We are in need of two mud-out teams for next Monday, May 20, 2013 to go to Kokomo.
Further details will follow later this week.
If you can volunteer, please contact Bill Crane at 812-483-6762 or John Rogers at 317-685-5447.
Disaster Relief volunteers are needed in New York state for these weeks:
May 5-11; May 12-18; May 19-25; and May 26-June 1
Following is the request with more specific information:
The North American Mission Board is working with the Baptist Convention of New York, North Carolina Baptist Men, Metropolitan New York Baptist Association and local churches to provide ministry in the wake of Super Storm Sandy. In addition to these partners we are working with the Village of Freeport, Robin Hood Foundation and The Salvation Army.
Our goal is to have a Base Camp operational by June 1. In the meantime we need help to set up the Base Camp and begin assessing the construction needs for homes that are in the case management process provided by The Salvation Army.
Starting May 5 we need teams of up to thirty (30) volunteers, who will travel at the own expense, to assist in the repair and rebuild process. Some of the volunteers need to have basic construction skills to help build out the Base Camp and/or work in the homes of those affected by Sandy that have already been assessed and moved through the case management process.
In addition to these volunteers with construction skills we need a few volunteers that can prepare meals for 30 to 50 volunteers and keep the facilities clean. Housing for the volunteers will be in a church on Long Island.
We are seeking teams that can serve during the following weeks.
May 5-11; May 12-18; May 19-25; and May 26-June 1
If you can not provide all thirty volunteers needed during a week we will work with other states to provide the additional volunteers to fill out the team.
Please contact us as soon as possible about your interest in providing volunteers during this critical start up time. God is doing some awesome things here in New York and we are very excited about the level of commitment the local folks are giving to the massive follow-up needs that are here.
I encourage you to pray about the great open door of opportunity God has provided Southern Baptists in New York.
Please contact Donna Johnson, Sandy Recovery Office Manager, at 606.225.0068 or email@example.com to let us know how you might help us seize this opportunity through the deployment of your volunteers during this strategic time.
A 30-Second Celebration
by Diana Davis
I’ve noticed an interesting common denominator in vibrant, growing churches: They always seem to be celebrating something God’s doing there. Your church can do that! Use these two simple steps to add a mini-celebration during weekly church announcements.
Step One: Be vigilantly observant to see what God’s doing in His church. He is at work! Keep an ongoing list, and select at least one current praise to mention each Sunday.
Step Two: Plan the best way to brag on God. Use varying methods to praise Him for that specific blessing during Sunday worship’s announcements. Here are some ideas and examples, each requiring less than thirty seconds:
- Show it. “The Fire Department sent this thank you note for our church’s prayer and the Fireman’s Bibles we gave them!”
- Numbers. Create giant numbers, and use them to announce camp enrollment, baptism numbers, cans of food collected, etc.
- Tour instructions. “After worship, follow the yellow arrows to see our remodeled nursery!”
- Assignment. “God’s blessing our new singles class! They are distributing invitation cards for you to give a single adult you know.”
- Tradition. Play four musical bars of “Jesus Loves the Little Children” then announce “God’s newest blessing at our church—Ian Key, born to Hal and Jan on Monday.”
- Reminder. “We exceeded our Annie Armstrong offering goal! Take the bookmark in your chair to remind you to pray for our North American Mission Board missionaries.”
- PowerPoint slide. Add praises into pre- and post-service audiovisuals. “73 stopped here to pray on National Day of Prayer!”
- Facebook. “Ann, who is being baptized today, wrote her testimony as a Facebook post! Share it on your page today.”
- Wall graphic. After every baptism, our pastor refers to the wall visual tallying God’s blessing of new believers.
- Applause. “God has answered our church’s prayers for new small group leaders. Let’s all applaud Him for His blessing!”
- Raise hands. “Our men’s Bible class is the fastest-growing in the church. If you’re in that class, raise your hand.”
- Certificates. “Everyone on the front row has completed our Discipleship 101 class! Each received a beautiful certificate like this one."
- Visible results. “Our youth garage sale raised $800 to buy these 40 Bibles and 100 witness bracelets for their Mexico mission trip!”
- Stand up. “Our 5th grade Bible class set a record attendance of __! Stand up, 5th graders!”
- Photo. Use supersized or PowerPoint photo. “Here’s the property our church plant, Soma Church, has purchased!”
- Ask for action. “Let’s use our vehicles as mobile church invitations! Take a church window sticker. Volunteers in the parking lot can help you with installation.”
God is at work in His church. Will you be constantly on watch, and use praise announcements during worship to intentionally, joyfully celebrate what He’s doing?
© Diana Davis is author of Deacon Wives and Fresh Ideas (B&H Publishing). www.dianadavis.org
1-29-13 The Feb. 2 departure to New York had to be cancelled as there were not enough volunteers to make a team. Please see the information below about Teams 2, 3 and 4. Contact Bill Crane to volunteer or find out more.
1-25-13 We do not have enough volunteers to make up team to deploy to New York from Feb 2 to Feb 9. If we do not get more by noon Monday Jan 28 we will have to cancel that week and try to form a team for departure on Feb 9.
Information for Indiana Disaster Relief Volunteers
1-15-13 Many days have come and gone since Hurricane Sandy made landfall in Northern New Jersey and we no longer are seeing the devastation this "Super Storm" left behind on our daily newscasts. In the very early days of this disaster Southern Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers made a committment to provide recovery crews as long as they were needed. The need in the New York boroughs of Staten Island and Long Island and areas of Northern New Jersey is still there today and we are being asked to provide more Indiana Disaster Relief Volunteers so the committment will not falter. The trip is long and tiring and the work is hard, but experience has taught us that the "God Moments" will quickly overshadow all of that.
SCBI Disaster Relief is organizing mud-out teams for the month of February.
****With you seriously praying and asking God if He will make a way for you to be a part of one of the teams below we will complete the following schedule. Please contact your Unit Leader or Bill Crane if you can answer the call.****
TEAM #1: Depart Indiana Saturday, February 2, and return Saturday, February 9. Unit Leader will be George Fox.
TEAM #2: Depart Indiana Saturday, February 9, and return Saturday, February 16. Unit Leader to be determined later
TEAM #3: Depart Indiana Saturday, February 16, and return Saturday, February 23. Unit Leader to be determined later
Team #4: Depart Indiana Saturday, February 23, and return Saturday, March 2. Unit Leader to be determined later
11-16-12 I want to thank the Indiana Disaster Relief volunteers that endured the long drive, long days, and short nights we experienced while serving the citizens of Edison, Keansburg, Union, and other communities in northern New Jersey. I believe we were successful in our mission of taking the Good News to those who didn't know about our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. You made 43 ministry contacts with 1 making a profession of faith. You completed 25 requests for chain saw work and 10 for flood clean up. Satan put a few bumps in the road to try and detour us but you stayed focused on the One who sent us and He made the mission successful.
Bill Crane, SCBI Disaster Relief
Volunteer Coordinator (White Hat)
11-13-12 We have been asked by Illinois to try and send some of our Indiana volunteers with a feeding crew leaving for the New York City area on Saturday November 17. Could you please get the word out to as many as possible. They can contact George Fox @ 502-552-6106.
Click here to view a video of one of our Blue Hats from Evansville, Tom Luttrull, and a homeowner in Keansburg, NJ. Great item to share with everyone.
11-12-12 Bill Crane called to report how the DR operation is going in Edison, New Jersey, as a result of Hurricane Sandy. The operation is going well. The chaplains have done a great job and continue to follow-up on those they are reaching. There has been one salvation! There are currently three mud-out crews and one chain saw crew working to help individuals get back some form or normalcy to their lives. They have made some good contacts in the field and the people have welcomed them with open arms!
If you are interested in assisting and you have been through the Disaster Relief training, please contact Bill Crane at 812-483-6762. Thank you!
To God be the glory!
11-8-12 Hurricane "Sandy" has probably become a distant memory for most people living in Indiana. However, let me share what Indiana Disaster Relief volunteers have done and what we are planning to do in the near future to take the Gospel message to the millions of people that are still hurting and will continue to struggle for a long with the situation the storm placed them in. They didn't ask for it, didn't plan on it and were poorly prepared to deal with it. Some good news for them is that God is still alive, still on His throne and knows and cares about them because he created them. Indiana Disaster Relief volunteers have been given the opportunity to be obedient to God's call to go and share that Good News as often as He gives us opportunity. We have 27 faithful servants showing the love of God by helping residents clean up their property from flooding and wind damage in Northern New Jersey across from New York City. We plan to continue to work in this area through November 14 then return home to Indiana for the Thanksgiving holiday. Anyone interested in standing in the gap during the thanksgiving holiday, or later, need to be prepared to be away from home 9 or 10 days. Please contact me at this email if you wish.
SCBI Disaster Relief
Volunteer Coordinator (White Hat)
11-1-12 Indiana Disaster Relief is waiting for authorization from authorities in charge of the Hurricane Sandy response to begin sending teams to assist with clean up efforts. In this case waiting is a good thing because it gives us time to contact our volunteers and begin organizing teams. Our plan is to send at least one team ASAP when we get authorization to travel. We will then send relief teams at weekly intervals until the operation is shut down or we run out of volunteers. If you can travel with the first team or with a relief team please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 812-483-6762.
SCBI Disaster ReliefVolunteer Coordinator (White Hat)
While I am thinking about it ...
I posted some thoughts a few days ago related to the Factor of One, first introduced on my Facebook page.
Let's look at networking for the Gospel's sake in order to see lostness penetrated in Indiana at a significant level.
What would happen if each congregation studied the past five (5) years of their baptismal history, identify the year with the highest baptismal number and resolve under God to equal that year and engage His harvest, praying to see just one (1) more than the previous record come to faith in Christ, be baptized in obedience to His command?
Gimmick? Numbers? Foolishness?
Forgive me, but there is another side to this story. Jesus said the Harvest is ready, workers (harvesters) are few. At issue - harvesters. You and I cannot, in fact, do not save. Christ does, will, desires to bring dead people to life in Him. No gimmick here. It's the hard work of the Gospel.
Just an idea for harvesting and harvesters who want to see Christ lifted up as our Hope, our Redemption.
- Reminder, it's Biblical, His call to the Harvest;
- Remember, Acts 1:8 - the mandate of Jesus, is at the heart of all this;
- Reflect, you are sharing your journey of redemption and new birth;
- Refocus, redemption is the sole responsibility of God our Maker and He gives us opportunity to be His witness while Holy Spirit of God "cross examines" every person, drawing them to decision - to obey or to disobey.
I am praying for harvesters. The Harvest is ready - or - so Jesus says! It's merely the Factor of One. I'm one, use me Father, use me in your Harvest!
Cecil W. Seagle
Streamlined Master of Arts in Worship degree breaks distance, language barriers
FORT WORTH, Texas (SWBTS) – A revamped School of Church Music (SCM) degree program has entered the final stages of pilot course testing and is set to launch in fall 2013. The new, streamlined Master of Arts in Worship (MAW), which features online and hybrid course options, allows students to gain theological and musical training without having to physically relocate for Fort Worth.
SCM Dean Stephen Johnson says the new degree will enable more people to seek further training without having to leave, neglect or postpone their current ministry service. Johnson also pointed out what he described as a “groundbreaking feature:” The degree will be offered in both Korean and English.
Johnson said the degree’s redesign comes as a response to the desire from many to pursue further education without stepping away from ministry positions.
“The Master of Arts in Worship was remade to become Southwestern's answer to worship education needs for those who must remain in their church assignment and cannot become resident students,” Johnson said. “The reformatted degree is now available through online and hybrid methods.”
Johnson explained that students can take the required theology courses online and complete their worship training in a hybrid format.
“For the worship studies, they have some initial reading, then come to campus for a special week of intensive classes [and] group worship sessions, and then they return home to complete the final project or paper,” Johnson said. “It is a wonderful way to have the best of both online and residential training.”
John Simons, associate dean of the SCM, said that while the degree will certainly cater to those who cannot leave their stations of ministry to attend seminary, the degree will still welcome those students who wish to take classes on campus, instead of online.
“Students in the program will come to campus each January and July for intensive worship hybrid classes, skills training, and group worship experiences,” Simons said. “Their theological studies can be completed online or in residence using our existing Southwestern resources.”
The new MAW has been streamlined down to 36 credit hours, whereas the previous degree required 40. The degree offers an equivalent education by combining nine courses in the worship area into four hybrid classes and then rolling the existing required practica and applied study portions into three comprehensive practica. The core for the degree, which includes courses such as Spiritual Formation, Systematic Theology, Old and New Testament, and Baptist Heritage will remain the same with the exception that the new degree will not require two semesters of auditioned ensemble.
Simons said the degree will include study of biblical foundations of worship and culture, worship leadership, worship design, congregational song, and philosophy.
“The newly redesigned degree [also] includes practicum skills training in arts management, media, and leading small instrumental forces in worship,” Simons said. “The MAW degree concludes with an in-the-field worship ministry project and document designed and created by the student and supervised by one of the ministry department faculty members.”
Simons described how the school will maneuver the multi-language feature.
“While the academic and skills training courses will be taught in either English or Korean, both cohorts will gather together for worship sessions that enable the two groups to interact, share and worship God,” Simons said.
Johnson said the change will affect all new students entering the Master of Arts in Worship degree program, from fall 2013 forward.
“This program is open to our alumni, who want further training while in the field, to any person with a completed undergraduate degree in any major,” Johnson said. “The target for this degree is any person who has a desire to serve or is already serving in a local church and cannot get away to come to campus for two years.”
Simons added that a small number of existing students will have the option to complete their degree under the current MAW degree or to switch to the new degree plan, but the new MAW will soon phase out the old and exist as the only degree of its kind.
“The MAW can be an excellent path of study for worship leaders or for pastors seeking added preparation in worship studies,” Simons said. “It is a degree that will foster cross-pollination of pastors, worship leaders, and missionaries; and it provides an added element of cross-cultural pollination between those studying in English and those studying in Korean.”
-- 30 --
While its on my mind ...
I posted a note on my Facebook page introducing THE FACTOR OF ONE.
Allow me to unpack the idea and see if you have interest in personal investment as an SCBI pastor.
Suggestions made -
• Start one new unit;
• Review the past five years of baptisms, take the best year and seek to introduce one more than the five year record to Jesus, following up with baptism;
• Pray specifically and personally about increasing by 1% your Cooperative Program support for the nations. What a potential impact on the nations for the Gospel's sake.
Let's look at the suggestion of one new unit?
• Years ago I studied our small group attendance pattern for the year and was shocked. We worked hard but did not move the "attendance needle" at all.
• Why were we static, flat lined? I really wanted to know, and I found out why much to my chagrin.
• We did not add a single new unit, kept it the same and suffered the consequence.
We know this -
• With called and equipped leadership new units reach new people;
• As the Gospel is shared, as ministry is experienced and as people network with those who have no relationship to Jesus Christ, He begins a new, fresh work in lives that is life transformational;
• Lostness is penetrated, disciples grow in Christ likeness and the Kingdom continues to expand.
SCBI is willing to assist. Call me or Steve McNeil, we have a team available and willing to join you in this journey.
Imagine it - 428 new units in 2013! What a potential impact on lostness.
Cecil W. Seagle
News organizations during the Hurricane Sandy landfall and aftermath assisted in spreading the word about Southern Baptist Disaster Relief work in the Northeast. This was another opportunity to see others make known the invaluable work of faithful Southern Baptists sharing help and hope in time of crisis.
- Local charity assists with Hurricane Sandy relief effort (WSB Radio)
- PBS Religion and News Weekly, Nov. 2, 2012 (PBS)
- Family News In Focus (Nov. 1 episode. Story begins at 1 minute remaining)
- Texas Baptist Men driving relief to New York (NBCDFW Dallas)
- Southern Baptist relief effort begins efforts for Sandy (WSBTV Atlanta)
- Texas Baptist Men responding to Hurricane Sandy (CBS Dallas)
- Church group aids in Sandy Recovery (FOX 5 Atlanta)
- Local relief effort underway for victims of Sandy’s wrath (FOX 51 Gainesville, Fla.)
- Local charity assists with Hurricane Sandy relief effort (WSB Radio)
- Alpharetta group making 450K meals a day for Sandy victims (WSB Radio)
- Sandy's storm devastation 'unprecedented,' leader says in mobilizing Baptist volunteers (Baptist Press)
- 1 million meals to be offered in NYC (United Press International)
- Hurricane Sandy brings in multiple volunteers (Mission News Network)
- After Hurricane Sandy, Chaplains And Faith-Based Organizations Offer Aid And Tend To Spiritual Needs (Huffington Post)
- VIDEO: Volunteers head north to help with Sandy relief (WSBTV.com)
- East begins to clean-up after Superstorm Sandy (WSBTV.com)
- Superstorm Sandy: Christian Relief Organizations Ready for Massive Deployment (Christian Post)
- Southern Baptist Convention/North American Mission Board on VOAD (Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster)
In times of wide-scale disaster, it is NAMB’s job to coordinate national Southern Baptist Disaster Relief responses. And it is such a great privilege to see Southern Baptists come together and serve in this way.
We have the greatest volunteers in the world and I am so thankful for what your church and thousands of others do to help in times of need.
In response to Hurricane Sandy, hundreds of volunteers are already in place, doing whatever it takes to help storm victims. That means preparing hot meals, removing trees and debris from houses and yards and cleaning out homes that have been flooded.
Our volunteers will be on the ground helping for weeks to come, and that is why we need your help right now. First, please pray and lead your congregation to pray for the safety of our volunteers and that they would be able to share the Hope of Christ while they are meeting physical needs. Second, please consider giving to our disaster relief fund. Disaster responses carry a big price tag with them, and we simply do not have that kind of money budgeted. You can donate through SCBI - click on Electronic Giving or by visiting namb.net and making a direct donation, or your church can find information at our site about mailing in a donation.
The New Orleans SBC....
meeting was in many ways an energizing gathering. I came away from New Orleans believing that Southern Baptists may in fact embrace what we say we believe. “Saying” is easy! “Embracing” is challenging! Read more...
Fresh ideas for members of committees, teams, Bible classes and other church groups
You’re a member of a Sunday School class, church committee or ministry team. You’re on the church ball team, the nursery rotation or praise band. Whatever your involvement in your local church, each group you attend or serve has a leader who needs to know you’re behind them. How can you encourage that leader? Try some of these fresh ideas... read more.
is perhaps the most challenging element of life together in the Body of Christ.
Like many pastors, following worship I spent time greeting worshippers, sharing conversation
and listening to needs.
Some conversations caught me off guard. "Pastor, your message spoke to me today," was
usually followed by an interesting elaboration! After listening to what the worshipper restated
as message content, I was thoroughly confused and absolutely astonished! Not only had I not
said what they said I said (figure that out!), but I had never even thought of what they said I
Like I said, communication seems to be one of God's great miracles among us!
Examining the priority...
of Jesus, forming a clear Biblically based, theologically sound position, and then effectively
communicating it to the Body of Christ is a formidable challenge.
It is especially true when taking seriously disciple making.
While these observations/suppositions are not exhaustive, I trust they are helpful:
• When past traditions collide with Biblical reality, communication suffers.
• When a favorite mentor's mentoring is raised to the inerrant, infallible level of Scripture,
• When methodology is raised to the level of Divine inspiration, communication suffers.
• When systems-thinking takes the place of prayer, intense study of God's Word and Holy
Spirit leadership in teaching/preaching preparation, communication suffers.
• When personal preference is embraced as THE standard for everyone, communication
• When my Biblical viewpoint is solely shaped by my “hero” or a “hero” – whoever that is –
I tell you, communication is difficult...
at times impossible and often flawed!
A good story sometimes helps me past the obstacle of flawed communication.
Years ago Dr. Howard Ramsey, NAMB Personal Evangelism leader, shared a great story about
three South Florida business men who travelled all night to join their families in their mountain
Arriving near dawn stopped for breakfast first! The mountain cafe became a monument to
communication skills – or the lack thereof!
After they were seated, a waitress brought all three coffee and began taking breakfast orders.
The third man ordered a number two from the menu with toast. The waitress disappeared
through swinging doors only to reappear moments later asking the third man: "How'd you say
you want them eggs?" He said, "Just eliminate the eggs."
Seconds later she reappeared and asked, "I'm sorry, how'd you say you wanted them eggs?"
He said, "Mam, just eliminate the eggs, ok?"
Third time is always the charm, right? The lady arrived table side the third time to make this
announcement, "Sir, the cook said the ELIMINATOR is broke, he's going to scramble them
Poor grammar, great truth – communication is a challenge!
Discipling and communication…
related to disciple-making often suffer the same fate as a south Florida gentleman attempting to "eliminate" eggs from his breakfast order!
Called to make disciples....
is certainly a strong, vital, Biblical emphasis for SCBI family reflection and consideration.
How seriously will we take the call of Christ, "as you are going, make disciples!"?
If we take Him seriously, what must we then consider?
Let's get at this by way of several questions:
• Who or what will shape your disciple-making process?
• Can or will you summarize a compelling, Biblical, description of discipling intentionality for
• Can you clearly and simply outline a Biblically based, life-shaping disciple-making process?
• How does disciple-making shape your pulpit ministry?
• Can we call our people to Christ likeness found in "disciple-making"?
• What does the SCBI leader team need to revisit as to emphasis related to transformation
and disciple-making in order to walk with you in the disciple-making challenge?
I'm thinking, praying, longing for every SCBI congregation to become a “colony of heaven on
We will never see that without serious consideration given to intentional discipleship, the
development of passionate, consistent Christ followers who look, talk and walk like Christ!
Our assignment is difficult, our challenge is great, our hope is IN HIM!
Transformation suffers without a serious commitment to disciple-making.
Disciple-making is IMPOSSIBLE without transformation, regeneration and salvation in and
through Jesus Christ.
So, SCBI, let it be said of us – our calling is to the Harvest and our commitment is a commitment to disciple the harvested!
Peggie and I are blessed to call you family!
Thanks for loving us, praying for us and encouraging us!
by Diana Davis
Here’s a fresh and simple way to invite school teachers and staff to your church. Honor those important community leaders by planning a “Meet the Teacher” Sunday during the first month of school.
Students and adult church members will invite school teachers, principals, librarians, bus drivers, nurses, food servers, coaches, music teachers, home-school teachers, professors, counselors and other school personnel, to a Sunday worship service. They’ll be recognized with a small gift and a special prayer.
- Students from kindergarten to college use printed cards to personally invite their teacher and school personnel to come for worship and sit beside them.
- Church members or groups prepare big, gorgeous snack baskets and deliver them to teacher break rooms at local schools. Include a card with a promise of your church’s prayers this school year and an invitation to Meet the Teacher Sunday.
- Provide printed cards and e-invitations for adult church members to personally invite their friends and neighbors who work in the schools.
- Advertise on your church sign and in local papers to invite teachers and school personnel to Meet the Teacher Sunday.
- At a welcome table, provide beautiful nametags for the special guests, personalizing with their name, job and school.
- Plan a brief after-worship Milk & Cookie Fellowship. Serve homemade cookies, milk in cartons, and coffee. Assign adult Bible classes to intentionally chat and invite guests back to worship next week
- Children’s classes can prepare index-size thank-you notes to include with the pastor’s follow-up letter to the special guests.
- Recognize teachers and school personnel by asking them to stand. Student ushers give them a small gift, such as a Scripture bookmark or imprinted mug or pen. Lead a prayer of thanksgiving, asking God to bless them.
- Invite students of all ages to stand for a separate special prayer of blessing and commissioning.
- Include students in leading worship as ushers, prayer leader, or praise team. Our church planned a simple rhythm Scripture performance, and every student was included in the presentation.
You probably know a school employee you could invite to church. Wouldn’t it be awesome if that teacher met the Master Teacher—Jesus—on Meet the Teacher Sunday?
© Diana Davis 2012 See sample invitations for Meet the Teacher Sunday at www.dianadavis.org
Building Powerful Ministry Teams is designed to help church leaders discover, develop and produce quality ministry teams. Key Biblically-based principles and practices will be explored and experienced to create and maintain effective, relational ministry teams.
Training for this strategic plan to enhance church leadership is offered Friday, August 3, at Highland Lakes Baptist Camp in the Conference Center Library.
Training begins at 9:00 a.m. (plan to arrive at 8:30) and will conclude around 3:00 p.m.
The cost is $20 for the workbook and for lunch.
Please contact Steve McNeil if you have questions.
Task force: Keep legal SBC name, but adopt informal name, 'Great Commission Baptists'
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP) -- The task force appointed to study a possible name change of the Southern Baptist Convention is recommending the convention maintain its legal name but adopt an informal, non-legal name for those who want to use it: "Great Commission Baptists."
The report Monday (Feb. 20) ended weeks of speculation by Southern Baptists and fellow evangelicals as to what the task force would do. The convention was formed in 1845, and a name change was first proposed in 1903, although one was not adopted then, or since.
The task force was appointed by Southern Baptist Convention President Bryant Wright.
"This is an issue that just won't die," task force chairman Jimmy Draper said in presenting the task force's recommendation to the Executive Committee, which approved the recommendation Tuesday, sending it to SBC messengers for a vote at the June annual meeting in New Orleans. With about 70 Executive Committee members present, only about six members voted in opposition.
The name "Southern," Draper said, is a barrier to the Gospel in some regions of the country.
The recommendation would mean that the legal name of the convention would remain "Southern Baptist Convention" and could be used by any church which wishes to use it. But other SBC churches could call themselves "Great Commission Baptists" if they wish. Draper said the new term would be a "descriptor."
by Diana Davis
Need a small gift for dads on Father’s Day at your church? Create a bookmark from this article. Download it at keeponshining.com under “Free Stuff,” add your church name and logo, and laminate.
A Christian dad impacts his family and the world. Dad, you are vitally important. Some fresh Ideas for dads:
Pray for your child.
- Kneel by your sleeping child’s bed and pray for him. Pray for him daily as you drive to work.
- Pray aloud with your child. Pray together at bedtime. Voice a prayer as you drive her to school. Praise God as a family when He blesses, and take needs and crises to Him.
“Pray constantly.” 1 Thessalonians 5:17
Invest time in your child’s life.
- Create father/child traditions: birthday breakfast with dad, father/daughter date, father/son adventure, read Sunday funnies together, share a hobby.
- Even on busy days, spend at least a few focused minutes with your child. Take a walk, shoot baskets, go for a soda, play a board game. Listen. Comfort. Make eye contact. Speak wisdom.
- Make lifetime memories with family vacations. Yes, a backyard campout counts.
- Idea: Offer to substitute in your child’s Sunday School class.
“Teach a youth about the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6
Be your home’s spiritual leader.
- Enthusiastically initiate family commitment to God, His Word & His church. Read your Bible. Truly love His church. Help your child know Jesus as personal Savior.
- Verbalize your God story. Tell your child about how God saved you. Talk about answered prayer. Conversationally acknowledge God’s importance in your life.
- Teach God’s ways to your child constantly—when you sit, walk, lay or stand. (Deut. 11:18-21)
- Idea: Text or write a Scripture on a note card for your child.
“Tell your children about it, and let your children tell their children, and their children the next generation.” Amos 1:3
Love your wife.
- Let your child see you show genuine affection to mom with compliments, hugs, laughs, prayers.
- You’re teaching them how to treat their future spouse.
- Idea: tell your child the story of how you fell in love with mom.
”Each one of you is to love his wife as himself…” Ephesians 5:33
Encourage your child.
- Show family affection. Laugh together. Delight in your child. Say, “I love you” often. Compliment sincerely. Speak positively about him to others.
- Be the parent. Your child needs a father, not just another buddy. Your loving discipline and wise boundaries demonstrate your love.
- Idea: Hug your child for at least ten seconds today.
“Fathers, don’t stir up anger in your children, but bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.” Ephesians 6:4
Serve God together.
- Help your child discover her spiritual gifts and use them.
- Set an example of joyful service to God. Find ways to include your child, such as homebound visit, church workday, mission trip, church project.
“Serve the Lord with gladness….” Psalm 95:1-2
Be a man of integrity. Your child is watching your life to emulate it.
- Idea: Tape this on your dressing mirror - “I will lead a life of integrity in my own home. Psalm 101:2”
Enjoy your quiver. Psalm 127:4-5 NLT says that “Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from him. Children…are like arrows in a warrior’s hands. How joyful is the man whose quiver is full of them!” On average, child-rearing days encompass less than 1/3 of your adult years. Treasure them.
Happy Father’s Day.
©Diana Davis 2012 www.keeponshining.com
NAMB trustees voted unanimously to elect Douglas Dieterly as trustee chairman. Dieterly, executive pastor of Plymouth Baptist Church in Plymouth, Ind., has served as first vice chairman of NAMB's trustees since 2010.
God’s Plan for Sharing, the decade-long national evangelism emphasis of the North American Mission Board, marked its second major milestone at Easter as churches throughout the Southern Baptist and Canadian National Baptist conventions use evangelistic events to reach out to their communities. Read more...
Hundreds of children at a school near your church are ready to celebrate summer vacation. What an opportunity! Plan a gigantic End-of-School party with an outreach purpose.
Invite the town with a huge outdoor sign. It might read:
Free End of School Party for all Carmel students!
High School Sand Volleyball Bash 7:30 - 9:30pm
Middle School Pizza Treasure Hunt 5-6:30pm
Elementary Kids Splash Party 2–3:00 pm
Create a Facebook invite, advertise in the local newspaper and print invitations for kids and teachers in your church to distribute.
Be creative with theme, snacks and decor. Make it as simple as “stop by for free ice cream after school” or as elaborate as a full-out summer carnival with inflatable games and water activities. It doesn’t have to be long, but it should be upbeat and fun. Schedule the party on the last day of school and make it specific to high schoolers, middle schoolers or elementary kids. Recruit plenty of adult volunteers to assure that every child is welcome, safe and happy.
Prepare a summer calendar of church activities for that age group. Include ongoing events such as Bible class, choir, drama team, Sunday worship service, church library hours, open gym times. List summer events, like Vacation Bible School, camp, all-church picnic, sports teams, family or youth mission trip, etc. Other activities might include a family skate night, Olympic celebration, art day, or other event. Add the church website and phone/email contact information, and print the calendar on brightly colored paper. Attach a magnet for refrigerator hanging.
Here’s the outreach element: Demonstrate Christian joy. Warmly invite those who don’t have a church to come back for Sunday worship and other church activities. Be certain each person receives a calendar. Pray. Watch for opportunities to share Christ. Train student leaders to intentionally include newcomers. When parents arrive to retrieve their child, personally invite them to church.
As an alternative plan, your church could challenge parents of school-age children to host a party at their home for their child’s class or grade, and provide the calendars so they can invite those quests to summer church activities.
Summertime’s coming, and it’s a great time to invite children to meet the Savior.
One extra idea: Before the high school party, ask church members if they need to employ students for the summer and make a “summer jobs” display with applications or contact info.
© Diana Davis 2012 www.keeponshining.com
Fresh Ideas for Easter Worship Planning
by Diana Davis
If a crowd of children was coming to your home for an Easter egg hunt, would you just give each child a carton of raw eggs as they arrived? Of course not! You’d boil and color eggs, decorate, prepare prizes and snacks…
For churches, Easter Sunday is like that. ...Read more.
Fresh Ideas for Pastor Appreciation Day
by Diana Davis
They chatted, teary-eyed, about the enormous encouragement of Minister Appreciation Day each October. The pastor and his wife said, “They really go all-out!” Over the years, their church’s thoughtfully-prepared gifts had included a gift card to a fancy restaurant, a personalized gift basket, a two-night stay at a state park, and golf at a nice course. Last year, they were blown away when the church surprised him with his dream recliner!
It doesn’t take a lot of effort to say “thank you.” Will your church put thought and action into acknowledging the pastor and ministry staff God has given you? Need fresh ideas? Read more...
Are you ready to fight hunger Oct. 9th?
With World Hunger Sunday approaching Oct. 9, churches and other groups who want to engage the issue of world hunger have a variety of resources available to them, in addition to the resources already available at www.gobgr.org.
One new item is a video entitled "What are you going to do about hunger?" that takes a look at what the World Hunger Fund does and what the hunger needs are around the world. You can view, show and download that video at www.vimeo.com/28065204.
Another new item for 2011 is World Hunger 101, a two-hour church wide event that explores the issue of world hunger. The downloadable event pack from WMU includes suggestions about ways to introduce the topic and how to consolidate a full understanding of issues related to hunger. Each age-level session plan includes promotion ideas and hunger project ideas.
World Hunger 101 is available for download at www.wmustore.com.
Five Ways to Commemorate the 10th Anniversary of 911
by Diana Davis
It was 5:00 a.m. on the first anniversary of 911. I was in New York as a Victim Chaplain to minister to family members at the memorial service that day. Standing in the darkness overlooking the gaping hole left by the disaster, I overheard a man nearby mumbling, “I was standing right here that day.” After a long pause, he continued, “I haven’t even been back until now. I still can’t believe it happened.” Suddenly I realized that he was talking to me! As I listened to his devastating story of friends who died and his personal terror that day, he sobbed uncontrollably, weeping huge tears. As we prayed, God gave comfort to the man who was trying to put his world back together.
Since the tenth anniversary of 911 falls on a Sunday, how can you acknowledge it at your church? Here are a few fresh ideas:
• Honor First Responders. Invite local police, firefighters, EMTs, etc. to attend worship on September 11 by delivering a large invitation to the local fire and police station. Reinforce the invite with email and snail mail. Personally invite the fire and police chief. Place an ad in the local newspaper to express appreciation and invite first responders to the service. During worship, present first responders with a gift. Our church will give a coffee mug imprinted with “We’re praying for you,” with the church website, and Joshua 1:9 “…be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Express appreciation to them and pray for God’s protection and wisdom. Assure that church members visit with the guests and invite them to return for worship next Sunday.
• Disaster Funds Offering. September 11 could be an opportune time to collect a special offering for Southern Baptist Disaster Relief, the largest mobilizer of trained, credentialed disaster relief volunteers in the United States. Because of our Cooperative Program, 100% of disaster relief offerings go directly to help crisis victims, and, most importantly, it’s done in Jesus’ name.
• Shield a Badge with Prayer. This would be a great Sunday to kick off a prayer plan, such as “Shield a Badge with Prayer.” Our church did a version of this for many years, with amazing results. Church members commit to pray for one specific policeman, fireman or other badged public official for one year, sending occasional notes of prayer.
• 911 Prayer and Testimony. Acknowledge the 911 anniversary with a prayer for God’s continued comfort for victims’ families. If a church member was personally affected or involved in the aftermath, he or she could share a brief testimony of God’s sufficiency during those days.
• Challenge your Church. Encourage members to intentionally rise up as God’s church and show His love when disaster hits your community or the nation in the future. If that level five tornado had hit your town instead of Joplin, how would your church have responded? Challenge some to acquire CPR and first aid training, SBC disaster relief training, or disaster relief chaplain training. Begin a plan for communication and church preparedness for disaster ministry.
When 911 occurred, we lived across the country from New York. Our church hosted a community-wide prayer service that next day, and I saw God’s peace and comfort. I walked the search line as a disaster chaplain during the space shuttle disaster recovery, helped grieving parents after a fatal bus crash, and stood beside people who lost loved ones in gas explosions, floods and tornados. Each time, I’ve watched the miraculous power of God as we prayed and ministered in His name during disaster.
As we remember 911, will your church and church members recommit to be God’s representatives during crisis?
©Diana Davis www.keeponshining.com is an author, speaker, and wife of North American Mission Board Vice President, Midwest Region.
Valentine Cookie Extravaganza
By Diana Davis
Invite your community to stop by your church this Valentine’s Day to receive two dozen free homemade heart cookies. This fresh ministry project, a true labor of love, is a sweet and personal way to say “God loves you” and “we care.”
Step 1: Set a big goal. A few weeks ahead, challenge individual church members to sign up to bake several dozen homemade heart-shaped cookies. They can vary in size, and may be plain, simply frosted or elegantly decorated. Remind volunteers to pray as they bake. If 20 members of a small church bake five dozen cookies, those 100 dozen cookies can touch 50 new families for Christ! A larger church’s goal could be several hundred dozen.
Step 2: Invite the town. Post an exterior sign: “Free homemade Valentine cookies! Please stop by February 14th between noon and 2:00 pm to receive our gift of love: two dozen heart cookies.” Print business-card-size invitations for members to distribute. Deliver door hangar invitations to the neighborhood around the church. Submit a newspaper story about the project, with a quality photo of a member baking cookies.
Step 3: Prepare well. Set beautiful tables of cookies in a convenient foyer and plan a simple pick-up process. The gift will include a church brochure, newsletter, note from the pastor, and Valentine-themed evangelism tract (i.e. Valentine Memory Cross from ats.org or Happy Valentine’s Day from christianbook.com).
Step 4: Joyfully give. On the day of the event, folks come in and choose two dozen cookies, which are packaged for them by friendly church members. Each person is treated as an important guest, and hot cider and cocoa are served to those who want to relax and visit. A “decoration station” allows kids to frost and sprinkle a large heart cookie, and every person is verbally invited to Sunday worship. Absolutely no donations are accepted. This is a gift.
When cookies are gone, post an exterior sign, “Oops! Our 7,000 homemade cookies are gone. Please take a brochure and know that you’re loved by God and Hope Baptist Church.” Have leftover cookies? After the event, package leftover cookies to deliver to nearby businesses and shut-ins. This project could also be done as a Christmas Cookie Extravaganza.
It’s a major effort but a Cookie Extravaganza will “get-'em-in-the-doors” and provides an effective way to touch lives and love them to Jesus!
©Diana Davis is author of Fresh Ideas for Women’s Ministry (B&H Publishing) and wife of Indiana Baptist Convention’s executive director. www.keeponshining.com
Your sermons could be breaking the law
Unfortunately, in this Tech Talk article I need to be the bearer of bad news. Many of our Indiana churches use wireless microphones and, sadly, some types were recently outlawed. On June 12, 2010, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) passed a new law banning use of all wireless microphones in the 700 MHz Band. Let me explain a little more of what this means.
Wireless devices are set to transmit or receive signals on a certain Mega Hertz (MHz) frequency. Every wireless microphone or wireless in-ear monitor that your church uses is set to a particular frequency, or across a range of frequencies. The FCC is banning use on all wireless devices that use any frequency between 698MHz and 806MHz.
Why? The 700MHz range is being restricted for use only by public safety entities such as police, fire and emergency services. The last thing we want is to have an ambulance miss a radio call because we are using our microphones.
How do we know if this affects our microphones? There are three relatively easy ways to find out.
1. Take a look! The MHz number should be written on both the microphone and the receiver. It should look something like Freq. Range – B2: 626-662 MHz, or 656.825 MHz.
2. Go to www.scbi.org/techtalk and click “Microphone Manufacturers’ List.” This will link you to a page on the FCC website that lists most of the microphones affected by the change.
3. If you still aren’t sure, contact the FCC directly at 1-888-CALL-FCC. They will help you figure it out.
What do we do about it? If you have microphones that operate on this frequency, stop using them right away! Not only can you get a huge fine from using the equipment, but interfering with emergency signals is a criminal offence punishable by imprisonment. We don’t want any pastors in prison, so please check your microphones!
What do we do with our old microphones? Donate them to a church in another country where there is no law against the 700MHz band! Instead of having your old equipment go to waste, you can help transform a needy church on the other side of the world. Simply send your equipment to SCBI – Tech Talk, 900 N High School Road, Indianapolis, IN 46214. We will make sure it gets to a church that needs it.
If you have any questions, or would like help choosing a new microphone, email email@example.com or call 317-481-2400 ext.240. I will be happy to help however I can.
Fresh Ideas by Diana Davis
Coming to Your Church Monday Morning…
He cleans the church’s carpet regularly, but he’s never been invited to worship there. She delivers the church mail; but she doesn’t know Jesus. The family spent hours there during Aunt Tip’s funeral, but none of them go to church.
Yes, guests attend your church for worship services, but additional dozens—even hundreds—walk in on weekdays each year! They come in for directions, weddings, benevolence or after-game fellowships. They attend scouts, daycare, support groups. There’s the exterminator, repairman, roofer, delivery person…and God brings them inside your building. Will they meet Jesus there?
Need fresh ideas to intentionally impact each person who walks in your church doors?
Let your walls talk. Stroll through your church entryways and offices, carefully observing as if it’s your first time there. What can a stranger learn about your church and your God? Consider ways to entice them to want to come back on Sunday. Can someone walking through your church foyer actually sign up for a class or an event? Print business cards with the church meeting times and website. Play Christian music. Use every piece of art and every wall hanging to point to the One you worship. Attractively display current newsletters, brochures, witnessing tracts, magazines and invitations for visitors to take. Replace negative or outdated signage. Carefully read each poster to assure outsiders can understand it.
Salute! Warmly welcome each person who walks in the door. Learn their names. If they need directions, mark a map. When offering benevolence, give it joyfully. Give the postal carrier an icy soda on a hot day. Invite every individual to come for Sunday worship. Promise to pray for them. Use small gift bags to prepare welcome packets with a church brochure, newsletter, CD, upcoming events and a few candies. Then watch for opportunities to share them. Consider purchasing inexpensive Bibles and offer them to guests, such as a policeman or a roofer. If you’re the church receptionist, why not begin a prayer journal, listing the name of each person who walks in the door? After you invite them to your church, use the journal and pray for them faithfully.
Assign timely ambassadors. Friendly church members can assist with expected guests, such as those who come for weddings or community meetings. Church members can set a positive atmosphere, help with directions or needs and show God’s love. Serve lunch to construction workers. If the town festival is outside the church doors, serve cold lemonade and welcome people to use restroom facilities.
When a local organization borrowed our church for classrooms, ladies in our church showed up for their break with homemade snacks. Several of those visitors came for worship that Sunday. When our church publicized and opened its doors for National Day of Prayer, church members greeted each pray-er and gave them a personal invitation to come back on Sunday.
The church’s purpose is to share God with the lost world. Since God is sending all these people into the church building, seize the opportunity to share His love with them. So here’s your test: If a toilet overflows in your church next Monday, will the plumber receive more than just a check for his services?
“Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders, making the most of every opportunity.” Colossians 4:5
©2010 Diana Davis is author of Fresh Ideas, Deacon Wives, and Fresh Ideas for Women’s Ministry (B&H Publishing). Her husband is Indiana Baptist Convention’s executive director. www.keeponshining.com
PUPILS, PENCILS AND PRAYERS
A new school year begins soon. What an opportune time for a church to encourage students and teachers. Need fresh ideas?
Pray for students and teachers. An adult Bible class can adopt a youth class to pray for them by name. During worship, a pastor could invite students to kneel at the altar as he or the youth minister prays for them. Or he could invite teachers and school staff (elementary, secondary, college, home school) to stand, then pray and challenge the entire church to pray for them faithfully. After taking children to school the first day, moms can gather for coffee, fellowship and prayer for the kids and teachers.
Make it easy for kids to invite friends to church. Print a bookmark-size schedule of weekly and special fall events for kids at your church. Order book covers, notebooks, t-shirts or pencils with Scripture, youth motto, website, church name. Our church teens redecorate their Sunday School classrooms annually, painting murals and Scripture art. Plan a back-to-school party or Christian concert. After school the first day, serve homemade pizza at the church. Work hard to provide relevant, top-quality Bible classes and activities for students.
Adopt a school. Your church or adult Bible class could intentionally help a nearby school. Visit the principal to offer assistance, such as mentoring, office help, reading, crossing guards, scholarship application aid or providing shoes, haircut or school supplies for a child in need. Send encouraging prayer notes to the principal. Deliver a huge basket of snacks for the teacher’s break room with a note from your church. An Indiana church painted the playground and developed a great relationship with the school. Be flexible and joyfully show God’s love as you respond to requests.
Prepare for guests. In Sunday’s bulletin, print names of children’s and youth Bible teachers, choir leaders, missions teachers, and so on. Church members can pray for them, and guests will see your commitment to disciple kids. Since families often relocate during summer, purchase a newcomer list for your town, and mail or deliver church invitations before school begins. You could advertise in the local paper to invite all teachers and school faculty in town to worship on Sunday before school begins. Recognize them, pray for them and give a gift (coffee cup, pen) with a Scripture and promise of prayer.
As our children, youth and teachers return to school as ambassadors for Christ, will you assure them of your church’s love and prayers?
“I pray for you constantly.” Ephesians 1:16b
For the week of June 14-19, 240 students and their leaders served the Lord in Indianapolis. Students spent their days roofing, painting, and doing other construction projects in the Indianapolis community. Their evenings were spent at Crispus Attucks Medical Magnet High School, where they participated in worship, Bible study and team-building. On Wednesday night, the students served in seven community events: two block parties, feeding more than 200 homeless people at the Baptist Center, various VBS events and handing out VBS flyers for area churches. Ten people accepted Christ during the week and many recommitments took place. World Changers will be back in Indianapolis June 13-18, 2011.
***** original *****
255 TEENAGERS ARE COMING TO INDIANAPOLIS, JUNE 14-19, 2010 AND THEY WANT TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE!
NATIONWIDE, May 2010 – This summer more than 23,000 students have made a decision to pay money out of their own pockets in order to help improve living conditions for people across the United States and Canada.
255 students from across the nation will be in Indianapolis the week of June 14-19 working on a variety of assignments that range from painting houses to putting new roofs on homes. The students come with their church youth groups, and on average pay $250 to take part in the week. This summer, 97 World Changers projects will take place in more than 85 cities from Alaska to Florida, New York to California, and many places in between. World Changers is in its 20th summer of operation and is an initiative of the North American Mission Board (Southern Baptist Convention).
Following a six-session “how-to” study that participants complete prior to coming, students serving Indianapolis will hit the ground running. The major work begins Tuesday of the project. The students will be staying at Crispus Attucks Medical Magnet for the week. This initiative is in partnership with Indianapolis, Crossroads Baptist Association, as well as local agencies and businesses.
NOTE: There will be a designated Media Relations specialist on site in your city the week of the project that will be able to coordinate interviews with students and residents as well as provide worksite location information for video and photos.
If you would like more information about this topic, or to schedule an interview with Jonathan Wilson, please call 770-410-6475 or email Jonathan at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Diana Davis
“So his master said, ‘Go out into the country lanes and behind the hedges
and urge anyone you find to come, so that the house will be full.’” Luke 14:23 NLT
Every year children meet Jesus for the first time at Vacation Bible School (VBS.) Imagine what could happen if every member invited an un-churched child to VBS. Need fresh ideas?
Form a creative publicity team to strategize and disseminate assignments to help every individual and church group impact VBS attendance.
Single adults coordinate an outdoor registration event for the community. The church softball team delivers door hangers to homes within a mile of the church. Senior adults and homebound members pre-register members’ children by phone.
Middle schoolers prepare a VBS puppet show, performing in the local mall and the church foyer. Young adult classes decorate hallways a week ahead of VBS to create anticipation. The praise team and choir hang posters strategically around town.
Teens plan a Celly Party, recruiting dozens of adults to join them for a sixty minute phone blitz. Callers use their own cell phone, a script and simple registration form to invite and register kids who visited church last year—church guests, sports participants, fall festival attendees, daycare children or AWANA kids. Include inactive members in the calling list. When a child is registered, the caller rings a bell and adds the name to a whiteboard. After a fast-paced hour, they pray for the children, enjoy snacks and celebrate.
Individuals help. A member with graphic design skills creates an outdoor banner invitation. Garage salers share invitations as they shop. An inviting story in the local paper shows a photo of VBS prep. Sunday School teachers wear bandanas to show VBS enthusiasm They connect with VBS workers as prayer partners and for follow-up visits. The women’s ministry rents an air dancing guy or a huge advertising balloon, like a cowboy for a western themed VBS. A theatrical member wears a VBS mascot costume, such as eBay’s cowboy horse inflatable suit, to visit Sunday School classes or church and community events.
Simplify participation. Provide yard sign invitations for their lawn. Give everyone postcard invitations to share. Create e-invitations they can email friends. A week before VBS, deacons give every worshipper a helium balloon invitation to deliver to a neighbor.
Vacation Bible School only opens doors to reach children who come. Cast a large vision for every church member to invite children to VBS.
©Diana Davis, author of Deacon Wives (B&H Publishing) and wife of Indiana Baptists’ executive director. www.keeponshining.com
Check out these Fresh Ideas from Diana Davis:
Picture this: a simple, well-lit stable stands visibly on your church lawn. A lighted sign says “Turn here for free live nativity.” Music is playing and costumed nativity characters create a captivating Christmas-card-like setting. People stop to observe and church members welcome them with steaming cups of cocoa. The atmosphere is worshipful yet joyfully celebrative...
For a memorable Christmas party for your Bible class or other church group, plan a Christmas Explosion! Singles, couples, youth or kids will enjoy fellowship as their Christmas celebration “explodes” to touch others...
Looking for a way to keep Christ in your Christmas celebration this season? Try this Christian version of The Twelve Days of Christmas...
Ben Beck, BCM Director received an encouraging facebook message from a guy he met last spring break on the Beach Reach Mission Trip. When JB's path crossed with Ben last March he had just been kicked out of a bar for causing trouble with the DJ. JB was hungry so he headed to Taco Bell where Ben's street team was hanging out sharing Christ. Ben had a very long conversation with JB about God but JB was not quite ready to change his ways. They exchanged information and have stayed in contact via facebook. Ben prayed that God would send someone into JB's life to continue to share in person about Christ. Below is the facebook message Ben received. God has answered Ben's prayer.
Hey Ben! You'll never guess who's going to start going to church again.. me! I met this friend of mine Doug from work who is around my age and is really passionate about Jesus and I've been talking to him alot lately. It's kind of weird because the way he describes the church he goes to it sounds perfect for me. He also has the same perspective on things when it comes to politics, values etc. Also, I just finished the book Blue Like Jazz and it really put alot of things in perspective for me. It was actually kind of weird how I found it. This past weeknd I was riding in a friends car who was borrowing it from her dad, I happened to reach in the back seat and pull the book out. After thinking about the chances of that happening, meeting my friend Doug at work, and thinking about how we ran into each other in Panama, I feel like God is trying to have a personal relationship with me and I haven't been trying very hard to form a relationship with him. The book also talked about alot on what you were trying to tell me in Panama about God's grace and how we are sinful creatures, but the thing is we should understand that Jesus Christ died on the Cross so we can be saved from our sins. And that Christianity is a struggle with one's faith and we will mess up at times, but it is in our sinful nature to. It talks about how easy it is to follow the dark, and stray away from God. I guess what I'm trying to say is Thank you Ben for talking to me that night at Taco Bell. Not only have I came to Peace with myself, I've been able to share some things with my little brother and now he's starting to read the book Blue Like Jazz and hopefully he will start going to church with me also. I hope all is well and you'll be in my prayers!
Purdue Baptist Collegiate Ministry (BCM)
507 Waldron St., est Lafayette, IN 47906
"The BCM is a body of students striving together to glorify God and spread His love through relationships and service."
A three-foot-tall Spider-Man and his parents are driving past your church looking for a safe and fun Halloween alternative. Need fresh ideas for a community outreach event?
Free Family Foto. Create a beautiful, lighted outdoor photo site on your church
lawn with pumpkins, mums, hay bales and autumn leaves. Advertise well. Enlist amateur photographers to quickly pose and photograph families who stop by. On Sunday, display photos in the church foyer for pick-up, or mail them to families as a postcard with a personal note on the back.
A Community-Wide Costume Parade can be staged in your church parking lot with an emcee, spotlights, Christian music and free hot chocolate. Prepare a gift and church invitation for onlookers. Chalk the parade route, designate a staging area for the children, and decorate a golf
cart for your parade marshal – the pastor!
A “Trunk or Treat” Event can attract hundreds to your church parking lot. Joyful, costumed church members circle their cars in the parking lot, open their decorated trunks, and pass out candies, tracts and invitations to church. Oakhill Baptist in Evansville themes its event each year.
Fall Festival. Some churches plan a free festival with carnival games, tractor rides, box mazes, pumpkin carving or cupcake walks. Others rent bouncy games, feature a Christian band or do a Noah’s Ark party.
Hallway Parade. Ask children from your church to meet at a local nursing home for a pre-arranged costume parade down the halls. Distribute large-print tracts and pre-approved
treats for residents.
Reverse Trick-or-Treating. Teens or families deliver homemade cookies to neighbors, along with a packet of information about your church.
Make a goal that each guest for any event will receive two verbal invitations to church along with a tract (such as found at atsTracts.org) and a printed invitation to worship.
Leave the Light On. If church members stay at home that evening, challenge them to give out big candy bars or treats along with a tract and church invitation.
Paul challenged Christians to “make the most of every opportunity.” There’s a little guy in a Spider-Man costume in your town who needs Jesus.
Do you want to reach more of Indiana and the world with the Gospel of Jesus?
Maybe it’s time to add a new weapon to your arsenal: your computer.
Facebook, a social networking website, has more than 250 million active users across the globe who spend an average of 8.3 million hours using Facebook on any given day. That means that if Facebook were its own country, it would be the fourth largest in the world, right between the United States and Brazil. If you think that’s crazy, think about the fact that every month there are 31 billion searches on Google, an internet search engine.
We’ve come to a day when people who are seeking for answers aren’t walking through the doors of a church. Instead, they head for the Internet, seeking their meaning in artificial reflections of life because it’s all they know. As Christians, our goal is to know God and make Him known, and making God known means meeting people where they are.
Whether or not we like it, the place you’ll find people today is online: on their desktops, laptops, netbooks, Blackberries and iPhones.
What do we do about this?
• 80% of people say that they will look at the website of a church before they ever see the church building. Get a teenager in your church to build your church website.
• Only 25% of people say they read the newspaper, yet 63% say they watch TV. Invest in a projector for worship lyrics and sermon notes.
• The number of text messages sent and received on cell phones today will total about seven billion, exceeding the total population of the earth. Send text messages and emails inviting people to special events.
Technology can be a hindrance in your church or it can be a help, it’s your choice.
Look in the next Indiana Baptist Magazine for more Tech Talk.
Prayer walkers will focus on needs in Greenfield
4 churches collaborate to cover all streets in prayer at same time
Pastor Roger Kinion of Calvary Baptist Church, one of the four churches participating in the walk, answered questions by e-mail about the event.
Question: What exactly is a prayer walk?
Answer: Prayer walking is basically a proactive way of praying for your community where you actually walk through a neighborhood while praying for it. As you walk, you make observations and ask God to make you sensitive to the needs of the community. Then you continue to pray according to the needs God reveals to you.
Our prayer walk is called One Prayer to signify the unity of spirit and purpose the four churches have that are coming together, asking God to bless our community.
Q: What will participants in this walk do?
A: Teams from the four churches will be assigned specific streets throughout the city of Greenfield to prayer-walk. The goal is that every street in Greenfield will be covered in prayer at the same time. Following the unified prayer walk, the prayer teams from all four churches will come back to Brandywine Community Church for a time of celebration and worship.
Q: What churches are participating?
A: The four churches are Brandywine Community Church, Park Chapel Christian Church, Realife Church and Calvary Baptist Church.
Q: Can anyone participate?
A: Participation is encouraged to be routed through one of the four host churches.
Q: Where did the idea originate for this event?
A: Prayer walking has been a part of Calvary for about two years. It is a great way to become sensitive to community needs. The idea for One Prayer was birthed out of a conference attended by Matt Wickham, the pastor at Brandywine, and Dean Nester, the pastor at Park Chapel. When they returned home, they sought out interest from Adam Detamore, the pastor at Realife, and myself.
With all four churches being in agreement that prayer is the starting point for God making a difference in our community, the planning began. During a time of prayer, the title and focus "One Prayer" came to life.
Q: What's the ultimate objective?
A: The ultimate objective is to see God glorified by prayer -- walking every street in Greenfield at one time, praying in unison for our community, and allowing our congregations to work together to accomplish this goal.
Q: Do you see value in different churches joining together like this to collaborate in activities?
A: Absolutely! We are each different in some ways and alike in others. It is a great learning experience to join together and to realize we have so much in common and we are not alone in our faith and our desire to see our community reached with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
-Bill McCleery, Indy Star
By Diana Davis, author of Deacon Wives (B&H Publishing)
She may look just like any other church member, but God has placed a special call on her life. When a deacon is ordained to serve a church, the wife’s qualifications are carefully considered. 1 Timothy 3:11 states, “Wives, too, must be worthy of respect, not slanderers, self-controlled, faithful in everything.” Her words and actions can enhance or impair her husband’s effective service. She is highly respected, and helps set the pace for other women in faithfulness, soul-winning, dignity, harmony and ministry.
My dad was a deacon, so I saw from a young age how deacons and their wives impact a church. As a pastor’s wife in a new church plant with two deacons, a church with twenty deacons, and a church with a hundred deacons, I saw how deacons’ wives influenced our churches’ harmony, ministry and growth. As a state leader’s wife, I’ve seen hundreds more! A few examples:
- Sarah writes personal encouragement notes to Sunday School teachers, nursery workers, committee members and so on.
- Heidi helps with the church website, photography, music and women’s ministry.
- Linda intentionally sits by hurting and lonely people, widows and guests in church.
- Betty helps equip women to share their faith.
- Ruby organizes deacon wives to host new member receptions at the pastor’s home.
- Cheryl prepares and delivers “bereavement bags” of paper products to church members’ homes immediately after a death in the family.
- Donna warmly greets every church guest and introduces them to others.
- Dawn makes hospital visits with her husband. Pat visits nursing homes. Susan visits homebound members.
- Ruth lovingly helps with the Pastor’s preschoolers when needed.
- Vela invites first-time guests to her home for lunch after Sunday worship. Cyndi hosts youth fellowships. Bess prepares a “prophet’s” room in her home for visiting speakers at the church.
Each of these uses her unique gifts and personality to joyfully and sacrificially serve God in the church and to enhance her deacon/husband’s effectiveness. Many help their husbands organize, visit, and serve. Some deacon wives meet for prayer during deacon meetings. Others plan ministry projects as a group. We could fill this publication with examples!
Her ministry may be highly visible or quietly behind the scenes, but her value is palpable. The deacon’s wife--it’s a worthy life. Will you thank a deacon’s wife this Sunday?
©Diana’s newest book, Deacon Wives (B&H Publishing), releases June 1st. She and her husband, Steve, write a regular column, “He Said/She Said,” for LifeWay’s Deacon Magazine. www.keeponshining.com
It’s a tradition that we began when our children were small. Every spring, we stop by the garden store and select a few packets of zinnia seeds. We plant them in the yard, wait in amazement as colorful blooms appear, and watch for opportunities to use them in ministry. Just as another flower appears, a need seems to arise--a troubled neighbor, a single mom who needs encouragement, a friend in the hospital.
It’s remarkable how a simple flower can provide a tangible reminder of God’s love. Why not use God’s lovely creation of flowers to minister in His name? Need fresh ideas?
- If your church displays Easter lilies, assign deacons or members to deliver one to each homebound member or nursing home resident on Easter afternoon.
- A church member with a flower garden may bring flowers for the foyer or ladies’ restroom counter.
- For a youth-sponsored garden party, members purchase and bring flats of flowers to church during the first week of spring, and teens plant colorful flower gardens.
- A choir can plant bulbs at a nursing home and then lead a hymn-sing there when they bloom.
- Bring wildflowers, garden flowers and vines from your yard to enhance a church buffet dinner.
- Offer to plant flowers for elderly members or church neighbors.
- Present a bouquet of her favorite flower to the minister’s wife or church secretary on her church anniversary.
- Recycle altar flower arrangements by delivering them to nursing home members or dividing them into bouquets for hospital visits.
- A friend of mine creates potpourri from funeral flowers for the bereaved family.
- Each year when her gardenias bloom, a member at our church brings a tray full of blossoms, lovingly pinning one on every woman.
- For a long-term illness, deliver a vase with a few flowers, and assign different church members to bring additional flowers for the bouquet every few days.
Will you use flowers for ministry this spring? I once ordered rubber thumbs from a magician supply store and spray painted them green to use as a handout for a class on Christian growth. A green thumb is not required, however, to use flowers in ministry. Even a brown-thumbed gardener like me can grow zinnias. And if all else fails, the local florist is nearby.
©These Fresh Ideas are from Diana Davis’ book, Fresh Ideas for Women’s Ministry (B&H Publishing ’08). www.keeponshining.com
“Go out to the highways and hedges and compel people to come in, that my house may be filled.” Luke 14:23b ESV
There’s an invisible sign on your church door. Does it read “Stay Out!” or “Please Come In”? The date and time for worship services are clearly posted, but a church must constantly watch for other ways to invite the lost inside the doors. Need some fresh ideas?
• Capitalize on building location. A downtown church invites firefighters and police to exercise in their gym. One rural church hosts a welcome celebration for migrant workers. A church adjacent to a school serves breakfast to kids and a church near a prison helps released inmates transition. An urban church plans inspirational businessmen’s lunches. A church in a residential area hosts neighborhood coffees and a mom’s day out program.
• Study census demographics to become knowledgeable about people and needs in your area. If one-third of your population is single, provide a singles’ Bible study. Is there a need for a GED or English as Second Language class? Would senior adults enjoy a low-impact exercise class?
• Intentionally plan ways to draw people into God’s building. Host a mom’s tea on the first day of school. Open the chapel doors for National Day of Prayer. Provide a Christian concert or art show simultaneously with the town festival. Offer a First Place weight class or aerobics with Christian music. Plan a citywide end-of-school celebration for fifth graders, a family event, or an after-game fellowship.
• Seize opportunities to welcome outsiders by allowing use of the building for weddings, funerals, community meetings, school teacher training, school banquets, etc. Create legal, hospitable parameters for building use. To ascertain that guests visually learn about your church and your God, attractively display current church brochures, witness tracts, missions facts, event information and worship service invitations.
If God has blessed your church family with a church building, why not open its doors and invite the lost inside? Then, when they walk through those doors, welcome them warmly, and introduce them to Jesus.
There’s an invisible sign on your church’s front door. Does it read “Stay Out” or “Please Come In”?
©Diana Davis is author of Fresh Ideas for Women’s Ministry (B&H Publishing, 2008). www.keeponshining.com
The people of First Baptist Church Maryville and the Winters Family greatly appreciate our prayers and ask you to continue to pray for the congregation, Pastor Fred’s family, and the assailant and his family. However, we ask you to e-mail any condolences to email@example.com instead of posting them here. We would like for this site to be filled only with memories and stories of our beloved Pastor Fred. Other guests, please utilize the Prayer Request section of our site for passing along your prayers and well wishes.
Churches with WMU stronger SBC supporters
Southern Baptist churches that have Woman's Missionary Union (WMU) organizations support the denomination financially at significantly higher levels than congregations without WMU, according to an analysis of reported church giving.
The new breakdown of giving patterns suggests missions education by WMU continues to play an important role in inspiring local churches to give more money to the Cooperative Program (CP) and missions offerings.
A review of annual statistics collected by LifeWay Christian Resources found that churches that have age-level WMU organizations like Girls in Action and Women on Mission support the CP, the SBC's unified budget, and the two annual SBC-wide special missions offeings at higher per-capita levels than those without ongoing missions education.
The study, conducted jointly by WMU and SBC North American Mission Baord (NAMB), found that churches with missions-education programs gave $43.28 per member to CP, compared to $23.65 per capita by churches without such programs.
Giving to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions was $3.29 per capita from churches without missions education, compared to $9.05 from those with missions education. Per-member giving fo rthe Annie Armstong Easter Offering for North American Missions was $5.34 for churches with missions education, compared to $1.54 for those without.
WMU and NAMB further examined the giving levels among churches that reported having Baptist Men on Mission (formerly Brotherhood), Challengers and Royal Ambassador programs and those that do not.
Regardless of the size, the entities' findings show that per captia giving to CP and the missions offerings was greater across the board in churches that reported having ongoing missions education.
"Southern Baptists have a rich missions legacy, and the foundation of that has been mission education," said Jim Burton, NAMB's mission education team leader. "We believe missions learning is the foundation for missions sending, and this data supports that conviction.
"When Southern Baptist churches drift away from mission education, they directly put the future missions support from their church at risk," Burton continued. "Having no mission education, particularly in lieu of para-church options that will not reinforce our missions priorities, cuts short the shared vision of cooperative missions that has defined our denomination's missions efforts."
Wanda S. Lee, WMU executive director/treasurer, also underscored the value of missions education for everyone in the church, from preschoolers to adults.
"The heart of Southern Baptist missions efforts must be founded on our members' understanding of three basic concepts: everything I have belongs to God; I am responsible for using whatever I have to honor God; and a world is waiting to hear the good news and I am responsible for seeing that they hear.
"When these concepts are planted firmly in believers' lives as they are through ongoing missions educations, tithing and cooperative giving follow," Lee said.
Geoff Hammond, NAMB president, said these insights are particularly important in light of the increasingly challingeing mission field NAMB missionaries face.
"The urgent need to reach North America with the gospel is apparent every day, and Southern Baptists who have a missions education foundation are better equipped to meet the challenges of fulfilling the Great Commission," Hammond said. "The work of our mission education team and the Woman's Missioanry Union, along with other partners, is making a difference."
Over 120 years, WMU has helped raise more than $3 billion for interanational missions by promting the Lottie Moon offering and $1.1 billion of North American missions through the Annie Armstrong, according to Lee.
This year WMU produced nearly 4.2 million Christmas prayer guides in six languages, distributed by state WMU organization to churches in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and Canada. About 174,000 Week of Prayer posters were sent to churches, and 4.8 million Lottie Moon Christmas Offering envelopes were placed in pews in Southern Baptist churches.
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (ABP)
Firefighters respond to an early morning, Saturday January 17, 2009, at Oak Creek Community Church, Darin Garton, pastor. The roof and attic in the sanctuary were affected, along with smoke and water damage. Fortunately the fire was contained. The church will be meeting in a temporary facility until the repairs can be made. Darin came to Indiana 15 years ago as the church planter for the church. He has been their only pastor, and serves on the state convention executive board. Pray for the church family during this time of re-building. Darin stated, "Even though the building was damaged, the church is in good shape, because the church is the people. No church member was injured as a result of the fire."
By Diana Davis
“It was in my heart to build a house for the name of the LORD my God.” 1 Chron. 22:7b
It’s exciting to watch many growing churches across Indiana who are beginning construction on buildings. Need fresh ideas for those eventful construction days?
• Cross on Top. Builders often erect a tree on the roof during construction. Why not top your construction project with a large cross made of two-by-fours instead?
• Coming Soon. Invest in a professional sign to inform curious passersby about the project. A hand-delivered memo to residential and commercial neighbors can let them know what’s happening and invite them to worship.
• Plumbers’ Lunch Bell. Provide a hot lunch or box lunch for every different work crew, i.e. painters, electricians, landscapers. Include a note of thanks, a witness tract, and an invitation to worship. Challenge church members to personally invite workers.
• Rafter Writing. When framing is complete, invite church members for a special ceremony. Encircle the building for prayer; then distribute permanent marking pens. Play Christian music while everyone writes his or her name with a prayer or Scripture on studs or rafters.
• Steeple Setting Ceremony. If your building plans include a steeple or exterior cross, plan an informal steeple setting celebration for members at the time of its installation.
• Weekly Photo Update. Designate a volunteer photographer to capture building progress and action photos of each volunteer. Submit unique photos to local newspapers. Show weekly photos in pre-worship audiovisuals, website or newsletter, and create a photo journal for the building dedication.
• Grab a Hammer. Involve different groups in the church when possible. Examples: single adults paint, fathers and sons install doors, sweeping senior saints (“Triple S Club”) sweep the site each Friday, kids collect pennies for a piece of Christian art, teens plant trees, etc.
I sat by a little boy in the new church foyer after a church service recently. “See that door?” he pointed. “Me and my dad put up that door.” What a joy to work together to God’s glory! Grab a hammer.
©Fresh Ideas shared by Indiana Baptist’s Executive Director’s wife, author of Fresh Ideas (B&H ’07). www.keeponshining.com
"A God Size Story"
I am continually amazed at how God continues to work through a handful of people that just give Him room to work. Since I have been a part of Elston this time around (I grew up in this church), the steady growth has been somewhat of a miracle. Our location, and the difficulty in accessing our facility goes against most "church growth stragegies" (a heavily traveled highway, populated mostly by commuters and delivery vehicles with a median preventing direct access to our church). Our worship center is small and we have very little room to grow. Yet God continues to bring them in! We just started two services this fall and we already need to consider "what to do next" as more families keep coming.
Several years ago when we decided to reach out to the children, and build a program to teach them, we knew the families would come. And they have. Many of them with complex issues that we feel inept to handle. But in spite of us, God is moving and bringing restoration to marriages and people.
Challenges? You bet. I'm just grateful that He's "more than able to do above and beyond what we imagine or dream."
Running Hard After Him!
Elston Family Church
Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Many of you may know I recently experienced a very difficult period with my health going through quadruple by-pass surgery, including the “Mays procedure” to improve the beating function of the heart. The surgery was October 10, 2008, at Jewish Hospital in Louisville, Kentucky, by Dr. Dowling, one of the best cardiac surgeons in the region. After two more days in ICU and eight days in the Heart and Lung Center at Jewish Hospital, I went home to continue my recovery. November 17 I began Cardiac Rehab at the hospital in Scottsburg and am doing very well. I want to say a very grateful word of THANKS to each and every individual, church congregation and our state convention staff for your prayers and support.
But, as Paul Harvey would say, there is a "rest of the story.” God answered prayer that made the by-pass surgery possible. Two days before the surgery Dr. Dowling said he was not sure they would be able to do the surgery at all. One third of my heart muscle was dead, one third was dormant and not working, and I had a very bad arrhythmia problem. He ordered a viability study for the next 24 hours to see if surgery was possible. If not, the only option was a heart transplant. I told him we would do what we do best and pray while he did the study. He told me he would be praying also. Many of you received the prayer request by phone, e-mail or other means. God heard you and answered in a very amazing way.
Almost exactly 24 hours later Dr. Dowling reported the following: four hours into the study my heart was the same as he had reported but at eight and 12 hours into the study there was no dead tissue in my heart. What was dormant was working and he was confident they could do the surgery. Please, do not miss this: dead heart tissue once dead does not come back on its own. Something had to happen to make dormant tissue begin to beat again. Understand also the doctors did not put any medicine into the heart that would have caused this.
There is only One who can bring life where there is death; only One who can bring such healing to make surgery possible. I knew what was happening and so did the doctors. They were surprised and excited that they would be able to do the surgery. God is good and faithful and ALL THE GLORY AND HONOR goes to Him. God’s people prayed for me. I’ll never forget this and every chance I get, I’ll tell this story to His Honor. God, help me to be worthy of what you have done and help whoever reads this to know You are able to touch their lives and bring eternal life where there has been nothing but death.
Again, thank you for praying and know that God is able to do exceedingly, abundantly, above all we could ask or think.
Still In His Service,
By Diana Davis
“Enjoy the companionship of those who call on the Lord with pure hearts.” 2 Timothy 2:22b
It’s time for the annual Sunday School Christmas party, and you’re wondering—once again—how to make it enjoyable. Need fresh ideas?
- For a fun twist, ask attenders to wear Christmas hats— Christmas cap, antlers, Santa hat. Provide extras for those who forget.
- Deliver a special invitation to members-in-service and prospects. Ascertain that each class member is invited personally and in writing.
- Vary the format each year. Plan a casual dessert party, an early Sunday breakfast at church, or a formal banquet.
- Use nametags to enhance fellowship.
- Take a group photo. Distribute prints at the end of the party or next Sunday.
- For a gift exchange, set a dollar amount or enforce a “no $” rule. You could exchange Christmas ornaments, pins, ties or hats. As an alternative, bring nice wrapped gifts and have an auction, with donations going to Lottie Moon Christmas offering, or bring gifts for a needy family, fruit for the nursing home, or books for the church library.
- Divide into teams for games by giving each person a Christmas carol title on a slip of paper. On the count of three, everyone hums their song until they find teammates with the same carol.
- Play “Designer Santa.” Teams of 4-6 people have seven minutes to create a Christmas costume on a team member, such as a Santa, angel or tree. Supplies include masking tape, tissue paper (red, black, white, green), foil, cotton, construction paper and scissors. Vote and award prizes.
- Play “Caroliscious.” Each team of 5-7 people is assigned a Christmas carol to perform in a unique or humorous manner, i.e. mock-opera, choreographed, chipmunk-fashion. After ten minutes of impromptu rehearsal, teams perform. Hilarious!
- For a progressive Christmas grazing party, travel to three class members’ homes serving heavy hors d’oeuvres. Decorate vehicles with battery-powered Christmas lights to add pizzazz, and stop en route to carol. If it’s snowing in Indiana, drive by the pastor’s home and let everyone make a snowball and quietly leave them on the porch with a signed note, “Our pastor is SNOW wonderful!”
- Conclude with a brief devotional about the meaning of Christmas, then gather around a piano or guitar and sing carols.
A Sunday School class’s Christmas party is often its best-attended fellowship of the year. Have fun with your Christian friends as you celebrate the Reason for the season.
©2008 Fresh ideas are shared by Diana Davis, Indiana Baptists’ executive director’s wife. www.keeponshining.com
“…give recognition to those who labor among you and lead you in the Lord.”
I Thessalonians 5:12-13
Each October, many churches designate a day to show appreciation to their pastor and church ministerial staff member. Need fresh ideas?
One Fishing Lure
Determine one small item your pastor enjoys, such as M&Ms, fishing lures, popcorn, coffee, or golf balls. Ask each church member, including youth and children, to bring one of that item on Pastor Appreciation Sunday. For example, each family member will bring one bag, any size, of peanut M&Ms. Bring extras for guests and forgetful members. As your church thanks God for your pastor on Sunday, each member can walk to the front and place their token of love in a large basket.
The Church Building & the Church
Present your pastor with a beautifully framed photo or painting of the church building. Use an extra wide matting and ask all church members to sign the mat before adding glass.
Distribute your minister’s e-mail address to all church or class members, asking each one to send an e-mail note, describing something specific that they appreciate about their pastor. E-mails should be sent one specific day or week, creating an e-pounding of blessings!
Use the same basic idea, but ask each member to send a text-message to the pastor or staff member.
Order a jigsaw puzzle with a photo of your church family or church building. Internet puzzle companies make 100 or 1000 piece puzzles from a photo.
Love Our Pastor
Take out a full-page ad in your local newspaper, featuring a photo of your pastor with each church member's signature around it. Include a declaration of your church's love and appreciation for your pastor.
Give each church member a stamped envelope that is pre-addressed to your minister's home. Ask them to send a very specific, personal note of appreciation this week.
Make It a Month
As a church, deacon body, ladies group, choir or youth group, make October a true month of appreciation for your pastor. Ask individual volunteers from the group to write their name on one day of an October calendar. On the assigned day, that person expresses appreciation to the pastor in a unique way. Each day will be different. The pastor might receive a letter or gift. It could be a meal, a shoeshine or a "thank you" balloon bouquet. After a whole month of pleasant surprises, won't your pastor feel appreciated? And won't God be honored by your acts of love for His servant?
While You Were Out
Hanover Baptist in Indiana surprised their pastor with a gorgeous new home office. With his wife's input, of course, they worked with a decorator and volunteers to turn a spare room into a home office while the pastor was out of town. They did paint, wallpaper, window coverings, shelves, desk, chair, computer, and decorator items.
Gift of Prayer
Give your pastor the gift of prayer. Create a chart, and allow members to choose a specific time that they will commit to pray weekly for the pastor this next year. They do not need to come to a specific place—just pray on their way to work or pray each Tuesday at 2 PM. The project could be done by a deacon group, choir, class or the entire church. Present the prayer promise chart to the pastor as a gift. Then remember to pray!
A Class Idea
All the Sunday School classes of the church could pool their resources to purchase a full set of Bible commentaries. Every individual class could sign inside one of the books, then present it as a gift from their class.
Gift from Deacons
Each deacon purchases a gift certificate to a restaurant, carwash, coffee shop, or book store. He writes a personal note on the back, then all coupons are placed inside a card for the pastor.
Gift from Kids
Wouldn’t it be fun for every child at church to create a signed bookmark for their pastor or children's pastor, using cardstock paper, crayons or markers? Laminate the bookmarks, and then call all the children forward at the end of worship to put their bookmarks in a basket for the pastor.
Gift from Youth
Create huge poster board hearts and a giant love note for everyone to read. Place them on stakes in your pastor's front yard during pastor appreciation day. You could add balloons, but not toilet paper.
More Ideas for a Gift from the Church
Restaurant certificates, magazine subscription, tires, Bible software, a trip, a book, theatre or sports tickets, flowers for his wife, babysitting coupons, a new car, a grandfather clock, a suit for pastor and a dress for his wife, a new car, a new desk, home landscaping.
Ideas for Individual Members to Honor the Pastor
Your church demonstrates appreciation, but how can you, as an individual church member, honor and encourage your ministers? A few fresh ideas:
Write your minister an encouraging note the first day of every month this year. Tell him how last Sunday’s sermon impacted your week. Take him to lunch and tell him how much you appreciate him as your pastor.
Stay Awake In Church
Sit near the front during worship every Sunday during Pastor Appreciation Month. Actively listen during the sermon. Make eye contact. Nod your head. Take notes. Say "amen" at an appropriate time.
May I Borrow Your Car?
As a special surprise during Minister Appreciation Week, borrow your pastor’s car and have it detailed, oiled and lubed, washed and gassed.
Brag about Him
Brag about your pastor every chance you get - and not just at church. Write a letter to the editor of a local newspaper during Minister Appreciation Month to compliment your minister. Introduce him to your friends and work associates.
Show respect by calling him “pastor.”
During Minister Appreciation Week, present him a "Best Pastor in Madison" t-shirt, substituting your town's name.
Be the first church member to volunteer for something. Accompany your pastor on ministry visits. Show up early for church and help. Stay late and help. Faithfully and joyfully use your spiritual gifts within the church body.
During Minister Appreciation Week, anonymously mow and edge your pastor’s lawn. Provide a generous book allowance for him in your church budget. Be sure that he's paid an appropriate salary. If he has houseguests coming again, deliver a great casserole. Exempt clergy from bringing dishes to pitch-in dinners.
Love His Family
Do something special for your pastor’s wife. Help pay for his teens to attend the church's youth retreat. Babysit his kids for free during a wedding or funeral. Include his family in your holiday celebration. Help his children apply for college scholarships. Deliver a Thanksgiving turkey to his house.
Quit complaining. Quit complaining. Quit complaining. Quit complaining.
Excerpt from Fresh Ideas (B&H Publishing, 2007)
"In the future, when your children ask you, ‘What do these stones mean to you?’
you should tell them…” Joshua 4:6b
What a celebration! A round-number church anniversary is worth planning well. It’s a great gathering of former and current church members and ministers, joyfully recalling God’s past blessings on your church. Need fresh ideas?
The biggest secret: Plan ahead! Send “save the date” notices to former staff and church members a full year in advance. Designate a detective team to locate them using a master list, internet and people resources. Request online RSVPs for banquet, history books, anniversary shirts, etc.
Relate your church history with a brief video or live dramatic presentation. Commission a history book to be written and released at the event. Prepare scrapbooks by decade. Create a looped slideshow to play during registration, pre-service and meals.
Display “THE” membership list, a chronological listing of church members on a banner created from your church records. Ask guests to initial by their name at registration. Display a time-line of significant church history events beside it.
Pre-print nametags, readable from six feet away. Designate charter members and pastors with unique stickers.
Provide anniversary souvenirs such as a personalized ornament, pen, paperweight, t-shirt, notebook, magnet, bookmark, or church cookbook.
Add fashion and musical interest. Feature music from each church history era. Invite attendees to wear costumes to represent various decades, including today’s time period (for those who don’t care for costumes.) Award prizes.
A 25-hour pre-event prayer chain allows members to pray in half-hour scheduled increments. The number of hours parallels anniversary year, i.e. 15 years/15 hours.
- Stand Up. Make history-related recognitions during the celebration.
- Charter members, then church members by decade
- Former and current pastors and ministry staff
- All who were baptized in the church
- Former and current leaders, deacons, teachers, etc.
- All who currently serve in vocational missions or ministry.
- Initiators of various ministries in the church, i.e. library, daycare, benevolence.
- Famous firsts, i.e. 1st youth minister, 1st ordained deacon, 1st baptized.
Establish a special fund for attenders to contribute toward a major item for the church, such as stained glass, steeple or adjacent acreage.
When Steve and I attended the 25th anniversary of a church we helped to plant, it was like a foretaste of heaven! Celebrating God, recounting His blessings, and renewing Christian fellowship--now that’s a recipe for a great anniversary celebration.
Note: Hope to see you next month at our state’s 50th anniversary celebration for the State Convention of Baptists in Indiana. Make reservations at www.scbi.org.
An excerpt from Diana Davis’ book, Fresh Ideas-1000 Ways to Grow a Thriving & Energetic Church.
Diana is the wife of Indiana Baptist Convention’s Executive Director. See www.keeponshining.com
Be conscientious about yourself and your teaching. Persevere in these things. 1 Timothy 4:16a
Did you ever play a game called “follow-the-leader?” Imagine a leader wandering blindly through traffic or running into walls. Wouldn’t followers be frustrated? Suppose an archer is shooting arrows with no target in sight. How purposeless!
Leadership in God’s church is infinitely more important than a game. A key responsibility of any leader is to know where he’s leading.
If you organize the praise team, you are a leader. Perhaps you direct a Sunday School department or the women’s ministry or youth group. You may chair a committee or serve as a deacon or a class fellowship leader. If you lead in any church ministry, commit to lead well. Need some fresh leadership ideas?
Cast a great vision. Know your ministry’s potential. For example, if you direct 5th grade Sunday School, research school stats or census data (www.census.gov) to learn how many 5th graders are in your community. Obtain contact info for 5th grade visitors to your church during the past year, including VBS, fall festival, sports teams, etc. Cast a vision to teachers in your department about its eternity-impacting potential.
Make spiritual goals. The ultimate goal of any church leader is the same: to worship God and make disciples. For example, the church bowling team leader can challenge teams to invite unsaved friends to participate. He begins games with prayer, shares a personal testimony with guests, encourages Christian fellowship, and schedules a Sunday for teams to sit together in worship. Trophies are good, but the primary goal is spiritual.
Become an expert. Invest time and effort to become an authority on your leadership topic. Find other churches or leaders who do that ministry well and learn from them. Read books on the subject. Attend training opportunities. Stay informed. If you lead nearlyweds, attend a bridal fair. If you do the church website, take a class to improve skills. If you teach kids, visit a local kids’ ball game.
Love the ones you lead. Acknowledge their victories and challenges. Encourage. Invest. Mentor. Pray for them. For example, one minister of education begins every day by calling Sunday School teachers on their birthday. My granddad taught a boys’ Bible class and visited the home of each boy to know his family and share God’s plan of salvation.
Christian leader—if you aim at nothing, you’ll likely hit it. Will you lead with purpose? Eternity will be impacted.
©Fresh Ideas are shared by Diana Davis, wife of Indiana Baptist Convention’s executive director. www.keeponshining.com
World Changers come to Indianapolis
Teenagers from the states of Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, Arkansas, Illinois and Indiana came to Indianapolis to work as part of the “World Changers” program the week of June 2-6, 2008. Some 105 teenage volunteers are in 8-10 different locations. The groups began working on Monday morning, June 2 to paint houses, put in new windows, tear out old sheet rock, throw away trash, and put on a new roof.
The groups represent young people from junior high through college age. The homes they are working on were recommended for this program through a partnership between the Crossroads Baptist Association (Indianapolis area) of the State Convention of Baptists in Indiana, and the United Northwest Area Development program of Indianapolis.
As most students spend their summer break soaking in rays at the beach or lounging around the house, 105 teenagers and their adult leaders, have been hard at work on this week-long refurbishment and construction project. Several of the homes were projects that would help current residence with some needed repairs. The other projects were clean-up projects that will the city to make the homes livable residence for low-income families.
Two of the students who are participating in this year’s group are James Cash from Dublin, Georgia, Dublin Bible Church and Hailey Snyder from Mt. Vernon, Illinois. This trip was James’ first time to participate in a World Changers event. He came because he wanted to do something to help people, to grow in his relationship with the Lord and to grow together with his youth group. Hailey is on her third trip with World Changers. She first learned about World Changers when her youth group attended Youth Encounter in Illinois. Her youth group came back from that event and began talking about how they could get involved in World Changers.
This summer more than 22,000 students nationwide will participate in World Changers. They will pay on average $260 to participate instead of staying home and earning money. They will participate in 95 construction and community projects from Alaska to Pennsylvania to South Carolina.
World Changers is a project of the North American Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention. The program began in 1990 with 137 volunteers who refurbished homes in Briceville, Tennessee. Since that first outing, 290,000 students have renovated more than 18,000 homes in 900 communities worldwide. This year 23,000 students will participate in 95 projects in the U.S., Puerto Rico, Canada and 20 international locations.
by Diana Davis
It’s an untapped resource in many churches. A vibrant,
upward-and-outward-focused women’s ministry can positively impact a
church’s growth and health. Is your church ready to begin or improve a
women’s ministry? Need some fresh ideas?
Your church is unique. Your women’s ministry must be tailor-made to fit your mission field. It may meet weekly or monthly, mornings or evenings. Whatever the method and whenever you meet, it’s permeated with missions, hands-on ministry, fellowship, growth and evangelism. It’s fast-paced, fun, and worth her time.
For example, we called our women’s ministry LIGHT, an acronym for Ladies Intentionally Going, Helping, Touching. The daytime program met for two hours each Thursday morning. The first hour offered a choice of quality classes, such as Bible study, Women on Mission, book reviews, support groups or crafts. After classes, all groups came together for a coffee fellowship, and then ladies left the church with their ministry team, infiltrating the community to share Jesus. Teams included benevolence, homebound, newcomers, hospitals, outreach, etc. Our Night-LIGHT met monthly with a condensed version of that schedule. We had special events and outreach-focused, quarterly luncheons, too.
Allow me to share five simple organizational secrets to get you started:
Secret #5: Plan a One-Year Calendar. An annual marathon planning meeting allows your leadership team to strategize dates and goals for an entire year. Annual planning dramatically enhances effectiveness.
Secret #4: Memorable Kickoff Event. Ladies gather en masse for the event of the year! Expend major effort to plan a fun, top-quality kickoff to create anticipation and set the stage for a successful, fruitful year of women’s ministry.
Secret #3: Broaden the Circle. The focus stays the same, but fresh additions are made each year—some new leaders emerge, new ministries, new Bible topics and teachers and participants, new events and projects. Got the picture? Stay fresh.
Secret #2: Begin with the Pastor. It’s not a para-church organization; it’s a ministry of your church. God will honor your women’s ministry as they follow the leadership of your pastor.
Secret #1: Focus Upward and Outward. A great women’s ministry incorporates spiritual growth, mentoring friendships, hands-on ministry opportunities, missions education and action, and evangelism. Instead of a “me” mentality, it produces a “go ye” mentality. Women’s ministry works. Literally.
A quality women’s ministry will impact your church, your community and your world for Christ. Women’s ministry must include ministry. Don’t leave M out of your WM.
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