October 2019

Carolina Women challenged to make God’s Word a priority

October 15 2019 by Dianna L. Cagle, BR Assistant Editor

Nearly 300 women gathered at North Carolina’s Baptist Assembly at Fort Caswell on Oak Island Oct. 4-5.

BR photo by Dianna L. Cagle
Phyllis Elvington models reading a hymn to offer praise to God.

They collected $4,045.50 as an offering to Woman’s Missionary Union of North Carolina (WMU-NC) for hosting Carolina Women, a two-day event with the theme “Celebrate Missions.”
“Sleep is essential for you to do your best,” said Phyllis Elvington, the speaker for all three main sessions.
Elvington focused on asking the women to evaluate how they were doing mentally, physically, spiritually and missionally.
She asked the women of the five things – exercise, meals, beverages, sleep, checkups – which one was the most needed area of work.
“We have to do our part,” she stressed. “God’s going to do His part.”
She asked if their priorities are in the right order and how much stress they are under. She encouraged them to drink more water and less sweet tea and diet sodas and asked them to consider exercising more.
Elvington jokingly told the ladies that she would rather wear out than rust out, but she paired it with Paul, who was set apart and different, and Isaiah, who she said she tries to imitate by offering herself: “Here am I.”
She also challenged the women to spend five minutes praising God each day by reading a song and praying to/praising God.

BR photo by Dianna L. Cagle
Women cut T-shirts into strips to form jump rope during a Carolina Women breakout session Oct. 5.

She laid out three Bible reading plans through the end of the year for the women to choose: Paul’s epistles (Romans to Philemon); the four Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) and Psalm 63-150.
“If you’re not in love with Jesus, if you’re not abiding in the vine, you’re not going to be on mission for Jesus,” Elvington said. “We want to be on mission for Christ, but we have to be in a place where Jesus is our top priority in order to do that.”
She modeled two five-minute prayers for the women. The first was based on the prayer of Jabez (1 Chronicles 4:9-10), and the second on Solomon’s prayer in 1 Kings 8.
In her breakout session, Elvington taught women to “Celebrate the Word.”
She inquired about their Bible knowledge by asking them to list the 10 commandments, then added the order of the commandments to the exercise.
“We’ve got to love the Word,” she said. “James says to be doers of the word and not hearers only. We do not obey what we do not know.”
She went over several key scripture passages: love chapter, 1 Corinthians 13; shepherd’s psalm, Psalm 23; Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 5-7; resurrection chapter, 1 Corinthians 15; faith chapter, Hebrews 11; suffering servant, Isaiah 53; birth of Jesus, Luke 2; and the comfort chapter, John 14.
She asked the women to familiarize themselves with these special chapters to share with others, as well as the simplified Romans road verses: 3:23; 6:23; 5:8; 10:9-10; and 10:13.
“We have got to teach children the word of God. It will never leave them,” she said. “The reward for obedience is more work to do for the King.”
Music was provided by Cindy and Steve Johnson. Cindy serves Old Town Baptist Church in Winston-Salem as contemporary worship leader and women’s ministries director.
CrossWalk, a two-woman drama team, offered selections to challenge the women as well as make them laugh. Renee Henderson as Bertie the Bag Lady performed during a Friday evening after hours session.
Three missionaries shared throughout the three main sessions: Bert Yates, Phyllis Foy and Deen Sweatman.
The Carolina Women were offered 16 different breakout sessions across three time periods. Carolina Women is offered every other year through WMU-NC. Carolina Girls is offered on the alternating year.

10/15/2019 12:31:41 PM by Dianna L. Cagle, BR Assistant Editor | with 0 comments

O’Rourke’s tax-exempt opposition draws response

October 15 2019 by Tom Strode, Baptist Press

Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke’s declaration churches should lose their tax-exempt status if they do not agree with same-sex marriage drew quick rebuttals from Southern Baptist leaders and others.

Screen capture from CNN
Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke’s declaration churches should lose their tax-exempt status if they do not agree with same-sex marriage drew quick rebuttals from Southern Baptist leaders and others.

If elected president, the former congressman from Texas said he would make such a policy a priority in response to a question during the Power of Our Pride Presidential Town Hall Oct. 10 in Los Angeles. The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation sponsored the town hall, and CNN conducted and telecast the event. HRC is the world’s largest civil rights organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.
CNN host Don Lemon asked O’Rourke during the town hall, “Do you think religious institutions – like colleges, churches, charities – should they lose their tax-exempt status if they oppose same-sex marriage?”
“Yes,” O’Rourke replied to a cheering audience. “There can be no reward, no benefit, no tax break for anyone, or any institution, any organization in America that denies the full human rights and the full civil rights of every single one of us.
“And so as president, we are going to make that a priority, and we are going to stop those who are infringing upon the human rights of our fellow Americans.”
Southern Baptist ethicist Russell Moore called O’Rourke’s comments “alarming because they represent precisely what those on his side of these issues have said for years that they are not seeking to do.”
“Tax exemption for churches is not a ‘reward,’ but a recognition that the power to tax is the power to destroy,” said Moore, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, in written comments for Baptist Press. “And, indeed, with these comments Congressman O’Rourke threatens to destroy every church, synagogue or other religious institution that does not adopt his viewpoint on sexual ethics over and against their own traditions and authoritative texts. That is not the American way.”
Daniel Akin, president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, tweeted, “I believe this is where the entire left is headed. I have been saying for years this will someday happen. Will it be sooner than later?!”
In a written statement, Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., described O’Rourke’s plan as “extreme intolerance” that is “un-American.”
“The whole point of the First Amendment is that, no matter who you love and where you worship, everyone is created with dignity and we don’t use government power to decide which religious beliefs are legitimate and which aren’t,” Sasse said. “This bigoted nonsense would target a lot of sincere Christians, Jews, and Muslims. Leaders from both political parties have a duty to flatly condemn this attack on very basic American freedoms.”
The AND Campaign – which promotes “redemptive justice [and] values-based policy” – tweeted, “This would devastate churches, mosques & temples that house immigrants, feed the poor, educate children, visit the sick (&) love LGBTQ people even when they disagree with them.”
O’Rourke’s comments and the responses reflect the ongoing battle between religious liberty and sexual liberty being waged in the United States on several fronts.
Nine Democrats appeared at the town hall, but Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey was the only other candidate to be asked about tax exemptions for institutions that disagree with gay marriage, according to news reports. He did not provide a direct answer, CNN reported.
According to CNN, Booker said he believes “fundamentally that discrimination is discrimination. And if you are using your position to try to discriminate [against] others, there must be consequences to that. And I will make sure to hold them accountable, using” the Department of Justice or another investigatory body.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Tom Strode is Washington bureau chief for Baptist Press.)

10/15/2019 12:27:45 PM by Tom Strode, Baptist Press | with 0 comments

SEBTS dedicates George Braswell Library

October 15 2019 by Lauren Pratt, SEBTS

On Sept. 12, 2019, the George Braswell Missions and World Religions Library was dedicated in honor of the George Braswell, Emeritus Professor of Missions and World Religion at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary (SEBTS).


Screen capture from The Missionary Legacy - An Interview with Dr. George Braswell

Braswell and his wife, Joan, served as the first Southern Baptist missionaries to Iran from 1968-1974.   
“We are so thankful that in God’s kindness, he brought you to Southeastern Seminary and you are a part of this family,” said [Danny] Akin.
At a reception following chapel, Braswell cut the ceremonial ribbon to the newly dedicated library, where guests could view his collection of books and Iranian memorabilia. During the reception, Akin noted how Braswell played a significant role in establishing the Great Commission fabric of Southeastern Seminary over the years. 
The library, which is located in the Sam James Conference Room in the Lewis A. Drummond Center for Great Commission Studies, displays books and memorabilia highlighting Braswell’s service in Iran and deep study of Muslim peoples. The library is open to all students and is an extension of the main library, where students can check out books from the Sam James Conference Room.
Thursday’s chapel service featured a video with Braswell about his call to the mission field and lessons he learned while on the field. Braswell, who began his first pastorate in 1962 at Cullowhee Baptist Church in Cullowhee, North Carolina, had a passion to see the 25 younger congregants in his church go to the nations. He didn’t realize, however, that the Lord would end up calling him and his wife overseas.
“I thought, ‘I’m going to get one of them to be a foreign missionary,’” said Braswell during the interview. “I preached more foreign missions sermons from the pulpit…Lo and behold, the Braswells were called to missions.”
Over the years, Braswell and his wife, Joan, have worked faithfully to reach the lost, and have trained others to do the same, serving and teaching throughout North Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia. Braswell has committed much of his life to researching the Muslim context, writing both his masters and doctoral theses on the subject. He has published 13 books and numerous articles on outreach to Muslims, including What You Need to Know About Islam and Muslims, From Iran to America: Encounters with Many Faiths, and Understanding World Religions (published in English and Korean).

Braswell has won numerous awards from Southeastern, including the Faculty Excellence in Teaching Award in 1987 and a Distinguished Professorship by the Board of Trustees in 1998. Along with more than three decades of teaching at Southeastern, Dr. Braswell has served as senior professor of world religions at Campbell Divinity School in North Carolina since 2005. He also formerly served as an associate director at the Armaghan Institute in Iran, professor of history at Damavand College in Iran and professor of English and comparative religions at the University of Tehran. He has held positions as president of the Beckett Center for Christian Understanding of Islam in Virginia and was also the founding director of the World Religions and Global Cultures Center at Campbell Divinity School.
Braswell has attained five degrees: a bachelor of arts from Wake Forest University, a master of divinity from Yale University Divinity School, a master of arts and a Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina and a doctor of ministry from SEBTS.
The full video interview with Braswell can be viewed below.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Lauren Pratt is the news and information specialist for the office of marketing and communications at SEBTS.)

10/15/2019 12:17:14 PM by Lauren Pratt, SEBTS | with 0 comments

Floyd calls Baptists to culture of love

October 15 2019 by Adam Covington and Julie Owens, SWBTS

Christ’s message of love, conveyed in scripture, should guide our churches, our convention, and our daily walk as Christians, said Ronnie Floyd in an Oct. 11 chapel sermon at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (SWBTS).

SWBTS photo
“You want to change everything in the world?” Ronnie Floyd asked during an Oct. 11 chapel sermon at SWBTS in Fort Worth, Texas. “Love one another. It is love that transforms the culture around us.”

Floyd, president and CEO of the Southern Baptist Convention’s (SBC) Executive Committee, preached from John 13:34-35: “I give you a new command: Love one another. Just as I have loved you, you are also to love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
Floyd asked, “You want to change everything in the world?”
“Love one another,” he added. “It is love that transforms the culture around us.
“The culture of love needs to permeate the culture of your church, pastor and future pastor, and the culture of love needs to permeate the culture of the Southern Baptist Convention.”
Floyd, a two-time graduate of Southwestern Seminary, 2004 distinguished alumnus, and former president of the SBC, noted that Southern Baptists have had a history of championing the sanctity of human life, but are also called to champion “the dignity of human life,” and to “respect one another.”
“I’m deeply convicted that we need a new generation of Baptists that understand the power of respecting each other, believing the best about one another, rather than the worst,” he said.
Respect for one another, Floyd said, is evident when Christian leaders live for Jesus, love each other, and promote Christian unity.
“Christian leadership is not creating suspicion about someone else,” he said. “Christian leadership is not striving to put others down.
“Christian leadership is not throwing other people under the bus, and Christian leadership is not promoting division and strife among brothers and sisters of Christ,” he said.
“Christian leadership does not target drive-by accusations via social media. That’s not what Christian leaders do. Christian leaders – they live for Jesus. Christian leaders love other people and Christian leaders forward and promote Christian unity.”
To combat the toxic culture of divisiveness and anger that infects our country and our churches, Floyd said we must build a Southern Baptist Convention that has the kind of “culture that is compatible with the strategy in the heart of Jesus in Acts 1:8 and Matthew 28:19-20.
“Let’s stop walking on our own message and stamping out our own strategy,” Floyd noted. “Let’s do our best to be a part of a generation of Baptists that will recapture what it means to love and will recapture what it means to walk in unity together.”
Unity is the heart of Christianity and the prayer of Christ for the church, Floyd said. Suspicion, gossip, lies and division are “what need to be denounced, not Christian unity.”
When Christian love steers and directs our culture, it will transform families, it will transform marriages, and it will “change a dead church and move it to live. We need a baptism of love!”
“Jesus did not say that you would be known by your scholarship, and he did not say that you will be set apart by your degrees,” said Floyd, noting the application to those gathered in the chapel service. “He did not say you would be set apart by your theology or your intellect or your dress or your music, but Jesus said the world’s going to know who you are by one thing alone: love one another.”
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Adam Covington is director of communications at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. With reporting from Julie Owens is a writer for SWBTS.)

10/15/2019 12:14:13 PM by Adam Covington and Julie Owens, SWBTS | with 0 comments

ERLC republishes Henry book on democracy

October 15 2019 by Tom Strode, Baptist Press

A small volume written by the late evangelical Christian theologian Carl F.H. Henry in his latter years has gained new life because of the efforts of a Southern Baptist entity.

Photo submitted

The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) has republished Henry’s 1996 book –Has Democracy Had Its Day? – under its Leland House Press imprint. The same entity – then known as the Christian Life Commission (CLC) – originally published the book.
Henry, who died in 2003 at the age of 90, is regarded as one of the most significant evangelical theologians – if not the most significant – of the 20th Century. He is known for writing such books as The Uneasy Conscience of Modern Fundamentalism and his six-volume set God, Revelation, and Authority. He also served as Christianity Today’s first editor.
The ERLC republished Has Democracy Had Its Day? in conjunction with its latest Research Institute meeting Oct. 2-3. The institute’s fellows discussed the theme of Henry’s book under the meeting title: Has Democracy Had Its Day? Evangelicals, Liberal Democracy, and a Culture in Crisis.
In Has Democracy Had Its Day?, Henry questions whether a “democratically chosen and constitutionally limited government” disconnected from ultimate truth revealed in the Bible can remain viable. He asserts evangelicals’ duty is to display “again the truths and ethical absolutes of revealed religion – not least of all that Jesus Christ is ‘the truth’ – and define the public behavior this implies for a secular culture that has reached a moral dead end, and to do so compatibly with democratic principles.”
In a new afterword, ERLC President Russell Moore says the book remains “relevant in its warning.”
More than two decades ago, Henry “saw through something on the horizon,” Moore writes. “He foresaw a kind of political idolatry that would define the boundaries even of religious communities according to shifting demands of power loyalties rather than by theological and experiential truths.”
“[M]uch of what Dr. Henry saw has come to pass,” he writes. This includes a “hyper-secularizing impulse” that demands “a majoritarian view of religious freedom,” a deep lack of moral consensus and different expressions of “anti-democratic forces” on both the left and right, he says.
“The confusions inherent in the evangelical models of [cultural] engagement that Henry mentions are even more pronounced now, resulting in massive fissures between the generations,” Moore writes.
In a new introduction, Andrew Walker, the ERLC’s director of research and senior fellow in Christian ethics, says of the book, “Henry offered no Pollyannaish gloss on what he saw coming, which is a Western civilization severed from the transcendental foundation that give it its initial legitimacy. Were he alive today, I’d have to believe that Henry would not only affirm what’s written here but sound an even louder alarm.”
Henry’s “words and legacy may need more attention and more retrieval right now than at any prior time,” Walker writes.
The late theologian “had a crystal ball in effect,” Walker told Baptist Press.
Henry’s book is an expansion of a lecture he delivered in 1995 at the Acton Institute in Grand Rapids, Mich. In the original introduction, then CLC President Richard Land said Henry contacted him to see if the entity would be interested in publishing his book. Land described it as “one of the most important things ever written by Dr. Henry.”
The book is available for purchase on Amazon at https://amzn.to/2M2tmwO.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Tom Strode is Washington bureau chief for Baptist Press.)

10/15/2019 12:10:35 PM by Tom Strode, Baptist Press | with 0 comments

Brunson reaped spiritual ‘hunger’ in Turkish prison

October 14 2019 by Diana Chandler, Baptist Press

Two years in filthy Turkish prisons reaped for pastor Andrew Brunson a spiritual “hunger, desperation and running after God” that he hasn’t felt since his release.

Two years in filthy Turkish prisons reaped for pastor Andrew Brunson, left, a spiritual “hunger, desperation and running after God” that he hasn’t felt since his release a year ago. “I actually miss that from prison,” he told Baptist Press. His wife Norine endured the ordeal by standing on promises God had given the couple through years of spiritual service.

“I find that I don’t miss prison; I wouldn’t want to go back,” Brunson told Baptist Press (BP) Oct. 8, after nearly a year of freedom. “But the conditions there drove me to seek God with such desperation, and now that I’m out, and I don’t have those things driving me, then there’s a lessening, a slackening of that hunger and desperation and running after God, and I actually miss that from prison.
“I prayed a lot more because of that desperation, and I ended up structuring my day around prayer.”
Brunson was arrested in October 2016, solely because of his faith and American nationality, the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention concluded nearly two months after his Oct. 11, 2018, release, he said.
“The conditions of my imprisonment – the fear and the isolation and the anxiety – they realty tested me,” Brunson told BP, “but what they also did is they tested me to seek God as never before. I was just running after Him with desperation, because it was a matter of spiritual survival for me.”
Brunson and his wife Norine had been arrested under false pretenses that they were being deported to the U.S., but their anticipated departure turned into a prison sentence for him on false charges including espionage and undermining the constitutional order of the state.
Norine was released, but Brunson’s ordeal intensified with 50 days of solitary confinement.
“When they want to break people, they isolate them and they deprive them of sleep. Isolation and sleep deprivation are very potent weapons,” Brunson told BP. “My body deprived me of sleep because I was so stressed out that the adrenalin and cortisol were just rampaging through my body all the time and I couldn’t sleep, so I was exhausted and isolated, and just going crazy.
“And what saved me in those 50 days of solitary confinement was structuring my day around prayer.”
Brunson used a prayer and scripture booklet guards mistakenly allowed him to keep, Prayers to Strengthen the Inner Man by Mike Bickel.
“Those were like gold to me, those Bible verses, because I didn’t have a Bible with me,” Brunson told BP. “I would just memorize those and repeat them and pray those Bible verses and then pray the prayers ... and structure my whole day around them.”
The sought-after Presbyterian pastor had just finished an interview with Voice of the Martyrs in Bartlesville, Okla., when he spoke with BP. A North Carolina native, he and Norine are currently staying in Kansas City, Mo., while transitioning to a new home.
Set for an Oct. 15 release is Brunson’s book, God’s Hostage: A True Story of Persecution, Imprisonment, and Perseverance, chronicling his 735-day ordeal that began after 23 years of spreading the gospel in Turkey.
Brunson encourages pastors and other struggling Christians to hold on to their faith and their calling.
“No matter how restricted you are and how terrible the situation, you have a choice to make with your will, not your emotions,” he said. “But with your will, you make a decision to turn your face toward God and not away from Him.”
It was a battle for Brunson that began anew each day, he told BP, each evening’s hard-fought victory slipping away the next dawn.
“This became my daily battle” to accept God’s purpose, Brunson said. “I’d wake up in the morning with fear and grief and anxiety, and I would begin to focus in, fighting through hours and hours.
“I want to serve Your purpose and not mine,” he’d tell God. “If Your purpose is for me to be in prison for whatever reason, then I want to submit to Your purpose and embrace You, even in the midst of the difficult,” Brunson recounted his daily battles. “And by the end of the day I usually had reached the point of submission and that would bring me the greatest sense of peace that I had in prison.
“Then the next morning I would wake up with the same fear and anxiety and grief,” he said. “The previous day’s victory did not carry over to the next day, and then I’d begin that fight again, until the end of the day when I’d reached that point of submission, day after day after day.”
Norine endured the ordeal by standing on promises God had given the couple through years of spiritual service.
“I realized that this was a situation that was beyond me and I really needed to be pressing into the Lord,” she told BP. “There are promises in the Word, and then sometimes God would highlight some of those for us specifically. I tried ... to claim them, to proclaim them, to keep speaking them out. That’s one of the ways to pray.”
On the very week of their arrest, the couple sensed God telling them it was time to come home.
“We didn’t know what it would look like. We didn’t know how, when. But I took that and I kept saying, ‘Lord, You said it’s time to come home, so take us home,’” Norine told BP. “Because as Andrew says, when it comes to persecution, there are no guarantees.”
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Diana Chandler is Baptist Press’ general assignment writer/editor.)

10/14/2019 11:42:32 AM by Diana Chandler, Baptist Press | with 0 comments

IMB, Billy Graham Center focus on rural churches stateside and abroad

October 14 2019 by Julie McGowan, IMB

The International Mission Board (IMB) and the Billy Graham Center at Wheaton College’s Rural Matters Institute (RMI) have launched a five-year research project that aims to arm the rural church with resources needed to advance the gospel within and beyond the United States.

IMB Photo
A farmer in Moldova pauses in his work. A new research project between the International Mission Board and the Billy Graham Center at Wheaton College’s Rural Matters Institute will help rural church leaders around the globe reach locals with the gospel.

“The idea is to provide information that will benefit rural practitioners in the United States and around the world,” said Dr. Jeffrey Clark, director of rural missiology and research for the IMB.
“This will involve research, writing, and training for rural practitioners. The goal is to provide information that will help rural practitioners be more effective in reaching their field for Christ.”
John Brady, IMB’s vice president of global engagement, signed the five-year memorandum of understanding with Dr. Ed Stetzer, executive director of the Billy Graham Center, and Dr. Josh Laxton, director of the Rural Matters Institute. RMI is an Institute of the Billy Graham Center that serves as a hub to bring together rural leaders, ministries, denominations, organizations, and advocates to resource and inspire those serving or praying about serving in rural ministry.
“Rural peoples are vital to the 21st century,” Brady said. “They will continue to be producers of the food and other products that sustain life. Their spiritual health matters. We must seek effective avenues to reach rural peoples with the gospel and help them form healthy churches. This will change the spiritual health not only of our rural areas, but our cities as well.”
Laxton said he couldn’t be more excited about the partnership.

IMB Photo
A man pedals a bicycle down a dusty road in a village in Chad. Whether in North America or Africa, rural church planters face unique challenges. A new partnership between IMB and the Billy Graham Center at Wheaton College’s Rural Matters Institute aims to provide resources for rural churches.

“Rural Matters Institute will partner and work with Jeff and the IMB on research that we believe will benefit and bless the pastor and church leader across the globe for greater gospel impact in rurality,” he said.
“This joint work will benefit Southern Baptists as leading out in high-level, high-impact missiological, theological, and practical research to help craft the mission and vision for rural ministry in this generation and the next,” he said.  

‘New Samaria’

“We often fail to realize that just because the percentage of urban dwellers is increasing, the overall rural population (at least outside of the U.S.) also continues to rise, as the global population exponentially rises,” said Wilson Geisler, IMB’s director of Global Research.
“I am also convinced that we should not overemphasize the urban at the expense of the rural. Both are extremely important for the spread of the gospel, as there will always be necessary and mutually beneficial connections between them,” he said. “While there are often familial connections, there will always be transactional connections, as urban populations depend almost exclusively on rural products (produce, meat, etc.) for survival.”
Laxton said that in recent months, he has been told that rural ministry is the “new Samaria,” referencing Acts 1:8.
“It seems that no one wants to go and make such an area their home and, more importantly, their ministry,” he said. “And there is a great need to not only have leaders sent and plant their lives in forgotten places, but there is also great need to create a robust missiology for rurality. Therefore, our hope through this partnership is that God would use both the Billy Graham Center and the IMB to help spark and shape a flourishing future for rural ministry.”


IMB Photo
In a village located outside of Phnom Penh, Cambodia, many people survive on income from growing a vegetable similar to watercress. A new research project will help encourage church planters seeking to serve in hard-to-reach places both in the United States and abroad.

In a recent article, “Redeeming Rural,” published by Christianity Today, Laxton contended that when strategic leaders and church-planting initiatives focus their resources on cities, those efforts create a vacuum of leadership, resources and ministry-aid for rural areas.

“It’s important for the church to reverse engineer such a negative mindset towards rural areas,” he said in the article. “Rural places do not need to be seen as places of inopportunity, but prime locations for opportunities.”

Clark, who joins the project from IMB’s Global Research Department, will work part time for IMB and part time for the Billy Graham Center for the duration of the project. He brings experience from the international mission field, the Montana Southern Baptist Convention, and the West Virginia Convention of Southern Baptists, along with church planter experience in Tennessee, Florida and Michigan.
As the project progresses, the data for the United States will be published on the Rural Matters Institute website. The project coordinators will continue to evaluate the most strategic outlet for disseminating the data for the rest of the world.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Julie McGowan is associate vice president for communications and public relations for the International Mission Board. This article was originally published on imb.org. Reprinted with permission.)

10/14/2019 11:42:19 AM by Julie McGowan, IMB | with 0 comments

NOBTS approves new mission statement, faculty

October 14 2019 by Gary D. Myers, NOBTS

Trustees of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary (NOBTS) and Leavell College affirmed new president Jamie Dew's vision for the institution by approving a new mission statement during their fall meeting Oct. 9.

NOBTS photo
Members of the NOBTS and Leavell College board of trustees pray in the space that will house the new Leavell College offices. Renovations to the former location of the LifeWay campus store are well underway. NOBTS leaders expect the Leavell College offices to move to the renovated space in January 2020.

The newly approved mission statement reads, "New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and Leavell College prepare servants to walk with Christ, proclaim His truth, and fulfill His mission." The statement echoes the core themes of servanthood, gospel proclamation, spiritual fervor and mission involvement that Dew has been sharing with Southern Baptists since his election as the school's ninth president in June.
"We are excited about this mission statement because it gives us clarity about what we are trying to do," Dew said. "Around this statement we will teach classes, offer programs, raise money and initiate central tasks for the institution. We think it will shape who we are very deeply."
Dew said the goal was to create a mission statement which represented the ethos and DNA of NOBTS and Leavell College. While Dew wanted the statement to be clear, compelling and memorable, he was not looking for a slogan. The new mission statement will drive the programs, activities, initiatives and even the fundraising efforts of the school, Dew said.
Expounding on the statement, Dew said he and the cabinet selected each word and phrase carefully and intentionally. They chose "servants" rather than "students" and "fulfill His mission" to encompass those who will serve existing churches, plant new churches, and carry the gospel to the ends of the earth where churches do not yet exist, Dew said.
Trustees elected Larry Lyon as associate professor of ethics and affirmed the appointments of Lyon as vice president for enrollment and Pattie Shoener as vice president of business affairs.
Lyon, who earned a master of divinity degree and a doctor of philosophy degree at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary (SEBTS), comes to NOBTS with a decade of experience at SEBTS and the College at Southeastern. During his time at Southeastern, Lyon served as director of enrollment for seven years. During his tenure as the primary enrollment strategist at SEBTS, Lyon developed recruiting and enrollment strategies that led to increases in total enrollment and credit hours taken.
"Larry Lyon is a tremendous gift to this institution," Dew said. "As a faculty member, he will strengthen our ethics programs and will be a wonderful asset to our students. Larry's expertise in enrollment will be a great benefit to us."
Shoener, who has more than 20 years of experience working in the NOBTS business office, had served as interim vice president of business affairs since June 2018. Dew removed the interim label in August, citing Shoener's competency in the role during the interim, her extensive knowledge of the seminary's finances and financial systems, as well as her experience living and serving in New Orleans.
"Pattie Shoener is a wonderful leader who is deeply respected within the community and executes our strategy with great efficiency and strengthens the institution," Dew said.
During the meeting, trustee chairman Tony Lambert announced that he recently accepted a call to pastor First Baptist Church in Picayune, Miss. Due to his move from Colorado, where he pastored since 2013, to Mississippi, Lambert can no longer represent Colorado on the trustee board or serve as trustee chair. Lambert thanked the board for the opportunity to serve and expressed his excitement about Jamie Dew's vision for the school.
During a special election led by Lambert, the board elected Gary Shows, who currently serves as the interim executive pastor at Temple Baptist Church in Hattiesburg, Miss., as chairman.
Dew opened the first plenary session of the board meeting with a progress update on several of the major initiatives he launched after his election as president. The focus on Leavell College and enrollment continues to reap results, Dew said.
The renovation work in the new space for Leavell College is on schedule for a January 2020 opening, and new Leavell College branding and visual identity will be released later this month. Dew said the Leavell College leadership and dean of students office are working on new initiatives designed to enhance the on-campus experience and promote spiritual growth.
New enrollment initiatives, launched under the leadership of Lyon, are aimed at increasing both enrollment headcount and number of credit hours taken, Dew said. The initiatives are designed to help students complete their degrees in a timely manner.
In his efforts to build denominational relationships, Dew is meeting with local, state, and national SBC leaders, preaching in churches and at events across the nation, and meeting with NOBTS donors. Dew said he expects new partnerships and opportunities to develop in the near future.
"I am optimistic about where we are going and what we are doing," Dew said. "All this work is about leveraging this institution, getting it healthy and strong, so that together we can train up a generation of people that will go into the broken places in our city and around the world and minister in Christ's name."
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Gary D. Myers is director of communications for New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.)

10/14/2019 11:42:06 AM by Gary D. Myers, NOBTS | with 0 comments

Hurricane Michael: One year later, partnerships vital

October 14 2019 by Margaret Colson, Florida Baptist Convention

Joshua Fidler walked across a field that had been covered for almost ten months by massive debris – “a void that used to be our sanctuary” when he saw a page that had been ripped from a Bible in the cleanup following the fury of Hurricane Michael on Oct. 10, 2018.

Carlisle Baptist Church photo
Jacob Beaupre, minister of music at Carlisle Baptist Church in Panama City, surveys the church’s damage after Hurricane Michael tore through the Panhandle a year ago on Oct. 10, 2018. Through “Churches helping Churches,” sponsored by the Florida Baptist Convention, Chets Creek Church in Jacksonville partnered with the congregation to help it survive and rebuild.

The pastor of Carlisle Baptist Church in Panama City picked up the scrap of paper and began reading God’s words from Leviticus 26:12, “I will walk among you and be your God, and you shall be my people.”
In the midst of the storm’s rage one year ago and the heartbreaking yet hopeful recovery efforts in the aftermath, he knew those words to be true. With the generous partnership of other Florida Baptist churches, including Chets Creek Church in Jacksonville, Carlisle Baptist Church had a future.
The Category 5 hurricane had destroyed four of Carlisle Baptist’s five buildings, but it did not break the church’s spirit. “Sometimes in life the things that seem like the biggest losses are the biggest opportunities. Sometimes we have to go into seasons of destruction to usher in a new day,” the pastor said.
“Oct. 10th wasn’t the end of history for Carlisle Baptist Church; it was just the beginning of His story,” Fidler said.
In Northwest Coast Baptist Association (NWCBA), 37 of the 48 Southern Baptist churches were damaged or destroyed as Hurricane Michael lashed Florida’s Panhandle, said Troy Varnum, NWCBA director of missions. Because of the churches’ collective determination to persevere in spite of the sometimes overwhelming challenges, Varnum said, “It is fitting to borrow Thom Rainer’s ‘scrappy church’ title to describe our churches.”
Varnum described “enormous support financially and in manpower” from Florida Baptist churches throughout the state as well as “an initial multi-month presence through disaster relief.” Some churches have responded to the devastation by helping with specific projects while others have established ongoing relationships with churches in the hurricane’s destructive path, he said.

Churches Helping Churches

Through the convention’s Churches Helping Churches, Florida Baptist churches from across the state established long-term partnerships with churches in the hurricane-impacted areas of the Panhandle.
After the storm, 35 Florida Baptist churches were assigned by the state convention to walk in partnership with 33 of the storm damaged churches.
Some churches aided multiple hurricane-damaged churches. Chets Creek Church partnered with four churches – Carlisle Baptist, Springfield Baptist and Immanuel Baptist, all in Panama City and First Baptist in Mexico Beach – and also assisted NWCBA in planning its 2019 annual meeting.
“We are family, and no matter the size of your church we can all do something,” said Spike Hogan, Chets Creek pastor. “In helping others, it helps change the culture of your church when you challenge them to give.”
“The hand of God is seen in the relationships formed between churches across our state. When tragedy strikes, God’s church is there to stand together to restore and rebuild,” said Lewis Miller, Florida Baptists’ catalyst in the west region.

Enlarged ministries

One church grateful for the partnership of Florida Baptists is Long Avenue Baptist in Port St. Joe, which sustained storm surge damage in all four of its buildings. For the past year the Long Avenue congregation has been meeting in the facility of another church in the community as the tear-down and rebuild of its own facility has been ongoing.
“As it stands, we are a month or so away from moving back into our space,” said Eli Prine, senior pastor of Long Avenue.
The church might not be as far along in the recovery process without Florida Baptists’ partnership, Prine said. First Baptist Church of Orange Park was assigned as a primary partner with the Port St. Joe church.
“Be it through coordinated effort or churches simply being the hands and feet of Christ, Florida Baptists have had a huge impact on the recovery process,” Prine said.
“There were Florida Baptist churches here to partner with and help our church specifically within a week and a half of the storm hitting, bringing supplies, serving the community, and coming with work gloves in hand to begin the tear-down process so that we could begin putting things back together,” Prine said.
Florida Baptists’ response in the hurricane’s aftermath has not only helped churches recover physically, but also allowed churches to continue in ministry to community residents reeling from the storm’s assault.
“Because of Florida Baptists, we did not have to stop any ministries. In fact, we enlarged them,” said Steve Taylor, senior pastor of Emerald Coast Fellowship in Lynn Haven. The church was partnered with First Baptist Church in Avon Park to help with the recovery process.
Although the Emerald Coast church facility sustained extensive damage, the church kept a focus on the community. “I have never seen the spiritual ground so fertile,” said Taylor. Since the storm, 40 people have been baptized at the church, with many other individuals expressing new or renewed faith in Jesus.
“Once the privacy fences came down, so did many of the obstacles that stood in the way of neighbor loving on neighbor. The power of our churches was seen in their ‘scatteredness’” explained Varnum.
Even as Fidler gazes over the void where Carlisle Baptist Church’s sanctuary once stood, he is grateful. “The Lord is a good, good Father. He has taken care of us. We are praying the motion the hurricane set into motion never stops.”
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Margaret Colson is a writer for the Florida Baptist Convention.)

10/14/2019 11:41:54 AM by Margaret Colson, Florida Baptist Convention | with 0 comments

BSC annual meeting breakout sessions

October 14 2019 by BSC Communications

Those who attend Annual Meeting will have the opportunity to attend breakout sessions related to various areas of ministry. Sessions will take place on Mon., Nov. 11 and Tues., Nov. 12.

A Toddling College Ministry – Yana Conner, BSC senior consultant, collegiate partnerships
Tuesday, 11 a.m. to noon, Cedar C
Do you want to start a college ministry through your church but have no idea how or where to begin? Come and learn the basics of starting a college ministry that best fits your church. This session will provide the tools you need to mobilize your members to reach college students and help you identify resources you already have to meet the physical and spiritual needs of college students. Are you ready to take your first steps?

An Intentional Church Revitalization Process – Sandy Marks, BSC senior consultant, church health & revitalization
Paul Roberts, Rob Roberts, Lee Childs, Barry Lawrence and Jonathan Blaylock
Tuesday, 3:30-4:30 p.m., Colony A
We hear about church revitalization everywhere we turn. This session will equip you to begin the conversation about church revitalization. This process will focus on discovering whether your church is in a state of incline, recline or decline and what steps are most immediate for your congregation moving forward. Participants will also be introduced to a three-phase process utilized by the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina.

Baptists on Mission Opportunities – N.C. Baptists on Mission staff: Tom Beam, Mark Abernathy, Crystal Horton, Julie Dolinger, Larry Osborne, David Brown, Paul Langston, Jack Frazier, Bill Martin, Dollie Noa, Teresa Jones and Richard Brunson
Tuesday, 11 a.m. to noon, Oak A
Your church can be involved in missions locally, across our state and nation, and around the world. Personal involvement in missions changes the lives of your church members and the lives of the people you are serving. Come discover numerous state, national and international missions opportunities for your church. This session will be led by the Baptists on Mission staff.

Blessing Every Home in ‘God’s Great Work’ – Jeff Blackburn, senior pastor, Hyde Park Church, Lumberton, N.C.
Tuesday, 11 a.m. to noon and 3:30-4:30 p.m., Colony B
This session will provide a brief overview of the “Bless Every Home” tool, and how it is helping one church focus on the work of evangelism and discipleship in its community. Participants will learn how to get the tool and begin implementing it from a pastor’s perspective.

Caring For our Youngest Members: Preventing, Identifying and Responding to Sexual Assault – Nathan Blake, Clinical Resident, CareNet, Inc. and Alison Keene, LPCA, CareNet, Inc.
Monday, 3:30-4:30 p.m., Oak B
This session will center around a conversation about how church leaders can care for our youngest members by identifying, preventing and responding to sexual assault. The session will include tools and reflections that provide spiritual and emotional care to the most vulnerable.

Caring Well: The Abuse Crisis and the Caring Well Challenge – Dan Darling, VP of communications, ERLC, Nashville, Tenn., and Josh Wester, Director of Strategic Initiatives, ERLC, Nashville, Tenn.
Monday, 4:45-5:30 p.m., Auditorium IV
The American church is facing an abuse crisis. Is your church doing all it can to be safe for survivors and safe from abuse? The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) will host a panel discussing the Caring Well Challenge, a unified call to action for churches to confront the abuse crisis. A local N.C. pastor who is leading his church through the Caring Well Challenge will also be part of the discussion.

Could God Use You as a Missionary to Your Community? – Jason Ledford, lead pastor, Tapestry Church, Winston-Salem, N.C., and Joe Maye, pastor, Rise Church, Winston-Salem, N.C.
Tuesday, 3:30-4:30 p.m., Cedar C
What would our cities look like if we saw ourselves as the ones Jesus sent to seek and save the lost in our own communities? Using principles from Scripture and practical wisdom from the field, learn how to think and act like missionaries in your community. Develop a missional plan to actively care for, share the gospel with and make disciples of those who live around us.

Cultural Mastery: A Roadmap for Leaders in a Culturally Complex World – Ken Tan, BSC senior consultant, leadership development
Tuesday, 3:30-4:30 p.m., Cedar B
This training will equip ministry leaders to be more effective in connecting and collaborating with people of diverse cultures in their efforts to evangelize and make disciples who will multiply. When leaders become true cultural masters, they exponentially increase their influence and Christian witness.

Equipping Your Church for ‘God’s Great Work’ Through the Church Renewal Journey – Bob & Phyllis Foy, missionaries, Church Renewal Journey, Mission Service Corps
Tuesday, 3:30-4:30 p.m., Bear Creek
The Awakening Renewal Weekend is designed to awaken church laity to understand that God wants to use each of His children in His great kingdom work. The Equipping Renewal Weekend helps laity discover how the Holy Spirit has equipped and empowered each believer with a supernatural spiritual gift for serving in His kingdom work. During the Commissioning Renewal Weekend, those who have agreed to God’s calling are commissioned as missionaries from their home church back into their marketplace to be involved in the joy of serving in “God’s Great Work.”

Family Crisis, Sexual Abuse & Trauma – Regina Keener, director, Mills Home (Thomasville, N.C.) and Care House (Lenoir, N.C.); Guatemalan Ministry consultation team member
Sandy Perry, Statewide Director of Family Interventions and Training, BCH
Monday, 3:30-4:30 p.m., Oak C
This training will provide evidence-based information on how to work with youth who have experienced family crisis, sexual abuse and trauma. Representatives from the Baptist Children’s Homes of North Carolina will share tips on how the public can be more aware and responsive to the needs of children, and how our youth can be taught to avoid abusive relationships.

Girl, Go Obey: Abide in Me, not Abide in me – Missie Branch, associate dean of students to women, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, Wake Forest, N.C.
Tuesday, 11 a.m. to noon, Pinehurst
Many books, Instagrammers and social media sensations spread the word, “Set your goals,” “You do you,” and “If you want it, go for it.” However, this message focuses on the individual making it happen instead of what Jesus says – abide in Him and die to self. This session will help attendees understand how to seek the will of the Lord, why obedience is important, how to obey the Lord and why this provides greater satisfaction than doing our own thing.

‘God’s Great Work’ Among Military & Veterans – Thomas Watson, BSC contract consultant, military and chaplaincy ministry
Tuesday, 11 a.m. to noon, Olympia
This session will allow time to brainstorm military ministry in your church community. Who will take the gospel to our leaders on the frontlines? It takes a man or woman of courage to step into the mindset of America’s fighting forces to urge them to seek inner peace through Christ.

‘God’s Great Work’ in Homes and Neighborhoods – Mark Smith, BSC senior consultant, family evangelism & discipleship, Jamie Burkett, Stephanie Jackson and Eric Simmons
Tuesday, 11 a.m. to noon, Auditorium I
Do families in your congregation see their homes or neighborhoods as a mission field? While communities are growing around our churches, attendance on Sunday mornings is suffering. Why is this happening? Could it be that parents are not equipped to engage their homes and communities with the gospel? The N.C. Baptist Faith at Home Ministry has developed a new resource called “Acts 2:39 Missional Families,” a seven-week small group study written intentionally for parents. Join us to learn more on how equipping your parents can lead to revitalization in your church.

‘God’s Great Work’ in NC’s Pockets of Lostness – Cris Alley, BSC team leader, strategic focus team
Tuesday, 11 a.m. to noon, Heritage B
Come hear a report on what God is doing through N.C. Baptist churches that are impacting lostness and how your church can do the same.

‘God’s Great Work’ in Reaching Singles – Kris Swiatocho, director, The Singles Network Ministries, Hendersonville, N.C.
Tuesday, 3:30-4:30 p.m., Auditorium I
More than half of the nation’s population (54 percent) is unmarried, but most of our churches do not reflect this reality. Come learn how to not only reach single adults of all ages and backgrounds but also get them involved in the overall growth of your church. You too can reach every “single” person for Christ.

‘God’s Great Work’ in Your Neighborhood – Chuck Campbell, BSC strategy coordinator (Unifour), strategic focus team, and Mike Boarts, BSC strategy coordinator (Fayetteville and South Coastal), strategic focus team
Tuesday, 3:30-4:30 p.m., Heritage B
Understanding one’s neighborhood allows us to proclaim the gospel in contextualized and relevant ways. This session will focus on how you can join “God’s Great Work” in your community.

‘God’s Great Work’ Through Immigration Issues – John Faison, executive director, Council on Immigrant Relations; Larry Phillips, BSC contract strategist, Baptist Immigration Services; and Amaury Santos, BSC senior consultant, Hispanic ministries
Tuesday, 11 a.m. to noon, Bear Creek
Come learn what the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina is doing on the immigration front to assist churches in loving their neighbors in different cultural contexts.

Goodbye Millennials, Hello Generation Z – Tom Knight, BSC senior consultant/contextualist, collegiate partnerships
Tuesday, 3:30-4:30 p.m., Heritage A
While many churches are still talking about how entitled and individualistic millennials are, they have missed the emergence of the newest and largest generation – the one known as Generation Z. This session will cover the basics of how Generation Z differs from millennials and help your church be prepared to engage them with the gospel.

Gospel-Centered Life Design: ‘God’s Great Work’ in You – Brian Upshaw, BSC team leader, disciple-making team
Tuesday. 11 a.m. to noon and 3:30-4:30 p.m., Turnberry
Most church members struggle with how to articulate God’s unique calling for them and how to plan their everyday lives around that calling. Come be equipped with a basic tool kit for life design.

Growing a Culture of Discipleship Through Accountability – Tony Blanchard, founding partner, The Gathering, Hickory, N.C.
Tuesday, 11 a.m. to noon, Cedar B
This session will discuss the importance of recapturing biblical accountability and its necessity in growing a culture of discipleship. Participants will look at practical ways of implementing accountability and hear stories of where this has taken root in discipling groups.

Hero Maker: 5 Essential Practices to Multiply Godly Leaders – Corey Alley, pastor, Sojourner Church, Concord, N.C.; Quintell Hill, pastor, Multiply Community Church, Monroe, N.C.; Donnie Paschall, pastor, Vertical Church, Lumberton, N.C.; and Billy Roy, pastor, Crossroads Church, Whiteville, N.C.
Tuesday, 3:30-4:30 p.m., Colony C
Based on the book Hero Maker by Dave Ferguson and Warren Bird, this session explores five powerful practices found in Jesus’ ministry. Come learn strategies to multiply your dreams, initiate permission giving, develop an apprenticeship system that works, activate your leaders’ gifts and develop a simple scoreboard that measures kingdom-building progress.

How to Safeguard Your Church Against Sexual Abuse – Eddie Thompson, BSC senior consultant, pastoral ministries
Monday, 3:30-4:30 p.m., Colony A
Widespread reports of sexual abuse and misconduct in almost every setting have prompted business, political and church leaders to admit we have a desperate problem. While churches are taking steps to recognize, respond to and report incidents of abuse and create safer environments, some don’t address the issue because they don’t believe it could happen to them. This session will include an honest conversation about what you can do to safeguard your ministry from sexual misconduct.

How to Study the Bible for Yourself – Ashley Allen, BSC senior consultant, Embrace and women’s evangelism & discipleship
Tuesday, 3:30-4:30 p.m., Pinehurst
Have you ever wanted to know the Lord and hear His voice? More likely than not, this has been your desire. Often, we spend time reading scripture, but not deeply studying what the words are conveying, the context and setting of the book, or making application of the text. Our study of scripture should lead to heart transformation as we view who God is and who we are in light of His character. His desire is for us to grow into His likeness. This session will teach attendees tools to use in the inductive study of scripture so they might be able to study the Bible.

Hurricane Florence Rebuilds – N.C. Baptists on Mission staff: Bill Martin, Jay Baugham, Carrie Fisher, Richard Weeks, Steve Smith, Tom Beam and Richard Brunson
Tuesday, 3:30-4:30 p.m., Oak A
“God’s Great Work” often happens after great disasters. Hurricane Florence was one of the most damaging storms ever to hit North Carolina, and many needs still remain more than a year later. Come hear from Baptists on Mission site coordinators in eastern North Carolina and learn how God is working and how you and your church can minister to hurting people.

Lay of the Land: Religious Liberty & Implications for Your Church – Dan Darling, VP of communications, ERLC, Nashville, Tenn.; Tonya Shellnut, regional director of the Church Alliance, Scottsdale, Ariz.; and Josh Wester, drector of strategic initiatives, ERLC, Nashville, Tenn.
Monday, 3:30-4:30 p.m., Cedar B
The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) is joining with Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) to discuss the most pressing issues of religious liberty and religious freedom churches are facing today. They will also look forward to issues, challenges and opportunities on the horizon. A local N.C. pastor who is a member of ADF Church Alliance will also join the panel. The panel will conclude with time for questions and answers.

Mission Trips That Make Disciples – Matt Willis, associate pastor, missions & evangelism, Calvary Baptist Church, Winston-Salem, N.C.; and International Mission Board missionaries
Tuesday, 3:30-4:30 p.m., Arrowhead
Churches are sending people on short-term mission trips all around the world. How much of what we are doing is actually making a difference, both overseas and in the lives of our church members? How could we leverage short-term missions to partner well with our missionaries overseas, while at the same time discipling our members to live their lives for God’s global mission here?

Moving People From ‘Doing Church’ to ‘Being’ the Church – Andy Hughes, pastor, First Baptist Church, Pilot Mountain, N.C.
Tuesday, 11 a.m. to noon, Oak B
What does organic disciple-making look like within a group? This session will focus on how to love people where they are in life.

Moving People From the Sidelines Into the Game – James Zik, associate pastor, evangelism & discipleship, Beach Road Baptist Church, Southport, N.C.
Tuesday, 3:30-4:30 p.m., Oak B
This session will focus on the importance of assimilation to connect people to where real church happens.

Prayer, Revival and Spiritual Awakening – Mark Harris, interim pastor, Stedman Baptist Church, Stedman, N.C.; and Chris Schofield, BSC director, Office of Prayer
Tuesday, 11 a.m. to noon and 3:30-4:30 p.m., Auditorium IV
This session highlights the key role that prayer, revival and spiritual awakening play in a church’s ability to join Christ in accomplishing the Great Commission and the Great Commandment in their community and the world.

Preserving ‘God’s Great Work’: Effective Strategies for Historical Research and Publications – Nathan Saunders, associate director, Library Specialized Collections, UNC Wilmington, Wilmington, N.C.
Tuesday, 3:30-4:30 p.m., Olympia
This session will help churches that are seeking to preserve their histories in written and digital formats.

Protecting Children in Missions & Camp Settings – Tom Beam, BSC, Baptists on Mission student mission mobilization consultant; and Dollie Noa, BSC, Baptists on Mission consultant for children/family missions mobilization
Monday, 3:30-4:30 p.m., Cedar C
Mission and camp settings are expected to be safe environments for our children. However, they can also be vulnerable environments when safety precautions are not in place. Learn more about how you can be proactive in protecting your church’s most valuable asset – your children.

Protecting our Teens: What You Don’t Know Could Hurt – Merrie Johnson, BSC senior consultant, youth evangelism & discipleship
Monday, 3:30-4:30 p.m., Colony B
What criteria do we need to follow to ensure protection for the church, leadership and students? Join us as we discuss ways our churches can provide a safe place for teenagers to grow as followers of Jesus Christ. The discussion will address facility safety, recruiting volunteers, incident reporting, who should serve as chaperones and more.

Reaching Muslims for Christ – Kambiz Saghaey, director for Persian Leadership Development, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, Wake Forest, N.C.
Tuesday, 11 a.m. to noon, Cedar A
Specifically designed to create urgency among believers to reach Muslims, this session will focus on sharing Christ with Muslim neighbors and friends who live in America. The session will also include a brief overview of Muslim beliefs, rituals and traditions.

Revitalize Your Church in 4 Days – Sandy Marks, BSC senior consultant, church health & revitalization; and Russ Reaves, BSC strategy coordinator (Triad), strategic focus team
Tuesday, 11 a.m. to noon, Colony A
Most pastors expend energy on and give attention to the work that Sunday brings. However, developing an intentional rhythm for preaching, discipling, shepherding and leading for the workdays can make a tremendous impact toward revitalizing your church. This session explores the central role of sermon preparation and delivery in church revitalization.

Safety & Security in Your Children’s Ministry – Cheryl Markland, BSC senior consultant, childhood evangelism & discipleship
Monday, 3:30-4:30 p.m., Oak A
The need for policies and procedures that protect the children of your church has never been greater. Discover steps for writing effective policies and enforcing essential procedures that set protection as priority.

Sexual Abuse in the Church: Measures for Prevention and Helping Female Survivors – Ashley Allen, BSC senior consultant, Embrace and women’s evangelism & discipleship
Monday, 3:30-4:30 p.m., Colony C
When we hear stories of sexual abuse in our churches, it’s easy to think, “That will never happen here.” However, sexual abuse can happen anywhere. Statistics tell us that 1 in 4 females are survivors of sexual abuse, often with the abuse taking place in their childhood or teenage years. This session will cover measures churches should take for prevention, examine the grooming process that predators use, and how to respond well to women who have endured sexual abuse.

Sharing the Gospel With Neighbors of Other Faiths – James Cooper, missionary, First Baptist Church, Durham, N.C.; Jonathan Derbyshire, missionary, Imago Dei Church, Raleigh, N.C.; and John Messiah, People Group Engagement Catalyst for Great Commission Partnerships, The Summit Church, Durham, N.C.
Tuesday, 11 a.m. to noon, Arrowhead
We live in a world where we sit next to a Muslim friend in class, live across the street from a Hindu or work at a coffee shop with a Buddhist. God is bringing unreached peoples from around the world to be our neighbors, which provides amazing opportunities for the Great Commandment and the Great Commission. Come learn how to use the “3 Circles” evangelism tool and adapt it to share with people from other world religions.

The Sending Church Collective: God’s Great Collaboration – Mike Pittman, BSC team leader, church planting team
Tuesday, 11 a.m. to noon, Colony C
This session will share the story of intentional reproducing church planting in North Carolina using real-time stories and family trees from across the state. The more we model collaboration in the church planting world, the more God will convict others to become a sending church.

What’s Going On? – Josh Reed, BSC senior consultant, adult evangelism & discipleship
Tuesday, 11 a.m. to noon and 3:30-4:30 p.m., Oak C
During this session, we will discuss some of the best practices in disciple-making throughout North Carolina.

When Andy Griffith Meets Stranger Things – Darrick Smith, BSC senior consultant, collegiate partnerships; Chase Jenkins, director of International Connections & Finance, First Baptist Church, Durham, N.C.; Danella Kish, Bridge College and Mobilization director, The Bridge Church, Wilmington, N.C.; Mark Navey, lead pastor, Provision Church, Monroe, N.C.; and Savannah Wood, college ministry intern, Perkinsville Baptist Church, Boone, N.C.
Tuesday, 11 a.m. to noon, Heritage A
Why does it seem that college ministries often keep college students away from the rest of the church? College students need relationships with older, wiser men and women of God. Seasoned adults need energetic, younger followers of Jesus. This panel discussion featuring several leaders from across North Carolina will demonstrate how some churches have integrated college ministries throughout their churches so that they are more effectively joining “God’s Great Work.”

When the American Church Meets the Hispanic Church – William Neira, pastor, Iglesia Bautista Cristo, Forest City, N.C.; and Ligia Neira
Tuesday, 3:30-4:30 p.m., Cedar A
In a more multicultural and globalized world than before, the church faces new challenges. Although the church has been multicultural since its inception, the challenge remains in the paradox: “what separates us, unites us.”This session will explore how to build bridges, break down barriers, and where our responsibility and God’s will come together to transform and impact our churches and communities for God’s Kingdom and His glory.
10/14/2019 12:01:01 AM by BSC Communications | with 0 comments

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