October 2011

Under pressure, D.C. shelter ends church-service requirement

October 17 2011 by Josef Kuhn, Religion News Service

WASHINGTON – Prompted by civil liberties groups, a taxpayer-supported homeless shelter in the nation’s capital will no longer require its clients to attend religious services.
 
“We’re pleased that the D.C. government will no longer be supporting such religious coercion,” said Arthur Spitzer, legal director of the Washington, D.C., branch of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).   
 
The ACLU filed suit after officials struck a $12 million deal to support programs at Central Union Mission, which at that time required the homeless to attend Christian services as a condition of getting food and shelter.
 
The ACLU and Americans United for Separation of Church and State (AU) sued on behalf of several D.C. taxpayers, clergy and homeless men.
 
The deal was abandoned and now the mission will instead lease a school building from the district for $1 a year.
 
The lease prohibits Central Union Mission from requiring any individual seeking its services to “participate in religious services or religious studies as a condition to receiving any service.”
 
Because of these changes, the ACLU and AU dropped the lawsuit Oct. 13.
 
Daniel Mach, the ACLU’s program director for religious freedom, said the new agreement is “much better,” but “the long-term lease continues to present constitutional concerns.”
 
Alex J. Luchenitser, senior litigation counsel for AU, warned that the mission must not provide “favorable treatment” to homeless persons who volunteer for religious programming.
 
“If the mission does so,” he said, “we could end up back in court in short order.”
10/17/2011 1:53:37 PM by Josef Kuhn, Religion News Service | with 0 comments



Pro-life ‘180’ film goes viral, changes minds

October 17 2011 by John Evans, Baptist Press

HOUSTON – Several people had no idea who Adolf Hitler was. Others admitted they would murder people in a death camp to save themselves. And after a series of wrenching moral dilemmas posed in a documentary that compares abortion to the holocaust, several pro-choice Americans made a 180-degree turn in a web video that has gone viral on the internet.

The video, called “180,” features evangelist and author Ray Comfort and has amassed more than 750,000 views on YouTube in just two weeks. It equates abortion to the murder of Jews in concentration camps, alternating between man-on-the-street interviews, grainy footage of Nazi rallies, and graphic images of bodies in death camps.

“We’re talking about a holocaust in America, in our country, that’s sanctioned by the government,” Comfort, a Jewish Christian, said in the film.
 
While “180” exposes peoples’ lack of knowledge about the holocaust (one man asked if Hitler was an actor) and also features the street-preaching evangelism for which Comfort has become known, its main focus is dismantling the moral justifications people give for abortion.

Comfort posed moral dilemmas to people he interviewed, asking, for example, how people would respond if a Nazi officer pointed a gun at them and told them to use a bulldozer to bury alive some Jews who had been shot.

“I’d rather die not doing that, knowing that I was the cause,” one woman said.

Comfort turned the dilemma around by asking about abortion. The film shows footage of an unborn baby’s heart beating at six weeks, six days.

“When does it become a life?” he asked one woman.

“That’s a tough one,” the woman, who was pro-choice, responded.

Comfort then made a parallel: “I’m a construction worker and I see a building and I say to you, ‘I’m going to blow up that building in a minute. There’s a possibility there is somebody in there, but I don’t know. But I’m going to blow it up anyway.’ What would you say to me?”

Just as the construction worker should not blow up the building, Comfort argued, those who aren’t certain when life begins should oppose abortion.

One woman said she didn’t know when life begins but that an unborn child isn’t actually a baby until after three months.

“Hitler declared Jews as non-humans, and that’s what you’re doing when you’re saying, ‘It’s not a baby until three months,’” Comfort replied. “That’s what I think. It’s very subjective. And if you’re not sure, it’s taking a terrible risk with somebody else’s life.”

When another woman speculated that an unborn baby with a birth defect would have a bad quality of life if born, Comfort turned the idea around on her.

“The Nazis are in front of you,” he said. “They’re going to kill kids with Down syndrome. They’re gonna kill them all. (The Nazis actually) did this. You think that’s OK, then?”

“No, absolutely not,” she replied.

“They (have) a bad quality of life,” Comfort said, playing devil’s advocate.

“Definitely not,” reiterated the woman on her opposition to shooting them. “And who’s to say that they have a bad quality of life?”

For those who said they were personally opposed to abortion but believed women should be able to choose, Comfort argued that such a stance was similar to saying they disagreed with what Hitler did but believed he had the right to choose.

“I’d like you to feel like you would in Germany when Jews are being killed all around you,” he told one woman. “You’d be horrified, and we’ve got a holocaust in America, where real babies are being murdered because of a woman’s choice, and it’s legal.”

Regardless of the justification people in the documentary initially gave for abortion, most of them, by the end of Comfort’s interview, concluded that abortion is wrong.

“So have you just changed your mind about abortion?” he asked the woman who earlier told him an unborn child isn’t actually a baby until three months.

“Yes I have,” she replied.

To one pro-choice woman who said everyone needed to rise up against Hitler and the killing of Jews, Comfort asked if she thought everyone should do the same on the issue of abortion.

“I think you have a valid point there,” she said. “I never paralleled those two.”

More than 53 million unborn babies have been killed in the 37 years since Roe v. Wade, according to the video. As an image of Hitler flashed on the screen, Comfort urged viewers never to vote for politicians who advocate abortion.

“Are you gonna vote differently and think differently about this?” he asked the woman. “Yeah, I think I would,” she replied. “I think I definitely would. Because you’re right. I had just said about the holocaust, ‘Where was the world?’ If everyone would have banded together, (they could have made) a difference.”

(EDITOR’S NOTE – John Evans is a writer based in Houston.)
10/17/2011 1:47:03 PM by John Evans, Baptist Press | with 0 comments



Convention uses retreat to Red Springs to minister

October 14 2011 by Mike Creswell & Melissa Lilley, BSC Communications

RED SPRINGS – This year Baptist State Convention of North Carolina (BSC) staff decided to do something a little different for the annual staff retreat. Instead of the usual two-day event at one of the Convention’s conference or retreat centers, staff gathered at Red Springs Mission Camp and focused their attention on serving in various ministry projects throughout the area and surrounding communities.
 
BSC staff divided into different teams and participated in children’s ministry, construction projects, senior adult ministry, prayer walking and Hispanic ministry.
 
Red Springs Mission Camp is a 52,000-square-foot former textile plant operated by N.C. Baptist Men. The remodeled facility can house more than 200 volunteers. Each year North Carolina Baptists from across the state stay at the camp for a very affordable rate while they serve throughout the area. The camp includes bunk-style lodging, shower facilities and a large warehouse for tools, equipment and supplies. Volunteers can also eat all their meals on site.
 
Mission Camp Director Larry Osborne and his wife Teresa live next door to the camp. The Osbornes are native North Carolinians, but have been involved in missions for years. Prior to coming to Red Springs, they served in New York City. For two years they lived in a Manhattan apartment just two blocks away from New York’s biggest housing projects. They worked with the volunteer teams coming to serve at Graffiti Church.
 
Prior to serving in New York the Osbornes lived three years in Sri Lanka, coordinating North Carolina volunteer teams coming to help after a tsunami hit the country.
 
Osborne has been known to say that God took him to New York City, Sri Lanka and other places around the world to prepare him for what he would encounter in Red Springs. Of North Carolina’s 100 counties, Robeson County, where Red Springs is located, is the poorest. Red Springs is a community with many physical, as well as spiritual, needs. 
 
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BSC photo by Mike Creswell
Patti Cardwell, who works at the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina, shares a snack with a young girl near Red Springs Mission Camp. The BSC staff retreated to Red Springs recently for a mission trip. See photo gallery.
Alms House, about 20 minutes from Red Springs in Hope Mills, is a ministry seeking to help those in need while sharing with them about Jesus Christ. Alms House is one of the ministries BSC staff worked with during the retreat.
 
Alms House ministers through its food pantry, clothing closet and emergency financial fund to help people cover expenses such as utilities, transportation, medical care and school supplies. The Love Lunch program runs seven days a week, and meals are served twice a day.
 
“It’s God’s work. I’m convinced of it,” said director Delores Schiebe about Alms House. Schiebe has been involved with Alms House since it started in 1984. She said more families are now homeless and the request for food has recently increased. Despite that, she has seen God work in the lives of people in Hope Mills.
 
Landscaping and construction is an area where many people in Robeson County need a little help. During the retreat BSC staff worked at the home of Annie Blue McRae, 83. They mowed, clipped, and sawed an assortment of trees, bushes, vines and briers that had grown up around the modest brick home not far from downtown Rowland. McRae said she feared thieves would creep through the underbrush and break into her house at night.
 
Tree limbs have grown up over the roof, and McRae hopes other volunteers will help repair the leaking roof.
 
McRae is diabetic and had a leg amputated after an infection led to gangrene. But she was all smiles on the day the staff came to help. “Oh, praise the Lord! These are angels God sent to me. Nobody would have done this for me, but God sent these angels,” she said.
 
Another team of staff volunteers visited the Baptist Children’s Home facility in Pembroke, where they heard a 17-year-old talk about how glad he was to be there. His mother is a drug addict; a grandmother abused him and his sister. The young man wants to graduate from college and become a law enforcement officer.
 
At a mobile home park on a dirt road in Robeson County, another team of staff volunteers set up a ministry to mothers and their babies. The first day the team visited the home to introduce themselves and spent time with children after they returned home from school.
 
Rick Trexler, campus ministry team leader for the BSC, led a group of staff in serving lunch to local firefighters and police officers. “It was nice being able to give back to those who are always giving of themselves,” he said.
 
His team had opportunity for one-on-one conversations with those who came to lunch. “Within those conversations we were able to talk with people about what they were dealing with in life and how we could pray for them. We were able to share the gospel on more than one occasion,” Trexler said.
Mark Gray, church planting team leader for the BSC, led a team ministering with single mothers at a drug rehab facility. The team helped the women make jewelry and taught them computer skills and how to shop and navigate safely online. Gray taught them to identify their personal strengths through the Strength Finders program. The team also focused on ministering to the facility staff.
 
“Our goal was to help them feel good about themselves in the way God had made them as unique. They don’t have to be like anyone else,” Gray said.
 
After sharing about Strength Finders, Gray shared the gospel. He explained to the ladies that in order to get the greatest use of their strengths they needed to understand that God made them – but they needed to know Him personally.
 
Between the two days of ministry, six ladies prayed to receive Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior. “It is important that we intentionally build a bridge to the plan of salvation. The ladies knew we really cared about them, and so when we shared the gospel, they were willing to hear us out and hear what God had to say in His Word about having a personal relationship with Him,” Gray said.
 
Yet, ministry cannot end there. “God did not call us to make converts, He called us to make disciples,” Gray said. “It’s easy to go in and do our thing and feel good about it. Unless we can help lead them to the next level, perhaps we have not done all we can in our going to serve.”
 
For more information about the Red Springs Mission Camp and how your church can get involved visit baptistsonmission.org.

10/14/2011 3:48:34 PM by Mike Creswell & Melissa Lilley, BSC Communications | with 1 comments



The minister’s juggling act

October 14 2011 by Buddy Overman, BSC Communications

It can be easy to forget how many responsibilities a pastor juggles on a daily basis. As a pastor, he has an enormous responsibility to care for his congregation by nourishing and protecting them with the truth of God’s Word. He is also charged with leading and managing the affairs of the church, while loving the people and caring for their needs.
 
And his duties do not end when he leaves the office. Pastors may also be husbands and fathers and face many of the same responsibilities to their families as they do to the church.
 
Both responsibilities demand much of a pastor’s time and energy. Somewhere along the way he must also find time to nourish his own soul by maintaining his personal walk with God.
 
Trying to manage all the different responsibilities is difficult, yet very important, and the key to success begins at home.
 
“Your marriage is your first mission field. Keep it that way,” said Eddie Thompson, Baptist State Convention of North Carolina (BSC) marriage and family ministry senior consultant.
 
Thompson speaks from experience. He served as a pastor for 15 years, during which time he learned firsthand the pressures of being a pastor. Through the years he has seen too many men in ministry fail to make their families top priority. “The demands of ministry can be overwhelming. It is so easy to give our best to other people and give our family our leftovers,” he said.
 
The stakes are high for everyone involved. “Pastors who fail to juggle all their responsibilities run the risk of losing their families, their churches, their reputations and their careers,” Thompson said.
 
The balancing act is not limited to full-time pastors. Anyone serving in the local church, including lay people, can find it difficult to balance their service to the church with their family responsibilities.
 
Thompson desires to see everyone involved in ministry learn how to avoid that mistake.
 
As part of his effort to help, Thompson will host one of the 19 breakout sessions during the BSC Annual Meeting Nov. 7-8 at the Koury Convention Center in Greensboro.
 
Thompson’s session, “The Minister’s Juggling Act,” will focus on how people involved in ministry can find the right balance when it comes to serving their families, serving their churches and living for God.
 
It’s a balance Thompson believes too many in ministry are unprepared for. “Attempting to balance church and family life is a lot more difficult than pastors think it is,” Thompson said. “I think pastors severely underestimate how difficult it is to balance all the things of life.”
 
All too often pastors and church leaders fail to recognize the warning signs when they begin to slip out of balance by taking on too many responsibilities at once.
 
It’s a common mistake that Thompson believes can be avoided when leaders keep a proper perspective on their abilities.
 
“We are not superman. We need to check our cape at the door,” he said. “We are really human beings that have limited energy and strength. We need to make sure we use what we have in a way that gives God the most glory.”
 
For more information on marriage and family ministries contact Eddie Thompson: (800) 395-5102, ext. 5644; ethompson@ncbaptist.org. Visit ncannualmeeting.org for a list of other breakout sessions.

10/14/2011 3:39:25 PM by Buddy Overman, BSC Communications | with 0 comments



Egypt’s Christians face more violence

October 14 2011 by Ava Thomas, Baptist Press

CAIRO – It’s ugly for Christians in Cairo right now, deeply unsettling even to those who have weathered the ups and downs of the Arab Spring, said Hal Greaves*.

Another church was burned by a mob. Coptic Christians, fed up with being targeted, announced a peaceful protest for religious freedom Oct. 9. The Egyptian military intervened, things escalated quickly and more than 20 were left dead, with hundreds more injured, international news outlets say.

Eyewitnesses reported seeing mangled bodies and body parts run over by military vehicles in the fray, but the Egyptian military denies driving into the crowds and opening fire on them, according to BBC news.

Sources differ on who’s to blame. But many report this – it’s the worst violence in Egypt since President Hosni Mubarak was ousted in February, and possibly the worst violence toward Christians there in modern history.

“Needless to say, Egypt is still in development and even in crisis. The events of the Christian march has firmly put Egypt on the list of countries with poor religious freedom,” said Ron Robinson*, a Christian worker who has spent time in Egypt.

The unrest and violence has been growing over time as the nation’s leadership remains unresolved, he said. Christians are tense, wondering who is behind the attacks and who will have power when all is said and done – a secular government, or an Islamist one?

“We have been seeing probably some of the highest numbers of Copts and evangelicals leaving Egypt this year than any other year posted,” Robinson said. “There is great fear of where this is heading for those of Christian background to belief.”

Coptic Christians – whose Christian ancestors have lived in Egypt since before the Islamic conquest of the seventh century – make up about 10 percent of Egypt’s population. More than 100,000 Coptic Christians have already fled revolutionary Egypt this year, according to the Union of Egyptian Human Rights Organizations (UEHRO). UEHRO officials predict an additional 250,000 may seek refuge elsewhere before year’s end.

“The Christians I have talked to are afraid and want to leave,” said Greaves, a Christian worker who has spent time in Egypt. “Even before this event, people have been anxious about the uncertainty of the future. There is a lot of fear in the Christian community.”

Generally, Coptic Christians are “Christian” by tradition and birth rather than by a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, Robinson said. If your parents were Christian, your ID card says you are, too.

“In Egypt, they make a distinction that if you follow Jesus Christ, then you will hear Christians use the term ‘Believer,’” he said. “Many of the Coptic Orthodox church members have never made a profession of faith, and many never really go to church.”

Like with most denominations and religions, only some are truly Jesus’ disciples among the crowd of nominal adherents, said Nik Ripken*, who has served 25 years with the International Mission Board and is an expert on the persecuted church in Muslim contexts.

“But we dare not ignore historical or cultural Christians who are being slaughtered,” Ripken said. “This is the oft forgotten ‘rule’ of history, that when the bad guys come after true Believers, they take everyone – especially the historical Christians.”

And historical Christians dare not continue without embracing a real faith, he said.
“If one is going to face persecution, he or she should make it count by being true to Jesus and His teachings, otherwise persecution comes and we get little spiritual strength, or we fight persecution with the wrong and ineffective tools,” Ripken said.

Believers in Egypt are hoping just that – for the Spirit to sweep through Egypt, and for Copts and Muslims alike to find true faith in Christ and “make it count.” Before the violence took place, Egyptian Believers were already planning a series of revivals all across the country for mid-October.

“Pastors are reporting an openness to the gospel in their communities and a hopefulness that the Lord will foment another revolution, but this one in the hearts and souls of every Egyptian,” said Marshall Jackson*, a Christian worker who has lived in Egypt in the past.

Sarah Jenkins*, a Christian worker who has spent time in Egypt, said Believers have responded to the extreme tension by fasting and praying that God would bring peace to Egypt.

“Please pray with us that God would answer this prayer and fulfill the promise of Isaiah 19 in bringing ultimate peace to Egypt through the person of Jesus Christ,” she said.

Believers in Egypt also asked for Christians in the West to pray:
  • for Egypt’s believers to stay in Egypt.
  • for them to forgive as Jesus commands.
  • for their main concern to be seeing their Muslim neighbors come to faith in Jesus.
*Names have been changed

(EDITOR’S NOTE – Ava Thomas is an IMB writer/editor based in Europe.)
10/14/2011 3:32:25 PM by Ava Thomas, Baptist Press | with 0 comments



Yeats elected Mo. Baptist exec. director

October 14 2011 by Missouri Pathway staff

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – A leader in Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) and state convention life has been elected the 20th executive director of the Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC).

John Yeats, 61, the recording secretary of the Southern Baptist Convention and the director of communications and public policy for the Louisiana Baptist Convention, was elected with a vote of 34 yes, 3 no, and 1 abstention during a special called meeting of the Missouri Baptist Convention Executive Board Oct. 13.

“My wife, Sharon, and I are deeply honored to be a part of what God is doing in the midst of Missouri Baptists,” Yeats said following a question-and-answer session with the board and their subsequent vote. “After much prayer and fasting, we are convinced that the Lord has placed an extraordinary opportunity before us.

“Over the course of the next few months, I purpose to pray a lot, ask a lot of questions and speak with many Missouri Baptist leaders in the churches and associations. Our hope is that over the course of our years of service, a culture of connectedness will emerge that becomes a vehicle for spiritual awakening, encouragement and cooperative ministries.”

10-14-11yeats-(1).jpg

John Yeats


Yeats is expected to begin his new responsibilities soon and is scheduled to address messengers attending the MBC annual meeting. Missouri Southern Baptists will have the opportunity to meet the Yeats at a reception immediately following the evening session.

Since 1997, Yeats has served as one of the five elected officers of the SBC (recording secretary) and is a member of the SBC Executive Committee.

In his most recent position in Louisiana, his responsibilities included administration, leadership and strategic planning. Part of his responsibilities included funding promotion and support to the cooperative work of the churches that comprise the Louisiana Baptist Convention. He also served as the state convention’s public policy officer that relates to the Louisiana legislature on moral and social issues. He has testified before lawmakers concerning statutes protective of church rights.

Prior to service in Louisiana, Yeats served as editor of the Oklahoma Baptist Messenger. He also served the State Convention of Baptists in Indiana as the director of communications and editor of the Indiana Baptist. Prior to his ministry with state conventions, he served 20 years as pastor of churches in Texas and Kansas.

The election of Yeats ends a seven-month search by the 11-member MBC Executive Director search committee that was appointed by the executive board following the January resignation of David Tolliver.

Members of the search committee included: Vic Borden (chairman), pastor, Red Bridge Baptist Church, Kansas City; James Freeman (vice chairman), a Kansas City attorney and member of Country Meadows Baptist Church, Lee’s Summit; Rhonda Rhea (secretary), author, Pathway columnist and member of First Baptist Church, Troy; Rebecca Nance, member, First Baptist Church, Trenton; William Bouyea, family counselor staff member at Emmanuel Baptist Church, Hannibal; Bruce Morrison, former MBC staff member and currently a deacon at Concord Baptist Church, Jefferson City; Stan Gibson, pastor, Pacific Baptist Church, Pacific; Jody Shelenhammer, a Bolivar businessman and member of Wellspring Baptist Fellowship, Bolivar; Randy Comer, director of missions, Barry County Association; Robert Lilly, pastor, First Baptist Church, Richland; and Donny Ford, an evangelist from Cape Girardeau. MBC President John Marshall, pastor, Second Baptist Church, Springfield, served as an ex-official member of the committee.

10/14/2011 2:29:02 PM by Missouri Pathway staff | with 0 comments



Poll: NC marriage amend. up, 61-34%

October 13 2011 by Michael Foust, Baptist Press

A proposed constitutional amendment in North Carolina that would define marriage as between a man and a woman has the support of more than 60 percent of likely voters, according to a new poll.

Citizens will vote on the issue in May.

The poll by the left-leaning Public Policy Polling (PPP) shows the amendment winning by a margin of 61-34 with support from Republicans, Independents and Democrats. Although Public Policy Polling leans left, its polls on the issue of gay “marriage” are among the most accurate because it uses automated polling, which – many polling experts believe – allows respondents to give more honest answers on the controversial topic. PPP was the only polling company in 2009 that correctly predicted Maine citizens would vote to overturn a “gay marriage” law.

In the North Carolina poll, Republicans favor the amendment 80-17 percent, with Independents (52-43 percent) and Democrats (49-44) also supporting it.

Significantly, 70 percent of black Democrats – a key voting bloc – favor it.

The poll used the exact wording of the amendment and asked 671 likely primary voters, “Would you vote for or against a constitutional amendment to provide that marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this State?” The poll also found that, by a margin of 63-30 percent, voters “think same-sex marriage should be” illegal.

An Elon University poll in September used different wording – and live callers – and found the amendment actually failing, 56-39 percent.

Tom Jensen, director of Public Policy Polling, argued in a 2010 blog that automated polling on the subject is more reliable. He wrote the blog after CNN released a poll showing a slight majority of Americans favoring marriage redefinition.

“(People are) more likely to tell their true feelings on an automated poll where there’s no social anxiety concern than to a live interviewer who they may be worried about the reaction of,” Jensen, who supports gay “marriage,” wrote. “It is frankly impossible, based on the results of gay marriage referendums over the last decade, to believe that a majority of Americans support its legalization. Dark blue states like California and Maine voted against it just in the last two years.”

North Carolina would become the 30th state to define marriage in the traditional sense in a state constitution.

Traditionalists warn “gay marriage” legalization would have a host of negative effects on religious liberty, impacting what is taught in schools and forcing private businesses and some religiously affiliated public organizations to endorse that to which they are morally opposed.

(EDITOR’S NOTE – Michael Foust is associate editor of Baptist Press.)
10/13/2011 7:17:00 AM by Michael Foust, Baptist Press | with 0 comments



Caraway dedicates ministers’ mountain retreat

October 13 2011 by K. Allan Blume, BR Editor

Don and Mary Ann Warren want to honor their parents and provide a place of respite for North Carolina’s ministers. As chairman of Caraway’s New Beginnings Capital Campaign, Don took note that the master plan included a “mountain retreat” for pastors who need a place to get away.

Although the retreat house was not scheduled until the latter part of the campaign, Warren believes it is needed now. So he and his wife gave a gift in honor of their parents so the house would be built immediately. Construction began July 15 and was completed Sept. 26. The facility was dedicated Sept. 27. A plaque on the Powell/Warren Mountain House reads, “The purpose for the mountain house is to provide a clean, comfortable respite for North Carolina ministers to use for prayer, bible study, sermon preparation and rest.”

“Today is a new beginning at Caraway,” said Director Jimmy Huffman at the dedication service. “We are at a point in our history of almost 50 years where we are starting to revisit who we are and our purpose and what we mean to North Carolina Baptists. One of the visions that we have always had is to have a place where N.C. Baptist ministers can get away and be refreshed. Today that is a reality.”

Photo by Mike Creswell

The Powell/Warren Mountain House was dedicated Sept. 27 at Caraway Conference Center. The mountain house is meant for a minister’s retreat and is part of a $7.5-million New Beginnings Capital Campaign, which is a three-phase building plan to expand and improve Caraway. Don and Mary Ann Warren named the cabin after their parents: Curtis Warren; Grace Warren; Bluford Powell; and Madie Powell. See photo gallery.


The house rests atop a mountain, overlooking much of Caraway’s 1,100-acres of serene landscape. Steve Garner, Caraway’s operations manager, was both architect and builder for the project. Other Caraway staff, Tommy Thompson and Charles Bullard, assisted in the construction.

Warren told about his wife’s parents, Bluford and Madie Powell of Tallassee, Ala. Bluford, a worker at the Yates Power Company, died in an auto accident when Mary Ann was 13. Her mother owned a florist, and struggled to survive after Bluford’s death.

Don’s parents are Curtis and Grace Warren. “Curtis Warren had to drop out of school in ninth grade because his labor was needed on the farm,” he explained. “Later he joined the Navy, then worked for Tallassee Mills in Alabama as a weaver, supervisor and later a department manager.”

Grace Warren was a weaver for 26 years. “Mother was an unusually talented piano player. She was the only pianist and organist that East Tallassee Baptist Church ever knew for 66 years,” Don said. “Daddy was a deacon and treasurer for the same period of time.”

“Mother played for the silent movies as a girl. When she received the film canister at the show house, she opened it and took out the sheet music. At certain scenes, she played the appropriate music for the silent films.”

Don Warren wants N.C. Baptists to know that, “60,000 boys have come on this property to the boys camp; 7,000 of those boys have made a profession of faith. That – I submit to you – is a good investment.”

Warren and Huffman recognize that pastors are very busy and carry many responsibilities. They need times to be refreshed. One pastor asked Warren how to get his name on the list to stay in the new retreat home saying, “I have not had one day off in over a year, and I would like to have a place to rest.”

Warren strongly encourages N.C. Baptists to give generously to the campaign. Individuals and churches have an opportunity to honor special people and to provide facilities where lives will be changed for generations.

Executive Director-Treasurer Milton Hollifield led the prayer of dedication saying, “This facility will be used to bring great honor and glory to God.”

Pastors who are interested in using the “mountain retreat” can call Caraway Conference Center at (336) 629-2374 or email rskipper@caraway.org. You must be a N.C. Baptist minister. Your spouse may stay with you, but children may not come. The first three nights of your stay are free, and meals are free in the cafeteria when the cafeteria is serving. A pastor may stay two additional nights for $50 each night, with a total of five nights maximum stay. Reservations may be made up to one year in advance.

New Beginnings Capital Campaign

Various opportunies are available for individuals and groups to give to the Caraway Conference Center New Beginnings Capital Campaign.

Visit caraway.org or blog.caraway.org for more information. Call (336) 629-2374 or send donations to P.O. Box 36, Asheboro, NC 27204.

Gifts of stocks, bonds, real estate or other items of value can be contributed through the N.C. Baptist Foundation, 205 Convention Dr., Cary, NC 27511. Call (800) 521-7334 for more information.
10/13/2011 7:07:00 AM by K. Allan Blume, BR Editor | with 0 comments



Becoming a church for ALL people

October 13 2011 by Buddy Overman, BSC Communications

It’s hard to deny that North Carolina is becoming more and more culturally diverse. In recent decades the state has absorbed a tremendous influx of people from all over the United States and all corners of the globe. Many of them have put down permanent roots, forever changing the cultural landscape of North Carolina.

Ken Tan, Baptist State Convention of North Carolina (BSC) multicultural team leader, believes the cultural change is a great opportunity for churches to honor Jesus Christ by intentionally becoming multicultural. “Jesus commands us to make disciples of all people,” Tan said. “All means all. If we truly embrace that we will do it. That’s what Christ expects from us.”

Tan knows more than anyone what it takes to make a church multicultural. He came to North Carolina from Georgia five years ago after serving with the North American Mission Board. While in Georgia, he helped lead a monocultural church through the successful transition of becoming multicultural.

He understands that transitioning from a monocultural to a multicultural church is not easy, but for Tan, the reward is worth the effort. “Our churches should reflect the Kingdom of Heaven on earth,” he said. “If we start doing that we will experience a taste of heaven on earth.”

Tan has been encouraged by an increased effort on the part of N.C. church leaders to reach the various people groups in their individual communities. “Multicultural was not in the vocabulary among church planters and leaders five years ago,” he said. “But now people are willing to try it.”

Seeing people try multicultural ministry gets Tan excited. His infectious smile and high energy reveal the depth of passion he has for seeing churches reflect the cultural makeup of their communities.

He will be sharing that passion with church leaders from all across the state at one of the 19 breakout sessions during the BSC annual meeting Nov. 7-8 at the Koury Convention Center in Greensboro. Tan’s session, “How to Become a Church for ALL People,” will focus on starting or transitioning to a multicultural church.

Joining Tan at the session will be former NFL player Derwin Gray. He is the founding pastor of Transformation Church in Fort Mill, S.C.; a multicultural church that has grown to nearly 1,500 members since Gray planted the church in January 2010.

Together, Tan and Gray will share from their combined knowledge and years of experience about what it takes to become a multicultural church. They will highlight the keys to success and discuss the challenges of multicultural ministry and how to overcome them. It will be an opportunity for church leaders to learn from two successful multicultural leaders and to be challenged from God’s Word on why it is important to be a church for all people.

“We will provide church leaders an opportunity to engage people who have done it,” Tan said. “They will leave knowing that if they want to transition their church from monocultural to multicultural, or plant a multicultural church, that the convention will be willing to come alongside them and provide resources.”

Tan believes those resources will be in greater demand in the years to come as North Carolina moves closer to multicultural status. He wants church leaders across the state to be ready to make the transition.

For more information contact Tan: (800) 395-5102, ext. 5641, or ktan@ncbaptist.org.
10/13/2011 7:03:00 AM by Buddy Overman, BSC Communications | with 0 comments



Marler to serve N.C. Baptists in childhood ministry

October 13 2011 by BSC Communications

Jan Marler began Oct. 1 working with the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina (BSC) on a contract basis in the area of childhood ministry. Marler, a former children’s specialist with LifeWay Christian Resources, has more than 25 years of experience in childhood ministry at the local church and denominational level, including the publication of several resources for children’s leaders.

Marler will serve in this position until the BSC hires an individual to fill the position permanently.

Jan Marler, former LifeWay children's specialist, will serve North Carolina's children's ministers until the BSC finds an individual to fill the position permanently.


“I am looking forward to developing relationships with children’s ministers, and to seeing them succeed and grow spiritually,” Marler said. Marler is also looking forward to helping children’s ministers as they reach out to children’s families.

Marler will continue to live in Nashville, Tenn., but will be available for phone calls and email consultations on issues related to preschool and children’s ministry. Next year she will also lead regional workshops for childhood ministry leaders. Areas of emphasis in the workshops will include safety and security and practical skills for children’s ministers.

“Jan Marler is a most capable and personable expert with whom you will enjoy connecting,” said Brian Upshaw, BSC church ministry team leader. “We still intend to hire a full-time childhood ministry consultant, but in the interim, Jan will provide us with an expert in this area who is able to field the various day-to-day questions that arise regarding children’s ministry.

“Numerous studies have expressed the crisis of college students and young adults who are leaving the church. There is a growing understanding that much of that dropout can be avoided if a firm spiritual foundation is laid in childhood,” Upshaw said.

Marler can be contacted at (919) 810-1466 or jmarler@ncbaptist.org. Churches can also connect with her by contacting the BSC at (800) 395-5102, ext. 5646, or aearle@ncbaptist.org.
10/13/2011 6:55:00 AM by BSC Communications | with 0 comments



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