July 2008

Firewood ministry opens further doors

July 31 2008 by Mark Kelly, Baptist Press

BGR photo

Poor families in one of southeastern Europe's Balkan countries received help from Southern Baptists when a utility company shut off electricity this past winter, leaving them without heat.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — When a local utility company in one of southeastern Europe's Balkan countries shut off electricity to poor neighborhoods this past winter, Southern Baptists stepped in to help. And when those same families had trouble finding food this spring, community leaders knew where to turn.

"The situation this past winter was desperate," said Edward Vaughan*, a Southern Baptist field partner in the area. "Members of the minority group here are severely below the poverty line. Unemployment is very high and families have very little by way of finances.

"When many families couldn't pay their utility bills, the local electric company shut off their power for much of the day," he added. "With the high temperatures in the low 40s and lows in the 20s — and little or no heat in the home — children were coming to school with frostbite issues. The head of a local school asked if we could help."

An emergency request for $22,220 in relief funds was sent out to purchase firewood for about 100 families to make it through the last 10 weeks of winter. Families who received the assistance worked together as a community to cut, stack and deliver the wood.

At the time, Vaughan asked Southern Baptists to pray that the outreach would establish trusting relationships with local officials and that people would see that Southern Baptists care about them physically and spiritually.

The region is one where gestures of kindness are too few and far between, said Abraham Shepherd, who directs work in Europe and the Middle East for Baptist Global Response (BGR), a Southern Baptist international relief and development organization.

Throughout the 1990s, news reports in the United States were filled with stories of war in the Balkans. Even today, the capture of fugitive Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic is a reminder of the chaos that engulfed the region when Yugoslavia collapsed. A decade later, Americans still remember the role their own soldiers played in stabilizing Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The ethnic and religious tensions that fueled the fighting still simmer beneath the surface. In minority communities, people have little education and few opportunities to work. Providing for a family can be very difficult.

Because Southern Baptists had helped with the heating crisis during the winter, community leaders knew where to turn when hunger problems became acute this spring.

An allocation of $24,913.68 from the Southern Baptist World Hunger Fund is purchasing enough food to carry 70 families through four months, providing staple items like flour, beans, sugar and rice, as well as eggs, milk soup and cheese. An estimated 500 people will benefit from the project.

Reaching out to this minority people right now is crucial, Shepherd said.

"The Balkans have become the pit of pain and suffering for a lot of minority groups since the war," Shepherd said. "It has become the breeding ground for a lot of ungodly elements. Organized crime, gangs, drug trafficking, smuggling and human trafficking have all increased. Areas of high unemployment and poverty provide the best breeding grounds for such elements to thrive. Different groups are recruiting for their own ideological agendas, whether religious or political."

Contributions to the World Hunger Fund go a long way in the Balkans, Shepherd noted. "For what many families in North America spend on one outing at a restaurant, we can feed one family for an entire month," he said.

"We can make a real difference in people's lives by feeding families and providing heat for their homes," he added. "And we are able to do just that with these families because Southern Baptists care about people in need -- because of God's love for us in our need."

Visit BGR at www.gobgr.org.

(EDITOR'S NOTE — *Name changed for security reasons. Kelly is an assistant editor with BP.)

7/31/2008 10:56:00 AM by Mark Kelly, Baptist Press | with 0 comments

Reverberations after rediscovering Sunday School

July 31 2008 by Andrea Higgins, Baptist Press

RIDGECREST — Mike Hatfield paused to think about what the impact of the 2008 Sunday School Week at Ridgecrest Conference Center might be.

Hatfield, minister of education from First Baptist Church in Kissimmee, Fla., said Carol Kern's adult Sunday School class doubled in the year following her solo trip to the 2007 Sunday school conference sponsored by LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention.

"She told us about (Sunday School Week) with such passion, people signed up a year in advance," Hatfield said. "Now there are 19 of us up here. I can feel that same excitement; that same fever. All of them have it this year."

The July 11-14 conference brought nearly 1,000 ministers of education, pastors and Sunday School teachers together in North Carolina's Blue Ridge Mountains for an intense series of workshops entitled "reDiscover Sunday School."

Keynote speaker Tom McCoy, pastor of Thompson Station (Tenn.) Church, had an unsettling question for the crowd on hand:

"If everybody in the church led the same amount of people to Christ that you lead to Christ, how often would your baptistery be used?" McCoy asked.

Sunday School, he said, is a great way to grow the church and is where the church can model the leadership of Christ.

McCoy said Thompson Station Church's 130 Sunday School classes all started from one class — taught by McCoy's wife when there were just 50 people attending the church. "Now, it's 1,700. I know what a challenge it is to build classes," he said.

"But it really doesn't matter what I know. It's Who I know. If you'll take what you know and let God put His anointing on it, it's an incredible victory you'll win," McCoy said.

"When God takes you from the safety of your adult class and puts you into the dangerous shark tank of eighth grade boys, He's gonna protect you," he cracked, referring to excuses people make to avoid teaching Sunday School.

"The church exists for those who are not yet part of it," he challenged. "Some of you don't believe it. 'Oh no, the church exists for me and my friends to get together and have a great time.' No, you can do that at Kiwanis.

Bruce Raley, LifeWay's director of leadership ministry, training and events, said if Sunday School classes ultimately want to impact their environment, culture and community, they must struggle with this question: "What really is our purpose?"

"To be a church that's missional, we have to have Sunday School classes that are also missional," said Raley.

Raley said people inside the church often are focused internally and don't have a good perspective of people outside the church.

"I wonder if we have taken ourselves out of the world," he rhetorically asked.

Regardless of the answers, the foundation of reaching people anywhere is the gospel, Raley said.

 "People need the word of God. They need it in the pulpit and they need it in Sunday School," he said, adding that many Sunday School classes have strayed from solid teaching of the Bible. "We need to go back to teaching the Bible in Sunday School."

7/31/2008 8:45:00 AM by Andrea Higgins, Baptist Press | with 0 comments

Transformed lives mandate intentional discipleship

July 30 2008 by Melissa Lilley, BSC Communications

Participants in the Transformed Hearts Conference Aug. 22-23 will lose any illusions they might carry about an easy path to true discipleship.
True discipleship of the kind Jesus commands of his disciples in Matt.16:24 to pick up their crosses to follow Him comes only after a heart is radically transformed by His power. A heart that has yet to fully delight in the Lord and in His purposes does not experience freedom in Christ and as a result the believer does not live with a focused passion for sharing the transforming power of God with others.

Teaching believers what it means to be a disciple of Christ, so they can then go forth and make disciples for Jesus Christ, is the goal of the Transformed Hearts Conference at Ridgecrest Conference Center. The conference is sponsored by the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina (BSC).

Neal Eller, BSC Church Health Team Leader, said the conference is not for the “faint of heart” but for those who are ready to make serious, significant life changes to become fully-devoted followers of Jesus. Eller hopes the conference will help pastors return to their first love — their Savior and Lord Jesus Christ.

Pastors will be spurred toward confession and remembering that only God’s mercy and grace can penetrate a sinful heart and make it clean. “There’s nothing we can do unless the convicting power of the Holy Spirit is there among us,” Eller said.

Conference speaker Eric Geiger will address issues of identity that keep believers from claiming the promises of God and living in light of who they are as the redeemed of the Lord. “The enemy has effectively destroyed our understanding of who we are,” Geiger said. “He can’t rob who we are, but he can destroy our view of who we are.”

“Often I feel we attempt to live out the faith without a coherent sense of who we really are,” which “leads to a legalistic faith,” he said. When this happens, Christians start “checking off boxes of things to do” when instead, “faith should be a natural overflow of who he has made us,” Geiger said.

Geiger will use biblical images such as bride, friend, servant and ambassador to help restore a correct sense of identity. Specifically, Geiger will speak about believers as children of God and how as His children believers are loved with an unconditional, generous and purifying love. Geiger’s book Identity will be released in September and will focus on these images of who believers are in Christ.

Also speaking is John Trent, founder of The Center for Strong Families and author of HeartShift: The 2 degree difference that will change your heart, your home, and your health. Trent writes, “A HeartShift is the conviction that we’re on the wrong road and in need of making a turn back to better health, stronger relationships, or a deeper faith.”
Conference participants will be challenged to make 2-degree changes in different areas of life as they seek a deeper, more personal relationship with the Lord and a heart transformation.

Instead of trying to make a difficult 180-degree turnaround all at once from areas of temptation and struggle, Trent suggests that beginning with a 2-degree change is more likely to produce change. Trent describes a 2-degree change as “taking the smallest of positive steps, actions, or corrections to begin, sustain, or move us toward a needed change.”

Avery Willis, author of the MasterLife discipleship series and retired International Mission Board missionary, will speak about being intentional to fulfill Christ’s mandate to make disciples.

“We’ve got so many things going on in our churches that we make discipleship a department or a class,” he said. The model for making disciples is an intentional leader who is willing to serve in a relational environment, Willis said.

The conference begins Aug. 22 at 4 p.m. and ends the next day at noon. Register at www.ncbaptist.org or for more conference information call (800) 395-5102, ext. 5636.

7/30/2008 8:27:00 AM by Melissa Lilley, BSC Communications | with 0 comments

Man accepts Christ after killing deacon

July 30 2008 by Erin Roach, Baptist Press

Photo courtesy of Grace Baptist Church

Tim McGehee, pastor of Grace Baptist Church in Tullahoma, Tenn., spoke with the man who caused McGehee to lose control of his truck and strike a pedestrian. McGehee told Kimery Hill he forgave him.

TULLAHOMA, Tenn. — A 28-year-old man accepted Christ in jail after causing a tragedy that had left a pastor feeling responsible for the death of a church deacon.

Tim McGehee, pastor of Grace Baptist Church in Tullahoma, Tenn., and first vice president of the Tennessee Baptist Convention, was returning home from a hospital visit April 28 when he noticed a car speeding up behind him on a rural road. The car struck him at nearly 100 miles an hour, spun him around and into a man who had been directing a delivery truck at his driveway.

Bobby Brown, a 69-year-old deacon at Longview Baptist Church in nearby Unionville, had walked out to his yard to direct the delivery truck. McGehee was youth pastor at Longview 20 years ago, and Grace Baptist recently had ordained one of its members, Jonathan Osterhaus, to serve as pastor of Longview.

“I just was laying there on the grass waiting for another ambulance when Jonathan got there,” McGehee recounted. “He said, ‘Are you OK?’ and I said, ‘How’d you get here?’ and he said somebody had called him. I said, ‘Did they tell you I was in a wreck?’

“And he said, ‘Yeah. Bro. Tim, I’m going to go with Bobby to the hospital.’ I said, ‘Bobby? Bobby who?’ He said, ‘Bobby Brown. That’s who you hit.’ I said, ‘Oh, no!’ and I just started crying because I had known Bobby for 20 years. He was the treasurer, Sunday School director and a deacon at Longview Baptist Church, and I performed his son’s wedding.”

McGehee was transported to a hospital, where he learned that Brown had died en route.

Someone who witnessed the accident followed the racing driver Kimery Hill to his sister’s house and notified police of his whereabouts. He was charged with one count of vehicular homicide, five counts of reckless endangerment and one count of second offense driving on a suspended license, the local newspaper reported. McGehee said he was told Hill had alcohol, marijuana and methamphetamine in his system when he was arrested.

“The very next day after this happened, I was in my bedroom weeping and my wife came back there and she said, ‘Are you OK?’ and I said, ‘I can’t believe I killed somebody,’“ McGehee told BP. “She said, ‘You didn’t kill anybody.’ And I said, ‘I did,’ and she said, ‘No. You had no control. You got hit at that speed, and your truck was out of control.’ And I said, ‘I’ll never be able to go on. I won’t be able to forgive myself.’ But then I started thinking she was right. It wasn’t me. It was the other guy, and I needed to start praying for him that God could bring good out of this.”

The next Sunday, McGehee preached about the need to forgive Hill and to pray for God to bring good from the tragedy. The members of Grace Baptist also started praying for Hill, and Osterhaus went to visit him in jail. On the second visit, the pastor of Longview Baptist led Hill and another inmate to accept forgiveness and salvation in Jesus.

Hill wanted to be baptized, and a jail official was willing to make arrangements for the two inmates to go to Longview Baptist for a baptism ceremony.

“On July 9, two of the deputies brought him and this other prisoner to Longview Baptist Church — the very place where I used to be the youth minister and the very place where Bobby Brown was a patriarch, a pillar of the church — and Jonathan Osterhaus, the new preacher, baptized the prisoners at 2 o’clock on a Wednesday afternoon to a church almost full of people. It was amazing. It was truly unbelievable.”

Shackles were put back on the prisoners’ ankles and wrists when they left the water, and they sat on the front row with two deputies. After the ceremony, McGehee approached Hill for the first time.

“I went up to him and I knelt down on one knee, and I said, ‘I’m Tim McGehee, the guy you hit.’ And he started crying and I started crying, and he mouthed, ‘I’m sorry.’ And I said, ‘I know you are. I forgive you, but God has used this for good.’ Then we also have on video Bobby Brown’s wife hugging this guy and telling him she forgives him. It was just amazing.”

(EDITOR’S NOTE — Roach is a staff writer for BP.)

7/30/2008 8:18:00 AM by Erin Roach, Baptist Press | with 0 comments

Ministry helps ousted pastors

July 30 2008 by Jim White, Associated Baptist Press

RICHMOND, Va. — Statistically, a pastor stands a better chance of being fired than does a coach in the National Football League.

Charles Chandler, executive director of the Ministering to Ministers Foundation, reports more than 2 percent of all pastors will be fired or pushed out of their churches at some point in their careers.

He formed Ministering to Ministers in 1995 after a small group of disgruntled church leaders forced his resignation as pastor of a Baptist church in Richmond, Va. His foundation offers a five-day wellness retreat where clergy and their spouses meet others in similar circumstances and talk with support staff. A growing number of churches that terminate ministers include the cost of underwriting the retreat in severance agreements.

From the moment a retreat begins, Chandler fights the clock, because much needs to be done in a brief timespan, he noted. Although the participating couples come from varied denominational backgrounds, they share the emotional bruises, spiritual scars and psychological pain of rejection.

“Our first objective is to get them to tell their stories” Chandler said. “They come in with strong feelings of isolation and failure. Telling their stories helps them to know they are not alone. It is amazing how similar their stories are.”

As each person shares, others in the group provide him or her the balm of empathy.

“It is hard to know for sure, but according to the most reliable information we have, it seems that across denominational lines about 1,600 ministers per month are being dismissed or forced to resign,” Chandler said.

“Their trust has been shattered — and their dreams. They’re experiencing doubts about whether there is a place for them in the local church. Will they have to find fulfillment in ministry outside the parish setting?”

Chandler believes more small churches are affected by forced termination because professors, often with little church experience, are preparing seminary students for service in larger churches.

And some small churches are dominated by members of a single family, presenting challenges for which many new ministers find themselves unprepared.

“Pastors come to these churches looking to make a difference and they run into the matriarch or patriarch who doesn’t want anything to change,” he said.

An emerging trend Chandler has observed is music ministers and other associate-level ministerial staff forced out of church staff positions by authoritarian pastors who either are insecure and inexperienced or who have adopted the leadership styles of megachurch pastors whom they have chosen as mentors.

Wellness retreats concentrate on helping ministers and their mates understand some of the reasons for their circumstance. A therapist always is on hand to guide discussions and answer questions in the group setting or privately.

Couples who attend the retreats usually have more anger than they have allowed themselves to realize or express, Chandler said. They have “stuffed it rather than acknowledging it and dealing with it.”

Because many participants feel isolated even from God, the retreats seek to renew a sense of spirituality and reliance on God’s presence in their lives. Since they often have been crushed by the power structures in their churches, the ministers have come to distrust and avoid power, he noted.

“We use Bob Perry’s book, Pass the Power, Please, as the starting point and emphasize that power is simply the ability to get something done,” Chandler said.

Ministers need to develop a healthy sense of power in themselves and their ministries, he said.

Ministering to Ministers helps teach ministers how to write a resume and prepare for a job interview. The retreat also includes a component designed to demonstrate that ministerial skills are transferable to non-church ministries and secular posts.

“This gives hope. Sometimes ministers feel there is nothing else they can do,” Chandler
 said. “And when you feel that you have failed at the only thing you are qualified to do, it takes away the joy of service. It is freeing to realize that you have skills that are transferable to secular positions.”

Chandler concedes a few ministers who attend the retreats simply are not well-suited to ministry, and the moral lapses of others — about 7 percent nationwide — require dismissal.

But he insists most of those with whom he works are gifted ministers. Many, he believes, are even better equipped for ministry following dismissal or forced resignation because they possess greater humility and empathy.

Overall, 54 percent of ministers who experience forced termination go back into church staff ministry. Among those who receive help from Ministering to Ministers, the figure stands at about 70 percent, Chandler reported.

“Still, we are working to redeem an even greater number of those who have been wounded in Christ’s service by Christ’s own people,” he said.

“This has not dampened my enthusiasm for ministry. I would not want to discourage anyone from entering ministry, but the expectation that a minister will not face opposition is just not factual. Even in the church, a minister will experience opposition. Jesus’ greatest opposition came from religious people.”

7/30/2008 6:33:00 AM by Jim White, Associated Baptist Press | with 0 comments

Court decides Christian college gets state aid

July 30 2008 by Robert Marus, Associated Baptist Press

DENVER — A federal appeals court has said Colorado may not deny scholarships for students who want to attend an evangelical Christian university or a Buddhist school in that state.

The ruling is one of a string of federal and state court decisions in recent years that have reduced states’ ability to deny sectarian colleges access to government-funded programs available to more secularized schools.

The Denver-based 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled July 23 that Colorado officials overstepped their authority when declaring that two institutions of higher learning in the state did not qualify for a state scholarship program because they were “pervasively sectarian.”

A unanimous three-judge panel, in an opinion written by Judge Michael McConnell, declared the state’s policy unconstitutional. Officials had denied scholarships to students at Colorado Christian University and Buddhist Naropa University, but offered them to students at secular, Methodist and Catholic-affiliated ones.

“By giving scholarship money to students who attend sectarian — but not ‘pervasively’ sectarian — universities, Colorado necessarily and explicitly discriminates among religious institutions, extending scholarship to students at some religious institutions, but not to those deemed too thoroughly ‘sectarian’ by government officials,” McConnell wrote.

The case pitted the First Amendment’s two religion clauses against each other. The establishment clause prevents the state from establishing or supporting a religion. The free-exercise clause, meanwhile, prevents the state from unnecessarily inhibiting an individual’s or group’s religious practice.

Officials at Colorado Christian sued the state, claiming that denying scholarships to the school because it requires its faculty to affirm a confession of faith and forces its students to attend chapel services unfairly targeted its evangelical nature.

McConnell seemed to agree.

“(T)he Colorado exclusion expressly discriminates among religions ... and it does so on the basis of criteria that entail intrusive governmental judgments regarding matters of religious belief and practice,” he wrote.

Colorado officials had relied on the Supreme Court’s Locke v. Davey decision. It said the State of Washington could deny a student at a Christian college a government-funded scholarship because he was majoring in theology and planned to be a pastor.

In Locke, the justices said the Washington student’s right to the free exercise of religion had to be balanced with the state’s interest in not subsidizing the training of clergy members.

But in the Colorado case, McConnell and his colleagues read the Lockedecision narrowly.

They noted one difference between the cases is that Washington’s denial of the funds did not discriminate between religions, but between fields of study.

Several conservative Christian organizations supported Colorado Christian University in friend-of-the-court briefs, while several groups that support strong church-state separation filed briefs in favor of the state’s position.

In a July 24 post on the Americans United for Separation of Church and State blog, Sandhya Bathija said McConnell’s decision would end up supporting religious discrimination rather than alleviating it.

“The real discrimination here is that practiced by ‘pervasively sectarian’ universities such as Colorado Christian University,” Bathija wrote.

“Not everyone in the state can attend the school, since it requires a commitment to a particular religious belief. Why should the state’s taxpayers support a school that discriminates against students who do not want to attend chapel weekly (at CCU, students who miss chapel must pay a fine) and who refuse to sign statements promising to live as
 Jesus lived?”

The decision is one of several by federal and state courts in recent years that have expanded sectarian colleges’ ability to participate in aid programs on an equal basis with non-sectarian schools. Since 2004, the 4th Circuit, the 6th Circuit and the California Supreme Court have all ruled unconstitutional states’ attempts to exclude sectarian colleges from government-backed bond programs.

The case is Colorado Christian University v. Weaver, No. 07-1247.

7/30/2008 6:29:00 AM by Robert Marus, Associated Baptist Press | with 0 comments

Canadian Baptists approve name change

July 30 2008 by Harold Campbell, Baptist Press

CHARLOTTETOWN, Prince Edward Island, Canada — Messengers to the Canadian Convention of Southern Baptists annual convention overwhelmingly voted to change the convention's name to the Canadian National Baptist Convention, culminating a process that began four years ago.

Messengers also approved a church-to-church covenant which Jeff Christopherson, outgoing convention president, said defines the "substance" of where Canadian Southern Baptists are heading.

A total of 136 messengers, along with 148 guests, registered for the June 30-July 2 convention at the University of Prince Edward Island in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island.

In balloting on the new name, 86 percent voted in favor of the change; 14 percent against.

"We're still Southern Baptists, that did not change," said Gerry Taillon, CNBC national ministry leader.

"Our relationships with Southern Baptist churches, associations and agencies are just as solid as ever."

In an interview following the convention, Taillon said the change was needed to establish the Canadian convention's identity, noting, "It was necessary to clear up confusion with the uninitiated who come to all the wrong ideas of who we are."

Taillon told the messengers that each of the four words in the new name holds significance:
  • Canadian as the identity for the convention.
  • National as the scope for the convention's churches across Canada.
  • Baptist as the convention's heritage and belief system.
  • Convention as how the organization works together.
The convention's new name in French — Canada's official languages are English and French — will have the same CNBC acronym: Convention Nationale Baptiste Canadienne.

The proposed change did cause discussion prior to the vote.

Shan An, pastor of Dixie Baptist Church in Toronto, said he would go along with the final decision, but he thought the Southern Baptist name was valuable. In addition, he described the word national as "outdated."

"There is nothing wrong with CCSB," An said. "It is what we heard for 20 years."

In support of the new name, however, Dwayne Bartley, pastor of Cambrian Heights Baptist Church in Calgary, Alberta, said he thought national is a "very good Canadian word" and name changes have biblical precedent.

"There were times when someone changed their identity when God was getting ready to do a new thing in their life," Bartley said.

7/30/2008 4:23:00 AM by Harold Campbell, Baptist Press | with 0 comments

Baylor fires president for failure to 'unite Baylor family'

July 29 2008 by By Marv Knox, Associated Baptist Press

GRAPEVINE, Texas — Baylor University President John Lilley has been fired for failing to "bring the Baylor family together," according to Howard Batson, chairman of the university's board of regents.


Regents voted to remove Lilley from office, effective immediately, during their summer meeting July 24 in Grapevine, near the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport. The vote was taken by secret ballot and the vote total was not announced to the board, Batson said.


Batson cited Lilley's inability to unite Baylor's various constituencies at least nine times in a 20-minute telephone press conference and several times in an interview with the Texas Baptist Standard shortly after the regents' vote.


Lilley became Baylor's president in January 2006, at a time when Baylor's constituency had divided over the administration of the previous president, Robert Sloan. Also controversial was Baylor 2012, a decade-long strategy for growing the world's largest Baptist university and increasing its influence.


For two and half years, Lilley worked to strengthen Baylor but could not foster unity, Batson said.


"The board really thinks Baylor needs a new president who can bring together and unify the various constituencies of the university," he said. "We felt like Dr. Lilley came at a very difficult time in the history of Baylor, and we acknowledge that. We do appreciate his service a great deal."


Lilley could have stayed longer — possibly until his contract ends in 2010 — if he had agreed to participate in a transitional process, Batson said.


Under terms of the proposed transition, Batson would have been authorized to appoint a presidential search committee "sometime before the end of 2008," he said. Lilley would have remained in office until his successor was selected.


"This could take from months to years," Batson noted. "With John in place, we could take more time to do a thorough search. We probably saw John serving out much, if not all, of his contract. But he didn't want to do it under those terms."


Although tensions with faculty flared this spring, when Lilley's administration initially denied tenure to 12 of 30 faculty candidates, Batson said no single factor led to the regents' decision to dismiss him.


"There's no denying we had the tenure situation ... and the branding situation (Lilley's initial decision to get rid of Baylor's popular "interlocking BU" logo). Perhaps the process was not as swift as some of us had hoped in bringing the Baylor family together," he said. "I don't know that there was any one particular relationship that caused the difficulty. ... We did not see the Baylor family coming together as we envisioned."


In an e-mailed statement, Lilley expressed his disagreement with the regents' decision.


"Two and a half years ago, I was invited unanimously by the board of regents to come to Baylor," Lilley said. "I did not come to Baylor to advance my career. (Wife) Gerrie and I were reluctant, but finally were persuaded to come because of the unanimous vote and the promised prayers of the regents.


"We felt that we could help to heal the wounded hearts left in the wake of the conflict that preceded us. Despite the board's unanimous vote, it became clear immediately that the Baylor board of regents reflected some of the deepest divisions in the Baylor family."


Lilley expressed satisfaction with the work he and his team accomplished during his tenure.


"I am proud of the work my colleagues and I have done to bring the Baylor family together and to help the university achieve the ambitious goals set forth in our mission and Vision 2012, documented in our annual report just presented to the regents," he said.


"I deeply regret the action of the board, and I do not believe that it reflects the best interests of Baylor University."


In both interviews, Batson affirmed what he called Lilley's "significant accomplishments" achieved during the past two and a half years. They included:


• Baylor's highest-ever ranking by U.S. News & World Report  — 75th — among national doctoral-granting universities, an increase of six places.


• Attracting a "large and diverse student body," including last fall's enrollment of 14,174 — the university's second-highest total.


• Record endowment, "now crossing the billion-dollar mark."


• A record 402 students enrolled in Baylor's George W. Truett Theological Seminary, including "more students interested in ministering in the local church."


• Athletic successes, including the men's basketball team's return to the NCAA Tournament, the women's basketball team's continual appearance in the tournament, men's and women's tennis teams' Big 12 championships and anticipation of an exciting football season under a new head coach, Art Briles.


• Classification as a university with "highest research activity" by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.


• Extensive construction on campus, including the $42 million Brooks Village residential center and the $30 million football training/practice complex.


"John has left Baylor better than he found it. John had a passion for the research element of (Baylor) 2012," Batson said. "We are appreciative of his service and love for the university."


The regents selected one of their own, Harold Cunningham, as acting president with "full authority" to lead until an interim president is chosen, Batson said.


Cunningham is immediate past chairman of the Baylor regents and served as a Baylor vice president twice — for special projects and for finance and administration.


(EDITOR’S NOTE — Knox is editor of the Texas Baptist Standard.)


7/29/2008 11:06:00 AM by By Marv Knox, Associated Baptist Press | with 0 comments

Beulah Association buys Coke building for new ministry center

July 29 2008 by By Mike Creswell, BSC Communications

BSC photo by Mike Creswell

Danny Glover, associational missionary for the Beulah Baptist Association, stands in front of the building that the association will use as a ministry center.

ROXBORO - A former Coca-Cola bottling plant will become a new ministry center for Beulah Baptist Association once renovations are complete.

The association bought the 9,700- sq.-ft., three-floor building July 3 for $150,000, and leaders hope to begin using the facility for associational office operations by late August, said Danny Glover, missions director for the association.

The building will play an integral part in the association's plans to boost the ability of association churches to do ministry and outreach across Person, Caswell and northern Orange counties. For example, "We want to use this building as a pickup point for our disaster relief trailer just being completed and for our community events/block party trailer that we hope to have completed soon," said Glover.

"There's the possibility of using space here for a Christmas toy store for the community and for a job corps training center. We hope to work in partnership with a Christian help center in Roxboro that distributes clothes, food and financial resources," he said, adding that the building will allow off-season storage of materials. "We may set up an additional food distribution center here," he said.

"We have a lot of plans for the place but we're just getting started. We want to do some things to help the community. Part of the reason Coca-Cola ended up selling to us was because we're going to help the community. They discounted the price because we're going to help the community," he said.

The Coke building is a perfect location for such work, because it sits at the intersection of Morgan and Long streets in central Roxboro, just two blocks off Highway 501. It is near the Person County office building and across the street from a county parking lot and a city park with playgrounds. "We're at a great place," Glover said.

The association has already obtained a building use permit from the city government, and Glover said city officials were enthusiastic about plans for the helping ministries to be put into motion.

Relatively minor renovations will be required to get the building into useable condition, he said. Associational leaders have been meeting with contractors to get the heating/air conditioning and electrical system up to standards.

New windows and general refurbishment will be needed, but contractors have said the building is structurally sound. The building has spacious warehouse storage areas, three loading docks and parking for around 75 cars, Glover said.

The front part of the building was built in 1935; the back part was constructed in 1953. Coca-Cola's distinctive logo is set in stone on the front of the building. Coca-Cola officials made only one stipulation in the transaction: "The Coke logo will remain on the front of the building, or if we ever sell the building, Coca-Cola will get to remove and keep the historic Coke sign," Glover said.

The Coca-Cola company moved its main bottling and distribution work to Durham many years ago; in recent years the Roxboro building has been used only on a limited basis for storing equipment.

Expanded ministries and the building will be a big commitment for Beulah Baptist Association, which until now has had only a small office on West Main Street. Glover is a part-time, bivocational director of missions. The association is made up of 34 churches, though in July Beulah's executive board accepted a new church, Covenant Reformed Church in Yanceyville, under watchcare for a year, pending full membership.

7/29/2008 8:52:00 AM by By Mike Creswell, BSC Communications | with 0 comments

To eat healthy, remember parents' advice, experts say

July 29 2008 by By Steve DeVane, BR Managing Editor

People who want to eat healthier can follow several guidelines, nutritional experts at N.C. Baptist colleges say.

Kirk E. Peterson, chairman of the sports studies and physical education department at Chowan University, said there are several ways people can eat healthier.

"It's all the things our parents used to tell us," he said.

First, people who want to eat better should pay attention to how much they eat.

"It comes down to portion control," Peterson said.

Next, people should eat a variety of foods so they get proper vitamins and nutrients. "Your plate should be very colorful," he said.

People who watch what they eat and exercise stand a good chance of losing weight, Peterson said.

"I would stay away from fast food altogether," he said. "Research shows that even once a month is too much."

Peterson also suggested that people stay away from fried foods and sugar. When snacking, people should consider nuts, popcorn without butter and salt, fruits and raw vegetables.

Peterson said people on "yo-yo" diets where they lose weight only to regain it might actually be slowing their metabolic rate and increasing the chances of cardiovascular disease.

"It's hard on our heart," he said.

Peterson suggested that people see a doctor, get a physical and start an exercise program under the doctor's guidance. Such a program might include exercise three to five times a week for 20 to 60 minutes each.

Pauline Calloway, chair of the family and consumer science department at Campbell University, said too many people fall for "gimmicks." She suggested people follow the "My Food Pyramid" food guidance system distributed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion.

MyPyramid is meant to help people find the kinds and amounts of foods they should eat each day. The program takes into account age, gender and activity level and includes specific daily amounts from each food group and a limit for discretionary calories.

Calloway teaches a class on children's health, wellness and safety which deals with nutrition.

Calloway said she has noticed that young people are taking a greater interest in nutrition. That can be seen by fast food restaurants offering more nutritious meals, she said.

Her advice: "Stay with things that are research-based and not sales gimmicks."

Gary R. Uremovich, the director of the physician assistant program at Wingate University, agreed with Peterson's suggestions of eating healthy snacks, controlling portion sizes and eating a variety of food colors. In an e-mail to the Recorder, he added several other guidelines.

Don't shop hungry.

"Never go to the grocery store hungry and, if possible, make a list before you go," Uremovich said. "If you're hungry while going down the snack aisle you'll be more likely to pick up those goodies. Once you have them at home it's very difficult to avoid eating them. "

Eat slower.

"We all eat too fast. The faster we eat the more we consume," he said. "Give your stomach a chance to let you know when you are satisfied."

Don't skip meals.

"Probably the most important meal we can have is breakfast," Uremovich said. "Studies have shown that a hearty breakfast is helpful in reducing weight. Someone has said that we should eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper. Try and avoid eating too close to bedtime."

Keep a record.

"Write down what you eat and when. Sometimes we compulsively eat without really thinking about it," he said.



7/29/2008 8:32:00 AM by By Steve DeVane, BR Managing Editor | with 0 comments

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