October 2003

Biblical Recorder:SEBTS president searches for new president

October 30 2003 by Steve DeVane , BR Managing Editor

Biblical Recorder:SEBTS president searches for new president

| Home | NewsOpinion | Baptist Life | NewsFriday, Oct. 31, 2003

By Steve DeVane

BR Managing Editor

WAKE FOREST - Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary's (SEBTS) new president could be a pastor, an academic or a denominational employee, the head of the search committee said.SEBTS has been searching for a new leader since Paige Patterson left in July to become president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Patterson had led the seminary for 11 years.Timothy D. Lewis, who serves as chairman of the committee and the SEBTS trustees, said in an interview after the trustees meeting Oct. 14 that the committee has "substantially" narrowed its search from a list of less than 50 candidates. Lewis said it's too soon to say when a president may be named."We're still seemingly far away," he said.Lewis said the new president will not have to be well known in Southern Baptist circles. He said the man who takes over the reins at SEBTS could come from the pastorate, an academic setting or a denominational position."All of them are a little different, ... but can prepare you to be a seminary leader," he said.Lewis said the search committee has met three times. Committee members talked with faculty and staff members about the type of person they want as president. They also got information from the school's Board of Visitors, he said.The committee has developed a profile to help in the search, Lewis said. Among the qualities desired in the new president are:� A proven, godly leader;� Committed to conservative theology;� In agreement with the school's abstract of principles and the 2000 version of the Baptist Faith and Message;� Able to deal with students, faculty and staff;� Familiar with funding issues and donors;� A capable, expository preacher;� Courageous, visionary leadership;� A thorough understanding of the purpose of the seminary;� A heartbeat for missions and evangelism;� Good people skills;� Able to represent the school;� Able to recruit students;� Academic achievement; and� A supportive wife. "He represents the school wherever he goes, to churches and in churches to prospective donors and students," Lewis said.The characteristics listed by Lewis are similar to those suggested by Patterson in his last meeting with trustees in July.During their meeting Oct. 14, the trustees voted unanimously to leave it to the search committee's discretion regarding how much information to provide trustees before a special called meeting to consider a candidate for president.Lewis said the action was taken to protect the candidate, who will likely be working somewhere else when he is considered for the SEBTS position.In other action, the trustees responded to a motion at the Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting asking that the school accept money from any Baptist. The response says the school will continue to follow SBC guidelines, but reserves the right to accept or reject any gift outside the Cooperative Program."The decision to accept or reject is based on the gift's impact on the mission of the institution in light of the beliefs set forth in the Baptist Faith & Message 2000 and our effort to glorify God," the seminary statement said.The SEBTS trustees also held two closed meetings for a total of about an hour and a half.The trustees were also told that N.C. students attending the seminary's college program will get $1,800 a year under a bill recently passed by the N.C. General assembly. Students in the school pay tuition of $145 per credit hour, meaning a student taking 15 hours per semester pays $4,350 a year. That cost does not include room, food or other expenses.School officials said tuition at the school will likely increase next year.| Home | NewsOpinion | Baptist Life |

10/30/2003 11:00:00 PM by Steve DeVane , BR Managing Editor | with 0 comments



Biblical Recorder:Building Christian community

October 30 2003 by Norman Jameson , Special to the Recorder

Biblical Recorder:Building Christian community

| Home | NewsOpinion | Baptist Life | NewsFriday, Oct. 31, 2003

By Norman Jameson

Special to the Recorder

When Randy Frazee was called out of the pew to the pulpit at Pantego Bible Church in Arlington, Texas, he knew "church" and theology, but he didn't know much about being a pastor. His advice books and mentors said to grow a church he should buy land, be contemporary, expand Bible study around "life stages" and add "small groups." Because Frazee "put better cheese in the mousetrap" Pantego attendance rose from 400 to 1,250 within four years.And it was killing him.Although growth was gratifying, Frazee felt alone in a crowd of lonely people. Members knew no sense of community, there was no "yield" of persons coming to faith and the church had no impact on its community.In fact, Frazee told participants in a recent day of dialogue at Hollifield Leadership Center, "As attendance rose, involvement with the community decreased. We were too busy to have compassion on the poor."Frazee's own experience in his hand picked small group was "horrible." When he learned by chance that his staff members were having similarly unsatisfying experiences, he knew he had to find a way to recover community - that vital hallmark of the early church.He knew people are lonely. They come to church miles from home and find no community. There is a disconnect between the most important elements of their lives.Finding real communityFrazee discovered real community in the rumpled frame of his unchurched neighbor, Tom, whom he found reading his newspaper in Frazee's living room one Saturday morning, drinking coffee he had prepared in Frazee's coffeepot. Real community evolves around a sense of place, and place is found only where there is spontaneity, availability, frequency, proximity and common meals, Frazee said.Expecting the church building to be the center point for Christian community denies the reality of those essentials, said Frazee, who has recorded his journey in The Connecting Church, published by Zondervan. When people must leave their neighborhood to come to their "community" those characteristics of "place" are all impossible.So Frazee and his staff, at great risk to their own security, began to deconstruct what they had built in their $15 million building on their 100-acre campus, to make the focal points of their ministry the neighborhoods in which they and their members live.Instead of adding more events at the church to increase "frequency" of being together, they eliminated all regularly scheduled evening meetings. Staff ministers are now "parish pastors" living and working in their neighborhoods. Members, too, are essentially parish pastors who minister where they live. There is no staff member assigned the role of "pastoral care," or "evangelism" because members are living, breathing, ministering care givers and evangelizers with every foray outside their doors.Sunday morning worship services are great gatherings of the parishes to one place for common worship. Bible study classes are organized by school neighborhoods. So people whose children attend the same schools and who live near each other, study together - consolidating their everyday world with the world of their church.All the elements of community are enhanced when they occur in the neighborhood, when friends, neighbors and church members get their papers in the morning, walk the dog or attend a school event."It took seven years for this process to become a part of the DNA of the church," Frazee said. And it came at great risk. Several church leaders, aghast at the diminishing importance of multi-million dollar facilities, balked. But others had caught the vision and supported the changes."The real problem," he said, "is taking power from the few and giving it to the community."Parish churches effective Although disdained as ineffective, the parish church in small town America actually has the greatest penetration of its potential market, Frazee said, reaching 30 percent of the target population. The greatest mega church today can expect to reach only 0.5 percent of its target population. The Connecting Church, in essence a return to neighborhood parish ministry, frees ministers to the joy of life and witness among people with whom they live. And it frees church members to the same ministry, giving them back hours to live Christ among their neighbors, rather than trying to drag those same neighbors to a church which is foreign ground to them. Frazee said the No. 1 vacation destination in America today is to visit a "small town." Suburbia is contracting because people are lonely, searching for relationships, for community. "Community is the only valid means to be the church," he said.He urged Christians to consolidate the relationships in their lives, and interconnect them. You can go fishing by yourself, he said, "or you can say to your friends, 'Do any of you want to go fishing with me?'"| Home | NewsOpinion | Baptist Life |

10/30/2003 11:00:00 PM by Norman Jameson , Special to the Recorder | with 0 comments



Biblical Recorder:Ties to SBC main issue in BSC elections

October 30 2003 by Steve DeVane , BR Managing Editor

Biblical Recorder:Ties to SBC main issue in BSC elections

| Home | NewsOpinion | Baptist Life | NewsFriday, Oct. 31, 2003

By Steve DeVane

BR Managing Editor

Political maneuvering leading up to the Baptist State Convention (BSC) annual meeting Nov. 10-12 has focused on the BSC's relationship to the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC).Groups representing conservative and moderate N.C. Baptists made final attempts to get their message out in newsletters mailed in late October.At issue is the primary allegiance of Baptists in the state. Are they N.C. Baptists with voluntary ties to the SBC, or are they Southern Baptists who happen to live in North Carolina?The Conservative Carolina Baptists (CCB) newsletter, the Conservative Record, deals with what its leaders see as an "anti-SBC agenda" by moderates.Articles in the Mainstream Baptists of North Carolina (MBNC) newsletter ask if churches need to have an exclusive relationship with the SBC in order to participate in the BSC.MBNC has endorsed David Hughes for president, Raymond Earp for first vice president and Ken Massey for second vice president.CCB has endorsed David Horton for president, Phyllis Foy for first vice president and Brian Davis for second vice president.The CCB newsletter criticized a plan by Hughes to reduce the amount of money sent to SBC.MBNC's newsletter featured articles by Hughes and Massey.In his article, Hughes proposes cutting the amount sent to the SBC through the BSC's Plan A from 32 percent to 30 percent. Keeping the extra 2 percent in North Carolina would help the BSC to regain its financial stability, Hughes said.Through September, BSC income was running about $2.16 million below budget. In August, the BSC cut 24 positions, including 15 that cost staff members their jobs.The lead article in the Conservative Record said that Hughes' proposal "revealed an agenda that would gravely affect the relationship" of the BSC and the SBC. The article, by CCB Editorial Committee Chairman Steve Hardy, said the issue "is sure to motivate conservatives to attend" the BSC meeting.Hardy said the proposal would mean that $500,000 to $1 million would remain in North Carolina "and out of the hands of the International Mission Board, the North American Mission Board and SBC seminaries.""This would come at a critical time when seminary enrollment is at an all time high, and the mission boards have a waiting list of those to be appointed," the article said.Massey, pastor of First Baptist Church in Greensboro, said in his MBNC newsletter article, that even though his church gives little money to SBC causes, church members this summer worked closely and effectively with SBC employees and churches on three mission trips."Some brothers and sisters in our state convention want the BSC and her cooperating churches to have an exclusive relationship with the SBC," he said. "They are telling us explicitly and implicitly, that our way of cooperation is unacceptable for BSC congregations."Massey said church members find that cooperating with the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, the SBC and other organizations is exhilarating."Churches like ours really need to know if the BSC is going to work with us or work to exclude us like the SBC," he said. "We are not demanding our way, but we do deserve a clear and honest answer to the question."A sidebar to Hardy's article in the Conservative Record calls for conservatives to attend the BSC meeting. The moderates' agenda "is aimed at hurting the missions program of the Southern Baptist Convention," the article said."Those of us who love and value missions, biblical preaching and evangelism must show up to prevent moderates from achieving their goal of taking money from the SBC," the sidebar said.Massey's article in the MBNC newsletter said his church has realized the fruitfulness of working across "denominational battle lines" and the limits of being "hardwired" to the SBC."We have made our choice," he said. "In November, the BSC will make hers. You should be there."| Home | NewsOpinion | Baptist Life |

10/30/2003 11:00:00 PM by Steve DeVane , BR Managing Editor | with 0 comments



Biblical Recorder:'Church outside the walls' in Asheboro

October 30 2003 by Craig Byrd , Special to the Recorder

Biblical Recorder:'Church outside the walls' in Asheboro

| Home | NewsOpinion | Baptist Life | Baptist LifeFriday, Oct. 31, 2003

By Craig Byrd

Special to the Recorder

ASHEBORO - It's an all-too-real place where families are fragile, money is scarce but drugs are readily available. A place where if 911 isn't on your speed dial you must not have a phone and where racism is a thriving triple play pitting blacks against browns against whites against browns against blacks against whites.Welcome to the world of Multihousing Ministry of Asheboro (MHMA), a program founded and chiefly sponsored by First Baptist Church of Asheboro. It is where:� Engineer Larry Cahoon and his wife, Patti, offer their home, hearts, fishing expertise and Sunday morning breakfasts to a more than a handful of young boys. � The creative impulses of Jorge Sebastian - once suspected of painting graffiti on apartment walls - now are concentrated on anti-drug messages and religious themes. � Harshaw Grove Baptist Church, an African-American congregation is doing missions in the New Randelman Housing Authority - even though some residents in the predominately white facility are openly hostile to people of color. � A group of MHMA youth attended Camp Caraway. Two made professions of faith; three rededicated their lives to Christ; and two surrendered to full-time Christian service.� Wendy Chriscoe, a successful computer software saleswoman, "lives for" water balloon fights and Bible studies with scores of children usually described as "at risk."� Elma Silva, a young widow who came to MHMA desperate for help, is now a volunteer worker helping to translate a Sunday night Bible study into English and visiting newcomers to invite them to MHMA programs in her neighborhood. She is an active member of Asheboro First Baptist with her four children, three of whom were baptized at the church."Jesus told us and showed us that it's all about relationships," said Anne Willis, director and the only salaried MHMA employee. "This is intentionally and insistently sharing the love of God with hurting people who likely would never visit our sanctuaries unless we reach out first. MHMA is church outside the walls."The "outside" metaphor is borrowed from John Rogers, pastor of First Baptist and the person who dreamed the first dreams and prayed the first prayers that led to MHMA. "It's too easy for a congregation to get caught in taking care of itself," he said. "It's the spiritual equivalent of a man worried about high cholesterol spending all his time pondering what may be going on inside his arteries when his cholesterol readings would improve dramatically if he would get up, get outside and get moving."In 1997 Rogers' growing concern for those outside First Baptist Church's walls was focused during a "March Against Drugs" organized by Carmen Liberatore, longtime manager of Coleridge Road Apartments. As he had his private prayer-walk-within-the march, Liberatore introduced herself and began telling him of her own long-term prayer that "God would send someone to help these people - someone who loved them enough to live with them." Rogers replied that God had let him know that He wanted First Baptist involved at Coleridge Road Apartments.The Baptist State Convention of North Carolina seconded the motion with a two-year grant to provide a $12,000 annual salary and housing expenses. The plan was to get an inexperienced but committed intern.Instead, a veteran foreign missionary and childcare worker, Paula Settle, agreed to get the program started. She moved into a one-bedroom apartment at Coleridge Road Apartments and into the lives of the residents."Those were starvation wages but Paula believed in the program so much and loves people so deeply she took it on and got it established," Rogers said. "She did a tremendous job those two years."When Settle took a position with the Raleigh Baptist Association in 2001, the church decided it was time to dream bigger and pray harder, and make the MHMA job a staff position. The search committee was mesmerized by Anne Willis' application. So was Rogers but he "knew there was no way she would come to Asheboro, not with her credentials."The recent Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary graduate had been an International Mission Board journeyman in China, and had been involved in a sports evangelism project in Sinaloa, Mexico, in addition to working for Mission Arlington, the multihousing ministry prototype operated by First Baptist Church in Arlington, Texas. She had a zeal for evangelism and a heart for the people MHMA was created to serve."The night we interviewed her became a holy moment," Rogers said. "We all stood in a circle and each committee member expressed his or her reasons for feeling God was calling Anne to join us. Everyone was holding hands and crying." For her part, Willis could only wonder, "what kind of church committee is this - these people are really concerned."Building on a core of church volunteers but also involving other area churches (some non-Baptists), MHMA expanded to projects at five other apartment projects in Willis' first seven months as director.In her spare time she led a training session for other churches interested in multihousing ministry, set up a fund raising program and launched a "Girls in Sport Festival" that attracted 200 participants the first year. That program got high school tennis coach, Tommy Lewis, a member of Southern Hills Baptist Church, and former professional tennis player Kent Kinnear involved."We are officially endorsed and highly recommended by the city police chief and the county sheriff as an effective means to fight the influx of crime and drugs," Willis said. "Adults who have seen how we love their kids are asking for Bible studies."One of Willis' favorite programs is Teen Time, a weekly program that has attracted nearly 30 teenagers from two apartment projects. "Basically we do something fun and then a Bible study about issues that are current and relevant in their lives, like the need for sexual purity, the dangers of negative peer pressure, and the fact that God loves them totally but has a plan for their lives," she said. "They can cut loose but they also have to be respectful." Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of North Carolina recently donated $1,000 to MHMA. It's fulfilling work but it is hard work. The time demands on volunteers are long, and the noise and energy can stretch the nerves taunt. "God has some of His best people doing His will in these apartments," Willis said. "I can tell story after story of lives changed for eternity - and not just among the residents, but among the volunteers."First Baptist Church of Asheboro and its MHMA associates are on the move outside their walls. Their spiritual cholesterol is falling as fast as the crime rates around the apartments they serve.| Home | NewsOpinion | Baptist Life |

10/30/2003 11:00:00 PM by Craig Byrd , Special to the Recorder | with 0 comments



Biblical Recorder:At BCH Jennifer finds hope, reaches out

October 30 2003 by W. James Edminson , BCH Communications

Biblical Recorder:At BCH Jennifer finds hope, reaches out

| Home | NewsOpinion | Baptist Life | Baptist LifeFriday, Oct. 31, 2003

By W. James Edminson

BCH Communications

The light in the window dimmed as the sun settled behind the mountain, cooling the air of the dry summer day. The tears that had flowed uncontrollably trickled softly down Jennifer's cheeks as she laid on her stomach in her bed."I know she didn't mean to hit me so hard," 10-year-old Jennifer thought. The wounds that extended from her ankles to her shoulders ached where the yellow bell switches tore her skin. It would be weeks before she would be allowed to wear shorts or tank tops again.The beautiful, bright-eyed girl was transformed into a wounded child who suffered, not only from her physical pain, but also from agonizing questions. Why would my mom do this to me? Why won't she come and comfort me? What have I done to deserve such punishment?Jennifer was very little when the abuse began. Her mother physically, verbally and emotionally tormented her, and her father did things to her that daddies should never do to their daughters. When she came to live at Baptist Children's Homes (BCH) at age 13, she was alone ... she was lost.The day Jennifer arrived at Broyhill Home in Clyde, she was greeted by the smell of Vivian Johnson's homemade cookies."I remember going to the cottage, and I was very scared," Jennifer said. "But Mrs. Johnson baked chocolate chip cookies, my favorite, and I remember thinking, 'This is home.'"Jennifer spent her young life looking for someone to care for her and protect her. She went to live with her father to protect her from the cruelty of her mother. She returned to her mother to escape the abuse of her father. "I always thought something was wrong with me," Jennifer said. "I deserved what I was getting."When Jennifer went to Broyhill Home and nobody did bad things to her - she was surprised. But she soon warmed up to having responsible, loving adults care for her."It's hard to bake cookies for someone and slap them at the same time," Jennifer said. "I remember thinking that first day how they must really love these kids."Jennifer not only found love; she also discovered her future. She graduated from high school, attended college, met her sweetheart and began her family - a family free of abuse. Today, Jennifer and her husband Todd Shore are child-care workers at Mills Home in Thomasville. "We care for the needs of as many as 12 girls at a time," Jennifer said. "We feed them, clothe them, take them to the doctor and the dentist, enroll them in school, tutor them, accept them, encourage them, listen to them, serve as their advocates, and love them. Our days are hectic."Jennifer still has questions, but now those questions are driven by conviction. "If we weren't here everyday doing what we do, then where would these girls be? If it were not for Baptist Children's Homes, what opportunities would they have?" Jennifer asked.Jennifer has not forgotten the pain she experienced as a child, but she has been able to move beyond those experiences to reach out to other children who need help. "I know the ministry of BCH works. It's made all the difference in my life."At Baptist Children's Homes of North Carolina, people like Vivian Johnson and Jennifer and Todd Shore work to make a home for boys and girls. They are committed to the daily task of offering hope and healing to hurting children.| Home | NewsOpinion | Baptist Life |

10/30/2003 11:00:00 PM by W. James Edminson , BCH Communications | with 0 comments



Biblical Recorder:Church and community help with Edwards' quadruplets

October 30 2003 by Jane Paige , Special to the Recorder

Biblical Recorder:Church and community help with Edwards' quadruplets

| Home | NewsOpinion | Baptist Life | Baptist LifeFriday, Oct. 31, 2003

By Jane Paige

Special to the Recorder

For seven years, Melanie and Drew Edwards longed for the day when strollers and cribs would fill their home.Now four decorated cribs are testament to the power of prayer and to the devotion of an extended family so large the couple needs a calendar to keep track of who's coming when to do what.With some help from modern medicine and continual prayers, Melanie and Drew welcomed four little ones - two boys and two girls - into their family last March. Fellow members of Macedonia Baptist Church in Raleigh and people from other churches have also become part of the Edwards' household. Caring for four little ones is a big job."It is overwhelming to think about everything the people at the church have done for us," Melanie said. "They have been a tremendous amount of help. We don't know how we would have done it all without them."Church members prayed for the couple from the beginning of their long medical journey to becoming parents. The couple has been active members of the church, teaching Sunday school, singing in the choir and preparing the newsletter. When the news came that the couple was expecting quadruplets, church members jumped into action. Word soon spread throughout the community, drawing help from members of neighboring Macedonia United Methodist Church and area civic clubs."We have a congregation that does its best to live out our faith day-to-day," said Stephen Barker, pastor of Macedonia Baptist Church with 430 members. "It has been a multigenerational task that has combined the work and prayers of a great many people."Special care for the couple started long before the babies were born. Since it was a high-risk pregnancy, Melanie spent 10 weeks on bed rest. Throughout the pregnancy, the couple's support group continued to grow. Church members donated their babies' cribs and made the green plaid valances that decorate the nursery windows. Others prepared food for the couple at least twice a week.Soon church members realized that the couple's one-story brick home was not going to be large enough for a family of six. A group from the Baptist and Methodist churches, led by Harvey Montague, a Raleigh builder and developer, built a 500-square-foot addition to the Edwards' home.The Swift Creek Exchange Club sold hundreds of plates of barbecue to pay for the heating and air unit for the addition. Two churches and Melanie's co-workers threw showers. Melanie is supervisor of the graphics department at the Raleigh-based office of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Drew is a firefighter with the Raleigh Fire Department.The assistance continued when the babies were born March 17 at Duke Hospital, three months premature. Conner weighed the most at 2 pounds, 6 ounces. He and his sisters, Emma and Elizabeth, had typical preemie issues such as urinary infections and breathing troubles. Collin, however, had a gastrointestinal disease and needed surgery.Throughout it all, church members have been there to rock babies, change diapers, cook meals and clean the house. Conner came home in May, soon followed by Emma and Elizabeth. Collin finally came home in early September, but still requires regular visits to Duke Hospital."We knew there would be a lot of ways to help after the babies came home," said Jean Sidlo, chairwoman of Women on Mission at the church. "This is a wonderful opportunity to put our faith into action."More than 30 families from Macedonia Baptist have helped Melanie, Drew and their babies, she estimates.Members of the church and community regularly come to help at the home. A calendar near the refrigerator shows the names of the people scheduled to arrive. A mother and daughter come every Friday afternoon, and other members have regular hours each day to help. Some just rock and feed the babies, others cook and clean. A notebook with pages for each baby keeps track of the times for bottle-feeding. When the babies first came home from the hospital, volunteers provided round-the-clock care for the young family.Drew, who took a federal medical leave from the fire department, stays home with the babies while Melanie works. He now coordinates the calendar and schedule of church and community volunteers. Any morning or afternoon will find at least two church members helping with bottles or diapers."We have been really blessed with people to help us," said Drew. "We just have to make one phone call and people show up to help like ants at a picnic."| Home | NewsOpinion | Baptist Life |

10/30/2003 11:00:00 PM by Jane Paige , Special to the Recorder | with 0 comments



Intrigued: Out of sync, down the drain : Friday, Oct. 31, 2003

October 30 2003 by Tony W. Cartledge

Intrigued: Out of sync, down the drain : Friday, Oct. 31, 2003
Friday, Oct. 31, 2003

Intrigued: Out of sync, down the drain

By Tony W. Cartledge
BR Editor
Occasionally I have a bad dream that revolves around promising to be somewhere, and then forgetting to show up.

That dream could become a reality in the near future, because my PDA died last week, and took my updated calendar with it.

For the technologically impaired (or uninterested), "PDA" is a common moniker for "Personal Data Assistant," generally a handheld device for storing information.

My little Toshiba is no bigger than the palm of my hand, but has more computing power than the first desktop computer I owned. Though it can perform many functions, I use it mainly as a glorified calendar and address book.

A great benefit is that I can plug it into my laptop computer and synchronize all the information so I have multiple updated copies.

A great downfall is that I rarely remember to do so.

When the battery died and I lost all the data in my PDA last week, it had been at least six weeks since I had synced with the laptop, so all the speaking engagements I accepted during that time went down the cyber-drain.

Some of them I remembered, or have been able to reconstruct from correspondence.

But there could be others I don't recollect.

I have a bad feeling, for example, about Nov. 23. I remember deleting a possible engagement in favor of a definite one, but I definitely cannot recall what it is.

Most folks who invite me to speak will call or write a week or two in advance to check in and ask for a sermon topic and text for the bulletin.

I'm hoping that whoever is looking for me on Nov. 23 will provide such a reminder, or else they might be left without a speaker, and I'll be left without an excuse other than my own failure to back up my calendar.

So, if you're expecting me to visit your church in the next year or so - especially if it's something we set up in the past two months - I hope you'll check in soon to make sure it's still on my calendar.

I'd hate to see that bad dream come true.

10/30/2003 11:00:00 PM by Tony W. Cartledge | with 0 comments



Editorial: Ready for liftoff : Friday, Oct. 31, 2003

October 30 2003 by Tony W. Cartledge

Editorial: Ready for liftoff : Friday, Oct. 31, 2003
Friday, Oct. 31, 2003

Editorial: Ready for liftoff

By Tony W. Cartledge
BR Editor
On Nov. 1, the Biblical Recorder's league-leading Web site will launch a series of significant upgrades designed to make it even more user-friendly and better equipped for the task of keeping Baptists on top of the news.

Did I say league-leading? It's true: in the category of Baptist news services, Google.com's prestigious "PageRank" index lists the Biblical Recorder at the top of the heap - comfortably ahead of all other state and national Baptist papers and news services.

Even so, we're determined to make the site still more appealing and useful.

Here are some of the new or improved features you'll find:

Design

The site features a slightly cleaner and tighter look, allowing more information to appear on the opening screen. The Biblical Recorder logo at the top has been redesigned to be thinner (allowing more room for content) and to incorporate the walnut cross that has appeared on our site from its inception. The cross will also appear in the address line of many browsers.

The page is designed to be self-centering, and to fit completely on any size screen without the need of horizontal scrolling.

Navigation bars on either side of the text are now color-coded by category of service, a feature that is carried throughout the site. On some pages, such as "Advertising," the menu expands to incorporate additional items.

Accessibility

The site employs the new Cascading Style Sheet technology, which allows for faster and more efficient downloading of content, and complies with all technical standards of the Internet's governing organization.

We've built in parallel pages in WML and PDA code, so simplified versions of our news and opinion pages can be accessed by wireless devices such as cell phones and personal data assistants.

And, we now include coded pointers for those busy folks who use Really Simple Syndication (RSS) programs to glean the news they consider most important.

Handicapped users will also find the site easier to navigate by using keystrokes rather than requiring the use of a mouse or touch pad.

Features

Users who allow javascript can access a new feature that allows the reader to choose his or her preferred font size. By clicking on any one of five "A's" in the top right corner, users can make the text as large or small as they like. I like it small so more text can fit on the page. Some like it larger for ease of reading. Through the magic of cookies, the site will remember the reader's preference, and automatically display the chosen font size at the next visit.

Content

We know that most readers come to the Biblical Recorder Web site because they trust us to provide accurate, balanced information and helpful opinions about issues that impact Baptist life. The trustworthiness of our content will not change, but with the new upgrades, we will strive to make it more timely by moving from weekly to near-daily updates. Primary content headings will include "NC Baptist News," "National and World News," "NC Baptist Life," "Opinion," and "Resources." Updates from other news sources will appear under a section called "More Headlines."

Services

While many readers already access our ChurchSearch, Calendar and "Search the Bible" features, we have gradually added several other helpful services during the past few months.

For example, readers can now generate, place and pay for a classified ad online, a service that became popular the first week it was available.

Readers can also subscribe to the print version online, and we've even ventured into e-commerce by enabling the online purchase of Intrigued, How I Love To Proclaim It.

We also have the ability to produce fast-loading banner ads for Baptist organizations or advertisers hoping to reach our expanding audience.

As we become aware of the need, more services are yet to come.

The Biblical Recorder online does not replace the print version of our paper, which contains more information and more pictures, and can be read anywhere. But, it serves as a helpful supplement, especially when news is breaking.

If you haven't visited our Web site lately, come on by www.biblicalrecorder.org and stay a spell. We're committed to being good Net-neighbors.

10/30/2003 11:00:00 PM by Tony W. Cartledge | with 0 comments



Baptist colleges: True partners in kingdom growth : Friday, Oct. 31, 2003

October 30 2003 by Jim Royston

Baptist colleges: True partners in kingdom growth : Friday, Oct. 31, 2003
Friday, Oct. 31, 2003

Baptist colleges: True partners in kingdom growth

By Jim Royston
BSC Executive Director-treasurer
N.C. Baptists have had colleges almost as long as we've had a Baptist State Convention.

A major reason we established our convention in 1830 was to birth and support a "manual institute" located in the "forest of Wake (County)," opening for classes in 1834. Six other Baptist colleges - Chowan (1848), Mars Hill (1856), Campbell (1887), Meredith (1891), Wingate (1896) and Gardner-Webb (1905)-later joined the convention family. Christian education has been a major part of our denominational foundation.

Baptist colleges and universities are still a vital part of our cooperative ministry efforts. One of the unique and amazing aspects of our schools is their ability to adapt to the changing needs of our churches and communities. Most of our colleges began as boarding high schools, later becoming two-year (junior) colleges and then four-year institutions, several with graduate programs. Meeting community and church needs is a hallmark of our institutions.

One of the major needs of our churches today is leadership development. Everywhere I go - in churches large and small - trained leadership tops the need list. Many of our congregations face critical leadership shortages, especially as older members are no longer able to continue in their service. All of our schools are committed to addressing these leadership issues, from the founding of divinity schools at Gardner-Webb and Campbell to an on-campus church leadership institute at Chowan. Our schools - strategically located across the state - have a tremendous potential to serve church leaders, both clergy and laity.

Our colleges and universities have also taken extraordinary measures to serve N.C. Baptists by making college education as affordable as possible. Wingate University, for example, provides a tuition free education to any active N.C. Baptist minister. Baptist ministers attending Chowan College pay only $125 in tuition per semester, a bargain by even state-supported college standards. Scholarship assistance for N.C. Baptists is available at all of our institutions. You can attend a Baptist college or university for a lot less money that you might expect!

My vision for our state convention centers around reaching the lost and developing believers. These two goals obviously depend upon vital and healthy churches, especially congregations designed to reach the thousands of people moving into our state. Vital and healthy churches depend upon trained leadership.

And I'm looking to our colleges and universities to be our partners in this important endeavor.

10/30/2003 11:00:00 PM by Jim Royston | with 0 comments



Reflections on Hurricane Isabel : Friday, Oct. 31, 2003

October 30 2003 by Tom Denton

Reflections on Hurricane Isabel : Friday, Oct. 31, 2003
Friday, Oct. 31, 2003

Reflections on Hurricane Isabel

By Tom Denton
Long before North Carolina had interstate highways, U.S. 70 was one of the primary arteries from the mountains to the coast. It still exists, although it is mainly traveled from Raleigh to the Atlantic Ocean. Some believe its eastbound corridor ends in the historic fishing village of Beaufort, but if a driver turns left he discovers that Highway 70-E continues for another 30 miles through Carteret County.

That journey takes you through communities like Otway, Smyrna, Williston, Davis, Sea Level, and abruptly ends in a place known as Atlantic on the Core Sound. It's that area of our state known as "down east." Among other eastern North Carolina areas, it was devastated by Hurricane Isabel on Sept. 18.

After the storm hit, I took a day to help our N.C. Baptist Men disaster relief volunteers serve meals from a wonderfully equipped feeding station owned and operated by Trinity Baptist Church in Whiteville. Faye Howard and Joanne Formyduva instructed me on proper feeding station etiquette and health standards. I already knew how to prepare the fish, slaw and hushpuppies for lunch and the peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and soup served at supper.

Other volunteers that particular day were from the Burnt Swamp and Robeson Associations, Rocky Mount, Kernersville, Charlotte and Morehead City.

L.D. Springle, region 2 coordinator and a member of Calvary Baptist Church in Beaufort, established priorities and made assignments in the relief and recovery efforts. His faithful wife, Barbara, served quietly by his side.

As I headed home at the end of that personally eventful day, I thought about all the volunteer hours that will be given by Baptist volunteers before this mission challenge is completed. I am thankful for all the people in the pews of our churches who have given, and will give, their time to train and travel to such places of great need.

A few days after experiencing Jesus "fleshed out" through the sweat and encouragement of these initial volunteers, I spoke with Richard Brunson, executive director of N.C. Baptist Men. He informed me that on one particular day alone, N.C. Baptist Men had spent more than $22,000 to help victims of Isabel. Volunteers and financial gifts will be needed for months, perhaps years, since this hurricane cut a large path along our coast.

Baptist Men recognize that disaster relief is an ongoing need because other calamities will occur in the future. Some insightful Baptists have established an endowment with the N.C. Baptist Foundation for such inevitable times of natural devastation. Perhaps there are others who want to participate in giving to this disaster relief endowment fund.

Individuals, churches and associations can also establish endowments with the Baptist Foundation to memorialize or honor friends or family members.

For more information about how to give now or through your will to assist in such difficult times, contact our Cary office at (800) 521-7334. An endowment will help provide the needed financial resources for difficult times until our Lord comes again to remove all pain and suffering from His brothers and sisters. Until then, let's all do our part to prepare for the inevitabilities of this life.

(EDITOR'S NOTE - Denton is eastern area manager for Development and Trustor Services with the N.C. Baptist Foundation, Inc.)

10/30/2003 11:00:00 PM by Tom Denton | with 0 comments



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