September 2009

Pastor moves away from programs

September 23 2009 by Norman Jameson, BR Editor

Jack Darida was a stranger in a strange land when he moved to North Carolina four years ago as pastor of Quaker Gap Baptist Church.

He grew up in New Jersey and was a pastor there for eight years, but North Carolina beckoned, since his wife’s parents live in Hendersonville, 200 miles west of Quaker Gap where he has been pastor four years.

Rick Hughes found Darida and brought him under wing. Hughes is working to nurture a discipleship culture in North Carolina Baptist churches.

BR photo by Norman Jameson

Jack Darida pastors Quaker Gap Baptist Church in King.

“Rick has put an exclamation point on discipleship for me as a pastor,” Darida said after a Triangle Leadership Network meeting held in a classroom building at Wake Forest University.

“I’ve been challenged to think more deeply about it and that has come out in the way I’ve pastored this church and in some of the things we’re about.

“I’ve definitely tried to move away from programs and more into a process. Our purpose is to glorify God by growing Christ-like people. We’ve tried across the board to question everything we do as a church to ask how it is helping us to grow Christ-like people.  

“Much of what we’re doing has come from my exposure to Rick and making discipleship the heart of ministry.”

It was easy for Hughes to persuade Darida to become involved with the Triangle area pastors network he is building.

“It’s just Rick’s personality,” said Darida, who is on the vision team for Pilot Mountain Baptist Association.

“He’s just such a joyful guy, such a caring, genuine individual that I felt whatever he’s involved in and is promoting is something I should check out.”

Darida’s growth in discipleship prompts Hughes to invite him to share in various forums. Hughes is Darida’s field mentor for his doctor of ministries program through Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary. Darida is in what Golden Gate calls the first doctor of ministry class in “ministry coaching” in the country.

“Some of the approaches we’ve used in discipleship have become antiquated because of cultural changes,” Darida said. “Coaching seems to connect a little better with our current culture. Coaching is non-threatening to people and it helps them to learn at their pace. It doesn’t force them to learn at your pace. I see a lot of good in using coaching for discipleship.”

Darida was introduced to coaching through a Pursuing Vital Ministry seminar, a former offering of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina.

“The thing about Rick is him as a person,” Darida said. “He’s a growing disciple and is dead honest about where he is with his walk with the Lord. That’s refreshing. He doesn’t come on as a super pastor; he comes alongside you as a friend.”

Visit church’s web site at

Related stories
Rick Hughes works to make disciples
1st century meets 21st in 1.21 church

Special series — Body parts

Did you know you have a large church staff? Your gifts through the Cooperative Program support a staff resource at the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina that exists to serve your church.

The Biblical Recorder continues a series — Body Parts — featuring one of your Convention staff members, and churches which has grown through that staff member’s ministry. Body Parts is inspired by 1 Cor. 12:12 — “The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ” (NIV). The parts of the Baptist State Convention exist to serve you.

Visit Body Parts, a Biblical Recorder special series.
9/23/2009 6:35:00 AM by Norman Jameson, BR Editor | with 1 comments

Surry woman brings, teaches Bible to Kenya

September 23 2009 by Carole Dowell, First-Person Account

What does owning a Bible mean to a woman who has never had one? A great number of Kenyan women have experienced this joy, thanks to many churches and people in Surry County, N.C. and neighboring southwest Virginia.

Pastor Leo Watenya of Bungoma Baptist Church in western Kenya had a burning desire to evangelize his country. When he realized there were not enough willing men to help him he came to the culture-shaking decision to use women.

Even though 70 percent of Kenyan church members are women, they have traditionally been silent. Church work was done by men, period. The more Pastor Leo prayed the more convinced he became that women were “the sleeping giant” in the Kenyan church.

Contributed photo

Carole Dowell passes out Bibles to a line of women in Kenya. Dowell has been going to teach the women from the Bible. She has also recruited donations of eyeglasses so women can see to read the scripture.

He requested through the International Mission Board a volunteer to teach Bible study and discipleship to the ladies in western Kenya. His request and my prayers to be involved internationally intersected and the result was that I was approved to teach Pastor Leo’s ladies and those in surrounding areas in March 2003.

When I learned the ladies did not have Bibles I approached Surry Baptist Association and churches and individuals responded generously to purchase 600 Swahili Bibles.

In Kenya ladies were thrilled to have Bible studies taught just for them by a woman, and they were absolutely overwhelmed when they received Bibles of their own. Some made the high-pitched praise sound Kenyan ladies make; some shouted; some danced or jumped up and down for joy. They hugged the Bibles to their hearts while tears filled the eyes of many.

Not only had they never owned a Bible before, many had never touched one. The experience opened my eyes to what the gift of God’s word should mean to people. It is the very heart of God held in one’s hands.

Wrote materials

There were no teaching materials available so I taught from the book of John. The ladies loved it and filled the churches to overflowing. When there was no more room inside, they sat outside under the open windows to catch every word.

Too soon the conferences were over. We had registered 632 ladies, of which the first 600 received Bibles. We were blessed to have 65 professions of faith. God blessed us so richly that Baptist Mission of Kenya sought to initiate an on-going teaching partnership. They wanted the ladies in every province to have opportunity to participate in similar studies.

I needed to develop materials and God led me to show the ladies how in the Bible God uses women. I wrote “Woman, Kenya Ladies’ Bible Study” which I’ve used in six subsequent teaching missions. The women learn God used women in miraculous ways and that God still uses women today. Most importantly, they learn that He wants to use them.

In 2004, after the Mount Airy News ran an article about our on-going mission partnership, and a deejay plugged it on the radio, donations made it possible to purchase Swahili Bibles for all seven teaching missions thus far.

Eyes to see
In 2003, one precious lady came to me with tears in her eyes after receiving a Bible. “I thank you for my Bible,” she said. “Now, if I just had glasses so I could see to read it.”

I had thought it strange that I was the only one in western Kenya who needed glasses.

I found out that was not the case at all; they were not financially able to buy glasses.

And God opened my eyes to another great need: How could we get glasses for that lady and others? Two Lions Clubs in our area have provided used eyeglasses and I presented the need at Surry Baptist Association and Mount Airy Ministerial Association meetings. Used eyeglasses poured in. Even one restaurant had a box for donations.

The Kenyan ladies and pastors with bad eyes try them on and are so appreciative and delighted when they find a pair that enables them to see the words in their new Bibles.

To get to the conferences, many women walk for hours, some of them carrying babies. They sit jam-packed in overflowing churches on crude, backless benches and on the floor, listening intently for hours.

They drink in every word, taking the message to heart. And God performs miracles.

Because it is too far to walk home each day, they spend the two, or three, nights sleeping on the dirt, or concrete, floor of the church.

We have registered 13,357 ladies in attendance, and have given Bibles to 12,500 ladies. With an average of 10 people per household, that means around 125,000 more people now have daily access to a Bible.

Five thousand, one hundred sixty (5,160) ladies have been saved during the conferences, and most of the rest have rededicated their lives to Christ.

One lady, in March 2007, said, “Thank you for my Bible. I have always prayed that God would one day provide one for me so my children can read it to me.” Like many adults she cannot read, but her children go to school, and for her, having her children read a family Bible in their home would be the most blessed thing.

We teach from around 9 a.m. until 4 or 5 p.m., sometimes later, with periodic breaks and a lunch hour. Kenyans cook over open fires, either outside or in a cook hut. On the first mission trip, a number of ladies had to miss class to prepare the meal. Usually only one pot is cooked at a time, so meal preparation is a lengthy process, and is usually not finished until 2, or later, in the afternoon.

On the second mission trip, I was astonished to see a man at one of the churches helping with the cooking so his wife could attend the conference. On the third trip, all the cooking was done by men, a marvelous, miraculous thing. On the last four missions, men have done virtually all the cooking, with a little guidance from women.

Cooking the meal includes cleaning up and washing the dishes afterwards, just like it does for women.

This is a totally new role for men, and they are so proud of themselves when they manage it, and the food is actually good.

Not only are men cooking, they also ask me frequently, “When are you going to come teach us?” That too is a cultural change — to ask a woman to teach men in Africa. God changes cultures through love, not conflict.

A good test is not so much what happens during a conference but what happens after it is over. Immediately after our conferences ladies began to work for Christ at home and in their communities, and to teach what they had learned. They have already led hundreds to Christ, many of them husbands. They have inspired ladies in other churches to begin work. They have begun social work that was desperately needed; in particular, with widows and with orphans whose parents have died from Aids.

One church uses the ladies with Bibles to teach others to read. They are actually teaching literacy classes and Bible study at the same time.

To reach the ladies in every region of Kenya, we lack only two more provinces and the next mission is planned for January 2010. Both of the last two projects will be large, with a number of teaching locations in each province and a great number of ladies participating.

(EDITOR’S NOTE — Dowell, 71, is a retired teacher and member of Mountain View Baptist Church in Lowgap.)

To help
Surry Baptist Association, 364 Welch Road, Mount Airy, NC 27030. Note Kenya Bible Fund.

9/23/2009 6:31:00 AM by Carole Dowell, First-Person Account | with 0 comments

Music leader Charles Gatwood dies

September 22 2009 by BR Staff

Charles Stewart Gatwood, a leader in music ministry for the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina (BSC) for 20 years, died Sept. 18. He was 88.

Born in Albion, Ind., May 31, 1921; he was the son of the late Charles Adam Gatwood and Nettie Mae Stewart Gatwood.

Contributed photo

Charles Gatwood

He earned the bachelor of music degree in music education and a master’s degree in music theory at Indiana University. He married Mary Carolyn Threatt of Kershaw, S.C.

After graduation he became chairman of the music department at North Greenville Junior College in Tigerville, S.C. He was minister of music at First Baptist Church, Greer, S.C., and at Snyder Memorial Baptist Church, Fayetteville, N.C. He was associate director of the Church Music Department of the BSC for 10 years before serving another 10 years as director. He retired in 1987.

During his tenure at the BSC he formed and directed the “Singing Churchmen,” a men’s choir consisting of ministers of music from across the state. He organized the Cary Community Chorus and directed their performance of “Messiah” for 30 years.

"Charles knew how to help ministers of music train their leaders and to also involve lay persons in the learning process of becoming better musicians and also in giving their lives to God through worship,” said Dan Ridley, who retired in December from the role Gatwood once held at the BSC.

“Time and time again I hear music leaders share how Charles visited them in their church and helped to connect them to the learning opportunities on the associational or state level. Charles taught us how to live and he taught us how to die.  Thanks be to God for Charles Gatwood,” said Ridley, now minister of music at Hayes Barton Baptist in Raleigh.

Gatwood was invited to teach several semesters at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas; Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and Campbell University. He was ordained a deacon at First Baptist Church, Cary, and was an active member of Pullen Memorial Baptist Church in Raleigh for many years.

He is survived by Carolyn, his wife of 63 years; daughter Ann Blackmon of Kinston, N.C.; son Elden Gatwood of Raleigh; daughter Susan Snyder of Hollidaysburg, Pa.; eight grandchildren; and one great-grandchild.

9/22/2009 9:11:00 AM by BR Staff | with 1 comments

Nehemiah Teams challenge students spiritually

September 22 2009 by Dianna L. Cagle, BR Assistant Managing Editor

One of the most significant short-term projects of biblical times dates back to Nehemiah.

In 52 days he led his people to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem, restore a nation, and revive a people.

Four students with North Carolina ties worked with Nehemiah Teams — through the International Mission Board — this summer teaching English, caring for orphans, and more (see letter to editor).

Contributed photo

Courtney Bell holds a blind 3-month old baby that is up for adoption.

“I did not want to leave,” said Courtney Bell, a senior in communication disorders at Appalachian State University and member of First Baptist Church in Garner. “Coming back was really difficult.”

Bell was one of a team working at a special needs rescue orphanage in Manila, Philippines. She had seen poverty on her trips to Ukraine, Belize and Mexico before but nothing like what she encountered in Malabon.

“What words can clearly describe Malabon?” she wrote. “Constant flooding. No sewage system. Filthy floors. Garbage sidewalks. Garbage stacks of clothes, rags. So much garbage. The ground gives like a trampoline. Naked babies. Children with sores. People with TB. Clothes hanging by a thread. Shacks 10’x10’ for 10 people. Smoke. Hard to breathe. Low scrap metal overhangs. Crowded. Confused, sad faces. No education. No work. No money. No food. Starvation. Disease. Loss of hope.”

She countered what she saw with biblical truth: “Yet, Christ promised to bring hope to the hopeless; rest to the weary. Christ loves, an everlasting love. He loves these people. He died for these people. Why are they left like this? Why doesn’t Jesus do something? He is doing something. He has sent me.”

Two children still tug at Bell’s heart from thousands of miles away. One three-year-old girl had excess spinal fluid in her brain. Developmentally, she’s three months old.

“She can’t sit up by herself; no strength in arms, legs,” said Bell, who was the one who carried her from her home in Malabon. Her family could not care for her. Another girl had autistic-like symptoms. Bell worked one-on-one with her, utilizing some of her training.

“I miss having the babies around and … never having a moment to myself,” Bell said.

Contributed photo

Rachel Chiasson, left, worked with Claire, right, all summer before she became a Christian at English Revival Camp.

Refugee work
In South Korea, Rachel Chiasson learned the importance of prayer.

“One of the biggest things I learned … truly believe in what you pray,” said Chiasson, a junior kinesiology major at Campbell University in Buies Creek who worked with North Korean refugees.

God showed her how small her faith is while she was teaching English as a Second Language (ESL) and spending time with students.

Chiasson, a Louisiana native, estimated that about half the refugees did not have any family in South Korea. She said she also learned to use her resources more wisely.

Bell and Chiasson said they love to share about their experience. Contact Bell at Contact Chiasson at

For more about Nehemiah Teams visit Stories about this summer’s work can be found at

9/22/2009 7:04:00 AM by Dianna L. Cagle, BR Assistant Managing Editor | with 0 comments

Former BWA president Nilson Fanini dies

September 22 2009 by Baptist Press

FORT WORTH, Texas — Nilson do Amaral Fanini, sometimes referred to as “the Billy Graham of Brazil” and a former president of the Baptist World Alliance (BWA), died Saturday, Sept. 19, during a trip to Texas to visit family members. He was 77.

Fanini was admitted to a Fort Worth-area hospital with pneumonia on Sept. 13 and subsequently suffered a stroke, according to a report in the Religious Herald, newsjournal of the Baptist General Association of Virginia.

Fanini was pastor of the Rio de Janeiro-area First Baptist Church of Niteroi, which grew to more than 7,000 members from the beginning of his pastorate there in 1964 until he left the church in 2005 to start another church, Memorial Baptist, also in the Rio de Janeiro area.

He was elected to numerous terms as president of the Brazilian Baptist Convention.

Preaching fluently in Portuguese, Spanish and English, Fanini led more than 1,000 evangelistic crusades in 100-plus countries, including Brazil, other Latin American countries and as far away as India.

On weekly television and radio broadcasts, Fanini was seen and heard widely across Brazil and in several other Latin American countries.

Fanini was a 1958 graduate of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth. “Right here (at Southwestern) is where I got my vision for the world,” he said in a 2002 interview at the seminary. “I didn’t know that God would use it in such a way, praise the Lord.”

The ministry of First Baptist Church in Niteroi also was known for its outreach to slum children, for medical clinics, food distribution, a school where the poor could learn professional skills and for prison ministry.

Fanini liked to say that Jesus preached “the total gospel to the total man ... soul, mind and body.”

During his 1995-2000 presidency of the Baptist World Alliance, Fanini emphasized evangelism, religious liberty, social justice and human needs ministry. His travels included a 2000 trip to Cuba where he and others in a BWA delegation met with Fidel Castro and a 1999 trip to Rome to meet with the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.
Morris H. Chapman, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Executive Committee, said Baptists have lost “a beloved ally in world evangelism,” a man who “was, at heart, an evangelist who believed the Gospel was the greatest cure for the world’s ills.”

“Brother Nilson sought to live out the principles Jesus set forth in Matthew 9:35 — teaching, preaching the gospel and healing their diseases. He had a heart of compassion for those who were the most desperate -– orphans, the homeless, the hungry — and the lost. He led his church to provide an aggressive set of ministries to serve the human needs of those in his city, but he never lost sight of the major focus of personal evangelism. He knew that the greatest need anyone has is salvation from sin and new life in Jesus Christ,” Chapman said.

“His church launched and/or sponsored more than 100 new churches and missions,” Chapman noted, adding, “Under his leadership, the Brazilian Bible League distributed more than 25 million Bibles in Brazil alone.

“We will miss his vital partnership in the ministry. Jodi and I join with Baptists around the world in praying that the Lord will comfort his wife, Helga, as well as his children and grandchildren. We will miss him as a friend,” Chapman said. “He was truly a man of God.”

International Mission Board President Jerry Rankin described Fanini as “a giant among Baptists who spanned an era of growth in Brazil to impact the world for Christ. Much of the pioneer growth of Baptist work in Brazil was due to the leadership of Dr. Fanini who partnered with Southern Baptist missionaries in evangelism and church planning. His years of leadership of the Brazilian Baptist Convention expanded through his calling a giftedness as a global evangelist, eventually leading the Baptist World Alliance and literally touching the world. A great preacher and passionate evangelist, his legacy will be cherished and remembered by Baptists around the world.”

Former Southern Baptist missionary Perry Ellis, who worked with the Brazilian Baptist Convention as director of mass evangelism from 1970-84, described Fanini as “my closest friend for 40 years.”

Ellis said he was privileged “to provide help to a man that I consider to be the premier evangelist in the world, second only to Billy Graham. The Christian world has lost one of its finest examples of the fruit of Baptist missions. Through his weekly television and radio broadcasts, Fanini became pastor to the nation of Brazil. As president of the Baptist World Alliance he took the name Baptist and our evangelistic mission to a new level. In Brazil the press started referring to the Christians of Brazil as Baptists.”
Ellis added that Fanini was a soccer enthusiast who, in his visit to Texas to see a new granddaughter, brought her a uniform of his favorite team, Vasco. “In everything he did, Nilson Fanini was larger than life. He was a natural born leader but he was one of the most genuinely humble persons you could want to know,” Ellis said.

In addition to his wife, Fanini is survived by a daughter, Margaret of Bedford, Texas; two sons, Otto of Houston and Roberto of McKinney, Texas; and four grandchildren.

A memorial service will be held Saturday, Sept. 26, at Iglesia Bautista Getsemani in Fort Worth followed by memorial services also in Brazil.

9/22/2009 7:03:00 AM by Baptist Press | with 0 comments

Bobbye Rankin’s own mission passion

September 22 2009 by Melissa Lilley, BSC Communications

RIDGECREST — Everyone in the room knew the woman underneath the veil.

They saw her pull it over her head and twist it around until it fit properly. Though her face did not show, her voice did not change and the movement of her hands as she spoke reminded the audience it was still the same person underneath the veil. Yet, somehow forgetting that came easy.

As Bobbye Rankin told the story of a Muslim woman thrown into a dark room by herself, with no light at all and only the rats scurrying over her feet for company, one could not help but envision this scenario as it unfolded: The judge ordering the Christian woman into the cold room beneath his office because she refused to stop telling people about Jesus. The woman singing a song about Jesus saving her, and how she would not fear, and those words floating up to the office above. The judge asking the woman to come to his house and sing her song to his daughters, so they would not be afraid at night.

Rankin’s gift of narration made this woman’s story come to life, almost as if the Muslim woman stood on stage telling the story herself. The woman Rankin spoke about knew the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Rankin also knows of this power. Yet, so many women who wear the veil as Rankin did on this day have never heard about the gospel.

Through real-life testimonies and a message from the biblical book of Esther, Rankin encouraged women attending Refreshed, a Sept. 11-12 women’s prayer evangelism conference at LifeWay Ridgecrest Conference Center, to be bold in their witness for Jesus Christ and to be intentional about growing in the grace and knowledge of their Savior. Rankin, along with Mary Kassian, award-winning author and internationally renowned speaker, and Beth Evans, women’s Bible study teacher at Providence Baptist Church in Raleigh, N.C., gave the keynote addresses. The conference also included worship led by Cindy Johnson, focused prayer times, testimonies and breakout sessions featuring leaders such as Jaye Martin, director of women’s programs at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary; Denise O’Donoghue, director of women’s life at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary; and Alicia Wong, North American Mission Board missionary for evangelism for women.

BSC photo by Melissa Lilley

Bobbye Rankin recounts her missions journey at a women’s conference at LifeWay Ridgecrest Conference Center.

Rankin and her husband Jerry served as missionaries in Indonesia for more than two decades before Jerry was named president of the International Mission Board in 1993. He just announced his retirement from that post, effective next year.
During her keynote and breakout session, Rankin shared from her heart stories that have stayed with her through the years, such as the story of a woman in Indonesia who could not read but came to a women’s Bible study because Rankin invited her. The woman’s belly was so large it looked like a pregnant belly, yet it wasn’t; it had always been like that. This woman received Jesus Christ as her personal Lord and Savior and Rankin told how one day the woman found herself, a new believer, sitting at home and wanting to pray but having no idea what to say. So for hours she just cried out, “Jesus. Jesus. Jesus.” The next day everyone wanted to know what happened to the woman’s stomach. “God touched me,” she said.
Rankin told of going through a village in Indonesia and asking if people knew Jesus. Their reply: “No, I don’t believe He lives in this village. Go to the next village. You might find Him there.” She told of a woman physically beaten by a family member because she read the Bible. That family member tossed the Bible into a fire. Yet, later that same night, this family member had a dream and in it was that Bible in the flames — made whole. The man went outside and looked and sure enough, there was the restored Bible. The man and woman are now believers in Jesus Christ.

As Rankin shared, her countenance told the story of what was going on in her own heart: compassion for a lost world, awe of an almighty God and humility that God would allow her the blessing of serving Him. She is a woman who knows how to enjoy life and can laugh at herself, telling the story of how her rural Mississippi accent is often mistaken for a voice from the Carolinas.

Growing up in Girls in Action (GAs), “God began to capture my heart for the people of the world,” Rankin said. She still remembers as a 10-year-old learning that “countless people” had never heard of Jesus Christ. “We could count everybody from my community. It’s honk and wave,” she said. The idea that so many people, too many to count, grope in darkness every day because they do not know the Savior, made a lasting impression on her young, tender heart.

That little girl in GAs had no idea she would one day travel overseas with her husband, 10-month-old and 2-year-old to reach the people of Indonesia. The Rankins expected their journey to be the book of Acts all over again. Rankin made that statement and joined the audience in laughing about it, but the mood quickly turned serious as she described how their time in Indonesia began. They both got sick with an infection and boils over their bodies.
Thanksgiving eve, they noticed a boil on the forehead of their 2-year-old and left immediately for the hospital, and while at the hospital Rankin learned she needed an operation. A month later, around Christmastime, the Rankins got fevers that lasted 10 days. The day after Christmas, Rankin’s father died in a car accident and her mother was in critical condition. As she sat with her mother at the hospital, “I couldn’t say a word because His divine presence was right in that room,” she said.

Her missionary journey did not begin as she envisioned, but Rankin “learned more about what it means to worship the Lord” during that time. After sharing from her personal struggles and triumph, Rankin walked through the Book of Esther. Rankin recounted the story of Esther with an enthusiasm that even women who knew the story by heart could not help but get excited about hearing once more. And not just hearing the story, but learning how God created Esther just as she was and ordained her for a purpose.
Rankin showed from Scripture how Esther was submissive, aware of her purpose, obedient to her purpose and passionate about who God called her to be and what He called her to do. “Are you at the passion point of what God has called you to do?” Rankin asked. For Rankin, the answer to that question seems to be a resounding yes.

(EDITOR’S NOTE — Lilley is research/communications coordinator for the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina. Editor’s note: Jerry Rankin, president of the International Mission Board, announced his plans for retirement in July 2010 to a meeting of IMB trustees Sept. 16 in Jacksonville, Fla.)

9/22/2009 7:01:00 AM by Melissa Lilley, BSC Communications | with 0 comments

Executive Committee authorizes search

September 22 2009 by Art Toalston & Michael Foust, Baptist Press

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Members of the Southern Baptist Convention’s (SBC) Executive Committee (EC) voted Sept. 20 to authorize their chairman to name a search committee for a successor to Morris H. Chapman, who announced his plans to retire effective Sept. 30, 2010.
EC chairman Randall James, an assistant pastor of First Baptist Church in Orlando, Fla., did not immediately name a search committee after Chapman’s announcement during the opening session of the EC’s Sept. 20-21 meeting in Nashville, Tenn.
James did ask Chapman, however, to remain in office after next September if the search process extends longer than expected.
Voicing appreciation to Chapman, James said, “I don’t think there’s any way in 12 months that we’ll be able to adequately thank you for how God has used you, for your obedience to come at a time that was so critical in the life of Southern Baptist work, and your leadership during the conservative movement.” Chapman became Executive Committee president and chief executive officer on Oct. 1, 1992, after conservatives had prevailed in a battle dating back to 1979 to uphold biblical inerrancy in the Southern Baptist Convention.
James, commenting on leadership transitions within the Southern Baptist Convention, said, “I know all of you are familiar with what’s happened the last few months with NAMB, IMB and now at the Executive Committee.”
At NAMB — the North American Mission Board — President Geoff Hammond resigned under trustee pressure during an Aug. 11 meeting at the board’s headquarters in Alpharetta, Ga.
At the IMB — International Mission Board — President Jerry Rankin announced his retirement Sept. 16 during a trustee meeting in Jacksonville, Fla.
“I think it’s the most important time right now in Southern Baptist life,” James told Executive Committee members. “I’m asking each of each of you to pray that God will direct our steps, that He will guide and guard our tongues, and that everything we do and say will bring honor to the Lord Jesus Christ.
“The world will be watching us,” James said. “We have an opportunity to let the world see Jesus through how we carry out our business as the Southern Baptist Convention.”
During the EC session, SBC President Johnny Hunt, speaking of Chapman, recounted, “The first mission trip I ever took, Morris Chapman led that trip to Africa, and God captured my heart there for the Great Commission.
“It’s made a significant difference in my life and in the church that I’ve been privileged to pastor the last 23 years,” Hunt said. “And he (Chapman) always was a counselor in my life in helping me make a decision and pray through my appointment at First Baptist Woodstock in ’86.”
New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary President Chuck Kelley said that at one point in their history Southern Baptists would descend on a city, conduct their annual meeting and then leave without conducting any organized evangelism on a large scale.
“However, under the leadership of Dr. Morris Chapman,” Kelley said, “we began doing something called Crossover in whatever city we were in (by) taking that mighty host of Southern Baptists who had come to the city and using them as an army of witnesses to work with the churches in that city and share Jesus Christ.... As a professor of evangelism and an evangelist, I always thought that that was one of the greatest innovations in Southern Baptist life.
“Dr. Chapman,” Kelley added, “there will be countless people in heaven who are there because of that wonderful idea that you brought to the SBC.... On behalf of all of them and all of us who love evangelism and witnessing, thank you.”

(EDITOR’S NOTE — Toalston is editor of Baptist Press; Michael Foust is a BP assistant editor.)

9/22/2009 7:00:00 AM by Art Toalston & Michael Foust, Baptist Press | with 0 comments

EC’s Chapman announces retirement

September 22 2009 by Art Toalston, Baptist Press

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Morris H. Chapman has announced his plans to retire as president and chief executive officer of the Southern Baptist Convention’s (SBC) Executive Committee effective Sept. 30, 2010.

Chapman, upon retirement, will have led the Executive Committee 18 years.

Chapman, 68, announced his retirement in a letter to Executive Committee members on the opening day of their Sept. 20-21 meeting in Nashville, Tenn., writing that after giving “serious and prayerful thought to my retirement date” in recent years, “the time has come.”

His tenure has spanned junctures of:
  • theological conviction, such as the adoption of the Baptist Faith and Message 2000.
  • heightened denominational effectiveness, such as the streamlining of the SBC’s entities during the mid-1990s and an invigorated emphasis on the Cooperative Program and stewardship.
  • cultural relevance, such as the SBC’s racial reconciliation resolution in 1995 and a multi-year emphasis on family ministry that began in the latter 1990s.
His announcement comes on “my 50th anniversary in the ministry,” Chapman wrote, connecting back to his work on church staffs as a teenager followed by his first pastorate in Rogers, Texas, at age 26.

“To be called of God ... in serving all Southern Baptists was one of the greatest honors of my life and yet one of the most humbling challenges I had ever faced,” Chapman wrote of assuming the EC presidency on Oct. 1, 1992. “I knew that except for depending completely upon God’s Spirit to guide me, I could fail miserably. Listening to and remembering the word of the Lord heard by Zerubbabel in Zechariah 4:6 was paramount if I were to fulfill the duties of my new office in a way that truly honored the Lord Jesus Christ. In His Word, God said, ‘Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith the Lord of hosts.’”

Each year of service with the Executive Committee, Chapman wrote, “has been a strong affirmation that God led us together.”

Chapman noted in his letter, “I reserve my greatest thanks to God. His grace has been sufficient and He has supplied all my ‘need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus’ (Phil. 4:19). Every direction I have led and decision I have made, the uppermost question in my mind has been, ‘What is in the best interest of the entire Southern Baptist Convention and its Executive Committee.’ My prayer is that God will bless and lead the Executive Committee in its every deliberation and decision in the coming months and years. I pledge my prayers and encouragement to you and to the one who shall succeed me.”

To members of the Executive Committee, Chapman wrote, “‘Thank you from the depths of my heart’ ... for working with me, encouraging me, teaching me, advising me, and honoring my leadership. No man could be more blessed than to conclude his ministry among Southern Baptists as president and chief executive officer of the Executive Committee and treasurer of the Southern Baptist Convention. Had I not lived it, I would not have believed it to be possible.”

And Chapman expressed thanks to his wife Jodi, “grateful that God allowed us to share this journey together.... These 46 years of marriage she has loved me, cheered me on as my biggest fan, sacrificed some of her own dreams in order to stay home with our children and traveled with me extensively, advised me from a wealth of biblical and medical knowledge, helped me never to lose sight of the practical aspects of life, and continues to make progress in reaching her goal of making me a real person.”

BP photo by Morris Abernathy

Morris H. Chapman announces to the Southern Baptist Convention's Executive Committee Sept. 20 his plans to retire as EC president and chief executive officer.

Of his tenure at the Executive Committee, Chapman wrote, “I have sought to administer the operations of the Executive Committee in a way that would be pleasing to Christ while advancing His Kingdom by facilitating the varied assignments for each and every entity of the SBC. I sought also to educate the churches on the importance of the (Executive) Committee’s ministry assignments. The SBC Bylaws and other legal documents were instituted for the purpose of guiding the work of the Southern Baptist Convention and its various entities. If I have faulted in my interpretation of these official policies, it has been on the side of caution. My question always has been, ‘Why have policies if they are to be ignored?’”

Addressing the assignment of promoting the Cooperative Program that was placed with the Executive Committee in 1997 and, later, the promotion of stewardship, Chapman wrote, “Although the Executive Committee has not had sufficient dollars always to do everything we needed to do, we have made great strides in both areas. In 1925, God gave our forefathers a vision for the Cooperative Program. The idea was a God-send and saved the Convention from financial ruin. The Cooperative Program kept our missionaries on the field and seminary students in the classrooms.

“I believe deeply that if the Cooperative Program is ever tossed aside to be replaced by a strong promotion of societal giving (designated funds) or if both undesignated and designated funds from our churches are counted as Cooperative Program gifts, we will have abandoned the greatest vehicle for supporting missions and theological education in the history of Christendom,” Chapman wrote.

“The Cooperative Program represents Southern Baptists at their finest, enabling many of our churches to give voluntarily in order to do together what they could not have done separately. No one entity may have all it wishes at given times, but neither will any entity be forced to declare bankruptcy as long as Southern Baptists embrace the Cooperative Program, a plan intended to be a pipeline through which a percentage of the church’s budget (undesignated gifts) flows to the Southern Baptist Convention.”

Chapman was elected as Executive Committee president while concluding two years of service as president of the Southern Baptist Convention (1990-92). He had preached the convention sermon at the 1989 SBC annual meeting in Las Vegas, served as president of the SBC Pastors’ Conference in 1986 in Atlanta and chairman of the SBC Committee on Order of Business for the 1985 SBC meeting in Dallas.

Chapman was pastor of First Baptist Church in Wichita Falls, Texas, from 1979-92 and pastor of First Baptist Church in Albuquerque, N.M., for five years, serving as president of the New Mexico Baptist Convention from 1976-78. Earlier, he had led First Baptist Church of Woodway in Waco, Texas, and First Baptist Church in Rogers, Texas.

He holds doctor of ministry and master of divinity degrees from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. He is a native of Kosciusko, Miss., and a graduate of Mississippi College.

He and his wife have a son, Chris; a daughter, Stephanie; and eight grandchildren.

(EDITOR’S NOTE — Toalston is editor of Baptist Press.)

9/22/2009 2:16:00 AM by Art Toalston, Baptist Press | with 0 comments

Retiree helps others plan for ‘Life After Work’

September 21 2009 by Dianna L. Cagle, BR Assistant Managing Editor

No one is ever fully ready to retire.

“I was thinking that after I retired things would be a piece of cake,” said John Eckman, a member of Fairview Baptist Church in Statesville.

Eckman, originally from Detroit, Mich., was a community relations officer and police officer for the Statesville Police Department for 30 years before he retired 13 years ago.

“Before I retired I was a little naïve,” he said. “If you want it to be a piece of cake you have to make the cake. In other words you have to prepare.”

Contributed photo

John Eckman

Many companies have retirement seminars for their employees, but Eckman said those mostly prepare you financially.

He is not discounting financial preparation because he knows how important it is. He took part-time jobs after retirement because he didn’t think of the financial hit his family would take.

Another aspect he didn’t think about was boredom.

“I just assumed living day to day was going to take care of itself,” Eckman said. “Career becomes a big part of their life.”

Filling that time and finding fulfillment with his time proved to be a challenge. Eckman prefers to call retirement “entering your new life.”

Three years ago, Eckman’s wife, Jane, retired. Her company held a seminar for employees who were about to retire and their spouses. While he thought the company did a great job of talking about the financial issues, he was most impressed with a video they showed about what retirees did after they left their job.

But Eckman said they still didn’t go far enough with dealing with the emotions that come when you no longer have something to fill your days. After all, many people could have 20 or 30 more years yet to live, Eckman said.

Creates own workshop
So Eckman created and leads workshops called Life After Work where he encourages people to plan better. He encourages people to examine the aspects of the job they like and look for ways to use those strengths to help others.

“A person has to look at what was important to them,” Eckman said. “Volunteer work is ideal for that.”

He said energetic people who worked to advance within their company can transfer that ambition to a civic organizations or other non-profit or even start another career. Some go back to school. Retirees can take on projects and develop friendships to fill their newfound time, or tutor or mentor others.

“There are just a lot of things that people don’t think about,” he said.

Contact Eckman at

Some opportunities to consider:

  • Your local church — Most churches have ongoing projects to help maintain the building, build up leaders within the church or to reach out to those less fortunate. A need always exists for teachers, office volunteers and nursery workers.
  • Your local association — Throughout North Carolina, 80 Baptist associations minister with local churches in the community at large. Some operate clothing ministries or do big projects like state fair ministry or Christmas toy collections to help families.
  • Baptist State Convention “Our job is to help them plug in through their local church,” said Eddie Thompson, senior consultant with the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina (BSC). The BSC helps churches reach this demographic with retreats and discipleship events. The Fall Senior Adult Conferences Oct. 19-21 and Oct. 26-28 are based on the book of Daniel to encourage faithful living in tough times. Call Patti Cardwell at (800) 395-5102, ext. 5635.
  • N.C. Baptist Aging Ministry NCBAM provides resources to seniors and their families to help with practical needs. It offers churches resources to meet senior adults’ needs and challenge them to serve.
  • North Carolina Baptist Men N.C. Baptist Men offer volunteer projects in N.C., in the U.S. and around the world with partnership opportunities as well as one-time mission trips. Volunteers can be trained in disaster relief or plan a sports camp in your local park.
  • Woman’s Missionary Union of North Carolina WMU-NC is all about missions. There are many opportunities at local churches, associations and at the state level to serve your community and all around the world.
  • North American Mission BoardThe Bridge is a site that connects volunteers with missions projects. Visit There are self-funded Mission Service Corps (MSC) opportunities for four months or more for those who want to volunteer.
  • International Mission Board The Masters Program is designed for those 50 or older who are available to make a two or three-year commitment to serve overseas utilizing the maturity, skills, and experience they have gained over their lifetime.
9/21/2009 7:55:00 AM by Dianna L. Cagle, BR Assistant Managing Editor | with 0 comments

Statewide missions blitz expected to break record

September 21 2009 by Steve DeVane, BR Managing Editor

In April 2008, more than 1,000 churches participated in what was called the largest one-day missions mobilization in N.C. Baptist history. Next year, organizers hope to top it.

“We’re looking for something even bigger,” said David Crocker, who created and leads the national Operation Inasmuch organization.

Operation Inasmuch is a one-day mission action blitz during which churches minister through hands-on, practical efforts in their community. Efforts usually include things like construction projects, block parties, landscaping, painting, car washes, etc.

Crocker’s organization is again partnering with N.C. Baptist Men for next year’s statewide effort, which is being expanded to two days — April 24 and May 1. He said about 40,000 people from 1,031 churches served about 300,000 people in 2008.

To help churches be ready for the blitz next year, a training event will be held in each of North Carolina’s ten geographic regions. Training is free but organizers need to know how many people will attend.

Register at

Dates and locations
  • Sept. 26 at Corinth Baptist Church in Elizabeth City and Ardmore Baptist Church in Winston Salem.
  • Oct. 3 at Snyder Memorial Baptist Church in Fayetteville; Elizabeth Baptist Church in Gastonia; and Holly Springs Baptist Church in Franklin.
  • Oct. 10 at Oakmont Baptist Church in Greenville and Beverly Hills Baptist Church in Asheville.
  • Oct. 17 at Aversboro Baptist Church in Raleigh and Wilkesboro Baptist Church in Wilkesboro.
  • Oct. 24 at First Baptist Church in Wadesboro.
For more information, call Mary Mountz at (919) 459-5606.

9/21/2009 7:53:00 AM by Steve DeVane, BR Managing Editor | with 0 comments

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