Baptist Men take ministry to new heights
    May 31 2010 by Rick Houston, Special to the Recorder

    In Ephesians, Paul writes that some Christians are called to be apostles, others to be prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers.

    Today, still others are called to be pilots. Members of the North Carolina Baptist Men’s Aviation ministry have combined their passions for flying and Christ to touch countless lives in countless ways. There really doesn’t seem to be a job description as such … if someone needs help, the group will do everything in its power to help out. That’s borne out in what could best be described as a rather eclectic resume.

    Partnering with the Angel Flight organization, fliers of the North Carolina Baptist Men’s Aviation Ministry have flown people in a number of different emergency situations. There have been trips to Haiti and areas ravaged by Hurricane Katrina. Patients and their families have been flown to and from Randleman, N.C.’s Victory Junction Gang Camp, a sprawling complex for chronically and terminally ill children.

    Prayers have been prayed over – quite literally – the North and South Carolina state capitol buildings. Youngsters receive plane rides to help foster a love for aviation. At the heart of a long list of services, the N.C. Baptist Men’s Aviation ministry is a group based on passion for what it does.

    Contributed photo

    Bob Joyner enjoys being able to share his love of flying with serving those in need through North Carolina Baptist Men’s aviation ministry.

    Bob Joyner has long loved aviation. A member of a Mooresville-based flying club that owns two four-seat, single-engine Cessna 172s, Joyner first began using his talent and interest in flying to serve others about 10 years ago. Now, he is the state coordinator for the North Carolina Baptist Men’s Aviation Ministry.     

    “I really couldn’t see myself involved in anything that I really couldn’t use to serve the Lord and serve others,” Joyner says. “Anything that I did like that, I would want to ensure that I was able to do that, to use it in some way to serve. It’s just a way to use my talents, skills and gifts that God gave me to serve others.”

    Obviously, flying isn’t for everyone. For Joyner, however, it’s a great way to get away from it all.

    “To me, flying is exciting,” Joyner says. “It’s not something that everybody does. It’s a little bit different. When I’m by myself, when I go up, I just feel a sense of freedom. On a Friday evening, if I want to go up to just knock around and leave the work week behind, I’ll shoot an e-mail to a couple of buddies and they’ll want to go up, too. The people that are involved in the ministry, everybody has the same passion.”

    Another rather unique ministry opportunity for the group amounts to a “church of the week” program.

    “We fly over, maybe take a picture, get it developed and (put it in the mail) with a note on the back, ‘Prayed for you today.’”

    Imagine the impact that kind of contact could make on a congregation. The wide range of ministry opportunities that it takes on is quite humbling, from fun days at a local airport with a group of children to somber trips transporting family members in the midst of crisis.

    Here’s how different the missions of the North Carolina Baptist Men’s Aviation Ministry can be. A few years back, members flew local Royal Ambassador and Girls In Actions groups out of an airport in Elkin.

    “We took the kids up and most of them, their churches were close enough to where we could just fly over and let them say a prayer over their church,” Joyner says. “We had real good participation that day. We spent most of the day at the airport … it was a good day.”

    On the other hand, however, Joyner recalls this sad mission as one of his most memorable.

    “On Labor Day (2009), I had someone who had a relative who had passed away up in Manassas, Va.,” Joyner concludes. “His son had been killed in a traffic accident, and that was his sister I was flying (home from the funeral). He was telling me how much it meant to have her there. Every (mission) is different and has different meaning, but that kind of touched me, just knowing that we helped facilitate having her there in his time of need.”
    5/31/2010 6:36:00 AM by Rick Houston, Special to the Recorder | with 0 comments

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