September 2016

Camp Cale’s record-setting ‘upside down’ summer

September 7 2016 by Laura Crowther, BR Editorial Aide

Founded in 1961, Cale: Camp and Conference Center’s 100 acres are located in Hertford, where the Perquimans River flows into Albemarle Sound.

The camp attracted the largest number of campers in its history through its 2016 summer camps.
“The spiritual impact for the Kingdom of God is tremendous at Cale,” said director Matt Thomas, who is excited for the growth of the camp. “We want to be that place where people come to know Christ, grow deeper in their faith and build relationships as the body of Christ.”
This year, Camp Cale’s summer theme was “Upside Down,” inspired by a Billy Sunday quote and the scripture “These men who have turned the world upside down have come here too” (Acts 17:6b HCSB). And turn the world, or at least the camp, upside down is what Cale did.
Camp Cale had its largest year on record with 424 campers this summer. They offered seven weeks of camp for both children and teens. All of the children’s weeks were at maximum capacity. Of the 424 campers, 27 made first-time decisions for Christ and another 98 campers rededicated their lives to Christ.
The campers that made decisions comprised nearly one-quarter of the camp’s total attendance this summer, helping Camp Cale reach their stated purpose of sharing Christ, developing faith and building community.

Submitted photo

Thomas said Camp Cale’s main goal is “relationship evangelism, through our counselors, that allow the counselors to look for teachable moments to make a spiritual connection.”
To foster this spiritual connection, campers attend worship services twice every day. During the week there was live music, a variety of speakers and many opportunities to hear the gospel.
Susan Buzzard from Sawyer’s Creek Baptist Church in Camden, led counselors to create “cardboard testimonies,” illustrating their lives before they received Christ on one side of the cardboard and the change Christ brought to their lives on the other side. Counselors shared these with enthusiastic campers who then decided to create their own cardboard testimonies the next day.
Another speaker, Nathan Lawrenson, worship and creative arts and connections group coach at Nags Head Church in the Outer Banks, spoke about sharing your “Jesus story” and helped campers put their own “Jesus stories” or testimonies about what Jesus is doing in their lives into words.
In addition to times of worship, counselors are also given opportunities to forge spiritual connections by establishing relationships through the camp’s many activities such as archery, shooting, sailing, kayaking, canoeing, high and low ropes courses, rock wall climbing and an indoor basketball court.
Marty Dupree, evangelism consultant for the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina, who was also a speaker at Camp Cale this summer, shared that Camp Cale “is one of the best kept secrets in N.C. Baptist life. It … has everything from boating and water sport to sports fields, basketball courts.”
The growth during this past record setting year makes the need for more bunkhouses critical. There were several weeks this summer that all of the campers who wanted to attend were not able to be accommodated within the existing bunkhouses. Camp Cale plans to build two new bunkhouses, with 40 beds each. Thomas told the Biblical Recorder that the date the building project begins will depend on the funding levels, but he hopes work on the project will start in early 2017.
In order to raise money for the new bunkhouses, Camp Cale will host “An Evening at Cale” fundraiser Sept. 17. The event will be 6-9 p.m. and tickets cost $25 each. The evening will be filled with music, entertainment, heavy hors d’oeuvres and many door prizes. All proceeds from the event will go to the Bunkhouse Fund.
The facility offers summer camps for youth and children, adventure activities, open-air or enclosed lodging options and a conference center available for rentals. The camp was started by Chowan Baptist Association, which spans 10 counties and 68 churches. When Camp Cale began 55 years ago, its goal was to minister to churches and people within the association but has grown to include campers from across North Carolina and Virginia.
In addition to youth and children summer camps, Camp Cale offers its facilities for rentals throughout the year. The center also hosts events and training opportunities for Chowan Baptist Association.
“It is ideal for a church staff or deacons retreat, ... men’s retreat or a father-son retreat,” Dupree said. “The highlight for Cale is the opportunities provided to minister to young people and share the gospel with them, and see young people come to know Christ as Lord and Savior.”

For more information visit or call (252) 264-2513.  

9/7/2016 8:51:30 AM by Laura Crowther, BR Editorial Aide | with 1 comments

Critics resist Planned Parenthood-prompted bill

September 7 2016 by Tom Strode, Baptist Press

The California legislature has advanced Planned Parenthood-instigated legislation that further penalizes the efforts of whistleblowers in a move resisted by both pro-life and liberal, civil-liberties advocates.

The California Senate approved an amended bill Aug. 31 that increases the punishment for a person who distributes a conversation with a health-care worker – such as a Planned Parenthood employee – that he or she has secretly recorded. Prior to the amendment, the bill penalized even those who distributed a recording on a website or via social media or another means without participating in the covertly recorded communication.
Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California urged the introduction of the measure, according to the Columbia Journalism Review (CJR), after the online release last year of secretly recorded videos that showed Planned Parenthood officials discussing the sale of organs from aborted children. The series of undercover videos from various states featured Planned Parenthood executives discussing their sale of fetal parts, as well as their willingness to manipulate the abortion procedure to preserve organs for sale and use.
Russell Moore, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, said the secret recordings of Planned Parenthood officials “exposed a human trafficking operation that posed as healthcare.”
“This proposed legislation is a transparent attempt to retaliate on behalf of Planned Parenthood, and it leaves women, children and communities more vulnerable to exploitation,” said Moore in written comments for Baptist Press. “Anyone who genuinely cares about protecting healthcare should oppose this overreach and continue to support laws that keep medical organizations accountable for what they do.”
Lila Rose, who has gone undercover to make other videos inside abortion clinics, charged Planned Parenthood with “brazenly attacking the First Amendment, aided and abetted by California legislators who are protecting a major campaign donor.”
“When the public funds half of Planned Parenthood’s operations, it has a right to know that its money isn’t being used to break the law or commit abuses, and governments should be taking steps to make things more transparent, not less,” the president of the pro-life organization Live Action said in a written statement.
“This bill doesn’t protect women; instead, it puts Planned Parenthood above the law and lets it hide potentially illegal and abusive activity from public view. If this bill becomes law in California, Planned Parenthood could attempt to pass similar bans all over the country.”
The American Civil Liberties Union also opposes the legislation despite the amendment, The Sacramento Bee reported.
In addition, The Los Angeles Times refused in an editorial to join the bandwagon behind the bill after the amendment, saying the new penalties were “simply to satisfy an interest group popular among Sacramento Democrats.”
The legislation, The Times wrote, “would further disincentivize potential whistleblowers from recording malfeasance when they witness it – for example, a patient who sees her doctor handing out opioid prescriptions like candy, or a farm worker who catches a veterinarian approving a sick cow for the slaughterhouse. The potential for unanticipated and unwelcome consequences is huge.”
Some news media organizations – apparently satisfied their concerns about journalists being affected were met – dropped their opposition to the bill after it was amended, according to reports.
The Senate passed the amended proposal in a 26-13, party-line vote, with Democrats in the majority. The State Assembly, which approved an earlier version of the legislation, must approve the amended measure before it goes to Gov. Jerry Brown.
A person found guilty of violating the distribution ban could face a fine of up to $2,500 and a maximum jail sentence of one year.
California and 11 other states already have laws prohibiting the recording of a private conversation without the approval of all parties, according to CJR.
Planned Parenthood and its affiliates received $553.7 million in government grants and reimbursements, according to its latest annual financial report (2014-15). Planned Parenthood affiliates – which form the leading abortion provider in the country – performed 323,999 abortions during 2013-14, the most recent year for which statistics are available.
Following the release of the videos made by the California-based Center for Medical Progress, the Republican-controlled Congress approved inquiries by five different panels. One of those – the Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives in the House of Representatives – has reported its investigation into the trade in fetal tissue has found a “motive for illicit profit.”
A 1993 federal law prohibits payments beyond reasonable costs for such activities as processing, storage and transportation of human fetal tissue.
Both the Senate and House passed legislation that would have eliminated about 90 percent of Planned Parenthood’s federal funding, but President Obama vetoed the bill in January. A House attempt to override the veto fell far short of the two-thirds majority required.
While the federal government has failed to defund Planned Parenthood, at least 12 states have cut money for the organization. Judges have blocked those actions in some cases.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Tom Strode is Washington bureau chief for Baptist Press, the Southern Baptist Convention’s news service.)
Related articles:
California confiscates undercover Planned Parenthood videos
Planned Parenthood accused of selling aborted fetal parts
Most Americans unfazed by Planned Parenthood videos
Aborted babies dumped in landfills, Ohio AG reports
Congress sends PPFA defunding bill to president
Veto override on PPFA defunding fails in House
3 states defund Planned Parenthood in wake of videos

9/7/2016 8:03:46 AM by Tom Strode, Baptist Press | with 0 comments

Baptist weekday educators learn from leaders, each other

September 7 2016 by Dianna L. Cagle, BR Production Editor

Educators who serve in churches need to learn too.
A conference Aug. 12-13 in Cary provided continuing education units to 20 weekday education directors and 137 staff members from 25 centers across the state.

BR photo by Dianna L. Cagle
Amy Braswell, left, director of The Creator’s Kids at Wake Cross Roads Baptist Church in Raleigh, pins a corsage on Rosemary Castellano, this year’s winner of the North Carolina Baptist Church Weekday Education Association’s teacher of the year.

The Baptist State Convention of North Carolina (BSC) hosted the North Carolina Baptist Church Weekday Education Association (NCBCWEA) summer conference: “Chuga Chuga Choo Choo!” based on Proverbs 22:6 about training up a child. It was also the NCBCWEA annual meeting.
Cheryl Markland, BSC childhood evangelism and discipleship consultant, Mary Sweat, BSC church weekday education consultant and director of WEECare ministry at Lafayette Baptist Church in Fayetteville, and Lana Neal, leadership development pastor at Forest Park Church in Elizabeth City, were among the speakers. Breakout sessions also offered more training opportunities.
Sweat announced the teacher of the year: Rosemary Castellano of The Creator’s Kids at Wake Cross Roads Baptist Church in Raleigh. Castellano, who was one of five nominees, has served eight years with 2-year-olds.
Sweat talked about the previous year’s themes and revealed the goal has been and will continue to be to help these programs in their ministry to their communities. “Do you realize the opportunities that God is providing for you each and every day to share who He is?” she asked.
Each theme has disciple-making in common.
Families that don’t attend church will send their child to a church preschool. “You can build a relationship with them and earn the opportunity to share the gospel,” she said. “We are on the front line to be able to minister to those families and their children in a way that the church is not. Our role is to lay a spiritual foundation for the children and influence the parents.”

Taking precautions

While background checks are crucial, Markland urged directors to call prospective employee references.

“Background checks are important but do you realize that less than 10 percent of all abuse is ever reported?” Markland said. “[Parents] are entrusting you with their greatest treasure,” so centers want to take precautions for safety reasons. “Those first impressions are crucial.”
Directors also need to get out of their office to check halls and look into classrooms.
Markland stressed preventive measures to avoid incidents. For instance, having a bathroom procedure where someone goes into the bathroom to check it before the child goes into the room. Also, if you do have to help a child after they have used the restroom, Markland advised keeping the stall door open so others would know nothing deceptive was happening.
“The biggest thing is, just you as an adult, make sure you are never alone with a child where there could be the appearance of impropriety,” she said. “You want to protect yourself. Ultimately you want to protect the children.”
They discussed many other topics including sanitation, allergies, video monitoring, evacuation plans, local emergency numbers, inspections, wood furniture, playground equipment and hot beverages in the classroom.
Another hot topic Markland covered was discipline.
“Now granted, all you guys are the most patient, loving, kind, grace-filled, Christ-loving people in the world, right?” Markland said. “Nobody ever loses their temper with a child; it’s just heaven on earth in your school.”
She discussed different techniques like redirection, natural consequences and self discipline.
“Sometimes a child just gets over stimulated or just wired,” she said, and “needs to go someplace to regain self control.”

Avoiding burnout

Markland offered several stations for participants to try stress-reducing activities like coloring, painting, watching a funny video, blowing bubbles, playing with balloons and sitting on a beach towel with ocean noises playing and some kinectic sand to run through their fingers.
She hoped the participants got some insights not only on how they handle stress but some ideas to take back to their centers to share with the children as well.
“Give yourself permission to live your life,” she said. “Do you trust others to do what they say they will do?”
Markland advised them to submit to God and delegate.
“It comes down to trust and control,” she said. “Surrendering is a daily battle … to surrender control of my life and my circumstances.”
She encouraged to ask some questions:
• Are you able to receive compliments, thanks and encouragement with confidence?
“Inevitably someone will say, ‘That’s a nice dress’, [and] I say I got it on the clearance rack,” Markland said. “After a while, people stop giving you compliments because it’s too much work. It’s OK to say I’m good at that. If I’m not careful … [I] more or less disagree with people when they try to be good to me.”
• Do you give compliments, thanks and encouragement to others?
“I love doing that,” she said. “I love the joy it brings to people’s eyes.”
• Do you accept your limitations with grace?
• Can you forgive and move on?
“That’s a sign of maturity too,” she said. “All these things are things that add stress to life.”
Getting adequate rest and nutrition are crucial in dealing with stress.
“When I stress, the first thing I want is ice cream [and] potato chips,” she said.
When stressed, Markland advised making time for a nap or at least a timeout to give yourself time to calm down.


Neal served as the keynote speaker for the two-day training. She describes herself as an experiential learner and teacher.
She led participants through a survey to measure their leadership effectiveness in a variety of characteristics.
“The truth is we all lead in some aspect of our lives,” Neal said. “Leadership is influence, nothing more, nothing less. As leaders we have to be smart about how we spend our time and energy.”

9/7/2016 7:59:22 AM by Dianna L. Cagle, BR Production Editor | with 0 comments

Study: Abortion increases rate of mental health disorders

September 7 2016 by Julie Borg, WORLD News Service

It may be no surprise to pro-life advocates that a new study published in the July 2016 issue of the peer-reviewed journal SAGE Open Medicine confirms women who have abortions run a significantly increased risk of mental health disorders and substance abuse. But the research offers an important boon to pro-life groups in the U.S., where scientific evidence showing the harmful consequences of abortion for women has been scarce because available data is inconsistent and limited.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) does not require states to submit abortion data. Each state sets its own reporting laws and many don’t report at all. States that do provide information have no uniformity in the type of data they submit.
An extensive analysis of state abortion reporting, published by the Charlotte Lozier Institute in August 2016, found abortion reporting is weakest in states that rank highest in abortion rates, including New York, Maryland, the District of Columbia, New Jersey, Florida and California.
Because researchers have no reliable way to track abortion information, most studies they conduct on the topic have been statistically flawed. In 2008, an American Psychological Association task force conducted an evaluation of the scientific studies on abortion and mental health difficulties published since 1989. They found the majority of studies suffered from severe methodological problems.
“None of the literature reviewed adequately addressed the prevalence of mental health problems among women in the United States who have had an abortion,” the group concluded.
But in the present study, Paul Sullins, an associate professor of sociology with the Catholic University of America, did not rely on spotty statistics from the CDC. Instead, he analyzed data collected from 8,005 women in the U.S., ages 15 to 28, who participated in the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health. The study followed these women over the course of 13 years.
Sullins analyzed statistics for four groups of women: those who had given birth, those who had a voluntary abortion, those who experienced an involuntary loss of pregnancy, and those who had never been pregnant. He compared the four groups for seven mental health issues: depression, anxiety disorder, suicidal ideation, nicotine dependence, alcohol abuse, illicit drug abuse, and cannabis abuse.
The results showed women who had abortions were at a 45 percent increased risk of subsequent mental health disorders. And women who gave birth had a 0.66 lower rate of mental health problems than any of the other three groups.
Pro-abortion activists often negate studies that link abortion with subsequent mental health difficulties by accusing the researchers of failing to consider factors that might cause a woman to seek abortion and might also predispose her to mental health problems. They cite such things as a prior history of mental illness, rape, intimate partner violence, and effects associated with any pregnancy, such as hormonal changes. But Sullins took these factors into consideration in his analysis and still found that, “of the four groups which comprise all the logically possible outcomes to pregnancy, only abortion was consistently associated with higher risk of mental disorder.”
The results of this study may have implications for American abortion laws. According to Sullins, not one single study has documented mental health benefits of having an abortion. But the federal government does not permit states to prohibit even late-term abortions if the abortion is deemed necessary to preserve the life or health, including mental health, of the mother.
“The assumed premise of these arguments is that procuring an abortion will result in less anxiety, constraint, pain, and mental distress than will bringing a pregnancy to term,” Sullins wrote. But the present study shows that premise isn’t supported by scientific evidence.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Julie Borg writes for WORLD News Service, a division of WORLD Magazine,, based in Asheville, N.C. Used by permission.)

9/7/2016 7:38:52 AM by Julie Borg, WORLD News Service | with 0 comments

Hendricks named editor of Baptist Press

September 6 2016 by Baptist Press staff

The Executive Committee has named Shawn Hendricks as editor of Baptist Press, effective Sept. 1.
Last year, Hendricks began transitioning into his new role when he was named managing editor/director of operations. As editor, Hendricks will continue to direct the daily operations and content of Baptist Press and maintain the administrative duties he began a year ago. Art Toalston, who served as editor of Baptist Press for more than 23 years, was named senior editor in 2015 when Hendricks assumed his expanded duties.

“Shawn has done an amazing job this past year as he stepped into a whole new set of duties,” Roger S. Oldham, vice president for convention communications and relations with the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee, said. “Coming to us as a gifted writer and editor, he has seamlessly stepped forward to organize and assign the daily lineup of stories, engage in advance planning with BP staff and state paper editors, enlist freelance writers, solicit news content, oversee the BP team’s daily work and manage the SBC annual meeting press room.
“He has also worked to strengthen relationships with Baptist state paper editors and associates as well as media and communications personnel with our SBC entities,” Oldham said.
Hendricks accepted the position of Baptist Press managing editor in 2013 after serving two years in the same role for the Biblical Recorder, newsjournal of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina. Before that, he served for nearly 10 years as a staff writer – and later senior writer – at the International Mission Board.
“During his interview for the managing editor position following a national search, it became readily apparent that Shawn was administratively gifted,” Oldham said. “Assigning him these additional responsibilities has freed Art Toalston, editor since 1992, to step into a more focused role of finding new talent, mentoring new writers and soliciting opinion pieces from a wider range of contributors. We have an extremely strong editorial team in Art and Shawn, supported by a strong central Baptist Press team.”
Other members of the Baptist Press staff are Diana Chandler, general assignment writer/editor, David Roach, chief national correspondent and Laura Erlanson, operations coordinator. Marcia Knox serves as part-time editorial assistant.
Hendricks also worked as a news and feature writer with the State Gazette daily newspaper in Dyersburg, Tenn., 1997-98; public relations staff writer at Hannibal-LaGrange College – now Hannibal-LaGrange University – in Hannibal, Mo., 1998-99; and news and feature writer at the former newsjournal for the Missouri Baptist Convention, Word & Way, 1999-2002.
A 1996 communication arts/journalism graduate from Union University in Jackson, Tenn., Hendricks completed internships with the Indiana Baptist, newsjournal of the State Convention of Baptists in Indiana, and The Jackson Sun (Tenn.) daily newspaper. He is a native of Troy, Mo.
Hendricks, 42, is president of Baptist Communicators Association for 2016-2017. He was program co-chair for the BCA’s 2014 annual meeting at the LifeWay Conference Center in Ridgecrest, N.C. He and his wife Stephanie have an 8-year-old daughter Laura and two foster children, ages 3 and 2.

9/6/2016 3:30:59 PM by Baptist Press staff | with 0 comments

Cooperative Program 4.80% over YTD projection

September 6 2016 by Baptist Press staff

Year-to-date contributions to Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) national and international missions and ministries received by the SBC Executive Committee through 11 months of the current fiscal year are 4.80 percent above the year-to-date SBC Cooperative Program (CP) Allocation Budget projection, and are 2.80 percent above contributions received during the same time frame last year, according to a news release from Executive Committee President and CEO Frank S. Page.

The year-to-date total represents money received by the Executive Committee by the close of the last business day of August and includes receipts from state conventions, churches and individuals for distribution according to the 2015-16 SBC Cooperative Program Allocation Budget.
As of August 31, gifts received by the Executive Committee for distribution through the SBC Cooperative Program Allocation Budget through the first nine months of the convention’s fiscal year (October to September) totaled $179,161,017.35. This total is $8,202,684.02 above the $170,958,333.33 year-to-date budgeted projection to support Southern Baptist ministries globally and across North America, and is $4,884,282.36 more than the $174,276,734.99 received through the end of August 2015.
Designated giving of $199,989,817.92 for the same year-to-date period is 4.62 percent, or $8,827,875.70, above the $191,161,942.22 received at this point last year. This total includes only those gifts received and distributed by the Executive Committee and does not reflect designated gifts contributed directly to SBC entities. Designated contributions include the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions, the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering for North American Missions, Southern Baptist Global Hunger Relief and other special gifts.
August’s CP allocation receipts for SBC work totaled $15,543,752.16. Designated gifts received last month amounted to $4,934,575.04.
The convention-adopted CP Allocation Budget is distributed 50.41 percent to international missions through International Mission Board (IMB), 22.79 percent to North American missions through North American Mission Board (NAMB), 22.16 percent to theological education through the convention’s six seminaries, 2.99 percent to the SBC operating budget, and 1.65 percent to the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission. GuideStone Financial Resources and LifeWay Christian Resources are self-sustaining and do not receive CP funding.
According to the 2015-2016 budget adopted by the SBC, if the Convention exceeds its annual budget goal of $186.5 million dollars, IMB’s share will go to 51 percent of any overage in Cooperative Program allocation budget receipts. Other ministry entities of the SBC will receive their adopted percentage amounts of any overage and the SBC operating budget’s portion will be reduced to 2.4 percent of any overage.
The Cooperative Program is Southern Baptists’ channel of giving through which a local church is able to contribute to the ministries of its state convention and to the missions and ministries of the Southern Baptist Convention with a single contribution to its state convention. State and regional Baptist conventions retain a portion of church contributions to the Cooperative Program to support work in their respective states and forward a percentage to Southern Baptist national and international causes. The percentage of distribution from the states is at the discretion of the messengers of each state convention through the adoption of the state convention’s annual budget. The totals in this report reflect only the SBC portion of Cooperative Program receipts.
Month-to-month swings reflect a number of factors, including the number of Sundays in a given month, the day of the month churches forward their CP contributions to their state conventions, the percentage of CP contributions forwarded to the SBC by the state conventions after shared ministry expenses are deducted and the timing of when the state conventions forward the national portion of Cooperative Program contributions to the Executive Committee.
CP allocation budget receipts received by the Executive Committee are reported monthly to the executives of the entities of the convention, to the state convention offices, to the state Baptist papers and are posted online at
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Baptist Press reports on missions, ministry and witness advanced through the Cooperative Program and on news related to Southern Baptists’ concerns nationally and globally.)

9/6/2016 11:14:57 AM by Baptist Press staff | with 0 comments

Disaster Relief volunteer dies while serving in Louisiana

September 6 2016 by The Alabama Baptist staff

Working as part of his church’s disaster relief team, Sonny Ellis died while doing what he did best – serving people.
“He was showing the people of Denham Springs, La., an example of what Jesus would do,” said Roy Hill, pastor of First Baptist Church in Satsuma, Ala.

Sonny Ellis

On Sept. 1, Ellis had just placed a load of laundry in a washing machine with his church’s disaster relief laundry unit, which was in operation helping flood survivors of the historic flooding in south Louisiana. A little before lunch, Ellis, 72, lost his balance and fell out of the door of the unit and sustained brain injuries, Hill reported.
Ellis was taken to Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center in Baton Rouge and died later that evening.
“God is still on His throne and Jesus is still Sonny’s Savior,” Hill wrote on his Facebook page. “We were reminded last night at church that there are times we must prove that we believe what we say we believe. This is one of those times and [the Ellis family] is living out their faith.”
Ellis’ testimony is unique. A close friend and deacon at First Baptist prayed for him and shared the gospel frequently. It wasn’t until about 10 years ago that the Holy Spirit moved in Ellis’ heart and he accepted Christ and was baptized, Hill recounted.
“Ever since he got saved, goodness, he’s been a whirlwind of serving,” Hill said. “He would serve wherever there was a need.”
Ellis’ wife Gloria, who serves as the church’s financial secretary, and their two daughters were able to arrive in Baton Rouge and be with him in the hospital.
Mark Wakefield, disaster relief and chaplaincy ministry strategist for the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions, said Ellis “typifies the sacrifice made by so many disaster relief volunteers. All of them could and would be using their time doing other important things, but they choose involvement in the ministry of disaster relief – serving the Lord by serving others.”
The team from First Baptist Satsuma had been serving since Aug. 21 and was stationed at New Covenant Baptist Church in Denham Springs.
After Ellis’ death, his family requested that the laundry unit remain in operation to continue to help those in distress after the record flooding.
Hill said the unit would remain as long as there is a need, and volunteers from First Baptist would return to serve at the unit after Ellis’ funeral. At press time, volunteers from other Alabama associations were making sure the unit remained operational.
Ellis is survived by his wife, two daughters, three granddaughters and one great-grandson.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Reported by The Alabama Baptist,, newsjournal of the Alabama Baptist Convention.)

9/6/2016 11:14:41 AM by The Alabama Baptist staff | with 0 comments

9/11 memories stick with volunteers 15 years later

September 6 2016 by Dianna L. Cagle, BR Production Editor

On Sept. 11, 2001, a Tuesday morning, four coordinated terrorist attacks killed almost 3,000 people and injured more than 6,000 others. Four airplanes were hijacked by terrorists. Two planes were crashed into the North and South towers of the World Trade Center complex in New York City. Another was crashed into the western side of the Pentagon. The fourth plane, initially heading to Washington, D.C., was crashed in a Pennsylvania field as passengers fought to overcome the hijackers. It was a day most people will never forget.

The attacks caused about $10 billion in property and infrastructure damage.

BSC photo
A cross formed during the collapse of the WTC is on display during the cleanup process.

While the attacks stirred fear in most people, volunteers, including North Carolina Baptists stepped up to help. Within 24 hours of the attacks, a team was already serving food at the Pentagon. Here are three stories of people who responded to D.C. and New York within the first week:

‘Preach the gospel’

“I remember the steel rising above the rubble. I remember exhausted workers with the smell of smoke and sweat leaving the scene emotionally and physically wiped out. I remember the tears of those with whom we prayed.”
Thomas White was among a group of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary (SEBTS) students who went to New York after 9/11.
“We had a desire to do something,” White said. “We wanted to go and pray with hurting people and to share the hope of the [g]ospel with those who may have felt hopeless at the time.”
White had just started his doctor of philosophy degree and was serving as SEBTS director of student life. He traveled with several students in a 15-passenger van from Wake Forest.

BSC photo
A temporary memorial wall set up near the World Trade Center (WTC) drew crowds of people. They brought flags, notes and flowers to the area to participate in the mourning process.

The group stopped on the side of the road in Washington, D.C., on the way. “We looked at the damage to the Pentagon and prayed with others.”
The team spent nights in their van “because we didn’t have the money for hotel rooms,” White said. They led their parking attendant to Christ, along with seven others, and passed out 2,000 tracts and numerous Bibles.
“One night in a park, we sang praises to God, and as a crowd would gather, one of us would share the [g]ospel as the hope of the world with the crowd, and then we would break up and pray with people. After they dispersed, we would do it all again. I remember the long line of volunteers wanting to help.”
The events of 9/11 highlighted what is truly important, White said.
“This tragedy forced America to consider evil, the fragile nature of life, and our own eternity,” he stressed. “Even if only for a brief time, it forced us to rely on something bigger than our own strength, and in those moments people seem more open to the [g]ospel and more serious about considering their own eternal destiny.”
For White, that event and the following trip helped solidify the importance “of being ready to provide a case for the hope within us during the challenges of life that lead to serious reflection.”
Since 9/11, White finished his second SEBTS degree and moved to Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (SWBTS) in Fort Worth, Texas, where he served as director of leadership development. From 2006-2013 White was SWBTS vice president for student services and communications and associate professor of systematic theology.
Now, White serves as the president of Cedarville University in Ohio as well as a professor of theology. He urges every student to go on a mission trip before they graduate, and he makes going part of his routine as well.
“I personally try to make sure I am on an overseas trip every two years because I don’t want to ask my students to do something I am not doing myself,” White said.
White remembers one of his fellow student’s boldness in New York. As a line of people, mostly firefighters, were waiting to volunteer, this student jumped up on a wall and began “to preach the [g]ospel of Jesus Christ like a modern-day Paul proclaiming truth in Athens.
“Every eye and every ear focused on his words. Hope for the hopeless and good news for the desperate.
“A boldness that does not care what people may think or what they may say because we are merely servants of the Most High God. His ambassadors pleading on His behalf, be reconciled to Christ.”

Responded three times

Paul Hooker responded to 9/11 three times in a matter of months. He was on the second team that went to Washington, D.C. He arrived on Friday after Tuesday’s terrorist attacks. Rescue teams were still searching through the building for survivors. Hooker was part of the night shift for the feeding team, which was working 24 hours a day in order to feed the workers when they were able to find time to eat.

BSC photo
North Carolina Baptists, who are known by their yellow disaster relief shirts and hats, responded to the 9/11 attacks less than 24 hours after the World Trade Center was struck by an airplane. They arrived, set up a kitchen and were serving food by the next afternoon. The fire was still being fought. Military and fire and rescue personnel were still searching for survivors.

“I think I was, like most of our country … in shock that this had actually happened,” Hooker said, commenting that it was eerie to be in one of the most congested areas and not hear any air traffic.
In 2001, Hooker worked for Duke Energy and served as a bivocational associate pastor of missions for New Vision Fellowship in Madison, N.C., a church which he helped start in 1997. Now, Hooker pastors the church.
In November, Hooker made his first trip to New York. His team was based in an old naval shipyard.
Hooker stayed in an old Navy brig that belonged to the N.Y. Police Department. His team fed all the volunteers who were working at Ground Zero and cleaning apartments for residents. He and his team only went to Ground Zero one afternoon because they were serving meals the rest of the time.
While he was there, an engine fell off a plane over Long Island. It burned a gas station.
“Many people, including us, thought it was happening again,” Hooker said.
In January 2002, Hooker was back in New York. This time, he and his team served on Staten Island feeding workers who were combing through debris that was being brought in from Ground Zero.
He recalls they found $5,000 one day as well as fire trucks, driver’s licenses and bones.
Most recently, Hooker coordinated a mass feeding unit in Mount Nebo, W.Va. “Approximately every 10 weeks we’ve got a team going to Johnsonville [S.C.],” said Hooker, who is the feeding coordinator for region 5 for Baptists on Mission (or North Carolina Baptist Men). The size of the groups vary but Hooker said Baptists on Mission does a good job with logistics and administration.
He has been responding to disasters since Hurricane Andrew in 1992. He’s been to Honduras several times.
His family is involved too. His three children have all been on foreign mission trips.
“It’s a blessing to see your children serving others,” he said.
Hooker related Baptists on Mission volunteers to a story from the New Testament.
“Different parts of the body have different things to do,” he said, mentioning some of the different response teams: feeding unit, laundry, child care, communications, chainsaw, etc.
“It’s all the same body working for Christ,” he said.

Longtime responder

Skip Greene, a general contractor in Boone for almost 50 years, said his experience with home-based disaster relief in the military during the Vietnam War helped spur his interest when he returned from his service. He was part of Baptists on Mission, also known as North Carolina Baptist Men, when teams developed in Durham and later in Boone.

BR photo by Dianna L. Cagle
A cross made out of the Pentagon rubble after 9/11 sits in a display case in the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina building in Cary. One side is dedicated to remembrances from the Pentagon response. The other side is filled with Ground Zero memorabilia.

Long before 9/11, Greene responded to Hurricane Andrew when it hit Miami and later Hurricane Hugo.
“9/11 was really the first manmade disaster that I ever responded to,” he said.
Greene was listening to his radio when he heard about what happened at the World Trade Center.
“By lunchtime we were already putting a team together out of this area,” Greene said. By 9 p.m. that night, a team of about 15 people left Boone for the Pentagon.
Greene was on the phone trying to figure out how to get all his convoy to the Pentagon. After several calls, Virginia Highway Patrol “basically stopped the interstate,” he said, “and we pulled in the building [as it] was still on fire.”
The team served its first meal Sept. 12 in the middle of the afternoon. The police also escorted the team’s food trucks with needed supplies.
Teams rotated every four to five days and served food 24 hours a day. Meals were even carried into the Pentagon by people wearing those yellow shirts known for their disaster relief work.
“I could see the faces of people dealing with life and death situations,” he said. “There were men and women just giving it all to try to save people.”
Greene said the images are “imprinted in my heart and mind. This was our homeland. This was not Iraq, not Vietnam.”
One fireman sat on the ground beside a truck when Greene saw him and took him some food.
He sat next to him. “We didn’t make eye contact,” he said. “[I] put my arm around him and hugged him for about 10 minutes.”
Greene still sees the faces. While Greene did have a chaplain on the team, at the time Baptists on Mission did not have chaplain training. “A big part of what we do now is recovery,” he said.
He remembers the story of one man who left three men in his office to go to the bathroom when the plane struck the Pentagon. Those three men were killed.
Those real-life stories didn’t always make the headlines, but Greene said 9/11 was the beginning of chaplaincy for Baptists on Mission.
Greene remembered Hurricane Hazel hitting his grandparent’s place along the N.C. coast. People who helped his family inspired Greene to get involved later.
A member of First Baptist Church in Boone, Greene praises the people with whom he volunteers.
“I’ve always had a good team of people working with me,” he said.
When Hurricane Sandy hit in late fall 2012, Greene’s team had an unusual situation. Snow had fallen, and volunteers were cooking hot meals while out in the elements.
“The disaster was still there, and the people still needed to eat,” he explained.
These kind of disasters always stay with you.
“Being there 12-24 hours after the fact, there’s no way that a human being can erase that from their mind,” Greene stressed.
“I don’t see how they can live without reliving it on a regular basis.”
He returned to the Pentagon a month later and met some of those who had lost loved ones, and a year later, he was back in D.C. on behalf of N.C. Baptists at a ceremony to accept a sandstone cross made out of the Pentagon rubble.
There were four crosses made. Baptists on Mission has one in a display case at the Baptist State Convention of N.C. building in Cary. The cross flew to North Carolina in a seat next to Greene after a D.C. ceremony presenting it.
The other crosses are at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., the Pennsylvania 9/11 memorial site and St. Paul’s Chapel next to the World Trade Center.
The North Carolina Missions Offering (NCMO) supports efforts like disaster relief and recovery as well as church planting and associational ministries. September is NCMO emphasis month. This year’s goal is $2.1 million. Visit

9/6/2016 11:05:14 AM by Dianna L. Cagle, BR Production Editor | with 0 comments

South Roanoke association pursues relevance

September 6 2016 by Dianna L. Cagle, BR Production Editor

South Roanoke Baptist Association keeps pursuing its mission and vision statement. Even though there was a leadership change in 2014, the drive to impact lostness, strengthen churches and be relevant continues.

“I’m still learning,” said Scott Setzer, South Roanoke’s associational missionary since November 2014. “I learn something new all the time. I had to get out of pastor mode” and start thinking like a catalyst.
Setzer pastored a church within the association – Second Baptist Church, Washington – prior to taking this position. While leading Second Baptist for 5.5 years, he served on one of the association’s leadership teams.
South Roanoke association covers seven counties in eastern North Carolina and includes 74 churches.
“We have to show churches that we are relevant,” Setzer said. “We do have something to offer to help you.”

Phil Frady, who was associational missionary for nine years prior to Setzer, saw the association almost close.

Contributed photo
A group trains for a prayer walking event in South Roanoke Baptist Association.

While the association was in dire straits financially, Frady believes South Roanoke’s true problem stemmed from relevance. “The churches weren’t … sure if there needed to be an association,” Frady said, which spurred the creation of DARTS (an acronym for discovering associational realities through spiritual journey).
For a year he and other DARTS leaders examined what the Bible had to say, trying to answer the question, “Why did we need to be there?” he said. “The real burning problem was not the association but the … churches. They hadn’t paid attention to how much the churches were in decline.”
Citing the percentage of lostness, Frady stressed that “the churches were not in good shape. We needed to exist [to help] the churches get healthy. We needed to help the churches reach the lost.”
At the time, Frady believed his association was competing with the churches instead of helping the churches grow stronger.
The process was deliberate but slow, Frady said.
“We stopped doing everything else we were doing,” he said. “We stopped doing the community ministries. We put that back in the hand of the churches. In a lot of ways we were taking away things that put health in the churches.”
Asking a few questions, the DARTS team narrowed down some key issues churches thought were important: aging membership, loss of leadership, lack of workers and cultural issues. Those answers helped shape what teams the association created: church strengthening, impacting lostness, prayer, missions ministry and administration.
DARTS was made up of about 24 people. Frady asked pastors for a name of someone in their church who cared about the association. At the time, the association had 64 churches. While Frady didn’t ask pastors to serve on the team, some asked to be a part of the process.
“I work for you,” Frady told the pastors. “I’m on your staff.”
Frady brought in leaders ministry and management. The association went from 140 people serving on various committees and leadership to around 20. Frady said the finances began to turn around, and the association paid its debts. Pastors stayed longer in their churches, the number of baptisms began to level out instead of decline and missions giving increased. Frady believes the association is “positioned to be the most strategic in the life of the church … just because it’s there.”
Frady said directors of mission need to familiarize themselves with pastors and find ways to connect leaders with materials as well as training.
The smaller organization costs less money but Frady said associational missionaries need to get moving. They need to be visiting pastors, praying for them and finding ways to help the churches meet the needs of its community through the members of the church.

Key training

“A lot of our guys are extremely well meaning,” he said referring to pastors. “A lot of us come up through the ranks because we can preach … many of us don’t really have backgrounds” in leadership or how to cast a vision. Frady believes associations involve missionary effort and a deeper spiritual awareness.
He asks pastors who seek associational missionary positions to consider why God called them to preach the gospel. That feeling, the excitement of sharing God’s Word can be transferred to directors of missions too.
When Paul was writing to Titus, he gave him an assignment: to build up the church.
Frady asks two main questions:

  • How do you understand how organizations work?
  • How do you lead people?

Since Frady retired to Southport, he continues to consult with associations as well as be involved in restarting a church in their area. He and his wife are working with Oak Island First Baptist Church.
Setzer has brought in key leaders from the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina (BSC) to help local leaders learn about the lostness in the area as well as how to tackle it.

Chuck Campbell, BSC strategy coordinator for the Greenville area, has educated association leaders about three out of 100 pockets of lostness in the state.
Greenville is No. 50 on the list with No. 98 and No. 99 both in Pitt County. “We’re trying to bring that awareness,” Setzer says as well as help in disciple making. The “biggest shift in my thinking [was] moving out of trying to lead a church, to trying to help churches see what’s around them – the mission fields around them.”

Having served on the impacting lostness team for the association before becoming its associational missionary, Setzer said the teams always ask whether what they are doing is “in keeping with what we say we are. If associations can realize that they aren’t the church, I think it will get them further down the road.”
At the association’s quarterly meeting in July, the attendees focused on one of the top 100 pockets of lostness in their area. They prayed for the lost and asked for a burden for reaching the area. Recently, Setzer said churches gathered to prayer walk in that area. They had a training session and then spent about an hour prayer walking. That meeting spurred talks of possible church plants in the area. “It’s really neat to see what God is doing in churches that want to be about making disciples,” Setzer said.
The leaner association allows for quicker decisions and is more cost efficient, Setzer said. Setzer remains thankful for Frady’s leadership. “Phil Frady plowed all that ground and got this association to a healthy spot,” Setzer said. Then, Frady spent time helping Setzer understand the association and giving him advice on ministry.
Frady said it is a scary time for churches and associations. “Churches have to change,” he said. “You’re not cutting edge until you actually change churches.”
One thing is certain, he said, “churches are always going to associate.”

South Roanoke Baptist Association

Mission statement: The South Roanoke Baptist Association exists to serve churches as an intentional instigator for church development toward vitality and as a catalyst for networked church involvement towards Kingdom and community impact.
Vision statement: The Vision of the South Roanoke Baptist Association is vital, healthy churches, networking to fulfill the Great Commission.

9/6/2016 10:58:50 AM by Dianna L. Cagle, BR Production Editor | with 0 comments

One Day event equips churches to make disciples

September 6 2016 by Emily Rojas, BSC Communications

In Matthew 28, Jesus commands His followers to go and make disciples, and on Aug. 20 many North Carolina Baptists gathered in Statesville to learn how to do just that.

Cris Alley

At the One Day conference held at Western Avenue Baptist Church, pastors, church staff and lay leaders joined together to learn how to make disciples who impact lostness in their daily lives. The event was sponsored by the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina (BSC).
Cris Alley, the BSC strategic coordinator for the Triangle region, was the event’s keynote speaker, and conference-goers had the option to attend 15 different equipping tracks covering various church ministries, including a Hispanic track for Spanish speakers.
During the opening session, Lynn Sasser, executive leader for the evangelism and discipleship group, introduced Patterned, the recently-released 10-week Bible study produced by the convention. With contributions from many N.C. Baptists, the study is designed for all Christians to gain spiritual depth and to give practical application for disciple-making.
Throughout the event, disciple-making remained the focus of One Day. In his keynote address, Alley spoke about God’s own method of disciple-making: God calls people out of the world, grows them in His image and sends them back into the world.
“As God grows you as an individual in His image, your life shows those whom you disciple an unforgettable picture that life is better lived God’s way,” Alley said. “The image of God in your relationships helps the unbeliever believe the unbelievable.”
A highlight of the event was the Hispanic track, which drew an especially large crowd this year. More than 100 people attended this track, representing almost a 300 percent increase in this track’s attendance since it was last held in 2015.
Those who came to the Hispanic track learned how to create a disciple-making culture and strategy among Hispanics, how to respond to the immigration needs of Hispanics and how to network among Hispanics for disciple-making. One Day was designed to equip all North Carolina Baptists – from pastors to lay members – to be disciple-makers and to help local churches create disciple-making cultures. That aspect of the conference was what drew many to attend.
Lori Smoot, a member of Hales Chapel Baptist Church in Zebulon, recently came back to the United States after serving overseas for four years with the International Mission Board (IMB). She said she came to One Day because she wanted to learn how to be a part of living life on mission in North America.
“I really want to embrace the culture that we have as Americans and share the gospel within it,” Smoot said. “I want to just encourage local churches to share the gospel and to make disciples.”
Many pastors also attended this event, including Pastor Elijah London of Sweetwater Baptist Church in Hickory. London said he thought One Day addressed the church’s need to return to discipleship and live out the Great Commission.
“We need to turn from our way of doing things to back to what the Bible teaches us to do to be about the main mission of Jesus,” London said.
“We can take the tools we’ve gained here back as we try to make disciples within our context at our church, and then begin to saturate the environments around us with the gospel.”


9/6/2016 10:53:19 AM by Emily Rojas, BSC Communications | with 0 comments

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