BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (BP)–Morris H. Chapman, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Executive Committee, encouraged executives of Southern Baptist childcare agencies April 18 to continue their key roles in nurturing a “sense of urgency for spiritual awakening” among Christians.
“As you continue to exercise the parental and compassionate guidance with which God has called and gifted you,” Chapman told the leaders, “you will help to nurture that essential thirst for spiritual awakening in the many lives your agencies touch.”
Chapman was a guest speaker during the 53rd annual meeting of the Child Care Executives of Southern Baptists in Birmingham, Ala., focused on the theme of “Strengthening Convention Relationships.”
Following his message, Chapman requested that a representative of the childcare agencies advise the newly formed SBC Council on Family Life. The group chose Jimmy McAdams, executive director of Connie Maxwell Children’s Home in South Carolina, to provide input to the council. Later during the annual meeting, the executives dialogued with Woman’s Missionary Union Executive Director Wanda Lee.
In a business session on April 19, the executives supported the development of an exhibit to represent all Southern Baptist childcare agencies at the Southern Baptist Convention this year in New Orleans.
The executives also approved a proposal to develop a positive response to and offer assistance for U.S. President George Bush’s faith-based initiatives. The response will be drafted by Raymond Kenison, president of Missouri Baptist Children’s Home; John Williams, executive director of Louisiana Baptist Children’s Home; and William Smithwick, president of Kentucky Baptist Homes for Children.
Chapman, in his message, applauded the efforts of many of the childcare agencies to expand services to help entire families. In some states, including Alabama, children are being helped while their siblings and parents benefit from professional counseling services and family assistance programs provided by the Southern Baptist agencies. “We need to think more in terms of the intricate relationships among individuals, families and churches,” he said.
Reflecting on his 25 years as a pastor and after nine years at the Executive Committee, Chapman underscored his concern for a “sense of urgency, hunger and thirst for the deep things of God” among Baptists. Sound doctrine is important for sparking a spiritual awakening, he said, “but we have to come to a place where we abandon self and selfishness.”
“Our approach to missions and evangelism must not be ‘God, do what I want in my church ministry,’ but instead, ‘God, do what you want in my heart,'” Chapman said. “We must remember that our zeal for missions and evangelism never outstretches our zeal for the Bible.”
Chapman offered his assistance in helping more Southern Baptists to see the work of the denomination’s child care agencies as missions.
“There needs to continue to be a missionary spirit about you,” he told the child care executives representing agencies in 17 states, describing them as “anointed by the Holy Spirit to do what you do. I do hope you men and women don’t ever lose your direct contact with the children under your agencies’ care.”
Murdaugh is director of communications for the Alabama Baptist Children’s Homes & Family Ministries. (BP) photo posted in the BP Photo Library at http://www.bpnews.net. Photo title: SBC LEADER VISITS.