Today’s From the States features items from:
Arkansas Baptist News
The Baptist Messenger (Oklahoma)
Western Recorder (Kentucky)
‘Day in Delta’ of Ark. changes
37 lives for Jesus Christ
By Caleb Yarbrough
HELENA–WEST HELENA, Ark. (Arkansas Baptist News) — It was more than an average day in the Delta for 37 people who accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior during and immediately following Centennial Baptist Association Day in the Delta April 11.
The event was a partnership with the Centennial Baptist Association in Stuttgart and Second Baptist Church (Park Avenue), Helena-West Helena. The mission day included a block party held at and around the Second Baptist property, service projects throughout the surrounding community and evangelistic outreach.
“We had done the event in the county twice. We thought we’d see about trying to stretch out but not go so far that we weren’t able to have strong participation with the people here in Centennial,” said Doug Hibbard, pastor of First Baptist Church, Almyra.
Hibbard said that when Centennial contacted him for information on the area in preparation for their association’s mission day, Willie Jacobs, Arkansas Baptist State Convention (ABSC) missions team member, told Hibbard that one of the upcoming state wide Acts 1:8 One Day outreach events was set to be held in the Delta.
“It kind of let us set some ground work. … That was a good thing,” said Hibbard.
Hibbard said the fact that Sam Roberts, pastor of First Baptist Church, Stuttgart, one of Centennial’s churches, is one of the instructors for the ABSC’s Delta Connection theological education ministry in the Delta was yet another reason the association decided to extend their ministry partnership to the area.
“We knew there was a great need in the Delta area. That’s why we kind of thought we would try to go to the Delta,” said Tammy Albrecht, wife of Jimmy Albrecht, pastor of First Baptist Church, DeWitt.
The block party included games, crafts, horse rides, a fire truck and a barrel train for children. New tennis shoes were also provided to children in need. Second Baptist provided a live band. Some volunteers built wheelchair ramps or did yard work for members of the community, while others shared the gospel door to door and passed out tracts; others prayer walked. A prayer room was also set up inside Second Baptist.
Leaders of Centennial Baptist Association and Jarvis Smith, pastor of Second Baptist, had predicted a turnout of around 200 people to the event, but the unofficial estimates are much higher, said Albrecht, who estimated the event had between 500 to 800 visitors due to the number of hotdogs, chicken on the stick and snow cones given out.
Six individuals were saved during the Day in the Delta event. The following week 31 more people were saved after Second Baptist followed up with them.
“It was a great opportunity for our association to work together and help one of our fellow Baptist churches reach their community,” said Hibbard. “There is not a chance that my church is going to get bigger from going to Helena, but the Lord’s Church gets bigger and that’s a good thing.
This article appeared in the Arkansas Baptist News (http://www.arkansasbaptist.org/), newsjournal of the Arkansas Baptist State Convention. Caleb Yarbrough is assistant editor at the Arkansas Baptist News.
Mission in Medford
revitalizes Okla. church, town
By Bob Nigh
MEDFORD, Okla. (Baptist Messenger) — When you have just about as many volunteers turn out for a city-wide clean-up project as your average Sunday worship attendance, it’s bound to revitalize your congregation.
And, in fact, that was the whole idea behind ReVitalize Weekend, May 1-2 in this town of just more than 1,000 in Cherokee Strip Association as members of Medford, First led Mission in Medford (MnM), the first of what the association’s director of missions, Matt Spann, hopes is many more such efforts.
Jonathan Gilliland celebrated his second anniversary as pastor of Medford, First (May 1) during MnM, which entailed work on eight residences in the city, distribution of at least 100 “care packages” to residents at an apartment complex and an RV park and culminated with a Block Party at the local Lions Park May 2 that attracted 150 people.
Work projects included clearing brush from around homes, chopping weeds and mowing overgrown lawns, trimming trees, hauling trash and debris and painting houses. Also, thousands of aluminum cans in plastic bags were removed from one homeowner’s garage and prepared to take to a recycler.
While MnM was a term specific to the project in Medford, Spann said ReVitalize Weekend, “Is a general term the association is using for these kind of events. We hope to use the T-shirts at least a couple of times a year when we’re working in other parts of the Association. When we go to another city, they’ll call their project something specifically related to that city.”
Cherokee Strip Association has a Ministry Team headed by Bryan Laramore, pastor of Ames, First. ReVitalize Weekend was birthed by the team, Spann said, modeled after nearby Ponca City’s “Great Day of Service.”
Volunteers wear charcoal-grey shirts, emblazoned with the words, “ReVitalize Weekend” on them mostly in white, with the word “Vital” in fluorescent green, and the “V” stylized similar to what is seen on an electrocardiogram.
“The idea is volunteers will be encouraged to keep the t-shirt and then come and work in other places when those work days are scheduled,” Spann said.
“I’m amazed by the turnout from Medford, First,” he added. “They have really owned this effort. Jonathan just took the bull by the horns. We suggested this idea, and he said, ‘OK, we’ll be the guinea pig.'”
The Block Party began at 5 p.m. to a slow start, but picked up steam later.
“People came late. The first hour, it was mostly the volunteers,” Spann said. “The church members had canvassed the area, and felt like people eventually would come, so that was great. They connected well with folks, and were very intentional with making them feel welcome. It was an encouraging culmination of the day. I think the church was revitalized, as the theme says.”
Gilliland affirmed his congregation was energized by MnM.
“Our married adult Sunday School class was nearly doubled in size Sunday,” he said. “Everybody is very excited and wants to do it again. Some new relationships were formed, and there was some strengthening of ties among our people. It has sparked a fire in our church, and in a couple of other churches in town, too.”
Other churches with volunteers involved in MnM were Enid, First; Enid, Emmanuel; Ames, First; Garber, First and Enid, Liberty Southern. Members from Covington, First participated in the training Friday evening.
“We hope to do another ReVitalize Weekend in the fall. Folks are talking about going down to Garber,” Spann said. “A lot of the folks from Medford, First were wondering, ‘When’s the next one? We want to go help another church.’ We had hoped that would happen.”
This article appeared in The Baptist Messenger (baptistmessenger.com), newsjournal of the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma. Bob Nigh is managing editor of The Baptist Messenger.
South District Baptists in Ky.
collect 50,000 food items
DANVILLE, Ky. (Western Recorder) — The churches of the South District Baptist Association collected a total of 49,306 food and housekeeping items and distributed them during their 2015 “Souper Bowl” Food Drive.
The tally was almost double last year’s total of 26,543 items. Total value of the items collected exceeds $25,000.
Part of the motivation for this incredible total came from Jason Gray’s song, “With Every Act of Love” as well as the biblical text of1 John 3:18-19: “Little children, we must not love with word or speech, but with truth and action.
South District Association has been conducting its Souper Bowl for six years and has collected approximately 140,000 items. Goods are collected in exciting ways.
Sometimes churches challenge each other. For example, First Baptist, Danville, and Parksville Baptist competed. Sometimes, men compete against women or different age groups compete within a church.
One of the most innovative ways of obtaining food in the “2015 Food Bowl” was done by Parksville Baptists. The church adopted a “Fill the Van “activity at the Danville Wal-Mart Super Center. Wal-Mart customers purchased food and donated it to the Food Drive.
By utilizing this tactic, Parksville Baptist was able to beat First Baptist. Parksville collected over 135 items per person.
Another incentive was the use of two “Golden Can Awards.” One award goes to a large church that collects the most items. This award went to Parksville, which collected more than 20,000 items.
Another “Golden Can Award” goes to a small church that collects the most per capita items. This year’s winner was Gravel Switch Baptist Church.
The items collected were distributed to an East Kentucky food bank as well as to several area food banks. God’s Appalachian Partnership in food insecure Eastern Kentucky received more than 19,000 items.
John Morris, director at GAP stated, “God provided two to three months of food for distribution, thanks to our faithful partners from South District.”
Just last week during distribution day, a GAP client accepted Christ.
New Hope Food Bank in Danville received in excess of 18,000 items.
Victoria Murphy, director of New Hope said, “Our walls are swelling from the wonderful donations. Thank you so much, South District.”
The balance was divided among pantries at Gethsemane Baptist and First Baptist churches in Boyle County and pantries in Garrard and Casey counties.
Joan Mann, who serves as director of the South District Baptist” Souper Bowl” Food Drive, invites churches of other denominations to join in collecting food for the Souper Bowl. For additional information, contact Mann at (859) 236-4314 or Jim Clontz, director of missions for South District, at (859) 238-7624. (WR)
This article appeared in the Western Recorder (westernrecorder.org), newsjournal of the Kentucky Baptist Convention.
EDITOR’S NOTE: From the States, published each Tuesday by Baptist Press, relays news and feature stories from state Baptist papers and other publications on initiatives by Baptist churches, associations and state conventions in evangelism, church planting and Great Commission outreach, including partnership missions. Reports about churches, associations and state conventions responding to the International Mission Board’s call to embrace the world’s 3,800 unengaged, unreached people groups also are included in From the States, along with reports about church, associational and state convention initiatives in conjunction with the North American Mission Board’s call to Southern Baptist churches to broaden their efforts in starting new churches and satellite campuses. The items appear in Baptist Press as originally published.