May 2010

GCR report tops annual SBC meeting agenda

May 7 2010 by Baptist Press

ORLANDO, Fla. — The final report of the Great Commission Resurgence Task Force (GCRTF) will highlight the Southern Baptist Convention’s (SBC) 153rd annual meeting when the two-day event convenes June 15 in Orlando’s Orange County Convention Center.

The report, which was unveiled May 3 at, has been the centerpiece of discussion in Southern Baptist circles since messengers at the 2009 meeting in Louisville, Ky., authorized the SBC president to appoint a task force. The public conversation intensified when the GCRTF released a preliminary version of its report Feb. 22, with some hailing it as innovative and others expressing concerns that it would negatively impact cooperation with state conventions and hurt giving through the SBC’s Cooperative Program.

While the task force expects to present its report June 15, they have not announced whether its recommendations will be offered as a single motion or several. The Feb. 22 progress report was organized into six components, but task force chairman Ronnie Floyd has said the final version will be significantly different, because the task force has received substantial feedback from a wide range of Southern Baptists since the original’s release.

Another matter of major interest is the fact that three Southern Baptist entities (International Mission Board, North American Mission Board, SBC Executive Committee) have presidential search committees at work.

Candidates for any or all of those positions may be announced and voted on by the respective trustee boards before the annual meeting convenes, although none of the three committees has released information that would suggest that possibility.

SBC President Johnny Hunt has selected “LoveLoud through the Great Commission” (1 John 3:18) as the theme for this year’s sessions.

“We’ve got to ‘Love Loud!’” Hunt, senior pastor of the Atlanta-area First Baptist Church in Woodstock, said. “Loud Love moves beyond the four walls of the church. I hope to encourage our folks to roll up their sleeves and get after it.”

“Our theme verse is clear,” Hunt said of 1 John 3:18 — “My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth.”

“It is not simply enough to say; we must do!” Hunt added. “We have embraced what we believe. It is now or never to engage this generation with what we believe — the gospel. Our nation is lost. We have the answer. Let’s do it!”

Program highlights
Among the highlights planned for this year’s program:
  • Musical features throughout the meeting presented by the worship choir and orchestra of First Baptist Church in Woodstock, Ga., and a 1,000-voice combined choir and 200-piece combined orchestra.
  • Opening session reports by Morris Chapman, retiring president of the SBC Executive Committee, and the presidential message by Hunt.
  • The election of officers set to begin at 2:20 p.m. June 15.
  • The convention message by Mac Brunson, senior pastor of First Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Fla., on Wednesday morning and, that evening at 8:40, a closing sermon by Southern Baptist evangelist Tony Nolan of Woodstock, Ga.
Pastor’s conference, meetings
  • Crossover Orlando 2010 will extend evangelistic block parties door-to-door and street witness on Saturday, June 12, across the city and three-county Orange, Seminole and Osceola region. In conjunction with Crossover, a Hispanic family festival will be held at the Central Florida Fairgrounds.
  • The 2010 SBC Pastors’ Conference, which opens at 5:30 p.m. Sunday, June 13, with a concert by popular Christian musician Travis Cottrell, features a wide range of speakers from diverse backgrounds, including Tony Evans, senior pastor at Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in Dallas and president of The Urban Alternative; C.J. Mahaney, pastor of Covenant Life Church in Gaithersburg, Md., and president of Sovereign Grace Ministries; apologetics speaker and author Ravi Zacharias; and Francis Chan, teaching pastor of Cornerstone Church in Simi, Calif. The program also will feature the launch of a national campaign to help pastors adopt children.
  • Gatherings for pastors’ wives that feature a June 14 conference and June 15 luncheon, as well as a Women’s Expo to build community, share resources and exchange ideas.
  • The June 13-14 Woman’s Missionary Union Missions Celebration and Annual Meeting, gathering under the theme “Unhindered!” The program emphasis includes ways to address human exploitation, which is the focus of WMU’s Project HELP for 2010–12. The missions celebration will be held in the Orange County Convention Center’s Chapin Theater (West Concourse, Level 3), beginning at 6:30 p.m. June 13. Among the speakers at the missions celebration: Jennifer Kennedy Dean, author of this year’s WMU emphasis book, “Life Unhindered: Five Keys to Walking in Freedom,” and Gen. Douglas Carver, chief of chaplains for the U.S. Army.
  • The Conference of Southern Baptist Evangelists annual worship service will be held Wednesday afternoon, June 16, instead of prior to the convention, as in recent years. The change is intended to increase participation of pastors who don’t arrive at the convention until after Sunday morning. The service will be held from 2-5 p.m. in a theater just up the escalators from the meeting hall at the Orange County Convention Center. The timing is intended to allow messengers to attend seminary luncheons, make it back for the worship service and then attend the closing session of the SBC annual meeting. The program includes music by Greater Vision, a Southern gospel trio, a message from evangelist Tim Lee, a former Marine who lost his legs in Vietnam, and a videotaped message from evangelist Billy Graham.
  • Associational directors of missions will convene for their 50th meeting June 12-14 with the theme “Celebrating 50 Years of Partnership in Kingdom Work.” Speakers for the event, which will begin at 2:30 p.m. Saturday at the Rosen Plaza Hotel, will include Frank Page, Ed Stetzer, O.S. Hawkins and Jerry Rankin. DOMs also will have a chance to dialogue with a representative from NAMB regarding the report from the Great Commission Resurgence Task Force.
Registration for the Orlando annual meeting once again will provide churches with the online opportunity to register their messengers at to avoid waiting at the counter upon arrival at the convention.

After online registration, the SBC web site provides a church with a messenger reference number form to be printed out and presented by each messenger at the SBC registration booth in exchange for a nametag and a set of ballots. The appropriate church-authorized representative must complete all online registrations.

The traditional registration method also is available for those churches that are unable or may not opt to access the online registration. Registration cards are available from state convention offices.

For further information about online registration and hotel choices for the SBC annual meeting in Orlando, visit

Messengers wishing to propose resolutions must submit them at least 15 days prior to the annual meeting, giving the Resolutions Committee a two-week period in which to consider them. Detailed guidelines on submitting resolutions are available at (by clicking on “Resolutions”). Resolutions may be submitted online but must be followed up by a letter of credentials from the submitter’s church.

Convention arrangements
Shuttle service will be available to and from all the hotels on the official housing list posted at, according to Don Magee, director of information/financial systems for the SBC Executive Committee. Shuttle passes can be purchased for $10 at the convention center for buses running June 15-16. Complimentary shuttle service will run from the convention hotels to the convention center, beginning June 13 at 2 p.m. and continuing Monday.

Parking at the Orange County Convention Center costs $11 each time a car enters the lot, Magee said. Additional information about airport shuttle and local trolley service also is available at, as are details about discount tickets to Disney World. Information about other Orlando attractions may be found at

Children and youth
Childcare for newborns through 3-year-olds will be available from Sunday evening through Wednesday, June 13-16. There is a non-refundable registration fee of $10 per child for preschool care. This fee is in addition to the session fees for the convention. The cost per session is $5 per child, not to exceed $40 per family, plus the $10 non-refundable registration fee.

Lunch also will be available for preschoolers on Monday and Tuesday at $5 per meal. Complete payment is due for all sessions, and lunch if selected, no later than arrival at the first session. Registration is being handled exclusively online at

Children ages 4-12 can participate in an age-graded, scripture-based conference conducted by Children’s Conferences International.

The cost for the children’s conference is $45 per child, which includes a nonrefundable $20 registration fee. Questions about the children’s conference program can be phoned to Children’s Conferences International at 248-346-5373 or e-mailed to The deadline for enrollment is June 1 and is limited to 400 children.

Students who have completed grades 6 through 12 will have opportunities for worship and recreation in the Fuge program sponsored by LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention, beginning Monday night, June 14, and continuing into Wednesday morning, June 16.

The program will include a day at Universal Studios. The cost for Fuge is $60 per student, including all materials as well as tickets and food at Universal Studios. Students can pre-register online at or sign up outside room W101A-B, level 1, in the Orange County Convention Center when they arrive in Orlando. For more information, check the web site or contact Spratt at

All children’s programs will be held in the Orange County Convention Center (West Building). Full information about programs for children and youth may be found at, under the “Children & Students” tab.

Related stories
GCR report tops SBC annual meeting agenda
Five nominees for top three SBC posts
N.C. people named to SBC committees
5/7/2010 5:08:00 AM by Baptist Press | with 1 comments

Five nominees for three top SBC posts

May 7 2010 by Staff and press reports

While three candidates have been announced as candidates to lead the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), only one candidate has been announced for each of the two next positions.

The SBC annual meeting will be June 15-16 in Orlando.

North Carolina native Johnny Hunt is completing his service as SBC president, having been elected to a second one-year term at last year’s SBC annual meeting in Louisville, Ky. Hunt is pastor of the Atlanta-area First Baptist Church in Woodstock.

Georgia pastor Bryant Wright, Jimmy Jackson, president of the Alabama Baptist State Convention, and Ted Traylor, pastor of Olive Baptist Church in Pensacola, Fla., have all been announced as possibilities to lead the SBC.

Evangelist Ron Herrod and Ray Newman, ethics and religious affairs specialist for the Georgia Baptist Convention, will be nominated for first and second vice president, respectively.  

Bryant Wright
The nomination of Wright, senior pastor of the Atlanta-area Johnson Ferry Baptist Church in Marietta, will be made by David Uth, pastor of First Baptist Church in Orlando, according to a March 12 report by the Florida Baptist Witness. (Read interview.)

Wright is the founding pastor of Johnson Ferry Baptist Church, which began in 1981 and now reports average weekly worship attendance of 4,383 and a resident membership of 6,121.

The church reported 459 baptisms in 2009. Wright was president of the SBC Pastors’ Conference in 2006 in Greensboro.

Bryant Wright

The church gave $638,992, or 3.9 percent, of its undesignated receipts through the Cooperative Program in 2009, according to the Georgia Baptist Convention’s Annual Church Profile, a decrease from 4.9 percent of undesignated giving in 2008 and 5.1 percent in 2007, The Christian Index of Georgia reported March 12.

Wright, in comments to Index editor Gerald Harris March 12, said he wants to see “a greater percentage of our dollars (going) to the IMB, NAMB (North American Mission Board) and our seminaries.”

From 1982 to 1997, Johnson Ferry gave 10 percent of church receipts through the Cooperative Program, The Index reported, noting that in 1997 the 10 percent given to CP “causes” entailed 7 percent to the Georgia convention, which forwards 40.35 percent of its receipts to SBC missions and ministries, and 3 percent directly to the IMB through the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering.

Beginning in December 2003, The Index reported, that figure went to 5 percent GBC/SBC, 5 percent IMB. In April 2009 the church gave 7 percent to CP causes, with a 3.5 percent split between the GBC/SBC and IMB, The Index reported.

Joe Shadden, Johnson Ferry’s finance manager, told the Florida Baptist Witness that the church reduced CP and IMB gifts from 5 percent to 3.5 percent each in its 2009 budget as part of an overall budget reduction in response to the economic recession.

David Uth, the Orlando pastor who announced his intention to nominate Wright for SBC president, told the Florida Baptist Witness that Wright is “uniquely positioned to continue the much-needed focus on the Great Commission as set forth by Johnny Hunt and the Great Commission Resurgence Task Force.”

“Bryant has been a consistent leader among Southern Baptists who acknowledges and appreciates our traditional heritage while embracing some of the creative and innovative methods of reaching today’s generation for Christ,” the Florida paper quoted Uth as saying. Uth described Wright as an “example of a missional mindset in leading his church to not only aggressively support the Cooperative Program, but to give generously to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering and to other mission causes beyond his own church.”

Uth said Johnson Ferry “has had a strong missional emphasis from the beginning.” Uth said the Georgia church gave 17 percent of budgeted receipts to mission causes in 2009 and “last year alone more than 1,500 members went on 70 mission trips to 27 nations around the world.” Uth said the church has started seven mission churches in Cobb County and north Atlanta and co-sponsored five other church plants.

Johnson Ferry’s overall undesignated receipts for 2009 were $16,074,014, according to its ACP data, with overall missions giving listed at $3,015,335. An amount is not listed specifically for the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering for North American Missions. Wright, in a Nov. 5, 2009 column in The Index, called for “a radical reprioritizing of Cooperative Program (CP) funds through our state conventions,” affirming SBC President Johnny Hunt’s call “for a resurgent focus on fulfilling Christ’s Great Commission.”

Wright proposed that each state convention keep no more than 25-30 percent of CP funds in-state so that 50 percent can go to international missions.

“(A)s our lay volunteers began to go in great numbers on mission trips and to partner with ministries around the world, they were absolutely appalled to find how high a percentage of our CP dollars stayed in the state and how little actually wound up on the international mission field,” Wright wrote. “So several years ago, we began to dramatically shift the funding to Southern Baptist mission causes by giving 5 percent of the church budget to the CP and 5 percent directly to the IMB in what is considered a monthly gift to the Lottie Moon offering.”

“We’d prefer that the full amount we give to Southern Baptist mission causes go through the CP,” Wright continued, “but until the formulas change dramatically and most of the dollars go to international missions, we’ll keep giving directly to international mission causes, and that percentage may even increase in the days ahead. Our lay leaders in missions are ‘chomping at the bit’ to do so today.”

Wright also called for an increase in funding for the North American Mission Board “to help us reach our nation for Christ, with a primary focus on church planting — especially in unreached areas.” Funding for the SBC’s six seminaries also should “dramatically increase,” he wrote, to support the training of “thousands of men and women who will lead the way in carrying out the Great Commission.”

“This is a major change that would need to be implemented over 3-5 years to allow the state conventions to adjust in their planning,” Wright wrote. “But implementation toward this goal needs to begin immediately with the state CP budgets that will be planned in 2010.”

Wright, a native of the Atlanta area, holds a master of divinity degree from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., and a bachelor of arts in English from the University of South Carolina. After graduating from college, he worked for Puritan Chemical Co. for two and a half years before enrolling at Southern Seminary. After earning his M.Div., he was minister to single adults at Second Baptist Church in Houston before accepting the pastorate of the fledgling Johnson Ferry Baptist Church in December 1981.

Wright and his wife Anne have three children and three grandchildren.

Jimmy Jackson
Jackson was the SBC’s first vice president for 2006-07 and has been senior pastor of Whitesburg Baptist Church in Huntsville, Ala., for 31 years. (Read interview.)

“I’ve been encouraged to be a candidate for the Southern Baptist Convention president,” Jackson told The Alabama Baptist. “As we move forward as a state convention and the Southern Baptist Convention to reach the world for Jesus Christ, I would like to be a part of that.

“As I’ve prayed about the opportunity, I have a peace about it and have consented to be nominated.”

Jackson, who has led the Alabama Baptist convention the past two years, also has served as first and second vice president of the SBC. He holds a divinity degree and Ph.D. in Hebrew and Old Testament from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. He is a native of Greenwood, Miss., and a graduate of Mississippi College.

Jimmy Jackson

He has been an assistant parliamentarian at the SBC’s annual meetings for nearly 25 years. He is a trustee at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and a former member of the SBC Executive Committee.

Information from the 2009 Annual Church Profile for Whitesburg Baptist Church lists 163 baptisms and primary worship service attendance of 1,556. The church gave $295,748, or 4.64 percent, through the Cooperative Program from total undesignated receipts of $6,364,921. According to the ACP, the church also received $236,735 for the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions and $138,548 for the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering for North American Missions. ACP data for 1978, the year Jackson became pastor, is not available; according to data from 1980, the church gave $55,625 through the Cooperative Program, or 4.57 percent, from $1,217,454 in tithes and offerings.

Rick Lance, executive director of the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions, described Jackson as “a statesman-like figure in Alabama Baptist life.”

“Jimmy has strong leadership qualities and has remained consistent through the challenges of more than 30 years as pastor of one church,” Lance added.

If elected, Jackson would be only the second SBC president from Alabama in the history of the SBC. Jonathan Haralson was the first Alabamian to fill that role (1889–98).

Under Jackson’s leadership, Whitesburg Baptist Church has grown from less than 3,000 members in 1978 to more than 7,000 today. Nearly 6,000 baptisms have taken place at the church since he became pastor, The Alabama Baptist reported.

But pinning down those numbers just by talking to Jackson is pretty difficult to do, several Whitesburg Baptist members told The Alabama Baptist, saying that he’s never let the numbers become more important than the people they represent.

“One thing about Brother Jimmy is that he’s never cared about the numbers,” said Karen Tidwell, his executive assistant for the past six years and a church member for more than 30 years. It’s always been about the people.

In fact, the names of the people who make up Whitesburg Baptist Church have been on Jackson’s lips every day of all his years there, with The Alabama Baptist recounting that one of his first requests as pastor was for a list of members so that he could pray for each one by name every week. He has continued that practice for 31 years, the paper reported, and he credits God’s response to those prayers as an underlying source of strength for the church.

Jackson and his wife Bobbi will celebrate their 50th anniversary this June. They have two grown children and six grandchildren.

Ted Traylor
“In this historic moment in Southern Baptist life, God has moved upon my heart to nominate” Traylor, said Ed Litton, pastor of First Baptist Church of North Mobile in Saraland, Ala. (Read interview.)

Traylor told the Witness he agreed to be nominated “in response to the Lord’s prompting and the encouragement of friends across the SBC.”

Anticipating the future, Traylor said his goal is “to serve and lead the convention I love into a revival of the Great Commission in the days ahead.”

Ted Traylor

A member of the Great Commission Resurgence Task Force, Traylor said his involvement with the work has been “life changing.”

“The challenges that have surfaced demand spiritual revival and honest evaluation,” Traylor said. “Together our Baptist people can touch the world with the gospel.”

Litton said Traylor’s life “has exemplified a steadfast, faithful man of God. Ted is a wise and joyful leader with an undying optimism for the work of God in and through Southern Baptists. He embraces diversity of method without compromising theological truth.”

He praised Traylor’s leadership of Olive Baptist, making the congregation a “soul-winning, disciple-making church” which consistently has given 10 percent through the Cooperative Program, Southern Baptists’ unified missions effort, in addition to participating in “hands on” missions around the globe.

In November, Traylor will celebrate 20 years as pastor of Olive Baptist.

“Ted demonstrates that pure religion feeds, loves and cares for the hurting in his own local mission field,” Litton said. “Through various innovative ministries, Olive Baptist wraps the arms of Jesus around the drug addicted, the hungry and the homeless of Pensacola.”

The Southern Baptist Convention needs Traylor’s “wisdom, courage and undying optimism as we press forward to our greatest days of Kingdom work together,” Litton said.

Information from the SBC’s 2009 Annual Church Profile for Olive Baptist Church lists 270 baptisms and primary worship service attendance of 3,105. The church gave $731,080, or 10.1 percent, through the Cooperative Program from total undesignated receipts of $7,213,206. According to the ACP, the church also received $33,264 for the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions and $10,466 for the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering for North American Missions. In 1989, the year before Traylor became pastor, the church had undesignated receipts of $1,923,165 and contributed $417,320, or 21.7 percent, through the Cooperative Program.

Traylor is a trustee of the North American Mission Board and is chairman of NAMB’s presidential search team. Among other denominational leadership positions, he has been president of the Florida Baptist State Convention (1995-96), SBC first vice president (2000) and president of the Southern Baptist Pastors’ Conference (2004).

A native of Pisgah, Ala., Traylor pastored two churches in his home state and three in Texas before joining Olive in 1990.

Traylor holds degrees from Samford University in Birmingham, Ala., and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, where he earned both the master of divinity and doctor of ministry degrees.

Traylor and his wife Elizabeth are parents to two adult children.

The author of three books, Traylor’s weekly radio and television ministry, “At the Heart of Things,” reaches across the Gulf Coast region.  

Ron Herrod
Evangelist Bailey Smith, a former Southern Baptist Convention president and former pastor, will nominate Herrod.

Ron Herrod

Herrod is the current president of the Conference of Southern Baptist Evangelists.

“I feel that Ron Herrod’s years of experience as a successful pastor, as an anointed evangelist and as a man of integrity will serve him well in this capacity,” Smith said.

After serving as a senior pastor of several Southern Baptist churches for more than 35 years, Herrod launched R.H.E.M.A. (Ron Herrod Evangelism Ministries Association) in 1995 based in Sevierville, Tenn. Herrod’s pastorates had included First Baptist Church in Kenner, La.; First Baptist Church in Fort Smith, Ark.; and Central Baptist Church in Oak Ridge, Tenn.

In addition to preaching hundreds of revivals and crusades across the nation, Herrod has conducted mission projects in more than 30 countries. He has an international tape ministry and has written seven books.

Herrod is a graduate of William Carey College (B.A.), New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary (Th.M.), and Luther Rice Seminary (Th.D.).

His denominational experience includes service as trustee of the International Mission Board, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and Louisiana College. He has served as president of the Tennessee Baptist Convention Pastors’ Conference and vice president of the Southern Baptist Convention Pastors’ Conference.

Herrod and his wife Emily, who have been married 47 years, have three grown children and eight grandchildren.

He is a member of Grace Baptist Church in Knoxville, Tenn. Information from the 2009 Annual Church Profile for Grace Baptist lists 204 baptisms and primary worship service attendance of 2,884. The church gave $174,999, or 3.76 percent, through the Cooperative Program from total undesignated receipts of $4,654,098. According to the ACP, the church also received $20,000 for the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions and $2,128 for the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering for North American Missions.

Ray Newman
Tommy Fountain, who also is director of missions for Mulberry Baptist Association in Hoschton, Ga., said he will nominate Newman.

Fountain cited Newman’s stand on moral issues as the basis for the nomination.

Ray Newman

“In a time of moral and spiritual decline in our nation, Southern Baptists need the voice of a Ray Newman,” Fountain said. “For the past several years, Newman has stood for moral rectitude and righteousness under the gold dome of the Georgia State Capitol in Atlanta.”

In addition to his responsibilities with the Georgia Baptist Convention, Newman serves as a trustee of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission. For the past seven years, he has written a weekly column for the Barrow County News titled “From Where I Stand.”

Newman is in his 50th year in ministry, the past 21 of those years as a state missionary for Georgia Baptists. He served as a pastor for nearly 30 years.

John Killian, vice president of the Alabama Baptist State Convention and pastor of Maytown (Ala.) Baptist Church, said, “I do not know of a better man, more qualified to serve our convention than Ray Newman. With his experience in ministry and his knowledge of the current political issues, Ray is the man for this office.”

A native of Phenix City, Ala., Newman and his wife of 45 years, Gwen, reside in Winder, Ga. They have one son and four grandchildren. The Newmans are members of North Metro First Baptist Church in Lawrenceville.

Information from the 2009 Annual Church Profile for North Metro First Baptist Church lists 110 baptisms and primary worship service attendance of 2,129. The church gave $376,014, or 12.99 percent, through the Cooperative Program from total undesignated receipts of $2,892,419. According to the ACP, the church also received $16,185 for the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions and $10,575 for the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering for North American Missions. 

Related stories
GCR report tops SBC annual meeting agenda
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N.C. people named to SBC committees
5/7/2010 4:52:00 AM by Staff and press reports | with 1 comments

N.C. people named to SBC committees

May 7 2010 by Baptist Press

ORLANDO, Fla. — Nominees to serve on the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) Executive Committee, the four denominational boards — International Mission Board, North American Mission Board, LifeWay Christian Resources and GuideStone Financial Resources — the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, the six seminaries and the Committee on Order of Business have been selected by the 2010 SBC Committee on Nominations.

Nominees will serve if elected by the messengers to the annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention, June 15-16 in Orlando, Florida.

Below is a list of the North Carolinians serving in various capacities:
  • Executive Committee (83 members): 20 nominations considered; 7 new members; 13 renominations. Nominated for term to expire in 2012 is Joan Mitchell, Durham.
  • International Mission Board (90 members): 22 nominations considered; 11 new members; 11 renominations. Nominated for term to expire in 2012 is Elizabeth B. (Beth) Harris, layperson and member of First Baptist Church, Charlotte, replacing Donna L. Nealy, Boone, who resigned. Nominated for a second term is Robert H. Jackson, Troutman.
  • North American Mission Board (58 members): 18 nominations considered; 8 new members; 10 renominations. Nominated for a second term is Todd W. Garren, Lincolnton.
  • Southern Seminary (43 members): 8 nominations considered; 4 new members; 4 renominations. Nominated for a second term is T. Scott Eanes, Statesville.
  • Midwestern Seminary (35 members): 7 nominations considered; 3 new members; 4 renominations. Nominee with term to expire in 2015, replacing members ineligible for re-election include William D. Bowyer, senior pastor, Wake Crossroads Baptist Church, Raleigh, replacing Shannon Allen Scott, Raleigh.
Committee on Committees
The Committee on Committees will assemble in Orlando, Fla., just prior to the SBC June 15-16 annual meeting to nominate members of the Committee on Nominations who, in turn, nominate trustees to serve on boards of the various entities of the SBC.

The Committee on Committees has 70 members, two from each of the 35 state or regional conventions qualified for representation on boards of SBC entities.

For North Carolina: Steve Burrow, Enochville First Baptist Church, Kannapolis; Stan Welch, West Asheville Baptist Church, Asheville.

SBC Credentials Committee
Clay Stevens of Cross Culture Church in Raleigh will serve from North Carolina.  

Tellers Committee
Dave Praytor of Red Mountain Baptist Church, Rougemont and Jack Hildreth of Emmanuel Baptist Church, Monroe.

Related stories
GCR report tops SBC annual meeting agenda
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5/7/2010 4:48:00 AM by Baptist Press | with 0 comments

Wakefield new dean at Campbell Divinity

May 6 2010 by Campbell University

Andrew Wakefield, on the faculty of Campbell University Divinity School since 1997, has been named its new dean effective July 1, succeeding Michael Cogdill, who is returning to the classroom.

Wakefield currently holds the Lewis Edward and Martha Barnes Tyner Chair of Bible at the Divinity School. Campbell University President Jerry Wallace announced Wakefield’s appointment.

Photo by Bennett Scarborough

Andrew Wakefield

Wallace said Wakefield, “brings a sterling academic record, a deep commitment to ministry, and years of demonstrated excellence within the school itself. Andy is an extraordinarily talented individual whose range of skills will, no doubt, propel the school upward from the significant achievements of its first 14 years.” 

Wakefield is a 1983 graduate of Wake Forest University. He earned a master of divinity from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and his Ph.D. in New Testament from Duke University in 2000. 

His dissertation, “Where to Live:  The Hermeneutical Significance of Paul’s Citations of Scripture in Galatians 3:10-14,” was published by Brill Academic Publishers and the Society of Biblical Literature. 

“I am deeply humbled to have been selected as dean,” Wakefield said. “Under Dr. Cogdill’s leadership, this school has achieved the highest levels of excellence; I look forward to maintaining the proven values that have led to its success. At the same time, I look forward to the challenges that lie ahead as we respond to the rapidly changing landscape of the church and of theological education. My desire is that we will always continue growing and stretching, so that Campbell University Divinity School students will always be at the forefront of leading the church to meet the challenges of a post-modern world.”

Wakefield was born in Chattanooga, Tenn., but spent his childhood in Southeast Asia as the son of missionary parents. Most recently he has been serving as coordinator for Baptist Fellowship of Angier, a mission church focused on ministry with children and families from economically depressed areas.

Wakefield and his wife, Olivia, live in Lillington with their two daughters, Natalie and Allison, and are members of Memorial Baptist Church in Buies Creek.
5/6/2010 3:14:00 AM by Campbell University | with 1 comments

‘Need is so great,’ exec says of TN flood

May 6 2010 by Michael Foust, Baptist Press

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — All of the 185 churches in the Nashville Baptist Association were impacted by the record Middle Tennessee flood in some way, with some seeing nearly half the members in their congregation suffering flood damage, the association’s director said May 5.

The May 1-2 flood has put nearly every church in the area in disaster relief mode, either through cleaning up the church building itself or assisting members and neighbors who experienced flood damage, or both. Thousands of houses were flooded after a record 13-plus inches of rain — more in some areas — fell over a two-day period, pushing creeks and rivers far over their banks.

Although the rain stopped Sunday, many houses remained under water Wednesday. But the Cumberland River, which crested Monday at 12 feet above flood stage, was falling.

President Obama declared four counties — Davidson, Cheatham, Williamson and Hickman — disaster areas, and more could be added to the list. Although Nashville has received the most national coverage, multiple other communities, such as Clarksville, Ashland City and Franklin, sustained significant damage. Parts of West Tennessee, including Dyersburg, also received major flooding.

BP photo by Michael Foust

Many Nashville communities remained flooded Wednesday, although some residents were able to wade through water to check on their property.

“You’ve got thousands of houses that were submerged and most of those people did not have insurance,” Rusty Sumrall, executive director of the Nashville Baptist Association, told Baptist Press. “I think we’re in this for the long haul. The need is so great.”

Nashville Mayor Karl Dean told The Tennessean newspaper he estimates the city experienced at least $1 billion in damage.

The Tennessee Baptist Convention has set up a disaster relief fund specifically for Tennessee flood relief. The Nashville Baptist Association has a list of needed items, as well as web forms for those requesting help and those wanting to volunteer.

“We’re going to need volunteers,” Sumrall said.

Around 30 churches in the association experienced at least some flood damage, Sumrall said. A truck stop ministry at a TA Travel Center off Interstate 65 in downtown Nashville was completely destroyed. It had a small chapel that seated around a dozen people.

“There are thousands and thousands of people impacted,” Sumrall said.

Ricky Lee, pastor of Harpeth Heights Baptist Church in Nashville, estimates that at least 35-40 percent of his congregation suffered “significant damage” to their homes.

Said Sumrall, “I think you’ll have several churches where you’ll have that kind of statistic.”

The flood, Lee said, has led to multiple tragic stories. In one instance, a Harpeth Heights church family — wife, teenage daughter and infant — traveled to Louisiana for a weekend funeral service for their 47-year-old husband/father, only to discover while gone that their house was completely submerged and they had lost everything.

Greg Watkins, director of church support & recreation for the Nashville Baptist Association, said more than 100 houses in his neighborhood in the Nashville community of Bellevue were under water, not to mention “scores” of condos in the area that also received major damage. “Multiple other neighborhoods” around him were flooded, he said.

In West Tennessee, Joe Wright, director of missions for the Dyer Baptist Association in Dyersburg, said Wednesday the south side of the city was still under water, including Southside Baptist Church.

“We are looking at a 100-year flood for Dyersburg,” he said, adding that the damage has been extensive.

Earlier this week flood assessors said that at least 461 structures in Dyersburg had been affected by flood waters, he said. Wright said clean-up and mud-out teams will be needed.

“We are looking at a two to four-week recovery response, if not longer," he said.

(EDITOR’S NOTE — Foust is an assistant editor of Baptist Press. With reporting by Lonnie Wilkey, editor of the Baptist and Reflector, newsjournal of the Tennessee Baptist Convention.)
5/6/2010 3:09:00 AM by Michael Foust, Baptist Press | with 0 comments

8,000 attend Ignite rally

May 5 2010 by Julianne Kuykendall Goldthwaite, Special to the Biblical Recorder

To be perfectly honest, 26-year-old Brandon Ledbetter from Franklin really didn’t want to come to the Ignite Asheville 2010 youth explosion.

BR photo by Julianne Kuykendall Goldthwaite

The youth group from Mount Zion Baptist Church in Canton were among the first youth groups in line each night when the doors opened for Ignite at 6 p.m. Front: Walker Stamey, Allie Messer, Hunter Mease, Levi Singleton, Josh Farmer. Back: Ivy Mills, J.K. Willis, youth minister Jonathan Blaylock and his wife Rebekah Blaylock.

He would rather have spent that Saturday night the way he typically did — partying with his typical alcohol and drugs. In fact, the only reason he reluctantly agreed to show up was to pacify his sister, Bethany Alberts, who openly begged him.

He knew he didn’t want to come. But, what he didn’t know was that some openly Wiccan groups in Asheville didn’t want him or anyone else there either and they publicly raised their voices in a protest walk around the civic center against the Ignite movement.

However, God had different plans for this young man.

On Saturday, May 1 when Ledbetter casually strolled into the Asheville Civic Center along with 3,000 other people from all over Western North Carolina, he had no idea that he embodied everything that Ignite Asheville 2010 was all about — and everything that Ricky Mason, pastor of First Baptist Church of Maggie Valley, had envisioned in 2006 — seeing lost young people come to know Jesus as their Savior.

“The first Ignite rally was in Maggie Valley at the Stompin’ Grounds in March of 2007 and we’ve had 14 meetings all over Western North Carolina since then so the Ignite Asheville 2010 is our 15th meeting,” said Mason in a telephone interview while driving the church van to the event and seeing the enormous crowd gathered outside the civic center. “Coming to this event tonight is a great feeling because it’s a move of God. We just do the organizing and God takes over from there — that’s how it’s been since the beginning.”

The rally opened up with these forward-thinking words from evangelist Clayton King previously spoken at a fall 2006 Ignite rally at Lake Junaluska and re-played at Ignite Asheville 2010: “I think it’s going to get so big we’re going to have to move to the civic center in Asheville, N.C.” Those prophetic words were realized when a dynamic King, who has preached at every Ignite event, took the stage.

Since Ledbetter had never been to an Ignite rally, he had no idea that Ignite had taken on a life of its own, but he quickly caught on when King opened with these words, “What began as a vision in the heart of Ricky Mason in 2006 has now spread to 14 locations. Here we are four years later together in the name of Jesus. We’ve seen over 2,000 people saved as a result,” shouted an exuberant King.

“Traffic is backed up to Interstate 240,” King exclaimed to a roaring crowd.

Ledbetter was even more impressed when Asheville Mayor Terry Bellamy, in the face of much political Asheville opposition, took the stage with a dynamic personal testimony. “I believe in Jesus, and I’m not ashamed of that,” said a visibly enthused Bellamy. “I’m asking you as young people to dare to be a Daniel. Dare to stand against opposition to see what God wants to do through you!”

After Ledbetter enjoyed praise and worship with Christian artists Carl Cartee, Leap of Faith and 3-D, he settled down to hear King’s enthusiastic, down-to-earth, evangelistic message geared for young people to easily understand. Even teenage prom-goers left their prom early with bibles in hand to come sit in the balcony, still dressed in prom attire, to listen to King.

During the message, King told a humorous story of how he went water skiing for the first time as a pudgy 10-year-old boy. He said he was so scared when that rope started pulling him and he thought he was going to die that day because the rope had so much pull and control over him.

BR photo by Julianne Kuykendall Goldthwaite

Brandon Ledbetter, left, made a profession of faith May 1 at Ignite. He is pictured with his sister, Bethany Alberts, who invited him to the event.

“Then, I had an idea to just let go of the rope if I wanted to live that day, so I did and the life preserver saved me,” said King, comparing the rope to a sin in a young person’s life and the life preserver to God’s salvation.

“Sin will control your life if you hang on — just let go of the sin and let God save you,” King explained to the hushed crowd in the civic center.

As Ledbetter sat there, he couldn’t keep his eyes off the 37-year-old evangelist while King’s poignant, blunt words hit him hard.

“I was into partying every night and I realized I was more lost than I knew,” Ledbetter explained, adding that he was at rock bottom in that moment. “I had thought that the people I partied with really liked me but I realized they didn’t and they were just putting on a false front, so I decided that’s not who I am or who I want to be and I got up and decided to be saved and walk the right way.”

When he walked down the aisle that night, his sister Bethany Alberts was crying tears of joy.

“Actually, I was absolutely blubbering like a moron,” said Alberts with a joyful laugh. “He’s my brother, and I couldn’t stand the thoughts of going to heaven and not taking my family with me and knowing he wasn’t saved just broke my heart,” added Alberts. “When he stepped out and walked down that aisle, I knew he was terrified but I was so proud of him.”

Ledbetter said that, when he prayed that salvation prayer, all the weight that he had been carrying was instantly lifted. “I realized that all the stuff I had been hiding really wasn’t hidden from God at all and saying that prayer was the best feeling in the world,” he said.

“I look at things in a whole different way now,” he added. “It’s not just someone telling me there is a higher power out there — now I know God for myself.”

When Ledbetter prayed that salvation prayer, he joined more than 400 people who were saved over the Ignite Asheville 2010 weekend and 300 others who made decisions about their spiritual life.

“This whole weekend has just been an answer to so much prayer over four years and I think it’s just been fantastic,” said Mason.

For more information about Ignite Asheville 2010, visit

(EDITOR’S NOTE — Goldthwaite is a writer in western North Carolina.)
5/5/2010 8:02:00 AM by Julianne Kuykendall Goldthwaite, Special to the Biblical Recorder | with 0 comments

BSC, institutions, agencies give Heritage Awards

May 5 2010 by Staff and press reports

Fourteen individuals or couples received recognition April 20 at the 10th annual Baptist Heritage Awards event in Greensboro, recognizing their contributions to the success of North Carolina Baptist entities.  

G. Byrns Coleman

Wingate University honored G. Byrns Coleman for his 50 years as a professor. Coleman is chair of Wingate’s Department of Religious Studies and is the university’s Harry & Frances Cannon Professor of Humanities. He is admired for his strength as a theologian, teacher and friend of many in Baptist life and higher education.

He has been supply and interim pastor of numerous area churches. Dennis Burton, director of missions for the Union Baptist Association, calls Coleman “one of the best known Baptist pastors in our county.”  His weekly Bible study program, aired over the Wingate University television station, is in its 20th year.

A native of Tennessee, Coleman is a graduate of Belmont College, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Scarritt College, and Vanderbilt University.            

Eugene M. Langley Jr.

Meredith College honored Raleigh businessman and trustee Eugene M. Langley Jr., for sharing time, talents and resources. 

Langley, a graduate of UNC at Chapel Hill, built Resource Management Associates (now part of Raymond James Financial Services).

Langley and his wife Vicky maintain strong ties to Meredith College. Since 1997, he has served three terms on the Meredith Board of Trustees and chaired the search committee that brought current but retiring president Maureen Hartford to Meredith. The Langley Family Scholarship provides financial assistance for students studying abroad.

In recognition of their significant philanthropy, the Langleys are members of the College’s Stringfield Society, Heritage Society, and the Thomas Meredith Society.  Through his loyal, diligent and tireless efforts and his commitment to higher education, Gene Langley continues to create exciting opportunities for current and future generations of students, faculty and staff.     

Mary Anne and Jesse Croom

Chowan University honored Jesse J. and Mary Anne Croom for their service through the local church and Baptist institutions.

In the local church Mary Anne has been teacher, WMU leader and deacon. She has been on the WMU-NC executive board and is currently a network specialist for adults.

She established a scholarship at Chowan and is now in her fifth term on the university’s board of trustees.

Mary Anne and her daughter, Malinda Schantz, also donated land for a Baptist Children’s Home facility.

As a pastor Jesse led Baptist churches in Caswell County; Dunn; Nichols, S.C.; Charlotte; Carrboro; and Ahoskie.

He has been a trustee at Gardner-Webb University and Baptist Children’s Homes, and served on the boards of the Biblical Recorder and the Baptist State Convention, including two years as president of the Council on Christian Higher Education.  

Joe Brown

The Baptist State Convention of North Carolina honored Joe Brown, pastor of North Carolina’s largest Baptist church. Brown became the fourth pastor of Hickory Grove Baptist in Charlotte in 1984 and the church has grown from 2,155 to 14,734.

In some years, Hickory Grove has baptized as many as 400 people. This year church members will go on mission trips from South America to Africa, while continuing to serve their local community through hands-on mission projects. The church has also established ministries to Latin Americans and Brazilians. Hickory Grove Baptist Christian School has more than 1,000 students.

Hickory Grove has consistently been one of the BSC’s top contributors to missions, giving more than $1 million through the Cooperative Program from 2005-2009. The church has frequently offered their facilities for statewide Baptist meetings.  

David Clay

Baptist Children’s Homes of North Carolina
honored David Clay for his dedication in service to children and to BCH.

Because of his love for children and a deep desire to make life better for them and for their families, Clay has worked tirelessly for over half a century on behalf of Baptist Children’s Homes. 

Clay annually spearheads the Thanksgiving Offering drive for BCH in First Baptist Church, Salisbury. 

He is an influential trustee, donor and cheerleader and has passed along his devotion to BCH to all family members and his pastor Kenneth Lance.

“Dave Clay is at the top of the list of those who make a significant and positive difference in the mission and history of Baptist Children’s Homes,” said BCH President Michael C. Blackwell.  

William and Sadie Patterson Byrd

Campbell University honored William and Sadie Patterson Byrd as philanthropists.

A retired land developer in Moore and Lee counties, Byrd spent 38 years with Rod Sullivan, Inc., in Sanford, of which he was part owner.

He served on Campbell’s board of trustees and presidential board of advisors.

Campbell awarded him an honorary doctorate in 2003. Byrd has been instrumental in the success of numerous capital campaigns including the construction of the John W. Pope, Jr. Convocation Center, Butler Chapel and the Lundy-Fetterman School of Business.

The Byrds’ generosity extended into the community, where Byrd worked through the Optimist Club, Cameron Boys Home and Jonesboro Heights Baptist Church.  

BR photo by Norman Jameson

Kelton Hinton

The Biblical Recorder recognized Kelton Hinton, director of missions for 11 years of Johnston Baptist Association, and the six churches in his association who are among the top 77 subscribing churches in the state.

Because church members who read the Biblical Recorder are more involved and more supportive of their churches and of the mission, institutions and ministries of North Carolina Baptists, the Recorder honored those churches which utilize the Recorder in ministry.

Hinton received the honor on behalf of First Baptist Church, Smithfield; First Baptist Church, Clayton; Pine Level Baptist Church; Clydes Chapel Baptist Church, Wendell; Watkins Chapel Baptist Church, Middlesex and Nobles Baptist Chapel, Sims.

“Thank you for putting together such a good paper,” Hinton said in a recent note to Recorder staff.

“I enjoy reading each issue, usually cover to cover. I especially like the missions articles and the pieces about church health and novel ministries among churches.”  

Ethel Lee Oxendine Locklear

Woman’s Missionary Union of North Carolina honored Ethel Lee Oxendine Locklear, who was introduced to missions by her mother and Sunbeam leader, Coree Oxendine. 

Locklear held many positions in WMU in her church and in Burnt Swamp Association.  The association recognized her in 1992 for 40 years of service. Her church, Harpers Ferry Baptist Church in Pembroke, recognized her for 60 years of service. 

Her pastor Donald Bullard says “Mrs. Ethel’s heart beats for Missions!”

She has been on several mission trips in the United States and on one to South America where her group ministered in six countries. All these experiences have given Ethel a deeper appreciation of the way God works to share His love with all people.

“Over the years God has been molding a willing Ethel to have a passion for missions and many lives have been blessed,” said WMU-NC Director Ruby Fulbright.  

James M. Dunn

Wake Forest University honored James M. Dunn, longtime Baptist leader and current “founding faculty” member of Wake Forest University Divinity School, where he helps prepare a new generation of ministers.

Dunn’s prophetic voice has long sounded across the campus and the nation on issues of Christian ethics and Baptist ideals.  In the classroom, the pulpit, and the public square, he has not hesitated to articulate an unashamedly Baptist heritage regarding religious liberty, public policy and social justice.

For 19 years Dunn was executive director of the Baptist Joint Committee on Public Affairs, promoting causes related to “a free church in a free state.” 

He has also served as pastor, executive director for the Christian Life Commission, president of Bread for the World, chairman of the Ethics Commission of the Baptist World Alliance, and on boards of Churches Center for Theology and Public Policy, and Religion and Ethics Newsweekly.

Gerald H. Quinn

North Carolina Baptist Hospital honored Gerald H. Quinn, who completed his seventh term as a trustee in 2009. 

During his tenure he served on virtually every board committee, and he chaired committees on Investments, Finance and the Foundation Board.

He served as the hospital board’s chair in 1983, 1984 and 1994. He is retired president of Quinn Wholesale Company. 

Donny Lambeth, president of NCBH, said, “Gerald provided invaluable, visionary leadership to Baptist Hospital during its emergence as one of the leading academic medical centers in the nation. His faithfulness to our mission, of providing excellent health care that embraces the healing presence of God, kept us centered in a rapidly changing health care environment.”

Quinn also has been chair of the Duplin County Commissioners, president of the Warsaw Jaycees, vice president of the North Carolina Jaycees, and a member of the board at Barton College.   

Carl and Nina Phillips

Mars Hill College
honored Carl and Nina Phillips of Charlotte who sold their successful special events business in 2000 and volunteered to be mentors to two “Lost Boys of Sudan.”  Their church, St. John’s Baptist, already was ministering to 40 Sudanese “lost” boys and the Phillipses encouraged them to pursue education.

The Phillips, who met as students at Mars Hill College, were enthused about the Sudanese students attending Mars Hill College where they remain benefactors.

The Sudanese men brought a unique dimension of diversity to Mars Hill, an example of how any student with determination can receive an education no matter how harsh and difficult life has been. 

“Carl and Nina Phillips’ humble commitment to the ‘Lost Boys of Sudan’ surely embodies servant leadership and the believer’s response to ‘loving thy neighbor as thyself,’” said Mars Hill President Dan Lunsford.   

Burgess and Mary Jane Marshbanks

North Carolina Baptist Foundation honored Burgess and Mary Jane Marshbanks for exemplary giving and service. The Marshbanks met when Mary Jane came to Burgess’ dentist office for service in 1957. He practiced dentistry in Lillington for 34 years.

Mary Jane graduated from Mars Hill College, Appalachian State University and UNC-Chapel Hill and she taught English in both high school and college. 

Burgess has served two terms on the Foundation board and as a trustee of Campbell University. Mary Jane is a Life Trustee of Mars Hill College. 

Through family scholarship funds at Campbell and Mars Hill, they have been directly involved in awarding 121 scholarships.

They are charter members of Memorial Baptist Church in Buies Creek where both have been deacons and Sunday School teachers.

Burgess was chairman of the first Harnett County Planning Board.  

Wade Shepherd

Gardner-Webb University
honored Wade Shepherd for his philanthropy and service to God and humankind.

Shepherd developed business skills while still in college at Clevenger College of Business.

For nearly 50 years he owned and operated the Wade Shepherd Company, Shepknit Company, Sheplaw Hosiery and Contour Foam, Inc.

Shepherd has been a long-time member and leader in Penelope Baptist Church in Hickory for over 50 years.

He is in his sixth term on the Gardner-Webb board, which honored him with an honorary doctorate in 2003. He is a donor, student recruiter and an unrelenting advocate for Gardner-Webb and its Christian principles.  

Dale Duncan

North Carolina Baptist Men honored Dale Duncan, who recently concluded five years as president of the organization. Duncan took early retirement as a school administrator to devote more time and effort to missions and was state disaster relief coordinator before he became president.

He has participated in at least 20 short-term national and international mission projects just since his retirement after a 38-year career in education as teacher, coach, principal and superintendent of schools in Mitchell County.

He is a graduate of Gardner-Webb University and was 2004 N.C. Baptist Men Layman of the Year.

Dale and Angie, his wife of 46 years, have three children and eight grandchildren. They serve together at First Baptist Church, Spruce Pine.
5/5/2010 7:35:00 AM by Staff and press reports | with 0 comments

BCH breaks ground in Ahoskie

May 5 2010 by Blake Ragsdale, BCH Communications

AHOSKIE — Baptist Children’s Homes of North Carolina (BCH) broke ground April 25 for a new group home in Ahoskie.

Named Britton Ministries, the home will provide residential services for up to nine children.

Before nearly 200 guests packing St. Johns Baptist Church, Ahoskie Mayor Linda Blackburn said, “Your vision and dedication to establish a home in this area is to be commended. Children deserve to be able to share in every good thing life offers.”

BCH photo

Baptist Children’s Homes of North Carolina leaders break ground on a new group home in Ahoskie.

BCH President Michael C. Blackwell said the groundbreaking marked a “full circle” for BCH, which traces its historic ties to the area to early 1885 with the Chowan Baptist Association in Ahoskie, known today as the West Chowan Baptist Association.

During that time, area churches that comprised the association agreed to give $1,250 towards establishing BCH’s first location in Thomasville. Chowan was the first Baptist association to contribute.

Later that year on Nov. 11, John Mitchell, pastor of Ahoskie Baptist Church (now First Baptist), boarded a train with nine-year-old Mary Presson of Hertford County. Mitchell escorted the girl on a 200-mile journey to her new home in Thomasville. Presson became the first child ever admitted into BCH’s care and Nov. 11 is considered the official date of BCH’s anniversary.

Today, the church’s efforts to assist with Britton Ministries draw similar parallels to BCH beginnings. The morning of the groundbreaking, Blackwell recounted Presson and Mitchell’s historic trip at First Baptist Church in Ahoskie.

At the end of the service, Pastor Daniel Glaze presented Blackwell with a check from the church for the Ahoskie-based home.

“It’s astounding to witness churches in this area pledge their support for the new group home,” Blackwell explained. “Their faithful and sacrificial support of BCH is just as it was 125 years earlier.” Connaritsa Baptist Church in Aulander recently contributed $10,000, a substantial amount for the small congregation and the largest contribution in the church’s history.

“Connaritsa has always been a supporter of Baptist Children’s Homes even though its ministries were away from us,” said John Tayloe, deacon chair at Connaritsa.

“Once we became aware of BCH’s plans to build a home in our community we knew we needed to be supportive.”

BCH looks to complete its $780,000 fundraising campaign for Britton Ministries soon and hopes to have the home built early next year.

“We are so grateful to the Britton family as well as our fellow Baptists and community friends for making the dream of this much-needed home a reality,” Blackwell said.

“I can think of no better way to celebrate Baptist Children’s Homes’ 125th anniversary than to establish Britton Ministries and offer hope and healing to children and families in northeastern North Carolina.”

Since 1885, Baptist Children’s Homes of North Carolina has helped children and families. BCH began with one campus, Mills Home in Thomasville, but now provides services in 18 communities across the state.  

Blackwell on road
Blackwell spoke with a crowd at the annual Woman’s Missionary Union of North Carolina meeting on April 16-18.

He pointed out that leader Ruby Fulbright “can be as soft as velvet” and “tough as nails.”

Blackwell and the Fulbrights were in seminary together at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in the 1960s. Blackwell thanked women of the WMU-NC because of the “many things we’ve done together. Women have been … truly the heart of (BCH).”

Blackwell shared one story about the power of the WMU-NC.

In 1988 Food Lion’s leaders offered to give a percentage of receipts to the Baptist Children’s Homes. WMU got the word out about the challenge, and Food Lion had to give a check for $64,000 to BCH. 

(EDITOR’S NOTE — Ragsdale is director of communications for BCH. BR Assistant Managing Editor Dianna L. Cagle contributed to this report.)
5/5/2010 7:31:00 AM by Blake Ragsdale, BCH Communications | with 1 comments

Leaderesource trains church leaders

May 5 2010 by Melissa Lilley, BSC Communications

A new resource from the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina (BSC) is aimed at helping local churches strengthen their efforts to be missional in the way they do Sunday School and small groups.

Leaderesource is a leadership development initiative that offers free downloads of training modules for Sunday School and small group leaders. Phil Stone, senior consultant for Sunday School ministries for the BSC, has enlisted a team of pastors, education ministers, student and children’s ministers, and lay leaders from across the state to write training guides that will be available for leaders of preschoolers, children, youth and adults.

Although the training can take place any time, churches are encouraged to plan their training between August 15 and September 18 and use the event as a kickoff.
  1. Sign up online as a participating Leaderesource church at Each participating church will receive a free Ed Stetzer DVD about missional small communities.
  2. Visit and download the free training modules for your church to use in training your leaders. Each module includes a teaching outline, listening guide, handouts and PowerPoint presentation.
  3. Plan at least one day for a Leaderesource training event in your church or association
  4. After the training, go online and report the number of leaders you trained
  5. Follow up on what you learn in the Leaderesource training by doing a mission project in your community
“By doing a class mission project and letting the class or small group choose and organize the project through their group, the church is likely to have more people engaged in missions than ever before,” said Brian Upshaw, BSC church ministry team leader.

“Now, imagine the impact of dozens, perhaps hundreds, of class mission projects occurring in your town. Your community will begin to see local churches that are interested in them and care about their community. The church becomes relevant. Couple this relevancy with the new Bible training your leaders are receiving through Leaderesource, and you have the makings of spiritual transformation in your town.”

Jean Willoughby is one of the curriculum contributors. Willoughby has 37 years of experience in working with preschoolers and children. Her husband is the pastor of First Baptist Church in Mills River, a new church plant that leases building space on Sunday mornings from another church. Willoughby has served in churches described as small, large, rural, city, poor and rich. “Now I’m in a church where I have Sunday School in my suitcase,” she said.

The focus of her curriculum is preschoolers. She writes about tips for teaching preschoolers, such as how to be a growing teacher and how to make biblical concepts the foundation of the Sunday School.

Willoughby’s training guide will help teachers get prepared, because all too often “teachers think because it’s a two or five-year-old they don’t have to prepare and they’ll wait until the last minute.” Teaching children is more than babysitting.

Another curriculum contributor is Eric Davis, family pastor at Green Street Baptist Church in High Point. Prior to coming to Green Street two years ago Davis was on staff 12 years at Calvary Baptist Church in Winston-Salem. Davis is writing material to help adult classes be more intentional about doing life together, rather than just coming together for an hour or so each week for a lesson. When class members are in each other’s homes and encouraging one another and providing accountability, “the class becomes an extension from just that Sunday morning hour,” Davis said.  

Davis also wants parents to understand the vital role they play in the lives of their children. Parents help shape their children’s character, worldview and perspective on what is important in life. “The family schedule drives everything,” Davis said. “Whatever drives the family schedule will be influencing a child to help them see what is important and what is not.”

The online curriculums will be available this month. Visit  
5/5/2010 7:26:00 AM by Melissa Lilley, BSC Communications | with 0 comments

Inasmuch as you do for the least neighbors

May 4 2010 by Norman Jameson, BR Editor

As many as 1,000 North Carolina Baptist churches fanned out through their neighborhoods April 24 and May 1 conducting servant ministry in a second statewide Operation Inasmuch effort.

From Murphy to Manteo, edge to edge and mountains to the sea North Carolina Baptists painted, planted, potted and preached with their actions a selfless, servant spirit, sometimes coordinating with churches of other races and denominations to serve in Jesus’ name.

Coordinated by N.C. Baptist Men utilizing a method originated by David Crocker when he was pastor at Snyder Memorial Baptist Church, Operation Inasmuch is growing into a national movement. On two consecutive spring Saturdays in North Carolina, it was a homegrown movement that moved many to action and some to tears.


In North Hampton County, where Connie Vann coordinated the efforts of three churches, Grace had lived in her house 60 years. She just had a heart pace maker installed. Houses on both sides were vacant as neighbors had died and her own yard was so overgrown her house appeared vacant, as well until youth and sponsors cleared it up.

“Isn’t it wonderful? Ya’ll are the sweetest things,” Grace said.

Vann had participated in Operation Inasmuch in 2008 and said people at Conway Baptist Church where he is a member “talked about that day all summer.”

The church did another event on their own the following year and Vann said, “It was really good to see the fellowship and the cooperation that a mission day can bring. No other mission work garners as much support as Operation Inasmuch.”

BR photo by Norman Jameson

Amos Pope, left, helps Eddie Joyner and J.D. Allen build a ramp to the home he shares with his father. The men are from Conway Baptist Church. See photo gallery.

Vann thanked Crocker for following through on his inspiration for Operation Inasmuch, and said, “We should all get goose bumps at the way God pulls all His people together to accomplish a goal.”

He said churches that do not participate in Operation Inasmuch “don’t seem to understand the benefit they get out of it.”

Churches want to be involved in missions, he said, but so many “can’t afford to go a long way” and they could do missions at home as a church and effect their communities.

Teenager Allyson Leggett stopped raking in Grace’s yard long enough to say, “We should be out here doing this for the lady to show her that we care about her.”

Because Conway Baptist Church has an active Baptist Men’s group that takes on handyman tasks as needed, and has now done three consecutive annual Operation Inasmuch events, “people know us in this area,” Vann said.

Terri Martin, a petite woman helping to pull an old trailer house away from the permanent structure to which it had been attached so the elderly homeowner could get an equity loan to make repairs, said, “It’s nice to be involved. It builds community in church to do projects together.”

“I wanted to help serve my church and community and this is my community,” said Martin’s friend Marlo Ricks. Phillip Ricks ran the backhoe that was pulling the trailer apart. Young people like Morgan Garris and Hayley Burgess made bracelets that will become prizes and witnessing tools for a mission team going to Canada this summer.

Stewart Woodard, his son Michael and Skip Ritchie built a ramp and railing onto a house for a 94-year old woman who lives alone and drives weekly to the grocery store. Stewart used to mow her grass when he was a kid.

Related stories
Inasmuch as you do for the least neighbors
Community Day crosses culture
OIAM volunteers return order and bring smiles
Photo gallery
5/4/2010 6:29:00 AM by Norman Jameson, BR Editor | with 0 comments

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