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WatersEdge

Randy L. Bennett

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FIRST-PERSON: My ministry ‘failure’

A long-forgotten file from the 1970s showed Randy Bennett that he had wrongly thought his early ministry was a failure.

FIRST-PERSON: Do it anyway

Randy Bennett recounts his daughter's "do-it-anyway" perseverance in launching a children's ministry at church, starting with no volunteers and no budget -- an initiative that now is flourishing, most recently with a young girl's baptism.

500 YEARS: One verse of Scripture

Randy Bennett tells of a young but neurotic and fearful Augustinian monk who came across a Scripture verse 500 years ago that changed his life and impacted the world.

The Cooperative Program — then & now

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (BP) -- It failed. Then it worked out far better than anyone could have imagined. Here's the story of what befell Southern Baptists in the 1920s, yet ultimately emerged in a different form and succeeded as the Cooperative Program. Back in the mid-1980s Southern Baptists tried an interesting but questionable stewardship campaign called "Planned Growth in Giving." Instead of challenging believers to tithe -- the biblical practice of giving 10 percent of their income to the local church -- the campaign suggested that new givers start with a lesser percent and gradually move toward 10 percent. After only a few years the campaign was dropped. Pastors and members alike simply did not believe that advocating anything less than a tithe was biblical.

COOPERATIVE PROGRAM: A matter of love

Among the things Randy Bennett loves are his wife and children, ice cream, his pickup truck and, all the more, the Lord and Southern Baptists' Cooperative Program. "I am part of a body of believers who are taking seriously God's command to go the ends of the earth to tell people about Jesus," he writes.

EASTER: A computer crash & the resurrection

A computer crash that claimed a key part of his academic coursework is an Easter reminder for Randy Bennett. Amid life's challenges and setbacks, "I've learned that I can get up and start over," he writes. "Remember God's promises. Remember the resurrection of Christ and start again."

FIRST-PERSON: When good guys fight each other

Randy Bennett ponders why conflict sometimes afflicts churches. One key reason: "Satan cannot destroy lives when the good guys work together against his schemes, so he knows that he must keep them fighting each other."

FIRST-PERSON: Anybody’s guess

Randy Bennett, president of the California Southern Baptist Convention, warns about "the power of the guess" and the harm it can cause when people, without checking, believe and spread untrue information. "Let's be careful," he writes, "that we don't share our guesses as truth."