January 2010

Earthquake victims search for help, hope

January 27 2010 by Alan James, Baptist Press

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — As people in and around Port-au-Prince, Haiti, continue to clamor for food, water and shelter, one International Mission Board (IMB) missionary tried to offer a little hope by simply providing a pen, paper and a listening ear.

IMB photo

Young men walk the streets of Port-au-Prince looking for supplies. IMB missionary Mark Rutledge told the men he would give their names and contact information to a Southern Baptist team that is assessing needs.

While walking along some of the hardest hit streets in Port-au-Prince, Mark Rutledge and an IMB media team found thousands of people searching for someone to help them. The team stopped to talk with a small group of men about the crisis. Before long, the conversation turned to what Rutledge and the team could provide right then.

“We have no food, we have no water,” pleaded one man. “We need help now!”

Another man showed the team a gash in his head from where he was hit by debris.

With only a couple of bottles of water and a bag or two of trail mix, Rutledge considered the risks of giving someone a handout in a crowded street when he didn’t have enough to go around.

The situation could easily become dangerous.

He decided to help another way. He told the men he would give their names and contact information to a Southern Baptist disaster relief team that was assessing needs in the city.

As the men quickly jotted their information on scraps of paper, more people came running to see what was going on. Within 30 minutes, a group of four had turned into more than 50 gathered around Rutledge. Some were on their cell phones spreading the word.

People passed around pens. Some tore off pieces of a nearby flier to write down a name, phone number and street address of where they were staying. An envelope soon surfaced and the notes were stuffed inside.

One man spoke passionately about his needs to Rutledge. As the missionary stood surrounded by a crowd five- to 10-people deep, he calmly wrote down information and offered consolation.

IMB photo

IMB missionary Mark Rutledge holds an envelope filled with dozens and dozens of notes pleading for help in various communities that still have no relief or aid of any kind.

“It’s overwhelming how many need help,” Rutledge said later. “It’s frustrating seeing so many people in the U.S. and other countries wanting to help, but the people here need help now.

“The only thing I can do is encourage them to hold on.

“They don’t see anything happening,” he added. “They want to talk to someone who can make something happen.

“I had no idea it was going to escalate. I knew I had to give people an opportunity to hand me a piece of paper — a sign of hope for them … that something positive would happen in the near future.”

Before Rutledge drove away, he took the envelope filled with the dozens and dozens of scraps of paper — some with long lists of names. One man ran to catch the truck after it left, stopping the team about a mile down the road to hand them his information.

Rutledge delivered the envelope to a Southern Baptist disaster relief assessment team the next day in the Dominican Republic, where he and the IMB media team were staying.

The assessment team, with a caravan of three trucks, then headed toward Port-au-Prince to deliver supplies to an orphanage near the city and to continue to assess needs.

To give to the relief effort, donate online at imb.org/haitifund or gobgr.org.

(EDITOR’S NOTE — James is a writer for the International Mission Board.)

Related stories
Earthquake victims search for help, hope
First N.C. team returns
Editorial: How do we best help Haiti recover?
First-person post from Haiti: ‘Unbelievable’
Spoke’n: Finding the first question
Haiti video available
Raleigh pastor clings to news, phone, hope
Haiti conditions bad, but relief pipeline opening
Haiti response may require $2 million
Quake shakes ground but not Haitians’ faith
Major aftershock hits Haiti
Haitian church 'holds on' after loss of 4 leaders
Second NC team into Haiti
Baptists confront Haiti challenge
Missionaries heartbroken over tragedy
Baptist pastor confirmed among dead in Haiti
Seven trying to get to Haiti
Florida convention staff missing
Haiti teams focus on urgent & long-term needs
Baptist worker in Haiti reported safe
N.C. Baptists gathering response effort for Haiti
Spoke’n (Editor's Journal): Haitians were 1779 allies
The Way I Hear It (blog): How to Handle Haiti
Answering the Call (blog): No ‘Flash in the Pan’ Needed
Guest column: Hope for Haiti
Raleigh video
IMB video
1/27/2010 10:04:00 AM by Alan James, Baptist Press | with 0 comments

Chowan to host church choir festival

January 27 2010 by Chowan University Relations

MURFREESBORO — Chowan University will host four local church choirs for a festival on Saturday, February 6th. Choirs will rehearse that day under the direction of Gregory Parker, professor of music at Chowan, and present a concert that evening.

“This is a great opportunity for choir members to grow in their musicianship and to enjoy fellowship with singers from other churches,” said Parker, also the Chair of Chowan University’s Department of Music.

Parker went on to say that choral singing is corporate worship, where individuals are not singled out.

Chowan University photo

Chowan University will host four church choirs Feb. 6.

“We want to promote choral singing in the corporate worship lives of our congregations. Too much emphasis on individual soloists in worship experiences can develop an entertainment mentality in worship,” Parker explained, “Implying that only those who are ‘good enough’ should sing. Through choral singing, those with much talent and those with little unite heart, mind, and voice in praise of God.”

Choirs from Eureka Baptist Church in Corapeake, First Baptist Church of Ahoskie, First Baptist Church of New Bern, and Murfreesboro Baptist Church will participate in this year’s festival, with the choirs from Ahoskie, New Bern and Murfreesboro singing on their own.

All choirs will combine to perform “Walk as Children of Light” by Daniel Kallman, “O Sacred Head, Now Wounded,” arranged by Joel Raney, and “Love Divine, All Loves Excelling,” arranged by Mark Hayes. Also, Cantare, the chamber vocal ensemble from Chowan University, will sing two selections to open the concert.

The concert will begin at 7:00 pm in Turner Auditorium, located in the McDowell Columns Building. The doors to the auditorium will open at 6:30 pm for seating, and admission to the concert is free.

For more information about the concert or the Department of Music at Chowan University, contact us at (252) 398-6236 or at music@chowan.edu.
1/27/2010 10:00:00 AM by Chowan University Relations | with 0 comments

LifeWay announces live webcast with Ed Stetzer

January 27 2010 by Brooklyn Lowery, LifeWay

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — On Feb. 2 LifeWay will launch “The Exchange with Ed Stetzer,” a live monthly webcast featuring Ed Stetzer, director of LifeWay Research and LifeWay’s missiologist in residence.

BP file photo by Van Payne

Ed Stetzer

Stetzer will talk about issues relating to church and culture as well as take questions from viewers. The live webcast will begin at 3 p.m. (Eastern) and can be viewed at LifeWay.com/theexchange.

During the approximately 30-minute program, viewers will be able to communicate with one another and with Stetzer via a chat feature on the web site or on Twitter.

Stetzer has planted churches, served as a pastor and helped revitalize churches in several states.

He has also trained pastors in countries around the world.

“I’m blessed with the opportunity to meet a wide variety of people who often ask insightful questions informed by their own unique experiences and perceptions,” Stetzer said. “Unfortunately, I rarely have the opportunity to respond to these questions with as much thoroughness as I would like, nor am I able to get back to everyone who has a question or would like to dig deeper on a subject.

“‘The Exchange’ will give me a chance to talk through some of these questions and, I hope, will be a resource for people who are in the trenches doing ministry and engaging the culture for Christ.”

The first episode will focus primarily on “clergification,” or the division of the church into a false and unbiblical hierarchy where a select few paid leaders “do ministry” and the unpaid others are to “pay, pray and get out of the way.”

Stetzer will also discuss his recent article in Christianity Today, which addressed church leaders’ tendency to incorrectly use statistics and research.
1/27/2010 5:53:00 AM by Brooklyn Lowery, LifeWay | with 0 comments

Board elects Bobby Blanton as president

January 27 2010 by Norman Jameson, BR Editor

BR photo by Norman Jameson

Bobby Blanton, center, succeeded Allan Blume, left, after Blume's three-year tenure as president of the Baptist State Convention Board of Directors. Milton A. Hollifield Jr., right, is BSC executive director-treasurer.

Bobby Blanton, pastor of Lake Norman Baptist Church, was elected president of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina (BSC) board of directors during the directors’ first meeting Jan. 25 at Caraway Conference Center.

He succeeds Allan Blume, pastor of Mount Vernon Baptist Church in Boone, who led the board for three years. “My predecessor lifted the bar so high,” Blanton said when accepting the gavel. “I can’t tell you how much I respect and appreciate the work of brother Allan Blume.”

Blanton has been pastor at Lake Norman for 13 years. The church has grown from 250 to 1,400 during his tenure.

He was nominated for the office by Stan Welch, pastor of West Asheville Baptist Church and former Baptist State Convention president.

“With your prayerful support and patient encouragement we can proceed down the path that brother Allan and others like him have charted for us,” Blanton said.

Before he started presiding, he asked current BSC President Ed Yount to pray for him, asking wisdom and courage and constant awareness that “in conducting our business our purpose is that boys and girls, men and women, moms and dads will be led to the Lord Jesus.”
1/27/2010 2:45:00 AM by Norman Jameson, BR Editor | with 5 comments

Updated: Misinformation led to arson possibility

January 26 2010 by Dianna L. Cagle, BR Assistant Managing Editor

A Greensboro fire official called a church fire accidental after early police and media reports said it was possibly arson.

“It never was considered arson, said David Douglas, assistant chief with the Greensboro Fire Department. “We never considered the fire — any part of it — to be intentionally set.”

The Greensboro News-Record reported Tuesday that fire and police responded to a call at Lindley Park Baptist Church at 8:57 a.m. Monday.

The department has not issued a final report yet but Douglas said an outlet did not have a cover plate. The department believes there was an electrical arc from the outlet to items in a storage room in the basement where the fire started.

A final report will be issued Thursday.

Douglas said original reports of $15,000 in damage were “a conservative estimate.”

He said there was “considerable smoke damage throughout the building.”

Instead, it was closer to $100,000 property loss and an estimated $500,000 loss on contents. Douglas said fire went “in every conceivable direction.”

Tips for churches
Douglas, who is fire marshal for Greensboro, said there are some simple things churches can do to cut down on the risk of fire, or at least on the amount of damage done if a fire occurs.

Each year churches are inspected by a local fire official to determine any code violations and make recommendations.

“Church fires are so infrequent,” he said. “Generally there are many causes, but really three main causes — Men, women and children.”

A problem with churches is the periodic occupation. Many churches have services Sunday and Wednesday but have sporadic events during the rest of the week. Usually only the church leaders, mostly the pastor, know what the fire report said, and recommendations don’t usually get passed along.

Someone might think it’s harmless to leave a door open.
  • Churches should close doors.
“Throw away door stops and keep the door closed. The problem with churches is that there seems to be a tremendous amount of complacency about doors,” Douglas said. “They feel free to prop those open. They are put there for a reason. We call them containment areas.”

With doors closed, the fire damage stays “in as confined an area as possible.” In the case of Lindley Park, Douglas said all the doors in the basement were open, including the storage room where the fire started.

He said closing the doors wouldn’t have prevented the fire in this instance, but it would have limited the damage. A Greensboro News-Record article said Pastor Scott Orr announced Sunday morning services will go on as scheduled.
  • Keep receptacles covered.
Douglas said people don’t think leaving receptacles uncovered is a problem, but there is electricity in those wires. Covering the receptacle cuts down on the arcing problem he believes happened at Lindley Park.
  • Be vigilant in housekeeping.
“Churches are like packrats. They don’t want to throw anything away because they don’t know when they’ll need it,” Douglas said. “Keep what you need; throw the rest away.”

Another option is donating to other churches or the local association. If your church did the most recent Vacation Bible School last year, why are you still hanging on to all the decorations and materials. Another church, that might not have much money, could recycle the materials in their community.

Douglas said there was another church fire in the area last winter during a snowstorm. That one was caused by an electrical fault in the service panel. A few years ago, a dehumidifier in a piano caused another church fire.     
1/26/2010 6:00:00 AM by Dianna L. Cagle, BR Assistant Managing Editor | with 0 comments

Times ‘tough’ for vocational evangelists

January 26 2010 by Norman Jameson, BR Editor

Times for North Carolina’s vocational evangelists are, in a word “tough.”

At least, that’s how Bill Rice, president of North Carolina vocational evangelist’s fellowship described them Jan. 7, just four days before he unexpectedly died in his sleep.

Participants in the evangelists’ annual fellowship at Caraway Conference Center echoed their president’s sentiments. The world has changed for vocational evangelists, few of whom survive through the traditional service of preaching evangelistic meetings in local churches.

Without a diligently secured, nurtured and faithful board and chorus of supporters who provide a monthly income few could remain in the vocation.

BR photo by Norman Jameson

Evangelist Royce Williams, a Baptist State Convention of North Carolina board of directors member, left, watches Dale Elwell, right, explain something on his computer. Between them is Jamie Cooper from Wilmington.

Still, many become virtually bivocational, during interim pastorates or pulpit supply, special projects, teaching school or other enterprise to keep financially above water.

“It’s impossible to do enough local church work to make a living,” said evangelist Dale Riddle.

Rice said churches are just not holding revival meetings. Where he used to conduct meetings five and six weeks in a row, pastors were telling him revival meetings are “not effective or too costly.” 

Riddle, recalling an invitation to preach at an 8 a.m. service the church was calling its “revival meeting,” said,  “It’s no wonder a church would say a revival is not effective.”

While churches decline to hold regular evangelistic outreaches for many reasons, churches that hold them and prepare for them baptize significantly more converts.

Churches which decline to use a vocational evangelist on the basis of cost don’t understand there is no fee or charges. Most evangelists ask only that the church receive a love offering to support their ministry.

“The average pastor doesn’t understand we come on faith,” said evangelist Ken Carter.

Dale Riddle’s wife, Gilda, said “revivals are almost a thing of the past.”

Several factors contribute to that new reality. Dale Riddle counts among them the lifestyle of the current culture which has “couples working dawn to dusk.”

He said young people don’t want to come, sit and listen, and that relationship evangelism is more commonly taught and promoted.

The North American Mission Board offers an endorsement of Southern Baptist evangelists who are members of the Conference of Southern Baptist Evangelists (COSBE). There is an annual fee to be a part of COSBE, but membership testifies that the evangelist has been vetted at some level. 

Annual dues of $175 keep most of the N.C. evangelists off the COSBE membership role, according to Carter.

During evangelist Riddle’s early years, he would lead an international mission trip annually, working it in among his 35-40 weeks of revival meetings each year. Now, 33 years since he began, he focuses primarily on international work.

Evangelists find it easier to raise money for projects than for ongoing support. Consequently, they are involved in many events beyond the traditional revival meetings.

Darrel Davis, once and again president of the N.C. vocational evangelist’s fellowship, said there is no shortage of opportunities to present the gospel. He is active with Intentional Community Evangelism (ICE) teams prior to SBC annual meetings. He witnessed on the streets of Pasadena during the Rose Bowl parade; is going to Mardi Gras to witness and is planning to go to the Philippines this summer.

Contributed photo

Darrel Davis, left, shares Christ on the street.

The hard part, he admits, is making a living. At age 40 he’s been fulfilling his calling to vocational evangelism since 1999 after starting a career in engineering doing computer aided drafting and design.

“We have to raise support to do it,” said Davis, whose group is Foundation Ministries. “Without a support base, we wouldn’t be able to make it in the field of evangelism.”

Marty Dupree, consultant with the Baptist State Convention for personal evangelism, said vocational evangelists learn to piece together elements to make a living.

How busy a vocational evangelist is depends in large part on “who they are, how God uses them and in their ability to work and to network,” Dupree said. 

About 85 vocational evangelists are members of the North Carolina fellowship group. 

Fewer churches conduct traditional evangelistic outreach events. In the churched culture of days past a congregation would prepare extensively for annual or semi-annual evangelistic outreaches to which members invited unsaved friends and neighbors.

Eventually, Dupree said, churches neglected the preparation required for successful events, they became less effective and churches lost interest.

Now church revival events are geared more toward “reviving” the evangelistic spirit of the members, rather than reaching out to unsaved, Dupree said. Those revivals involve many methods such as church renewal and special events, seminars and conferences.

Yet, he said, more than 90 percent of churches that are evangelistic and growing make great preparation for evangelistic outreaches and hold them regularly.

Dupree admits that some evangelists, primarily high profile television evangelists, have given all evangelists a bad name and prompted reluctance by churches to use any evangelist.

Evangelist Dale Elwell, whose ministry Cross Culture is about “igniting the next generation for Christ” said income the second half of 2009 “took a dive.”

He is “regrouping” Cross Culture, leaving behind trained staff and volunteers, while he begins a stint as a chaplain at a facility for troubled teens in his home state of West Virginia. 

Ron Herrod, current president of the Conference of Southern Baptist Evangelists, exhorts pastors to “use those with the gift of evangelism.”

“Without a doubt, the called and gifted evangelist is God’s gift to the church,” said Herrod, himself a pastor for 36 years.

SBC President Johnny Hunt says the Bible is “extremely clear in Ephesians 4” that one of God’s gifts to the church is the evangelist. Evangelists are harvesters. For a church whose members have actively sown the seed, using an evangelist for a special event is “kind of like calling a specialist in,” Davis said.

“If you want someone God has called specifically to draw the net and see people come to Christ an evangelist is definitely the choice a church should consider.”

See a list of North Carolina vocational evangelists at www.ncevangelists.org.

Related stories
Times ‘tough’ for vocational evangelists
Only 11% of SBC churches ‘healthy, growing’
Evangelistic events still work toward harvest
1/26/2010 5:48:00 AM by Norman Jameson, BR Editor | with 3 comments

Only 11% of SBC churches ‘healthy, growing’

January 26 2010 by Norman Jameson, BR Editor

When the North American Mission Board (NAMB) and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary joined forces to survey 1,000 “effective” or moderately effective churches last year, they defined “effective” using the criterion from Bill Day’s 2004 study of healthy, growing churches.

Day is professor of evangelism and church health at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. One day he grew curious about the oft-quoted statistic that only 30 percent of Southern Baptist churches are growing.

That finding came from church growth researcher Kirk Hadaway, who worked at what is now LifeWay Christian Resources 1986-91. Hadaway defined a growing church as one that increased 10 percent in total membership over five years and found that 30 percent of Southern Baptist churches fit.

Using that definition, Day analyzed the list of current churches and found the 30 percent figure was still true.

But 1,400 of the “growing” churches did not baptize a single person in the year of the study. That implies their growth was from transfers.

So Day redefined his parameters. To be included a church had to have baptized at least one person in the first and last years of the 5-year period.

Additionally, the church needed to have a member-to-baptism ratio of no more than 35-to-one and conversion growth needed to account for at least 25 percent of the church’s total growth.

Day discovered only 11 percent of Southern Baptist Churches are “healthy, growing” churches by that definition. Day said the NAMB and Southwestern study on evangelistic outreach — to be released this spring — shows that “we need to be open to new ways of doing things, but we also need to realize some old ways of doing things still work today if we give them a chance.”

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Times ‘tough’ for vocational evangelists
Only 11% of SBC churches ‘healthy, growing’
Evangelistic events still work toward harvest
1/26/2010 5:46:00 AM by Norman Jameson, BR Editor | with 7 comments

Evangelistic events still work toward harvest

January 26 2010 by Norman Jameson, BR Editor

“Guess what,” Jerry Pipes would say. Done right, evangelistic events still work.

And, anything that sets “attractional” evangelism against “missional” efforts is a false dichotomy. Pipes, team leader for spiritual awakening and mass evangelism at the North American Mission Board (NAMB), said results of a study to be released this spring show the most effective churches still use special evangelistic events. At the same time, they train members to share their faith where they live, work and play.

“Guys have been hearing the past 10 or 15 years that revivals and crusades don’t work,” said Pipes, himself a former evangelist recommended by the Billy Graham Training Center.

Contributed photo

Jerry Pipes

But the study by NAMB in partnership with Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary polled 500 of the “most effective, evangelistic Southern Baptist churches” and an additional 500 churches of more middling effectiveness, as measured by the criteria established by the Leavell Center for Evangelism and Church Growth at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.

Pipes called it “the most comprehensive study ever done” on the effectiveness of evangelistic events. In his role, Pipes relates to Southern Baptists’ vocational evangelists, many of whom are agonizing over the decrease in the number and length of special evangelistic events churches are holding.

Pipes said the survey shows 92 percent of the “most effective” churches conduct attractional, evangelistic events beyond Vacation Bible School which the congregation has “bathed in prayer,” and at which the gospel is presented and an invitation extended.

These “A Pool” or most effective churches do 40 percent more of such events than do “B Pool” or more middling effective churches. 

More than 70 percent of the “A Pool” churches also claim to use multiple methods to equip members to share the gospel personally where they work, live and play.

So the answer to a church seeking to increase effectiveness is both to prepare their members to share their faith and to conduct special evangelistic events. 

“We’re about to see a much better day for evangelists because we’re going to work hard to get this message out there that events work,” Pipes said. 

Still actively leading such evangelistic meetings, Pipes said he works with churches before he comes to get them to train one counselor for every two people they are hoping will receive Jesus at the event.

He asks counselors to record the names of people they want to see come to Christ. He also asks them to commit to staying in close touch with new converts for four weeks after the event.

This preparation alone often ignites growth in a church, Pipes said, as members begin to think and pray about specific people with whom to share the gospel.

“Where pastors and evangelists work together and apply biblical principles, plowing through prayer, sowing seeds of the gospel through personal evangelism, and then harvesting through attractional events we see God do amazing things,” Pipes said.

He recognizes many vocational evangelists who depend on preaching revival meetings only, and who are “doing them the way they did them in the ’60s and ’70s are starving to death.”

Most evangelists who “offer lost people practical help” to draw them and who developed what Pipes calls a “first touch event” that builds the church, “who are current and relevant” have more to do than they have time to cover, Pipes said.

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Times ‘tough’ for vocational evangelists

Only 11% of SBC churches ‘healthy, growing’

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Times ‘tough’ for vocational evangelists
Only 11% of SBC churches ‘healthy, growing’
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1/26/2010 5:40:00 AM by Norman Jameson, BR Editor | with 0 comments

First N.C. team returns from Haiti

January 25 2010 by Norman Jameson, BR Editor

While immediate needs are overwhelming, and long-term prospects daunting, the first team of N.C. Baptist Men volunteers returned Jan. 22 from Haiti certain they contributed to hope.

BR photo by Norman Jameson

N.C. Baptist Men team members — from left: Jack Frazier, Brooks Wadsworth, Jackie Tester and Jack Carroll — grab their gear off the carousel at the Raleigh-Durham International Airport Jan. 22 after facing tough conditions in Haiti.

Four members of the seven-person initial medical team returned to the Raleigh airport still animated by adrenaline and knowing exhaustion would hit them the next day.

Before they could gather their belongings in front of a television camera, reporter and appreciative fellow passengers, someone stole one of their bags off the carousel. It was clearly marked Rescue 24.

With chaos reigning in Haiti and no one in charge to strategically assign rescue volunteers, the North Carolina team heard of a specific need by word-of-mouth and landed in a regional hospital at the edge of Port-au-Prince, and in the town with many injuries from a flour factory explosion from the quake.

Tintayen was also the town that absorbed a line of trucks dumping unidentified bodies into mass graves, and the thick, acrid odor of death permeated the air.

“You do what you can, while you can,” said Jack Carroll, a member of First Baptist Church, Hamlet. “We made a difference while we were there.”

The discouraging reality is that after setting broken bones, amputating mangled limbs and cleaning deep burns — often with only a single aspirin as a pain killer — patients’ only aftercare was to cross the road and lay down in the grass or dirt. There was no shelter to return to.

Even before the earthquake, Carroll said poverty is so pervasive in Haiti that families “live under a bush, drink out of a gutter and raise their children in the dirt.”

“Maybe they will look back and say there is love and care and it was shown by these volunteers and it will make a difference when the next missionary comes along,” Carroll said.

Haiti was the first large scale incident for professional emergency medical technician Jackie Tester. After setting broken bones and treating third-degree burns with no anesthetic she saw her patients hobble across the street and lay down in the grass.

Everywhere people begged for help. After a 24-hour shift she flopped beneath a tarp to rest and “heard wailing all over the city and there was nothing we could do but pray,” she said.

BR photo by Norman Jameson

Jackie Tester

“I’d go back tomorrow if they call me,” said Tester, a member of McLeansville Baptist Church. “You don’t want to leave these people. We have no idea what kind of pain they suffer.”

The North Carolina crew saw patients with injuries suffered days earlier but had gone untreated. One little boy with 80 percent of his body deeply burned had no chance to survive, but Tester treated him with dignity, covering him with one of her shirts. Other members said if the team had stayed another few days, Tester would have given away everything she brought.

Team member Brooks Wadsworth, who directs a group that serves widows and orphans called BLINC, for Building Lives in Christ, was the organizational lynch pin for the team. “It was an amazing sight to see the number of people who were sacrificing all they could for people they didn’t even know,” he said.

Because he worked with the supply flow he is willing to talk with groups who want to know immediate needs in Haiti and the best way to meet them.

Carroll, who trained in emergency medical services specifically so he could help in such circumstances, said these kinds of trips always change him.

“When you get home and turn on the light, be thankful for it,” he said. “If you have a table with four legs that stays flat and stable on the floor, be thankful for it.”

N.C. Baptist Men are continuing to plan for long-term response to Haitian needs. For the next few weeks only medical personnel are required, and only money is being accepted for donations. 

Donate through N.C. Baptist Men at 205 Convention Dr., Cary, NC 27511. Mark it: Haiti relief. 

(EDITOR’S NOTE — More stories and videos about work in Haiti are available online at www.biblicalrecorder.org or www.youtube.com/biblicalrecorder.)  

Disaster training opens opportunities to go
With the devastation in Haiti many people have expressed the desire to help. One way to assist people in disaster areas is to be properly trained.

The North Carolina Baptist Men (NCBM) is offering 24 different classes this year. There are four (4) training categories: basic, crosstrainer, recertification and advanced (more detailed description is available at www.baptistsonmission.org). The cost varies depending on the category of training.

Baptist Men intentionally leaves out exact locations in order to demonstrate that disaster response requires patience, and flexibility. 
  • Region 2 — March 5-6 in Carteret County
  • Region 4 — March 19-20 in Harnett County
  • Region 6 — April 16-17; location TBD
  • Region 8 — May 7-8 in Lincoln County (tentative)
  • Region 10 — May 21-22 in Jackson County (tentative).
Call (800) 395-5102, ext. 5599.

Related stories
First N.C. team returns
Editorial: How do we best help Haiti recover?
First-person post from Haiti: ‘Unbelievable’
Spoke’n: Finding the first question
Haiti video available
Raleigh pastor clings to news, phone, hope
Haiti conditions bad, but relief pipeline opening
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Major aftershock hits Haiti
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Spoke’n (Editor's Journal): Haitians were 1779 allies
Spoke’n: Finding the first question
The Way I Hear It (blog): How to Handle Haiti
Answering the Call (blog): No ‘Flash in the Pan’ Needed
Guest column: Hope for Haiti
Raleigh video
IMB video
1/25/2010 7:01:00 AM by Norman Jameson, BR Editor | with 0 comments

Final multiple giving plans: CP drops 5.4%

January 25 2010 by Norman Jameson, BR Editor

Final figures from the 2009 Cooperative Program giving report were as bleak as was anticipated through the year.

North Carolina Baptists for the fifth time in the past seven years gave less to their cooperative ministries than they did the year before. Following a 4.8 percent drop in 2008 — the first year of a two-year budget — Baptist State Convention (BSC) staff reduced the operating budget internally. Three people were laid off and six staff positions eliminated.

Gifts from churches fell short even of the reduced budget and were 5.4 percent below 2008 levels. Gifts were short of the actual 2009 budget approved in 2007 by 16.9 percent.

“We are not anticipating that kind of decrease for a third straight year,” said Milton 
A. Hollifield Jr., BSC executive director-treasurer. “In fact, we are encouraged by the receipts we have been receiving in early January.”

In the final report that will reflect multiple giving plans, gifts were down in every line. The only bright spot was an increase to international missions of 6.7 percent. Even that increase is misleading because 2008 gifts to international missions were down 15.6 percent because of the timing of some receipts.

Ultimately though, while 2009 designated gifts to international missions were $856,177 greater than in 2008, they were still $1.6 million less than in 2007.

Gifts to the North Carolina State Missions Offering were down 9.6 percent or $191,522, after meeting the $2 million goal the previous year. North Carolina Baptist Men is funded through the state missions offering, as are partnerships and part of church planting.

In 2009 churches affiliated with the BSC contributed $32,633,166 to their cooperative ministries. That compares to $34,485,968 in 2008 and $36,232,960 in 2007 — a 9.9 percent drop in two years.

Jan. 4 began a new budget year with a single giving plan. The 2010 budget is $34.8 million, a decrease of $4.8 million over the 2009 budget and the smallest since year 2000. Still, it is almost $2.2 million greater than 2009 receipts.

“It is no secret that there is a lot of competition for dollars that North Carolina Baptist churches choose to send beyond their local church ministries,” Hollifield said. “We can hope that all our efforts to encourage our churches to increase the missions dollars budgeted for CP in their 2010 budgets have been successful.”

Despite the shortfalls, Hollifield said “careful attention to the bottom line enabled the Convention to finish 2009 about $63,000 in the black, but those results have not been without sacrifice and pain.” 

In 2009:
  • Plan A gifts were down 2.5 percent to $21,784,103.
  • Plan B gifts were down 11 percent to $2,515,913.
  • Plan C gifts were down 26.9 percent to $1,215,922.
  • Plan D gifts were down 3.8 percent to $5,791,497.

These four plans do not add up to the total given because they do not include giving to the plans with various exclusions made.

Designated gifts were down to national missions 4.7 percent to $5,782,791.

“It is uncertain what the return to a single giving plan with options is going to have on Cooperative Program giving,” Hollifield said. “However, what is clear is that churches want to cooperate. The vast majority of the calls and letters we’ve received regarding the 2010 budget have been encouraging and complimentary, both in the focus of our allocations and the presentation of the material.

“I believe North Carolina Baptists have a better understanding of how their missions dollars are being allocated than they have had in many years.  We’ve simplified, focused, and communicated our mission and vision, and look forward to serving North Carolina Baptists in accomplishing God’s purpose and will in the coming year.”  

CBF gifts up
Gifts to the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of North Carolina (CBFNC), a fellowship of churches which were once aligned solely with the Baptist State Convention, are up significantly. Most of the 282 churches that contributed undesignated funds to CBFNC and 58 others that have designated money in this fiscal year also contribute to the BSC.

However, 109 churches now contribute through the mission resource plan — CBF’s cooperative distribution plan — an increase from 75 the year before. It is likely churches that contribute through that plan significantly decrease or even eliminate contributions through the BSC Cooperative Program, but neither entity tracks that.

CBFNC Director Larry Hovis said that through the first three quarters of their April to March fiscal year undesignated giving through their mission resource plan is $915,840, a 15 percent increase over the same period the previous year.

Designated giving, most of which goes to the institutions already gone or being eliminated from the BSC budget, is up 25 percent to $1,540,292 through nine months.

Hovis said inquiries grew about the mission resource plan after messengers to the Baptist State Convention annual meeting voted in 2008 to eliminate multiple giving plans through the Cooperative Program.

When asked why CBF income is growing, Hovis said, “It is our desire to collaborate with the Baptists of North Carolina, including churches and institutions, to participate in positive, healthy ways in what God is doing in missions in North Carolina and worldwide. A broad coalition of partners and people respond to that kind of positive, missional engagement.”

The 2009 Southern Baptist Convention Annual reports that 77 North Carolina Baptist churches contributed $1,133,476 directly to the SBC, bypassing the Baptist State Convention. Those funds are not counted as Cooperative Program gifts.

The number of churches bypassing the BSC is down from 83 last year, but the dollar amount is consistent.
1/25/2010 6:56:00 AM by Norman Jameson, BR Editor | with 3 comments

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