Today’s From the States features items from:
Arkansas Baptist News
Biblical Recorder (North Carolina)
Over 100,000 Ky. Baptists
involved in missions
By Roger Alford
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Kentucky Today) — More than 100,000 Kentucky Baptists were personally involved in missions last year, some in other countries and others closer to home.
The false notion that only preachers can be missionaries has been cast aside as Christians from all walks of life step out to obey the Bible’s command to go and make disciples, said Eric Allen, missions mobilization leader for the Kentucky Baptist Convention.
“There are mission opportunities for people with most any skill, talent or gift,” Allen said. “International Missions Board personnel serving overseas have requested help from Kentuckians who had experience coaching, in construction, and, in one case, artificial insemination of dairy cattle. These kinds of life experiences can be effective means of sharing the gospel.”
The total number of Kentucky Baptists involved in mission projects reached 105,979 last year, up from 99,622 the previous year, a 6 percent increase, based on data gleaned from the Annual Church Profile, a state-by-state survey of Southern Baptist congregations. The data showed the number of churches involved in mission projects reached 1,080 last year.
“That’s something to celebrate,” Allen said.
Kentucky Baptists have proven they’re willing to do their part for the cause of Christ. When the Kentucky Baptist Convention spread the word that International Mission Board missionaries needed volunteers with a specialty in artificial insemination in an undisclosed country in Europe, leaders didn’t know what kind of response they’d get, if any. It turned out several people stepped forward to help.
“I believe Christians have a greater awareness of the need to be on mission and they want to go,” Allen said. “Churches are helping members understand that there are many different ways to engage in missions using an individual’s gifts, talents and skills. Plus, no longer do we see missions as something that is done only on a summer trip. People are more likely to engage in missions every week in their local communities. And trips out of the state, or the country, now take place many times throughout the year.”
The Kentucky Baptist Convention encourages churches to take part in mission projects, and have developed partnerships with Southern Baptists working in other states and countries to make it easier. The KBC also invites Kentucky Baptists to take part in “vision trips” to areas that need help spreading the Gospel, hoping to reveal the dire needs that exist in so many places.
“We provide training, placement assistance and scholarships for team leaders,” Allen said. “We have hundreds of mission opportunities in Kentucky, North America and internationally listed on our website, www.kybaptist.org/go.”
Allen said lots of churches are finding fulfillment in doing missions, like Indian Fork Baptist Church in Baghdad, Ky.
Since it was founded in 1802, Indian Fork had always been a financial supporter of international missionaries, but had never actually sent its own members overseas.
That changed last November when four members of the rural church spent a week ministering to orphans in Haiti and sprucing up the orphanage where they live.
“No matter what size your congregation is, the command and commission are the same,” said pastor Josh Rucker said. “The only limits are the ones we create.”
This article appeared in Kentucky Today (www.kentuckytoday.com), an online news resource of the Kentucky Baptist Convention.. Roger Alford is editor of Kentucky Today.
Zoo Church Village helps
women Ark. out of addiction
By Jessica Vanderpool
DENNARD, Ark. (Arkansas Baptist News) — As most would agree, life can be a real zoo — full of obstacles, struggles and temptations. But The Zoo Church Village in Dennard is helping women overcome these struggles, specifically those involving addiction.
The church is doing so through its new women’s ministry, Zoo Outfitters Operation (ZOO): Outfitting Women to Live Without Addiction, which began in March. The goal of the biblically based program is to help women rid themselves of their addictions to alcohol and drugs.
Pastor Rick Montgomery said The Zoo Church Village, a Baptist church located at the site of an old roadside zoo that has been renovated, is located in one of the most notorious locations in Arkansas for making and using methamphetamine, so the ZOO program is needed.
The program’s focal verse is Titus 2:12, which speaks about the command to “deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age.”
A desire to start the ministry had been on church members’ hearts for years, he explained. The church’s property was so run down when they acquired it about five years ago that church members didn’t realize its potential, he said. But as they cleaned it up, they realized God had provided them with a location for ministry.
“So from the get-go, from about six months in, we planned to do this women’s ministry because it’s so desperately needed,” he said.
Several programs are available for men, he said, but not many for women.
“It’s really a need, and I think the New Testament Church is supposed to meet those needs, so we’re really excited about it,” he said.
“You know, if you can’t find Christ, you’re probably not going to get rid of your addictions,” he said, noting he truly believes “Christ is the answer to the problems.”
To participate, women must meet certain criteria, complete a series of interviews as well as a physical and a background check. Each participant must also pay an entry fee and submit to a drug test, though Montgomery clarified that the inability to pay the whole fee or pass the drug test does not necessarily prohibit one from entering the program.
Women are encouraged to pay a little each week, and the program also seeks supporters to give monthly amounts in order to keep the program afloat.
Additionally, women are required to attend church. In fact, they must attend a church service before being considered as a candidate.
Montgomery said the residential program is fashioned after several similar programs, such as Renewal Ranch in Conway.
During the six-month program, women work on the property and attend biblical classes “that direct them to live for Christ.”
“In the process of learning how to live for Christ, some of them will probably find Christ,” he said.
Without Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit within a person, he said, “Some of these addictions –- especially methamphetamine -– I think they are just almost impossible to get over.”
In addition, volunteer counselors work with participants weekly.
Montgomery hopes that after women complete the program, the church can help them transition to a local motel for another six months so they can monitor the women as they get jobs and transition into normal life.
“This is just a passion for us…. We covet everyone’s prayers,” Montgomery said.
This article appeared in the Arkansas Baptist News, newsjournal of the Arkansas Baptist Convention (arkansasbaptist.org). Jessica Vanderpool is a former senior assistant editor for the Arkansas Baptist News.
N.C. association forges
partnership with Scottish church
By Avery Baptist Association staff
NEWLAND, N.C. (Biblical Recorder) — The churches of the Avery Baptist Association (ABA) have covenanted with a local congregation in Scotland for a five-year ministry partnership. The Scotland Partnership is an opportunity for the churches of the Avery Association to develop a Kingdom partnership with Buckhaven Community Church (BCC).
“Scottish roots run deep in western North Carolina,” said Garland Honeycutt, associational missionary for the ABA. “Many families in our region can trace their heritage back to the land of kilts and bagpipes. The very geography of the High Country closely resembles that of Scotland, which more than likely explains why Scottish immigrants settled in the area, so many years ago.
“However, there is a major difference between the hills of Scotland and the mountains of Appalachia — Scotland is largely absent of the presence of the gospel,” he said.
Only about 3 percent of Scots identify as evangelical Christians. The population of Buckhaven in Fife, a small fishing town north of Edinburgh, is 6,000 people; however 98 percent of them have no contact with a local church.
“By collaborating with Peter Carr and BCC, our desire for this partnership is to impact Scotland with the life changing Gospel of Jesus Christ,” Honeycutt explained.
Peter Carr, a native Scot, planted BCC in January 2015. “While the church scene in Scotland has become largely dysfunctional, it’s not all doom and gloom. For many decades our country has been a sending nation, but now we are a receiving nation when it comes to missionaries, he said.
Carr went on to say “Scotland, I believe, is now ripe and ready for new expressions of gospel-centered, Kingdom-focused churches.”
ABA’s Scotland Partnership focuses on two primary goals: first, strengthening BCC to become a healthy, self-sustaining church and second, assisting BCC in the planting of new, self-sustaining, evangelical churches across Scotland. These goals hope to be reached within the scope of the five year partnership.
“We plan to take associational mission trips to Scotland at least once each year. Mission trips will provide ABA churches the opportunity to physically come alongside the ministry of BCC through evangelism and outreach, leadership development, and church planting,” Honeycutt explained. “While the ABA and its churches will be the ‘sponsors’ of the partnership, we heartily extend an invitation to churches and individuals outside of the ABA to join us in this exciting gospel effort!”
Support has already been enlisted from churches outside the ABA, including churches from Mitchell County and Carter County, Tennessee.
The ABA approved moving forward with the partnership at its associational spring meeting in April. Under the direction of the newly formed Scotland Partnership Committee, a detailed proposal for the partnership will be presented to the churches of the ABA at its annual meeting in October 2016. Once the proposal is approved at the October meeting, the partnership will officially launch in January 2017.
Honeycutt and other leaders from ABA will be taking a five day vision trip to Scotland to meet with Peter Carr in mid-May. A full program has been planned, which includes several days of prayer walking through Buckhaven and other villages in the Fife region, as well as attending a pastors’ conference in Kirkcaldy to dialogue with ministry leaders from across the nation.
“We are very excited about the opportunities ahead of us,” Honeycutt remarked. “As an associational missionary I believe God’s people are at their best when they work together. Avery Baptists are lifting our eyes beyond our region, to work alongside our sisters and brothers across the pond, by impacting an unbelieving generation of Scots with the transforming message of the gospel.”
To receive more information on the partnership or to explore ways to join the effort, go toaverybaptists.org/scotland.
This article appeared in the Biblical Recorder (brnow.org), newsjournal of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina.
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 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.