October 2011

Attacked Egyptian Christians may flee country

October 12 2011 by Baptist Press & Compass Direct News

CAIRO – Funeral services were held Oct. 10 in Cairo, Egypt, for some of the victims of a military attack against a group of Christian protestors that left 26 dead and hundreds wounded.

In the wake of what could be the worst act of violence against Egyptian Christians in modern history, leaders of the Coptic Orthodox Church have called for three days of fasting and prayer for divine intervention, along with three days of mourning.

Leaders from other faith traditions among Egyptian Christians reported similar efforts among their congregations.

Samia Sidhom, managing editor for the Coptic weekly Al Watani, said Copts across Egypt are distraught about the attack and the future for Christians across the country.

“At this point you can’t even imagine what the future will be like,” she said.

The attack started late Sunday afternoon (Oct. 9) when Christian –– who were protesting church burnings –– marched through Cairo and began getting pelted with rocks and other projectiles near an overpass that cuts through downtown Cairo. The protest march had been announced in advance. By the time the protestors were able to make it to a television and radio broadcasting building commonly known as the Maspero Building, the army began shooting into the crowd and ramming riot–control vehicles into the protestors.

Witnesses at the scene reportedly said attacks left body parts scattered at the scene. Amateur video at the scene shows two riot–control vehicles plowing into the crowd of protestors.

Nina Shea, director of the Hudson Institute’s Center on Religious Freedom and a member of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, called the army’s attack on the Christians a “watershed moment.”

“The real significance of this is that it signals the future treatment of the Christian Coptic community by the state,” Shea told the National Catholic Register. “The military was their last hope in protecting them from lawless forces in society that were religiously motivated to (eradicate) them, namely the Salafis (Muslims). Now they know they have no protection. “I think we can expect to see a major exodus of Coptic Christians from Egypt.... The whole reason they were in the streets was to protest lawless forces. It extinguishes all hope for them. They are utterly vulnerable.”

The Obama administration, Shea said, should threaten to cut military aid to Eqypt if the army fails “to protect the Christian minority.”

“It is against our national interest to support a military that allows the eradication of Christians by other groups,” Shea said.

The protest came in response to a Sept. 30 attack in Upper Egypt, where the Mar Gerges Church building was burned down along with several Christian–owned homes and businesses in Elmarenab village in Aswan.

The church building, which was being renovated, was attacked by local Muslims who claimed the congregation had no right to build it, despite legal documents church officials put forth to the contrary.

Before the attack, parishioners of the church took down crosses outside the building. When it was being destroyed, contractors were removing domes that local Muslims held to be offensive.

The Mar Gerges burning was the third church in Egypt in seven months to be burned down by a mob.

Sidhom said Christian protestors were particularly upset about the church attack because the government blamed them for it, claiming the building was a hospitality house with illegal construction taking place.

(EDITOR’S NOTE – Written by Compass Direct News, a California–based news service focusing on the persecuted church. Used by permission. With additional information compiled by Michael Foust, associate editor of Baptist Press.)  
10/12/2011 11:06:00 AM by Baptist Press & Compass Direct News | with 0 comments

9Marks Conference: Feasting on the gospel

October 12 2011 by Buddy Overman, BSC Communications

“It’s a time to gather and feast around the Word of God,” said Danny Akin, president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, as he welcomed the crowd assembled at Southeastern for the third annual 9Marks Conference.

More than 600 people attended the conference Sept. 23-24, the third in a series of conferences that focus on building healthy churches as outlined in Mark Dever’s Nine Marks of a Healthy Church. Dever is pastor of Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington, D.C., and president of 9Marks.

The focus of this year’s conference was on the gospel, and how a healthy church should build its life around the gospel.

Joining Akin and Dever were Ben Mandrell, pastor of Englewood Baptist Church in Jackson, Tenn.; Thabiti Anyabwile, senior pastor at First Baptist Church in Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands; James MacDonald, pastor of the multisite Harvest Bible Chapel in the northwest Chicago suburbs; and Darrin Patrick, lead pastor of The Journey in Saint Louis, Mo.

Danny Akin, president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, preaches through Galatians at the 9Marks Conference.

Dever opened the conference with an exposition of Psalm 4. He said the psalm reminds believers of their need for deliverance. Dever said it is easy for pastors to neglect the fundamental truth regarding the need for deliverance from sin and the problem sin has created.

He encouraged pastors to routinely address that problem and its solution with their congregations.

“We need to help them understand the problem that the gospel is the answer to. That’s a foundational part of gospel preaching,” he said.    

Mandrell spoke about Psalm 93 and Luke 22, and the importance of teaching the sovereign power and majesty of God – something he believes is lacking in today’s preaching.

“So few church members have a picture of the majesty of God,” he said. “You can’t believe the gospel unless you believe in a powerful God.”

Anyabwile continued the theme of God’s power as he spoke about the power of God to save sinners. Calling Romans “the gospel of God’s righteousness,” Anyabwile said the gospel of Jesus Christ includes much more than the common modern day equation of forgiveness and love.

“The sacrifice of Jesus Christ both demonstrated and satisfied the Father’s righteousness while at the same time achieving righteousness for every sinner who believes in Jesus,” he said. “Our gospel preaching should include the imputation of God’s righteousness.”

The Sept. 24 session featured sermons from Akin and Patrick. Akin preached through the entire book of Galatians in less than one hour.

“The gospel is the dominate theme of this epistle,” Akin said.

He then proceeded to show from Galatians how passionate the apostle Paul was for the gospel. During his sermon he listed 27 references to the gospel found throughout Galatians and exhorted pastors to be zealous for the gospel in the same way as Paul. 

Patrick closed the conference with a sermon from Philippians 4:11-14.

Patrick said the gospel should give Christians the same joy, contentment and peace as it did Paul. “If the gospel is alive in me, then contentment will necessarily follow,” Patrick said.

True contentment is elusive for many in society today, and the solution can only be found in the faithful proclamation of the gospel.

“Pastors need to teach their people how to be content through the gospel,” Patrick said.

In addition to sermons, the conference included several panel discussions featuring sermon reviews and discussions on topics related to church ministry and the gospel.  

Although he has followed the 9Marks ministry for several years, this was Allen Stillwell’s first opportunity to attend the 9Marks Conference. Stillwell is a youth pastor from Vale.

“I loved each message and the preaching was a blessing to me on all accounts,” he said. “The clarity of the gospel message is very important, and my goal in coming to this conference was to learn more about Jesus and the truth of the gospel.”

All six messages from this year’s conference can be seen at the seminary’s website: sebts.edu. The seminary’s chapel services, which are usually held Tuesday and Thursday during the semester, are open to the public. Check the school’s site for more about upcoming services and conferences.
10/12/2011 10:59:00 AM by Buddy Overman, BSC Communications | with 0 comments

Summer proves fruitful for Mott Haven ministry

October 11 2011 by Melissa Lilley, BSC Communications

NEW YORK – Some school supplies were priced as low as a dime, but for some parents paying any amount was a sacrifice. Tears streamed down the face of one young boy because his mom couldn’t afford to buy him a pack of markers.

The first few people in line to shop were regulars, waiting every year for the school supply sale at Graffiti 2 Church in the Bronx before buying any supplies. This was the seventh year the church hosted a school supply sale for families in the Mott Haven area.

Usually the school supply sale is made possible through donations from area churches and Graffiti Church in Manhattan, the parent church for Graffiti 2. But this year donations poured in from all over the country as churches learned about Graffiti 2 and pastor Andrew Mann from LifeWay’s “Big Apple Adventure” Vacation Bible School curriculum.

Graffiti 2 ministers to people living in an area where 51.8 percent of families with children under age 18 are below poverty level; the highest percentage of anywhere in New York City. Eighty-three percent of babies in Mott Haven are born into poverty.

Education is also a challenge, as one in six students will not graduate from high school and 72 percent of children do not meet educational standards. Mott Haven also has the highest percentage in New York City of births to teenage mothers.

More than 1,000 violent felonies are committed each year in Mott Haven.

Mott Haven is a hard place to live, but it’s the right place for Mann because this is where God has called him.

Mann is beginning his seventh year with Graffiti 2 in his mission to “revitalize, revive and revolutionize” the community.

Graffiti 2 offers an after-school program for children, service and leadership opportunities for youth, mission trips, job training, monthly workshops for parents, and opportunities for parents to volunteer, mentor and serve.

In the past seven years, Mann said Graffiti’s ministry has expanded not only in width, as they are reaching more age groups and doing more outreach, but in depth, as they continue building relationships and seeing lives transformed by the gospel.

BSC photo

Ashley Allen, left, director of Embrace Women’s Ministries with the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina, helps at a school supply sale at Graffiti 2 Church in the Bronx. Allen led a team of ladies from N.C. Baptist churches to New York for a variety of mission projects. See photos.

Mann said two types of churches are common: churches that meet practical needs but do not talk about the gospel, and churches that do not meet needs but talk about the gospel.

Outreach such as the school supply sale is one way Graffiti seeks to be a church that does both. “We try to be intentional with the interaction,” Mann said about what goes on during the sale.

Every person who comes to the sale is paired with a volunteer to help them shop. After they shop, the volunteer asks if the person is willing to talk through a few survey questions.

Sandra Curry of Maple Springs Baptist Church in Seagrove, was one of the school supply volunteers this year who saw the Holy Spirit at work. Curry walked one parent through the questions, asking her to identify the greatest strengths/weaknesses of the community and how can Graffiti better serve the community.

Then she asked the last survey question: Can I share with you our greatest hope? The woman said yes; Curry shared the gospel, and the woman prayed to receive Jesus Christ as her personal Lord and Savior. “The woman said her son had prayed to receive Christ, but that she had not,” Curry said. “She said she had never trusted Jesus.”

The woman’s son was already involved with Graffiti 2 and came to know Jesus Christ through Mann’s witness and testimony. Curry was part of the 17-member team from North Carolina that served in mission projects throughout New York City the weekend of the 10th anniversary of 9/11. Embrace Women’s Missions and Ministries of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina sponsored the mission trip.

Another team member also had opportunity to pray with a mother to receive Jesus Christ as her Savior. The team served two days with Mann, helping sort supplies, setting up and shopping with families. The school supply sale benefited 133 families and 293 children.

The sale is just one way Graffiti reaches out during summer months. About 2,000 children attended sports camps and fine arts camps this summer at Graffiti. These programs help Mann and church members build relationships that pave the way for ministry during the year.

The summer also brought new staff Josh and Kerri Johnson from West Virginia to Graffiti. “We never really had intentions to come this way,” Josh said. “I would never have picked this area. God picked this area.”

Josh was born and raised in West Virginia. He served as associate pastor in the same church where he grew up. Yet, he knew God was calling him to full-time missions.

The Johnsons began talking in February with Mann about coming to work with Graffiti in a few years. They prayed about the move with their children, ages 12 and 8. “We decided if we weren’t called as a family we weren’t called,” Josh said.

Although God called their family to Mott Haven as Mission Service Corps missionaries with the North American Mission Board much sooner than expected, they are ready to serve however He leads. When Graffiti 2 began seven years ago Mann had no idea the ministry would be where it is today. “I praise God for that,” he said.

Mann prays Ephesians 3:20 for Graffiti. He prays that his vision for the community would never really be reached as God continues to expand his vision and to do greater things than he can imagine or desire.

Related stories
Urban Impact: Reaching the unreached
9/11 survivors reflect during night of hope
10/11/2011 9:07:00 AM by Melissa Lilley, BSC Communications | with 0 comments

Urban Impact: Reaching the unreached

October 11 2011 by Melissa Lilley, BSC Communications

NEW YORK – A couple doors down from the Urban Impact office in Jackson Heights, Queens, are two Nepali/Tibetan restaurants and across the street is a Korean grocery store.

Just a few blocks away is an area known as Little India. Indian restaurants and stores with elaborate gold jewelry line the streets, and fortune-tellers and astrologers pass out their business cards. One store is filled with all kinds of statues of Hindu gods, such as Ganesha, known to Hindus as the Remover of Obstacles.

A little farther down is Little Bangladesh, where the population is largely Muslim and restaurants serve up traditional Bengali food.

Jackson Heights is home to many South Asians. In addition to Indians and Bengalis are people from Nepal, Tibet, and Pakistan.

Camille Samuel is director of Urban Impact’s South Asian Center. “Some days I walk down the street and I don’t hear any English at all,” she said.

BSC photo

Donna Elmore, left, gets information for Urban Impact’s free English as a Second Language classes. Elmore, a member of Southside Baptist Church in Greensboro, was part of a team of N.C. Baptist ladies who served in New York recently. Visit photo gallery.

Samuel, 26, came to Urban Impact after serving two years with the International Mission Board in India. Samuel said the work in Jackson Heights is hard, as people come and go and it takes awhile to build relationships, but she enjoys serving because she cares for the people.

Urban Impact seeks to reach immigrants and those from the “10/40 Window” (the rectangular area of North Africa, the Middle East and Asia between 10 degrees north and 40 degrees north latitude that includes the majority of the world’s Muslims, Hindus, and Buddhists) who are living in New York City. Urban Impact does this through ministries such as Vacation Bible School, English as a Second Language (ESL) classes and computer classes.

Urban Impact also has a center in Brooklyn to reach West African Muslims and a center in Woodhaven, Queens, to reach Yemenese Muslims.

Although many religions are represented in Jackson Heights such as Greek Orthodox, Sikh and Roman Catholic, Hinduism and Buddhism are what Samuel encounters most often at Urban Impact.

Although these immigrants now live in a country where they have freedom of religion, that does not mean converting to Christianity is easy. Samuel said some people come to New York with family and are pressured by family members not to convert.

But Samuel has already seen God at work during her first year in Queens. She has befriended an older Indian woman and been able to share the gospel.

She has seen a Bengali man, a Muslim, become open to reading the Bible and volunteering with ESL. Another Bengali man has prayed to receive Jesus Christ as his personal Lord and Savior.

Samuel wants people in Queens to know they can find peace in Jesus Christ. “People here are hungry for rest,” she said.

Sometimes family members stay behind in their country while other family members come to New York City to try and make a living. When the time is right, the rest of the family makes the move overseas. Samuel met an Indian woman who was separated from her husband for 10 years in such a situation. Some of the ESL attendees are women who have never been to school of any kind. Others are women in their 50s with grown children who want to try something new. Yet other participants were professors in their country and now cannot get a job because they do not speak English.

A team from North Carolina recently spent a day serving alongside Samuel, prayer walking and helping with ESL registration. Ministry with Urban Impact was part of a mission trip sponsored by Embrace Women’s Missions and Ministries of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina. The team also worked with churches in Manhattan, the Bronx and Brooklyn.

Donna Elmore of Southside Baptist Church in Greensboro helped with the ESL registration. From the outside looking in it seems evangelism comes quite naturally to Elmore. Even in the short time it took to register someone she was able to show compassion and share the gospel.

Elmore prays for God to help make her aware of opportunities to be a witness for Him. “It doesn’t come easy to me. It’s easier to just be quiet. You have to trust the Lord,” she said. “The more you share the more you know you have to trust Jesus.”

Elmore said people were very surprised the ESL classes were free – another reminder that sometimes it’s the small things that lead to the greatest opportunities to witness.

The team also spent time at the West African Center and prayed for the ministry to West African Muslims. They also prayed for Mike Flaschenriem, who began as director of the center only six weeks ago.

Flaschenriem, 29, is a former direct TV salesman from Tampa, Fla., who ran from the Lord. “I didn’t want to do it,” he said about his call to full-time ministry.

It took his brother’s suicide to get his attention and turn him back to doing what he knew God had called him and his wife to do. Flaschenriem graduated from Word of Life Bible Institute in February and is ready to begin the work God has for him in Brooklyn.

Whether it is West African Muslims in Brooklyn or Hindus in Queens, laborers are needed in the fields ready for harvest. To learn how you can get involved in reaching the nations in New York City visit ncbaptist.org/gcp.

Visit embracenc.org for more information about Embrace opportunities.

Related stories
Summer proves fruitful for Mott Haven ministry
9/11 survivors reflect during night of hope
10/11/2011 9:01:00 AM by Melissa Lilley, BSC Communications | with 0 comments

Pitts Baptist hosts evangelism training

October 11 2011 by Tara Willis, Special to the Recorder

When was the last time you heard an 8-year-old say, “Why does tomorrow night’s service have to be shorter?”

Brianna Arrowood was overheard wishing that evangelism training could last longer at the “Every Believer a Witness” series at Pitts Baptist Church in Concord.

Brianna and her mom, Hannah, were among hundreds who recently learned biblically-based, practical, and sometimes hilarious ways to approach people with the gospel in their day-to-day lives.

The life-changing seminar was taught by Dennis Nunn, founder of Living the New Life Ministries, and native of Charlotte’s Derita Community. Dennis has identified four major reasons believers don’t regularly share the gospel:  apathy, ignorance, fear and powerlessness. With boundless energy and enthusiasm, he motivated listeners with practical methods to begin conversations about Jesus without fear. Attendees left empowered to share the story of how the gospel changed their lives.

“The beauty of the conference is the way it instilled a new mindset for evangelism,” said Pastor Scott Davis. “We have to get back to fulfilling the Great Commission. At church we are often so busy, so caught up in good things, that we neglect the best thing. Dennis taught the church to not be so focused on technique, but on actually doing something. Spiritual leaders or children can use these methods which are simple and transferrable.”

During the first of four evening sessions, Dennis provided a simple, biblical model and walked attendees through the composition of their own story of how Jesus came into their lives. He encouraged people to go out the following day and simply ask someone they encountered, “Can I read you my story?”

Photo by Jonathan Turner

Dennis Nunn, founder of Living the New Life Ministries, drew a crowd at Pitts Baptist Church in Concord during his “Every Believer a Witness” series.

Attendees came back the following night amazed at people’s responses to their non-threatening approach. On the second evening of the conference, Dennis reminded attendees their responsibility is to simply share the gospel and that God will change hearts.

Even though we should expect to face some opposition, there is no pressure to perform; God simply wants us to share what He has done for us. Using dozens of examples from his own life, Dennis spent the next session presenting many practical, intentional ways to share your testimony. He gave examples of entertaining and relaxed conversations he has instigated with co-workers, hotel employees, servers, neighbors, friends and family. He taught how to listen for openings to share the gospel and provided tips on how to discuss faith in everyday life.

Davis is thrilled by the interest so many have shown. He said, “The evidence that people were motivated was the great attendance each night.”

The conference was well attended by all ages, and the students of the church were especially engaged. One seventh-grader shared his story with nine classmates. Gary Cline, a Sunday School teacher, had the opportunity to hear Nunn train members of Mount Vernon Baptist in Boone last year, and was anxious to invite him to Concord. Cline has found that the training has helped him look for daily opportunities to share Jesus, and he loves finding ways to connect with people.

Nunn developed the “Every Believer A Witness” training seminar seven years ago to help create and maintain a culture of witnessing and evangelism. He realized that 90 percent of Sunday morning “pew-sitters” were not sharing their faith, and he never met a pastor who was satisfied with his evangelism program. He claims, “We will never get the majority of our people witnessing, and we will never fulfill the Great Commission, until our people come to see evangelism as best done in a conversation rather than a presentation.”

With his winsome personality and contagious enthusiasm, Dennis teaches people how to start faith-based conversations every day. Pastor Davis noticed that sharing the gospel is just “part of Dennis’ DNA.”

Nunn serves as a supportive coach to everyone he encounters, modeling the principles he teaches. He traveled to the Eastern European country of Moldova last year, and shared with 400 pastors who are now very anxious to hear the full “Every Believer a Witness” seminar. As a result, Nunn’s materials are being translated into Russian.

In November, Moldovan Pastor Victor Mirza will travel to the United States to spend a week with Nunn, then return home to teach fellow pastors. Visit livingthenewlife.org to learn more. The training can be taught by a church’s senior pastor over six Sunday mornings, or can be taught by Nunn in the Sunday through Wednesday “revival” format.

Members of Pitts Baptist have found that sharing the gospel is easy, based on Nunn’s assertion that “everybody loves a story.” Simply consider what your life was like before you met Jesus, how you came to accept the gospel, and what Jesus Christ has done in your life since.

(EDITOR’S NOTE – Tara Willis is a freelance writer from Charlotte and member of Hickory Grove Baptist Church.)
10/11/2011 8:56:00 AM by Tara Willis, Special to the Recorder | with 0 comments

Iranian pastor’s case referred to ayatollah

October 11 2011 by Baptist Press

TEHRAN (BP) – The case of imprisoned Iranian pastor Yousef Nadarkhani now has been referred to Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, Agence France-Presse, a French news service, reported Oct. 10.

The ayatollah has ultimate authority in the Islamic Republic of Iran, and AFP said the move to involve him in the case could mean a delay in the final verdict, which had been expected Monday.

“The step to involve the most powerful leader in Iran demonstrates that Iran is feeling the pressure,” Jordan Sekulow, executive director of the American Center for Law and Justice, said. “Involving the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei in a case before a regional court is unusual. We can be certain if the lies spread by Iran were true – that Youcef was instead convicted of rape, extortion and Zionism – the court would not seek the advice of the Supreme Ayatollah.

“Now that Iran’s Supreme Leader will be considering the case, it is imperative that our top diplomat, Secretary of State Clinton, call for Pastor Youcef’s unconditional release,” Sekulow wrote in a post on the group’s website Oct. 10.

More than 125,000 people had signed the petition asking Clinton to pressure Iran on behalf of the pastor, Sekulow said. Also, bipartisan support was growing in Congress with Reps. Joe Pitts, R.-Pa., and Heath Schuler, D.-N.C., writing a letter to Clinton urging her to intervene.

“We implore you to raise your voice at this critical juncture on behalf of Pastor Nadarkhani. We must not stand by while the Iranian Regime executes a man who has committed no crime,” the letter, released to the ACLJ, said.

By Oct. 7 the letter had been signed by at least 39 members of Congress, including 13 Democrats. Notably, Rep. Keith Ellison, D.-Minn., the first Muslim elected to Congress, was among them.

Sekulow asked Americans to sign the Clinton petition and to contact their members of Congress and request that they sign the Pitts-Shuler letter with urgency, given the possibility that Nadarkhani could be executed at any time without any prior announcement.

Meanwhile, the European Centre for Law and Justice, the ACLJ’s international affiliate which holds special consultative status with the United Nations, submitted a letter on Nadarkhani’s behalf, calling on the United Nations to secure the pastor’s immediate and unconditional release.

The letter explained that Nadarkhani’s conviction and death sentence are inconsistent with the Iranian constitution and the nation’s obligations under international law. The ECLJ reminded the United Nations that the pastor’s case “has tremendous implications for all Christians and religious minorities in Iran and is yet another indicator of the regime’s disregard for basic human rights and freedoms.”

Nadarkhani, 32, was arrested in 2009 and charged with apostasy, an offense punishable by hanging. A lower court found that while he had never been Muslim, he was guilty of apostasy because he came from a Muslim family. The Iranian Supreme Court upheld his death sentence.

Nadarkhani’s refusal to recant his faith has inspired Christians worldwide. The ACLJ reported one of his court exchanges.

“Repent means to return. What should I return to? To the blasphemy that I had before my faith in Christ?” he asked.

“To the religion of your ancestors, Islam,” the judge reportedly replied.

“I cannot,” Nadarkhani responded.

(EDITOR’S NOTE – Compiled by Baptist Press assistant editor Erin Roach)
10/11/2011 8:54:00 AM by Baptist Press | with 0 comments

IMB writer joins Recorder

October 10 2011 by Dianna L. Cagle, BR Assistant Managing Editor

A recent Biblical Recorder (BR) Board of Directors meeting resulted in a new addition to the BR staff.

Shawn Hendricks, a senior writer from the International Mission Board (IMB), will start as managing editor on Oct. 24.

Shawn Hendricks

“I am excited to welcome Shawn to the Biblical Recorder staff,” said K. Allan Blume, editor/president of the Biblical Recorder. “He shares our vision for the Great Commission and brings valuable experience in journalism to this ministry. I believe North Carolina Baptists will appreciate his leadership and his perspective.”

Hendricks has been at the IMB for almost 10 years. He has a communication arts degree with an emphasis on journalism from Union University in Jackson, Tenn., and cut his teeth at the State Gazette in Dyersburg, Tenn., before working in public relations at Hannibal-LaGrange College in Hannibal, Mo. He also was a writer at Word & Way, the Baptist paper in Jefferson City, Mo.

“It’s an exciting time to join the Biblical Recorder,” said Hendricks.

“God is doing some amazing things through North Carolina Baptists in this state, around the country and in other nations. I’m looking forward to being a part of the BR team and helping tell this story.”

Hendricks said his time at the IMB gave him a front-row seat to how God is “impacting lives throughout the world. It’s been a wonderful ride, and I’ve enjoyed seeing how God continues to transform lives.”

The Baptist Communicators Association awarded Hendricks awards in features and news writing this year for coverage in Haiti.

He and his wife, Stephanie, have a daughter, Laura. For the past two years the Hendricks have been involved at Movement Church, a church plant in Richmond, Va.

The Board met Sept. 26 at Caraway Conference Center near Asheboro. During that same board meeting, the directors approved a move of the Recorder offices to the Baptist State Convention in Cary.  
10/10/2011 8:22:00 AM by Dianna L. Cagle, BR Assistant Managing Editor | with 0 comments

BSC Board OKs study committee reports, budget

October 7 2011 by Melissa Lilley, BSC Communications

The Board of Directors of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina (BSC) met Sept. 27-28 at Caraway Conference Center to hear ministry reports and to consider study committee reports as well as the 2012 budget.


The Board approved the proposed 2012 Cooperative Program budget, a budget that reflects the first increase in ministry dollars since 2008. The $33,500,000 budget is a 2.5 percent increase from the 2011 budget.

The budget includes an additional one-half percent increase in the allocation of funds that are sent to the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC). This is the seventh year in a row that the BSC has increased this percentage by one-half percent. The proposed allocation to the SBC is 35.5 percent.

This is the sixth year in a row that the budget has included an increase for church planting. The budget will be presented for approval to messengers during the Convention’s annual meeting Nov. 7-8 in Greensboro.

Beverly Volz, BSC senior accountant, brought the financial report. Volz reported that through the end of August, Cooperative Program funds are $19,823,939.59, a total that is 7.24 percent behind budget. A comparison of year-to-year receipts reveals that 2011 receipts are only .18 percent below last year at this time. However, the BSC continues to operate in the black.

When compared to last year this time, the BSC is ahead in both the Lottie Moon and Annie Armstrong missions offerings.

Study committee reports

The Board heard from two committees formed earlier this year to study issues raised by messengers during the 2010 Annual Meeting of the Convention. One committee studied the development of a policy related to alcohol consumption, which is related to a motion made by Tim Rogers of Ebenezer Baptist Church in Indian Trail.

The second committee studied a motion made by Phil Addison of Stony Point Baptist Church in Stony Point, regarding adoption of the Baptist Faith and Message 2000 by the Convention.

Mike Whitson, pastor of First Baptist Church in Indian Trail, chaired the Social Use of Alcohol Committee. Joining him on the committee were Mike Barrett, Pleasant Garden Baptist Church, Pleasant Garden; Brian Langley, Bethel Baptist Church, Troutman; M.O. Owens Jr., Parkwood Baptist Church, Gastonia; and Marcus Redding, Hulls Grove Baptist Church, Vale.

The Board approved the statement brought by the committee, which states: “After prayer consideration and study, the committee positively affirms the current policies related to the social use of alcohol for the BSC staff, BSC supported church planters, and those individuals recommended to serve on the committees and boards of the BSC. The committee believes that our current policies sufficiently support both the historical position of the Convention and also the principles of God’s Word. It would be helpful to remind all of us of Paul’s admonition to live according to the standards of purity and holiness so as not to be a hindrance in the spiritual life of any other individual.”

Greg Mathis, pastor of Mud Creek Baptist Church in Hendersonville, chaired the Baptist Faith and Message Study Committee. Other committee members included Don Bouldin, Carmel Baptist Church, Charlotte; Eddie Honeycutt, First Baptist Church, Stanleyville; Cameron McGill, First Baptist Church, Dublin; and Rit Varialle, Elizabeth Baptist Church, Shelby.

Mathis said the Baptist Faith and Message 2000 (BF&M) is not included in the BSC governing documents, nor is it included in the governing documents of the Southern Baptist Convention, and there is wisdom in it not being included. “We certainly don’t want to be creedal. The Bible is our governing document,” he said.

Mathis said as the BF&M is a “living document,” if it were to be included in governing documents, those documents would need to be updated if the BF&M was ever revised. Although the committee did not advise adding the BF&M to the Convention’s governing documents, they did see areas in North Carolina Baptist life where they believed it should be affirmed. One such area was church planting. Another area was theological education, and Fruitland Baptist Bible Institute – the only institution of higher learning that is operated by the BSC – already affirms the BF&M 2000.

Therefore, the committee presented and the Board approved a resolution affirming the Baptist Faith and Message 2000.

This resolution will be included in the written report of the Board of Directors to the annual meeting of the BSC in November, and messengers will consider affirming the resolution as well.

Business services

The Board approved a recommendation from the Business Services Committee to sell Hollifield Leadership Center, located on a peninsula above the Oxford Dam on Lake Hickory, near Conover. The BSC purchased Hollifield Leadership Center in 2000 and has made major improvements and renovations since acquiring the property.

However, with Hollifield unable to operate in the black, the convention can no longer justify expenses related to operating the facility.

“From a business, and ministry, standpoint, selling Hollifield is the right thing to do,” said John Butler, executive leader for business services.

The property will be listed with a real estate agency in January 2012. Hollifield will continue to operate in 2012 until the property is sold. If it is not sold by this time next year, the committee will bring another recommendation to the Board.

Proceeds from the sale of Hollifield Leadership Center will be applied to Caraway Conference Center’s capital campaign and buildings related to the Caraway expansion will be named for Wyndolyn Hollifield, who gave the majority of the $3-million purchase price for Hollifield Leadership Center in 2000.

The Business Services Committee also reported that the BSC has saved more than $300,000 in employee health insurance costs so far this year by moving to a self-insured plan with Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina serving as administrator of that plan.

Articles and Bylaws

The Board approved four amendments brought by the Articles and Bylaws Committee. One amendment was related to the articles of incorporation and it brings clarity regarding the use of the terms “members” and “messengers.” The three amendments to the bylaws relate to Fruitland Baptist Bible Institute.

Find it Here 2012

Chuck Register, executive leader for church planting and missions development, shared about the Find it Here: Expanding the Kingdom missions mobilization emphasis for 2012. Next year is the third year in a three-year focus on evangelism, discipleship and missions.

In 2012, North Carolina Baptist churches will be challenged to take a step toward missional living, impacting the spiritual darkness around them with the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Free resources such as a missions strategy guidebook, missions videos, sermon outlines, Bible study and prayer materials, and devotionals will be available at finditherenc.org. More information about next year’s emphasis will be shared during the Monday evening session of the Convention’s annual meeting.

Register also spoke to a recommendation brought before the Board by the Church Planting and Missions Development Committee.

The Board approved a recommendation that the BSC serve as a catalyst for the engagement of 250 unengaged, unreached people groups over the next 10 years by BSC churches. The focus will be on people groups from Southeast Asia. (See related story.)

3D leadership

The Congregational Services Committee reported on a new emphasis called “3D.” “This is a process for strengthening your church, it is not a program,” said committee member Lee Pigg, pastor of Hopewell Baptist Church in Monroe. “Our job is to make disciples, not build the church. Jesus will do that.”

The process involves helping churches discover where they are and where God is leading; develop a strategy to get to where God is leading; and deliver resources to help people make disciples.

Christian Life and Public Affairs

Jarrod Scott, chairman of the Christian Life and Public Affairs Committee, reported that the committee is working to help churches better minister to homosexuals in the community and in the church. The committee is hosting a break out session during the Convention’s annual meeting about ministering to homosexuals. Cross Ministry founder Tim Wilkins will lead the session.

The committee is partnering with Eddie Thompson, BSC senior consultant for marriage and family, who is available to discuss concerns and provide resources and referrals. The committee has also produced a free brochure about ministering to homosexuals. The committee is also working to encourage North Carolina Baptists to support the Marriage Protection Amendment, which the General Assembly recently voted to place before voters on the 2012 primary ballot. Passage of the amendment to the state constitution would define marriage as the union between one man and one woman.

Fruitland appointments

The Board approved the following individuals to serve a 2012-2015 term on the Fruitland Baptist Bible Institute Board of Directors: George Cagle, layman, Mud Creek Baptist Church, Hendersonville; Marcus Redding, pastor, Hulls Grove Baptist Church, Vale; Ron Nichols, pastor, West Stanly Baptist Church, Albemarle.
10/7/2011 7:35:00 AM by Melissa Lilley, BSC Communications | with 0 comments

Conference defines biblical view of gender roles

October 7 2011 by Keith Collier, SWBTS Communications

FORT WORTH, Texas – Long before Betty Friedan’s 1963 book The Feminine Mystique called into question the value of motherhood and homemaking in the lives of women, a full-scale assault on the nature of gender definitions and roles was launched in a garden. The assailant: sin.

Southwestern Seminary’s Conference on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood aimed to cut through chauvinist and feminist rhetoric and examine the biblical definitions and distinctions of gender roles, Sept. 13. The conference, co-sponsored with the Council for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (CBMW), featured prominent Southern Baptists who addressed hotly-debated topics surrounding men’s headship in the home, women’s roles at home and in church, homosexuality, and ministry to men and women in the church.

Jason Duesing, vice president for strategic initiatives at Southwestern, began the conference with an examination of the state of the gender debate within the Southern Baptist Convention. Starting with Addie Davis’ ordination in 1964, the first of its kind in a Southern Baptist church, Duesing traced mounting egalitarian and evangelical feminist pushes as well as efforts to recover and defend biblical manhood and womanhood in the denomination over the past half-century.

“Are Southern Baptists ancient Neanderthals chasing a mythical Bigfoot?” Duesing asked. “After surveying the past and present of the debate over the complementary differences between the roles of men and women, a fair-minded person should agree that the only thing modern-day Southern Baptists have been chasing is a living and active Bible.”

SWBTS Photo/Ben Peacock

Russell Moore, dean of theology at Southern Seminary, preaches in chapel Sept. 13 at Southwestern Seminary on the gospel implications on gender. Moore was on campus as part of Southwestern’s Conference on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood.

Thomas White, vice president for student services and communications at Southwestern, examined the biblical foundations for gender roles based on the first three chapters of Genesis. Both Jesus and Paul reference the created order when making statements on marriage and gender roles.

“I contend that if we lose the battle over the gender debate,” White said, “we lose the proper interpretation of God’s Word, we lose inerrancy, we lose the authority of the Bible itself, and that is detrimental to the gospel.”

Recognizing that those claiming inerrancy of the Bible have landed on both sides of the argument, White outlined how the first two chapters of Genesis demonstrate the created order of ontological equality between men and women as well as distinctive gender roles, including male headship. The Fall, White said, distorted gender roles, and mankind has fought against these created roles ever since.

Russell Moore, dean of theology at Southern Seminary, preached a chapel message as part of the conference on the gospel implications of gender. Using Eph. 5:15-33, Moore asserted that God designed manhood and womanhood as a picture of Christ and the Church. Thus, men should lead and love their wives sacrificially, following the pattern set by Christ. Likewise, wives should humbly yield themselves to their husband’s headship, as the Church does Christ.

Accordingly, Moore said, the divorce culture in the church is a “blasphemy against the gospel.” Moore challenged weak-kneed husbands to fulfill their God-given leadership role in the family.

“Husbands, if your wives are refusing to follow after your leadership, it is probably because your wife has seen and observed in your life a kind of leadership that is either absent or self-focused, and what she is saying to you is ‘I don’t know where you are taking us. I don’t know if I can trust you at all.’”

“For some of you in this room, in your rebellion, in your self-serving, in your addiction to pornography, you are showing her that she has no reason to trust your leadership because you cannot even exercise headship over your own appetites much less the family that God has given to you through the gospel of Jesus Christ.”

The afternoon conference sessions addressed issues related to homosexuality, biblical womanhood, men’s ministry and the future of the gender debate.

Evan Lenow, assistant professor of ethics at Southwestern, spoke on the challenges of homosexuality for gender roles. Lenow said definitions of homosexuality range from sexual orientation to sexual behavior. He contended that both reject the biblical position of God’s ordained gender roles.

Lenow said homosexuality attempts to dissolve gender distinctions and treats male and female as synonymous, thus rejecting the complementary natures of sex, gender, marriage, and the Christ/Church relationship.

A panel of women from various walks of life—including Dorothy Patterson, wife of Southwestern president Paige Patterson and professor of theology in women’s studies; Terri Stovall, dean of women’s programs at Southwestern; Candi Finch, a doctoral student at Southwestern; and Karen Yarnell, wife of Southwestern professor Malcolm Yarnell. The four offered perspectives on topics related to the roles of wife and mother in the home, ministry to women in the church, biblically permissible roles of women in the church, etc. “In college, I would have considered myself a very committed evangelical feminist,” Finch said. “I got to seminary, and I was opening God’s Word and saying, ‘What is God’s plan for womanhood?’ I had to change when faced with the truth of God’s Word. It was not the position I wanted to hold, but it’s God’s plan for us.”

Randy Stinson, president of CBMW and dean of the School of Church Ministries at Southern Seminary, spoke on how to minister effectively to men within the church. Reading from 1 Peter 3:7, Stinson said many men in the church could be frustrated with their lives because they are under the discipline of God for not living in an understanding way and showing honor to their wives.

Stinson also lamented that many churches have patterned men’s ministry after successful women’s ministry methods. Recognizing the differences between the ways men and women develop relationships, Stinson said, “Men’s relationships are forged, not forced.”

“It’s a collision, and there are sparks, and you have to give men a chance to collide. The way they collide is by doing something together, and they’re forged together by sacrificing and completing a task and developing a solution.”

In the final session, Southwestern president Paige Patterson spoke on the future of the gender debate.

“The family is now under attack worldwide,” Patterson said.

Yet, Patterson said, “The family remains both the first and the most important social unit created by an all-wise, omniscient God.” He asserted that the family unit is a powerful platform for transforming society and that we must hold strong to the biblical paradigm.

That evening, students gathered in the student center for a Q-and-A panel regarding biblical manhood and womanhood. Students asked questions to Moore, Duesing, Stinson and Lenow on topics such as women teaching in the church, mothers in the workplace, Christian romance novels, gender-neutral Bible translation and the future of the debate in the SBC.

To listen to audio from the CBMW conference, visit swbts.edu/CBMWaudio.

(EDITOR’S NOTE – Keith Collier is director of news and information for Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas.)
10/7/2011 7:18:00 AM by Keith Collier, SWBTS Communications | with 0 comments

18 Hispanic council members named

October 7 2011 by Baptist Press

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Members of a Hispanic Advisory Council have been named to work in conjunction with the Southern Baptist Convention’s (SBC) Executive Committee (EC), North American Mission Board and other SBC entities toward “more fully integrating Hispanic Baptist churches into the total fabric of Southern Baptist life and ministry.”

The 18-member advisory council will be co-chaired by Daniel Sanchez and Bob Sena.

Sanchez is professor of missions at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, where he also is associate dean of the Roy Fish School of Evangelism and Missions and director of the Scarborough Institute of Church Growth.

Sena is a Hispanic evangelist and conference leader and a retired church planting consultant with the North American Mission Board.

The three-year Hispanic ministry initiative is being launched by EC President Frank Page and North American Mission Board President Kevin Ezell in response to a request from the Hispanic Consortium, an annual gathering of Hispanic leaders serving on SBC entity staffs.

The Hispanic Advisory Council’s creation could be followed by additional ethnically oriented advisory groups, Page said.

Other members of the Hispanic Advisory Council are:
  • Francisco Aular, associate pastor of Emmanuel Baptist Church in Etobicoke, Ontario, Canada.
  • Pedro Avilés, director of evangelism for the Puerto Rico Baptist Convention.
  • Elias Bracamonte, pastor of Iglesia Bautista Nueva Vida in Topeka, Kan., and president of the National Hispanic Baptist Fellowship.
  • Jason Carlisle, director of Hispanic mobilization for the International Mission Board.
  • Yolanda Calderon, writer and conference speaker; California director of ConPaz, a ministry of restoration for women; and former recording secretary with national WMU.
  • Joshua Del Risco, national coordinator for church mobilization with the North American Mission Board.
  • Mike Gonzales, director of multi-ethnic ministries for the Southern Baptist of Texas Convention.
  • Luis Lopez, director of Lifeway International & Español for LifeWay Christian Resources.
  • Jorge Melendez, Hispanic church planting strategist for the Illinois Baptist State Association.
  • Frank Moreno, director of the Florida Baptist Convention’s language division.
  • Salomón Orellana, pastor of Iglesia Bautista El Buen Pastor and Iglesia Bautista Luz De Las Nacion, both in Hempstead, N.Y., and president of the New York/New Jersey Hispanic Baptist Association.
  • Jesse Rincones, pastor of Alliance Baptist Church and an attorney in Lubbock, Texas, and president of the Hispanic Baptist Convention of Texas.
  • Daisy J. Rios, an elementary school teacher and pastor’s wife in Bergenfield, N.J.
  • Jonathan Santiago, associate director of student evangelism with the Baptist Convention of New York.
  • Gus Suarez, professor of church planting at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, Mo., where he also is director of the Center for North American Missions and Church Planting and the Hispanic doctor of ministry program.
  • Fermin A. Whittaker, executive director of the California Southern Baptist Convention.
In a statement to Baptist Press released during the Executive Committee’s Sept. 19-20 meeting in Nashville, Tenn., Page said the council will assist the Executive Committee, NAMB and other SBC entity leaders in understanding the perspectives Hispanic churches and church leaders bring to the common task of reaching the nation and the world with the gospel.

“The council is representative of the regions of the country and reflects the cultural diversity of the Hispanic population,” Page said. “Its purpose is that of consultation, communication and cooperation. It will neither launch nor execute ministries. Its role is to provide information, insight and counsel to NAMB and EC staff relative to the special needs and concerns of Hispanic churches and church leaders in the Southern Baptist family of churches.”

The Hispanic Advisory Council will use surveys, phone conferences, online communication and personal meetings to gather and communicate information from Hispanic groups such as the presidents of state Hispanic fellowships, the National Hispanic Fellowship of Southern Baptist Churches, Hispanic leaders on state convention staffs, Hispanic pastors and laymen as well as the Hispanic Consortium, which is an annual gathering of Hispanic leaders serving on SBC entity staffs.

(EDITOR’S NOTE – Compiled by Baptist Press editor Art Toalston.)
10/7/2011 7:14:00 AM by Baptist Press | with 0 comments

Displaying results 51-60 (of 77)
 |<  <  1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7 - 8  >  >|