May 2003

Two Mars Hill trustees resign, call for inquiry

May 22 2003 by Tony W. Cartledge , BR Editor

Two Mars Hill trustees resign, call for inquiry | Thursday, May 22, 2003

Thursday, May 22, 2003

Two Mars Hill trustees resign, call for inquiry

By Tony W. Cartledge BR Editor

Two trustees from Mars Hill College, including chairman Fred Pittillo, announced May 20 that they have resigned from the board, citing dissatisfaction with the behavior of other trustees and expressing concerns that the college has strayed from its Christian roots.

Pittillo, of Fruitland, and Richard Bullard, of Charlotte, said Baptist State Convention President Jerry Pereira had invited them to speak to the state convention's Executive Committee. They were expected to report on Mars Hill's search for a president and the recent hiring of interim president Dan Lunsford as the permanent president.

Instead, their report outlined a series of concerns about the college and its new president. Lunsford was elected on May 9 after the candidacy of Rick Brewer, who was promoted by Pittillo and Bullard, was derailed by stiff opposition from the faculty, students and a majority of the trustees. Brewer is vice president for planning and student affairs at Charleston Southern University in Charleston, S.C.

After Lunsford's election, Pittillo had said "We are proud of the accomplishments Dr. Lunsford has made during the past year and a half, and we look forward to his continued commitment of leading Mars Hill College."

On May 20, he and Bullard were less complimentary. Bullard displayed a power-point slide entitled "Administration" that included a picture of Lunsford and four bulleted items. The administration has demonstrated a lack financial management abilities and business acumen, he said, as well as an "inability to follow instructions" of the trustees' executive committee.

Bullard and Pittillo also suggested that Lunsford was not a good candidate for president of the school because he was "not Baptist as an adult."

Lunsford grew up as the son of a Baptist minister and has spent most of his life as an active Baptist. He told the Recorder that he did join an Episcopal church some years ago for a brief period. Lunsford is currently a member of Mars Hill Baptist Church in Mars Hill.

The former trustees also criticized the faculty at Mars Hill, saying they have transformed the college's mission to provide a rigorous liberal arts education into a promotion of liberal theology. The faculty and staff tend toward secularism, are confused as to what represents academic freedom, and exercise too much control over the administration and some trustees, they said.

Pittillo and Bullard distributed copies of six e-mail messages from four different faculty members. Each was addressed to about 20 colleagues, about a fourth of the faculty. The e-mails related concerns about Brewer's candidacy and discussed what questions faculty members should ask when he visited the campus, to help them identify his goals for the college.

In an interview the following day, Pittillo told the Recorder the e-mails were given to him by a faculty member. He did not consider the messages to be private communications, he said, because they had originally been addressed to multiple recipients, rather than to an individual. Bullard told the Recorder that a faculty member who was on the mailing list had supplied the copies of those and other e-mails.

The Recorder learned several weeks ago that some faculty members had stopped using e-mail to discuss the matter due to suspicions that someone on campus was disclosing copies of their messages. The distributed messages were all dated between April 18 and 21.

The two former trustees said there are problems with students as well as faculty. They expressed concern about the amount of visitation allowed between male and female students and said there are "sexual issues" of concern on campus.

According to the Mars Hill student handbook, co-ed visitation is allowed in residence halls noon until midnight, with the hours extended until 2 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights. Visiting students must sign in and be escorted by their host.

Some students had feared that Brewer would implement a policy allowing no co-ed visitation, as is reportedly the case at Charleston Southern University.

Bullard displayed several quotations from Mars Hill students or staff, some intended as examples of liberal teaching and others from persons expressing a desire for the school take on a more distinctively Christian character.

Both Pittillo and Bullard said students and staff have told them that they have been ostracized for openly expressing their Christian faith on campus.

The two men presented a list of recommendations to the executive committee, asking the committee to establish a special commission to investigate Mars Hill and the other Baptist colleges, to establish an accreditation process for schools to demonstrate that they are "Christian colleges," and to base convention funding on compliance with the established standards.

"If we're going to take money as a Christian school, we should have evidence of that," Pittillo told the Recorder.

After announcing that he and Bullard were resigning from the board of trustees, Pittillo distributed a copy of his letter of resignation, which was carbon-copied to the Biblical Recorder.

Pittillo said he was "bringing these issues to the forefront" as a matter of his Christian obligation to "to be very honest about what our school is and not to let misleading facts continue to be presented ..."

In the letter, Pittillo said other trustees had held conference calls and made decisions without his knowledge. "I feel that my presence as chair is not needed. ... So for that reason, I am resigning as trustee and as chair of trustees at Mars Hill College."

Pittillo concluded "If Mars Hill College can go back to her roots, and be a campus that has faculty, staff and a president who are not ashamed of Jesus Christ, let me know and I will gladly help her any way I can."

Pittillo and Bullard then left the meeting. After discussing the perceived irregularity and unexpected nature of the presentation, the Executive Committee voted to refer the matter to the Council on Christian Higher Education (CCHE) for study, instructing the council to report back to the executive committee in June.

Pittillo later told the Recorder he did not realize the presentation would be surprising or deemed inappropriate to the Executive Committee, since Pereira had invited them. The convention president is a member of the Executive Committee, but the president of the General Board chairs the committee and sets its agenda.

Pittillo said he and Bullard "had no ax to grind and were not mad," but were just trying to express what they believed to be legitimate concerns about the colleges.

Neither Lunsford nor CCHE executive director Wayne Wike had been informed about the presentation, and were not present.

In an interview later that day, Lunsford said "Thirty-plus trustees voted to ask me to be president of Mars Hill College. I've agreed to do that out of my love and devotion for the institution and the mission it has to deliver a liberal arts education in a Christian environment. I will do my best to honor that."

Lunsford said faculty, students and alumni had all responded very positively to the announcement of his election by the trustees.

He also pledged full cooperation with the CCHE in gathering information or in helping to analyze the issues raised by Pittillo and Bullard.

Wike said "The council has received the Executive Committee's request and it has taken steps to act upon it. I am grateful for Dr. Lunsford's pledge to support the council's process."

When asked about the charge that persons who openly declare their faith on campus are ostracized, Lunsford said "Categorically, I have not seen that." Instead, he said, "I have seen so many affirmations of students expressing their faith on campus. I've personally said to our faculty that we need to respect the young people who come here, and their different interpretations of Christianity and their own faith."

Lunsford cited a number of campus organizations and opportunities through which students are "supported and encouraged in their faith."

Derek Hodges, a rising senior at Mars Hill who is editor of the student newspaper and president of the Christian Student Movement on campus, said there are always some students who don't participate in religious activities on campus and who might be critical of others' faith. But there is no campus culture that denigrates people who openly express their faith, he said.

With Pittillo's resignation, leadership of the trustees falls to vice-chairman Troy Day, of Kannapolis.

Lunsford was introduced to the General Board on the evening of May 20. In brief remarks, he reflected on the contributions Mars Hill College had made to his life, both as a student and as a faculty member.

"I am proud and very humbled to be the president," he said. "I hope in this process as president to give back something to students who come to Mars Hill with a faith in Christ and to some who do not, but who may come to have faith and give back from their own faith."

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5/22/2003 12:00:00 AM by Tony W. Cartledge , BR Editor | with 0 comments



The biggest kind of blessing

May 16 2003 by Tony W. Cartledge , BR Editor

The biggest kind of blessing | Friday, May 16, 2003

Friday, May 16, 2003

The biggest kind of blessing

By Tony W. Cartledge BR Editor

Go ahead - be a little selfish. Do something really nice for yourself, something that will boost your self-esteem, broaden your horizons, enrich your mind, strengthen your spirit, and possibly change your life.

Go on a mission trip.

Spend a few days sweating in the sun over a construction project in eastern North Carolina or southern Honduras. Use your vacation time to teach Bible school in Alaska or build a church in Armenia. Employ your expertise in metro New York or Kuala Lumpur. Renovate a residence in Raleigh, canvas a campground in Cherokee, or pull teeth in Pembroke.

Mission opportunities start at your front door and stretch from the next corner to New Delhi.

And every one of them has the potential to impact your own life as much as the lives of those to whom you are sent.

So don't go if you're afraid of change.

Don't go if you like your life just the way it is.

It will be different when you come back.

A mission trip can turn your heart outward instead of inward.

A mission trip can open your eyes to things you've never seen.

A mission trip can expand your world in ways you can't imagine.

If you like thinking that everyone who really matters looks like you and thinks like you, don't go.

If you like going to bed without a care for abandoned infants in Johannesburg or starving villagers in Sudan or homeless children in Tegucigalpa, don't go, because you will not be able to forget.

I'm not suggesting that it is not possible to care about those things without walking through the back streets of Soweto, the night market of Hat Yai or the slums of Sao Paulo, but it's less likely.

My first experience with missions came in 1971. I had been fascinated with the thought of missions for years, but had rarely ventured more than 60 miles from home. I volunteered for student summer missions, and soon found myself - at the age of 19 - riding a bike through the crazy, crowded thoroughfares of Semarang, Indonesia. I met people who drew cooking water from the same muddy canals they used as an outdoor bathtub and latrine. I watched young girls in a remote river village carry rocks from a river and sit in the shade to pound them into gravel for sale. I felt a hunger for faith, for meaning, for hope.

And I was never the same.

I still close my eyes and look into the unforgettable faces of children who must be 40 years old now, if they're still alive, and wonder what became of them.

Getting involved can do that to you.

Summertime is prime time for mission efforts. Many churches may have youth mission trips planned, but are still short on adult chaperones. Maybe you could help.

N.C. Baptist Men and our N.C. Baptist partnership office have a long list of unfilled requests for mission volunteers in Malaysia and Armenia, along with many opportunities in North Carolina.

If travel is not an option, your local Baptist association can put you in touch with ministry needs closer to home.

Do you believe God has gifted you for a purpose?

Do you believe God calls believers to share the blessings we have received?

Do you believe it is important to obey the One who is Lord of all people?

Then put yourself squarely on mission.

Find a good project, and join in.

Just do it - but only if you are willing to be blessed far more than the people who receive your ministry.

It's amazing how it works that way.

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5/16/2003 12:00:00 AM by Tony W. Cartledge , BR Editor | with 0 comments



Thoughts on answered prayer

May 16 2003 by Tony W. Cartledge , BR Editor

Thoughts on answered prayer | Friday, May 16, 2003

Friday, May 16, 2003

Thoughts on answered prayer

By Tony W. Cartledge BR Editor

Unless you have spent the past two weeks in a shoebox, you have probably heard about the hiker who saved his life by hacking off his right hand with a dull pocketknife.

Ouch.

On April 26, an "extreme outdoor explorer" named Aron Ralston made the mistake of venturing alone into the rarely visited Bluejohn Canyon, just outside Utah's Canyonlands National Park.

While clambering down the rocky face of the canyon, an 800-pound chockstone boulder dislodged, crushing and pinning his right hand.

Because no one knew where to look, and because Ralston was stuck in a hidden slot within the remote canyon, airborne search teams couldn't find him.

For three days, Ralston tried to move the big rock, but even a pulley system cobbled from his climbing ropes and harness failed to budge it.

On the fourth day, April 29, Ralston concluded that his only recourse was to amputate his hand at the wrist, but his knife was so dull that he could hardly break the skin. During that day and the next he managed to cut through some of the muscle and tissue, but couldn't sever the bones.

After 48 hours without water, on May 1 - which he noted was the National Day of Prayer - Ralston said he had a revelation. It came to him that he could break the bones against the rock by using his body for leverage. This he did, snapping first the radius, then the ulna, just above the wrist.

After applying tourniquets made of climbing cord and then sawing through the remaining tissue, Ralston wrapped the stump of his arm in a plastic bag and a small canvas backpack. He then rappelled 60 feet down the rock face one-handed, drank and filled his water bottles at a pool on the valley floor, and started the seven-mile hike back to his truck.

When a rescue helicopter finally picked him up, he was just over a mile from the parking lot.

In an interview published in the Denver Post on May 9, Ralston said he prayed often during his five-day ordeal, and felt that "there was a greater presence than me in that canyon."

He prayed that he could think clearly and make good decisions as he considered his plight.

And then he cut off his hand.

Which suggests an important insight regarding prayer. The evidence of answered prayer is not always perfect healing or a miraculous rescue.

The simple fact that God hears and is present with us is a response to our deepest prayer, a yearning for connection with the Eternal, the Almighty.

Sometimes, just the strength to face the day and do what we need to do is a magnificent answer to prayer, and worthy of praise.

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5/16/2003 12:00:00 AM by Tony W. Cartledge , BR Editor | with 0 comments



Why we need each other

May 16 2003 by Jim Royston , Executive Director-treasurer

Why we need each other | Friday, May 16, 2003

Friday, May 16, 2003

Why we need each other

By Jim Royston Executive Director-treasurer

The other day I couldn't get my garden tractor to start. So I called the 800 number in the owners' manual and a nice voice told me exactly what to do. The culprit was a small plastic switch, which I could easily replace, allowing everything to return to proper working order.

One small, insignificant piece of equipment was able to shut down a several hundred-dollar lawn tractor, not to mention keeping me from cutting my grass. It only took one non-functioning part to stop everything else from working. Somehow, all of this reminded me of what sometimes happens in our churches.

The Bible is very clear on how everybody's gifts are needed to make the church work properly. One small issue can literally paralyze an entire church program. We forget that there are no "small players" in our congregations. Everyone is of equal importance.

In 1 Cor. 12, Paul uses the analogy of a human body to illustrate the need for everyone to work together. Eyes are not more important than ears nor do ears have greater value than the nose. The foot is not supposed to be in competition with the hand. Paul concludes by saying that if one part of the body suffers, all suffer together and if one is honored, all rejoice together (1 Cor. 12:26).

I think these biblical comparisons can also be applied to individual churches within our state convention. We need the variety of gifts present in our 3,800-plus congregations. No one church is "the model" for every other church. Although every church is committed to the same basic values and beliefs, the expressions and even emphases of these elements will differ from congregation to congregation. We come together as a convention to do missions. Virtually everything else is the business of the individual congregation.

This year's WMU theme is, "God's Plan ... My Part." This would be an excellent theme for our entire Baptist State Convention. The plan is obviously from God. How we fit into that plan is "my part" of the process and should reflect my individual skills, talents and spiritual gifts.

We all need each other within our state convention. Opportunities for missions and evangelism have never been greater. This is the worst possible time to be pulling apart or arguing over which group is more important than another group.

We need to stop building walls that separate us from one another. Instead, we need to tear down those walls and use the materials to build bridges that help us connect with a hurting world.

Copyright (c) Biblical Recorder Inc.
5/16/2003 12:00:00 AM by Jim Royston , Executive Director-treasurer | with 0 comments



N.C. 'Volunteers of the Year' honored for service

May 16 2003 by Tony W. Cartledge , BR Editor

N.C. 'Volunteers of the Year' honored for service | Friday, May 16, 2003

Friday, May 16, 2003

N.C. 'Volunteers of the Year' honored for service

By Tony W. Cartledge BR Editor

North Carolina Baptists believe in missions as a practical art - not only a cause that deserves financial support, but a job that demands hands-on involvement. Through the coordination of partnership missions, disaster relief and other efforts, N.C. Baptist Men have raised volunteer missions to a fine art.

Last November, the Biblical Recorder invited nominations for recognition as "N.C. Missions Volunteers of the Year." The Baptist State Convention is home to many committed volunteers who are worthy of recognition, and a number of nominations were received. From those nominations, the Recorder has chosen to highlight four couples whose service has been exemplary.

All four share a common characteristic: they are devoting the best of their retirement years in volunteer service to God and to humanity. We present them in alphabetical order.

Jack and Virginia Cox When Jack and Virginia Cox retired together from the High Point City School system in 1985, they determined to spend the rest of their active days on mission, using their gifts and abilities to serve God and others. Since then, they participated, separately or together, in more than 30 mission trips in North Carolina and to destinations including Tennessee, West Virginia, Jamaica, Honduras, Brazil, Germany, Russia, Ukraine, South Africa, China, Japan, and Hong Kong.

While Jack is generally involved in construction projects, Virginia takes special delight in utilizing her skills as a librarian. She's catalogued books or taught library skills in church and school settings from Alaska to the Czech Republic to American Samoa.

The Coxes are active members of First Baptist Church in High Point, where both serve as deacons and in other capacities.

To celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary in 2002, the Coxes embarked on four mission trips including construction work at Caswell, low-cost home renovation in Smyrna, Tenn., teaching Bible School and preaching in Jamaica, and teaching library skills in Pago Pago.

Why do they invest so much in mission efforts? For the Coxes, the answer is simple: "We wanted our lives to count more for God and others... We feel the reason for our being on this earth is to serve others."

George and Mary Ann Crouch George and Mary Ann Crouch work both together and apart as they devote many hours of volunteer mission work each year. They are both actively involved members at Providence Baptist Church in Charlotte.

George is a retired businessman who enjoys working with the church men's group on mission projects such as building ramps for the elderly, assisting with bicycle repairs and Christmas projects for the after-school program. He has helped with the construction of four Habitat for Humanity houses, and served the past three years as president of N.C. Baptist Men. In March 2003, he was recognized by the organization as "Layman of the Year."

Mary Ann coordinates the Jackson Park Tutoring program, a mission outreach that involves scores of men and women from Providence and Carmel Baptist churches. She enlists tutors, substitutes when needed, and assists with training and evaluation sessions. She also works with families of the children, and finds other volunteers who can assist them with specific needs such as food and supplies.

Together, George and Mary Ann have served as Baptist Men volunteers in Togo, Mali, Ivory Coast, Zaire, Tanzania, Ghana, Mozambique, Kosovo, Armenia, Israel, India, Malaysia, Jamaica, Haiti and Honduras.

"Part of my Christian commitment was that we should be involved in missions," Mary Ann said. "My mother was sort of the 'town missionary,' always working to help others."

The Crouches are also motivated by their ability to do mission work together, and their interest only grows.

"The more you do it, the more involved you become, the more excited you become that you are making a difference," Mary Ann said, "seeing how God can work to change lives."

Miller and Peggy Garrison Miller Garrison realized that he could be a missionary when he heard a guest speaker at church say that someone with welding skills was needed to help with an irrigation project in Brazil. That year, he spent his vacation on a mission trip. "He was so changed," Peggy said, "I wanted to go, too." The next year they helped to build a missionary residence in Alaska, and they've been hooked ever since.

Miller is skilled with his hands and he particularly enjoys construction work, but he and Peggy also volunteer with the feeding unit for disaster relief projects.

The Garrisons, who are members of First Baptist Church in Stanley, have assisted with disaster relief efforts in Florida, Kentucky, Illinois and North Carolina, and worked on other projects in New York City, Montana, and Alaska.

Miller has assisted with construction projects in Puerto Rico, Brazil, Honduras, the Czech Republic, Latvia, Armenia, North Korea and Ukraine, which Peggy says Miller has visited "about 20 times."

The Garrisons don't limit their volunteering to the more glamorous long-distance projects, but are particularly active in North Carolina, assisting with construction projects at South Mountain Camp, Fruitland Baptist Bible Institute, North Carolina Baptist Assembly at Caswell, the Greater Gaston Baptist Association, and church projects in Pittsboro, Hickory, Yadkinville, Lucia and other N.C. locations.

As far as Miller is concerned, "I just feel like this is what God has called me to do."

J.E. and Betsy Skinner Williamston is "home" for J.E. and Betsy Skinner, but finding them there is often a challenge. The question is always "Where is J.E.?," said Mike Scott, minister of education and youth at Williamston Memorial Baptist Church, where the Skinners are active members.

When J.E. retired from the N.C. Department of Transportation after 37 years, he simply switched from a full-time employee and part-time volunteer to become a full-time volunteer. Betsy still works for the Department of Transportation, Scott says, in large part to help finance the mission work that involves them both.

As a coordinator with N.C. Baptist Men's ongoing disaster relief efforts, J.E. regularly drives more than an hour to work in the Grifton area.

That's when he's in the country.

The Skinners have participated in mission trips to Ukraine, Kosovo, Kenya, Mozambique, Honduras, Puerto Rico, Israel and Gaza, where they have assisted with construction projects, water purification, relief efforts and evangelism.

J.E. is often one of the first responders in relief situations. He traveled to New York City on the evening of Sept. 11, 2001 to assist with relief efforts there. More recently, he worked to help Tar Heels deal with the aftermath of a damaging ice storm, and worked 24 hours straight after the pharmaceutical plant explosion in Kinston.

As this article was being written, the Skinners were on mission in Honduras. Later this year, they have a trip planned to Kenya, and Betsy will also work in Alaska.

J.E. always encourages others to participate in volunteer missions, trusting God to provide the necessary funds, according to Scott. His famous quote, Scott says, is "God took away my wants and supplies my needs."

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5/16/2003 12:00:00 AM by Tony W. Cartledge , BR Editor | with 0 comments



Offering for seminaries proposed

May 16 2003 by Associated Baptist Press

Offering for seminaries proposed | Friday, May 16, 2003
  • Change the Cooperative Program distribution formula.
  • Allow more fund-raising by the seminaries.
  • Allow seminaries more input into trustee selection in order to place more wealthy donors on trustee boards.
  • Reinstate the SBC capital-needs budget.
  • Create a special offering for the seminaries.

    "Today it is difficult to imagine the mission boards functioning without their annual offerings," Kelly said. "The potential for the same effect is there with an annual offering for the six seminaries. The problems are how to organize and promote it, how to pay for the cost of it and where to place it on the calendar."

    The offering, he said, could be named for Criswell, the legendary pastor of First Baptist Church of Dallas who died about 18 months ago.

    Ironically, First Baptist Church years ago founded a Bible college as an alternative to SBC schools. First known as Criswell Institute for Biblical Studies and now as Criswell College, it is not an SBC-owned school.

    Times have changed, however, and there has been a steady flow of Criswell faculty and graduates into leadership of the six SBC seminaries, particularly Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth and Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest.

    Kelley's suggestion of allowing seminary administrators more input in the selection of trustees has been proposed before but with negative repercussions.

    In 1990, Russell Dilday, then president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, suggested to SBC president Jerry Vines that the seminaries were not always getting the caliber of trustees they needed. Some of the trustees appointed to seminary boards to bring about political and theological change were not competent to be trustees, Dilday told Vines in a private conversation.

    A member of the SBC Executive Committee overhead that conversation and raised a protest with seminary trustees, who questioned Dilday at length about what he had said.

  • Friday, May 16, 2003

    Offering for seminaries proposed

    Mark Wingfield Associated Baptist Press

    NEW ORLEANS - The president of one of the Southern Baptist Convention's six seminaries has proposed creating an annual offering for the seminaries on the scale of the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for international missions and the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering for North American missions.

    This new offering should be named for W.A. Criswell, suggests Chuck Kelley, president of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.

    The seminaries need more money, he said, because SBC conservatives aren't doing as good a job of funding theological education as SBC moderates did in the past.

    Kelley proposed the offering in a white paper titled "Roots of a Dilemma: SBC Entities and the Cooperative Program." It is published in New Orleans Seminary's online journal, Journal for Baptist Theology and Ministry.

    The special offering is one of several possible ways to provide greater funding for the six SBC seminaries, Kelley wrote. It is the primary option he personally recommends.

    Gifts to the SBC Cooperative Program (CP), while increasing in total dollars, have not made gains against inflation, Kelley said, and the recent demise of an SBC capital-needs budget has hit the seminaries hard.

    The SBC's attempts to redirect more money to front-line missions through agency restructuring in 1997 helped but did not solve the problem, Kelley said. From a financial perspective, these changes "to some extent offset the inroads of inflation on CP income."

    In this restructuring, the six seminaries were given an additional 1 percent of Cooperative Program income to share among themselves. This provided assistance, he said, but did not fund any new initiatives. Even with this change, five of the six seminaries could not make their payrolls based on Cooperative Program giving alone, Kelley said.

    The seminaries also took a hit two years ago when the SBC Executive Committee eliminated the capital-needs budget that traditionally had been funded by over-budget Cooperative Program gifts. Instead, any Cooperative Program overages now are distributed to all SBC entities by the regular budget formula.

    "This was a devastating blow to the six seminaries, but a positive help for the other entities," Kelley wrote, explaining that seminaries relied on these funds to offset capital expenses that didn't have donor appeal, like replacing sewer systems.

    "The new system made it virtually impossible for the seminaries to receive ever again the money they received in the past for capital projects," he said.

    Meanwhile, professors' salaries at SBC seminaries are low, and costs passed on to students are getting higher, he said.

    "We are not far away from putting Southern Baptist theological education financially out of reach for many Southern Baptists," Keller wrote. "Unless there are some changes, the moderate-dominated seminaries of the '70s and '80s will prove to have been far more affordable than the conservative-dominated seminaries of the 21st century."

    He outlined five options to increase funding to seminaries:

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    5/16/2003 12:00:00 AM by Associated Baptist Press | with 0 comments



    Tony Campolo to speak at CBF General Assembly

    May 16 2003 by Lance Wallace , CBF Communications

    Tony Campolo to speak at CBF General Assembly | Friday, May 16, 2003
  • New global missions field personnel will be commissioned.
  • CBF Coordinator Daniel Vestal will preach on "CBF Being the Presence of Christ in the World."
  • Church growth expert and author Brian McLaren will lead the CBF Congregational Leadership Institute.
  • CBF-endorsed chaplains and pastoral counselors will be recognized.
  • A business session will include election of Coordinating Council members and adoption of CBF's 2003-04 budget.
  • "Baptist Voices" sharing examples of being the presence of Christ globally will give testimonies.
  • A resource fair with more than 90 exhibitors will offer a variety of resources and services. The fair will include three major bookstores and a CBF "missions marketplace" that will include a missions art silent auction.
  • Jubilate!, a youth choir from CBF churches in Georgia, South Carolina and Tennessee, will perform Thursday evening.
  • Alabama pastor Sarah Jackson Shelton will preach Friday evening.
  • Retired N.C. pastor Jack Causey will lead a time of communion and commissioning on Saturday morning.
  • First Baptist Church of Asheville will provide choral music Saturday morning.
  • A children's assembly will provide learning experiences for preschoolers through 6th grade.
  • Friday, May 16, 2003

    Tony Campolo to speak at CBF General Assembly

    By Lance Wallace CBF Communications

    ATLANTA - The Cooperative Baptist Fellowship (CBF) expects a crowd of more than 4,000 for its annual General Assembly on June 26-28 at the convention center in Charlotte.

    Believed to be the largest gathering of moderate Baptists in America, the CBF General Assembly will feature a message from preacher, educator and author Tony Campolo, music by Nashville recording artist Kate Campbell, and guided prayer time by Christian spiritual formation author Marjorie Thompson.

    BSC Executive Director-treasurer Jim Royston will bring greetings and offer the invocation during the opening session.

    The assembly schedule also includes the commissioning of CBF global missionaries and more than 100 ministry workshops covering topics ranging from the faith-based initiative, to aging, to ministry among people with disabilities. N.C. Baptists will lead a number of the sessions.

    Assembly participants will have an opportunity to hear Campolo speak during the opening session of the assembly. A professor emeritus of sociology at Eastern University in St. Davids, Penn., Campolo served for 10 years on the University of Pennsylvania faculty. He is currently an associate pastor at Mount Carmel Baptist Church in West Philadelphia.

    As founder and president of the Evangelical Association for the Promotion of Education, Campolo has supported tutoring for urban children in North America. He has helped provide care to hundreds of African children orphaned by AIDS and helped bring the presence of Christ to countless individuals.

    Campolo will share personal insights as he challenges participants to catch a vision of the mission that God has given to every Christian and every church.

    Campbell and Thompson will lead worship and prayer focuses during the general sessions.

    Campbell, the daughter of a Baptist preacher, made her recording debut in 1995 with "Songs from the Levee." Her gift for storytelling and command of a full-range of American music styles, have combined to earn her two "Folk Album Of The Year" nominations from the Nashville Music Awards.

    Her sixth and most recent album, "Monuments," was inspired by the folk carvings of African-American artist William Edmondson. Campbell will give a mini-concert on Friday morning, June 27.

    Thompson is director of the Pathways Center for Spiritual Leadership with Upper Room Ministries. An ordained minister of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Thompson is a retreat leader, teacher and speaker in the area of Christian spirituality.

    She served as the chief architect of the Companions in Christ spiritual formation resource now used by CBF congregations.

    Assembly highlights include:

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    5/16/2003 12:00:00 AM by Lance Wallace , CBF Communications | with 0 comments



    Certification deeply impacts ministry

    May 16 2003 by Kristen Muse , Minister with children, Hayes-Barton Baptist Church, Raleigh

    Certification deeply impacts ministry | Friday, May 16, 2003

    Friday, May 16, 2003

    Certification deeply impacts ministry

    By Kristen Muse Minister with children, Hayes-Barton Baptist Church, Raleigh

    I accepted God's call into children's ministry without knowing much about how to minister to children and their families. The first time I had ever heard of a children's minister was during my junior year of college. I had a background in elementary education, but serving in the church would require a whole new set of skills.

    Many questions circulated through my mind as I began serving in a local church. How do I equip the teachers and parents? What are the biblical themes and lessons appropriate for children and preschoolers? How could I encourage ministry to begin in the homes of the children? What policies and procedures should be followed for making children and preschoolers safe while they are at church?

    It was shortly after this time that a certification program in preschool and children's ministry began with a partnership between Campbell Divinity School and the Baptist State Convention. As I learned more about this certification, I knew this was the place to find the answers to my questions. After I entered the certification program, I soon realized that I would gain even more than just the answers to my questions.

    From the moment I began attending classes, my call was reaffirmed. Even in the first class, I began learning immediately the practical nature of this program. I left class knowing how I could use the information and skills in my local church.

    Other classes in the program caused me to think outside of the box. I had to first struggle with my own theology in order to decide what was age appropriate for preschoolers and children to learn. Listening to other students and their ideas became an important part of this experience.

    Two avenues exist for taking classes in the certification program. The first is to take classes on the campus of Campbell University. The second way is to take each course in an intensive manner during two weekends each semester. I was able to take classes through both methods. I believe this really enhanced the type of education I received from the certification.

    At Campbell, I sat in classes with people in all types of ministry settings. Hearing viewpoints from pastors, youth ministers and adult educators allowed me to think through my own beliefs and find ways that would work for all types of people involved in a local church. The intensive classes were mostly composed of people working in children's ministry. Although one would think that this group of people would always come to the same conclusion, many diverse ideas were debated and discussed. Class discussions continued through lunch and dinner, and sometimes even into the late evening.

    The preschool and children's ministry certification has deeply impacted the way I do ministry. It has taught me how to equip teachers and parents; how to look for age appropriate materials for preschoolers and children; how to design ministries that match the mission of the church; and how to make sure that preschoolers and children are safe. These are just a few of the practical ways I have benefited.

    I also finished this certification with a new focus in ministry - family ministry. Family ministry causes me to think outside of how children's ministry usually occurs. It causes me to minister to the entire family unit. This new understanding of my calling to ministry was one of the greatest benefits of the certification program.

    The other major benefit was the network of ministry colleagues that came from the time spent learning together in class. Building relationships with other ministers who understand your joys and struggles and who continue to support and encourage you throughout your ministry is rare, but it is a natural overflow from the preschool and children's ministry certification.

    Thank you, Dr. Royston and the Baptist State Convention, Deans Cogdill and Powers and Campbell University Divinity School for providing this avenue of ministry preparation for me and other ministers across our state.

    (EDITOR'S NOTE - For more information about the Preschool and Children's Ministry Certification contact Janice Haywood at jhaywood@bscnc.org or call (800) 395-5102, ext. 431.)

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    5/16/2003 12:00:00 AM by Kristen Muse , Minister with children, Hayes-Barton Baptist Church, Raleigh | with 0 comments



    Program opens eyes to broader concepts

    May 16 2003 by Jill B. Carter , Preschool minister, Guilford Baptist Church, Greensboro

    Program opens eyes to broader concepts | Friday, May 16, 2003

    Friday, May 16, 2003

    Program opens eyes to broader concepts

    By Jill B. Carter Preschool minister, Guilford Baptist Church, Greensboro

    When I began the process of acknowledging and submitting to the call to vocational Christian ministry to preschoolers and their families, I naturally looked for affirmation and direction from Christian friends and mentors.

    One of the best pieces of wisdom I heard was, "A call to serve is a call to prepare."

    In part I rebelled at the notion of having to prepare further. In my journey to becoming the best volunteer I was capable of being, I had already been to Caraway, Ridgecrest and associational events numerous times for training. I had toured other church facilities. I had taught in every program and every age level. And I could practically quote resource books on everything from how many teachers you need in a kindergarten class to how far apart crib slats should be. What more preparation did I need?

    But I knew the Holy Spirit was urging me toward something new, so I took the only option available to me at the time and enrolled in seminary.

    I learned a great deal about the Bible and God, but very little that was of direct, practical help to me in fulfilling adequately the specific call God had placed on my life.

    Then the Baptist State Convention and Campbell University Divinity School began a joint effort to establish a certification program in preschool and children's ministry.

    The program was offered as part of a divinity degree or as a stand-alone certification. The five required courses could be taken on campus or as an intensive two 2-day sessions at a central location. The intensive format was ideal for my family and church commitments, so I enrolled in the very first group to take this option.

    The program was exactly what I needed to be a knowledgeable and effective leader. The courses are designed to equip students with the information they need to carry out various responsibilities that typically fall to one charged with overseeing a comprehensive preschool and children's ministry.

    Each course goes beyond just imparting information. Assignments routinely require the participants to actually observe, evaluate and make recommendations on actions in their own churches and positions. The program not only allowed me to serve my local church with increasing effectiveness, it demanded that I do so.

    Beyond enhancing my knowledge of children's needs and effective teaching strategies, the program opened my eyes to a broader concept of ministering to children.

    It forced me to look beyond what we were currently doing at my own church to what we needed to be doing in order to effectively serve the needs of our community in a post-modern world.

    It forced me to look from how I was actually leading volunteers to how I should be leading, convincing me that sharing the work and the credit was a greater gift to the kingdom than trying to do everything myself.

    It helped me identify what we needed to be teaching preschoolers and children in order to develop their faith, and to recognize whether or not we were hitting that mark successfully.

    In the midst of learning, I also had the honor of developing relationships with others who share my belief and passion that young children are precious in God's sight and deserve the very best we can offer.

    I shared classroom experiences with pastors and lay leaders, with church staff and state convention staff, with divinity school professors and new Christians.

    We learned from each other and continue to do so as an on-going network of support and communication emerged from our time together.

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    5/16/2003 12:00:00 AM by Jill B. Carter , Preschool minister, Guilford Baptist Church, Greensboro | with 0 comments



    Family Bible Study lesson for June 1: The Church - Evangelizing the Lost

    May 16 2003 by Kim D. Shaver , Matthew 9:35-38; Romans 10:14-15; 2 Corinthians 5:14-21

    Family Bible Study lesson for June 1: The Church - Evangelizing the Lost | Friday, May 16, 2003
  • Pray for God to make them aware of their emptiness and need for a Savior.
  • Pray for God to convict them of their sin and separation from Him.
  • Pray for God to remove spiritual blindness and give them an honest seeking after truth.
  • Pray for God to reveal Himself to them and to powerfully draw them to Himself through His irresistible grace.

    Have right motivation

    2 Corinthians 5: 14-15

    Sharing Christ with others involves a tremendous personal investment on our part. God will bless that investment with eternal fruit only if our heart is right, only if we have the right motivation.

    The motivation God blesses is love - love for God and love for others, in keeping with the great commandment. The great commandment, then, is the motivation for carrying out the great commission. We love others because "God first loved us." It is the love of Christ demonstrated on the cross that "compels us" to unselfishly pour out the investment required to win the lost to the Good Shepherd.

    Proclaim message of reconciliation

    2 Corinthians 5:16-21

    As Christians, you and I are ambassadors of God proclaiming a "message of reconciliation," Paul writes. An ambassador represents one kingdom or nation to another nation. Faithful ambassadors bring health to a nation.

    As ambassadors of God, we are not the bearers of bad news, but of good news that brings eternal healing to all who will believe. That news is that God has reconciled us to Himself through Christ, not counting man's sins against us.

    As ambassadors of reconciliation, the health of our nation depends on us sharing the good news.

    Share the good news

    Romans 10:14-15

    "How can they believe in one of whom they have not heard?" Paul asks.

    Prayer, the right motivation, living a life of love, and understanding the message of reconciliation are all essential foundations of evangelism. But in order for a person to be saved, they must hear and believe the simple message of God reconciling the world to Himself through Christ. "Faith comes by hearing the message, and the message is heard by the word of Christ" (Romans: 10:17).

    Share God's word and trust the Holy Spirit to do the rest.

  • Friday, May 16, 2003

    Family Bible Study lesson for June 1: The Church - Evangelizing the Lost

    By Kim D. Shaver Matthew 9:35-38; Romans 10:14-15; 2 Corinthians 5:14-21

    This Easter, our church presented the musical, "The Borrowed Tomb." We rejoiced with tears as two women - one young and one a senior adult - came forward to receive Christ after the invitation at the end of the productions on Saturday and Sunday evenings.

    God welcomed two new children into His kingdom because the body of Christ worked together beautifully to lift up the Savior. The body working together included each musician who tirelessly practiced; each actor who proclaimed the words of the gospel; the technicians, stage hands and set designers; the prayer warriors who bathed the production in prayer; those who took the initiative to invite these women; the minister of worship who directed the production; and the ministers who issued the altar invitation and prayed with the women to receive Christ.

    This is exactly the way God designed the church to function. As part of the body of Christ, you have a vital role in leading others to Christ. You are an important link in a chain of events that God will use to draw others to His Son. How can you be a strong link in the chain of events and "touches" of the gospel in a person's life that leads them to Christ?

    Let's look at the words and examples of Jesus and Paul.

    Bathe evangelism in prayer

    Matthew 9:35-38

    As Jesus traveled through villages preaching and teaching the good news and healing diseases, He "had compassion for the crowds." He looked deeply into their lives and saw that they were "harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd."

    How accurately that describes the people you and I come in contact with each day. Look around you with the eyes of Christ, and you will see people who are "beaten down," "stressed out" and generally living lives of quiet despair.

    Does Christ-like sorrow and compassion rise up in you when you observe lost people without the Good Shepherd? Watch closely the response of Jesus when He observed the plight of lost people. He commanded His disciples to pray for God to raise up workers to spread the good news. Prayer is the first vital step of evangelism, and evangelism should be bathed in prayer from start to finish.

    Jesus proclaimed in John 6:44 that "no one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him." We must pray for God the Holy Spirit, to draw unsaved people to Jesus, the Good Shepherd.

    Do you regularly pray for the salvation of at least one lost person? Would you consider involvement in your church's intercessory prayer ministry?

    Biblical ways to pray for the lost:

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    5/16/2003 12:00:00 AM by Kim D. Shaver , Matthew 9:35-38; Romans 10:14-15; 2 Corinthians 5:14-21 | with 0 comments



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