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‘FAITH church,’ others honored for contributions to Sunday school

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–The church credited with “marrying Sunday school and evangelism” was honored recently by LifeWay Christian Resources for its contributions to Sunday school ministry.
First Baptist Church of Daytona Beach, Fla., pastor Bobby Welch and former associate pastor for education and evangelism Doug Williams received Washburn-Piland-Taylor Directors Awards for their pivotal roles in developing and promoting the FAITH Sunday school-evangelism strategy.
Given annually in four categories — Southern Baptist Convention, state, association and local church work — the awards are named after the last three men who have provided leadership for Sunday school ministry across the Southern Baptist Convention — A.V. Washburn, Harry Piland and Bill Taylor, current director of LifeWay’s Sunday school division. This year’s awards were presented Dec. 2 during an annual meeting of state Sunday school directors and associates in Nashville, Tenn.
An ongoing, comprehensive evangelism, ministry and assimilation strategy that functions through a church’s existing Sunday school organization, FAITH grew out of the grassroots, practical ministry of FBC Daytona Beach. The church has used the strategy for more than 12 years, annually training more than 1,000 people in witnessing and baptizing at least 200 people. Sunday school enrollment at the church has topped 4,000 and attendance at weekly Sunday school leadership meetings has tripled.
In 1998, LifeWay teamed with the church and the North American Mission Board to take the initiative nationwide. In addition to publishing supportive resources, LifeWay also coordinated FAITH training clinics which have attracted leaders from more than 1,000 churches so far this year. Approximately 80 clinics are planned across the country in 1999.
“No one could have predicted the incredible movement FAITH has become and the impact it is having across the Southern Baptist Convention,” said Taylor of LifeWay’s Sunday school division. “It’s truly amazing to see how this strategy is being used to strengthen churches, build great Sunday schools and reach people for Christ. Our friend, Dr. Harry Piland, has noted that FAITH is probably the greatest development within the ongoing Sunday school since the early work of Arthur Flake.”
FBC Daytona Beach received the Washburn-Piland-Taylor Award in the local church category, with Welch and Williams sharing the honor in the SBC category. Winners in other categories were:
— Association: Norman Ford, director of missions for the Inland Empire Baptist Association in Spokane, Wash. Ford has served in the Northwest Baptist Convention since 1994. According to Jim Harvey, church growth strategist for the Northwest convention, he is greatly admired in his region because of his example of using Sunday school to build strong churches.
— State: Sam Cotter, director of church development ministry for Colorado Baptist General Convention. Cotter has always been known for encouraging outstanding Sunday school work in Colorado, Taylor said, but has also provided a nationwide ministry in the last two years. Bernie Spooner, director of the Baptist General Convention of Texas’ Sunday school/discipleship division, described Cotter as “a winsome leader who inspires everyone he meets to move toward the completion of worthy goals in their own lives and ministries.”
Two LifeWay employees also were recognized during the Dec. 2 awards banquet for outstanding performance in biblical studies publishing and field service.
James McLemore, biblical studies designer for Biblical Illustrator magazine, received the Hight C Moore Award for editorial excellence. A 12-year employee of LifeWay, McLemore helped compile the Biblical Illustrator photograph archive, the largest collection of biblical photographs in the world. “James is representative of the editorial excellence present within the Sunday school division, Taylor said. “He has consistently demonstrated strong editorial skills in curriculum development, production and product ideation and enhancement.”
The award is named after Moore, who served as supervisor of the editorial department at the Sunday School Board (now LifeWay) from 1907-43.
Zadabeth Uland, a current preschool curriculum writer for LifeWay from Houston, received the Elsie Rives Award for outstanding field service work during the year. Previously minister of childhood education at First Baptist Church, Plano, Texas, Uland is a frequent writer of preschool Sunday school curriculum and has more than 30 years of experience in preschool ministry.
The award is named after the late Rives, manager of the children’s program section at the board 1963-87.

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  • Chip Alford