August 2008

New Orleans Seminary evacuates

August 30 2008 by Gary Myers and Michael McCormack

NEW ORLEANS (BP)--New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary President Chuck Kelley called for a mandatory evacuation of the main campus due to Tropical Storm Gustav. The evacuation began Aug. 29 and was to continue through Aug. 30.

This is the first evacuation of New Orleans Seminary since the approach of Hurricane Katrina, which made landfall on Aug. 29, 2005 -– three years ago to the day of the evacuation announcement.

Seminary offices were to close at 3 p.m. on Aug. 29. All seminary residents are expected to evacuate the main campus by noon Aug. 30. Students are encouraged to frequently check the seminary's website,, for changes or updates to the evacuation and return schedule.

Kelley cited the unpredictable nature of Gustav as the primary reason he called for the early evacuation. Safety of the seminary family, Kelley said, is his first priority.

"The movements of Tropical Storm Gustav are still undefined, and the forecasters do not know where it's going to make landfall," Kelley said. "However, indications are that it could be somewhere in the New Orleans area, so we are moving ahead with plans to evacuate our campus and keep our campus family safe.

"We do not anticipate a major disruption of classes. We believe that by Thursday we will be back to normal."

While the campus is closed, classes will continue via the seminary's Blackboard system (an online learning tool).

"I want to emphasize that we are going to keep teaching. We learned in our Hurricane Katrina experience that we are able to continue teaching our classes even without our campus if we need to," Kelley said. "We will be shifting our students onto our Blackboard and Internet system and will continue to teach."
8/30/2008 8:38:00 AM by Gary Myers and Michael McCormack | with 0 comments

Kerr returns to Eastside Baptist Church

August 29 2008 by Norman Jameson, BR Editor

BR photo by Norman Jameson

Eastside Baptist Church keeps calling Leland
Kerr out of associational ministry.

Leland Kerry, director of missions for two years at Wilmington Baptist Association, is returning to the pastorate at Eastside Baptist Church in Shelby, which he left in 2006 to come to Wilmington.

“I never anticipated this to come about,” said Kerr, who is first vice president of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina. “But it is the right thing.”

Kerr has decided not to seek re-election to that BSC office in November "to give Eastside more time" so he can "lead them like I should and attend to their needs." Kerr had been second vice president for two terms before his election as first vice president.

Kerr’s returns to the Eastside pulpit Aug. 31.  An interim pastor led the church the past two years, so Kerr said, “I’m replacing myself!”

 “We feel a true sense of call and discernment,” Kerr said. “I’m happy to minister with them again and to love that congregation some more.”

In a sense, he said, he feels his time away from the church has been a sabbatical.

Eastside called Kerr originally in 2002 away from his role as director of missions in what is now the Greater Cleveland County Baptist Association. He served Eastside four years before going to Wilmington.

In a March 2008 story in the Biblical Recorder, Kerr said he has, “wanted to be a part of associational work from my earliest days.” He also reiterated his commitment to the local church, and now a local church has called him back to the pulpit.

Kerr’s wife Robyn transferred from UNC-Wilmington to Gardner-Webb University to finish her nursing degree, and their Shelby house had not sold during the two years away. Still, when the Eastside search committee called Kerr’s first response was “no.”

“Then they used the line on me that I’d used many times on them,” Kerr said. “They asked me to pray about it.”

Michael Moore will be interim director of missions in Wilmington beginning Sept. 15, Kerr said.

8/29/2008 9:17:00 AM by Norman Jameson, BR Editor | with 0 comments

Leader spots 4 keys to engaging young adults

August 29 2008 by Kelly Shrout

NASHVILLE, Tenn.,-- Young adults make up a new demographic within churches, and ministry as usual will not cut it for a generation seeking depth, authenticity and answers to the hard matters of faith.

So said Jason Hayes, young adult specialist with Threads, the 3-year-old young adult ministry initiative of LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention.

Hayes spoke during the Connect Conference held Aug. 25-26 in Nashville, Tenn. The conference, geared for leaders of young adults, offered several sessions that revealed recent statistics about young adults ages 18-34. The conference also included main teaching sessions, breakout small-group discussions and a question-and-answer panel forum.

The statistics offer a challenge and an opportunity for ministry with young adults, Hayes told the attendees.

"I don’t view these statistics as a problem, but a chance for God’s name to be great among a generation that is spiritual, but not religious," he said.

Hayes outlined four markers, or pillars, of things that matter most to young adults. The markers were developed from an extensive eight-month survey of young adults from varied geographic, racial and socioeconomic backgrounds.

The survey results helped the Threads team pinpoint the following needs of young adults: community, depth, responsibility and connection.

Create community

"What we found is that young adults desire to do life together," Hayes said. "They desire relational equity and community that goes beyond casual hellos. They want to pour their lives into each other."

Hayes said community should endorse a connection between a Christian’s actions and personal convictions. Community also should minimize church jargon, provide an atmosphere where it’s okay to not know all the answers, provide personal illustration, and encourage life application.

"Above all, community among young adults must be biblical," Hayes said. "It will be a failure if we raise a generation who are just friends. Growing in the likeness of Christ is essential."

Provide depth

Hayes also encouraged the young adult leaders to provide depth in their ministries.

"What we found in our research is that young adults who are churched are saying, ‘If we are going to stand for truth in a world that is not standing for truth, we want to be equipped,’" Hayes said. "The unchurched are saying, ‘We are not going to make a decision at face value. We want to make informed decisions when it comes to matters of faith.’"

Young adult leaders must engage in theology, apologetics and offer insight on worldviews and other religions, he advised.

"Teach the whole Bible, foster discussion and answer the difficult questions of faith," he said. "Offer quality, exegetical Bible teaching and sing theologically sound music that accurately depicts the Word of God."

Cultivate responsibility

For churched young adults, responsibility comes in the form of service, evangelism and missions. For unchurched young adults, social action and global responsibility are a huge priority.

"For both church and unchurched young adults, we have found that both recognize that their choices make a difference and they want to improve the world around them," Hayes said. "As a result of this heightened sense of responsibility, we can help create a door for service and evangelism."

Make a connection

"As we continue to understand younger adults and what they’re looking for, we must recognize the heavy value they place on connecting with people who have more life experience than they do," Hayes said. "Some would call this mentoring or cross-generational ministry. The bottom line is that they want to learn from someone else’s experiences. They’re looking for a connection with the church and a connection with people who are willing to walk alongside them and give a little advice here and there."

Hayes encouraged the attendees to connect personal application to convictions. "If an absence exists between what you say and what you do, young adults will become quickly disinterested," he said. "If you desire for your church to be a healthy body that raises the banner of intergenerational ministry, you need to personally invest in this generation as well."

The next Connect Conference will be held Sept. 4-5 in Charlotte, N.C. For more information about the young adult ministry at LifeWay, visit
8/29/2008 8:10:00 AM by Kelly Shrout | with 0 comments

Hunt sees big challenges in SBC

August 29 2008 by Mark Kelly

BR photo by Norman Jameson

Johnny Hunt learned a lot in his first 75 days as
president of the Southern Baptist Convention.

WOODSTOCK, Ga. (BP)--In his first 75 days as president of the Southern Baptist Convention, Johnny Hunt has met with more than 500 Southern Baptist leaders, discussing ways to tackle challenges facing the SBC -- issues such as baptism-less churches, declining membership and a generation of pastors disconnected from the broader fellowship of churches.

"I have been with about 540 convention leaders -- state missions personnel, seminary evangelism professors, state executive directors, state evangelism directors," Hunt told Baptist Press Aug. 26. "There seems to be a major consensus on where we are. Every leader has basically said we need to stop the bleeding in terms declining membership. They've all agreed we're doing less than a good job of leading people to Christ."

Southern Baptists have been given a wakeup call and a strategy must be hammered out to meet the challenges, Hunt said.

"I feel like in the last few years God's really kind of shaken us to the core. He's knocked a little bit of the strut out of us," said Hunt, who is senior pastor of the 16,000-member First Baptist Church in Woodstock, Ga. "We can think, 'We're the largest. We're this. We're that,' but when you read major articles that say things like 'We have joined the mainline denominations,' I don't like that. I don't like that being said about the group I belong to."

One of Hunt's priorities in the early days of his presidency has been to consult with leadership at the North American Mission Board about ways to help pastors whose churches haven't been reporting any baptisms.

"I've been meeting some of NAMB's guys in the area of evangelism about what we can do to help 11,000 churches that post no baptisms. What are we doing? Are we reaching out and connecting with these guys to see what we can do?" Hunt said. "We have had some very creative thinking as to what we can do to help those guys and at the same time challenge our own lives, our own churches: Are we being very intentional evangelistically?"

After Hunt has met with International Mission Board leadership in early September, he hopes to have a clear strategy for helping Southern Baptists share the gospel with all of North America and every people group in the world.

"We are trying to make a difference with our neighbors, but we also must be faithful to keep our eyes on the nations," he said. "When you have hundreds and hundreds of unengaged people groups, you've got to have a plan to get someone there. I believe we can get our arms around how we really can in our lifetime take the Gospel to every person. That's pretty exciting. If we've got something to aim at, we've got a far better chance of hitting it."

"In dire need of a fresh encounter" 

All the talking and planning in the world won't make a difference, however, if it's not driven by a passion for God and His Kingdom, Hunt said.

"Every meeting I have been in, we still go back to the core, the lowest common denominator, and that is Southern Baptists are in dire need of a fresh encounter with God," he said. No matter what the next evangelism initiative may be, "I can't do anything with it if I'm not personally revived or touched by God and renewed in my own personal walk."

Hunt said he thought it was "perfect timing" that the SBC's Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission and North American Mission Board are sponsoring "The 40/40 Prayer Vigil," a call to Southern Baptists to pray for spiritual revival and national renewal from Sept. 24 to Nov. 2.

"I really like the 40/40 Prayer Vigil because, even though ultimately it will get to reflecting on the nation, it begins with personal revival. I'm going to lead my church through it, and starting with myself," Hunt said. "I need personal revival, then we need church revival. We need revival among our church leadership. And then it continues to move farther out to where it begins to make a difference in our nation."

Hunt said his heart is heavy that attendance at the Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting is so low, compared to attendances during the years conservatives were campaigning to pull SBC entities back to their doctrinal roots.

"When there are six candidates being nominated as president of the convention and 20 percent of the messengers that had registered didn't vote for the presidency, we have almost gotten where the majority don't care," Hunt said. "I'm just not impressed if we spend years talking about the victory we won in the 'conservative resurgence' if every time we talk about it we have to turn around and look at our numbers and say, 'Wow, why will so many gather to talk about what we believe and not rally around a united cause of what we're going to do as a result of what we believe?'

"I plan to do a major challenge for us to trust God for a Great Commission resurgence," Hunt added. "We've got to do something with what we claim we won or what we claim we have or what we claim we confess."

Cooperative Missions in Action

Another top priority is to connect with a younger generation of pastors and help them catch a vision for what Southern Baptist cooperative missions is all about, Hunt said.

"I'm really stressing that seminary presidents entertain the idea of giving credit for seminary students to be at the convention," Hunt said. "If we hope to get the next generation there, we better get them now. Why are we waiting until they get a church and they can send them?

One strategy for accomplishing that is to find low-cost accommodations for seminarians and young pastors whose budgets can't pay for expensive hotel rooms in the city, Hunt explained. Toward that end, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., will open its campus housing to those groups when the Southern Baptist Convention meets in Louisville in 2009.

Hunt said he also wants to create an annual meeting program that will appeal more to church leaders who want to be part of something that makes a real difference in people's lives.

Hunt said he is asking convention leaders to prepare dynamic multimedia packages that tell great stories about how Cooperative Program ministries are making a difference in people's lives.

"I want us to do something that shows the Cooperative Program in action, not just say that it funds something," Hunt said. "I want to say, 'There it is working for the Lord again, for His Kingdom. I want people to leave saying, 'Man, I am thrilled to be a part of that. I can't wait to tell our people.'"

'Bring them with you.'

Hunt's concern for engaging young pastors who are disconnected from the broad fellowship of the Southern Baptist Convention is reflected in his own ministry through his annual "Timothy Barnabas Conference," which he has used to mentor young leaders for 16 years.

"Younger pastors with a heart to make a difference want to get to guys who are making a difference," he said. "So many young pastors were calling Woodstock that I began to think, 'We have got to come up with a platform that can accommodate these young men so we can speak into their lives.'

Hunt said he was motivated to start the Timothy Barnabas ministry by some advice given him by longtime Southern Baptist leader Jimmy Draper. It's advice Hunt thinks more Southern Baptist pastors need to take to heart.

"Jimmy Draper challenged me, 'There's a generation out there, watching you, listening,'" Hunt recalled. "He said, 'Bring them with you.'"

8/29/2008 1:55:00 AM by Mark Kelly | with 1 comments

Peace Haven effort meets need in Wilkes Co.

August 28 2008 by Norman Jameson, BR Editor

BR photo by Norman Jameson

Vicki Hash shows there is no limit to what a church can do when a member catches a vision and inspires others around her.

A rural church’s clothes closet that serves about 25 people a week balloons annually into a warehouse that served 757 people one weekend in August.

Peace Haven Baptist Church in North Wilkesboro proves what can be done when a person with passion grabs an idea in her teeth and shakes it until the objections fall out.

For the tenth year Peace Haven member Vicki Hash led volunteers from her church and now, 15 others, to gather enough new and used clothing to provide back to school clothing and supplies for 446 children, and additional help for the 311 adults who accompanied them.

Volunteers make appointments to the big event with clients of Peace Haven’s clothing and food closets to insure orderly distribution.

Before they made appointments they once had 310 people walk through the door in 10 minutes.

Each child receives six pair of new socks and six pair of new underwear. Most clothes are used and shoppers can take all they need.

Additionally, each child receives a packet of school supplies. Later, the area is open to the public.

Active church

Parked north of town on a dead end road it shares with several trailer parks and a smattering of brick homes, Peace Haven keeps its metal family life center humming with ministry activities beyond the annual back to school clothing distribution.

BR photo by Norman Jameson

Rose Marie Phillips reaches across the table to find an item for a shopper while Wendy, right, and her mother-in-law Martha shop for Wendy's children.

It hosts an annual Junior Camp, a sportsman’s banquet in partnership with Oakwoods Baptist Church, Christmas and Easter dramas, a HallowHim fall event at Halloween, Angel Tree ministry to children of incarcerated parents and outreach performances by such groups as the Jeremiah People and Power Team.

This year’s clothing distribution was to the largest group of children and adults in its 10-year history. At its heart is Hash, a volunteer who says she does it “because I’ve been in their shoes.”

“I know what it’s like to be a single mom and hold two jobs and not pay the doctor so I could buy food,” Hash said. Today she works in human resources at a local prison, following 19 years in a similar role with the Employment Security Commission.

Blessed with a missions heart and organizational drive, Hash ramrods the clothing effort and corrals volunteers with the promise of sharing her joy.

“You know when God tells you there is a need and there is something you can do, you follow what God wants you to do,” she said. “God has given me a talent to do organizational stuff and I love putting it to work.”

She provided 3,000 flyers to school counselors asking them to invite students they knew are on free or reduced lunch at school; and all clothing and food pantry clients are invited to the back to school clothing giveaway.

Volunteers are sensitive to the practical realities of such events. Rachel Lyall, who operates the regular clothing closet, said volunteers do not put out any clothes they would not wear themselves.

“Why take your used clothing to Goodwill?” Hash would ask of other Christians. “Give them to someone who can use them, for free.”

Lyall says if they don’t have enough clothes they pray.

Once they received 42 pairs of jeans five minutes after they prayed for the need.

She supplies clothes for people going to job interviews, and once found a lavender dress in the racks she didn’t even know she had that was just right for a woman who came needing a dress in which to bury her sister.

Food pantry active

Steve Hash is Vicki’s husband and he operates the food pantry at Peace Haven.

By wise and careful purchasing he turned $20,000 in budget and donations last year into $240,000 worth of distributed food.

While you might not think of rural North Carolina as a place needing a food pantry, Hash said many areas around North Wilkesboro remind him of the poverty stricken areas of West Virginia where he lived as a youth.

People can’t find jobs, said Lyall. They are coming to the church for clothing and food. “We always see they get what they need,” she said.

8/28/2008 3:54:00 AM by Norman Jameson, BR Editor | with 2 comments

Former IMB leader takes Kansas City DOM post

August 28 2008 by Vicki Brown, Associated Baptist Press

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A former high-ranking International Mission Board (IMB) leader who resigned over policy concerns has accepted an associational director's position in Missouri.

The executive board of the Blue River-Kansas City Baptist Association called Rodney Hammer as the organization's fifth executive director Aug. 19.

In May, Hammer resigned after eight years as IMB's regional leader for Central and Eastern Europe. He cited disagreement with controversial guidelines the board enacted in 2005 regarding new missionary candidates.

The guidelines prohibit appointment of those who acknowledge engaging in a "private prayer language" — a version of speaking in tongues — and require candidates to have been baptized in a church with an understanding of baptism identical to that in most Southern Baptist churches. The IMB will not recognize believer's baptism by immersion if done in a denomination with a differently nuanced baptismal doctrine.

In a letter to missionaries in his region at the time, Hammer said he disagreed with the "unnecessary, extra-biblical narrowing of parameters for Southern Baptist cooperation in the Great Commission (the guidelines) represent."

His resignation triggered a group of current and former missionaries, former board trustees and pastors to issue a statement calling for the IMB to reverse its stand.

8/28/2008 3:53:00 AM by Vicki Brown, Associated Baptist Press | with 0 comments

Priest decodes Wesley diary from 1700s

August 28 2008 by Al Webb, Religion News Service

    LONDON (RNS) A secret, coded diary kept by one of Methodism's founding fathers for 20 years has been deciphered by an Anglican priest in Britain, illuminating historical efforts to keep Methodists in the Church of England.

    The task of decoding Charles Wesley's handwritten 1,000-page journal took the Rev. Kenneth Newport of Liverpool Hope University nine years, he told journalists.

    Wesley's brother, John, founded Methodism. Charles was a prolific hymn writer whose works include "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing."

    Newport said Wesley's complicated writing omitted vowels and abbreviated consonants in a style ascribed typical of a gentleman and preacher of the 1700s.

    Wesley's journal begins with his trip to America in 1736.

    "Charles Wesley has always inspired me, and when I started to study his manuscripts, I kept coming across materials written in what looked like a code of some sort. I was determined to unlock it," Newport said.

   The journal offers an insight into Wesley's determination to prevent the Methodist Societies from breaking away from the Church of England, according to the Times of London.

    It also detailed "disagreements with his more influential brother"

John over whether the movement should break with the Church of England.

  The two volumes that Newport has translated make up what has been described as the first complete transcription of the text.

8/28/2008 1:13:00 AM by Al Webb, Religion News Service | with 0 comments

S. Baptists' views of scripture studied

August 27 2008 by Mark Kelly, Baptist Press

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Research from two studies by LifeWay Research indicates a disconnect between Southern Baptist pastors' view of scripture and those of the people in their pews.

The research arm of LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention conducted one study this spring among a representative sample of 778 Southern Baptist pastors. A second study, in 2007, surveyed 2,500 adults who attend a Protestant church at least once a month, including 260 who attend Southern Baptist churches.

Southern Baptist pastors were asked to indicate their level of agreement with the statement, "I believe in the divine inspiration of scripture." Among Southern Baptist pastors, 100 percent strongly agreed with that statement.

To clarify further their beliefs about scripture, Southern Baptist pastors were asked to agree or disagree with the statement, "I believe in the inerrancy of scripture." Among Southern Baptist pastors, 97 percent strongly agreed with that statement, another 2 percent somewhat agreed and 0 percent disagreed.

Ed Stetzer, director of LifeWay Research, noted, "It is clear that the 'inerrancy' debate is settled among the SBC pastors we surveyed. They all believe in inspiration with a very small percent not also affirming inerrancy. This is a remarkably high number."

Although Southern Baptists strongly believe in inerrancy, they indicated that the "battle for the Bible" is not over. LifeWay Research asked for the pastors' level of agreement with the statement, "In the Southern Baptist Convention, the battle for the Bible is over and won."

On this item, opinions differed dramatically from the questions of inspiration and inerrancy. The majority of Southern Baptist pastors disagreed with the statement (21 percent strongly disagreed and 31 percent somewhat disagreed). At the same time, a large minority agreed (9 percent strongly agreed while 33 percent somewhat agreed).

"The numbers remind us that we still have work to do," said Thom S. Rainer, president of LifeWay Christian Resources. "Yes, we have settled the issue of the authority of scripture in our confession. That battle is over and done. However, I believe that the battle for the authority and sufficiency of God's Word is never really done. It is as old as the Garden of Eden and will continue until Jesus comes back. As we can see, Southern Baptists pastors are overwhelmingly inerrantists — but they are also discerning enough to know that we must always be on guard against compromise and error."

Brad Waggoner, vice president of B&H Publishing Group, in his upcoming book The Shape of Faith to Come, reports that only 69 percent of adults who attend an SBC church at least once a month strongly agree that "the Bible is the written Word of God and is totally accurate in all that it teaches." Eleven percent in the LifeWay Research survey somewhat agreed with the statement, 11 percent neither agreed nor disagreed, 5 percent disagreed somewhat and 3 percent disagreed strongly.

Research for Waggoner's book also indicated that only 76 percent of adults who attend an SBC church at least once a month strongly agree that "the Bible is the authoritative source of truth and wisdom for daily living." Twelve percent somewhat agree, 8 percent neither agreed nor disagreed, 2 percent somewhat disagreed and 1 percent strongly disagreed.

Scott McConnell, associate director of LifeWay Research, said this shows that, "While Southern Baptist pastors are united in their view of the inerrancy of scripture, they must be aware that 1 out of 4 people who attend their churches each month consider the Bible less than totally accurate or authoritative."

Research for The Shape of Faith to Come was conducted in 2007 among 2,500 adults who attend a Protestant church at least once a month. The Southern Baptist sample within this study provides 95 percent confidence that sampling error did not exceed plus 6.1 percent. All of the other questions were included in an online survey of 778 Southern Baptist senior pastors in 2008. The pastors agreed to be surveyed online while participating in a previous survey that was mailed to all Southern Baptist pastors. While the number responding to individual questions varies, the sample size provides 95 percent confidence that sampling error did not exceed plus 3.5 percent.

(EDITOR’S NOTE — Kelly is an assistant editor for Baptist Press.)

8/27/2008 9:54:00 AM by Mark Kelly, Baptist Press | with 0 comments

Couple finds ministry in finding jobs for others

August 27 2008 by Patty E. Shaver, BR Graphics Editor

Trinity Baptist Church photo

Jobs for Life instructor Rick Royals encourages classroom discussion about why students want to work.

Laid off. Downsized. Restructured.

No matter what it’s called, unemployment can be a life-changing experience filled with stress and uncertainty.

In the current labor market, job loss can strike anyone, at any time, at all levels of the career ladder. When it does happen, Rick and Pat Royals of Raleigh are ready to help and encourage others to find employment.

Business partner

Rick, owner of Royals Contracting, Inc. and a Jobs for Life business partner, approached Hal Melton, associate pastor of Trinity Baptist Church in Raleigh, about having Jobs for Life (JfL) classes taught at the church. Soon after presenting the program to the church they had 40 volunteers. Many mentored students; some instructed classes or sought business partners to interview students for open positions. Others prepared snacks, provided childcare and drove students to the church for class.

As a business owner, Rick seeks employees who want to improve themselves. Jobs for Life helps students do that in several ways; it gives them self-esteem and confidence, maybe even for the first time in their lives, said Rick. Jobs for Life gives them the employment readiness skills they need to succeed.

Instructors teach job seeking, job keeping skills.
The curriculum is based on biblical concepts applicable to the work world. Some lessons are about gifts; others teach how Joseph and David did what it took to overcome their roadblocks to succeed.

Mock interviews prepared students for real job interviews and Internet job search workshops prepared them to find potential employers. Area business people participated in an open forum providing students the opportunity to practice delivering their 60-second commercial to potential employers. This experience also enabled students the chance to ask questions about occupations, and some received job leads.

Instructors teach students that attitude is everything, said Rick. Students gain confidence and learn how to write a resume, how to prepare for interviews and how to get and keep a job. It teaches them how to be better organized and how to communicate.

Mentors — champions and cheerleaders

Last semester, Pat mentored a student who had a full-time job at the start of class, but was living in a shelter with her young children.

“We helped her make the right contacts to get out and be independent,” Pat said. “We helped her get an additional part-time job once she was out of the shelter.”

Relationship is very important to the student, to be there next to them every step of the way, Pat said. “I find it very rewarding.”

Being a mentor for Jobs for Life “gives me a feeling of satisfaction in doing the Lord’s work,” Pat said. “It’s not about me, but about giving praise and glory to God, and giving the students the tools they need to get out of the situation they are in.”

“After seeing how much they progressed from the first class to the last, I feel like a proud parent,” she said.

Changed lives

This experience has “given me a different outlook on life, said Rick. “I came to realize that some students didn’t have what I had growing up. Some didn’t have much parental influence — some had only one parent, others no parents — no love.

For the first time in their lives they had someone who sincerely spent time with them, either a mentor or instructor who clearly let them know that they care.”

Rick said being involved in this program has changed the way he communicates with employees. He’s more “open and able to talk with employees,” he said.

He uses the JfL approach, which “gives me the opportunity to talk about these principles and explain how to succeed. And that they’re created to work and God will help them succeed,” said Rick. “I’m more than their employer.”


“Jobs for Life is a big part of our life,” Rick said. “This is something we can do together.”

“I feel privileged. It’s encouraging to be part of Trinity Baptist Church and to know we have people who care about Jobs for Life as much as we do. It’s a blessing to be a part of that,” Rick said.

For more information about Jobs for Life, go to

8/27/2008 6:16:00 AM by Patty E. Shaver, BR Graphics Editor | with 0 comments

Christians attacked in Indian state of Orissa

August 27 2008 by Eron Henry, Baptist World Alliance

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Christians are under attack in the state of Orissa in eastern India, according to information from the Baptist World Alliance (BWA).
More than 600 churches have been demolished, 4,000 Christians forced to flee from their villages, and at least 25 killed as a result of violent persecution.
In response to the attacks BWA General Secretary Neville Callam said, “Unfortunate events have taken place in Orissa in recent days. These began with the senseless killing of Hindu Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati on Aug. 23. I am disappointed by the false claim that Christians have responsibility for this murder and I am saddened by the atrocities being visited on Christians in Orissa.”
Vishwa Hindu Parishad religious leader Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati and four of his associates were murdered in the Kandhamal District of Orissa Aug. 23. Although a Maoist group claimed responsibility for the murders, supporters of the slain leader claim that Christians were behind the killings. Hindu fundamentalists have launched a series of attacks against Christians in retaliation.  
Since Aug. 24, churches, schools and other institutions, prayer rooms, and homes of Christians have been ransacked, burnt and destroyed. Christians have been assaulted and reportedly at least twenty-five have been killed, some of them burnt alive or cut into pieces.
In an Aug. 26 email to the BWA, Swarupananda Patra, general secretary of the All Orissa Baptist Churches Federation, said, “All Christian villages (are) empty in Kandhamal as Christians, old and young, sick and pregnant mothers (are) hiding in forests exposed to the non-stop monsoon rains without food.”
He reported that Kandhamal is the hardest hit, with at least eight Christians killed and almost all Christian homes demolished, but Christians in the districts of Balasore, Bargarh, and Kalahandi are also experiencing severe persecution.
P. Ramesh Kumar, principal of the Balasore Technical School, reported to BWA Aug. 25, “We are all under immense danger and threat from these groups. Please continue to uphold us in your prayer particularly for the safety of Christian brothers and sisters who are now hiding themselves in jungles.”
“I appeal to the governing authorities in India to intervene to save the lives of the many who are being victimized in the current crisis,” said Callam. “Respect for the principle of religious liberty and the sacredness of human life requires nothing less.  I also appeal to all Baptists worldwide to pray God’s protection for our brothers and sisters in Orissa.”

Patra also appealed for prayer. “Now we have no request except prayer from our Baptist world as we do not know how to face tomorrow.”

This is not the first time Christians in Orissa have experienced violent attacks. In December 2007, Hindu militants burned approximately 90 churches and 600 homes, killing an estimated 10 persons.
There are several Baptist conventions and unions in Orissa state that are member bodies of the BWA, with total membership in Orissa of nearly 500,000 baptized believers and approximately 3,500 churches.

8/27/2008 2:10:00 AM by Eron Henry, Baptist World Alliance | with 0 comments

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