July 2012

Laura Story sees ‘Blessings’ beyond awards

July 18 2012 by Whitney Jones, Baptist Press

ATLANTA – “Blessings” is more than just a song that has garnered several key awards for Christian singer-songwriter Laura Story; it is her own tale of finding healing and peace with hardship.
Story’s song came from her own personal struggle understanding God’s plan after learning that her husband had a brain tumor early in their marriage. “Blessings,” which she wrote about two years ago, was her way of working through the difficulties in her life and learning that God does not always immediately come to the rescue.

Laura Story

“It really was just my own process of coming to terms with the fact that sometimes God allows things in this life that we don’t understand,” Story told Baptist Press. “They may look like roadblocks in our lives but when we step back, trying to find the perspective, [we] see them as possible means for us growing in our faith, possible means for God showing us something about Himself or something about ourselves that we wouldn’t see any other way.”

The honors Story received in recent months for her song “Blessings” and her album of the same name include:

– Top Christian song at the Billboard Music Awards

– A Grammy for Best Contemporary Christian Song

–Song of the Year, Pop/Contemporary Song of the Year, Pop/Contemporary Album of the Year and Songwriter of the Year at the Dove Awards

In addition to her current album, Story wrote the popular song “Indescribable” sung by Chris Tomlin.

Although Story said she – like most other Christian artists – does not do her work for awards, she noted that she is glad her story of struggle was shared with others through several notable venues.

“As far as the awards of this world, it has been helpful as far as getting the message out about God’s work in my life,” she said. “So we celebrate that more than we do any metallic object I might be handed on a stage. It’s certainly so much more about wanting God to take the platform and His message being known in our lives.”

The song’s message is not just a positive spin on life’s hardships, however. Story said Blessings delves into the idea that sometimes health, wealth or prosperity is not what God wants for His followers. She poses this question: “What if there are character things that He wants to do in our hearts that are more valuable than any of the riches that this life can offer us?”

In addition to being a singer-songwriter, Story is a worship leader at Perimeter Church in Atlanta. Most Sundays, Story leads worship there, but she said she is thankful Perimeter also allows her to minister at other churches and get a sense of the atmosphere of the larger church.

“I definitely think the local church is still God’s plan A,” she said. “Anything I can do to encourage my local church and pour in here but also encourage other people in their local churches, that’s what I really feel called to do.” Story is doing just that, investing in her local church while also going on the road with her husband and band once or twice a week to encourage other believers across the nation.

Story published a 30-day devotional – also titled “Blessings” – based on the award-winning song. She also is planning to record a new CD this fall and join a tour in December called 12 Gifts.

But those are not the biggest of her upcoming plans. Story and her husband are expecting their first child later this year.

“We’re excited and just grateful that God gives us so many opportunities just to minister and grateful He’s blessing us with a baby to add to our dream, add to our story,” she said.

(EDITOR’S NOTE ­– Whitney Jones is a writer for Baptist Press.)
7/18/2012 2:36:56 PM by Whitney Jones, Baptist Press | with 0 comments

Lineman overcomes troubled past, ministers to needy children

July 17 2012 by Roman Gabriel, Sports Q&A

Washington Redskins defensive lineman Kedric Golston will enter his seventh season in the NFL this fall. The former Georgia Bulldog is talented, big, fast and strong. I recently had the opportunity to work a youth football camp with him for two days in Lenoir, N.C.
What I learned is that he has overcome tragedy and many personal and professional obstacles to be a true example of what faith, family and football is all about.
As a committed Christian husband and father of two, he is working daily to balance home and career. He also brings a refreshing take on his responsibility as a pro football player and an example to up and coming young football players.
His interest in helping children is evident through his words and actions. What you will find out in this interview is simple. Kedric is a man on a mission: to bring glory to God in all he does on and off the field. He has a strong message that starts with a strong faith in God.
Q: Tell me about your foundation www.everychildfed.org, along with your partners, two great Washington Redskin Hall of Famers, Darryl Green and Art Monk.

Washington Redskins photo

Kedric Golston, center, plays for the Washington Redskins. This fall will be his seventh season in the NFL. He explains the responsibility of being a professional football player in an interview with Roman Gabriel III. Golston is also a Christian who tries to find a balance between family and work.

A: We linked up with another organization started by Dr. Mardi Manary, called Project Peanut Butter, who developed a nutritious peanut-based formula for children. The milk-based formula has a shelf life where the peanut based product does not. It’s also more healthy and nutritious for children. We’re supporting the doctor to build factories to make the product in impoverished areas to feed these malnourished children. We want to give kids the gospel of Jesus Christ. We also know they have physical needs, and know how critical nutrition is from early [on]. We want these children to be healthy, and to love on them as Christ loves on us. We do events to raise money throughout the year. It’s just a great cause. In impoverished countries you have orphans, older siblings raising these children on the streets. I have a 13-year old daughter, and I could not imagine that for her. We just want to help these unfortunate, impoverished children.
Q: Tell me about your involvement with youngsters during the Sam Tate Foundation Football Camp in North Carolina.
A: In life you have to have someone to help you grow through the adversity. Somebody to instill … positive attributes in our life. There is always a bigger picture. We need to let these kids know that they have greatness inside of them. Let’s not waste a day. We had 5- to 12-year-olds the other day. They need to have fun, but they can be taught to be productive citizens now. Let’s not waste any time preparing them for life at a young age.
Q: You did not have an easy childhood. Tell me about that and those people who made a difference in your life growing up.
A: My mom was murdered when I was in the first grade. That was tough, losing mom at such a young age, asking why my mom, why the situation. But I have a great father and a great stepmother who I call my mom because she pretty much raised me. I think about my middle school coach Mike Duncan. He was my football coach and a history teacher. Mrs. Greenhall, my high school guidance counselor; my neighbor and friend David Rocker, all these people who invested time in me. I got in trouble when I was a kid like we all do, but I learned from my mistakes and had people there to hold me accountable. I didn’t want to let those people down. God has truly blessed me to play pro football, and given me a platform to share the gospel and help people in life. It’s like a pastor said the other day, “We’re not trying to reach young people today. We’re trying to rescue them. We have to go get them.”
Q: What would be the No. 1 thing you would tell a rookie player about the NFL?
A: This isn’t the end. It’s the beginning. You have to prove yourself. They’re not going to give you anything. You have to come in and take it. Whether you’re a high draft pick, or a lower one like I was coming out of Georgia. The most talented people don’t always play in the NFL. It’s the people [who] the coaches can trust. My line coaches never talked about speed or talent. He always talked about can you be trusted to be where you are supposed to be. Coach is counting on you and so are your other 10 teammates. You have to be coachable in football or life. [Be] accountable, trustworthy, and be a professional. Pro football is a job. A lot of Heisman trophy winners and highly decorated college players struggle because of what the NFL expects in being a professional.
Q: How do you think Baylor Heisman Trophy Winner Robert Griffith III (RGIII) will do this season?
A: We all know he has the tools. He’s very athletic. He can make all the throws. What I like about Robert is that he is confident in his abilities, but humble enough to understand that it is going to take time for him to grow and develop into the quarterback we all know he can be. He is the first person to practice, and the last to leave. He is always trying to learn to become the best he can be. … Robert is extremely intelligent, focused, and has brought a lot of energy to the organization. Now we as his teammates and brothers need to pick him up and make things easier. He needs to be able to lean on us. We have a great core group of guys. I expect big things out of him.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Roman Gabriel is an evangelist and motivational speaker. His Sold Out Sports Talk Radio program on American Family Radio can be heard in 200 cities nationally or streaming live at afr.net. It’s all about faith, family and sports. Visit his website: soldouttv.com; Facebook page: Roman Gabriel III Fan Page; connect with him on Twitter: romangabriel3rd; email him: soldoutrg3@gmail.com or call 910-431-6483. For more stories from Gabriel, visit here.)
7/17/2012 3:43:24 PM by Roman Gabriel, Sports Q&A | with 0 comments

Grandview not only church in need of ‘miracle’

July 17 2012 by Dianna L. Cagle, BR Assistant Managing Editor

When Grandview Baptist Church members began to pack up and move out of the church building, they were uncertain what was next.
Pastor John Whisnant Jr. was at the church packing up boxes with a looming deadline the next day to vacate the premises on the foreclosed property. A man in a pickup truck stopped and offered to pay off the bank note for the church, a sum totaling $345,000.
In 2003 the church received a loan of $545,000 to build a 15,000-sq.-foot family life center.
Then Catawba River Baptist Association’s Phil Oakley said the economy started taking hits.
Furniture and textile companies closed local factories and stores. “People lost their jobs and just couldn’t contribute as much,” said Whisnant to WBTV. The church tried to file bankruptcy but could not meet all the requirements. One of the church’s members tried to put up some land as collateral but the bank would not accept it.
They even tried to lease the gymnasium area but there were zoning and planning issues. Because of this anonymous donor, the church was able to start meeting together again and now holds the deed to its facility as well.
Oakley, who is the director of missions for Catawba River, said Grandview is not alone in hurting financially.
He estimates that a third of the association’s churches have held up fairly well, but the rest have a variety of financial burdens, from offerings being low to struggling to pay even basic bills.
“We have churches with various issues … some have debts that they are feeling the burden of,” Oakley said.
Even the association has experienced a “downturn in giving” these last few months, he said.
Oakley said Burke County’s economy has been taking hits for several years.
“Everybody is calling [what happened at Grandview] a miracle,” Oakley said, joking that several other ministers in the area wish that kind of miracle would happen to them.
Strong support
For churches or associations looking to build, Oakley advises that they have “a good, strong support base,” as well as have “a significant amount of the money already on hand.”
With the uncertain economy, Oakley advises trying to handle meeting needs in other ways, possibly adding services to adjust to larger crowds and rethinking your current space.
Right now the association has a small number of churches who need more space and are considering building. One small church is planning to build a sanctuary.
“They have been wise in getting the majority of their funds before they begin construction,” Oakley said.
A second church has begun a building program for a fellowship hall “walking by faith believing God will provide,” he said.
7/17/2012 3:11:24 PM by Dianna L. Cagle, BR Assistant Managing Editor | with 0 comments

Hospice chaplain is there when death looms

July 17 2012 by Mickey Noah, Baptist Press

TIFTON, Ga. – Behind the wheel of his red Ford pickup truck, Danny Ray drives a nine-county circuit – always trailing terminal illness, inevitable death and heartache. Ray’s ministry as a hospice chaplain is not one for the faint of heart or the weak of spirit.

Ray is one of 3,650 chaplains endorsed by the North American Mission Board (NAMB). While some 1,500 of them serve in the U.S. military around the world, NAMB has more than 70 kinds of chaplains also serving in prisons, law enforcement, corporations and, in the case of Ray, healthcare.

But other than military chaplains on the battlefields who encounter death and horrific injuries on a daily basis, no chaplain looks death in the face more often than a hospice chaplain.

Keith Travis, NAMB’s team leader for chaplaincy in Alpharetta, Ga., calls Ray one of “our top guys” in the field of hospice chaplaincy.

Ray has served as the hospice chaplain for Hospice of Tift Area, a service of Tift Regional Medical Center in Tifton, since 2007. Happy as a local Southern Baptist pastor since 1984, he had no desire to leave his congregation and turned down the regional medical center’s offer three times before finally accepting it.

Photo provided by Hospice of Tift Area

Danny Ray, right, hospice chaplain for Hospice of Tift Area – a service of Tift Regional Medical Center in Tifton, Ga. – discusses a patient with Cherry Cornelius, a hospice nurse.

Ray has conducted more than 120 funerals in south Georgia since becoming a hospice chaplain. A hospice case can range from just a few weeks to six months or even longer. Under law, official hospice care is for patients whose life expectancy is six months or less.

Once a patient is referred to Hospice of Tifton Area, a hospice nurse does an initial spiritual assessment. After this screening, the patient can give approval for Ray to begin visits; choose to use their own clergy or abstain from any spiritual-related contacts at all. The last option, Ray said, is rare.

“If they choose to let me come in, I do a more thorough assessment and begin building a relationship with the patient and family,” he said. “It’s heart-wrenching and sad. It’s very challenging when you build a relationship with them and then every time you visit, you see them decline. At first, the decline may be slight, but then it comes quicker. You really have to rely on the strength of the Lord to get you through it.”

Ray said one thing the hospice team – whether the chaplain, the nurse, nurse’s aide or the social worker – is taught early on is to “empathize more than sympathize” to prevent getting too close to the patient, which would result in their own depression and grief when the patient dies. But Ray said it’s not unusual for the entire hospice team to weep over patients during their daily morning staff meetings.

“For me to have the compassion I need to minister to these people, I try to put myself where they are,” Ray said. “I’ve laughed with them, cried with them, loved them and shared with them. Many times I’ve walked into their homes to minister to them and instead, I leave their homes ministered to.”

Serving a nine-county area can be daunting in itself, but Ray said he has a rule of thumb to try to visit each hospice patient every other week. “Sometimes I visit weekly, and as they approach death I, of course, try to visit more often.”

Since death is no respecter of denomination or religion, Ray ministers to faiths and denominations other than Southern Baptists.

“I get involved with any patient who will allow me in, whether they’re Methodist, Presbyterian, Catholic or Jew,” Ray said. “I ministered to a Catholic gentleman who wanted me to come and pray with him, and I did until he died.”

Ray, a white-haired, 56-year-old chaplain with a heavy south-Georgia accent, ministers to old and young alike. Some of his patients have enjoyed long lives into their 80s and 90s. Yet others are children who won’t live to see the first grade. Those cases are Ray’s toughest – so tough it takes all of the chaplain’s faith just to get through it.

“I once had a 5-year-old girl whose body uncontrollably produced tumors throughout her whole body,” Ray said. “It really took a toll on me. After she died, I found myself driving out into a field, sitting on the tailgate of my truck and asking God, ‘What are You doing? I don’t understand.’

“The Holy Spirit then spoke to my heart and said, ‘You see her todays but I see her tomorrows. I’ve taken care of her.’”

Ray said hospice chaplaincy has taught him a thing or two about family members and churches.

For the survivors, there’s grief, guilt, unspeakable loneliness and even anger. Ray said even after his patient dies, he works closely with a bereavement counselor to continue to offer the family spiritual support and help them cope during the grieving process – as long as 13 months after their loss.

“One thing I’ve learned is no matter how death may come and no matter how people can work themselves into feeling like they’re ready to see their loved ones go, they never are,” Ray said. “It still hits them hard.”

(EDITOR’S NOTE – Mickey Noah writes for the North American Mission Board.)
7/17/2012 2:59:15 PM by Mickey Noah, Baptist Press | with 0 comments

Judge issues split ruling on Miss. abortion law

July 17 2012 by Baptist Press

JACKSON, Miss. – Mississippi’s only abortion clinic will stay open even though a new law that threatens its existence has gone into effect.

In a ruling July 13, federal judge Daniel Jordan III of Jackson permitted the law to become effective. The measure, signed into law in April, requires a doctor who performs abortions to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital and to be certified as an obstetrician/gynecologist.

But Jordan issued a preliminary injunction that prevents the state from using a portion of the law to try to penalize the clinic while its doctors seek to fulfill the law’s mandates.

Only one of the doctors who performs abortions at Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the last abortion clinic in Mississippi, has admitting privileges at a local hospital, Jordan said in his 11-page order. The other two doctors, who perform the majority of the abortions, are seeking admitting privileges, according to the clinic.

While the futures of both the law and the clinic remain in doubt, the clinic has up to six months under the law to comply with its requirements. In addition, the state has renewed the clinic’s license for another year, Jordan said.

Jordan’s order, however, included language that alarmed the pro-life activist organization Operation Rescue. It commended the judge’s decision to let the law take effect but protested his analysis that an “undue burden” would be created for women if the two doctors stopped doing abortions because of concern about being prosecuted.

“The judge has proposed a new legal doctrine: A dangerous abortion clinic is better than no abortion clinic,” Operation Rescue President Troy Newman said in a written statement. “We beg to differ.

“If a clinic has unsafe operations that endanger patients and violate the law, then it makes no good sense to keep it open,” he said. “In fact, it would violate the state’s right to protect the public safety.”

Jordan initially issued a restraining order against the law July 1, the day it was to take effect, and extended the order July 11.

Initiatives by the Mississippi legislature to adopt health and safety regulations and other restrictions regarding abortion have helped produce a dramatic reduction in abortions over the last two decades. The state total has dropped from more than 8,000 abortions in 1991 to less than 2,800 in 2010, according to Mississippi Right to Life.

(EDITOR’S NOTE – Compiled by Tom Strode, Washington bureau chief for Baptist Press.)
7/17/2012 2:48:25 PM by Baptist Press | with 0 comments

The pursuit of disciple making

July 16 2012 by K. Allan Blume, BR Editor

(EDITOR'S NOTE – In the July 21 issue we focus on discipleship. What does it look like? Why is it important? Most importantly, we look at how you, your family and your church can get involved in making disciples. We hope you find the information in these stories to be helpful in that journey.)

As an associational missionary, Chuck Campbell began to notice a glaring deficiency in church ministry and in the personal lives of pastors. His concern was not born out of a judgmental position, but from a passion to help pastors become more effective in their calling. He started asking pastors if they could articulate their mission or purpose. Each one struggled to give an answer.
Growing up in a pastor’s home, and even as a seminary student, Campbell never really thought about having a discipling strategy. He followed the typical course of effective pastorates, staying true to scripture and caring for the flock. When God called him to serve the Transylvania Baptist Association in Pisgah Forest, N.C., he felt a stirring in his heart to help church leaders define discipleship.
Campbell began to ask pastors, “What is your discipling process? How do you take a brand new convert and make him into a fruit producing disciple?”
“That’s how my own journey began,” he said. “The Lord began to challenge me about my own home. How do I disciple my own family?” 
He began to feel a burden from the Lord to begin discipling his son. He could not get away from Jesus’ words in Matt. 28:20, “Teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.” He was convicted to ask,
“What are all of the things Christ commanded us to teach?”

Contributed photo

Chuck Campbell, second from left, leads his family in Bible study. The director of missions for Transylvania Baptist Association created the G3 model, what he calls “The Imperative Life of a Christ Follower.” Campbell urges disciplers to be concerned about their disciples’ fruit.

Campbell said, “The Lord led me to a study of the imperatives of Christ found in the four gospels. I found over 300 of them. I saw it was too much material to impart to another believer in a discipling relationship.”
“I went through the scripture and looked up every use of ‘follower’ and ‘disciple,’” he said. In an effort to simplify everything, Campbell put the commands into 40 categories and studied parallel passages such as the sermon on the mount and the upper room discourse.
Campbell asked the Lord for favor. “He laid this on my heart: all of these imperatives could hang on 10 distinctives. I was able to arrange them into a systematic process – surrendering, sacrificing, listening, abiding, obeying, being light, loving, serving, sharing and reproducing. These will mark a true follower of Christ.”
About a year and a half ago pastor Jeff Maynard, a former International Mission Board missionary, asked Campbell to teach these 10 distinctives to his church.
Maynard suggested that the material still needed abbreviation into a more manageable, memorable plan.
Together they brain-stormed and came up with three steps:
• GIVE UP: surrender, sacrifice, listen
• GIVE IN: abide, obey, life
• GIVE OUT: love, serve, share

“Reproduce” became an ultimate goal.
The G3 strategy was born. He calls it, “The Imperative Life of a Christ Follower.”
God started bringing young men into Campbell’s life who needed to be discipled. He began meeting with them regularly.
One question pressed on his heart. “How do I know when I have made a disciple?

Graphic by CreationSwap

“From John 15:8, I learned that it’s not about my fruit, but the one I am pouring into. Jesus said, ‘My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples.’ If you’re a Great Commission Christian, it’s not about your fruit, but it’s actually the one you’re pouring into. We ought to be concerned about their fruit. When we do that, we have created a reproducible process.”
Campbell believes the G3 model paints a clear picture of a true disciple of Jesus Christ.
“This model has made it very easy for me to come alongside someone, to find out where they are in their unique journey, and then help them to move forward so that they are reproducing themselves in someone else’s life.”
“This creates a sustainable model that Jesus left us over 2,000 years ago. I think what we have done in the church is that we have settled for first generation Christians. ... We’re not looking for second, third, fourth and fifth generation Christians ... and we wonder why the church is dying today.”
Campbell said, in one church the pastor taught the strategy in a sermon series, then led an evening class where he taught through the different concepts of the G3 model. Campbell believes the concept of surrendering should be the first principle to teach a new convert.
“Surrender gives them the capacity to sacrifice, which gives them the capacity to listen,” he shared.
Campbell plans to have a book this year and a self-discovery tool to help a new believer discover the truths for themselves. Discipling tools for small groups, a website and some apps are in development, also.
He hopes to motivate churches and church leaders to ask, “What is my discipling process?”
“This discipling process can be shared in less than an hour, it can be shared in 13 sessions or three years. It depends on how much time you’ve got.”
“So, it’s not a quick fix. ... You’ll live this out the rest of your life,” he said. “This is not a program or an event in the church, but a lifestyle. We have to get away from thinking we’re going to fix everything with the next program. Jesus taught a lifestyle.”
“We measure that a person is actively using the G3 model not only when he is seeing converts, but also, when he is pouring into a person who is soul-winning and reaching into the next generation.”
Campbell believes, “...we’ve made it too complicated and it’s time to come back to a simple approach. Or we’ve done a shotgun approach to discipleship, thinking believers will figure it out. Yet we have more people falling away from the church, not giving and not attending. So we try to draw more people through an event. But what are we drawing them to? If we’re not drawing them to a simple method of making disciples, we’re putting off the inevitable.
“Jesus gave us the method,” he added. “He said go teach the church to observe everything that I commanded you. That is what we’re trying to accomplish through the G3 model. … We’re seeing fruit come from that.”
Contact Campbell at (828) 877-3203 or tba@tbanc.org.

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7/16/2012 3:15:20 PM by K. Allan Blume, BR Editor | with 1 comments

The church, discipleship and culture

July 16 2012 by Neal Eller Jr., BSC Church Health Team Leader

(EDITOR'S NOTE – In the July 21 issue we focus on discipleship. What does it look like? Why is it important? Most importantly, we look at how you, your family and your church can get involved in making disciples. We hope you find the information in these stories to be helpful in that journey.)

What do you get when you place a frog in a pot of lukewarm water and slowly turn up the heat until it is boiling?  Supper – because the frog will stay in the water until it boils to death!
In 1990, a groundbreaking and rather controversial book was published with a futuristic look at the transforming culture of the coming millennium for the church. The book is The Frog in the Kettle: What Christians Need to Know About Life in the Year 2000 by George Barna. 
After providing an example of America’s future in the book, Barna explains the need for the church to begin anticipating the impending change of culture. For far too long, the American church has looked for large changes while overlooking minimal changes within society. Like the “frog in the kettle,” the church is beginning to be burned by a slow change in cultural temperature. Instead of the church changing the surrounding culture, the reverse is true. According to the book, secularism and materialism have impacted the country so profoundly that the country and the church have lost much of their spirituality.
In 2006, Barna cited in his book, Revolution that 90 percent of the predicted outcomes in his 1990 classic became reality.  Even today, it really doesn’t take an “outsider” long to observe the church reflecting more of the world’s culture than Kingdom culture. 

NAMB photo by Jim Whitmer

Unless the antidote is administered, this pandemic will ultimately destroy the American church as we know it giving way to culture hostile to Jesus Christ, His Church, His Kingdom and His followers. The Congregational Services team for the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina believes that antidote is found in The Great Commission and The Great Commandment. Christ commissioned every believer to make disciples and to teach them to observe all that He had commanded whenever, whatever and whoever. In order for this to happen in a majority of churches, the current culture must be transformed to a disciple-making culture. Herein lies the problem and the most often asked question we receive from pastors, “How do you change culture?”  
One example includes Steve Clark, pastor of New Life Church in Conover. He became pastor 19 years ago knowing the church began two years earlier as a result of a church split.  Pain, hurt, and no vision described the environment of the body at that time. “I came with the intent to change the culture,” Clark said. “I came with a justifiable vision in hand. I came wanting this to be the last ministry I would do in my lifetime.”
What was that “justifiable vision” that God gave Clark? “A justifiable vision is a biblical vision,” he said. “This biblical vision God gave me was to create an environment where an individual believer hears God, hears what He would want them to be and do, and then to have the grace to equip the saints to do the work of ministry and trust the Holy Spirit to empower them. Simply put, the ministry grows out of the individual.”  
This particular vision had grown out of his study of Henry Blackaby’s, Experiencing God. “When I did Blackaby’s study in 1993, the question that struck me was how Jesus becomes the head of the church?” Clark said. After arriving on the field, Clark’s first goal was to establish the Word of God as the biblical authority of the church. 
Over time, Clark constantly and consistently preached the Word at all times. He would use biblical pictures, examples and teach scripture leading the body to discover what the Word of God says the church is to be and do. The Holy Spirit began to reveal to the body truth and ideas that comes from the scripture. It was at this point Clark said, “You have to trust God and His Word.”
Clark shared the vision God had given him for New Life Church with everyone he met and in every sermon: “The vision God gave me is the opportunity to share His vision with others.”
Then eight years later an out-of-state team from Michigan led a revival  at New Life Church. For two weeks the team emphasized holiness. Fourteen days later the revival team left but the Spirit of God did not. 
Two weeks turned into three and three turned into four. Clark recalls the experience, “After the team left, the Spirit was so strong we continued the revival for 35 days total.”
Following the revival, Clark fasted for 40 days. “The Lord spoke to me,” he said. “I was reminded that New Life Church started from a split resulting in pain, hurt, and unforgiveness. We needed to make right what we had done wrong. We were led to confess, repent, and ask forgiveness from the church we split.”
The church took out ads in the local newspaper asking the community to forgive them and ultimately held a service of reconciliation between the two churches. “For some of the people, it was painful because of hurt feelings; for others it was not because they were not part of the body at that time,” he said. “Now we have a good relationship with the church, and it is a great relief not to have that over your head. Once our heritage was cleared up, the Lord was able to move in ways we could not have imagined. This movement of God created an atmosphere of forgiveness and confession; gave the people more of a willingness to hear and be led by the Lord, and God allowed us to reduce a lot of our debt.”  
Since the spiritual awakening, New Life Church has started two multi-site churches, developed several ministries around the county, and partnered with a church in Puerto Rico to plant a Hispanic church within their facility. “Acquire a strong vision, have patience to let God have His way, trust the Holy Spirit to move the people, not you,” he said. “If you move the people, it’s your church; if the Holy Spirit moves the people, it is God’s church. And the Holy Spirit will always move us to Kingdom mentality.”
Congregational Services desires to assist N.C. Baptist churches in creating a disciple-making culture that transforms lives by the power of God. Contact Eller at (919) 467-5100, ext. 5636. Attend one of the fall “Looking at Your Church in 3D” workshops: ncbaptist.org/3d.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Neal Eller is team leader for Church Health with the Baptist State Convention of N.C.)
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The pursuit of disciple making
How mentoring, discipleship changed the ‘most hateful man’
10 life-changing tips that will change a man’s life
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Editorial – Disciple making: the main thing
7/16/2012 3:01:30 PM by Neal Eller Jr., BSC Church Health Team Leader | with 0 comments

Executive Committee approves 2013 budget

July 16 2012 by Melissa Lilley, BSC Communications

The Executive Committee (EC) of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina (BSC) met July 12 to hear the proposed 2013 Cooperative Program budget and other reports.
The proposed $33.5 million budget presented by the Budget Committee does not reflect an increase over the 2012 Cooperative Program budget approved by messengers during last year’s annual meeting in November.
The budget does include an additional one-half percent increase in the percentage of Cooperative Program receipts that are sent to the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC). This is the eighth year in a row that the BSC has increased this percentage by one-half percent.
The proposed allocation to the SBC is 36 percent.
The budget also includes a two percent cost of living increase for Convention staff.
In order to accommodate these increases, Convention ministry team leaders reduced their 2013 program budgets by 3-5 percent. N.C. Baptist Hospital, N.C. Baptist Foundation and Biblical Recorder allocations are reduced by three percent in the proposed budget.
The Executive Committee approved the budget as presented. If the Board of Directors approves the budget during its Sept. 25-26 meeting, the budget will then be presented to messengers for approval during this year’s annual meeting Nov. 12-13. Cooperative Program receipts through June 30 totaled $14,797,875.11 – which represents less than a 1 percent decrease compared to last year.
The N.C. Missions Offering is at $450,391.55, which is about 4 percent behind where it was last year. The Annie Armstrong Easter Offering for North American Missions is at $1,898,029.98, representing a 6.41 percent increase over last year. The Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions is at $9,076,155.61, which is 2 percent under where it was this time last year. John Butler, BSC executive leader of Business Services, noted that some of the money for the Lottie Moon offering was designated for last year’s offering but didn’t come in until after Jan.1.
Committee on Nominations
The Executive Committee approved the following recommendations from the Committee on Nominations related to appointments on the BSC Board of Directors: Logan Dagley, The Summit Church, Yates Association, to fill the 2014 unexpired term of David Horner; Eric Griffin, Hocutt Church, Johnston Association, to fill the 2013 unexpired term of Timmy Blair; Bill Sanderson, Hephzibah Church, Raleigh Association, to fill the 2014 unexpired term of Brian Langley; and Randy Storz, Mount Olive Church, Pilot Mountain Association, to fill the 2014 unexpired term of Barry Clement.
The Committee on Nominations recommended Robert Ivey, Freedom Biker Church, New South River Association, to fill the 2014 unexpired term of Tony Brewington on the Biblical Recorder Board of Directors.
The committee also recommended John Porter, Riegelwood Church, Columbus Association, to fill the 2013 unexpired term of Brandon Blair on the Committee on Convention Meetings.
7/16/2012 2:57:57 PM by Melissa Lilley, BSC Communications | with 0 comments

Leaders, steer students to campus ministries

July 16 2012 by BSC

The Baptist State Convention of North Carolina wants students across the state to get involved in Baptist Campus Ministries. This list is provided as a ministry resource to you and your church to help students find a campus ministry on or near their campus where they can plug in to ministry.
Appalachian State University & CCC (Watauga Campus) - Jonathan Yarboro
(828) 264-7641; www.asubcm.com
143 Appalachian Street, Boone, NC 28607
Barton College - Daniel Heath
(252) 243-5163
P.O. Box 1467, Wilson, NC 27894
Belmont Abbey College - Andrew Whisenant
(704) 616-5553
23 North Central Avenue, Belmont, NC 28012
Campbell University - Faithe Beam
beam@campbell.edu; (910) 893-1548
P.O. Box 566, Buies Creek, NC 27506
Catawba College - Brian Farmer
brian@fbcsalisbury.org; (704) 633-0431
223 N. Fulton, Salisbury, NC 28144
Chowan University - Mari Wiles
wilesm@chowan.edu; (252) 398-6268
One University Place, Murfreesboro, NC 27855
Davidson Community College
Susan Scarboro, swscarbo@davidsonccc.edu
(336) 249-8186
P.O. Box 1287, Lexington, NC 27293
East Carolina University - John Ridley
(252) 752-4646; www.ecubsu.org
Box 2275, ECU Station, Greenville, NC 27836
Elon University - Debbie Perry
& Mark Mofield, perryd@elon.edu
(336) 278-5879
Elon University CB 2525, Elon, NC 27244
Gardner-Webb University - Tracy Jessup & Neal Payne; tjessup@gardner-webb.edu or npayne@gardner-webb.edu; (704) 406-4277
Campus Box 7328, Boiling Springs, NC 28017
Gaston College - Andrew Whisenant
(704) 616-5553
23 North Central Avenue, Belmont, NC 28012
International Campus Ministries of the Triad Inc. - Scott Freese, freeses@wfu.edu
(336) 972-6237
P.O. Box 5272, Winston-Salem, NC 27113
Johnston Community College
Kelton Hinton, kelton@bellsouth.net
(919) 965-9450
102 West Noble Street, Selma, NC 27576
Lenoir-Rhyne University - Bryan Barrineau & Steve Shumaker, clemsonb@yahoo.com or ShumakerS@LR.edu
(828) 328-2683
P.O. Box 7164, Hickory, NC 28603
Mars Hill College - Stephanie McLeskey,
(828) 689-1299
P.O. Box 6675, Mars Hill, NC 28754
Meredith College - Stacy Pardue,
(919) 760-8346; 3800 Hillsborough Street, Raleigh, NC  27607-5298
NC Central University - Michael Page,
(919) 530-5263
P.O. Box 19353 NCCU, Durham, NC  27707

NC State University and Raleigh Area
Rick Trexler, Interim, rtrexler@ncbaptist.org
(919) 834-1875; www.RaleighBCM.org
2702 Hillsborough St., Raleigh, NC  27607-7133
Piedmont International Fellowship 
Audrey Womack, awomack2@triad.rr.com
(336) 707-3299
2205 Ontario Street, Greensboro, NC  27403
Salem College - Sam Sorrells, samsorrells@hotmail.com; (336) 734-1815
3681 Wyandotte Ave., Winston-Salem, NC  27127
Shaw University - Donna Battle, dbattle@shawu.edu; (919) 546-8491
118 E. South St., Raleigh, NC  27601-2341
Triangle Area International Consultant BSC - Sammy Joo, sjoo@ncbaptist.org
(919) 459-5562; www.FirstWeekinUS.com
205 Convention Drive, Cary, NC 27511
UNC-Asheville and Asheville Area
David Stone, dstone@ncbaptist.org
(828) 252-3817
138 Sevier Street, Asheville, NC 28804
UNC-Chapel Hill - Lee Sullens,
(919) 942-4266; www.reachunc.org
203 Battle Lane, Chapel Hill, NC 27514
UNC-Charlotte & Charlotte Area
Dan McClintock, dmcclintock@ncbaptist.org
(704) 547-7472; www.bcmcharlotte.org
1328 John Kirk Drive, Charlotte, NC 28262

UNC-Greensboro & Greensboro Area
Evan Blackerby, eblackerby@ncbaptist.org
(336) 334-5149; www.uncgbcm.com
500 Sterling St., Greensboro, NC  27403
UNC-Pembroke - Ron Sanders,
(910) 521-8777; www.uncp.edu/bsu
UNCP Box 1510, Pembroke, NC 28372
UNC-Wilmington /Cape Fear College
- Open & Rocky Myrick, myrick74@yahoo.com
(910) 791-9480
6218 Mallard Drive, Wilmington, NC 28403
Wake Forest University - Becky Hartzog,
(336) 758-5021
Box 7204, Winston-Salem, NC 27109
Western Carolina University - Jeff Pate,
jpate@ncbaptist.org; www.wcubcm.org
(828) 293-9030
P.O. Box 1419, Cullowhee, NC 28723
Western Piedmont Community College
Eddy Bunton, ebunton@burkemontbaptist.org
(828) 443-1047
4668 Burkmont Road, Morganton, NC  28655
Wilkes Community College - Kristen Macemore, kristen.macemore@wilkescc.edu
(336) 838-6427
1328 South Collegiate Drive, Wilkesboro, NC  28697-0120
Wingate University - Dane Jordan,
(704) 233-8026
Campus Box 3073, Wingate, NC 28174-0159
Winston-Salem State University
Tina Mosby, tmosby2002@yahoo.com
(336) 587-4094
1701 E. Market St., Greensboro, NC 27401
7/16/2012 2:21:57 PM by BSC | with 0 comments

Glorieta Conference Center may go to Calif.-based school

July 16 2012 by Art Toalston, Baptist Press

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The potential sale of LifeWay Glorieta Conference Center has turned from the Baptist Convention of New Mexico (BCNM) to a California-based Christian school, Olivet University.

The BCNM’s Glorieta Task Force has notified LifeWay Christian Resources that it is not feasible for the state convention to assume ownership of Glorieta, even for the $1 price LifeWay had set forth for the 2,100-acre site near Santa Fe.

LifeWay, meanwhile, has stated that it is considering a sale to Olivet contingent on a “comprehensive review of the theological compatibility” of LifeWay and Olivet.

BCNM executive board chairman Lamar Morin, pastor of First Baptist Church in Bloomfield, confirmed to Baptist Press in a July 16 statement that ownership and responsibility for Glorieta would not be financially feasible for New Mexico Baptists.

“The BCNM Glorieta Task Force believed any prudent business plan would include an environmental study and indemnification by LifeWay for any environmental problems that might be discovered,” Morin said.

“Based on its inspection of the property, the task force determined that a viable business plan needed to include deferred maintenance of $10 million to $20 million.”

Morin said when LifeWay advised the BCNM it “could not indemnify the state convention as requested, the task force could not proceed any further.”

Morin acknowledged the “deep love and devotion New Mexico Baptists” have for Glorieta but said the task force “recognized, despite multiple suggestions, there was no offer of financial resources by any person or organization to cover the enormous costs and potential liabilities of assuming such a large property.”

LifeWay trustees voted last fall to pursue viable options for the conference center, which opened 60 years ago. Officials cited changes in church practices, rising costs and a volatile economy in noting that Glorieta had achieved financial break-even only once in the last 25 years. Glorieta now offers only summer events for student groups, including Centrifuge camps and Collegiate Week.

LifeWay, in information provided to Baptist Press July 16, said it is working with Olivet and an evangelical third party to conduct the theological compatibility review.

During the process, LifeWay said Olivet is renting previously unused facilities at Glorieta for 200 students, faculty and staff.

Jerry Rhyne, LifeWay’s chief financial officer, declined to release specific details of the potential sale to Olivet. According to a LifeWay statement, in addition to the theological review, a potential sale to Olivet would entail:

– “Significant protections for individuals and churches that lease land from Glorieta for houses and conference facilities

– “Permission for LifeWay to continue using Glorieta for summer camps

– “Accommodation of use by New Mexico Baptists

– “Preservation of memorials associated with rooms and structures, and,

– “Prohibition of re-selling the facilities in the future without LifeWay’s permission.”

Rhyne noted that any sale would need approval of LifeWay’s board of trustees which next meets in late August.

LifeWay’s consideration of Olivet, however, made front-page news July 16 in The Tennessean newspaper in Nashville. Various facets of Olivet’s operation were scrutinized in the article, along with organizations to which Olivet is related, such as The Christian Post, an Internet news site.

“LifeWay is aware of past concerns about some of Olivet’s relationships and theology,” LifeWay director of communications Martin King told Baptist Press July 16. “As part of our due diligence, we have created a process to ensure the theological compatibility of Olivet and LifeWay. This will be done by a team of theologians outside both organizations. We expect that thorough review to take several weeks.”

The president of Olivet is Bill Wagner, a former International Mission Board missionary and missions professor at Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary who was elected second vice president of the Southern Baptist Convention in 2003 and was one of several candidates for SBC president in 2008.

Wagner said Olivet is “honored LifeWay would consider Olivet to steward the Glorieta Conference Center …. Glorieta’s mission has always been to point people to Christ, which Olivet University is committed to continue to do through education and training of the next generation of leaders called to fulfill the Great Commission through church ministry and missions.”

According to the Tennessean article:

– David Jang, a Korea native who founded both Olivet and The Christian Post, had alleged ties as a young man to the Sun Myung Moon Unification Church and was investigated by church leaders in Korea and China for alleged teaching by his followers that he was the second coming of Jesus. The general secretary of the World Evangelical Association, Geoff Tunnicliffe, said Jang was cleared of theological issues, according to The Tennessean. Jang stepped down from Olivet and now runs a nonprofit called the Holy Bible Society.

– Questions about Olivet’s “theology, finances and viability already have led to Olivet’s failure in two recent attempts to acquire properties from other Christian groups,” The Tennessean stated. Earlier this year Olivet leaders tried to acquire the former campus of a school founded by D.L. Moody in Massachusetts and, earlier, tried to buy the campus of Bethany University, a now-closed Assemblies of God school in California.

– A 2007 Olivet tax return, The Tennessean reported, shows $1.41 million in revenue for operating the school and about $900,000 in net assets. The school’s 2007 annual report filed with its accrediting agency, though, listed $9.7 million in revenue and $3.37 million in assets. An Olivet spokesperson told The Tennessean the school’s annual reports include overseas locations with no official ties to the school.

– Olivet accepts only undergraduates with ties to the school’s denomination, the Evangelical Assembly of Presbyterian Churches in America, which, according to the article, has about 100 churches overseas and a handful in the United States. Some of the U.S. churches have only two or three members, a spokesperson told the newspaper. The school recruits students from new converts in China and Korea, The Tennessean said. A spokesperson with A. Larry Ross and Associates, which now represents the university alongside the Billy Graham Evangelistic Organization and other leading evangelicals, told the newspaper that Olivet does allow for some graduate students from outside the small Presbyterian group.

The Tennessean also noted the role of Richard Land as executive editor of The Christian Post, which is operated by Olivet leaders and former students. Land is president of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission.

Land, in a July 16 statement to Baptist Press, said, “I accepted the position as Executive Editor of The Christian Post July 7, 2011. I write at least one column a month on current moral issues and I’m available to advise and consult with the writers and editorial staff upon their request on issues they should cover and how to cover them.”

R. Albert Mohler Jr. of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and Danny Akin of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary also were mentioned in The Tennessean article as being senior editorial advisers to The Christian Post. Mohler told The Tennessean the Post has used his columns and he has met some of its leaders.

Glorieta’s history dates back to the mid-1940s, when Southern Baptists wanted a conference facility in the west to correspond with Ridgecrest Conference Center in the east. Harry P. Stagg, New Mexico Baptists’ executive director at the time, helped secure an 800-acre ranch near Santa Fe through special gifts and the sale of state convention property.

The ranch, along with adjacent land, was a gift from New Mexico Baptists to the Southern Baptist Convention. At the time, New Mexico Baptists numbered fewer than 35,000 people in 166 churches. In 1949, the SBC Executive Committee authorized the official development of the western assembly located at Glorieta.

The first Southern Baptist conference at Glorieta, “a place of decision and life dedication,” was held in August 1952 with more than 1,400 registered guests from 18 states. The first full summer of conferences was in 1953. Glorieta underwent a major campus revitalization project that began in 2000.

(EDITOR’S NOTE – Art Toalston is editor of Baptist Press. With reporting by John Loudat, editor of the Baptist New Mexican, newsjournal of the Baptist Convention of New Mexico; the communications office of LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention; and Baptist Press assistant editor Erin Roach.)
The full statement by Lamar Morin, chairman of the Baptist Convention of New Mexico’s executive board, follows:

“The Baptist Convention of New Mexico was offered the Glorieta property from LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention for $1 under the condition that it would present a viable business plan to operate the conference center as a ministry. The Glorieta Task Force of the BCNM, formed at the January meeting of the BCNM Executive Board, diligently sought to address and respond in a fiduciary manner to the offer made by LifeWay.

“The BCNM Glorieta Task Force believed that any prudent business plan would include an environmental study and indemnification by LifeWay for any environmental problems that might be discovered. LifeWay would also need to indemnify the BCNM for the litigation it might incur as a result of assuming ownership of the property and not because of any action taken by the BCNM. Based on its inspection of the property, the task force determined that a viable business plan needed to include deferred maintenance of $10 million to $20 million.

“Accordingly, the task force advised LifeWay that it could not proceed further with the acquisition unless LifeWay agreed to indemnify BCNM for any environmental liability and litigation liability. LifeWay advised BCNM that it could not indemnify BCNM as requested, and as a result the task force could not proceed any further.

“The Baptist Convention of New Mexico Glorieta Task Force is keenly aware of the deep love and devotion that New Mexico Baptists and Southern Baptists around the world have for the Glorieta Conference Center. Our hearts are sympathetic to the many letters, phone calls and emails that we have received. The task force sought to respond and discuss every suggestion proposed. They also recognized that, despite multiple suggestions, there was no offer of financial resources by any person or organization to cover the enormous costs and potential liabilities of assuming such a large property.”
7/16/2012 2:09:50 PM by Art Toalston, Baptist Press | with 0 comments

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