Caleb Yarbrough/Arkansas Baptist News

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University’s new program to lower cost, build character

WALNUT RIDGE, Ark. (BP) -- With the cost of higher education on the rise, graduating debt-free has become increasingly difficult for many students. But a new initiative announced by Williams Baptist University could provide students an affordable path to earning a degree while building character along the way. At a press conference Sept. 16 outside of WBU's Swaim Administration Building in Walnut Ridge, Ark., WBU President Stan Norman introduced "Williams Works," a program with the goal of making "an academically excellent, Christ-centered university education affordable for all families -- with a real possibility of students graduating debt-free." Williams Baptist University ...

In historic season, OBU Tigers value faith, character

ARKADELPHIA, Ark. (BP) -- This year's Ouachita Baptist University Tigers football team was the winningest in the school's history. And while college football is a big deal in the South, where many enjoy cheering on their favorite team regardless of the record, it is especially nice to cheer for a winner -- on and off the field. The Tigers went undefeated in the Great American Conference -- winning the conference for the second year in a row -- and won their first contest during the NCAA Division II playoffs before losing in the quarterfinals to Ferris State University, a school with a student enrollment nearly 10 times that of Ouachita's. While many small Baptist colleges and universities do not have football programs, Ouachita's dates back to the late 19th century. The first "Battle of the Ravine," the nickname for Ouachita's longstanding rivalry game with cross-highway rival Henderson State University, dates back to 1895.

On the road for missions: Hendersons share WMU story

ARKADELPHIA, Ark. (BP) -- The rumble of the on-board generator lent a muffled, but noticeable, undertone as Trennis and Pam Henderson gave a tour of their new home. Outfitted with all the modern comforts and conveniences expected in a 21st century home -- if not in somewhat smaller proportions -- the Hendersons' new home is a 24-foot-long Winnebago RV. Since Aug. 1, the couple has been taking their RV across the country, working together to share the stories of Woman's Missionary Union's (WMU) various ministries with a new generation of Southern Baptists. See related Baptist Press story. Trennis now serves as WMU's national correspondent, and Pam will conduct administrative and production services, including planning their itineraries and taking photographs. A former editor of the Arkansas Baptist News, Trennis has served as vice president for communications at Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia since 2008.

‘Apologetic Cafe’ takes to radio airwaves

SHERWOOD, Ark. (BP) -- Baptists may say they love hearing God's Word preached on Sunday mornings, but sometimes a sermon may raise more questions than answers, notes Arkansas pastor Joe Manning. Manning, pastor of Bethel Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Ark., is a self-proclaimed apologetics junkie who holds a doctorate in the field from Trinity Theological Seminary in Newburgh, Ind. Manning first recognized the need for a time of open conversational dialogue about God and the Bible when he was pastoring a church in Hawaii.

Fayetteville voters approve LGBT anti-discrimination law

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (BP) -- Fayetteville citizens voted to ratify the city's Uniform Civil Rights Protection ordinance -- that now protects the rights of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community -- by a slim margin Tuesday (Sept. 8). Originally passed by the city council June 16, the law is a revised version of a law that the council passed in August 2014 and was then repealed by a popular vote last December.

Outdoor Church pastor leads by example in reaching sportsmen

CONWAY, Ark. (BP) -- An Arkansas Baptist church plant, led by a pastor who could pass for a cast member on the hit reality show "Duck Dynasty," is seeking to reach people for Jesus Christ by appealing to their love of hunting and fishing. A 2011 survey by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reported 1.3 million people hunted, fished or participated in wildlife watching in 2011 -– spending nearly $2 billion on wildlife recreation in Arkansas. The 1.3 million individuals mentioned in the survey included both residents of Arkansas and non-residents, with the vast majority being residents of the state. All of these statistics point out that in Arkansas –- a mostly rural state with a population of just under 3 million -– easily more than half of the state's population either hunts, fishes or spends time participating in wildlife-related activities. For Scottie Johnson, Arkansas Baptist State Convention church planter and pastor of Outdoor Church of Arkansas in Conway, the need for a church to reach one of the state's largest demographics is obvious. Johnson, who served 23 years in student ministry prior to planting Outdoor Church, wears a bushy beard, long hair held back by a bandana, jeans and a T-shirt most days. He said he has been an outdoorsman as long as he can remember. "I have a lot of friends and family that have never felt comfortable in a traditional church environment," he said. "So I thought if cowboy churches work in Arkansas, there is (a ratio of) 10-to-1 outdoorsmen to cowboys in Arkansas." Johnson said one of the foundations of Outdoor Church is to build a church around reaching men. "You have over a 90 percent chance that you will reach the family if you get the dad," Johnson said. Outdoor Church also seeks to be a place where wives of outdoorsmen, who currently don't attend church, can bring their husbands. "I'll be the first to tell you that my wife is not an outdoorsman at all," Johnson said. "She is as far from an outdoors-type person as there is. But she absolutely loves worshipping with us. I would say that there are a lot of outdoorsmen that don't have outdoorswomen for wives. But I can promise you this, there's a lot of wives that are in churches all over our state this coming Sunday that will be praying for their husband to come to church with them," Johnson said.

Eric Ramsey: adventurous evangelist

MOUNTAINBURG, Ark. (BP) -- He has been interrogated by police, caught in a war zone in Asia and beaten by an angry mob of Muslims in Africa. He is not an adventure film character.

ERLC chairman speaks a pastor’s perspective

CAMDEN, Ark. (BP) -- The church, more than any other institution, must constantly address issues of ethics and morality -- which Richard Piles understands as well as anybody in the Southern Baptist Convention.      Piles, pastor of First Baptist Church in Camden, became chairman of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission's trustees in May 2012 after serving on the board for four years in various capacities.