April 2003

Patterson remains committed to Southeastern

April 17 2003 by Tony W. Cartledge , BR Editor

Patterson remains committed to Southeastern | Thursday, April 17, 2003

Thursday, April 17, 2003

Patterson remains committed to Southeastern

By Tony W. Cartledge BR Editor

WAKE FOREST - Trustees of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary (SEBTS) heard welcome news from president Paige Patterson, elected four professors and approved the establishment of two new chairs during the annual spring meeting April 14-15.

Speculation has abounded that Patterson, now in his 11th year at Southeastern, could be a candidate for the newly vacated president's position at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (SWBTS) in Fort Worth, Texas. Patterson was president of The Criswell College and associate pastor of First Baptist Church in Dallas from 1975-92, during the years when he helped engineer a strongly conservative shift in the leadership of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC). Many observers have assumed that the presidency of SWBTS, billed as the world's largest seminary, would appeal to Patterson.

During a question and answer period following his address to the trustees, Patterson was asked to comment. "The healthiest thing in the Southern Baptist Convention is the rumor mill," Patterson said. "It's not always accurate, but it's always healthy."

Patterson said he has not been contacted by anyone on the search committee, and has given no consideration to the matter. Patterson said Hemphill had shared about three years ago that he was considering a career change because "he still had a heart for the pastorate."

Hemphill contacted him and some other friends several weeks ago to let them know he could be available, Patterson said. Shortly afterward, SBC Executive Committee president Morris Chapman invited Hemphill to become the national spokesperson for the SBC's new "Empowering Kingdom Growth" emphasis.

Concerning the vacancy, Patterson said "I have not been approached by anyone on the committee at all about it." Patterson said the committee has many good choices available to it. That is good news, Patterson said, because "that was not always true in the past."

Patterson said he was worried more about his vice-presidents being contacted.

"With me, it's unlikely they would take a divorced man," he quipped, noting his wife Dorothy's deep affection for and strong commitment to Southeastern Seminary. Dorothy Patterson is Professor of Women's Studies at SEBTS.

"I make it a practice not to dignify anything with prayer or effort unless there is some good reason," Patterson said, "and I have had no contact."

Board chair Timothy Lewis said he believed God had called Patterson to SEBTS "for such a time as this."

"We don't want you to go back to Egypt, but stay here and help us," he said, adding "We are most grateful for Mrs. Patterson's perspective."

Patterson replied, "I would be the most surprised man in the world, from several aspects, if that should happen [moving to SWBTS]."

President's address

Earlier, Patterson reported to trustees that the school continues to grow, though at a slower rate than in recent years. School officials declined to provide current enrollment figures to the Recorder, a departure from recent practice. Public relations officer Jerry Higgins said he could release only a "non-duplicating head count" of 1,711 for seminary programs and 561 for the college. Those numbers include all students enrolled in any of the seminary's on-campus and off-campus programs during the academic year, and are therefore higher than actual enrollment at any given time.

Southeastern has lost about $150,000 in income from vacancies in school housing because local apartment complexes have overbuilt and are offering special student discounts, Patterson told the trustees.

Patterson said SEBTS has successfully completed its scheduled accreditation procedures with SACS and ATS, including full clearance for the seminary's doctor of philosophy program.

One year into the $16.5 million first phase of a capital funding campaign, the school is more than halfway to the goal, Patterson said. The economic downturn has caused some pledges to come in more slowly than anticipated, he said, which could delay construction on the "desperately needed" new student center. Patterson said he is hoping for a large gift to cover the cost of the center's food service area, which he said will be designed to look like a large Bedouin tent.

Patterson told trustees "the Lord has given me a new evangelistic outlet." Patterson, an avid hunter, said he has been speaking across the country at about three sportsmen's banquets per month. The banquets, which often feature wild game on the menu, attract large numbers of sportsmen. Many of the participants do not go to church, and some have never heard the gospel, Patterson said.

More than 2700 attended a recent event near Birmingham, Ala., he said, and 101 made professions of faith. A smaller banquet in Virginia had 65 present, with eight professing faith in Christ.

New faculty

Trustees elected three new faculty members for Southeastern College and one for the seminary.

David Hogg was elected as Assistant Professor of Church History for the seminary. Hogg, a Canadian, specializes in the medieval period.

Michael Travers, a student of the works of John Milton and C. S. Lewis, was elected Professor of English for Southeastern College.

Phyllis McCraw, who Patterson said has taught grammar in the college for some time, was elected as Assistant Professor of English and Composition.

George Chok was elected Assistant Professor of Theology. A native of Hong Kong, Chok is fluent in Mandarin, Cantonese, and Shanghaiese, which Patterson described as a valuable asset for the school. Chok will also teach in the college.

New chairs

The trustees voted to open accounts for three student aid funds and for two named chairs at the seminary, the "Charles Page Chair of Biblical Theology" and the "Dorothy Kelly Patterson Chair of Women's Studies." Sufficient pledges have been made to open both accounts, Patterson said, but neither has been fully funded. A minimum of $200,000 in pledges is needed to open an account, which must accumulate a corpus of $1 million before it can become active.

In other matters, trustees voted to move $1.2 million in endowment funds from the Southern Baptist Foundation to SEI, the company that manages Southeastern's other endowment funds. They also approved new student fees, adopted revisions to degree programs for both the college and seminary, and voted to reactivate a non-profit foundation begun in 1982 for the purpose of receiving donations as a charitable remainder trust. Trustees updated the foundation's charter with several bylaw changes, reducing its board from 12 to five members, all to come from the SEBTS trustee board.

Acknowledging that they had mistakenly failed to elect officers at their January meeting, trustees voted to retain the same officers until January 2004. Timothy Lewis of Troy, Ill. is chair, Jimmy Jacumin of Connally Springs is vice-chair, Jim Goldston of Raleigh is secretary, and Philip Mercer of Columbia, Md., is treasurer.

Page honored

Charles Page, pastor of First Baptist Church in Charlotte, was honored during chapel services on April 15 with an announcement of the plan for an endowed "Charles Page Chair of Biblical Theology." Page and his wife, Sandra, a former SEBTS trustee, were given an engraved plaque.

Patterson said Page's consistent excellence in the pulpit was born of a great love for God, of time with God, and of a love for people. "No one who knows him would ever doubt that he is a true prophet of God, a true man of God," Patterson said.

Page, who has been battling multiple myeloma for the past seven years, said he attributes his continued survival to prayer. "Multiple myeloma is an incurable disease according to medical science," he said, "but because of your prayers, God has given me extension of life."

Page currently travels twice weekly to a research medical center in Little Rock, Arkansas, where he continues to undergo treatment for the disease.

In his chapel message, Page talked about the importance of God's call, using Isaiah 6:1-8 as a text.

Isaiah's call emerged from a time of confrontation and crisis, Page said, as the death of King Uzziah "drove Isaiah to the temple to seek the face of God."

As God's glory was revealed, Isaiah was led to confession, recognizing what kind of man he was and what kind of world he inhabited.

A time of crisis leads us to examine ourselves, Page said. "I don't have any fear of dying, of illness, of disease," Page said. "I have a fear of cold-heartedness. I pray 'may I have a warm heart always. Don't let me lose the glow of joy of your presence day by day.'"

Page said he has had every medical scan known to man, some of which are capable of peering into the human body. Just so, the eyes of God can look beneath the surface and see who we are, he said.

Through confrontation and confession, Isaiah heard God's call, Page said, becoming one of the greatest prophets in history. Answering God's call not only changed Isaiah's life, but the life of the nation, Page said.

Page recalled his own sense of calling from God, and challenged the audience to remember their calling in trying times. "It will keep you from getting a cold heart," he said.

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4/17/2003 12:00:00 AM by Tony W. Cartledge , BR Editor | with 0 comments

Raleigh church cheers for 'Idol' contestant

April 17 2003 by Steve DeVane , BR Managing Editor

Raleigh church cheers for 'Idol' contestant | Thursday, April 17, 2003

Thursday, April 17, 2003

Raleigh church cheers for 'Idol' contestant

By Steve DeVane BR Managing Editor

Members of Leesville Baptist Church in Raleigh have a new routine after Bible Study on Wednesday nights - they watch a television show.

The show is American Idol. One of their own is among the finalist on the national program with a recording contract going to the winner.

Clay Aiken, a member of the church who has sang at the church often, is among the final six contestants on the Fox network show.

Roger Shuford, the church's pastor, said members usually gather in the church fellowship hall or at the home of Aiken's mother, Faye Parker, on Wednesday's to see if Aiken made it through to the next round.

The show airs on Tuesday and Wednesday nights.

On Tuesdays the contestants perform and are critiqued by the show's judges. Immediately after the show, toll-free phone lines are open for two hours to allow viewers to cast votes for their favorite contestants.

"Everybody watches on Tuesday night," Shuford said. "My wife and I take turns voting."

On Wednesdays, the contestant who received the lowest number of votes is eliminated from the competition.

Shuford said the church has been supportive of Aiken's participation on the show. Information about him is posted on the church's web site at www.leesvillebaptist.com.

Shuford said Aiken was singing at the church since he was a little boy. He was singing every few months before he became a contestant on American Idol. Aiken is a student at UNC-Charlotte.

"He just amazes us all," Shuford said.

He said Aiken's mother has asked for the church to pray that God will keep him close.

"We're very thankful for his talent," Shuford said. "We're confident that God will get the glory."

Shuford said he thinks Aiken will at least make it into the final two contestants.

"It's amazing to watch him," Shuford said. "When he feels a song you can see it all over his face.

"He's an awesome young man."

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4/17/2003 12:00:00 AM by Steve DeVane , BR Managing Editor | with 0 comments

BSC income 11.3 percent below budget

April 11 2003 by Tony W. Cartledge , BR Editor

BSC income 11.3 percent below budget | Friday, April 11, 2003

Friday, April 11, 2003

BSC income 11.3 percent below budget

By Tony W. Cartledge BR Editor

A persistent decline in cooperative mission gifts from the churches has Baptist State Convention leaders scrambling for solutions. "The words I would use are 'gravely concerned,'" executive director-treasurer Jim Royston told the Recorder. Royston has instructed convention staff to reduce their operating budgets by 15 percent in all areas other than fixed costs for personnel and contract commitments.

Through the first 12 weeks of the fiscal year, churches had contributed $7.68 million, nearly a million dollars below the $8.66 million that would have been received if giving toward the convention's $37.55 million budget was on target. The figure is $364,596, or 4.5 percent, less than had been given at the same point in 2002.

Convention receipts were down in Plans A, B and C, though slightly up in Plan D through the 12-week period, reflecting a continued movement of some churches from Plan A to Plan D.

The shift to Plan D, which allots less money to the BSC's operating budget, is compounding the convention's budget woes because annual budget goals are still based on the assumption that the BSC will receive 68 percent of cooperative missions giving, as called for in Plans A, B and C. Plan D giving allots only 50 percent toward the convention budget, resulting in a loss to the BSC operating budget of 18 cents for every dollar moved from one of the other plans into Plan D.

As the plan grows in popularity - about 16 percent of cooperative mission funds now come through Plan D - the shortfall widens. At current giving levels, even if the BSC's $37.55 million budget should be fully funded, receipts actually available for the convention's operating budget would be more than a million dollars short for the year.

The current financial shortfall comes at a time when Royston had challenged BSC churches to support robust budget growth. In early 2001, Royston announced a goal, later endorsed by the BSC's elected leaders, of budget growth from $35 million to $50 million in five years.

But the budget has grown only incrementally for the past two years, and it now appears likely that the 2004 budget goal may actually decline.

Unless giving improves, Royston said, "there is no doubt we will have to dip into reserves this year to meet personnel-related and commitment-dependent issues."

North Carolina churches have been affected by weather on several wintry Sundays, but convention leaders agree that the drop is not due to weather alone. When giving shot up during the first week of March, officials were hopeful of a turnaround, but gifts quickly dropped off in the remaining weeks of the month.

Many factors may come into play. Some churches, facing struggles of their own during the nation's lingering economic downturn, have sought relief in reducing cooperative missions giving. Churches that give a percentage of their undesignated income to cooperative missions naturally send less when their own giving is down. Most churches continue to put a set amount in their budgets, which tend to remain static.

A number of churches, however, have told convention officials that they have simply chosen to redirect some funds away from cooperative missions giving and toward local church projects, according to John Roberson, the BSC's resource and development director. Roberson said many of those churches, both conservative and moderate, are involved in capital spending campaigns.

The 2003 budget recommendation included provisions for a small amount of funding (.6 percent) for each beneficiary of the BSC budget to be withheld as a means of financing more effective promotion of the cooperative missions budget, but the plan has yet to be implemented.

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4/11/2003 12:00:00 AM by Tony W. Cartledge , BR Editor | with 0 comments

Campbell students sleep in 'Cardboard City'

April 11 2003 by Steve DeVane , BR Managing Editor

Campbell students sleep in 'Cardboard City' | Friday, April 11, 2003

Friday, April 11, 2003

Campbell students sleep in 'Cardboard City'

By Steve DeVane BR Managing Editor

BUIES CREEK - Some Campbell University students voluntarily got a taste of homelessness April 4.

Campbell's Social Work Club sponsored a "Cardboard City" to heighten awareness about homelessness. About 20 students and Debra Brown, the club's faculty advisor, slept in cardboard boxes near the fountain on Campbell's campus.

Brown said she thinks the students had "an eye opener" to some of the experiences of homeless people.

Brown said the event became realistic for her when she woke up at 5:30 a.m. on April 5. She went to a nearby dorm that was supposed to be open so a bathroom would be available.

The dorm was locked.

After Brown tried several buildings, she got in her car to go find an open fast food restaurant. Then she remembered that she could get a campus security officer to open a dorm.

"You better believe we had some idea of what it must be like" to be homeless, she said. "You know, I had walked for some time with my body filled with water.

"That was some experience for me. It made it even more realistic for me."

The students raised at least $50 and some food for the Beacon Rescue Mission in Dunn, Brown said.

Campbell students Keyonna Chance, left, and April Lancaster prepare to spend the night in cardboard boxes.
April Lancaster, a junior from Hope Mills, said she had a difficult time getting comfortable enough to go to sleep. The streetlights shining through her cardboard box also bothered her.

"It wasn't my bed, so it was kinda weird," she said.

Lancaster said the television on which the students watched movies about homelessness made the event a little less realistic.

"I really enjoyed it," she said. "The only problem was we had the necessities that homeless people don't have."

Sarah Hipps, a senior from Wilmington, was president of the club last year. She said she had read about similar events when she was in high school and thought it would be a good way to get people to think about homeless people.

Only three students participated last year. She said she was thrilled that six times that number took part this year.

"It was really exciting to see something I had thought of carried through," she said. "It was inspiring to see them all out there."

Current club president Jennifer Thomas planned this year's event, Hipps said.

"Last year's Cardboard City was held when the temperature got down to 32 degrees," Hipps said. "This year was much warmer.

"It made it a little bit unrealistic because we knew we had homes to go to and after we slept out there we could go home to food and a shower," she said. "The homeless don't have that. It's not just a one-night event for them."

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4/11/2003 12:00:00 AM by Steve DeVane , BR Managing Editor | with 0 comments

Control main issue when pastors fired, survey finds

April 11 2003 by Steve DeVane , BR Managing Editor

Control main issue when pastors fired, survey finds | Friday, April 11, 2003

Friday, April 11, 2003

Control main issue when pastors fired, survey finds

By Steve DeVane BR Managing Editor

Most pastors forced out of churches in 2002 left over control issues, a Baptist State Convention (BSC) survey found.

Officials from all 80 N.C. Baptist associations participated in the survey.

Wayne Oakes, a consultant for the pastoral ministries team in the BSC Congregational Services Group, said the results of the survey are similar to those in the five years the BSC has done the survey.

Thirty-one directors of missions said that control issues over who is going to run the church were a common cause of forced terminations, according to the survey. Twenty-five said the pastor's poor people skills were a common cause.

Twenty-three associational officials said a pastoral leadership style that was too strong was a common cause of forced terminations.

"One of the things today that's impacting forced terminations is pastors are listening to some of the wrong voices about how to be a pastor," Oakes said.

Some pastors go to conferences where pastors of mega-churches present the "CEO model" of pastoral leadership, telling pastors that God has called them to be the pastor of the church and they should tell the congregation what to do. The conference leaders are used to pastoring a church with thousands of members, Oakes said.

"You bring that down to a rural North Carolina church with 50 to 60 members ... it's a totally different situation," he said.

Some pastors with the best of intentions don't have the experience or insight to realize that, Oakes said.

Nineteen directors of missions said pastors were forced out because of conflict that existed before the pastor arrived, according to the survey.

Other reasons for forced terminations and the number of directors of missions who listed them as a common cause were: the church's resistance to change, 15; decline in attendance and/or contributions, 11; pastor's leadership style too weak, 7; administrative incompetence by the pastor, 6; and disagreement over doctrine, 5.

Sexual misconduct was listed by just two directors of missions. Only one mentioned ethical misconduct.

The survey found that 64 full-time pastors and 19 bi-vocational pastors were forced from their ministry positions last year. Twenty full-time staff members and three part-time staff members were forced out, according to the survey.

Oakes said many forced terminations might not be recorded because the associational officials aren't aware of them. The pastor might be hesitant to tell the director of missions because it would hurt the chances of getting a favorable recommendation, Oakes said. Churches might not want the association to know about it because they are embarrassed, he said.

At other times, the forced termination might be kept quiet within the church. Oakes said the deacons or other church leaders might privately tell the pastor that it's time to leave, allowing the pastor to "escape by the skin of his teeth."

Oakes said as many as 400 ministers in North Carolina might be fired each year.

"My suspicion would be that the number of actual forced terminations is much higher than what we report," he said.

The results of the survey will be compiled with information from 27 other states for a national report on forced terminations to be released in July.

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4/11/2003 12:00:00 AM by Steve DeVane , BR Managing Editor | with 0 comments

Fort Bragg meeting of pastors questioned

April 11 2003 by Steve DeVane , BR Managing Editor

Fort Bragg meeting of pastors questioned | Friday, April 11, 2003

Friday, April 11, 2003

Fort Bragg meeting of pastors questioned

By Steve DeVane BR Managing Editor

Army officials have decided that a planned meeting of pastors at Fort Bragg meets military guidelines.

The gathering April 22-23 is intended to help pastors learn evangelism lessons from military strategy, according to its organizer, Bobby Welch, pastor of First Baptist Church in Daytona Beach, Fla. The event is part of training for pastors in the FAITH Sunday School evangelism program.

A watchdog group tried to get the event cancelled, saying it violates the separation of church and state.

Carol Darby, a spokesperson for Army Special Operations Command, said Army lawyers looked into the gathering and decided that it met Department of Defense directives and Army regulations.

"The request does fall under a program called 'Community Relations,'" she said.

About four or five groups tour Army Special Operations Command under the program each year, Darby said.

While the meeting will go on, it's unclear if it will live up to its original billing.

Welch is a friend of Maj. Gen. William G. Boykin, commander of the Army's John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School at Fort Bragg.

Welch reportedly told pastors in a letter that the event is a "once in a lifetime opportunity to join a group of warriors" at Fort Bragg.

"You can be absolutely guaranteed you will never, ever have this type of opportunity again!" Welch wrote. "You will go with General Boykin and Green Beret instructors to places where no civilians and few soldiers ever go."

Pastors were told they would see a Special Forces demonstration of "today's war fighting weapons" and a visit to the "Shoot House" to learn how "Special Forces attack the enemy inside buildings."

Darby said the pastors will have access similar to that granted to other civic groups. The group will watch some training and hear "briefings" about Special Operations capabilities, she said.

In a telephone interview, Welch said he doesn't back down from his statements. "We will see some things the average citizen doesn't see, simply because the average citizen doesn't go through the trouble to ask and go out there," he said.

Welch said he doesn't know of any "major changes" to the program.

Army Special Operations Command officials added a presentation by the unit's chaplain to the program because they thought it might interest the pastors, Darby said. Such changes are often made in the program depending on the age and interest of the group, she said.

Welch's letter reportedly said the event would include a speech by Boykin and informal time with the general.

Darby said Boykin would likely only meet and welcome the group to Fort Bragg.

Welch said Boykin he believes that Boykin will get to spend time with the group. The general's interaction with the group was always subject to his availability, Welch said.

Welch also indicated in his letter to pastors that they would spend the night on post.

Darby said they will stay in a hotel off post at their own expense.

Americans United for Separation of Church and State (AU) had raised questions about Boykin's endorsement of the program and the use of military facilities and personnel for the event. The group wrote a letter of protest to Army Secretary Thomas E. White calling for the event to be cancelled.

"This is a clear violation of the separation of church and state," said AU Executive Director Barry W. Lynn. "Our military has no business using its resources to aid evangelism.

"It is especially outrageous to hold this kind of event at a time when America's relationship with Muslim countries is strained. This sends exactly the wrong signal at the wrong time."

Welch took issue with the AU statement regarding Muslims.

"What did that have to do with anything?" he said.

Welch said that the group had made "uneducated, uninformed and outright ignorant statements." He said AU wrongly believed that his group was going to Fort Bragg for a revival.

Joseph Conn, an AU spokesman, said Welch's promotional materials made it "pretty clear" that Welch was using military facilities and personnel to recruit people into an evangelism program.

"We don't have a problem with evangelism and spreading the gospel," he said. "We have a problem with government stepping in and helping do that.

"We're not in any way opposed to his program. We just believe it should be supported by the voluntary contributions of the faithful and not the government."

Welch said he thinks AU was trying to promote its own agenda.

""It's really a shame," he said. "They didn't have the professional courtesy, to say nothing of the professional integrity, to give me a call."

Conn said AU was basing it's objections on Welch's promotional material.

"To tell you the truth, our quarrel is not with Pastor Welch, it's with the government," he said.

Welch said he doesn't understand why AU is trying to "discriminate" against his group. He said he thinks AU owes his group and the Army an apology.

"I'm afraid we can't help him there," Conn said.

Welch said no one is going to stop him from supporting America and its troops and from praying.

"I don't see any conflict in those two," he said.

Conn said AU thought it was appropriate to bring the matter to the Army's attention.

"I don't think Pastor Welch would be nearly as excited if it was Rev. Sun Myung Moon and 50 Moon pastors getting the VIP treatment at Fort Bragg," he said.

Welch told the Raleigh News and Observer that the purpose of the trip to Fort Bragg was not to promote Christianity or evangelize.

"They (AU) read something into it that wasn't intended," Welch said. "They did not understand what we were doing."

He said the idea was to glean evangelism lessons from military strategy.

"The military is extremely successful at expanding its organization," Welch said. "Maybe we could learn how to expand our organization."

Welch, a Vietnam veteran who served in Special Forces, told the New York Times that he trained at Fort Bragg and was seeking to apply military principles to evangelism.

Welch initially spoke openly to The Times about the event, then asked that it not be made public because "I'll get in trouble."

"I don't want to do anything that sounds as if we're connected to the military," he said. "That would be an error."

Welch also volunteered that a previous FAITH Force session of 70 pastors was held at Fort Bragg last year at Boykin's invitation.

Maj. Gary Kolb, another spokesperson for Army Special Operations Command at Fort Bragg, confirmed that a similar event was held last year.

"I don't have details," he said.

Baptist Press has reported on Boykin's participation in at least two other of Welch's FAITH events. The general told a FAITH gathering in February 2002 that the way FAITH participants are trained is similar to the concept of Special Forces training - one person trains 100, who in turn can train 10,000.

Boykin also talked about Delta Force, the Army's highly secretive counterterrorism unit. He was an original member of the unit, according to Baptist Press.

Boykin said Delta Force soldiers go as warriors into situations most civilians can't even imagine.

"We don't head into situations to keep the peace. We go in to win. I'm a warrior, not a peacekeeper," he said. "Delta Force goes in, strikes quick and gets out. Often it is a hostage situation."

Boykin asked people to pray for the war against terrorism.

"We need warriors to fight and win this battle," he said. "I'm not just talking about our men and women in uniform. I'm talking about all of you in the sanctuary.

"Bin Laden is not the enemy. No mortal is the enemy. It's the enemy you can't see. It's a war against the forces of darkness. The battle won't be won with guns. It will be won on our knees."

Boykin also spoke at a FAITH event in January.

"When you stepped into the FAITH arena, you said, 'Here am I. Send me,'" he said. "Not every Christian is a soul-winner, but you said, 'Here am I. Send me.' You volunteered to be a part of this battle."

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4/11/2003 12:00:00 AM by Steve DeVane , BR Managing Editor | with 0 comments

Hemphill resigns at Southwester

April 11 2003 by Mark Wingfield , Texas Baptist Standard

Hemphill resigns at Southwestern | Friday, April 11, 2003

Friday, April 11, 2003

Hemphill resigns at Southwestern

By Mark Wingfield Texas Baptist Standard

FORT WORTH, Texas - Ken Hemphill announced his resignation as president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary on April 8.

Hemphill, 54, told a packed chapel audience of students, faculty, staff and trustees that he will take "early retirement" from the seminary to become national strategist for the Southern Baptist Convention's (SBC) Empowering Kingdom Growth initiative.

He becomes the first president in the seminary's 95-year history to voluntarily leave the post for another position. His six predecessors either died in office, retired or were fired.

Hemphill will complete the current academic term before moving to Nashville, Tenn., where he will be jointly employed by the SBC Executive Committee and LifeWay Christian Resources. Empowering Kingdom Growth is a new national initiative to promote church health and growth and mission. It has no specific goals but has been touted as an inspiration emphasis.

Hemphill came to Southwestern in 1994 from a position similar to the one he soon will assume. From 1992 to 1994, he directed the Southern Baptist Center for Church Growth, a strategy role funded jointly by the SBC's Home Mission Board and what is now LifeWay.

Prior to that, Hemphill built a reputation as an effective pastor at First Baptist Church of Norfolk, Va., where membership grew from 800 to 6,000 in 11 years.

Southwestern trustees turned to Hemphill for leadership after firing President Russell Dilday. Fundamentalist trustees criticized Dilday for not getting on board with the conservative political and theological changes occurring within the SBC at the time.

Hemphill has enjoyed more favorable relations with SBC leadership during his tenure, but some trustees privately have expressed frustration that he has not moved fast enough or far enough to make sweeping changes at the Fort Worth seminary, the SBC's largest.

At the April 8 meeting, trustees gave no outward appearance of dissatisfaction with Hemphill. Those who spoke about his departure declared the change to be "God's will" and a positive transition.

Asked if Hemphill felt any pressure to leave, trustee Chairman Michael Dean responded by quoting Hemphill's own words: "Circumstances inform our decisions, but only the word of God and will of God determine our decisions."

Dean is pastor of Travis Avenue Baptist Church in Fort Worth, where Hemphill is a member.

Ted Stone, a Durham resident who serves as a Southwestern trustee, said Hemphill successfully brought healing to the school.

"He echoed the will of God in his vision for Southwestern," Stone said in a telephone interview.

Stone said Hemphill showed compassion and concern in his words and actions.

"I think that it is important during this transition time that we honor his legacy but doing all possible to strengthen the trust and respect among and between the faculty, staff, students, trustees and all who love the seminary," Stone said. "It is my prayer that his forward-looking vision will prevail at Southwestern and we will move forward to even greater heights in ministry."

In the chapel service where Hemphill announced his plans, Dean urged students, faculty and staff not to despair over Hemphill's departure but to understand it as God's will.

"Nothing important has changed," Dean said, emphasizing the certainty of God's reign.

Although this may be a "time of disappointment, discouragement, grief," Dean said, such "can be times when we see the Lord."

The bottom line, he declared, is that "God is still on his throne."

Hemphill tearfully read from a prepared text, emphasizing his love for the seminary and its people.

"I will always be grateful for the opportunity the Lord has given me to serve the greatest seminary on the face of the Earth," he said.

He recalled the first time he heard former President Robert Naylor's first-of-year ritual of pronouncing new students "Southwesterners." And he recalled Naylor's admonition never to do anything to "defame the name."

In an apparent appeal to students not to protest his departure, Hemphill said: "Remember that your actions on this day reflect on (God) and his kingdom."

Hemphill reported that he and his wife, Paula, feel a strong call from God to move to the new role, even though the decision is painful. Making this change, he added, is "in the best interest of the seminary and the Southern Baptist Convention."

"Southwestern's future is bright," he declared, as are the possibilities of his work with Empowering Kingdom Growth.

The chapel audience gave Hemphill three standing ovations, including one for Mrs. Hemphill when her name first was mentioned. The final ovation at the conclusion of Hemphill's statement lasted several minutes.

After Hemphill's announcement, Dean appointed a presidential search committee to be chaired by Denny Autrey, pastor of First Baptist Church of Lindale, Texas. The committee of nine men includes one Hispanic and no black members.

Dean said the search committee will be given no time frame to complete its work. "We're setting the beginning point, not the end point," he said, urging the committee to take "however long it takes to find God's man."

(EDITOR'S NOTE - BR Managing Editor Steve DeVane contributed to this story.)

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4/11/2003 12:00:00 AM by Mark Wingfield , Texas Baptist Standard | with 0 comments

Churches sharing less of their pies

April 11 2003 by Tony W. Cartledge , BR Editor

Churches sharing less of their pies | Friday, April 11, 2003

Friday, April 11, 2003

Churches sharing less of their pies

By Tony W. Cartledge BR Editor

Perhaps it should come as no surprise that many churches are choosing to keep more of their money for local projects and contributing less to cooperative missions through the Baptist State Convention (BSC).

The lack of surprise doesn't make me like it any better.

A trademark of the Baptist genius through the years has been our willingness to pool resources in cooperative fashion to support mission enterprises that individual churches could not accomplish alone.

I learned as a child that some of my gifts to the church were sent on to the state convention for missions and church development in my home state, and a portion of those funds went to the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) to support missions around the world.

I knew that the few dollars I gave as a child could do little alone, but they contributed to a larger pile of money that could do wonders. I knew that I had a part in helping children who needed care, in supporting student work on our college campuses, in sending missionaries to the uttermost parts of the earth.

Promoting the Cooperative Program was easier then, when denominational and theological conflict was minimal, and it seemed that everyone felt good about the SBC.

As those "golden" years have dissolved into a period of increasing distrust and division, maintaining excitement about cooperative giving has become more of a challenge.

Some state conventions, like the BSC, have sought to preserve the proven value of cooperation while offering different options for how the money is spent, so Baptists can continue to feel good about cooperating.

But when the giving plans themselves become the subject of bickering and appear to be threatened, the excitement quotient for cooperative giving suffers another blow.

These factors, added to the general decline in institutional loyalty that pervades contemporary society, have certainly contributed to the decline in giving.

Even so, I believe churches should not so easily succumb to the temptation of becoming more isolationist and less cooperative.

There are still hundreds of children in North Carolina who would have no safe place to sleep and grow up if not for Baptist Children's Homes. If giving continues at the present rate, the children will get $232,553 less in support from N.C. Baptist churches this year.

The Retirement Homes would get $141,191 less to help care for some of our choicest saints. The School of Pastoral Care at Baptist Hospital would get $107,438 less to help provide needed counseling services.

And, there are thousands of young adults enrolled in our Baptist colleges, relying on their fellow N.C. Baptists to help them gain a good education in a Christian setting. At the current rate of giving, our colleges will suffer a loss of $746,062 by the end of the year.

The BSC's two agencies are also feeling the pain. The N.C. Baptist Foundation, which helps to facilitate the kind of endowment giving that ensures the future of many N.C. Baptist institutions, stands to lose $16,330. And the Biblical Recorder, the primary source of communication and news among N.C. Baptists, will have to find ways to cope with a loss of $62,480.

The above numbers reflect a drop in income of 14.2 percent rather than 11.3 percent, because a growing share of the BSC's income comes from Plan D, which allots only 50 percent to the BSC's operating budget, rather than 68 percent, as in the other plans. At nearly 16 percent of cooperative giving, with 18 cents less per dollar going to the BSC's operating budget, Plan D impacts the budget by another 2.9 percent.

The BSC budget, however, is still based on the assumption that the BSC will retain 68 percent of cooperative missions gifts.

In addition to support for the institutions and agencies, the BSC's operating budget funds the services provided directly to the churches by our General Board staff, who have been told to reduce all spending not directly related to fixed costs or contracts by 15 percent. That's 15 percent less money for programming that supports Sunday School work, pre-school and children's education, literacy training and language missions. That's less money for programs that support the family, less money for evangelism, less for student work, less for chaplaincy ministries. And, it means less money for convention communications, administration and fund-raising efforts.

BSC leaders are gearing up to assist churches with a new coaching emphasis called Pursuing Vital Ministry, but they have 15 percent less money to pursue it with.

Churches, like individuals, have a right to choose how generous they will be with their resources. All of us are called to make choices that are prayerful and wise.

Let's be sure that our choices are also informed.

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4/11/2003 12:00:00 AM by Tony W. Cartledge , BR Editor | with 0 comments

Little book, big ideas

April 11 2003 by Tony W. Cartledge , BR Editor

Little book, big ideas | Friday, April 11, 2003

Friday, April 11, 2003

Little book, big ideas

By Tony W. Cartledge BR Editor

Leadership is a tricky thing. Finding the appropriate balance between "top-down" decisions and "bottom-up" creativity is crucial - as are staff relationships, self-care, networking, fund-raising, and a host of other things that many people in leadership positions don't think about.

Michael Blackwell thinks about them.

Blackwell, president of the N.C. Baptist Children's Homes (BCH) for the past 20 years, has learned a thing or 12 about leadership from his oversight of an organization with 400 employees in 17 locations across the state.

And, he's not at all shy about sharing what he has learned. In fact, getting yourself known is part of the first "big idea" he talks about in Upside Down Leadership: A Dozen Big Ideas to Turn Your Nonprofit Organization Right Side Up, recently released by Parkway Publishers in Boone and marketed through BCH.

North Carolina is home to nearly 16,000 non-profit organizations, including nearly 4,000 churches related to the Baptist State Convention. Some need turning right side up, and all need growing, effective leaders.

It has become popular in recent years for church leaders to seek lessons from corporate CEOs, successful politicians or high-profile military leaders. Sometimes those lessons apply, sometimes they don't.

Blackwell's slim volume is a welcome resource because it is broadly informed, but focuses on issues specific to non-profit organizations.

Blackwell creatively uses metaphors to talk about important issues like self-care ("There's no juice in a steamrolled tomato"), employee relationships ("Embrace your staff at arm's length"), and tactical networking ("Survive/Command your political jungle").

He exhorts leaders to "Embrace change like a rich uncle" to avoid falling behind, and to "Mine support like a joy geologist" in fund-raising efforts.

Beyond the metaphors, Blackwell's own enthusiasm for BCH makes it clear that behind all the big ideas, the driving force for good leaders is a passion for their work that keeps them growing and learning.

For information on ordering Upside Down Leadership, call BCH at (336) 474-1222.

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4/11/2003 12:00:00 AM by Tony W. Cartledge , BR Editor | with 0 comments

Family Bible Study lesson for April 27: The Bread of Life

April 11 2003 by Crate Jones , John 6:5-13, 24-27, 32-35

Family Bible Study lesson for April 27: The Bread of Life | Friday, April 11, 2003

Friday, April 11, 2003

Family Bible Study lesson for April 27: The Bread of Life

By Crate Jones John 6:5-13, 24-27, 32-35

Growing up in the city, loaf bread (we called it light bread; each end-piece was the heel) was our main bread. When I became the young pastor of a country church, I lived with the hospitable Wilson family. Tasty biscuits were served at nearly every meal.

Once in a while, a hankering for some light bread would grab me. I'd buy a loaf and ride around in my '39 Mercury convertible, savoring every bite until most of it was devoured. I love it to this day; it satisfies.

God created us with a "hankering" for the "bread of life." Nothing else will ever satisfy that hunger.

Jesus knows what is best John 6:5-9 When first coming to Durham, I met a car salesman. He was a fast talker and not very receptive to my talking about the Lord. Thirty-six years later, when his wife left him and his son was in trouble, he called one night and asked how to be saved. After sharing the gospel with him, he prayed for Jesus to come into his heart. That was his greatest need all the time.

Supplying our needs includes the material realm. Seminary days in Louisville, Ky. were lean times for Harriett and I.

Once, when the cookie jar was nearly empty, I was invited to lead a two-week youth revival in Hamilton, Ohio. At the close of the meeting, the treasurer asked if I would be satisfied with $150. I told him I'd be satisfied with whatever it was. With a sheepish grin, he handed us a check for $435.

Back in 1949, that was an unheard of amount for a young preacher. It became the means for us to remain in seminary. Bread from heaven!

Jesus multiplies what is available John 6:10-13 Jesus can make a lot out of a little. Imagine taking five pieces of bread and two small fish and feeding 5,000!

Jesus uses what is made available to Him. He used Andrew to find the little boy to share his meal, and the disciples to organize the crowd and gather up the leftover pieces.

Someone has said that God wants our availability more than our ability.

A relatively uneducated man, Dwight L. Moody, became a world-renowned evangelist. Through his anointed preaching, multiplied thousands were brought into the kingdom of God.

Some things will not change without human hands. Just suppose a farmer had a friend who complimented him on the beauty of his land, by saying, "The Lord sure has blessed you." The farmer's grateful reply might be, "But He used the strength of my hands to make it what it now is."

Jesus reveals what is important John 6:24-27 After the miraculous feeding, Jesus went to another place. When the crowd found Him, Jesus said, "You are looking for Me ... because you ate the loaves and had your fill" (v.16).

Jesus, God's Son, was standing in their midst and they didn't know who He really was! Two thousand years later the world still doesn't know. It takes a spiritual journey to Calvary and from there to the vacant tomb to see Him clearly.

Jesus also said, "Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life" (v.27). If we ask, He will show us what is important and what is not.

Going to church is important; all don't see it that way. I was in a revival; a little boy was misbehaving. His mama said, "If you don't be quiet, I'm going to take you outside and spank you." He said, "Come on, Mama, let's go!"

I reckon there are grown-ups, too, who would rather take a whipping than go to church and listen to a preacher.

Jesus provides what is lasting John 6:32-35 Jesus told the crowd "the bread of heaven is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world." They said, "Sir, from now on give us this bread" (v.34). They were getting closer to the truth.

As bread must be taken into the body to sustain life, so must Jesus be taken into the heart that we may receive everlasting life. He extended this gracious invitation: "I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me will never go hungry, and he who believes in Me will never be thirsty" (v.35).

The Christian can shout, "Hallelujah, what a Savior!"

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4/11/2003 12:00:00 AM by Crate Jones , John 6:5-13, 24-27, 32-35 | with 0 comments

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