EDITOR’S NOTE: BP Ledger carries items for reader information from various Southern Baptist-related entities and news releases of interest from other sources. The items are published as received.
Today’s BP Ledger contains items from:
Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary
Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
Joni and Friends
Church planting emphasized at annual SWBTS emphasis
FORT WORTH, Texas (Southwestern Seminary) — “There’s a church on every corner. Why do we need church planting in North America?”
Jim Richards, executive director of the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention (SBTC), noted that this is a common response to the notion of planting churches in the United States. Preaching in chapel at Southwestern March 29, Richards pointed out that despite the country’s Christian influence throughout its history, the culture today has become largely secularized and even, to an extent, anti-Christian.
A similar response is given regarding church planting in Texas. “Texas used to be the buckle on the Bible Belt,” Richards said. “But in our state, there are 27 million people, and 18 million people here in Texas make no claim to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. So we’re living in a state that is predominantly lost.”
Richards noted that 1,000 people move to Texas every day. “So that means that if we had 1,000 churches started every year, averaging 400 at the end of the year, we would simply be keeping up with the population that is coming into the state of Texas,” Richards said. “So you can see the enormous need that we have here in the state of Texas.
“So the question is, “Do we need more churches?” Richards continued. “And the answer is emphatically, without question, ‘Yes, we need to start more churches.'”
Richards’ message was part of Southwestern’s annual North American Church Planting Week in late March, with the seminary welcoming numerous church planters from around the country who were available to students to inform them about the church planting process as well as specific opportunities across the states.
During his chapel sermon, Richards preached from Acts 14:21-23, asserting that these three verses present a church planting template. The passage speaks of the apostle Paul preaching the Gospel in various cities and, essentially, planting churches there.
“This is a descriptive passage that tells us what took place in the life of the apostle Paul,” Richards said. “But I think it becomes prescriptive for us in a very realistic way [concerning] church planting.”
Richards gleaned six principles for church planting from these three verses. The first is that church planters must preach the Gospel.
“I don’t think the apostle Paul ever intended to go to a city to plant a church,” Richards said. “He went there to preach the Gospel, and by preaching the Gospel, a church came out of the converts.
“It is preaching the Gospel that brings the converts. So I urge you to realize that it’s not the coolest marketing scheme that you may come up with, it’s not the mailers that you put out, it’s not some hot band you can put on the platform; it is personally, intentionally, individually sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ with those who are lost with a burden on your heart and a tear in your eye.”
Other principles included promoting discipleship, protecting doctrinal integrity, preparing for adversity, putting godly leadership in place, and praying and trusting in God. Admonishing the future ministers in the chapel audience, Richards concluded, “God calls you to preach; it’s not a vocation you choose. And God calls you to be a planter.
“Now if God does not call you to be a church planter, God calls you to support church planting by giving and by sending. But I believe that there are several, maybe scores, right here who need to say, ‘Here am I, Lord. Send me.'”
Overcome critics with kindness, Dykes says at Southern Seminary
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Southern Seminary) — Pastors should choose love rather than discouragement when mean-spirited people criticize their ministries, Texas pastor David O. Dykes said during a March 22 chapel message at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
“Brothers and sisters, you’re going to encounter some mean people even in the church today. But God has called us to show forth the fruit of the Spirit; God has called us to show forth his light and his love,” said Dykes, pastor of Green Acres Baptist Church in Tyler, a former member of the SBC Executive Committee and a two-time Southern Seminary alumnus.
Preaching from Romans 12:17, Dykes said true fellowship engenders a proper attitude toward divisive people within the church. Although it’s part of the fallen human nature to seek revenge, Dykes said Christians should resist that impulse. A sinful nature makes it instinctive to even the score, but Christianity offers a different way.
“Jesus turned ethics on its side when He said, ‘No, you treat people the way you want to be treated,'” Dykes said.
While believers should not assume they will be at peace with everyone, Dykes said they should at least offer peace even to their enemies.
Believers should hold to doctrinal convictions tightly, Dykes said, and that might mean they lose some friends. He himself has been criticized by liberals for his stance on homosexuality. Yet he believes Christians should not make enemies because of their attitude toward other people.
“You may create enemies because of your position but you should never create enemies because of your disposition,” he said.
Noting the injunction in Romans 12:19 to “leave room for God’s wrath,” Dykes said Christians should allow God to do what He promised and repay evil for evil Himself.
Dykes said Christians should treat their critics and enemies with the same grace and gentleness they received from God. The Christian can love others without being loved in return and overcome their attacks with genuine forgiveness, he said.
“I’m here standing as a testimony that after 40 years of being a pastor, I’ve encountered a lot of mean people,” Dykes said. “But I’m still as happy as I’ve ever been serving the Lord in the ministry. Don’t let those mean people discourage you and slow you down. Continue to love the people and preach the Word of God.”
IrresistibleChurch.org resources launched by Joni and Friends
AGOURA HILLS, Calif. (Joni and Friends) — Joni and Friends International Disability Center is launching a blog and online community, www.irresistiblechurch.org, in its ongoing efforts to empower and encourage churches to better serve individuals with disabilities in their communities.
Free resources will include The Irresistible Church series of books, including the first, “Start with Hello,” which released on the free Kindle list recently, skyrocketing to #1 in two different categories.
In addition to these short and practical books, the website will include blog posts, podcasts, instructional and inspirational videos, personal stories of individuals involved in disability ministry and downloadable instructional guides for churches to start a disability ministry no matter the size, budget or leadership style.
Experts are available to answer questions posted by users, making it a true community online. Many of the individuals involved in the project share their own stories of experience with disability, such as not fitting into a church because a child with developmental disabilities was “disruptive”; having their child with dyslexia being mortified to be made to read aloud in Sunday School; or having their child with separation anxiety not allowed to attend worship with his parents.
Future “Irresistible Church” series book titles will launch every few weeks, all remaining free to download in pdf or epub formats, as well as on Kindle and 350 other books sites including Barnes & Noble. Future titles include: “Engaging Game Changers: Recruiting and Coaching Volunteers for Disability Ministry” and “We’ve Got This! Providing Respite for Families Affected by Disability.” Included on the website will be resources such as a guide to disability etiquette and an “Irresistible Church Survey” as recommended in the first book.
The books are written by both experts in disability ministry and church outreach, with experience in starting such ministries from the ground up. A theological and biblical perspective of disability and suffering also will be explored throughout the series, showing the basis for and the call to engage in such ministry work.
The website is designed to be entry-level, with different tracks for church leaders, volunteers, and family members and caregivers. It will also list disability ministry events around the country that offer additional training and inspirational opportunities. For those who want to go deeper, the website will connect them with Joni and Friends’ Christian Institute on Disability which administers the “Beyond Suffering” curriculum as well as other academic and practical training opportunities, such as internships and short term volunteer experiences.
For more than 35 years, Joni and Friends has worked to accelerate ministry to the disability community around the world, offering a wide array of life-affirming ministries, including the Christian Institute on Disability; the International Disability Center; international radio and television programs filled with inspirational stories; and family retreats where families affected by disability learn they are not alone. For more information, visit http://www.joniandfriends.org/.
Mandy Arioto named president of MOPS International
DENVER (MOPS) — The MOPS International board of directors has elected Mandy J. Arioto as the organization’s fifth president and CEO. Arioto assumed the position March 1, succeeding Sherry Surratt, who served as CEO for the past four years.
Arioto comes to MOPS with experience in church ministry and cultural innovation, most recently as director of marketing and membership at MOPS International.
Board chair Roger Franklin describes MOPS’ new CEO as a woman with passion for bringing God’s good news to all young moms: “We couldn’t be more delighted that after a thorough national search, our next CEO comes from within MOPS. Mandy has been instrumental in developing relevant, fresh curriculum and messaging as a senior leader on Sherry’s team responsible for significant growth and vibrancy in MOPS’ ministry to young moms. Having watched Mandy these past three years, we believe she is uniquely qualified to build on this success and to leave her legacy of reaching young moms for Christ.”
Linda Chowdry, search committee chair, said Arioto’s time with MOPS as marketing and membership team leader in combination with her extensive experience in ministry and marketing within other organizations as critical considerations placing her at the top of the candidate list. While at MOPS, Arioto has developed valuable contacts with a large network of churches as well as major donors. These relationships will serve the MOPS ministry in a crucial way as she leads with both vision and experience. “Mandy has the skill set to build on the strong foundation of what MOPS is already accomplishing and the imagination to lead MOPS into a bright future,” Chowdry said.
“MOPS has thrived under Sherry’s leadership,” Franklin said, “and the board expresses our deep gratitude to Sherry for her efforts these past four years. MOPS is entering an exciting new period under Mandy’s leadership, and we enter this next stage faithfully and boldly in expectation of a fierce flourishing in Christ for young moms.”
Sherry Surratt extended warm wishes to her successor, stating, “I am honored to pass the leadership baton to Mandy with her unwavering passion for moms of young children and her relevant expertise. MOPS is poised for exponential growth and I can’t wait to see what God will accomplish through her stellar leadership.”
For her part, Arioto credits the organization’s unwavering passion for reaching the next generation of moms as what she loves most about MOPS: “Moms are world changers. The emotional health and wholeness of the whole world in many ways rests on the shoulders of the women raising the next generation. God is stirring up a fresh wave of momentum where MOPS is being uniquely used to empower and equip women to take their next step toward Jesus. I am thrilled to be a part of what God is doing.”
Arioto is a graduate of Point Loma Nazarene University. In 2010, after growing a successful start-up company, Arioto accepted a position with Mosaic Church in Southern California, where she spent three years as a teaching leader as well as leading children and family ministries. Her book “Starry Eyed: Seeing Grace in the Unfolding Constellation of Life and Motherhood” will be released with Zondervan in August 2016.
Arioto and her husband Joe are parents of three young children: Joseph, Ellie and Charlotte.
Denver-based MOPS International is a nonprofit ministry that creates mothering communities to help “Better Moms Make A Better World.” Moms attend MOPS groups to experience friendship, receive mothering support and to grow personally and spiritually. Since 1973, MOPS International has served millions of mothers of preschoolers in thousands of local MOPS groups across the U.S. and in almost 40 countries internationally.
Miss. College’s Yi Chi Zhang wins singles title
CLINTON, Miss. (Mississippi College) — Coming close the past two years, Mississippi College table tennis player Yi Chi Zhang finally paddled his way to the 2016 men’s collegiate singles championship.
The triumph happened March 26 at the National Collegiate Table Tennis Association’s championships in Round Rock, Texas.
A 22-year-old native of the Sichuan Province in China, Zhang defeated one of table tennis powerhouse Texas Wesleyan’s aces. Then the MC junior knocked off two teammates from MC in the semi-finals and finals.
Zhang edged MC coach and captain Cheng Li, 23, in the weekend tournament as fans watched a barrage of long volleys between the two competitors. It was a rematch of their showdown at the 2014 national championships near Pittsburgh. Back then in Pennsylvania, Li emerged as the No. 1 men’s collegiate singles player among schools across the USA and Canada.
Facing Li and freshman sensation Qing Wei Sun, 18, provided a few awkward moments for Zhang. “They all are my friends,” Yi Chi Zhang told NCTTA commentator Bryan Song in a post-game interview.
The victory over Li, an MC senior, opened the door for Zhang to square off against Sun. A computer science major, Zhang won four straight games to bring home the trophy.
Last April, MC beat 11-time champion Texas Wesleyan at the 2015 NCTTA games in Eau Claire, Wis., to capture its first North American championship, in its ninth year of competition. For the fifth consecutive year, the two table tennis titans clashed in the finals. This time, the Texas Wesleyan Rams prevailed.
The NCTTA championships attracted 250 collegiate players from schools ranging from New York University to the University of California-Berkeley. MC out-ranked schools like Duke, UCLA, Southern Cal, Michigan, Columbia and Northwestern. Third place went to newcomer Ohlone College of California.
Crossings chooses new leader for student ministry
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Kentucky Today) — A Kentucky Baptist with a broad background in student ministry has been selected to lead Crossings, the youth outreach ministry best known for its popular summer camps at Cedarmore and Jonathan Creek.
Jeffrey Brian Dalrymple will replace longtime President David Melber, who resigned last year to take a leadership position at the North American Mission Board.
“God is in the business of changing lives,” Dalrymple said. “I am excited to see how the Lord will continue to use Crossings in that work, and am looking forward to developing new ministry opportunities in order to serve churches in Kentucky and beyond.”
Kentucky Baptist Convention Executive Director Paul Chitwood said he’s convinced the Crossings board of directors, of which he’s a part, made a great decision in choosing Dalrymple.
“He’s an obvious fit for this crucial position in what has proven to be one of our most effective outreaches to students,” Chitwood said. “He brings a thorough knowledge of organizational leadership to Crossings, having overseen multiple offices encompassing a $9 million operating budget and having served as board president of Louisville Rescue Mission since 2014.
Dalrymple, a Louisville resident who grew up in California, has worked at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary since 2008. Since 2011, he has been vice president of hospitality services at the seminary. In that role, Dalrymple has varied duties, including oversight of event planning, dining services, student housing, the health and recreation center and the campus health clinic. At one point, he oversaw the D3 Youth Camp operated under the Boyce College brand.
“The most formative time in my spiritual life was from 1999-2008 when I served as a volunteer in youth ministry at my church,” Dalrymple said.
He and his wife Kristil, who also was involved in youth ministry, invested their time in discipling young people.
“I still serve at my church here as a lay leader, but not currently in the student ministry,” he said. “However, we have taken up our own student ministry at home. Our four children have become our primary focus.”
Dalrymple received his undergraduate degree in organizational management from The Master’s College in Santa Clarita, Calif, and his graduate degree in international relations and conflict management from American Military University in Charles Town, W.Va.
In his new role, Dalrymple will lead one of the Kentucky Baptist Convention’s most successful institutions. Crossings camps draw thousands of students from across the state each summer.
The total topped 13,000 students last summer and is expected to exceed 14,000 this summer. More than 800 of the students who attended Crossings camps last year made professions of faith.