News Articles

BP Ledger, August 15 edition

EDITOR’S NOTE: BP Ledger carries items for reader information each Monday from various Southern Baptist-related entities, and news releases of interest from other sources. The items are published as received.

Today’s BP Ledger includes items from:
LifeWay Christian Resources
International Christian Concern
Joni and Friends International Disability Center
Baptist College of Florida
University of the Cumberlands
Union University
Campbellsville University
World News Service

National Youth Workers Conference to be Held Sept. 12-14 in Nashville

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (LifeWay)–LifeWay Christian Resources will hold its annual National Youth Workers Conference Sept. 12-14 in Nashville, Tenn. This year’s theme is “Creating a Culture of Influence.” The three-day event is designed to provide inspiration, encouragement and practical how-to’s focused on equipping youth workers to develop students, not just student ministries. The conference fee is $125.

Speakers include David L. Cook, author of Golf’s Sacred Journey; songwriter, author and worship leader Kelly Minter; Thom Rainer, president of LifeWay Christian Resources and his son Jess, administration and outreach pastor at Grace Church in Hendersonville, Tenn.; and Pete Wilson, founding pastor of Cross Point Community Church. Participants also will hear from “The Skit Guys” Tommy Woodard and Eddie James, who communicate God’s Word and impact lives through comedy, drama and teaching. Worship will be lead by the Chris White Band.

A special screening of Seven Days in Utopia, a major motion picture starring Robert Duvall and Lucas Black and based on the book Golf’s Sacred Journey, will be held on Sept. 13. In addition, special unannounced “guests” will drop by to encourage and perform.

Plenary sessions will focus not only on the influence youth workers have on the students and other people around them, but also on whom they are allowing to influence their lives. In addition to plenary session, there are 18 different conference sessions from which to choose, including topics such as:

* Girls’ Ministry: More Than Makeup and Movie Nights

* Developing Leaders Among Students

* Equipping Students for International Missions

* Student Discipleship Basics

* Mobilizing Volunteers in Your Ministry

* Taking Care of Your Family in the Midst of Ministry

* Using Small Groups to Disciple Students

* Avoiding the 5 Dumbest Mistakes in Student Ministry

For more information or to register for the conference, visit: http://www.lifeway.com/n/Product-Family/LifeWay-National-Youth-Workers-Conference?type=events.
Petition for the Rights of a Christian Prisoner in Vietnam

SILVER SPRING, Md. (International Christian Concern)–There are hundreds, if not thousands, of Christians who are currently serving sentences in Vietnam’s brutal prisons. Their sentences are unfounded – these believers have refused to join the government-sanctioned churches which are the only legally-recognized religious institutions allowed to operate in the Communist nation. Government-sanctioned churches are heavily monitored and controlled in Vietnam. Thus the underground, and consequently illegal, house churches are continually monitored, harassed, and persecuted by special religious police. These underground Christians believe that being a part of a government-controlled church is not an option for followers of Christ, so they continue to live out their lives of faithfulness quietly and subversively.

Puih H’Bat is a Degar woman from the Central Highlands of Vietnam who was arrested for her leadership of an underground church. The Degar, or Montagnards, are an indigenous group that have been brutally colonized by the Vietnamese for decades and have been systematically denied their inherent rights and freedoms. Most Degar are Christians, and worship in underground churches. The then-41-year-old woman and mother of four was leading a group of 20 Christians in a prayer meeting in her home in 2008. Four Vietnamese security police exploded into her home and demanded that all those present sign a document agreeing to follow the government-sanctioned evangelical church, and threatened arrest and imminent imprisonment to those who refused. Despite the threats, all the Christians that night refused to sign the document. The following day, police stormed back into Puih’s home and forcefully arrested her, along with two other believers. They were taken to the local prison, where after much suspected torture and continual threats, the other men were released after signing the document. However, it is believed that Puih refused and remained under arrest. She was officially sentenced to a five year sentence for “destruction of the unity of the people’s solidarity”.

However, since April 11, 2008, no one has heard from Puih. Despite several attempts from the international community, no one knows whether Puih continues to live out her days in Vietnam’s brutal jails, not knowing whether release will truly come in 2013, or whether she has been murdered by a regime that purposefully seeks out to squelch underground Christian movements on the false accusations of their political undermining of the current regime. Most Degar fear that Puih has perished in Vietnam’s harsh prison system.

For the sake of Puih H’Bat, her children, and her husband, we must not let her story be forgotten. We must pray that God opens the hearts of her captors and allows information of her survival, or unfortunate death, to be communicated. We must hold the Vietnamese government accountable to their actions, and to the rights of their citizens and prisoners. ICC is petitioning the Vietnamese government to release information on Puih H’Bat, for the sake of her family and the Degar community. Please join us in calling for this much-needed action by the Vietnamese government!

Here’s How You Can Help

#1 Pray: The first thing you can do to help is stop right now and ask the Lord to intervene for Puih H’Bat and for other Christians imprisoned in Vietnam for their faith.

#2 Next, review our petition.

#3 Electronically sign the petition.

#4 Print out the petition and take it to your friends and church and have everyone you know sign it. Send the signatures back to us so we can compile the responses.

Feel free to print out extra signature pages for large numbers of sign ups. When you have collected all your signatures, please mail the signature pages to: ICC, PO Box 8056, Silver Spring, MD 20907 or fax them to us at (301) 585-5918.

Please get them back to us by October 15th.

#6 Forward this email to all your email contacts and ask them to do the same.
AGOURA HILLS, Calif. (Joni and Friends)–Joni and Friends International Disability Center will host the Bioethics and Disability Ministry Conference Sept. 15-17 at the Center for Bioethics at Cedarville University in Cedarville, Ohio.

The event will bring together a host of experts in the fields of bioethics and pastoral care to provide biblical perspectives on the critical issues shaping the church as it relates to end-of-life and disability ministry. There will be plenary presentations and parallel breakout sessions for pastors, counselors and healthcare providers led by a variety of leaders and experts in healthcare ethics and end of life ministry. Attendees will be able to visit exhibitors, gather resources and have a time of networking.

Speakers will include:

— Joni Eareckson Tada, Author, disability advocate and founder of Joni and Friends International Disability Center. Injured in a diving accident in 1967, Tada is the longest living quadriplegic on record.

— Ben Mitchell, Graves professor of moral philosophy at Union University in Jsackson, Tenn. and editor of Ethics & Medicine: An International Journal of Bioethics.

— Christopher Hook, associate professor of medicine at the Mayo Clinic and senior fellow and International Advisory Board member at the Center for Bioethics and Human Dignity.

In light of recent developments allowing a baby’s gender to be determined as early as seven weeks’ gestation, which some believe may result sex-selective abortions, conference organizers say the timing is perfect.

“Joni Eareckson Tada and her team at Joni and Friends have been way out in front on these ethical issues,” said Melany Ethridge, publicist for the event. They’ve seen “early on that many families would choose to abort babies who tested in utero for Down Syndrome or other disabilities.”

The conference is $130 per individual, or $110 per person in groups of 4 or more. The price includes admission to the Bioethics Conference and Through the Roof Summit, all exhibits and workshops, materials and continental breakfast and lunches each day.

For more information about the event, or to register, please visit www.joniandfriends.org or call the ministry at (818) 707-5664.

Joni and Friends International Disability Center serves the disability community through a wide array of life-affirming ministries to people with disabilities around the world, including international radio and television programs featuring inspirational stories. Wheels for the World enables thousands of individuals to receive wheelchairs and the life-giving message of the Gospel. Every year families affected by disability learn that they are not alone when they attend Family Retreats across the U.S. and around the world. The Joni and Friends Christian Institute on Disability equips the Christian community to engage in bioethics and value of life issues. More information can be found online at the ministry’s new website, www.joniandfriends.org.
BCF and AVM Team Up to Change Lives in Brazil

GRACEVILLE, Fla. (Baptist College of Florida)–“Incredible!” That’s how Rich Elligson, Assistant Professor of Missions at The Baptist College of Florida (BCF) in Graceville, described his recent mission project to Brazil’s Amazon basin. Elligson, a former missionary to Brazil, led a group of sixteen BCF students and several others to the Amazon as part of the school’s partnership with Amazon Vision Ministries (AVM).

Upon their arrival in Manaus, team members boarded a riverboat for a 15 hour journey upriver. From there, Jon boats ferried the team to two small “floating” communities in a remote area of the rainforest. Because of the relative isolation of these communities, permission had to be granted by community leaders before the American team was even allowed to leave the boat.

“The people there are suspicious of outsiders,” Elligson explained. “We had to work hard to ‘earn the right’ to even visit among them…much less share the gospel.” After a rather cool reception by two community leaders, a breakthrough occurred with the third. “When after about twenty minutes we sat on the floor together and shared the family’s bowl of soup, ground corn meal, and fire-cooked fish, I knew we were in,” Elligson said.

Once the barriers began to break, they fell with a crash. The schools cancelled classes and allowed the team full access. Within ten minutes the children were laughing, singing, playing games and learning about Jesus. Teachers and administrators joined in, taking pictures and singing along with the children. In the meantime, other BCF students were allowed to visit door-to-door in the floating homes, sharing the hospitality and the gospel. Children received toys, balloons, coloring books and trinkets, while parents were given sewing kits, fish hooks, and Bibles donated by local Florida Baptist churches.

According to Elligson, the environment itself created some challenging situations. Over the course of the week, team members never touched dry land. Homes were built on stilts above the water, or were built to float like rafts. Smaller rafts were built to house pigs and chickens. Ladders led to doorways, and strung-out wooden gangplanks acted as walkways. Where the river receded, team members slogged through ankle-deep muck that splattered skin and stained clothing.

“That’s what makes it fun,” quipped 78 year-old Laura Root, a former missionary to Mexico and current missions student at BCF. Root, who was fulfilling a lifelong dream of ministering in Brazil, was warned of the challenges before she signed on. “My doctor was concerned I might die down there,” she reported. “But I didn’t!”

Even in the midst of the physical and cultural challenges, team members never lost sight of their main objective: sharing the gospel of Christ. “I tried to keep in mind what we have been trained to do at BCF,” said junior ministry major Michael Hogeland. “Always move the person one step closer to the cross, and always leave the door open for the next person.”

“We learned very quickly not to rush things here,” added BCF graduate student Henry Fullington. “We would stay and visit for about an hour the first day, then go back for another hour on the second day. By then, whole families would sit and listen to the gospel message. Then they would beg us not to leave.”

“A lot of what we did was relationship building,” explained BCF music major Faith Johnson. “Once they knew we were there to give and not to take, they opened their doors and their hearts. It was amazing. I believe God changed some of their lives, but I know He changed mine. I’ll never be the same.”

The Amazon trip was the product of a partnership shared between The Baptist College of Florida, Amazon Vision Ministries, and the Florida Baptist Convention. For more information about The Baptist College of Florida and its programs, call 1-800-328-2660, ext. 460.
Appalachian Ministries Share the Love of Christ
WILLIAMSBURG, Ky. (University of the Cumberlands)–During the summer months, University of the Cumberlands (UC) Appalachian Ministries (AM) has been working hard to lead people to Christ. Their goal is to share the love of Christ with surrounding communities through the avenue of children and youth ministries.

AM students look to grow as disciples by finding additional disciples from building relationships with the children, youth and families in the areas they work with. This allows them to show the love of Christ. Appalachian Ministries are there to meet not only spiritual needs, but emotional and physical needs as well. AM desires to see others come to know the love and forgiveness of our Savior Jesus Christ.

“I love watching the students grow as the summer progresses as they begin to discover their spiritual gifts and realize what a great purpose God has for them,” said Magan Atwood, Appalachian Ministries Director. “It is truly a blessing to watch them learn, serve and grow.”

This summer students arrived on campus at the end of May to start their training. During training week student missionaries learn the Vacation Bible School curriculum, choreography, crafts and games. Students are also taught how to share their testimonies more effectively and how to help lead a child to Christ.

Students who participated in the program this summer were:

Ezra Anderson (St. Louis, MO), Psychology and Theatre major; Seth Schilling (Dayton, OH), Criminal Justice major; Lee Sharp (Paris, KY), Religion major; Jonathan Carmack (Manchester, KY), Elementary Education and Religion major; Stephanie Lawless (Corbin, KY), Elementary and Middle School Education major; Kirby Sowder (Lexington, KY), Special Education major; Michelle Pratt (Rosebud, MO), Early Elementary Education major; and Abbey Cherry (Cincinnati, OH), Middle School Special Education and Math major.

AM also has a North American Mission Board Semester Missionary, Michael Marsh, working with them this summer.

“AM fits in with UC’s overall goal because it gives students an opportunity to do hands on ministry by putting into practice what they are learning in the classroom and in their own walks with God,” exclaimed Atwood. “They have an opportunity to discover areas in which they are gifted and they get to serve the local community which is something Cumberlands strives to do.”

Over the 2011 summer months, Appalachian Ministries have been involved in many activities. They began the summer by working with Corinth Missionary Baptist Church in Corbin, Ky. helping the run a day camp for their youth group and serve with them at a Back Yard Bible Club at Corbin Manor Apartments.

From there they served as camp counselors in Centralia, Illinois for Kaskaskia Baptist Associates. The camp is run by one of the original founders of the program in the 1970s, Mr. Jim Shemwell.

Then the group teamed up with Walnut Street Baptist Church (Louisville, KY) to serve in Canada Town in Whitley County during Vacation Bible School and worked on projects at Friends for Families.

The summer continued with work in the Davenport Community during Bible School and at Blackford Baptist Church Bible School and Mt. Eden Baptist Church Bible School in Western, KY

Back in Williamsburg, AM served at the Brush Arbor Apartment complexes conducting a Vacation Bible School and participating in warehouse projects for Friends for Families. Their final projects were a Bible School in the R.D. Rains community and serving at the local nursing home.

“Appalachian Ministries provides a way to meet the needs of the community and share the love of Christ in a powerful way,” said Atwood. “It’s a great experience to watch children, youth, and families come to know the Lord or grow closer to him through the work He is doing through Cumberlands students. So leading this program means more to me than I could ever put in words; I just feel blessed and honored to be a part of what God is doing here.”

Established in 1975, Appalachian Ministries gives students the opportunity to minister to area children, youth and families. Under the direction of the Appalachian Ministries director, student workers pick up and take participating children to local churches to lead them in recreation, crafts, games, and Bible lessons.

Located in Williamsburg, KY, University of the Cumberlands is an institution of regional distinction, which currently offers four undergraduate degrees in more than 40 major fields of study; nine pre-professional programs; nine graduate degrees, including two doctorates, a specialist, and six master’s degrees; certifications in education; and online programs.
Green Collection of rare Bibles to be part of Union’s KJV festival

JACKSON, Tenn. (Union University)–One of the world’s largest private collections of rare Bibles, biblical texts and artifacts will be on display at Union University Sept. 15-17 as part of the “KJV400: Legacy and Impact” festival celebrating the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible.

The Green Collection, owned by Steve Green, president of Hobby Lobby, is a compilation of more than 30,000 biblical antiquities, some of which will be part of the exhibit at Union.

“The Green Collection is an amazing collection of biblical manuscripts and artifacts,” said Ray Van Neste, associate professor of biblical studies at Union and director of the R.C. Ryan Center for Biblical Studies. “It is a great opportunity for our region to have this exhibit coming to Union University during our KJV festival. The exhibit helps to tell the story of the translating of the Bible, of which the King James is a significant part.”

Among the pieces of the collection scheduled for display at Union are leaves from the Codex Climaci Rescriptus, the earliest surviving New Testament written in Jesus’ household language, a pictograph cuneiform text, a 1516 Erasmus Greek New Testament and a 1524 Luther New Testament. English Bibles that will be part of the exhibit include a 1535 Tyndale New Testament, a 1535 Coverdale Bible, a 1537 Matthews Bible, a 1539 Great Bible, a 1560 Geneva Bible and a 1611 KJV Folio.

The exhibit will consist of about 70 total pieces.

“Union University has blessed by the kindness of the Green family to share this marvelous Bible collection with the Union community in this historic year in which we celebrate the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible,” Union President David S. Dockery said. “This amazing display will be a great gift to the Union community during the time it is on our campus.”

In addition to the Green Collection, the KJV festival exhibit will also include about 30 items from the collection of Michael Morgan, seminary musician at Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, Ga. Displayed items from Morgan’s collection will include several early English Bibles, psalters and most of the early revisions of the KJV.

“I can’t imagine another exhibit in the country which comes close to this,” Morgan said. “I do know that the Folger Library in Washington, D.C., and the Bodleian Library at Oxford have assembled an exhibit, but except for the fact that some of those books belonged to the kings and queens involved in the process, it won’t be any more comprehensive.”

More information about “KJV 400” is available at www.uu.edu/events/kjvlegacy.
Campbellsville University School of Theology to publish book with help from Columbia Baptist Church
By Christina L. Kern, office assistant

CAMPBELLSVILLE, Ky. (Campbellsville University)–Campbellsville University’s School of Theology will print its first faculty-written book, “Producing World Changers for Christ,” with help from Columbia Baptist Church.

Columbia Baptist Church presented CU’s School of Theology a check for $1,500 to pay the printing costs for the book.

The check was presented to Dr. Michael V. Carter, president of Campbellsville University; Dr. John Hurtgen, dean of the School of Theology and professor; and Dr. Shane Garrison, assistant professor of educational ministries by Columbia Baptist Church members Daniel Marcum, youth minister and a 1996 graduate of CU; Darrell Overstreet, chairman of the budget committee; and Dr. Ted Taylor, transitional pastor who also serves as professor of Christian studies at CU.

“The book, birthed at the School of Theology’s retreat last summer, will be used by students this fall in the class ‘Spiritual Formation,’ a class that helps students to examine their call to ministry as well as the spiritual disciplines needed to fulfill that call,” Hurtgen said.

Taylor said Columbia Baptist Church desired to have a part in the production of the book and that church staff would be working collectively through the book’s principle of leadership and ministry.

Hurtgen said, “The book, ‘Producing World Changers for Christ’ explains the guiding values, or disciplines, of people who are ‘world changers for Christ.'”

He said these are people who are: (1) Passionately evangelical: whose message is the good news of the love of God in Christ Jesus; (2) Rooted in the Biblical story: who know the power of the word of God in a person’s life;

(3) Church-connected: who know that Jesus created the church to be his hands and feet in the world; (4) Servant leaders: who know that the greatest power in the world is to serve others in the name of Christ;

(5) Spiritual entrepreneurs: who discover people’s spiritual needs and find creative ways to meet them; and (6) Partners in an enduring fellowship: who forge brotherhoods and sisterhoods for friendship and partnership in the gospel.

Carter and Hurtgen expressed their gratitude to Columbia Baptist Church for its “continuing support of the university and the School of Theology.”

Carter said Columbia Baptist Church’s generous donation demonstrated the heart of the church as well as its commitment to the ministry of Christian higher education.

“Between Columbia Baptist’s staff and its members there is tremendous support for CU,” Hurtgen said. He mentioned Taylor, a CU School of Theology professor serving as transitional pastor, as well as the youth minister, Daniel Marcum, a 1996 graduate; and Gerald Chafin, worship minister, a 1983 CU graduate, as among the CU supporters.

Campbellsville University is a widely acclaimed Kentucky-based Christian university with over 3,000 students offering 63 undergraduate programs, 17 master’s degrees and five postgraduate areas. The website for complete information is campbellsville.edu.
Evangelical Leaders Named to NonProfit Times Magazine’s “Power” List

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (World News Service)–For the second consecutive year, Dan Busby, president of Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA), has been named to “The NPT Power & Influence Top 50,” The NonProfit Times magazine has announced. In addition, Richard Stearns, president of World Vision, an ECFA member, has been named to the prestigious list of nonprofit organization leaders.

Busby, Stearns and 48 others will be honored at a gala Sept. 15 at the National Press Club in Washington by the magazine, the leading business publication for nonprofit management. Previous honorees include Bill and Melinda Gates and Dr. James Dobson.

“I’m humbled and honored once again to be numbered among this distinguished group of nonprofit leaders who have done so much to make the world a better place,” Busby said. “We extend warm congratulations to Richard Stearns upon his selection to this list.”

The leaders honored on the “NPT Power & Influence Top 50” list are chosen based on nominations from The NonProfit Times’ editorial staff, its contributing editors and suggestions from former nominees and others. “These executives were selected for the impact they have now and for the innovative plans they are putting in place to evolve the charitable sector,” the magazine said.

“Busby continues to be the financial sheriff for the evangelical community,” the article stated. “He formed the Commission on Accountability and Policy for Religious Organizations, spearheading an independent national effort to review and provide input on major accountability and policy issues affecting religious organizations.”

Busby is recognized as one of the nation’s top experts in a variety of nonprofit financial topics, including tax and finance issues for clergy, churches and other nonprofit organizations. His varied career includes 10 years as controller with the University of Kansas Medical Center in Kansas City, 10 years as founding partner of the Kansas City CPA firm Busby & Keller and 11 years as the chief financial officer of The Wesleyan Church at its denominational offices in Indianapolis.

Busby has served ECFA since 1998 and became its president in 2009.

Since 1998, Stearns has overseen World Vision operations, including fundraising, advocacy and international program support. World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization dedicated to working with children, families and their communities worldwide to reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice.

The NonProfit Times notes that during Stearns’ tenure at the helm of World Vision, donations to the organization have tripled from $358 million in 1998 to more than $1 billion, while overhead was cut by almost one-third. “This was, in part, because of Stearns’ initiative to increase awareness and funding for AIDS programs, despite donors saying they had little interest in it,” the magazine said.

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