March 2009

Rich Fork shows Hope Lives

March 31 2009 by Norman Jameson, BR Editor

With Davidson County unemployment above 12 percent it seems every week another member of Rich Fork Baptist Church in Thomasville tells pastor Michael Bowers that he or she has lost a job. The steady drip of bad news erodes hope like a leaky faucet rots floors.
    
To provide spiritual encouragement with practical help Rich Fork organized a “Hope Lives” event March 28 that saw 1,000 unemployed people or family members come to the church before noon for food boxes, clothes, encouragement and practical help from area colleges and social services agencies.

No registration was required because organizer Todd Shore said unemployed people are tired of standing in line and filling out forms. That awareness from his own unemployment is why Bowers asked Shore to organize the event. So many unemployed Rich Fork members and others volunteered that Shore said the event was a success before the doors opened “because the church family came together so well.”

When the doors opened, volunteers directed traffic in the parking lot, held umbrellas over strangers and carried them to the church on golf carts.

Church members earlier had provided 550 boxes of food, each packed with ingredients to feed a family of four for a week. They gymnasium was filled with clothes including items suitable for a job applicant to wear to an interview.

Downstairs people sat patiently for 90 minutes to get a free haircut, manicure or even a shoulder massage. This human touch often was the most valuable contribution to lives lived on the edge of despair.

Jennifer Shore, Todd’s wife, roamed the halls with a sympathetic ear and a quickly dwindling stack of $10 gift cards as coordinator of WOW. Her job was to find and encourage the people whose personal stories made the listener say, “Wow.”

• One woman hadn’t eaten meat in six weeks. A gift card got her some food at the grocery store.

• Another hadn’t afforded a haircut in 15 years.

• One woman whose birthday it was, said no one had told her happy birthday or given her a present in 10 years.

• One extended family of 16 was being evicted when their landlord sold the house. They needed everything.

• A woman who had been hospitalized and not expected to recover, came out of the hospital six weeks later to discover her son had sold everything she had, including her house.

• A grandmother raising four grandchildren by herself.

• An unemployed father of three not able to cope so his wife is keeping the family together.

Everyone found that hope lives through the grace of God and by Christians being the hands of God.

Social services like the YMCA, Employment Security Commission, Family Services of Davidson County, Habitat for Humanity, JobLink and High Point University and Davidson County Community College (DCCC) were set up and staffed to help.

Interpreters helped overcome language barriers.

“This is not going to be a onetime thing,” Shore said. He said other churches already were asking for his notes and graphics.

Emily Chilton, a church member and cosmetology student at DCCC, was among seven who had each given 15 haircuts by noon. She just wanted to do, “anything I can do to help. I love to see a smile on their faces. It’s more a blessing to us than to them.”

Chris Spanburg, who has her own salon, gave her Saturday to cutting hair for free “to help my community. It’s kind of the Christian thing to do, isn’t it?”

Nancy Snider held her son Matthew tightly for a haircut he did not enjoy. Her husband, a machinist, lost three jobs last year. In each case, he was the last one hired, so the first one let go.

“The Lord is good,” said a positive Snider, a member of New Hope Baptist Church in Salisbury. “That’s the only way we can make it, is through things like this (Hope Lives). He looks after our every need.”

Bowers said he was surprised by the variety of need presented by the crowd. He was proud of his 350 volunteers who were “off the charts” he said.

One of them, Liz Cranford, said, “Our church will never be the same after today.”

Bowers said he hopes his members “eyes will be open to what’s around them,” because of the event. “The recession has been positive in that it has shown us what we need to be doing, what the church was called to do,” he said. “This is it. It’s right here in front of them.”

3/31/2009 6:44:00 AM by Norman Jameson, BR Editor | with 2 comments



Church, pastor minister after nursing home shooting

March 30 2009 by Steve DeVane, BR Managing Editor

First Baptist Church in Carthage designed its fellowship hall to be used in a disaster, but church leaders expected it would be a hurricane or a flood, not a mass shooting in the small town.

Carthage officials used the fellowship hall on Sunday to talk to about 300 people who had relatives at Pinelake Health and Rehab center, where a gunman killed eight and wounded two others Sunday.
 
Thomas Herndon, the pastor at First Baptist Church and a chaplain for the town’s police department, said N.C. Rep. Jamie Boles came in to the back of the church just as the 11 a.m. worship service was ending. Boles, who also serves as the area’s medical examiner and owns a local funeral home, told Herndon that the town needed a place to talk to the relatives, who were then in the parking lot of the Courthouse nearby.

“When I went outside it was just people everywhere,” Herndon said.

Church members made tea and coffee for the relatives, who didn’t have much information about the shooting then.

“The whole place was in turmoil,” Herndon said.

Boles asked Herndon if he would pray, which he did.

“People just calmed down after that,” Herndon said.

County officials read out a list of names and asked those related to them to step outside.

“Those were the ones who were either killed or wounded,” Herndon said.

Those relatives were taken to separate rooms in another building, where they received counseling.

Herndon said church members felt God’s hand guiding them as they ministered to the relatives.

“We were able to share our faith and help them with their needs,” he said.
 
Herndon said he first heard about the shooting from a church member who is a resident at Pinelake. She called the church at about 9:55 a.m. and told Herndon that there was a shooting going on at the facility.

Herndon went and told the resident’s husband who was about to go to the center when his wife called back and asked him not to go. Herndon let the man talk to his wife.

“She was naturally quite disturbed and upset about what was going on,” Herndon said.

In the worship service, Herndon announced that there had been a shooting but he didn’t have details. He preached from Matt. 12:9-14, which tells about how the Pharisees plotted to kill Jesus. The sermon was titled, “The Beginning of Hostility.”

At the end of the service, church members prayed for those involved in the shooting.

Herndon said he has talked with Chris McKenzie, the town’s police chief, who he described as a “well respected, fine Christian man.“

“He’s under a tremendous amount of pressure,” Herndon said.

McKenzie’s parents, Tommy and Worthy McKenzie, are active members at the church.

At a press conference the day after the shooting, the police chief said the Carthage community has strong faith.

“Faith will get this community through this,” he said. “I believe that.”

McKenzie said the officer who stopped the shooting was the only one on duty when the shooting happened on Sunday morning. The number of officers on duty is based on the call volumes at those times, he said.

“I’ve mentioned many times we’re faith-based,” he said. “Everybody’s in church.”

3/30/2009 10:08:00 AM by Steve DeVane, BR Managing Editor | with 0 comments



Church ‘Feeds the Need’ in Archdale

March 30 2009 by Lisa Russell Motley, Special to the Recorder

People of Faith Baptist Church in Trinity took seriously Jesus’ challenge to Peter, “If you love me, feed my sheep.”  

Based on that premise members of the small Randolph County Baptist church organized an event to “feed the flock” in their community near High Point.

Prompted during a summer camp at Fort Caswell Baptist Assembly last summer, Faith Baptist Church member Jeff Foster organized Faith and nine other churches for a community event March 28 to raise awareness, donations and funds for local helping organizations. He also wanted to present the gospel to those who would attend.

“The genesis of it was to get the people of the Archdale-Trinity area to hear the gospel; and for us to witness to others and meet their needs, whatever that might be — whether it was physical, material, or spiritual,” Foster said. Hence, the title “Feed the Need” was born for this event Foster called a “practical application of the gospel.”
 
The day-long event held under cloudy skies and in frequent drizzle began with a blood drive at 10 a.m. Shirley Davis, team supervisor for the American Red Cross, stated volunteers surpassed her goal to collect 30 pints of blood by giving 48.

The MOFIA (Men of Faith in Action) kept the grill hot and prepared countless hot dogs and bratwursts, as the M & M Sisters (Ministry and Missions) collected clothing donations. The church youth group, led by Paul Welborn, attached a label detailing the plan of salvation to every non-perishable food item that was donated.

“With the economy the way it is right now, there are people that need help; that perhaps a year ago would not have needed to ask for help. These people need to know that the community cares,” said church member Kitty Ivey.

Other churches that partnered with Faith Baptist included Archdale Friends Meeting, Archdale United Methodist, Dry Ponds Baptist, Hopewell United Methodist, Memorial United Methodist, New Covenant Church of God, Poplar Ridge Friends Meeting, Southgate Baptist and Trindale Community Church.  

“We are a Baptist church, but we wanted to extend our hand across the street to other fellow Christians. We wanted to break down the barriers between different churches and band together to fulfill our main objective, which is the Great Commission,” explained Foster. “My hope is that this isn’t just a one time thing. We hope we can come together throughout the year and win souls for Christ.”

Throughout the month of March, the 10 churches collected clothing and nonperishable food items to donate to Community Outreach of Archdale-Trinity (COAT), a nonprofit organization that assists families in need.  

Faith Baptist has also partnered with an International Missions Project called One Million Can. Much like the goal of Feed the Need, their web site states, “Collectively we are a force for good . . . moving together we can make a huge difference in the lives of people around the globe.”  

The weather may have been wet and dreary, that didn’t dampen the spirits of those in attendance at Feed the Need. Even though the car wash was put on hold, the evening culminated with a concert by Christian singer Ashley Seagle. Other groups were The Morning and the FBC (Faith Baptist Church) Band. Welborn concluded the day with a message of hope.

“Feed the Need was not a Christian pep-rally,” Welborn said. “But today was about fulfilling people’s needs. We started with the physical and ended with the spiritual.”

3/30/2009 3:03:00 AM by Lisa Russell Motley, Special to the Recorder | with 0 comments



20-somethings more linked to Christianity

March 30 2009 by Tobin Perry, Baptist Press

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Despite recent media reports that young adults are running from churches in droves, the beliefs of many younger unchurched people are more connected to historic Christian beliefs than many suspected.

More 20-somethings than people 30 and older believe in the God of the Bible, the resurrection of Christ and the uniqueness of the Christian God, according to research of unchurched individuals released by LifeWay Research, the research arm of LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention.

Unchurched 20-somethings are more open than their older counterparts to hear more about Christianity — though they do tend to hold negative views of the church, according to the research.

The data is reported in a new book, Lost and Found: The Younger Unchurched and the Churches that Reach Them, by Ed Stetzer, LifeWay Research director; Richie Stanley, team leader at the North American Mission Board’s Center for Missional Research; and Jason Hayes, LifeWay’s young adult ministry specialist.

Hayes said the study, conducted via two telephone surveys in 2007, disputes “much of what we’ve read, heard and even told ourselves” in recent years about unchurched young adults being disinterested in Christianity. In reality, he said. “They are open to Christianity.”

Stetzer, Hayes and Stanley pointed out that church attendance among young adults hasn’t dropped off as much as previously thought. According to surveys conducted between 1972 and 2006 by the General Social Survey, a biennial research project, church attendance among young people is higher than it was in the 1990s and no more than 10 percent below its peak in the early 1970s.

The screening question for the study — “Have you attended a religious service in a church, synagogue, or mosque, other than for special events such as a wedding or funeral, at any time in the past 6 months?” — produced a sample of 900 unchurched respondents age 20-29 and 502 adults over 30.

For the most part, the theological beliefs of unchurched 20-29-year-olds are closer to historic Christianity than the beliefs of older generations who are unchurched. According to the study: More than 4 out of 5 of the younger group (80 percent) believe in God — 8 percent higher than unchurched adults 30 and older. Additionally, 57 percent of 20-somethings are more likely to say “there exists only one God, the one described in the Bible” — nearly 10 percent higher than older adults.

Unchurched 20-29-year-olds also affirm the uniqueness of the Christian God at a higher rate than their elders. While 67 percent of unchurched individuals over 30 say the God of the Bible is no different than the gods of other religions, only 58 percent of 20-somethings agree.

Unchurched 20-29-year-olds even affirm the central doctrine of Christianity — the resurrection of Christ — at a higher rate. Two out of 3 individuals (67 percent) in their 20s say they believe Jesus rose from the dead. Only 54 percent of older unchurched adults believe this.

“Unchurched young adults are open and believe many of the things that Christians believe, but they still need to be reached for Christ,” Stetzer said. “The challenge today may not be convincing them that there was a resurrection, but convincing them there was only one that brings them new life — and that new life is lived out in a community called ‘church.’“

While 20-29-year-olds hold some more historically Christian views than their elders on a variety of core teachings, many also have nagging concerns about the church. Nearly 40 percent of respondents in their 20s believe the church wouldn’t approve of their lifestyle choices. Thirty percent of older adults have the same concern.

“We need to have an accurate understanding of exactly who we’re hoping to reach,” Hayes said. “Churches wanting to connect with this (younger) generation need to be informed and prepared.

“The world is watching, and young adults are looking to see a real and authentic faith from Christians. It’s not enough for the church to simply believe the right things. Our actions must be connected to these convictions as well.”

The LifeWay Research survey carries a 95 percent confidence that the sampling error is 2.5 percent.

(EDITOR’S NOTE — Perry is an Atlanta-area writer.)

3/30/2009 3:02:00 AM by Tobin Perry, Baptist Press | with 0 comments



Baptist Men’s crowd finds ‘Power of One’

March 27 2009 by Norman Jameson, BR Editor

More than 2,000 people flooded the 35th annual North Carolina Baptist Missions Conference in Charlotte March 20-21 to learn the power inherent in their individual lives.

“The Power of One” conference at Hickory Grove Baptist Church featured dozens of breakout sessions at which leaders of North Carolina Baptist Men’s (NCBM) various ministries explained how the practical application of human touch during times of need can lead people to trust Christ.

Leaders of several international partnerships told about their challenges and how Baptist Men are helping to meet them.

 

Terry Rae, whose “Africa for Christ” efforts through the South African Baptist Mission has started more than 1,000 churches, brought two messages on the “power of one” to make a difference. Preaching from Ezekiel 22 he said the Church today is similar to that in the prophet’s day when God was looking for someone to “stand in the gap” before Him on behalf of the land.

In America, Rae said, there is a violent crime every 30 seconds, a rape every 15 minutes and a murder every 90 minutes — and it is worse in South Africa. The four bad characteristics God accused the Israelites of having are as true today, he said.

Rae said the church had become “dross,” or the waste left over after refining precious metals; the people had become “dry,” with “thunder from the pulpit but no shower of blessing from the Lord;” the church had become “desecrated” with no sense of the “divine;” and it had become “deceitful.”

Rae told of watching in a South African game reserve a lion crouched in the tall grass while a wildebeest approached. He watched for more than 90 minutes anticipating a dramatic kill until the wildebeest spooked and ran. The long moments seemed like an instant because he was anticipating something dramatic.

“When did you last anticipate meeting God in church?” he asked.

Cheryl Allen, founder of Door of Hope that rescues babies through an anonymous door in the church wall, said her life was changed by a photograph of a discarded baby. Since her life change, more than 800 babies have been saved, including Georgina Smith, today a teenager who was present to introduce Allen.

Georgina represents “all babies, their pain and potential,” Allen said. It is a harsh world in which every 50 seconds a child is orphaned by AIDS and every three seconds a child dies.

Biju Thomas, founder of Transformation India Movement (TIM), detailed the progress of planting churches in villages where Christians have dug a deep water well. N.C. Baptist Men has partnered with TIM the past two years and helped to find sponsors to adopt more than 50 villages and dig wells in more than 150 others.

“So many villages have heard the name of Jesus for the first time because of the bore wells,” Thomas said. He told of village fights over wells and of 70 percent of government sponsored wells no longer functioning in his adopted state of Bihar.

“Indians are extremely happy that Christians have come to help them,” he said. His hope is that the wells “are a place where people find Jesus in a way they never expected.”
 

Ukraine ministry

Pastor Janos, speaking through an interpreter, said the involvement of N.C. Baptists with gypsy ministry in the Ukraine is opening many doors because locals “don’t understand why Americans come to help gypsies.”

People who are “just wondering what is going on here” see the "hand of God" and feel "the grace of God" through the ministry.

For the first time, “the city is paying attention to us, a cast out and rejected nation,” Janos said of his gypsy people. He said he has been invited to lunch with the city’s mayor, an “impossible” idea until recently when no government official would be disposed to meet with a gypsy.

He told of gypsy Christians “kneeling in the mud together and we were rejoicing” at the developments in their city of Munkacs. “God gave us not only grace, but favor,” he said.

The central element of the Ukrainian project is a large, square brick building that previous Russian occupiers used as a KGB listening station. It is being converted into a community center with many elements, including housing, food and clothing distribution, tutoring and facilities for a church.
 

Learning ‘how to’

Participants streamed to “How To” missions action conferences in morning and afternoon of the second day. They included sessions on each of the N.C. Baptist Men partnerships and ministries, such as handyman, agricultural, disaster relief, aviation, medical/dental and others.

Chuck Register, Baptist State Convention executive leader for church planting and missions development, led a session for churches looking for a way to meet rising economic needs in their communities and among their congregations. People who could not crowd into the room stood in the hallways at both doors.

“Helping people who are experiencing economic pain is not an option for the church,” said Register, who last year was pastor of First Baptist Church, Gulfport, Miss., whose facility and city was decimated by Hurricane Katrina. “It is a direct command from the lips of Jesus. The church cannot ignore the second commandment, ‘…love your neighbor as yourself.’”

Register discussed a new economic ministry website launched and being developed by N.C. Baptist Men in partnership with the BSC to help churches and individuals with answers and practical ministry plans. The site is designed, he said, “to provide North Carolina Baptists with a biblical foundation for economic ministry through the four-week sermon and Bible studies series and an electronic network for the sharing of practical ‘how to ministries’ with churches all across the world wide web.”  

Jimmy Joseph, chaplain at Pender Correctional Institution, provided some practical perspectives for those who would heed Jesus’ admonition to visit prisoners. There are two ways to approach the same idea, he said, and both are not correct.

It would be counterproductive to declare on a visit that “all Muslims are going to hell,” he said. Instead, a Christian who says, “Faith in Jesus is necessary for salvation,” is giving appropriate witness and will find a much more receptive audience.

“Don’t be afraid to testify to your faith,” he said to those who would visit. “You’re a religious volunteer. That’s what we expect. But do it in a positive manner.”

Lee Witherspoon said outdoor ministry in the local church is trying to reach two kinds of men: the “marginal man” who shows up on some Sundays, and the non-believer.

“If you try to get this guy to church on Sunday morning, good luck,” said Witherspoon. “Let’s go to him, get him in his territory and seek him that way.”

That means outdoor ministry is more than an annual wild game dinner, Witherspoon said. Active Christians who enjoy hunting, fishing, boating, biking and four-wheeling need to consciously schedule and conduct events to which they can invite and embrace non-Christian friends.

Bill Martin, leading a handyman ministry session, said the power of one conference theme is demonstrated in “one bush hog, one chain saw, one deck built.”

“If we’re ever going to change this world, we’ve got to work with each other,” he said.

3/27/2009 9:17:00 AM by Norman Jameson, BR Editor | with 0 comments



Americans open to outreach from churches

March 27 2009 by David Roach, Baptist Press

Despite worries among evangelicals that Americans are set against attending church, most people would attend if invited in the right manner.

A recent study by the North American Mission Board (NAMB) and LifeWay Research found that 67 percent of Americans say a personal invitation from a family member would be effective in getting them to visit a church. A personal invitation from a friend or neighbor would effectively reach 63 percent.

“We want to help Christians discover what approaches work best in today’s culture,” said Ken Weathersby, senior strategist for evangelization at the NAMB. “It’s not about changing the gospel, but determining how best to share it.”
 
Nearly two-thirds (63 percent) are willing to receive information about a local congregation or faith community from a family member, and 56 percent are willing to receive such information from a friend or neighbor.

“The primary lesson North American believers should learn from this research is that many of your unchurched friends are ready for an invitation to conversation,” said Ed Stetzer, director of LifeWay Research. “Unbelievers next door still need a simple, personal invitation to talk, to be in community and to church. Clearly, relationships are important and work together with marketing.”

The survey, commissioned by the Southern Baptist Convention’s North American Mission Board and conducted by LifeWay Research, may be the largest survey ever conducted on Americans’ receptivity to different methods of church invitations. LifeWay Research surveyed more than 15,000 adults in December 2008 using a random, demographically balanced, stratified sample of Americans. NAMB commissioned the research as one of the steps to prepare for “God’s Plan for Sharing,” its national evangelism initiative that will launch nationwide in 2010.

Out of 13 approaches tested, personal invitations from family members or friends is the only method that a majority of Americans say would effectively draw them to church. Visiting door-to-door received the least favorable reception.

Less than a quarter of Americans (24 percent) are willing to receive information from a local congregation through a visit to their door. Still, 31 percent say a visit to their door would be effective in getting them or others to visit a church.

Church advertising efforts take a back seat to personal invitations from family and friends. Americans say they are somewhat willing or very willing to receive information about church via newspaper ads (46 percent), radio ads (41 percent) and television ads (40 percent). Similar reaction is seen toward receiving information from a local congregation through outdoor advertising (46 percent) and letters mailed to the home (45 percent).

Up to a third are somewhat willing and just more than 10 percent are very willing to receive information from those forms of advertising. Less than 10 percent, however, think such ads would be very effective in getting them or others to visit a church.

“This research confirms that media advertising efforts can under gird and enhance those personal approaches while not relying on them alone,” said Brandon Pickett, team leader for NAMB’s communications team.

Internet communication from churches is also unwelcome by most Americans. A majority (66 percent) are unwilling to receive information through an e-mail message, and 70 percent say e-mail would be ineffective in getting them to visit.

In addition to the method of inviting, the inviter’s denomination makes a difference. Americans are most open to invitations from nondenominational churches and least open to invitations from Mormons.
 
Twenty percent of respondents said an invitation from a nondenominational church would be more effective when asked, “Considering your response to the methods used by a local congregation or faith community ... would the invitation be more effective, less effective or about the same if you knew the invitation was from one of the following types of churches?”

Southern Baptist invitations are more effective for 11 percent of Americans, and Roman Catholic invitations are more effective for 15 percent.

More than two-thirds (67 percent) find invitations from Mormons less effective. Invitations from a Pentecostal church are less effective for half of Americans.

“It is not surprising that denominational identification is a factor,” Stetzer said. “Other studies have shown that many have background, experience or some connection with one or more denominations that would shape their opinions about congregations that bear these titles.”

At particular points in life, people are more open to considering matters of faith, the survey found. The Christmas season is the most common time for people to be open to spiritual matters. Nearly half (47 percent) are more open to considering matters of faith at Christmas. Americans are also open to matters of faith during the Easter season (38 percent), after a major national crisis such as 9/11 (38 percent), after a natural disaster (34 percent) and following the birth of a baby (28 percent).

But once people receive information from a community of faith, there are very few follow-up steps they are willing to take. The only scenario to which a majority of Americans would respond positively is receiving a postcard from a church advertising upcoming talks on topics that matter to them. Fifty-two percent agree that they might visit after receiving such a postcard.

The least appealing follow-up option is making a phone call. If Americans see an ad with interesting information about matters of faith and an 800 number to request more information, less than 20 percent say they would call.

Finally, the survey asked Americans about their likely first response if they wanted more information about God. A third say they would read a Bible, 19 percent would attend a church service and 10 percent would talk to a Christian friend.

Only 1 percent would watch a preacher or worship service on television, and 1 percent report they would explore the Website of a local church. Less than 1 percent would ask questions in an anonymous chat room or online community.

“Churches may be discouraged to see potential responses of less than 10 percent, yet even Jesus Christ referred to small percentages when he referred to leaving the 99 to go after one lost sheep,” Stetzer said. “Believers are a people committed to faithful sharing of the Gospel, and we can trust the Holy Spirit in His faithful work in drawing people to a saving knowledge of Christ.”

3/27/2009 9:11:00 AM by David Roach, Baptist Press | with 0 comments



N.C. Business Court moves to Campbell Law

March 27 2009 by Press release

Campbell University’s Norman Adrian Wiggins School of Law today announced that in conjunction with its fall 2009 move to downtown Raleigh, the school will become home to the North Carolina Business Court — Raleigh division. The move will make Campbell Law School one of only a handful of the nation’s law schools to house a working court within its facilities.
 
The North Carolina Business Court is a specialized forum of the North Carolina State Courts’ trial division. Cases involving complex and significant issues of corporate and commercial law in the state are assigned by the Chief Justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court to a special superior court judge who oversees resolution of all matters in the case.
 
“The addition of the N.C. Business Court to Campbell Law’s new location in downtown Raleigh is tremendous,” said Campbell Law School Dean Melissa Essary. “It gives our students the invaluable opportunity to utilize an on-site learning laboratory in which to observe attorneys in action as they argue their cases. It also provides greater visibility and interaction between the North Carolina State Bar and Campbell Law School.”
 
The Honorable Sarah Parker, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of North Carolina, added, “We are delighted to partner with Campbell Law School on a new location for the North Carolina Business Court’s Raleigh division. Campbell’s new downtown facility will offer convenience to litigants in the Business Court and efficiencies in the administration of the Court in the Law School’s advocacy wing. Additionally, it is a wonderful opportunity to help equip local law students with real-world experiences, which will ultimately make them better lawyers.”
 
The first Business Court was established in 1996 in Greensboro. With the passage of House Bill 650 in 2005, the Court’s jurisdiction was expanded and two additional Business Court locations were established in Charlotte and Raleigh. Chief Business Court Judge Ben Tennille has presided over the Business Court in Greensboro since its inception. Judge Albert Diaz and Judge John Jolly serve as Special Superior Court Judges for the Charlotte and Raleigh Business Courts, respectively.
 
The Business Court will move into Campbell Law School’s new Raleigh facility at 225 Hillsborough Street when the Law School opens in fall 2009 or shortly thereafter.
 


3/27/2009 9:10:00 AM by Press release | with 0 comments



Baptist Men announce disaster relief training

March 27 2009 by BSC Communications

North Carolina Baptist Men (NCBM) announce a series of disaster training opportunities throughout North Carolina.

  • April 3-4 – Region 3 – Sampson County

  • May 1-2 – Region 5 – Guilford County

  • May 29-30 – Region 7 – Caldwell County

  • June 12-13 – Region 9 – Henderson County

Exact locations will be announced within one week prior to the event, to lend an air of uncertainty and immediacy similar to disaster response for those who will be participating. 

In 2008, more than 1,400 people were trained and prepared for service in disaster relief through these weekend seminars. Volunteers receive Basic Training in mass feeding, recovery, emergency childcare, water purification, chaplaincy or shower/laundry set up. Volunteers also learn the history, policies, procedures and technical training for the area they choose. Basic Training is required for the Advanced Training in Administration, Assessment and Chain saw work.

Once trained, basic certification is valid for three years. Crosstraining will also be offered for volunteers already trained in one Basic course and seeking certification in an additional Basic course.

NCBM operate three disaster relief feeding units, the largest able to provide more than 30,000 meals a day. Volunteers trained in mass feeding will learn how to work on these units as well as manage the process of food safety and preparation. Regional feeding teams respond to disasters on a rotating basis. Each team includes a captain, cooks, inventory specialist, sanitation personnel and kitchen personnel. During the recovery training volunteers learn skills such as how to cut and install dry wall, how to repair a roof and begin to construct a new roof, and how to safely use a chain saw. NCBM has more than 240 mobile tool trailers used for recovery. Each trailer is outfitted with chain saws and power washers to help clear debris and wash away mud.  

The Disaster Relief Ministry of NCBM is successful in large part because of volunteers who are well trained and equipped to do the work once on site of a natural disaster.

“NCBM Disaster Relief training provides Baptist volunteers the necessary knowledge, skills and experience to begin working in disaster response,” said Gaylon Moss, NCBM disaster relief volunteerism coordinator. “The weekend is designed to be as realistic as possible. Volunteers are informed of the exact location at one week prior to the event. When they arrive, they check-in, receive a photo ID and place their bedrolls in approved locations.”

3/27/2009 9:04:00 AM by BSC Communications | with 0 comments



CBF-NC embraces evangelism

March 26 2009 by Steve DeVane, BR Managing Editor

The Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of North Carolina focused on evangelism March 20-21 at its annual General Assembly.

The meeting at Snyder Memorial Baptist Church in Fayetteville included an evangelism track of breakout sessions, testimonies and sermons stressing the need to tell people about Jesus. More than 1,100 people registered for the weekend meeting with about 925 attending a worship service the first night.

Fred Craddock, who was called one of the country’s best preachers by Newsweek magazine, was keynote speaker. The meeting’s theme was “Use Words if Necessary: Embracing Authentic Evangelism.”

Craddock preached at both worship services and answered questions during a dialogue session the first afternoon. His sermons and responses stressed the importance of telling people about Jesus.

“Faith comes by hearing, but how can they hear unless someone is saying something?” he said.

Christians who say they just witness with their lives are copping out, Craddock said. Many Christians think that it’s enough to just “walk the walk,” he said.

“There’s only one problem with that — it’s not the truth,” he said. “Somebody has to talk the talk.”

Craddock talked about Jesus' words in Matthew 12, which says that by words people are justified and by words people are condemned.

“In my experience, there is nothing more powerful than the right word at the right time from the right person,” Craddock said.

Talking about something important is hard, he said.

“Nervousness is the way the body honors the seriousness of what you’re doing,” he said.

Craddock said Christians have gotten scared of using the word evangelism because of charlatans who are “always boiling water but never making any soup.”

“So we’ve avoided the word and also the activity,” he said.
In a breakout session, Rendell Hipps, minister of education and discipleship at First Baptist Church in Hickory, suggested that instead of tossing out the word, churches should work to reclaim it. Hipps and Todd Blake, pastor of Mount Pisgah Baptist Church in Fayetteville, led a workshop on “Nurturing the Conversation of Evangelism in Your Church: a Local Church Discernment Process.”

Hipps and Blake are both members of CBF-NC’s Evangelism Task Force. The task force is an outgrowth of CBF-NC’s 2007 Strategic Plan, which listed evangelism as a common concern or need among CBF-NC churches.

The plan called for the formation of a group “to explore evangelism needs, to develop a healthy philosophy/theology for evangelism; to develop a strategy for congregational evangelism; and to explore the relationship between being a missional church and evangelism.”

Hipps and Blake presented a “coaching approach” to helping churches with evangelism that doesn’t tell them how to do it, but helps them “ask the right questions.” They said outreach must be about spiritual formation as well as evangelism or “it won’t work.”

Hipps and Blake said working through a process is more difficult that using an evangelism program bought from a Christian bookstore.

“You have to listen for God to speak,” Blake said.

Also during its General Assembly, CBF-NC adopted a 2009-10 budget of $1.19 million, an 8.87 percent increase over the previous year. The organization also expects to receive another $1.6 million through its Mission Resource Plan to be passed on to N.C. Baptist agencies and institutions and other Baptist groups.

Most CBF-NC related churches also support the work of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina through the Cooperative Program.

Mack Dennis, who presented the budget on behalf of the CBF-NC finance committee, said the organization is in a “very solid’ financial position as designated and undesignated giving continues to grow through record levels. The current economic crisis has caused CBF-NC to hit a “slight bump,” leading the committee to recommend the smallest percentage budget increase in the group’s history, he said.

CBF-NC Executive Coordinator Larry Hovis said in his report that CBF-NC has experienced double-digit financial growth over the last five years, but he remains concerned about whether the group will have resources to meet ministry expectations.

“There is a limited amount of growth we can expect from church budgets, so we must explore alternative avenues for resources,” Hovis said.

CBF-NC also took up an offering for Living Faith Ministry in Lebanon at the meeting. More than $7,000 was contributed, which is $2,000 more than the offering at any previous CBF-NC meeting.

3/26/2009 10:40:00 AM by Steve DeVane, BR Managing Editor | with 0 comments



Vermont governor pledges gay marriage veto

March 26 2009 by Baptist Press

MONTPELIER, Vt. — Vermont Gov. Jim Douglas broke his silence March 25 about a “gay marriage” bill that is garnering national attention, saying he will veto it if it reaches his desk.
 
Whether a veto by Douglas will make any difference remains to be seen. A bill that would legalize marriage between homosexuals passed the state Senate by a veto-proof majority and is currently before the House Judiciary Committee.
 
Douglas’ pledge, though, does provide opponents of the bill with hope. He had not previously taken a stand on the bill, although he had said he opposes “gay marriage.” His policy has been not to take a position on any bill prior to its passage.
 
Legislative leaders have made the bill, H.B. 444, a priority and placed it on a fast track in an attempt to make Vermont the first state voluntarily to legalize such relationships.
 
“I believe our civil union law serves Vermont well,” Douglas told reporters March 25, according to Vermont Public Radio. “Like President Obama and leaders on both sides of the aisle, I believe that marriage should remain between a man and a woman. ... I’m announcing that I intend to veto this legislation when it reaches my desk.”
 
The bill passed the Senate during a special session, 26-4, far more than the two-thirds majority needed to override a veto. The House vote is expected to be closer.
 
Douglas speculated about a possible override, saying, “I’m sure that legislative leaders would not have advanced this bill if they didn’t have the votes to override a veto.”
 
Massachusetts and Connecticut are the only states that recognize “gay marriage,” although both changes in law came via court order.
 
(EDITOR’S NOTE — Compiled by Michael Foust, an assistant editor of Baptist Press.)

3/26/2009 10:34:00 AM by Baptist Press | with 0 comments



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