than 20 years, he served as the pastor of Lattimore Baptist Church in Cleveland County. Today, he continues to raise cattle on his Ellenboro farm while enjoying family time with Mickie, his daughter, Dr. Kelli Mayfield, son Edward and grandchildren.
 
For a life of service to the military, to his church and to the people of India, Burgin was named as the 2008 alumnus of the year at Mars Hill College.
 
Gardner-Webb University honored Grady and Jo Duncan.
 
This Belmont couple will celebrate their 55th wedding anniversary in June and just two weeks later, will mark their 55th year as servants of First Baptist Church in Belmont. As active members of their church and community, Grady and Jo have also been generous to Gardner-Webb University with both their time and their resources.
 
Grady joined the Army after his first year of college and ended up fighting for two years in the Korean War. He completed his degree in business administration and accounting at the University of North Carolina.
 
Jo attended school at Lenior-Rhyne College, and taught middle school for 31 years in the Belmont area school system; Grady transitioned from a role as a certified public accountant into a position at Wix Corporation in Gastonia, where he retired as vice president of finance.
 
Grady has served on the GWU Board of Trustees, on the finance committee and in various other capacities since 1978. He and Jo established the Duncan Family Endowment Fund in order to assist students – specifically students from Gaston County – with Gardner-Webb tuition expenses.
 
Over the years, their giving has expanded to include four institutions in North Carolina. “We started giving, and it became something we prioritized,” Grady explained. “This award was a total surprise. We don’t feel we deserve it, but we are truly honored. We believe that at Gardner-Webb, the best is yet to be.”
 
The Biblical Recorder honored Mark E. Harris.
 
Harris’ passion for the truth of scripture has led him to give leadership to many causes both within and outside of Baptist life, including his tireless labors for the passage of the North Carolina Marriage Protection Amendment in 2012.
 
Harris’ service to North Carolina Baptists is a record of sacrifice and humility. He served as second vice-president of the Baptist State Convention for two years (2008-2009), first vice-president for two years (2010-2011) and president of the convention for two years (2012-2013). Harris served four years on the board of directors of the Biblical Recorder (2007-2010) and has been a strong advocate for the Recorder.
 
He has two degrees from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest and also served as a trustee of the seminary. He was chairman of the trustees in 2005-2007 and served on the presidential search committee that brought Daniel Akin to the seminary.
 
He served as the senior pastor of Center Grove Baptist Church in Clemmons for 10 years, senior pastor of Curtis Baptist Church in Augusta, Ga., for five years, and has been senior pastor of First Baptist Church in Charlotte since 2005.
 
Meredith College honored Mary Nell Jenke who gives generously of her time, talent and treasure to the college.
 
In 2007, Jenke was instrumental in establishing three alumnae chapters within the Wake County area and served as the chapter leader of the Northeastern Wake Chapter. She currently serves as the 23+ representative on the alumnae association board of directors, fundraising chair for the Networking Angles and is an active member of the Meredith College Book Club.
 
In 2012, Jenke established the Mary Nell Jenke Endowment to support the Alumnae Legacy Scholarship Fund. This prestigious scholarship is the highest honor available to an entering freshman and funds full tuition, room and board, books, supplies, international study, networking and enrichment opportunities.
 
Mary Nell has been an active member of Bay Leaf Baptist Church in Raleigh for 21 years. She currently serves the church on the bereavement team, greeters team and the onward Sunday School class. Additionally, Mary Nell is involved with Bible Study Fellowship, where she teaches a weekly course.
 
This past year, she launched RealTemps, which supplies temporary offices sales staff to the home building industry in the Triangle area.  Locally, she is a member of both the Home Builders Association of Wake County and the Triangle Sales and Marketing Group.
 
The Baptist State Convention of North Carolina honored Jimmy R. Jacumin.
 
A native of Burke County, he served as deacon, Sunday School superintendent and outreach leader at First Baptist Church, Icard, where he was a member for many years. He is now a member of East Valdese Baptist Church, Valdese. Baptists across the state will be blessed through the Jim and Nancy Jacumin Retreat Lodge, now under construction at Caraway Conference Center.
 
Since 2001 Southern Baptists have been blessed through the ministries of the Jacumin-Simpson Missions Center on the campus of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary; the center, made possible by Jacumin’s generosity, is named in honor of Jim and Nancy’s parents.
 
Jacumin graduated from North Carolina State University in nuclear engineering. As missile design engineer for Douglas Aircraft Company, he helped develop an anti-tank weapon and worked in Lunar Landing Vehicle research. He led in the founding of Jacumin Engineering and Machine Company (JEMCO) in 1965.
 
Jacumin’s extensive career in public service includes three terms as North Carolina state senator representing District 44 from 2004 through 2010. He also served as a member of the BSC’s board of directors, a trustee for Southeastern Seminary, Gardner-Webb University and Valdese General Hospital. Jacumin and his wife, Nancy Nell, have two children and four grandchildren. Their son, Marty, is pastor of Bay Leaf Baptist Church in Raleigh.
 
Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center honored state representative Donny C. Lambeth, a lifelong churchman whose professional career embodies a commitment to service in the spirit of Christ’s love.
 
A native of Winston-Salem, Lambeth joined the staff of North Carolina Baptist Hospital’s (NCBH) finance department in 1972 and by 1988 had been named vice president for financial services/CFO. He was appointed chief operating officer in 1999 and in 2008 was named NCBH president, a position he held until becoming president of Lexington Medical Center and Davie Hospital in 2011.
 
Lambeth retired from the hospital in 2012 and currently serves as state legislator representing the 75th district. As a civic leader, he also served for 18 years as member and chair of the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Board of Education. A member of numerous additional boards and organizations, he currently serves on the boards of the North Carolina Chapter of the March of Dimes and Forsyth County Hospice and Palliative Care Center.

While regarded as a skilled administrator committed to excellence, Donny Lambeth is equally highly respected for his relational warmth and approachability, his generosity of spirit, his deep faithfulness and his universal appreciation for persons from all walks of life.
 
The Baptist Children’s Home of North Carolina (BCH) honored Ted B. and Peggy Lanier. Ted’s exuberant personality, commitment to hard work and unselfish service to others is matched by only a few and surpassed by none.
 
Peggy’s devotion to Ted and his endeavors is evident as she joins him in many of his philanthropic acts. Ted currently serves as vice-chair of the board of trustees of Baptist Children’s Homes and is chair of the finance committee, utilizing his rich experience and deep involvement in matters that are both financial and practical. His probing questions and enthusiastic advocacy for children and adults with developmental disabilities is an inspiration to all with whom he has contact. 
 
The Laniers are active members of First Baptist Church in Sanford where Ted has served as a deacon, on the budget committee and member of the pastor search committee.
 
The BCH will continue to thrive under the expert tutelage of Ted Lanier with his lovely wife beside him touching those that they encounter with grace, love and hope.
 
The North Carolina Baptist Foundation honored Richard D. Laws.
 
Richard’s mother moved the family to Gastonia where her parents were living after her husband’s death when Richard was five-years-old. His grandfather was T.L. Cashwell Sr., long-time pastor of East Baptist Church in Gastonia, where Richard made a profession of faith and was baptized. 
 
A graduate of Wake Forest University and Law School, he has practiced law in Gastonia for 35 years. For 28 years he had his own law practice, but since 2011 he has been a partner in the firm of Stott, Hollowell, Palmer and Windham, LLP.
 
He met his wife of 26 years, Pat, on a blind date when she was teaching at South Point High School in Belmont. They have two sons, Zeke, a senior at Auburn University, and Ethan, a sophomore at Gaston College.
 
Richard was recognized because of his 20 years of service on the foundation board of directors. On three different occasions he has served as board chair and has provided countless hours of free legal services. Today he serves as Foundation legal counsel.
 
At First Baptist Church, Gastonia, he has served as deacon, moderator and Sunday School teacher. In his community he has served on the board of directors of Habitat for Humanity, Salvation Army Boys and Girls Club, Gaston County YMCA, Crimestoppers and Gastonia Civitan Club.
 
Campbell University honored Frederick H. “Fred” Taylor and Myra Nicholson Taylor.
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Campbell University honorees Myra and Frederick Taylor

 
Fred and Myra are visionaries for Christian higher education, actively supporting the mission of Campbell University and First Baptist Church, Troy (FBC-Troy).
 
Myra received a certificate in religious education through FBC-Troy via a program sponsored by Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and Master Gard-ener certification from N.C. State University. Fred, a native of Vass and a 1964 graduate of Campbell, is the president of Troy Lumber Company.
 
Myra has served as director of Operation Christmas Child, teacher in the Vota Vita Sunday School class for 40 years, and member of the Sanctuary Choir and Music, Condolence, and Library committees. Myra is also a past chair of the Budget and Finance Committee.
 
Fred’s activities at FBC-Troy include teaching in men’s Sunday School, singing in the choir, serving as a trustee, member of the Personnel Committee, and as chair of the Deacons. An accomplished musician, Fred is the featured pianist on numerous FBC-Troy recordings. Fred is a member of the Montgomery Memorial Hospital Board and First Bancorp Board. He has also served five terms on the Campbell University board of trustees, including two years as chairman.
 
Their two children, Louisa and Frederick II, are Campbell graduates. Fred is the son of two former Campbell trustees, Mrs. Alliene Taylor and Dr. Fred L. Taylor, for whom the Fred L. Taylor Hall of Religion on the campus is named. Alliene Taylor received the North Carolina Baptist Heritage award in 2002.
 
North Carolina Baptist Men honored Bobby and Wanda Temple because of their willingness to give themselves in so many ways for the glory of God.
 
The joy of serving the Lord began for the Temples with North Carolina Baptist Men in 1989, when they responded to Hurricane Hugo in South Carolina. They have not missed many opportunities to volunteer in hurricane and storm callouts since that time.
 
The Temples’ real passion is for international missions. They have served on mission teams in Honduras, El Salvador, Germany, Chile, Botswana and the Philippines. In Haiti, they coordinated teams for several months following the 2010 earthquake.
 
Married for 44 years, Bobby and Wanda are blessed with three children and seven grandchildren. Bobby retired from IBM in 2009 after working 43 years both full time and as a contractor. Wanda retired from the Granville County School System after 28 years as a teacher’s aide. 
 
They are members of Fellowship Baptist Church in Creedmoor where Bobby has been a lifetime member. He has served in various church positions including chairman of deacons, Sunday School director, church treasurer, RA leader, and Baptist Men’s leader.
 
Bobby has also been a Flat River Association Handyman Ministry and Operation Inasmuch volunteer. Wanda’s involvement includes church and associational WMU leader, choir member and Sunday School teacher.
 
Chowan University honored Linda Briley Weaver who devotes her time to making a difference in the lives of young people in Vance and Granville counties, her church and especially Chowan University.
 
Linda’s heart for Chowan is evident through her devotion as a Trustee for nearly 20 years. She serves as chair of the student affairs committee and is a member of the executive committee. She is also chair of the Friends of Teacher Education board of directors. 
 
A generous supporter of many capital projects, Linda is most passionate about developing relationships with the students who benefit from the James Lawson Briley Scholarship.
 
The greater Henderson area benefits from Linda’s heart for church and community.
 
She is a member of First Baptist Church Henderson and serves as a member of the library, nominating, membership and outreach, and search committees.
 
In the community Linda has served on the Board of ACTS (Area Christians Together in Service) since 1995, is a member of the Women’s League of Henderson and volunteers with the American Red Cross. An educator by profession, Linda taught school in Henderson for more than 23 years and served part time for 15 years at Perry Memorial Library.
 
Linda and her late husband, John Weaver, shared the belief that one can make a difference in one’s community and in the academy.
 
Woman’s Missionary Union of North Carolina (WMU-NC) honored Charles and Bonnie Wiggs.
 
Bonnie and Charles retired to North Carolina following 32 years of missionary service in Korea with the International Mission Board. They also ministered in Albania for two years following their retirement. The couple has actively supported WMU-NC in many capacities. Charles served on the Funds Consultants Team helping create campaigns for a more financially secure future, and Bonnie served on the WMU-NC executive board and on the missionary advisory group. She has also served as a mentor for the Raleigh Christian Women’s Job Corps® (CWJC) as well as president of the CWJC of N.C. Board of Directors.
 
The Wiggs’ have relocated to Denton, Texas, to be near family as Charles faces health challenges; yet, they continue living a life of strength, courage and peace – a testimony of their faith and commitment to God.
The couple met when Charles’ college youth revival team visited Bonnie’s home church where he preached his first sermon on Bonnie’s birthday.
 
They have three daughters and eight grandchildren.
4/22/2014 11:56:58 AM by BR staff & press reports | with 0 comments



Biltmore leader finds multi-sites messy but worth it

April 22 2014 by Dianna L. Cagle, BR Production Editor

Part of a series

Bruce Frank believes multi-site churches are part of a rapidly growing movement. While Frank has been Biltmore Baptist Church’s (biltmorebaptist.org) lead pastor for more than five and a half years, the church is fairly new to multi-site churches. The Arden campus had outgrown its facility and its land so another site was launched a little more than two years ago. Now Biltmore has three sites – Arden, East (Swannanoa) and Franklin – and is planning another by 2015.
 
“It’s become a good way to reach people,” Frank said. “Everyone is learning from one another.”
While the sites grew out of necessity Frank said the church has found it is a “great way to reach communities” and it fit the church’s theological and philosophical standards.
 
“It’s messy in a lot of ways,” he said. “For us it’s been a win in many regards.”
 
Part of the motivation behind starting the other sites was the effort to be good stewards. Frank said they wanted their members to “stay where you are and serve where you live.” They tried to open sites in areas where people were already driving from each week. Having a site in their own community opens up the possibility that visitors will come if invited.
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Biltmore Baptist Church Facebook photo
A team from Biltmore Baptist Church prays in Guatemala City, Guatemala, during a 2013 mission trip. One of the luxuries of being part of a larger church body is the opportunities for ministry.

 
Before starting another site Biltmore tried to prepare for every possibility. They laid the groundwork six to eight months before by building a network within the community and serving together on projects that would help that community.
 
Because no other church was implementing multi-sites in the area, people didn’t know what to expect, Frank said. They had to battle the mindset that people didn’t “want to leave my church.”
 
“You’re not leaving your church,” Frank said. “You’re just going to another campus.”
 
Some other questions they faced were:
  • How do you staff in a way that’s effective?
  • How do you make sure none of the other campuses feel like a stepchild?
When Biltmore exceeded its Sunday morning capacity a Sunday night service was added but Frank said, “it wasn’t growing like the rest of the church.”
 
So the question arose, “How do you create space?”
 
“We were philosophically opposed to spending millions/billions on a building,” Frank said.
 
With 8,000 on campus one Easter, “it was either … stop growing or build a big box,” he said, but the multi-site approach offered the congregation a more viable option.
 
It allowed them to reach neighborhoods they weren’t able to reach before, but still support the members who loved being part of Biltmore.
 
“It started off as a necessity [and] ended up being a strategy,” Frank said.
 
One of the staff pastors meets with each of the campus pastors regularly about structure as well as to help secure how the church’s message is getting shared. Frank tries to meet with the campus pastors to improve leadership development. Another leader oversees the health of the campus as well as looks for new sites. When making decisions, all campus leaders are included.
 
Each campus has a worship pastor and children’s leader. Currently, only the East campus has a student pastor.
 
“We try to look at everything,” Frank said.
 
Part of the issue Biltmore deals with is that western North Carolina, unlike Charlotte, does not have huge pockets of population.
 
Biltmore began looking at 900 people who were driving 20-25 minutes to the church. So they encouraged the members to “stay where you are, serve where you live, [and] be the church in your community,” Frank said.
 
Like other multi-site churches Biltmore prefers to promote from within.
 
“We would know their character, their skill set,” said Frank. “They know our church culture, our DNA.”
 
For instance the man who helped launch the East campus for Biltmore was a student pastor at the main campus before assuming that new role. He led that campus for a year before accepting a call to be the pastor of a church in Apex.
 
But Biltmore brought someone in for the Franklin site; they started by coming to be part of the main campus for several months before launching that site.
 
The church is developing an internship program that helps teach men and women about various areas of ministry. Interns are assigned reading as well as different assignments throughout the church to help the many ministries the church has.
 
When people are interested in joining with Biltmore they can attend a membership class that explains who the church is. Each class is about two hours and Frank makes sure he is at those classes.
 
“We try to explain who we are,” Frank said. “Biltmore’s not for everybody.”
 
Starting a site doesn’t just happen.
 
Frank said you have to develop bridges into the community first and recruit people who are already living in the area to help. They plan block parties and distribute information about six months ahead of the launch.
 
“You’re basically loving your community before moving in,” Frank said.
 
When Biltmore began to add cell groups in homes four years ago, the church began to move toward starting multiple sites. “What that will look like in five years I couldn’t tell you,” Frank said.
 

Related Stories:

But in multi-site, I don't know the pastor
Multi-site churches a growing trend in North Carolina
Dublin church launches new site on Easter
4/22/2014 10:42:23 AM by Dianna L. Cagle, BR Production Editor | with 0 comments



Bill O’Reilly’s Killing Jesus comes up short

April 22 2014 by Micheal Pardue, Book Review

Killing Jesus by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard (Henry Holt and Co., 2013)

 
Bill O’Reilly is the host of the highest rated cable news show in the United States, “The O’Reilly Factor.” After two successful books on the murders of Presidents Lincoln and Kennedy, he goes much further back in time with his newest work, Killing Jesus. This book provides O’Reilly’s account of the last few days of Jesus’ life, and while it has been a runaway bestseller, its release justifiably gave evangelicals reason for pause. The question is, “What does a cable news host know about the historicity of Jesus’ death?” While it is impossible to give a complete play by play of O’Reilly’s writing (you will have to read the book for that), let me present to you three things I found missing from Killing Jesus.
 

Lack of scripture references

O’Reilly does not show his readers where he found most of the quotes he ascribes to Jesus. It is hard to know if this is simply to help the flow of the book or if there are other reasons.
 
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Micheal Pardue

References would be very helpful for readers who are not familiar with the biblical story. Many who have spent time in church will recognize the words of Jesus but we are not told where O’Reilly found them. I am not aware if O’Reilly or his co-author, Martin Dugard, is proficient in the biblical languages or the languages used in any of the primary historical documents. They do claim in the end of the book to have used the NIV Study Bible, but I was unable to find direct citations to it in the body of the book, either from the NIV text itself or the study notes.


Lack of academic references

Killing Jesus contains a section of sources in the back of the book that the authors used in the composition process. Many of these are good resources and very insightful. However, there are few direct references to these sources in the body of the book. It is difficult to ascertain where certain assertions came from. The authors tell the reader that the task of compiling Killing Jesus was hard work. They claim to have “separate[d] fact from myth based upon a variety of sources, some of which had their own agendas” (p. 273). But they do not give the criteria by which those decisions were made. This seems important to a book that claims to give “an accurate account of not only how Jesus died, but also the way he lived and how his message affected the world” (p. 273).


Weak mention of the resurrection

It would be impossible to come away from Killing Jesus without realizing that there is a definite minimization of the supernatural. It is not so much an absence of the supernatural, but there are several places where it could have been stronger. In O’Reilly’s account of the resurrection, he does defer to the Gospels, but he fails to proclaim this to be a definitive part of the “history” that he has claimed his book to be.
 
Along with his assertion that early Christians were embarrassed by the cross (see 1 Corinthians 1:18), these really disappoint the reader as the book draws to a close. He may have found evidence that early Christians were disappointed by the cross but he fails to tell us where he knows this from.
 
For its weaknesses there are a couple of areas that will impress evangelical readers, and they may tip the balance of the scales in favor of giving it a read.
 

Good storytelling

O’Reilly and Dugard are excellent storytellers. This book is fast-paced and exciting. They are gifted in bringing to life the characters that comprise the greatest story ever told. The nearly three hundred pages of the book disappear quickly and Killing Jesus is truly hard to put down.

Great Connection between Passover and the slaughter of the Lamb

For me, one of the strongest images in Killing Jesus is the connection between the Passover slaughter and the death of the Lamb of God. Jesus is pictured in the book overlooking the city during His crucifixion as the Passover lambs are being slaughtered in the Temple. Here is the Lamb of God who is about to give His life, once for all, looking over the very place where His death has already been symbolized for generations. I do not know if O’Reilly meant this connection as strongly as I saw it, but it may have been my greatest takeaway from the book.
 
Killing Jesus is an interesting read that paints a vivid picture of the last days of Jesus’ life. There are multiple areas where it simply comes up short. Depictions about the life and death of Christ can be very helpful for us to understand what happened. We must understand, however, that with any work of literature, film or dramatic reenactment, artistic license will most certainly be taken.
 
O’Reilly notes that the Gospels “were written from a spiritual point of view rather than as a historical chronicling of Jesus’ life” (p. 1). This is a gross misunderstanding. The Gospels are theological biographies.* We would do well to find the scriptures as our final authority. In them, God has given us His story. He has given us exactly what we need and He reminds us of that in these parting words: Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name (John 20:30-31, ESV).
 
*Klein, Blomberg, & Hubbard Jr. Introduction to Biblical Interpretation. pp. 400-401.
 
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Micheal Pardue is pastor of First Baptist Icard in Connelly Springs.)
4/22/2014 10:33:28 AM by Micheal Pardue, Book Review | with 1 comments



Report to EC: ‘We know where the lost people are’

April 22 2014 by BSC Communcations & BR staff

North Carolina is now home to more than 300 language and ethnic groups according to Chuck Register, executive leader for church planting and missions partnerships for the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina (BSC).
 
“Ladies and gentlemen, keep in mind: God is bringing the nations to North Carolina,” Register said. Some of these groups who have come here “have never heard the name Jesus; they have no idea who our Messiah happens to be.”
 
The report was one of several presented to the BSC’s executive committee in their April 10 meeting in Cary. The committee’s agenda included reports from board committees and convention staff as well as personal testimonies of impacting lostness in the state.
 
The BSC launched “North Carolina People Group Identification” (NCPGI) system in January to help identify ethnic and language groups who are unreached by the gospel. Some groups are both unreached and unengaged, meaning no church planting ministry has been started for them. Some have been identified sufficiently for churches to begin engaging them with the gospel.
 
NCPGI is an integral part of the convention’s new strategy focused on impacting lostness through disciple making. The N.C. program used a model developed by the Southern Baptist Conservatives of Virginia to identify people groups in Washington, D.C., Register said. It is being implemented in North Carolina by a man who worked with the D.C. effort.
 
So far NCPGI is underway in the Triangle, Triad and Metro Charlotte population centers, though the findings have just begun to scratch the surface, he said. If successful, the effort will be extended to all eight population centers in the state where pockets of lostness exist.
 
After the initial step to identify people groups through online research, Register said the second step involves “putting people on the ground who go into an area and conduct one-on-one discussions with people who speak English as a second language.”
 
The third step is for N.C. Baptist churches to begin engaging those unreached people groups with the gospel according to Register. “In some unreached people groups already discovered, we are ready for your church and churches like yours to begin to engage these people with the gospel,” he said.
 
The goal is not just to engage unreached people with the gospel. “We want to engage that people group to the point where we gather together cluster leaders and birth ethnic church plants in North Carolina to reach the ethnic people groups we’re discovering,” Register said. When they talk to pastors of churches, convention staff will be able to help the pastor know how to reach English-speaking people in the neighborhood, but also people in unreached/unengaged people groups who may be nearby.
 
In response to an executive committee request last year, Register presented findings of a study of 339 churches planted in the state since 2009. He said 89 percent of those churches continue to be active in the BSC and support the Cooperative Program.
 
The committee also heard a Greensboro pastor report on the ministry of Baptists on Mission (or North Carolina Baptist Men) in the Greensboro area following a recent ice storm. Lawrence E. Clapp, pastor of South Elm Baptist Church, said the March 7 ice storm left thousands of area residents without electricity, Around 650 volunteers set up an operations center in his church.
 
As the volunteers distributed water and removed downed trees, they helped between 450 and 500 families, Clapp said. One man led 30 people to faith in Christ as they gave out water, adding to that a total of 51 people prayed to receive Christ as Savior. “Countless others were pointed to area churches,” he said. In a related matter, Brian Davis, associate executive director-treasurer, introduced the website for the 2014 North Carolina Missions Offering (ncmissionsoffering.org), using the theme “Choose Now.” This year’s offering has a goal of $2.1 million. The majority of the funds raised will support Baptists on Mission and church planting.
 
Executive Committee member Chris Hawks shared his experiences using a new evangelistic tool promoted by the BSC called The Story, which gives an overview of the Bible’s story of God’s dealing with people, beginning with creation and moving to the second coming of Christ.
 
Hawks, pastor of Second Baptist Church, Hamlet, said he used the material to lead a teenager to faith in Christ. “We think it’s a game changer in how we present Christ,” he said.
 
Wanda Dellinger reported that she has begun discipling two women in her neighborhood. “It is not rocket science,” she said. “You have to know people before you can engage them.”
 
If you would like more information on any of the reports provided to the executive committee, please contact Brian Davis at bdavis@ncbaptist.org. For more information on the convention’s strategy, Impacting Lostness Through Disciple-making, please visit ncbaptist.org and select the tab titled “strategy.”
4/22/2014 10:23:10 AM by BSC Communcations & BR staff | with 0 comments



NCMO event a big success in Randolph County

April 22 2014 by C. Walter Overman, BSC Communications

As Ronnie Chaney surveyed the crowd at the 2014 Randolph Baptist Association (RBA) Sportsmen’s Expo, he was excited to see a room full of unfamiliar faces.
 
“We ask our church members not to come to the Expo unless they come to serve or bring someone who is unchurched,” Chaney said. “When I look out across the crowd, I don’t see many people that I know. It looks like we are hitting our target.”
 
Chaney is the pastor of Union Grove Baptist Church in Seagrove, which partnered with fellow churches from the RBA to host the Sportsmen’s Expo.
 
The annual event is an evangelistic outreach tailored to unchurched men, women and children who love hunting, fishing and the outdoors – a prominent demographic in Randolph County.
 
Unlike other pockets of lostness in the state where atheism and agnosticism are more prevalent, Chaney said many of the people they are trying to reach in rural Randolph County have a basic belief in God, which makes for one less barrier to overcome when sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ.  
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BSC photo by C. Walter Overman
Steve Sells, director of missions for Randolph Baptist Association, says the main goal of the annual sportsmen expo is to win people to Christ.

 
“We prayerfully feel that this event is reaching a group of men and women who we don’t have to necessarily convince of God’s existence and we just build on that,” Chaney said. 
 
The RBA has sponsored the Expo five consecutive years as part of the association’s annual North Carolina Missions Offering (NCMO) outreach. Each year, 10 percent of the NCMO’s receipts are distributed to the state’s 78 Baptist associations from which they came. This means that when local churches support the NCMO they are also supporting strategic evangelism efforts in their local associations. 
 
The event attracts popular hunting and fishing vendors, includes free meals and drinks and features numerous seminars and door prizes. Before the grand prizes are drawn, an evangelistic sermon is preached and people are invited to trust in Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior.
 
“The number one thing our churches want to do is win people to Christ,” said Steve Sells, RBA director of missions. “That has been our objective the five years we’ve done the Expo.” 
 
The 2014 Expo was the most successful yet, drawing more than 2,100 people, about 500 more than expected. By the end of the night, 93 people made first-time decisions to receive Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior and 74 recommitted their lives to the Lord.
 
“It is the most phenomenal thing I have ever seen in my life,” Sells said. “This far exceeded anything we expected. God just showed up and did His thing.”
 
Sells said the association will focus on following-up with everyone who made a decision, with the goal of connecting them to a local church.
 
“Our priority is to minister to these people and get them connected to a local church and grounded in the faith,” he said.
 
The top door prizes this year included two hunting rifles, a guided boar and turkey hunt in South Carolina and a guided fishing trip on the Yadkin River. The RBA uses the NCMO money to purchase the top door prizes, to cover the cost of the food and other expenses. Individual churches and vendors supply additional door prizes.
 
Thanks in part to the NCMO, the event is free and open to everyone in the community. 
 
“We couldn’t do it if we didn’t get this money,” Sells said. “We look forward to it every year so we can put on this sort of thing.”
 
In addition to associational missions, the NCMO supports the mission and ministries of Baptists on Mission (or N.C. Baptist Men) and helps provide training, coaching and other support to more than 100 church planters across the state each year. For more information about the NCMO, visit www.ncmissionsoffering.org.
4/22/2014 10:03:44 AM by C. Walter Overman, BSC Communications | with 0 comments



Why is pastor running for U.S. Senate?

April 21 2014 by K. Allan Blume, BR Editor

In Baptist life Mark Harris is an established leader. He has a positive record as the pastor of three growing churches, community experience as a cultural influencer and name recognition as a recent officer of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina for six years, including two years as president.
 
He was a key leader in North Carolina’s adoption of the Marriage Amendment in 2012, which defined marriage as between one man and one woman. Harris, a political science major at Appalachian State University in Boone, has been active in local and state causes.
 
But many have asked why he would consider leaving a successful ministry as the senior pastor of Charlotte’s First Baptist Church to run for one of the state’s two seats in the U.S. Senate.
 
“I’m not doing this just as a pastor but as a person,” Harris said. He believes there is a vacuum of leadership in the federal government.
 
“I just believe there comes a time when individuals are called to step up and bring to the table the gifts, abilities and vision that God has gifted them with.”
 
He has been compared to the colonial, black-robed clergymen during America’s war for independence.
They were so well-known for boldly preaching the biblical principles of liberty that the British named them the “Black Robe Regiment.” Later they were re-titled, “The Black Robe Brigade” and heavily targeted by the British army.
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“I would say that I am doing this because I recognize that we have a window of opportunity in this country, and I believe that window is closing,” Harris said. “There is a window of opportunity to change directions and get a more solid and stable footing for our nation. We’ve watched our reputation and standing in the world take a hit under this president. I want to be part of restoring that.”
 
Harris said people in all 100 N.C. counties are ready to talk about their needs and concerns – the sluggish economy, eroding values and the federal government’s intrusion into the daily lives of citizens.
 
“But I guess the thing we hear the most is that folks are concerned or worried that we’ve got elected officials in Washington, D.C., that no longer seem to care,” he said.
 
As a pastor, a Christian and American he said he shares the same concerns.
 
He chided politicians for passing laws that they don’t live under. “They seem to have more interest in the next election cycle than doing what is right. They seem to be more interested in playing party politics than standing for God and country,” he said.
 
Harris reflected on the days he worked as a 14-year-old in the Americans for Reagan office. He stuffed envelopes and made phone calls in Ronald Reagan’s 1980 campaign.
 
“Reagan taught us that building a strong America is like building a three-legged stool,” Harris said. “The three legged stool has got to be a leg of a strong domestic agenda; a leg that’s a strong foreign policy and a leg that is strong on traditional values. Reagan said if you try to weaken or break off any one of those legs, that stool can’t stand.”
 
There are deep concerns about continuing to stand on traditional values. “We’re watching federal judges one-by-one put out the lights of freedom in this nation and call into question our religious liberties,” he said. “From the marriage amendments that are being overturned by federal judges, all the way to court cases being decided about bakeries and photographers that are being forced to leave their religious convictions at the door or live under the threat of penalty or imprisonment if they don’t participate in a same-sex wedding.”
 
One of his greatest concerns is, “We’ve got to deal with Obamacare. I think it is key.” Harris said. “It holds a big key to debt ceiling, jobs and so many things in our economy. It just has to be brought back under control. ... I don’t think the half has been told yet of the ultimate economic impact this is going to have on the country when it is in full bloom. The president has continued to push dates back. He has continued to push aspects of the law back to where we haven’t really felt the full impact.
 
“I think people are very concerned about jobs – how are we going to create jobs. I keep hearing the same consistent message everywhere I go from small businesses – we’ve got to have tax reform and we’ve got to get the regulations off our backs. The federal regulations are just overwhelming. I hear that every day.”
 
When asked whether politics is too dirty for a preacher’s involvement, he responded, “I think politics is dirty and slimy because we have allowed it to become that way. We’ve sat on the sidelines for far too long and we’ve surrendered.
 
“If you go back and look at the history of our nation and you look at the signers of our Declaration of Independence and the signers of our Constitution, you find folks that had seminary training. ... clergy that recognized the importance of bringing to bear their leadership gifts as part of the whole.”
 
Former Arkansas governor and presidential candidate, Mike Huckabee, recently endorsed Harris at a fundraiser in Raleigh. Huckabee is also an ordained Baptist pastor and graduate of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. He served as the president of the Arkansas Baptist Convention.
 
Describing what people want in an effective leader and how those gifts are present in a pastor, he said Harris has the ability to communicate a message and the ability to motivate. The governor said a Baptist pastor deals with that every day of his life with a volunteer army in a church.
 
Huckabee added that a pastor has the ability to minister – something he believes is missing in Washington. He pointed out there are few issues that would ever be faced as a U.S. Senator that Harris can’t connect with names and faces.
 
“As a pastor I have dealt with the abortion issue,” Harris said. “I know what it is to sit down with a woman who has already suffered through an abortion. I also know what it is to sit down with a young girl who has an unwanted pregnancy and counsel her. So it’s not just issues to me. To me it’s names and faces of real people that are part of the issues.”
 
If he wins the seat, Harris would not be the only N.C. Baptist leader who served in the Senate. The colorful Josiah Bailey, editor of the Biblical Recorder from 1895-1907, later served as a U.S. Senator. He served three terms from 1930 until his death in 1946.
 
Bailey co-authored the bi-partisan Conservative Manifesto, a document criticizing President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal and proposing more conservative alternatives. Among other things, the document called for lower taxes and less spending.
 
Harris faces seven other candidates in the May 6 primary vote.
4/21/2014 11:50:39 AM by K. Allan Blume, BR Editor | with 0 comments



People say the Good Book isn’t a God book

April 21 2014 by Cathy Lynn Grossman, Religion News Service

Bible films may be raking it in at the box office, but fewer people are reading the original and taking it seriously.
 
The American Bible Society’s latest State of the Bible survey documents steep skepticism that the Good Book is a God book.
 
“We are seeing an incredible change in just a few years time,” said Roy Peterson, president of the society.

Jeremy Evans, pastor at Wendell Baptist Church in Wendell and associate professor of philosophy at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, said popular atheists have greatly influenced the public’s perspective of God and the Bible.
 
“Thinkers such as Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris have encouraged people to read the Bible with the expectation that reading it will give you good reasons for rejecting it! The pages of the text, it is claimed, are littered with God behaving badly and yet He is to be praised. They have a hard time understanding why such a God deserves our devotion.
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Gutenberg Bible
 
“Pastors need to be intentional about teaching their church essential Christian doctrine, and in this day pastors need to be trained in apologetics and equipping their churches to answer the objections leveled at reliability and authority of scripture.”
 
The study, conducted annually by Barna Research, finds:
  • The most “engaged” readers – who read the Bible almost daily and see it as sacred – are now matched by “skeptics” who say it’s just a book of stories and advice. Both groups measured 19 percent.
  • While the engaged stayed steady since 2011, skeptics grew by 10 percentage points – since the same survey was conducted in 2011.
  • Skeptics cut into the number of folks Barna calls “Bible friendly,” those who read the Bible occasionally and see it as inspired by God. The “friendly” demographic fell to 37 percent, down from 45 percent in 2011.
  • The percentage of people who view the Bible as sacred has dropped to 79 percent, down from 86 percent in 2011.
The study is based on 2,036 interviews with U.S. adults in January and February.
 
Peterson told Religion News Service on April 9 that the statistics are “sobering but not discouraging.”
 
The key, he said, is “adjusting our outreach” to reel in the next generation. Millennials, ages 18 to 29, lead the skeptics tally:
  • 64 percent say the Bible is sacred literature, compared with 79 percent of all adults.
  • 35 percent say the Bible offers “everything a person needs to know to lead a meaningful life,” compared with half of all adults.
  • 39 percent of millennials admit they never read the Bible, compared with 26 percent of adults as a whole.
“We have to find where they are hurting, what questions millennials are asking,” he said.
 
The society has already started down that road by creating Bible-reading “journeys” to meet people’s needs, he said. On its website, people can key in a word such as “hope,” “parenting,” “job loss” or “loneliness” and be steered to a seven- or 10- or 40-day journey of scripture selections designed to address that concern.

Lee Pigg, pastor at Hopewell Baptist Church in Monroe, said, “My fear is that this rebellion against the Bible as God’s book will only get worse which challenges me to stand even stronger for the truth and light that is found in the Bible.”
 
There are already more than 90 topics listed, Peterson said, and “we are adding more strategic journeys every day. We’re being invited to youth conferences as a scripture partner. So we take it as a very urgent mission.”
 
Pigg said, “I believe that the Bible is both a good book and a God book. It has been proven reliable over and again through archeology, medicine, science and history, but most of all morally and spiritually.

“The Bible points us to the God who is constantly reaching down to us but we push Him away over and again, until tragedies occur. We want to ask, ‘Where is God?’ He is exactly where we have allowed Him to be; outside of our schools, not allowed in our homes and even not welcome in many of our churches.”
 
The data confirms, Peterson said, that “we just can’t hand them a Bible and expect them to find the answers. We have to get out the word to give God’s word a chance. It’s urgent.”
 
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Cathy Lynn Grossman is a senior national correspondent for Religion News Service, specializing in stories drawn from research and statistics on religion, spirituality and ethics, and manager for social media. The BR contributed to this story.)
4/21/2014 11:30:17 AM by Cathy Lynn Grossman, Religion News Service | with 0 comments



New Southern dean desires to serve churches

April 21 2014 by Roger Alford, Kentucky Baptist Convention

The wireless microphone is a mere formality, entirely unnecessary when attached to Adam Greenway, the new dean of the Billy Graham School of Missions, Evangelism and Ministry at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky.
 
The fiery yet refined Greenway has a reputation for presenting the gospel clearly, simply and boldly. Some even dare to compare him to Graham, the famed preacher who held his crusades in coliseums to accommodate the massive crowds that came to hear him.
 
“I believe the Word of God is life-changing,” Greenway said, explaining his passion for evangelism. “I’m convinced that when a man of God, under the anointing of the Spirit of God, opens the word of God and proclaims the Good News of God, that people are going to be changed, broken lives are going to be restored, sinners are going to find salvation and Christians are going to find spiritual renewal. Nothing gives me a greater sense of sheer joy and delight than seeing people come alive because of what they encounter through God’s word.”
 
Settling in as head of the Graham school, Greenway, a world-class preacher, is making himself available to churches across the Southern Baptist Convention, no matter the size.
 
One of his stops last Sunday was at a small satellite congregation of a few dozen people meeting in the cafeteria of Plano Elementary School in Bowling Green, Ky.
 
There he challenged believers to stand strong in the face of a growing animosity toward the gospel.
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Adam Greenway, right, talks with famed evangelist Billy Graham in his North Carolina home last year. For his style of preaching, Greenway, dean of the Billy Graham School of Missions, Evangelism and Ministry at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary,  is often compared to Graham.
 
“Friends, we live in challenging times; there’s no doubt about that,” Greenway boomed, drawing amens from worshippers. “But God has given us His Word and His strength. Are you ready to rise up and meet the need of this hour?”
 
More amens.
 
Greenway’s voice reverberated off the walls and his fist pumped the air as he reminded worshipers at the Eastwood Baptist Church satellite that “whosoever calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
 
More amens.
 
Greenway, now a family man with a wife, Carla, and 4-year-old son Adam Wade II, started preaching as a teenager and by the time he was 17 was serving as an interim pastor at Southside Baptist Church in Frostproof, Fla., his hometown. After that stint ended, he headed to Samford University in Birmingham, Ala., where he received a bachelor’s degree in 1998. He followed that with a master’s degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, in 2002.
 
For his doctorate, Greenway, 36, chose Southern, where professors were immediately struck by his intellect. His fields of study there were evangelism and church growth as well as apologetics and philosophy. He maneuvered his way through the doctoral program while serving as senior pastor of The Baptist Church at Andover in Lexington, Ky. By the time he had his degree in hand in 2007, Greenway had been invited to join the faculty as an assistant professor.

“His IQ is off the charts, yet, for a guy who is so stinking smart, he has a rare ability to communicate passionately and effectively from the pulpit to the pew. As a preacher, he calls to mind the young Billy Graham. As an intellect, Al Mohler has a new peer,” said Paul Chitwood, executive director-treasurer of the Kentucky Baptist Convention.
 
“He doesn’t let his education get in the way of his preaching,” said Don Mathis, staff evangelist at Eastwood Baptist Church. “He’s got a powerful delivery. He has no reservations about getting down among the congregation when he’s preaching. Obviously, his verbiage is unusually good, but he uses it in a way that really reaches the congregation.”
 
Greenway, former president of the Kentucky Baptist Convention, describes a sense of awe in serving the Lord as dean of the Graham school. It’s a position that he never could have envisioned for himself, one that he credits entirely to the Lord.
 
“I’ve discovered that when God writes the script it’s always far better than the best plans or desires that we could choose for ourselves,” he said. “I never could have ever dreamed that I would be doing what I’m doing today apart from the sheer grace and mercy of God.”
 
He is leading the only academic graduate school that Graham has permitted to be named for him. That in itself brings a sense of great responsibility.
 
It’s one that Graham gave his blessing to shortly after Greenway became dean last year. He drove to Graham’s home in Montreat, N.C., and visited with him to be, in a sense, personally commissioned by the elderly evangelist to uphold the school’s legacy of faithfulness to the gospel.
 
As they chatted, Greenway leaned in and put his hand on Graham’s chair. “He immediately put his hand on mine,” he recalled. “Talk about being blessed. He told me to be faithful to Jesus and preach the Word. That has been my prayer.”
 
In demand in other realms of Baptist life, Greenway also serves as chairman of the board of trustees at LifeWay Christian Resources, publisher for the Southern Baptist Convention based in Nashville with influence throughout the evangelical world, and has become a “vital strategist” for the operation.
 
“To put it simply, Adam is one of the smartest people I’ve ever known,” said LifeWay president and CEO Thom Rainer. “I often seek his guidance and wisdom in numerous areas. He is such a quick thinker that he is able to evaluate a situation and offer alternatives very decisively and wisely.”
 
Inside Plano Elementary, Greenway held his Bible aloft, looked into the faces of an attentive congregation, and bemoaned the doubters in the world who insist there is no such thing as absolute truth.
 
“Every person who says that wants you to believe it’s absolutely true,” he said before lifting his Bible aloft and thundering: “This is truth. Every bit of it is truth. It’s not a falsehood. Not fiction. Not fabrication. The Bible speaks only truth.”
 
More amens.
 
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Roger Alford is the director of communications at the Kentucky Baptist Convention.)
4/21/2014 11:04:26 AM by Roger Alford, Kentucky Baptist Convention | with 0 comments



N.C. Baptists receive BCA awards

April 21 2014 by BR staff

At the 2014 Baptist Communicators Association (BCA) annual meeting at Ridgecrest Conference Center in Asheville, N.C., three individuals from North Carolina Baptist entities received seven awards.

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BCA is a professional organization of communicators who serve in editorial, public relations, electronic media, photography, management, marketing and graphic design positions principally within Baptist agencies and institutions. From April 9-12, this meeting celebrated the 60th anniversary of the BCA.
 

Feature Writing Division

  • 1st Place, Promotional and Advertising Copy – “Ounce of prevention” brochure: Carol Layton, North Carolina Baptist Aging Ministry
  • 1st Place, Books – Under One Roof: Jim Edminson, North Carolina Baptist Aging Ministry
 

Design Division

  • 2nd Place, Print Collateral, Book – Under One Roof: Jim Edminson, North Carolina Baptist Aging Ministry
 

Photography Division

  • 2nd Place, Feature or News (Domestic), Single – Glory Revealed: K. Brown, Baptist State Convention of North Carolina
  • 3rd Place, Feature or News (Domestic), Single – First Doctor Visit: K. Brown, Baptist State Convention of North Carolina
  • 2nd Place, Promotional or Advertisement (Domestic or International), Series – Building a Clinic in Guatemala: K. Brown, Baptist State Convention of North Carolina
  • 3rd Place, Portrait (Domestic or International) – Evening Worship: K. Brown, Baptist State Convention of North Carolina
4/21/2014 10:44:33 AM by BR staff | with 0 comments



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