January 2001

Ain't no preachin' 'round here

January 29 2001 by Tony W. Cartledge , BR Editor

Ain't no preachin' 'round here | Monday, Jan. 29, 2001

Monday, Jan. 29, 2001

Ain't no preachin' 'round here

By Tony W. Cartledge BR Editor "I think it's about time you found someplace else to go," said a former deacon of a church I once served.

"I don't have nothing against you personally," he said on that Monday morning when he dropped by the office, "you just can't preach a lick. You've always been real nice to me and you were good to visit when my wife's mother was sick ... but it's for the good of the church. We all know that there ain't no preachin' 'round here."

I was somewhat taken aback by the brother's forthrightness, but not by his opinion. I knew some of the preachers he admired, and I did not employ their high-volume, high-heat, high-pressure style. Nor did I want to.

Fortunately, the congregation as a whole was far more appreciative of my homiletical efforts.

I've reflected on that encounter as pastor search committees looking for a recommendation contact me. Time and again, they remark "we can't find anybody who can preach." I listen with awareness that good preaching is partly in the eye (and ear) of the beholder, but also with a growing concern that good preachers do seem to be in short supply.

Stylistic preferences aside, what are some basic requirements for good preaching?

Good preaching takes time. Time for prayerful consideration of the church's needs. Time for careful study of the scriptures through the use of quality commentaries and other Bible study tools (for me, it goes without saying that good sermons begin with a biblical text).

Good preaching requires time for reading that may range from the daily newspaper to good books to specialized homiletical resources. It takes time for reflection, time for careful organization, time for composition, time for fine-tuning, time for practice.

An old preaching proverb says you should devote an hour's preparation for each minute of a sermon. For most busy pastors, that kind of time is a fantasy, especially if they are expected to preach two or more times in a week (or if they preach 45 minute sermons). Thus, effective time management is an essential skill if pastors are to become good preachers.

Congregations can help to foster good preaching by understanding the pastor's need for time in sermon preparation. If a church expects its pastor to spend 40 hours per week on pastoral care, the best it can expect is an ill-prepared "Saturday night special" on Sunday morning.

Good preaching also requires passion, which can be conveyed in ways other than with great noise and much sweat. I will never forget a pastor's conference I attended as a very young pastor. The speaker advised us to buy shirts with collars two sizes bigger than normal so we wouldn't get choked when we got hot and our necks swelled during the sermon.

Passion can be expressed in quiet conviction as well as in pulpit pounding, but it must be present.

Good preaching is in touch with contemporary life. A pastor cannot rely on antiquated sermon and illustration books and expect to communicate well. Stories that begin with "a wee urchin on the streets of London" are unlikely to go over in Lumberton. It is ironic and unfortunate that the earliest and most widespread computer support programs for preachers rely heavily on commentaries and resources so old that their content is in the public domain.

Good preaching requires good observation. The best preachers learn to think theologically - all day, every day. They know that the best sermon illustrations do not come from books, but from personal experience. Stories from current news, from the world of sports, and from the vagaries of daily life can speak volumes of theological truth to one whose ear is tuned to hear it. Since the congregation is in touch with the same news and the same life issues, the use of personal and contemporary illustrations improves communication.

Other characteristics of good preaching could be listed (including creativity), but one that cannot be omitted is honesty.

Honesty involves integrity: pastors cannot effectively proclaim a gospel they do not believe or advocate a lifestyle they do not follow.

Honesty also encompasses a certain level of transparency: preachers who are willing to explore their own struggles and doubts will speak to the hearts of church-goers who know that someone understands them.

Let it not be said in our churches that "there ain't no preachin' 'round here."

Copyright (c) Biblical Recorder Inc.
1/29/2001 12:00:00 AM by Tony W. Cartledge , BR Editor | with 0 comments

Lessons learned from Walking in the Light - a postscript

January 26 2001 by Luther Osment , (EDITOR'S NOTE - The following is a postscript to Walking In The Light, a collection of letters by Luther Osment to family members and published last year by Baptist Retirement Homes (BRH) of North Carolina. The booklet traces the de

Lessons learned from Walking in the Light - a postscript | Friday, Jan. 26, 2001

Friday, Jan. 26, 2001

Lessons learned from Walking in the Light - a postscript

(EDITOR'S NOTE - The following is a postscript to Walking In The Light, a collection of letters by Luther Osment to family members and published last year by Baptist Retirement Homes (BRH) of North Carolina. The booklet traces the development of dementia in his mother, Kate, who is a resident at the Western North Carolina Baptist Retirement Home in Asheville. The letters cover a nine-year period and include glimpses of her life. Osment is assistant to the president at BRH.)By Luther Osment In relating to a dementia patient, recognize there is nothing shameful or demeaning related to contracting a dementia-related disease. Brains can decline in their power to function just as knees can wear out. There is no more stigma related to one than there is to the other. Dementia simply means that the connectors between brain cells do not connect that well any more. For those who live into their 80s, half will experience a measure of dementia.

Give thanks for the goodness of the past even as you accept the reality of the present. As your loved one quotes a Bible verse she still remembers, which amazes you because she cannot remember your name, you may recall the days she taught Bible verses to you. As she offers to fix lunch for you, even though she would be unable to find her way to the kitchen, you may have memories of how she always had a piece of pie for you, even when there was not one for her. And think back to the warmth and joy you brought to her when you achieved that worthy goal or when you provided that deed of loving service - or even when you came to her with that skinned place on your elbow or on your heart.

You may consider the care you are now providing is "pay-back." In fact you are simply continuing the joy you have been to her through the years.

Look for the happy places in the here and now even as you deal with the hard places. Routines often come to have added meaning. This Friday I will take mother out for a milkshake. So what if we have done this every week for at least five years? It will still be "...the best milkshake I have ever tasted." And so what if she is wearing mismatched shoes and insists that they feel good and she thinks they look good and she rebels at changing? My joy is in the happiness of her heart. Why mess that up to achieve matching shoes? I, too, may choose to wear purple when I grow old.

Seek to use good religion and good sense as you meet the needs of the present, giving quality care to your loved one and quality care to yourself as well. In Mark 6, Jesus strongly condemns those who selfishly deprive the elderly of needed care.

Very likely the parent/child roles have now been reversed. Back then the caring parent did what was wise in relation to the minor child even though the child may not have understood. Now it becomes the responsibility of the child who has become the caring adult to do what is wise in relation to the parent who is now the child - even though the elderly parent may not understand. Be aware that your Lord understands very well.

Seek out and use the professional and supportive resources that are available. The Baptist Retirement Homes professionals who staff the Baptist Elder Care Network hotline can help you identify and locate such resources. The number is (800) 887-7410.

At times, the most loving step to be taken is to secure the services of a quality health care place of residence for your loved one. It is not at all unusual for the older adult to find the quality of life in such a residence to be safe and satisfying and enjoyable far beyond expectations.

Remember that both you and your loved one are still children of the heavenly Father. Commit your loved one and yourself to Him and trust Him to bring good even out of the difficult present circumstances.

It may be that your loved one no longer knows who you are, but you still remember who your loved one is. If this is true in relation to us, how much more is this true in relation to our heavenly Father? Your loved one may have forgotten who God is, but you may be sure God knows your loved one.

This flower from the garden of God's word, spoken to one in a difficult circumstance, says it well. Exodus 33:12 and 14 say, "I know thee by name and thou hast found grace in My sight. My presence shall go with thee and I will give thee rest."

Accept His invitation to cast all of your cares upon Him in the full assurance that He does care for you.

Copyright (c) Biblical Recorder Inc.
1/26/2001 12:00:00 AM by Luther Osment , (EDITOR'S NOTE - The following is a postscript to Walking In The Light, a collection of letters by Luther Osment to family members and published last year by Baptist Retirement Homes (BRH) of North Carolina. The booklet traces the de | with 0 comments

Family Bible Study lesson: Taking Jesus at His word

January 26 2001 by William (Mac) McElrath , John 4:43-54

Family Bible Study lesson: Taking Jesus at His word | Friday, Jan. 26, 2001
  • Lord, thank You for saving me when I put my faith in You during a revival meeting - long ago, while I was still a child. (That's all well and good, but what have you done lately to show your faith in Christ?)
  • Lord, if You'll just do this, that or the other for me, then I promise I'll believe in You. (Our Sovereign Lord does not condescend to bargain with people about their faith.)
  • Lord, thank You that I began a journey of faith with You a long time ago; help me to grow in my faith today.
  • Lord, help me to share my faith with my family, my entire household, so that they, too, may come to believe in You.
  • Friday, Jan. 26, 2001

    Family Bible Study lesson: Taking Jesus at His word

    By William (Mac) McElrath John 4:43-54 You've probably read a true story that goes something like this: A missionary on the other side of the world faces great danger or difficulty, but the Lord brings her through it. Then she realizes that all of this has happened on her birthday, the very time when many people in America were praying for her by name. Such stories have been repeated countless times, and missionaries are not the only ones who have had such experiences. "The prayer of a good person has a powerful effect" (James 5:16b, TEV). Yet the power of prayer lies not in the person praying but in the person being prayed to.

    The power of Jesus is not limited, either by distance or by lack of tangible proof. A man who lived and worked in Galilee found that out a long time ago.

    Faith believes (John 4:43-48) Two days after talking with a woman beside a well in Samaria, Jesus left Samaria and traveled back to Galilee - in fact, to the same village in Galilee where He had worked His first miracle by turning water into wine. Many Galileans had seen that miraculous sign; they had also seen other unspecified miracles He had performed in Jerusalem (John 2:23).

    When a certain royal official heard that Jesus had arrived in Galilee, he hurried from the city of Capernaum where he lived and worked to the village of Cana, where he found Jesus. The reason for his speedy 15-mile journey was the illness of his son who lay near death, burning with fever.

    John 4:48 is a puzzling verse. Why did Jesus seem to speak words of reproach to a worried father who asked healing for a sick boy?

    Actually, Jesus was speaking not so much to the official as to "you people" in general - that is, to any people who "will never believe" unless they can "see miraculous signs and wonders" (v. 48, NIV). Do Jesus' words of reproach ever include people like you?

    Faith acts (John 4:49-52) The royal official took no notice of Jesus' seemingly harsh words. In his haste and pressing need, he cried out, "Sir, come down before my child dies" (v. 49, NIV).

    But Jesus did not "come down" from Cana to Capernaum in the Jordan Valley as that worried father had hoped. Instead, He told the official to go home, stating flatly that the sick boy would live.

    Would you have gone back home with nothing to show for your trip, nothing to go on except what Jesus had said? Would you have had enough faith to act as that father did, taking Jesus at His word?

    A hymn by Frederick W. Faber says :

    If our love were but more simple

    we should take Him at His word,

    and our lives would be all sunshine

    in the sweetness of our Lord.

    Certainly that royal official found "sunshine" and "sweetness" when he got back home to Capernaum: His son was not only alive but getting better. Servants told him that the boy's high fever had broken at the exact hour when Jesus had said, "Go home; your son will live."

    Faith grows (John 4:53-54) According to John 4:53, the royal official "believed" when he realized that Jesus' healing power had instantaneously crossed those 15 miles between Cana and Capernaum.

    Hadn't he already believed the day before, when (according to v. 50) he "took Jesus at His word"?

    Of course he had. But - unlike many Christians of today - that long-ago royal official avoided the mistake of thinking that faith is only an event. Yes, faith is an event, but that event marks the beginning of a journey. The official had enough faith to go back home, trusting only on Jesus' word. But when he saw with his own eyes that Jesus' word had come true, then his faith began to grow.

    Here's another striking fact from these closing verses of John 4: For the first time in the New Testament we read that an entire household put its faith in Christ.

    Do you have faith in Christ? If so, what kind of faith is it?

    Copyright (c) Biblical Recorder Inc.
    1/26/2001 12:00:00 AM by William (Mac) McElrath , John 4:43-54 | with 0 comments

    Formations lesson: Between Prophet and People

    January 26 2001 by Ken Vandergriff , 1 Kings 18:20-39

    Formations lesson: Between Prophet and People | Friday, Jan. 26, 2001

    Friday, Jan. 26, 2001

    Formations lesson: Between Prophet and People

    By Ken Vandergriff 1 Kings 18:20-39 Christian faith lives by stories. We imaginatively enter into a narrative world, identify with one or more of the characters, and consider how we would respond in that situation. Doing so shapes our own faith. We learn how to be Christians through stories that model faith. Christian ethicist Stanley Hauerwas points out in A Community of Character that "the church is nothing less than that community where we as individuals continue to test and are tested by the particular way those stories live through us."

    Identifying with Israel The story of Elijah's confrontation with the Baal prophets on Mt. Carmel tests us. What kind of community will we be if we allow this story to shape us? Our lesson suggests at least two possibilities. If we identify with the people Israel gathered at Mt. Carmel, the story calls us to single-minded devotion to God. Many Israelites thought they could straddle the fence, worshipping both Baal and Yahweh. Baal, after all, was the storm god, responsible for the fertility of the crops. Who could object, they reasoned, to a few rituals for this god? It was for a worthy cause; without sufficient crops, people literally starved. Moreover, it wasn't as if they were ignoring Yahweh; They would still serve Him, too, just not exclusively.

    Israel could not have it both ways; neither can we. Divided loyalties cannot work. Because compromise subtly distorts our conception of God, it remains a danger to the believing community. We imagine that faith can coexist with consumerism, militarism, nationalism, denominationalism or careerism. We imagine that these aren't really gods, that giving them their due won't affect our faithfulness to God. In reality, these and other "-isms" take on a life of their own, with their own agendas, and invite us to identify their goals as God's. They subtly divert attention from God's agenda - a good indication of which is given in our recent lesson from Luke 4:16-21. Like Elijah's community, we cannot straddle the fence. If God really is God, then we follow Him and pursue His goals with single-minded devotion.

    Identifying with Elijah When we identify with Elijah in this narrative, we are called to be a prophetic community. That doesn't mean to be a shrill or obnoxious community. A few years ago I attended a local town festival. A small group of well-meaning believers had set up a platform on the main street, where a speaker harshly berated the thousands of passers-by. As the speaker cried, "You're not rejecting me, you're rejecting God," I thought to myself, "No, I'm rejecting you, not God, because you're just obnoxious." Being prophetic doesn't mean being vitriolic.

    As Canadian theologian Douglas John Hall explains in Confessing the Faith, being prophetic means first a deep immersion in God's story so that we can "recognize the deviation, incongruity, and loss" when our social and moral positions fall short of God's expectations. Elijah did that. He recognized the deviation and loss occasioned by compromise with Baal.

    Second, explains Hall, being prophetic means making "the effort to get beneath the immediately visible effects of any or all such issues to their deeper causes." Only then can "the promise, healing, and recovery" offered by God's grace be realized. Martin Luther effected the renewal of faith only when he perceived his church's basic deviation from grace; Millard Fuller began Habitat for Humanity when he confronted the poverty of greed and selfishness in his own life and in society; Martin Luther King dreamed a better society only by exposing the fundamental ignorance and prejudice of individuals and institutions. They deserve to be called prophets because they probed the root causes of issues; only then could they show a better way.

    A final reflection concerns the end of our lesson's story. Elijah lived in a "winner-take-all" religious world. Religious enemies could be eradicated, and Elijah does that (v. 40; 18:4). We live in a very different world, a religiously pluralistic world, where others have the right to believe differently. That is as it should be. Elijah is not the best model for us at this point, but we can find other models, believers who show that confession and testimony wield more power than the sword.

    Copyright (c) Biblical Recorder Inc.
    1/26/2001 12:00:00 AM by Ken Vandergriff , 1 Kings 18:20-39 | with 0 comments

    IMB missionaries must work 'in accordance with' BF&M

    January 26 2001 by Bob Allen , Associated Baptist Press

    IMB missionaries must work 'in accordance with' BF&M | Friday, Jan. 26, 2001

    Friday, Jan. 26, 2001

    IMB missionaries must work 'in accordance with' BF&M

    By Bob Allen Associated Baptist Press AUGUSTA, Ga. - Nearly 5,000 Southern Baptist international missionaries won't be forced to sign their denomination's new faith statement but must commit to working "in accordance with and not contrary to" its teachings. International Mission Board (IMB) trustees voted Jan. 24 in Augusta, Ga., to "wholeheartedly" affirm the Baptist Faith and Message (BF&M) as revised by the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) last June as the "standard for carrying out the programs and ministries" of the 155-year-old agency based in Richmond, Va.

    The board declined, however, to end its tradition of allowing some missionaries to serve even if they disagree on minor points, as long as they teach "in accordance with and not contrary to" the confessional document even if they disagree with minor points.

    A new IMB policy statement puts into writing a long-standing practice in processing missionary candidates. Under the policy, missionaries and staff are asked if they have read and agree with the current BF&M. If they answer "no," they must explain any area of difference.

    Either way, they must sign an affirmation that reads: "In accountability to the International Mission Board and Southern Baptists, I agree to carry out my responsibilities in accordance with and not contrary to the current 'Baptist Faith and Message' as adopted by the Southern Baptist Convention."

    "That is not a new policy," said Allen Carter, pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in Bel Air, Md., and chairman of the trustee administration committee. "That has been taking place for some number of years."

    The Jan. 24 trustee action came in response to a motion at last year's SBC annual meeting that all denominational employees not be required to sign the BF&M. While convention boards must consider referred motions, they are not limited to voting yes or no. Other agencies considering the referral have opted instead to require employee adherence to what has been described as an instrument of "doctrinal accountability."

    IMB trustees, however, described their new policy statement as an affirmation of the BF&M, board policy and current personnel, who will not be required to sign the statements.

    Trustees, who meet every other month, discussed the issue at length before ultimately deciding there is no need to change the current practice, said board chairman Tim McCoy, pastor of Ingleside Baptist Church in Macon, Ga.

    "Our process has served us well in the past," McKoy said in an interview.

    McCoy said that given the IMB's track record both for appointments and in dealing with theological aberrations that crop up after missionaries are on the field, trustees decided that the current practice is adequate.

    Before the unanimous vote approving the action, IMB President Jerry Rankin decried "time-consuming processes and restrictive policies" that might hinder missionary appointments.

    "By what criteria should anyone be deprived of hearing the gospel of Jesus Christ?" Rankin asked. "By what justification can any people group or nation be denied the opportunity to know of God's love and Christ's saving power?"

    The BF&M, Southern Baptists' official faith statement first adopted in 1925, underwent its first major rewrite since 1963 last summer. Some changes, including views that the Bible forbids women to serve as senior pastors and removal of a reference to Jesus Christ as the criterion for interpreting Scripture, have drawn criticism.

    A small number of churches have cut SBC ties over the issue, and the denomination's largest state affiliate, the Baptist General Convention of Texas, reduced funding to the national body, citing disagreement with the faith statement.

    But Rankin said in an interview that when missionary candidates in the past have indicated problems with the BF&M, it commonly was over articles that most Southern Baptists would consider secondary or non-essential doctrines. For example, he said, occasionally a prospective missionary will come from a church that has elders, but the BF&M says the biblical offices of church leaders are limited to pastors and deacons.

    Rankin said that unlike other employees, senior-level administrators such as vice presidents and regional leaders would be required to affirm the BF&M. He said individuals currently in those posts have already said they have no problem with the current edition of the doctrinal statement.

    Also during the two-day trustee meeting held in Augusta, Ga., the IMB commissioned 50 new missionaries, increasing the denomination's total international missions force to 4,924.

    Copyright (c) Biblical Recorder Inc.
    1/26/2001 12:00:00 AM by Bob Allen , Associated Baptist Press | with 0 comments

    Mainstream seeks to bring Baptist currents together

    January 26 2001 by Steve DeVane , BR Managing Editor

    Mainstream seeks to bring Baptist currents together | Friday, Jan. 26, 2001

    Friday, Jan. 26, 2001

    Mainstream seeks to bring Baptist currents together

    By Steve DeVane BR Managing Editor GREENSBORO - Speakers at a Mainstream Baptists of North Carolina (MBNC) meeting Jan. 23 took great pains to appeal to conservatives, but clearly voiced their opposition to fundamentalism. About 180 people from across the state gathered at Greensboro's First Baptist Church to organize a MBNC steering committee, talk about raising money, plan future events and discuss ways to recruit members.

    Mainstream organizers hope the group will appeal to the large number of N.C. Baptists believed to be on neither extreme of the 20-year controversy between conservative and moderate Baptists. But speakers at the Greensboro meeting made it clear that they hope to keep one group from gaining control of the Baptist State Convention (BSC) the way conservatives have dominated the national Southern Baptist Convention (SBC).

    MBNC was formed last year. Most of its members are considered moderate Baptists, but several speakers at the Greensboro meeting took issue with that term.

    "We're not moderates," said Don Gordon, pastor of First Baptist Church in Mount Olive and chairman of the group's steering committee. "I hope we can ditch that word."

    Ken Massey, pastor of the host church, told members of the press not to call the gathering a moderate meeting. He said MBNC will try to protect the BSC from fundamentalism from the right or the left side of the theological spectrum.

    "I believe Mainstream Baptists can be the movement to dissolve the aisle between those who have been called moderates and those who have been called conservatives," he said.

    David Crocker, pastor of Snyder Memorial Baptist Church in Fayetteville and moderator of the meeting, said MBNC wants to have "as broad a tent as possible." He said MBNC is not related to the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship (CBF) because that might make "a host of N.C. Baptists" less likely to be involved with MBNC.

    "We want to work with anyone and everyone who wants to work with us" and believes in MBNC's values, Crocker said.

    Crocker said that although there are some MBNC members who support CBF, there are also some MBNC supporters who have never been a part of CBF. Mike Queen, pastor of First Baptist Church in Wilmington, said several CBF churches have made it clear that they do not want to be part of MBNC.

    "I can assure you that Mainstream is in no way a child of or extension of CBF of North Carolina or national CBF," Crocker said.

    The national CBF organization formed in 1991 as a missions and ministry alternative to the conservative-dominated SBC.

    Jim Burch, a member of First Baptist Church in Greensboro, said political activism in other states is not related to CBF.

    "For us to be successful, we're going to have to have some political activism ourselves," he said.

    Massey said one reason MBNC exists is the BSC is vulnerable. Supporting the BSC is part of MBNC's mission statement.

    MBNC can make sure that the politics in the BSC are Christian rather than "hardball" or exclusionary, Massey said.

    Tim Dannelly, a layman from Edenton Baptist Church in Edenton, talked about who Mainstream Baptists are. He said Mainstream Baptists follow Jesus, oppose fundamentalism and uphold traditional Baptist beliefs.

    Mainstream Baptist churches have members from across the theological spectrum, Dannelly said.

    "Your Mainstream church throws its arms and hearts open to the world," he said.

    In contrast, fundamentalist churches usually have only fundamentalists who are expected to get in line with the church's beliefs. "They know God's will for your life and sometimes tell you what that is," Dannelly said.

    Gordon said MBNC must be "strong and courageous" to oppose fundamentalism, which he called "a perversion of the gospel of Jesus Christ."

    "The world is going to continue to make judgments about Jesus Christ based, in part, on the witness of the people called Baptists," he said.

    Dannelly said Mainstream churches nourish the priesthood of every believer.

    "We want people to have a relationship with Jesus Christ," he said. "The priesthood of every single believer is important to us."

    Mainstream Baptists believe in the separation of church and state, Dannelly said. "We believe in letting politicians be politicians and letting the church be the church," he said.

    David Hughes, pastor of Winston-Salem's First Baptist Church, said MBNC will need to hire a full-time head of the organization. He said a MBNC work group set a goal of raising $100,000 within the next year.

    Tim Cannon, pastor of Flat Rock Baptist Church in Hamptonville, led a work group discussing the Laity Conference, which will be sponsored by MBNC for the second time in November. The group mentioned former President Jimmy Carter and Anne Graham Lotz as possible speakers, he said.

    Joy Heaton, pastor of Antioch Baptist Church in Enfield, said a work group focusing on membership and recruitment recommended that MBNC "do what people on the Conservative Record do" - send a newsletter to every N.C. Baptist church.

    The Conservative Record is published by Conservative Carolina Baptists, a conservative N.C. Baptist group.

    Crocker said about a fourth of the BSC's 3,800 churches are in the MBNC's 4,800-name database. The others will be added, he said.

    In addition to Gordon, the members of the steering committee, their church, hometown, vocation and year their term expires are Eugene Bain, Fayetteville First Baptist Church, Fayetteville, insurance, 2002; Wilma Cosper, Cullowhee Baptist Church, Cullowhee, retired, 2002; Matt Ingram, Hickory First Baptist Church, Granite Falls, educator; Wally Pasour, Mebane First Baptist Church, Haw River, engineer, 2002; Kathryn Hamrick, Boiling Springs Baptist Church, Boiling Springs, insurance, 2003; Alicia Porterfield, Sanford First Baptist Church, Sanford, chaplain, 2003; Roy Smith, Crabtree Valley Baptist Church, Raleigh, retired, 2003; Don Taft, Pritchard Memorial Baptist Church, Charlotte, retired, 2003; Bob Millis, Ogden Baptist Church, Wilmington, pastor, 2003; Jo Godfrey, High Point First Baptist Church, High Point, business owner, 2004; Ann Hiott, Raleigh First Baptist Church, Chapel Hill, physician, 2004; Mike Smith, Fruitland Baptist Church, Hendersonville, pastor, 2004; and Jerry Wallace, Memorial Baptist Church, Buies Creek, educator, 2004.

    Copyright (c) Biblical Recorder Inc.
    1/26/2001 12:00:00 AM by Steve DeVane , BR Managing Editor | with 0 comments

    Trustees can make the difference

    January 26 2001 by Tony W. Cartledge , BR Editor

    Trustees can make the difference | Friday, Jan. 26, 2001
  • Trustees and CEOs are committed to the same Lord and the same historic Baptist principles upon which their institutions were founded.
  • They have mutual respect for one another.
  • They are available to one another.
  • They are committed to not surprising one another in trustee meetings on subjects they had not discussed privately.
  • They develop a clear "focus management plan" to define roles, expectations and goals of CEOs and trustees.
  • They are be committed to helping one another grow.
  • They share their personal and financial resources.
  • They give one another room to fail.
  • They look for specific, tangible ways to encourage one another frequently.
  • They have freedom to tell one another to "get lost."

    The input of a CEO to the selection of trustees is one of the most important aspects of his or her work, Crouch said, in seeking people whom God has called to work together collaboratively.

    Trustees also heard from Lynn Buzzard, professor of constitutional law at Campbell University and the author of several publications dealing with church and legal matters. He distributed a draft version of a pamphlet dealing with legal issues facing Baptist trustees and directors, and spoke to selected topics.

    Trustees, Buzzard said, have three basic duties: the duty of loyalty, the duty of care and the duty of obedience. Trustees' loyalty to the institution should preclude the use of their positions for any personal gain, he said. Trustees show care by paying attention and taking their responsibilities seriously. They show obedience by being faithful to the organization's mission.

    Buzzard said trustees must deal with the reality of supporting Baptist institutions in a culture that is sometimes hostile to Christianity and in which long-standing traditions and barriers are breaking down. Government relations and public policy pressures are also increasingly problematic, he said.

    Rather than resting too comfortably on what currently works, he told the new trustees to be forward-looking. "If it ain't broke," he said, "fix it anyway."

  • Friday, Jan. 26, 2001

    Trustees can make the difference

    By Tony W. Cartledge BR Editor ASHEBORO - The future health and growth of Baptist institutions depends on the collaborative power of trustees and chief executive officers (CEOs) working together to achieve common goals. So said keynoter William Crouch to newly elected trustees and directors of N.C. Baptist institutions who met Jan. 18 at Caraway Conference Center. Crouch, the son of long-time Charlotte pastor Henry Crouch and the grandson of former Baptist State Convention (BSC) executive director Perry Crouch, served as a N.C. Baptist pastor and on the staff of N.C. Baptist Children's Homes and Gardner-Webb University prior to becoming president of Georgetown College in Georgetown, Ky.

    In two addresses, Crouch shared leadership lessons garnered from 10 years of experience as CEO of a Baptist institution.

    Trustees and directors cannot understand the institution they serve if they don't understand the CEO, he said.

    Baptist CEOs are "branded people," Crouch said, branded by their various publics, communities, employees, even families. As constant targets of criticism, CEOs need the support and encouragement of trustees.

    Baptist CEOs are also "business people," he said, noting that those who were trained as pastors generally have little or no preparation for the challenges of managing multi-million dollar budgets. Giving to denominational institutions is declining at an alarming rate, Crouch said in predicting that half of the country's Baptist colleges could fold by 2015 because of financial pressures.

    Typically Baptist CEOs are "passionate people," he said, committed to their institutions because of their commitment to Jesus Christ. Successful Baptist CEOs have skills that could demand much higher pay in secular jobs, he said, but stay in their jobs because of their passion for the work.

    Baptist CEOs are "caught people," Crouch said, caught between compassion and good business judgment, between work and family demands, between the urgency of the moment and the need for long-term planning, between differing sources of denominational crossfire.

    To succeed, Baptist CEOs must be "anchored people," he said, relying on strength and vision that can come from God alone.

    Crouch used the example of his "best trustee ever" to list 10 qualities of an ideal relationship between Baptist CEOs and their supporting boards - a collaborative effort that he said produces "breakthrough leaders." Ideally:

    Copyright (c) Biblical Recorder Inc.
    1/26/2001 12:00:00 AM by Tony W. Cartledge , BR Editor | with 0 comments

    A place for old friends

    January 26 2001 by Tony W. Cartledge , BR Editor

    A place for old friends | Friday, Jan. 26, 2001

    Friday, Jan. 26, 2001

    A place for old friends

    By Tony W. Cartledge BR Editor It's just something that Jan and I have talked about with old friends from time to time. "Wouldn't it be nice," we've said, "if several of us could find a nice piece of land and build our retirement homes together." Most commonly, the discussion turns toward freewheeling fantasy, debating whether that nice piece of land should be in the mountains, near the beach, or close to a favorite city or golf course. The diversity of opinion expressed on the ideal retirement spot suggests that we will probably never come to a consensus and actually follow through.

    But the thought is nice - the idea of spending our retirement years in close proximity to old friends, helping each other with lawn projects, supporting each other in times of sickness, running errands for those who can't get out, sharing meals once or twice a week, maybe working together in a community garden.

    I like the sound of that.

    It occurs to me that Baptist Retirement Homes (BRH) already offers that same sort of community living. Four different campuses across the state in a variety of settings offer safe places to live in a supportive environment, and the exciting developments at the new Taylor Glen Home near Concord will offer even more possibilities.

    BRH also provides something that goes beyond the camaraderie that my friends and I have envisioned - several campuses offer different levels of assisted living or nursing care so residents can have the medical attention they need without having to leave the community.

    The annual North Carolina Offering for Older Adults from Feb. 4-11 does not build new facilities or pay for more staff members, though those would be worthy endeavors. The offering is used to assist residents who have financial hardships and are unable to pay the full amount for the care they need.

    It is an offering that is worthy of our support. Simply put, it's the Christian thing to do.

    Copyright (c) Biblical Recorder Inc.
    1/26/2001 12:00:00 AM by Tony W. Cartledge , BR Editor | with 0 comments

    Honduran trips have local impact for church

    January 19 2001 by Jimmy Allen , BR Assistant Editor

    Honduran trips have local impact for church | Friday, Jan. 19, 2001

    Friday, Jan. 19, 2001

    Honduran trips have local impact for church

    By Jimmy Allen BR Assistant Editor International mission involvement by Kenansville's First Baptist Church has broadened the church's local focus, according to the church's pastor. Since June 1999, the church has sent six teams to Honduras to help the country rebuild after Hurricane Mitch dumped a year's worth of rain in four days, causing flooding and mudslides that wiped away houses and churches. Church members have participated in two other teams, as well.

    The interest in serving people in Honduras had an impact outside of Central America. Church members became interested in working with a local Hispanic church.

    "It really changed the way we began to look at our own community," said Pastor Gene Lakey. Prior to the first mission trip to Honduras, First Church had little interaction with the Hispanic churches in Eastern Baptist Association, and First Church had no interest in being a mother church. The congregation wanted to be a partner, Lakey said.

    Through the help of the director of missions, Robert Bailey, First Baptist connected with Mision Bautusta Maranatha in Clinton to begin joint mission work. Lakey said the partnership is still in the beginning stage but he hopes the two churches have joint worship services and fellowship opportunities in addition to ministry.

    None of First Church's members speak Spanish fluently but members of both churches have gone together to complete a door-to-door survey.

    First Church became interested in volunteer missions after seeing a video produced by N.C. Baptist Men about on-going efforts to help Honduras rebuild following Hurricane Mitch's flooding.

    Lakey watched the video and sensed a calling to become personally involved in mission work. He then showed the video to the congregation during a Sunday morning worship service. "I told them I was pretty convinced God wanted us involved," he said.

    Within a few weeks the church had enough interested members to send its own team to Honduras.

    In addition to the six teams the church has sponsored, church members have participated in two other mission trips to Honduras. Ten percent of the church's resident members have now participated in mission teams to Honduras.

    "There's a real increase in excitement here," Lakey said. "It's just like a recharge. There's a buzz around here. More and more people have had that personal experience in volunteer missions."

    Some of the people who have volunteered have been surprising to the pastor.

    "With every team, there's been an increasing number of people I never would have guessed (would participate). I think that's God at work," Lakey said.

    When a team returns from a mission trip, Lakey invites team members to share their experiences during the Sunday morning worship service. Sometimes those testimonies take up the whole service. "You've got lots of sermons that day," he said. "People get up there and just share."

    When Hurricane Floyd struck Eastern North Carolina in September 1999, Kenansville was spared the flooding that struck close by in Chinquapin. As in Honduras, the church responded. This time the congregation adopted two flood-stricken families and remodeled their homes.

    Members who have been to Honduras were to gather this week to talk about what to do next. "Our folks want to continue to (help in Honduras)," Lakey said. But if the partnership with Honduras had ended, Lakey said the church would do something somewhere.

    Some church members have been to Honduras two and three times. One member has gone four times.

    "Whenever you get that much of a representation, it permeates the rest of the congregation," Lakey said. "I'm excited about all that's going to develop here in our area."

    Copyright (c) Biblical Recorder Inc.
    1/19/2001 12:00:00 AM by Jimmy Allen , BR Assistant Editor | with 0 comments

    N.C. Baptists give more to CP, special offerings

    January 19 2001 by Bill Boatwright , BSC Communications

    N.C. Baptists give more to CP, special offerings | Friday, Jan. 19, 2001

    Friday, Jan. 19, 2001

    N.C. Baptists give more to CP, special offerings

    By Bill Boatwright BSC Communications N.C. Baptist churches contributed $34,593,935 to the four Cooperative Program (CP) giving plans last year, surpassing the $34 million goal and increasing giving by about 4 percent over 1999, according to an unaudited report released by the Baptist State Convention (BSC) Accounting office. In addition, all three special mission offerings - international (foreign), North American (home), and North Carolina (state) - grew during 2000 as compared to the 1999 report.

    Of the almost $34.6 million 2000 CP gifts, $25,681,622 came through Plan A, down 1.57 percent ($411,421) from 1999 giving. Plan A money is divided 68 percent for the BSC and 32 percent for the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC).

    The other three giving options - B, C and D - reported gains in 2000, especially Plan D which more than doubled (104.3 percent), receiving $3,047,866 in 2000 as compared to $1,491,573 the year before. Plan D provides 50 percent to the BSC, 32 percent to the SBC, 5 percent to Fruitland Baptist Bible Institute and 13 percent to special missions.

    Plans B and C were up 4.11 percent and 3.56 percent, respectively. Both plans provide 68 percent for the BSC, 10.9 percent for N.C. theological education and 11.1 percent for special missions. The remaining 10 percent goes to the SBC in Plan B and to the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship in Plan C. In 2000, Plan B received $3,342,663, up from $3,210,664 in 1999, and Plan C received $2,521,784, up from $2,434,915 in 1999.

    Of the three special mission offerings, the Annie Armstrong Offering for North American (home) missions reported the largest gain - $5,549,036 in 2000 as compared to $4,909,282 the year before. The Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions received $10,891,591, compared to $10,879,098 in 1999. The North Carolina Missions Offering was up almost $200,000 last year, receiving $2,207,422, but falling short of the $2,520,746 goal for 2000.

    All mission support has enjoyed steady growth over the past two decades. In 1980, the Cooperative Program received around $16.9 million, with foreign missions (Lottie Moon) reporting $5.6 million and home missions (Annie Armstrong) about $1.8 million. Ten years later, Cooperative Program was up to almost $27.5 million, foreign missions to almost $8.9 million and home missions to $4.2 million.

    (EDITOR'S NOTE - An accurate comparison of growth for the N.C. Missions Offering cannot be made since this offering included support for service agencies during these periods.)

    Copyright (c) Biblical Recorder Inc.
    1/19/2001 12:00:00 AM by Bill Boatwright , BSC Communications | with 0 comments

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