August 2011

11 Irene-affected states to see relief units

August 31 2011 by Mickey Noah, Baptist Press

ALPHARETTA, Ga. — In the wake of Hurricane Irene — which has now claimed 40 lives — Southern Baptist Disaster Relief (SBDR) leaders and volunteers are mobilizing for an 11-state disaster response.

Coordinated by the North American Mission Board’s disaster operations center in Alpharetta, Ga., Southern Baptists are deploying to respond in 11 states up and down the East Coast — North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont.

In Ludlow and other towns in Vermont, flooding triggered by Hurricane Irene has inundated countless homes and businesses. In many New England communities, flooded roads and washed out bridges are logistical challenges for disaster relief work, such as provided by Southern Baptist Disaster Relief. “Eventually the Southern Baptist relief organizations will get here,” Terry Dorsett, a Baptist leader in Vermont said, “but until then, we can't just sit and wait. We have to some stuff until reinforcements arrive.”

The American Red Cross has asked SBDR to generate the capacity to prepare and deliver 100,000 meals a day in North Carolina, 50,000 meals in Virginia, 15,000 meals in New England and 5,000 meals in New York.

Deployments include:

— In the Tar Heel State, feeding kitchens from state conventions in North Carolina, Mississippi and Florida have deployed to provide meals for victims, responders and volunteers.

— In hard-hit New England, conventions from New England, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky and Ohio will staff feeding units.

— New York and Mississippi conventions will provide feeding units in New York state.

— In Virginia, the Virginia Baptist Mission Board (VBMB) and Southern Baptist Conservatives of Virginia (SBCV) conventions will handle all feeding in the state. VBMB and South Carolina are providing five shower and laundry units for Virginia.

Because Hurricane Irene turned out to be more of a rain event than a wind event, SBDR mud-out teams are in heavy demand to assist victims whose homes were flooded in some areas where as much as 14 inches of rainfall were recorded.

North Carolina has requested 10 chainsaw and 10 mud-out teams. Seven chainsaw teams — four from Mississippi and three from Arkansas — already are headed to North Carolina, with four more teams from the two states on standby. In all, North Carolina DR leaders have requested 20 recovery teams.

VBMB is providing three shower and laundry units in Lawrenceville and Warsaw, Va., while the Maryland/Delaware convention has asked for four chainsaw teams and two assessors to survey damage there.

Needs are still being assessed in New Jersey and Vermont, where massive flooding has caused entire towns to be stranded by overflowing creeks and rivers that washed out roads and bridges.

As if the SBDR response to Hurricane Irene wasn’t challenging enough, work continues for the seventh week in Minot, N.D., where June floods ravaged that city of 40,000.

“We can’t forget about the serious situation and the needs of flood victims in Minot,” Caison noted. A full complement of mud-out, feeding and shower/laundry volunteers currently are working in Minot, where SBDR volunteers have worked 4,600 volunteer days to provide some 114,000 meals and complete 117 mud-out jobs.

But dozens of mud-out crews — representing many state DR teams over the past six weeks — have only been able to complete about a fourth of the total requests for mud-out by Minot homeowners. Caison said mud-out work in Minot must be completed before the end of September, when colder temperatures come to the North Dakota area. SBDR assets encompass 82,000 trained volunteers, including chaplains, and some 1,550 mobile units for feeding, chainsaw, mud-out, command, communication, child care, shower, laundry, water purification, repair/rebuild and power generation.

SBDR is one of the largest mobilizers of trained, credentialed disaster relief volunteers in the United States, including the Red Cross and Salvation Army.

Southern Baptists and others who want to donate to disaster relief operations can contact their respective state conventions or, for NAMB’s disaster relief fund, go to and hit the “donate” button. Other ways to donate are to call (866) 407-NAMB (6262) or mail checks to NAMB, P.O. Box 116543, Atlanta, GA 30368-6543. Donations can also be sent via texting “NAMBDR” to the number “40579.” A one-time donation of $10 will be added to the caller’s mobile phone bill or deducted from any prepaid balance.

To help in North Carolina, visit

(EDITOR’S NOTE — Noah writes for the North American Mission Board.)  

Related stories
NCBM serves meals to Williamston area victims
Feeding/recovery underway in New Bern
N.C. Baptist respond to wind, floods from Irene
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8/31/2011 9:48:00 AM by Mickey Noah, Baptist Press | with 0 comments

Feeding/recovery underway in New Bern

August 31 2011 by Melissa Lilley, BSC Communications

NEW BERN — When Steve Wynn serves behind the food assembly line he meets hurting people, yet he finds that being out in the community surveying damage to homes is even more overwhelming. That’s when he really gets to sit down and talk with victims of natural disasters.

“People ask what I say to them. I really don’t. I just listen,” Wynn said. “I let them tell their story.”

BSC photo by Melissa Lilley

Volunteers with a North Carolina Baptist Men feeding team form an assembly line to prepare meals for people without power in the wake of Hurricane Irene.

By day three of helping coordinate Hurricane Irene recovery efforts in New Bern, Wynn already had plenty of opportunities to listen. One woman was so upset when she came to First Baptist — where N.C. Baptist Men (NCBM) is set up with a feeding/recovery operation — she couldn’t even put into words her request. Volunteers followed up with her a few hours later and learned that her home is now condemned due to extensive water damage.

Wynn is a 15-year disaster relief volunteer with most of his experience in mass feeding. More recently he has cross-trained in recovery efforts and is coordinating those efforts in New Bern. Wynn and the volunteers serving in recovery are focusing their immediate efforts on trying to save homes from further damage. They are removing trees that have fallen on top of homes so that tarps can be placed to cover the roof before another thunderstorm rolls in.

Kim McIntyre was part of a team from River of Leland Church in Wilmington that arrived Sunday afternoon to begin helping with recovery in New Bern. She spent a lot of her time talking with the homeowners and just listening to their story.

At every job site, recovery teams try to be intentional in their efforts to share the gospel. They also give homeowners a Bible and offer to pray with them. The second home the team visited that Sunday was of a husband and wife in their 80s. That day, the husband prayed to receive Jesus as his personal Lord and Savior.

At one home, the team met a man who was a cancer patient and couldn’t even go in his yard. At another home they met a woman who recently broke her back. Home after home, the team met people in unique circumstances. “They were hurting and needed help,” McIntyre said.

BSC photo by Mike Crewell

Walker Carriker, left, a North Carolina Baptist Men volunteer, interacts with a young child and her mother as they wait in line to get a hot meal. Carriker is a member of Etowah Baptist Church in western North Carolina.

McIntyre said the homeowners were surprised that someone was willing to help and to go beyond just helping with a small task. “They were expecting us to do little things,” she said. But the team cut down trees and cleaned entire yards, whatever needed to be done.

Volunteer teams have completed about 20 job requests in the New Bern area since Sunday afternoon.

Bill Martin, coordinator for the recovery unit in Greenville, said so far NCBM volunteers have received 217 job requests from residents in Greenville and nearby communities.

As of Tuesday, more than 210,000 homes and businesses through eastern North Carolina were without power. Steve Fitzgerald, pastor of First Baptist in New Bern, was waiting for power to be turned back on in his home. A number of his church members live near the river, and their homes suffered much damage. Some church members have not left their property because trees are still blocking the roads.

Fitzgerald is an active disaster relief volunteer. He first learned about disaster relief ministry 10 years ago while living in Charleston as a stockbroker. When Hurricane Hugo hit Charleston, Tennessee volunteers served meals out of the parking lot of the church where Fitzgerald attended.

Around the same time Fitzgerald suffered a business failure. “I lost everything,” he said. “I had to ask for help.” Fitzgerald said God used that to point his life in a different direction, and about two years later he answered God’s call to full-time vocational ministry. Because of that experience he better understands what it’s like for the people he has met this week who are asking for help.

NCBM leadership continues to assess needs not only in New Bern, but throughout eastern North Carolina. As a result, more “hubs” are being set up where volunteers can serve. The New Bern site, as well as Greenville, Williamston and Manteo sites, were ready Monday.

NCBM is now also working recovery units out of Kinston and Atlantic, a shower/laundry unit out of Rodanthe/Salvo, and a temporary emergency childcare unit is set up in Pamlico County. Baptist Men volunteers from Florida are helping with both recovery and feeding efforts in Washington, and Baptist Men volunteers from Mississippi are doing the same in Ahoskie. Preparations at the feeding sites begin early. By 4:30 a.m. volunteers are setting up, and by 9 a.m., 800 lunches had already been sent out from New Bern to nearby communities.

The New Bern site prepared more than 11,000 meals Tuesday, up from the 5,100 count on Monday. NCBM have prepared more than 60,000 meals this week. As additional feeding units in Washington and Ahoskie get underway, NCBM expects to feed more than 30,000 people today.

By 10:15 a.m., a group was already gathered at First Baptist in New Bern waiting to eat lunch.

For some, such as Wendy Sawyer and Bridget James, this would be their first hot meal since Friday. James said the water came into her first floor apartment, into the kitchen and bathroom, and a mold/mildew smell has taken over the home. Both women have several children to care for while they try to put their homes, and their lives, back in order.

Thousands of North Carolinians are trying to get their lives back to some sense of normalcy.

Areas of the Outer Banks are still closed to visitors, and some remain closed even to residents. More than 800 people remain at one of 13 shelters located throughout Hurricane stricken areas. Volunteers are still needed to help with disaster relief efforts. Visit

Related stories
NCBM serves meals to Williamston area victims
11 Irene-affected states to see relief units
Irene relief work faces logistical challenges
N.C. Baptists respond to wind, floods from Irene
8/31/2011 9:42:00 AM by Melissa Lilley, BSC Communications | with 0 comments

Garner father, son take ‘Courageous’ roles

August 31 2011 by Dianna L. Cagle, BR Assistant Managing Editor

When Rusty Martin Jr. was born, his parents, Rusty Sr. and Kim, were awestruck by the miracle God had given them.

Since doctors had told them having a child was unlikely they said they have treasured their son during his 16 years on earth.

“We’ve just been very blessed to raise him,” Rusty Sr. said.

Junior’s big screen debut comes Sept. 30 when “Courageous,” the latest offering from Sherwood Baptist Church in Albany, Ga., opens in 900 theaters across America.

The film highlights the importance of fathers, and shows how five different men, four of whom work together on the police force, struggle to become better fathers.

Junior plays Dylan Mitchell, the son of Adam Mitchell, played by Alex Kendrick, who also helped write the script. The role was a stretch for Junior, who calls his father his best friend.

Contributed photo

Once Adam Mitchell, right, played by Alex Kendrick, begins to step up in his role as a father, he begins running with his son Dylan Mitchell, left, played by Garner resident Rusty Martin Jr.

Rusty Sr. also has a part in the film. He plays a businessman who challenges one of the characters with a moral dilemma.

The Martins are members of Turner Memorial Baptist Church in Garner. The screenings of the film across the state have raised interest in the father and son.

The family was in Atlanta, Ga., Aug. 26 for the red-carpet premiere.

Junior is a sophomore at Wake Christian Academy, and his father owns a precious metals business. Kim is a hearing instruments specialist. The parents have flexible work schedules to coordinate with Rusty Jr.’s filming schedule. Rusty Sr. said he generally only takes roles filmed in the area or short-term gigs so he can be home with his family. Rusty Jr. is thankful to have Christian parents who have helped his faith. While Rusty Jr. is taking all honors classes, he said his favorites tend to be science and history. In the midst of juggling a budding acting career, Rusty Jr. tries to stay active in his church’s youth group. “I call acting a passion,” Rusty Jr. said.

He’s not sure about college yet but is considering the Air Force Academy in Colorado. He’s waiting to see what God’s will is for his life.

Getting started

When Rusty Jr. was in third grade, no one had tried out for the main role for the school play, so he auditioned.

That was just the beginning. It wasn’t long before he’d found a talent agency and was filming his first commercial.

One of the activities he likes is Boy Scouts. He is working his way toward Eagle Scout.

“I’ve been working at it for such a long time now,” he said.   He was 14 when he was cast in “Courageous.”

While Rusty Sr. followed his son into acting, he was the first one cast in “Courageous.” They sent audition tapes in and also auditioned via the Internet.

Of the films in which they’ve been involved, “Courageous” was the most family friendly. They would routinely work for a week or two and give breaks for actors and crew to have time for family.

Both actors said they want people to be changed by “Courageous.”

While Rusty Jr. said his relationship was “rock solid” with his dad before the movie, he said the film’s subject challenged him to be a better son. Rusty Sr. echoed the sentiment about being a better father.

Rusty Sr. indicated his family life was not the happiest. He said he was fortunate that when he was in his 30s he met some men who modeled manhood and displayed what a godly home should look like.

He married Kim when he was 33. When Rusty Jr. was born, “I determined he was going to be a priority.”

While the family has seen several screenings of the movie, in the next few weeks they’ll be seeing it again with family and churches.

Contributed photo

One of the activities Rusty Martin Sr. and his son Rusty Jr. like to do together is go to the shooting range. The two will be on screen in “Courageous,” a film by Sherwood Baptist Church in Albany, Ga., which opens Sept. 30.

“I get emotional every time I see it,” Rusty Sr. said. “It just really tugs at the heart. It makes you want to stand tall and makes you want to do better as a father.”

Father and son would love to work together again, and Rusty Sr. said he would love to play father-son on screen.

In the meantime, Rusty Sr. might be seen in a new production called “Snitched,” developed by Cross Shadow Productions.

See It was filmed in Apex. Father and son also recently worked on Destiny Road, a film for Brazil but filmed in North Carolina.


As the film nears its debut, more people are contacting the Martins about speaking at their church or appearing at the movie theater to answer questions.

Both Rusty Jr. and Sr. said this picture has raised the bar for Christian films.

“This is a film that Christians can be proud of,” Rusty Sr. said. “A guy who goes to see it on Friday night, on Sunday afternoon he can grab his neighbor and take that guy to the theater and be proud of this product.”

Some churches are buying tickets for members and for guests to go the opening weekend. Some have private screenings scheduled opening weekend.

Kim handles the Garner area, and she said there has been a positive response to ticket sales.

She mentioned one church bought more than 100 tickets for first responders. At the movie the church will invite them to its services that following Sunday to meet a couple of local actors from the film.

“Courageous” opens in theaters Sept. 30.

Ways churches can help

Seeing “Courageous” is just the beginning of how churches can use the movie as a ministry tool. Churches can buy tickets for opening weekend ( and can find resources at another website,

The following are ways churches can support and use the movie for ministry:

Buy all the tickets for a showing. Churches can rent out a theater so their congregation can see the movie together.

Towns where “Courageous” is not playing can also get in the action and bring the movie in by pledging to purchase 1,000 tickets. (For more information go to and click “Take Action.”)

Have church at the movies. Instead of a traditional Sunday morning service, churches can call their theater to set up a morning showing and provide childcare back at the church nursery for families who attend.

Give tickets to chaplains, law enforcement officers and first responders.

Invite unchurched friends, coworkers or family to see the movie.

Put up posters and flyers to promote the movie on church campuses or in the community.

Embed the movie trailer on church websites. (To find the trailer, go to the movie’s website and click on “Click Here to Watch the Trailer.” Then copy the code beneath the video.)

Plan a sermon or series on fatherhood either leading to or following the movie’s release.

Use “Courageous” material to start a men’s ministry or to study in an existing one. (Resources, including small group guides, can be found at

Reaching out to men with an event like a breakfast or special service honoring fathers.  

  • The Resolution for Men by Stephen Kendrick and Alex Kendrick, with Randy Alcorn
  • The Resolution for Women by Priscilla Shirer, with Alex and Stephen Kendrick
  • Courageous Living - Dare to Take a Stand by Michael Catt
  • Rite of Passage - A Father’s Blessing by Jim McBride
  • Courageous - The Novel by Randy Alcorn
  • Stepping Up: A Call to Courageous Manhood by Dennis Rainey
Other resources

DaySpring has produced greeting cards as well as a framed print of “The Resolution” that is available. Check for priced materials relating to the movie.

Other family-friendly sites
  • Focus on the Family –
  • All Pro Dad –
    • Tony Dungy, former Indianapolis Colt head coach, has created a website promoting how to be an All Pro Dad.
    • Lauren Dungy has a similar site to her husband’s promoting motherhood.

Men at the Cross conference
Date: Nov. 5; Time: 8 a.m.-12:45 p.m.
Location: First Baptist Church, Shallotte
Speakers include Joe White, Rick Rigsby, Ted Cunningham, and Joe Brown.

There is also a track for teen guys ages 13-18. White and Adam Donyes will lead the teens. The featured artist is Christopher Julian. Other conferences are in development for Raleigh and Winston-Salem.  

Iron Sharpens Iron
Date/location: Nov. 5 at The Park Church in Charlotte

Four resource CDs are available featuring interviews and message clips from national leaders. Each CD has seven tracks and each track is five to eight minutes long. Visit for more information.

Greensboro church ‘Fireproof’

Southside Baptist Church in Greensboro formed an action squad when “Fireproof” came to theaters. In place of their regular Sunday evening service on opening weekend of “Fireproof,” the church bought all the seats at their local theater.

Members were encouraged to buy tickets not only for themselves, but also for unchurched friends, with whom they could then enjoy dinner and discussion after the movie.

In the following weeks, Pastor Patrick Fuller preached a sermon series on marriage, and Sunday school classes focused on “Fireproof” were offered.

Three years later, 75 new families that were part of that outreach are members of the church. The church held a special “Courageous” Father’s Day service in June in an effort to purchase tickets opening weekend (Sept. 30-Oct. 2).

Triangle initiative

An Action Squad coordinated by a Triangle radio station is recruiting people to buy tickets for first responders and their spouses.

The same squad helped 500 first responders see “Fireproof,” another film from Sherwood, when it debuted.
8/31/2011 9:07:00 AM by Dianna L. Cagle, BR Assistant Managing Editor | with 0 comments

Irene relief work faces logistical challenges

August 30 2011 by Baptist Press

ALPHARETTA, Ga. — Ironically, on Aug. 29 — the sixth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina — Hurricane Irene has almost ended her 1,500-mile path of destruction from North Carolina to eastern Canada.

By all accounts, Irene could have been much worse. But that’s little consolation for the estimated 65 million people impacted on the East Coast – some of whom lost loved ones while many others are facing flood damage from the Category 1 hurricane that reached 600 miles in width.

According to news accounts, Hurricane Irene resulted in 25 deaths, some 2.4 million Americans being evacuated from their homes and 4.5 million without electricity. Irene’s damage estimates range from a low of $7 billion to $20 billion. Katrina, by comparison, inflicted damages of $105.8 billion in Mississippi and Louisiana alone, according to the National Hurricane Center.

“While Irene was not a wind event, it was still a rain event which is producing extreme flooding,” said Mickey Caison, national coordinator for Southern Baptist Disaster Relief (SBDR) with the North American Mission Board in Alpharetta, Ga.

“The flooding continues to develop,” Caison said, adding, “We’re seeing where trees are down due to wind and tornadoes. A lot of roads and bridges are out, so getting into some of these areas is going to take a while. There are some great needs out there.”

It will take a couple more days to get full deployment, Caison said.

“Assessment has to be done. We have to determine where we can house volunteers. Because so much of the damage is in the New England/New York area, we don’t have a lot of churches there, so we have to build the infrastructure to logistically support our teams.”

North Carolina and its Outer Banks caught much of Irene’s fury as a Category 3 hurricane. In the Tar Heel State alone, 1.3 million people were affected and 300,000 people remain without power. Officials estimated that North Carolina suffered $600 million in damages in 14 counties, including 137 washed-out roads and 19 destroyed or damaged bridges. Bunyan, N.C., recorded 14 inches of rain, while Cedar Island, N.C., endured 115 mph winds.

Photo by Pamlico County Relief.

The deluge of rain and gusts of wind from Hurricane Irene, shown here in New Bern, was replicated up and down the East Coast. Baptist disaster relief crews, in Irene’s aftermath, are deploying to help feed storm victims and relief workers, while chainsaw teams are busy removing fallen trees and limbs.

Three SBDR feeding and mud-out units from Mississippi already are en route to North Carolina, said Gaylon Moss, a DR coordinator for the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina.

The state DR team in New York already has activated one feeding unit, reported Mike

Flannery, state DR director for the New York Baptist Convention. Flannery said due to serious flooding west of the Hudson River, feeding will be vital for at least two weeks. He said the feeding unit hopes to be cooking several thousand meals a day by Tuesday evening. The New York feeding unit can prepare up to 15,000 meals a day, but Flannery said he needs more feeding volunteer workers to reach that number. A Mississippi Baptist feeding team also is headed to New York.

Flooding is particularly bad in Vermont, where so many cities and towns are built along rivers, said Bruce James, state DR director for the Baptist Convention of New England. Flooding caused by Hurricane Irene in Vermont – also hit by heavy flooding earlier this year – is the worst since 1923, James said. Thousands of citizens are inaccessible because of washed-out roads and bridges, including century-old, irreplaceable covered bridges.

How does Hurricane Irene stack up with Hurricanes Ike and Gustav, which ravaged Louisiana, Texas and the Gulf Coast back in September 2008? In response to those two hurricanes, SBDR feeding units prepared more than 5 million meals for victims, responders and volunteers.

“The reality is that we could end up with same amount of damage spread from North Carolina to Canada,” Caison said. “There’s significant damage in North Carolina, Virginia, New England and New York. But where Ike and Gustav were very concentrated along the Gulf Coast, this is spread out over 1,500-1,800 miles.”

Eastern Canada wound up as Irene’s final stop of destruction, with wind gusts peaking at 30-50 mph in eastern Quebec, the St. Lawrence Valley, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. Irene’s wind and rain were slated to end across Labrador on Tuesday.

“Canada also has disaster relief but their deployment is different from ours, in that Canada’s military is more heavily involved,” Caison said. “There will be a limited amount of work available for our volunteers in Canada.”

Endel Lee, NAMB’s national coordinator for disaster relief chaplaincy, said Southern Baptist chaplains will be concentrated in the higher population areas with the most hurricane damage, although every mud-out, chainsaw and feeding team will include an embedded chaplain. Lee said SBDR chaplains also will partner with chaplains representing the Red Cross and Salvation Army.

Related stories
NCBM serves meals to Williamston area victims
N.C. Baptists respond to wind, floods from Irene
11 Irene-affected states to see relief units
Feeding/recovery underway in New Bern
8/30/2011 8:36:00 AM by Baptist Press | with 0 comments

N.C. Baptists respond to wind, floods from Irene

August 29 2011 by BSC Communications

North Carolina Baptist Men (NCBM) staff and volunteers were already mapping out a plan of action less than 24 hours after Hurricane Irene came ashore North Carolina’s coast. The Category 1 storm pounded the state’s coast with rain and wind most of the day Saturday, leaving thousands of North Carolinians still without power.

Some parts of the state fared better than expected, such as Oak Island, where the N.C. Baptist Assembly at Fort Caswell sits. No damage was reported there.

Richard Brunson, NCBM executive director-treasurer, said the hardest hit areas in the state appear to be near Pamlico Sound, Carteret County and the Outer Banks. Trained NCBM assessors have been on the ground since Sunday night and early today surveying the damage and helping identify the greatest needs.

“In any disaster, we try to find out where we are needed most, and we have to base that on good information. We rely on our assessors to help us make these decisions,” Brunson said. “Then, we find hubs where we can serve out of. Places where volunteers can eat and sleep, and then go out into surrounding communities to work.”

As of Sunday afternoon, NCBM had identified three “hubs,” with the possibility of adding more. Brunson said sometimes the hardest hit areas lack good communication, so adding more feeding and recovery sites is certainly a possibility.

NCBM will set up a feeding/recovery unit at First Baptist Church in New Bern; Memorial Baptist Church in Williamston; and Manteo Baptist Church. NCBM will set up its State Recovery Unit at The Memorial Baptist Church in Greenville. Those sites will be ready for feeding by­­ Monday morning.

Volunteers serving with the recovery units will be helping with anything from mudouts to chainsaw work and removing trees and debris from homes.

Interested volunteers should visit NCBM will contact them as soon as they are able to assess where they can be of most help.

“It is too early at this point to know how long the feeding units will be needed,” Brunson said. “We expect at least a week. How soon people are able to get power back to their homes will play a large part in determining that. However, we expect the recovery process to be much longer.”

Disaster relief teams from nearby states are ready to come and help if necessary.

Brunson expects to feed about 5,000 meals per day at each of these sites. He said NCBM is also looking at doing satellite feeding in Buxton, part of North Carolina’s Outer Banks. That relief effort may, depending on road damage and accessibility, involve using helicopters to bring in food. This plan, if needed, will be coordinated with Emergency Management and other NCBM partners.

NCBM has also provided two sleeper units to the Air Wing Guard stationed in Kinston. They are doing aerial evaluations of the damage and helping assess the needs.

“Thank you for your prayers,” Brunson said. “Although this storm had the potential to affect more people in more parts of our state, we still have many people who need help and who need volunteers to quickly respond. Please continue praying that we will be able to meet physical needs, and that as we do so, we can share the love of Christ."

Brunson also expressed appreciation to all North Carolina Baptists who make NCBM disaster relief ministry possible. "The faithful giving of North Carolina Baptists to the North Carolina Missions Offering keeps this ministry going. We are thankful not only for your willingness to go and serve during disasters such as Irene, but for your sacrificial giving that makes it possible for us to respond in times of disaster."

To donate to NCBM Hurricane Irene relief efforts, visit

Related stories
NCBM serves meals to Williamston area victims
Irene relief work faces logistical challenges
Feeding/recovery underway in New Bern
11 Irene-affected states to see relief units
8/29/2011 10:07:00 AM by BSC Communications | with 0 comments

Messengers to receive cards by September’s end

August 29 2011 by BSC Communications

North Carolina Baptists from across the state will gather in Greensboro Nov. 7-8 for the 181st annual meeting of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina (BSC). The meeting will be held at the Koury Convention Center.

Messengers to the annual meeting should receive messenger cards by the end of September. For questions about messenger cards, call (800) 395-5102, ext. 5555.

Messengers must present their properly signed card to the Credentials Subcommittee at the time of registration in order to receive their messenger packet. For more information about how to complete the cards, visit

All North Carolina Baptists are invited and encouraged to attend the annual meeting. However, messengers are those attendees who have an opportunity to vote during the business sessions.

All cooperating BSC churches are eligible to send messengers to the meeting. The number of messengers a church may send is determined on either a numerical or financial basis:
  • On a numerical basis: Every cooperating church shall be allowed two messengers and one additional messenger for every 100 members or major fraction thereof, beyond the first 100 members, provided that to have more than two messengers the – church financially supports the Cooperative Program by giving at least one percent of undesignated budget gifts through the Cooperative Program of the Convention (for the purposes of this calculation, funds used as matching funds for the expanded annuity shall not be considered).
  • On a financial basis: Every cooperating church giving five percent of undesignated budget gifts through the Cooperative Program shall have two messengers and one additional messenger for every one percent beyond the initial five percent.
Messengers must register in order to be eligible to vote during the business sessions. Registration opens Monday, Nov. 7, at 2 p.m., and will close 30 minutes after the general session that evening. On Nov. 8, registration opens at 8 a.m. and will close once the business session concludes that evening.
8/29/2011 9:52:00 AM by BSC Communications | with 0 comments

Teen girls challenged to missional living at Blume

August 29 2011 by Julie Walters, Woman’s Missionary Union

Approximately 2,350 girls in grades 7 – 12 and their leaders, along with some collegiate young women, gathered for Blume where they were encouraged to appreciate their spiritual and missions heritage and consider ways they could share Christ with others and live a legacy of faith  ... even now in their junior high, high school and college years.

Blume, a three-day missions event for teen girls sponsored by national WMU, took place July 13 – 16 at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.

Each general session featured high-energy music led by Christian recording artist Cindy Johnson and her band from Winston-Salem, N.C., along with this year’s six National Acteens Panelists; a message from author and keynote speaker Chandra Peele of Houston, Texas; messages from a host of international and North American missionaries; and theme interpretation through painting by artist Rianna Freeman of Lafayette, La.

Two of the National Acteens Panelists are from North Carolina: Kianni Curry and Cassie Taylor, both of University Hills Baptist Church in Charlotte. North Carolina ranked third in participants with 234, behind South Carolina and Texas.

Acteens and their leaders from Enon Baptist Church in Morganton have fun in the hallways between sessions.

A focus on “living a legacy” was introduced by the 2011 National Acteens Panelists as they talked about the beginnings of WMU and the legacy of missions they enjoy today thanks to missions advocates in WMU who came before them.  

Fan the flame Citing 2 Timothy 1:3 – 19, the Scripture focus of Blume, keynote speaker Chandra Peele challenged the girls to fan the flame and not be afraid of sharing how Jesus had changed their lives.

“What gift has God put in you that God is fanning the flame on right now?” Peele asked. “But when you think about fanning the flame, what comes next?

“Fear,” she said. “Fear sets in and shuts you down. Satan loves to do that because fear can keep us from all kinds of things.”

Kym Mitchell and Suzanne Reece of national WMU introduced the Power Project, an avenue for Acteens to address human trafficking. In January – human trafficking awareness month – Acteens will be encouraged to learn about the issue; look around their community for ways to educate or minister; and love their neighbor by planning a mission action project to do something about human trafficking. But during Blume, girls and their leaders got a head start as they learned about the reality of human trafficking through general sessions, an interactive experience, and from missionary speakers who are addressing the issue now.

Exploring cultures WMU partnered with Disney’s YES (Youth Education Series) program to provide an interactive cultural experience at Epcot customized for Blume participants.

At each of the three featured countries, the girls also spent time with a Blume facilitator for a biblical component in which they explored the theme for Acteens this year – G3: The Power of a Girl to Change the World. G3 encourages girls to focus on three girls: herself, a girl next door, and a girl on the other side of the world.

Giving opportunities Acteens were encouraged to bring hygiene items, wash cloths, clothes, sneakers, and other items with them to Blume to sort and give to local ministries.

With more than 24,000 donated items, the girls were able to assemble in excess of 3,000 hygiene kits that were given to the Greater Orlando Baptist Association (GOBA). Additional clothing and household items the girls brought, along with nearly $1,500 in Wal-Mart gift cards they donated, went to the Osceola Christian Ministry Center, a local center operated by First Baptist Church of Kissimmee that ministers to the homeless and underemployed through a variety of free services.

Participants were also given the opportunity to make a difference in the life of another girl across the world by giving to the Beginning of Life Foundation in Moldova, a ministry that helps prevent people of all ages from being victims of trafficking.

Blume participants gave $20,758.19 to support the Beginning of Life Foundation, and that total will be matched by First Fruits, Inc.
8/29/2011 9:48:00 AM by Julie Walters, Woman’s Missionary Union | with 0 comments

Literacy missions to host annual conference Oct. 14-16

August 29 2011 by BSC Communications

North Carolina Baptists are invited to the annual North Carolina Literacy Missions Conference October 14-16 at Caraway Conference Center. This year’s theme is “Abiding in Christ.”

About 22 percent of North Carolina adults cannot hold a job that requires reading skills, and many school-age children and youth are at risk and need help.

Literacy Missions wants to help children, youth and adults receive the training they need in order to succeed.

Literacy Missions is a three-fold ministry, reaching internationals through teaching English as a Second Language (ESL), reaching at-risk children and youth through tutoring children and youth, and reaching adults who lack reading skills through adult reading and writing.

Two basic, 16-hour workshops designed for new volunteers will train prospective tutors in ESL or tutoring children and youth. Twenty advanced conference sessions will further equip experienced workers.

Conference participants will receive training from outstanding, nationally known leaders such as Kendale Moore and Gayle Leininger, retired North American Mission Board Literacy Missions missionaries.

Doris Edwards will lead a three hour mini-workshop for those interested in teaching ESL overseas.

Ken Tan, multicultural ministries team leader for the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina (BSC), will lead a session about how to relate to and minister to the many cultures represented in literacy classes.

Other session topics include “Citizenship: What and How to Teach It,” “Spiritual Gifts for Literacy Missions,” “Effective use of ads and commercials,” “Bible Verse Chants,” “Getting Serious About Top-Down Bottom-Up Pronunciation,” “Using Music to Teach ESL,” and “The Top Ten Reasons Students Do Not Drop Out of Class.”

Marshall Edwards of Blowing Rock will bring messages focused on the conference theme. Phil Stone, state Sunday School director, BSC, will lead in worship and music.

Testimonies will also be shared, such as that of Somebody Nogambu, member of Calvary Baptist Church in Winston-Salem. Nogambu, who is the youngest of 19 children, was named ‘Nobody’ by his father. When Nogambu came to faith in Jesus Christ, he had his name legally changed to ‘Somebody.’

Public school teachers are often able to receive Continuing Education Credits for attending the conference. Those interested should contact their county’s public school office for more information.

Cost for attending Friday through Sunday lunch (two nights and six meals) is $150. To attend only through Saturday dinner is $85.

For commuter information and registration details contact Donnie Wiltshire,, (919) 467-5100, ext. 5630, or Maria Luoni,, (919) 467-5100, ext. 5629.

Registration is also available at  

8/29/2011 9:37:00 AM by BSC Communications | with 0 comments

NC Baptist Men ready to respond

August 26 2011 by BSC Communications

Efforts are underway to ready North Carolina Baptists to respond to the aftermath of Hurricane Irene, expected to hit North Carolina’s coast Saturday. All NC Baptist Men (NCBM) volunteers and equipment are on alert, and all units such as feeding, recovery, showers, laundry and chaplaincy are prepared to head east.

Richard Brunson, NCBM Executive Director-Treasurer, said a number of churches have been identified as potential disaster response sites. NCBM is maintaining contact with Emergency Management, Red Cross and other organizations for response.

“We expect this to be a major disaster,” Brunson said. “Pray for the storm to move back east and to reduce intensity. Please pray for the people who are in the path of this storm, and for all the volunteers who will be going to help.”

Many volunteers will be needed; however, potential volunteers are asked to wait until they are notified by NCBM before heading to a disaster site.

“After the Hurricane moves through we will know more about the areas of greatest need and the type of needs,” Brunson said. “We will keep you informed as plans progress. God has blessed us with excellent equipment and volunteers. Our prayer is that God will use our efforts to glorify Him.”

For more information about volunteering click here.

All the ministries of NCBM, including disaster relief efforts, are made possible by gifts to the North Carolina Missions Offering. For more information visit
8/26/2011 9:49:00 AM by BSC Communications | with 0 comments

‘EthnéCITY’ explores urban strategies

August 26 2011 by Erich Bridges, Baptist Press

RICHMOND, Va. – How far do you have to travel to find some of the most spiritually lost people groups in the world?

An hour by subway, tops. Maybe just a five-minute walk.

If you visit or live in New York or Houston, you know firsthand how multicultural U.S. urban centers have become. The New York City metro area is home to about 22 million people. They speak as many as 800 languages. Two-thirds are first-generation immigrants or their children.

Houston, with more than 6 million people, has become a major immigration portal and one of the most ethnically varied cities in North America. One in four Houston residents was born overseas. Some 350 different ethnic people groups have been identified there. More than 150 languages are spoken by students in the Houston public schools.

North American cities such as New York and Houston aren’t just ethnically diverse, however. Like cities around the globe, they are increasingly unreached by the Gospel.

According to current mission research, 584 unengaged, unreached people groups can be found in North America – many of them in urban areas. In other words, these groups haven’t heard the Christian message presented in ways they can understand it and respond to it, and no evangelical group currently has a viable plan to reach them.

Now there’s a way to join others – including some of the top urban mission strategists in the world – to help change that reality.

“EthnéCITY: Reaching the Unreached in the Urban Center,” is a gathering designed for pastors, missionaries, church planters, missions leaders, students and others interested in exploring what it will take to engage unreached people groups in urban centers – both in North America and around the world. The conference will take place in three major cities over the coming months: Oct. 20-22 in New York; Nov. 17-19 in Houston; and May 3-5 in Vancouver, Canada.

EthnéCITY is among the first fruits of a new partnership between the International Mission Board (IMB) and North American Mission Boards (NAMB), reflecting the reality that national borders no longer define the task of missions in a globalized world.

Urban Challenge
More than half of humanity now lives in cities. By the year 2050, that count is projected to top 70 percent. Cities present a distinct set of challenges for Christians seeking to share the Good News of Jesus and plant churches.

IMB file photo.

In New York City, a missionary (right) befriends a young man from the Wolof people group. Many members of the Wolof, a mostly Muslim people in West Africa, have moved to New York. Hundreds of unreached people groups can be found in the cities of North America.

The EthnéCITY conferences will help U.S. church and mission leaders connect with key IMB missionaries and strategists to get to know each other, explore the realities of global urbanization and develop strategies to reach unreached people groups in urban centers of North America and around the world.

“This is just an incredible opportunity to have U.S. city strategists join with our urban missionaries from overseas to ‘cross-pollinate’ and learn from each other,” said Terry Sharp, the International Mission Board’s lead strategist for state and association relations and urban strategies.

“It’s also an opportunity for those churches that are already engaged with an unreached people group to come and learn how to strategize and develop outreach to that people group both overseas and here in the United States,” Sharp continued. “We hope a lot of the churches will realize that many of the people groups they’ve fallen in love with and are hoping to engage may well be right here in the U.S. They can make a connection with others who are trying to reach that same people group.”

EthnéCITY participants will discuss such topics as urban realities that affect evangelism/church planting; urban mapping to understand the demographic challenges of reaching specific areas; how to spark urban church-planting movements; strategies for getting started; casting an urban vision for churches; developing a focused strategy; and how IMB missionaries and U.S. churches/ministry leaders can network and partner to increase effectiveness at home and around the world.

They’ll also hear about what actually works from international and U.S. urban church-planting strategists who will share the tools they are effectively using in their own ministries. Then they’ll personally step into the communities of the cities they’re visiting.

In New York, for example, participants will visit neighborhoods within a one-hour subway ride of the Brooklyn church where conference sessions will be held. “They will go out to different ethnic enclaves around the city to observe and try to engage people in Brooklyn, Queens and Manhattan,” Sharp said. “It will be a good exercise, because they’ll feel more comfortable when they go back to their own cities and implement a plan. It’s not going to be an all-out evangelistic thing; the idea is to try to find a people group, open conversations, engage and get comfortable doing that.”

Dovetail with NAMB
Another plus related to the New York event: It will dovetail with one of the North American Mission Board’s four “Catch the Vision” tours, part of its “Send North America” church-planting strategy. Pastors, mission leaders and church members will meet church planters in four North American cities (including New York), tour neighborhoods and hear their vision for reaching people groups. The Catch the Vision tour in New York is slated for Oct. 18-19 – just before the EthnéCITY conference begins Oct. 20 – making it convenient for people to participate in both.

“Catch the Vision tours are intended to be quick cultural immersions in a specific city where we need established churches to partner with church planters to start new churches,” said Shane Critser, NAMB’s church mobilization team leader. “I’m excited to serve our SBC churches better by partnering with the IMB to host our New York City Catch the Vision right before EthnéCITY, which will help us both be successful in mobilizing and equipping churches to reach our cities through church planting.”

EthnéCITY is one of the first fruits of a new partnership between the International and North American mission boards, and it reflects the reality that national borders no longer define the task of missions in a globalized world.

Messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting in Phoenix in June gave final approval to ministry assignment changes for both mission boards emerging from Great Commission Resurgence Task Force recommendations adopted at the 2010 SBC meeting in Orlando, Fla. One of the assignment changes directs the International Mission Board to “provide specialized, defined and agreed upon assistance to the North American Mission Board in assisting churches to reach unreached and underserved people groups within the United States and Canada.”

“I’ve had conversations for years with U.S. urban strategists who really wanted the opportunity to sit down with our overseas city strategists for dialogue, and we’re finally seeing that take place,” Sharp said. “People across America for a long time have been saying, ‘We just need to come together, share our resources, share best practices, share what we know and pull our best thinkers together. Let’s figure out how we’re going to get the job done of reaching the peoples in our cities.’

“This is an opportunity for us to do that from a global and a North American perspective,” Sharp added, “because in today’s world, it’s not just one or the other.”

(EDITOR’S NOTE – Erich Bridges is an International Mission Board global correspondent. To find out more about the “EthnéCITY” conferences or register, visit To register for “Catch the Vision,” visit
8/26/2011 8:23:00 AM by Erich Bridges, Baptist Press | with 0 comments

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