Today’s From the States features items from:
The Baptist Message (Louisiana)
The Baptist Messenger (Oklahoma)
Baptist and Reflector (Tennessee)
La. church sees
By Brian Blackwell
IOTA, La. (The Baptist Message) — A baptism movement has taken over at Miller French Baptist Church — and it doesn’t appear to be slowing down anytime soon.
When Kevin Colson became pastor of Miller French Baptist in August 2015, the congregation was averaging around 50 people on a good Sunday and had not baptized a single person in a while.
Colson encouraged the church to set a goal of baptizing at least four people each month — a goal they wholeheartedly embraced. Since October, Colson has baptized 20 people, from as young as eight to as old as 60. An additional 10 people have accepted Christ and are awaiting baptism.
Colson said the congregation did not set the goal as a quota to meet but rather as a way to give them focus moving forward.
“The idea wasn’t on one particular number but an idea that we can do this,” Colson said. “My congregation saw that if we can reach four, it’s doable and something that is possible to do again.
“We want to reach as many people as we can,” Colson said. “It’s been exciting to see God honor and bless that.”
Corrine Deshotel is one of those whose life has changed since her baptism on Oct. 18, 2015. She doesn’t know where she would be if it hadn’t been for the love of Christ shown through the people of the Miller French congregation.
“I’ve met loving, kind, understanding people and because of that a lot of my family is in church now,” Deshotel said. “When I was baptized, I felt renewed and free but most of all so loved.”
Excitement like that of Deshotel is the norm at his church, now, Colson said. The congregation has placed an increased emphasis on reaching out to the community, through the new welcome center inside the worship center and starting a new children’s church service on Sundays to reaching out to those in their community.
“As we have moved forward, they have shown very positive attitudes,” Colson said. “When I came and shared my vision, their response was let’s get to work.
“If we want to meet God, we have to go outside the camp,” Colson said. “We’ve come to that place where we’ve met Christ at that deserted place. We have no great programs but know that God can meet us anywhere.”
Alan Knuckles, director of missions for Acadia Baptist Association which includes Miller French, said the church revitalization has taken place at the church because the church took the time to evaluate their willingness to reach outside their walls and into the community.
“Out of that came a desire to learn how to personally share Christ through their testimonies and giving new people an opportunity to pray to receive Christ one on one,” said Knuckles, interim pastor prior to Colson’s arrival. “That involved training sessions about witnessing. The new leadership developed that which would allow new ideas and a new vision to reach people outside the walls of the church.”
For the church that is struggling and thinking of closing its doors, Colson encourages a season of prayer.
“Get on your knees and start in prayer,” he said. “When we engage God and go out there to the people, the devil is nervous.”
He said a church that averages as few as 10 people can double their attendance in a week by having each member bring one person to a worship service.
“There are people in a community that need to know the Lord,” Colson said. “Give your people a vision. Wherever you are, be faithful. Take what God’s given you and he’ll bless it if your agenda is on Kingdom work.
“If a church told me they were wanting to follow Jesus, know He’s out there,” he continued. “You’d be surprised how many people are hurting and wanting to be loved. Think about how God had to come into our lives. He didn’t call those who had their stuff together. He called anyone who wanted to come.”
This article appeared in the Baptist Message (baptistmessage.com), newsjournal of the Louisiana Baptist Convention. Brian Blackwell is a staff writer for the Baptist Message.
Okla.’s Mission Ignition offers
fun, informative time for kids
By Chris Doyle
OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. (The Baptist Messenger) — Mission Ignition has grown to three locations in Oklahoma, as 75 churches participated with approximately 1,300 children and sponsors meeting in Lawton, Oklahoma City and Tulsa this year.
On Feb. 6, Lawton, Cameron hosted Mission Ignition for the first time. Oklahoma City, Portland Avenue and Tulsa, First hosted on March 2. Alyson Walker, childhood education specialist for the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma (BGCO), said the turnout for this year’s mission-emphasis event was “incredible.”
“Mission Ignition is a hands-on missions experience, where children will learn about different ways they can be directly involved in missions,” Walker said. “They will also be challenged to do missions projects when they return home. It is also an awesome time for children to come and hear from several different missionaries who have served or are serving all over the world in many different types of ministry.”
Mission Ignition featured missionaries from countries including Indonesia, North Africa, Poland, Thailand and West Africa. There also were missionaries involved with urban missions and Baptist Collegiate Ministries.
Opening assemblies at each site had times of singing and awards recognition, as church mission groups were awarded for their involvement in community missions.
“We were excited to have many new churches participate this year,” said Walker. “One children’s minister told me that when her kids saw other churches receiving their awards for completing mission projects, they quickly began to plan mission projects that they can do this year in their own church.”
Along with learning about international and community missions, children were involved in team projects that encouraged learning the books of the Bible and Bible verses. They did team relays and outdoor recreation.
Walter Mullican, pastor of Oklahoma City, Portland Avenue, said he appreciates his church hosting Mission Ignition every year.
“Hosting Mission Ignition each year is a blessing to Portland Avenue because we feel we are a part of what God is doing to raise up the next generation of missionaries in this culture,” Mullican said.
Walker hopes Mission Ignition will continue to be a growing event that will encourage more churches have their children’s ministries attend.
“Mission Ignition is one of my favorite events that we host for children,” said Walker. “Mission education is so very important for churches to be involved in. If your church is not currently participating in mission projects, please consider ways to add mission projects; please consider ways to add mission education to what you are already doing.”
For more information on mission education, contact Walker in the BGCO Childhood Ministry Office at 405/942-3000, Ext. 4662, or [email protected]
Chris Doyle is associate editor of the Baptist Messenger (www.baptistmessenger.com), newsjournal of the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma.
Tenn. Baptist Convention
launches “The Reaching App”
By Lonnie Wilkey
BRENTWOOD, Tenn. (Baptist and Reflector) — Wake up in the morning, turn on the television or pick up your morning newspaper and you’re immediately reminded of the sin that is rampant in today’s society.
The Tennessee Baptist Convention has launched a new phone application designed to provide an encouraging word to help Tennessee Baptists and other Great Commission Christians to start each day.
“The Reaching App” is available for both iPhones and Android phones, according to David Evans, TBC evangelism specialist.
“The purpose of this new app is to encourage and inspire you to be a Great Commission Christian every day,” Evans said.
The app features a devotional each day written by Tennessee pastors and ministers, Evans said. “It is the only app of its kind written by Tennessee people for Tennessee missions,” he observed.
Evans noted that there are numerous books and teaching helps written by people from all over the nation that can be effective in reaching the lost. “But who knows Tennessee best? It is those men and women living and ministering in our state,” he stressed.
The app is an important tool in helping Tennessee Baptists to achieve the first of its Five Objectives (long-range goals adopted by messengers to the Tennessee Baptist Convention two years ago) in “seeing at least 50,000 Tennesseans annually saved, baptized, and set on the road to discipleship by 2024,” Evans continued.
In order to see that goal accomplished there has to be a daily reminder and inspiration, he said.
“We need all of us as Tennessee Baptists to link arms, pull tight, and to live out the Great Commission. The best way to do that is through a daily reminder and encouragement from pastors and others who have a strong conviction and heart to follow Jesus,” he stressed.
In addition to the daily devotional the app also has videos with interviews with Tennessee Baptists on how they are engaging their communities, living with purpose, making decisions, sharing their faith, and explaining what the gospel is.
An additional feature of the phone app is an audio and video feed of breakout sessions from TBC-related meetings. For instance, sessions from the recent West Tennessee Evangelism Rally held last month at Union University are now available on the site, Evans noted.
The site also provides tools or links to other sites that will “enable you to live out your Great Commission life,” Evans said. Among those is a link to a daily Bible reading that you can read for yourself or listen to from your phone, he added.
To download the app, go to Apple App Store and type in “The Reaching App”; the Windows Phone Marketplace and type in “The Reaching App;” or Android and Google Play Store, and type “The Reaching App Tennessee Baptist Convention” for Android systems.
This article appeared in the Baptist & Reflector (tnbaptist.org/BRNews.asp), newsjournal of the Tennessee Baptist Convention. Lonnie Wilkey is editor of the Baptist & Reflector.
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.