Mo. church sees people ‘being
added to [God’s] trophy case’
By Vicki Stamps
INDEPENDENCE, Mo. (The Pathway) — The congregation of Maywood Baptist Church here understands forgiveness and members have made it the center of their ministry.
“Maywood’s leaders chose to relate to our changing community on its own terms,” Bob Spradling, pastor, said. “We asked our community how we could partner with them in what was their own ‘felt’ needs.”
New programs were initiated to reach the changing needs. According to Spradling, the residential neighborhoods saw an increase in rental properties, declining incomes and crime.
An entry Sunday School class was started in 2009 by Josh Monk who had a significant criminal and drug background prior to meeting Jesus. “The class was comprised of men and women with backgrounds similar to his,” Spradling said. “The Gospels were always the focal point of the lessons.”
The entry class quickly grew to 85. Spradling reported that each quarter, the men and women of the class were invited to attend new classes that were intended to take them deeper and further in their discipleship. “Josh’s class always took a dip in attendance, but was quickly filled to approximately 85,” Spradling said.
In 2012, Monk began meeting with 10 to 20 men on the lawn of the church. The men were coming straight from work to the class, so they decided to bring pizza, hamburgers to grill and other meals. Spradling reported that this group, that began with 10 to 20, now is 100 who meet in small groups on Wednesday.
Sadly, Spradling said that Monk died in Nov. 2015 after a nine-month-long battle with cancer. Monk left a legacy of an Invite Team. His team served to invite people to Jesus and to church to become followers.
Maywood believes in indigenous leadership. “We believe that God has sent men and women from lives of addiction and brokenness,” Spradling said, “to reach our broken community.”
Maywood calls the pastors of the church “coaches,” out of a conviction that the real superstars of the church are the men and women who can reach the community (Ephesians 4.11-13). The job of the coaches is to maximize the effectiveness of the entire team in their service. “When someone from the community enters a Sunday School class or a small group,” Spradling said, “they meet someone who looks like them and who speaks a similar language.”
“God has a trophy case filled with pictures of men and women who have been transformed by the love and grace of Jesus Christ,” Spradling said. “I am blessed to witness new persons being added to His trophy case nearly every week.”
This story appeared in The Pathway (mbcpathway.com), newsjournal of the Missouri Baptist Convention. Vicki Stamps is a contributing writer for The Pathway.
N.M. churches reach children
through Good News clubs
By Kevin Parker
ESPANOLA, N.M. (Baptist New Mexican) — Two Southern Baptist churches in Espanola host 100 children weekly between their two Good News clubs. Each one partnered with Child Evangelism Fellowship to evangelize children in their communities. First Indian Baptist Church launched its club in January 2016. CEF reported that it sees 70 to 75 children each week. First Baptist Church launched its club in September 2015. Their club initially had higher attendance, but CEF explained that other school activities that started at a later date, but at the same hour, have pulled some children away. Yet, the club still has 25-30 attend each week.
CEF trained both Española pastors, Erwin Babb and Paul Temple. They both teach in their respective Good News Clubs, which meet in two different public school facilities. At school, children are familiar with the surroundings. Clubs use the “IPEAR” method to teach Scripture: Introduce, Present, Explain, Apply and Respond. CEF materials are designed to connect with kids.
CEF helps churches make arrangements to meet in schools, trains volunteers to teach and counsel children spiritually and provides teaching resources. All that is left for churches is promoting the clubs and providing snacks and workers. In the clubs, trained workers teach children Bible-based gospel lessons, sing songs with the children and help children complete learning activities. In fact, for churches willing to launch clubs, CEF tries to provide resources to the club free for one year. After the first year, costs range from $35 to $50 per six-week segment, depending on the resources purchased. Each school year lasts for approximately 24 sessions or four curriculum segments.
Child Evangelism Fellowship’s state director, Alan Wimbish, has two goals for the Fellowship’s work in New Mexico. First, he wants to build funds for ministry to children through churches. Second, he wants to create local chapters to multiply his ministry. Wimbish said that, although CEF has been in New Mexico since 1935, “It’s still the best kept secret, and I don’t want it to be a secret anymore.” Wimbish is a member of X Factor Christian Fellowship, Albuquerque, another Southern Baptist church. Each CEF state director is responsible to raise fund for clubs with his state. Funds raised in New Mexico stay in New Mexico.
Besides raising money, Wimbish also wants to establish eight local chapters across the state. Chapters cover approximately four to five counties. Currently, the state has only one chapter in Los Alamos. Chapters have organized boards that raise funds for chapter ministries and staff. Basically, the local chapter staff multiply the ministry of the state director helping churches start and maintain clubs.
The Los Alamos chapter, of which First Baptist Church, Los Alamos, is part, has clubs in every area school except their high school. The chapter has sent teenagers to be trained to work with children in Bible clubs, to lead children to Christ, and how to counsel children about spiritual decisions. The chapter also sends a team to conduct a Vacation Bible School at Jemez Mountain Baptist Church.
CEF’s national vision has three parts. They want to evangelize children, to disciple children in the Word of God, hopefully through churches, and to see children established in local churches as new believers. Of course, Wimbish noted that parents come along with children in many cases. In every case, he said, local church participation is the key.
Wimbish explained that, according to George Barna’s research, “children between the ages of 4 and 14 are at the most spiritually sensitive time of their life.” Wimbish is passionate about training churches to evangelize children during those sensitive years.
CEF also partners with The Mailbox Club, a ministry that provides a free correspondence program to children through the mail. Children sign up and receive mailed lessons to complete at home. Children mail completed assignments back to The Mailbox Club for grading and kudos — paying only for the return stamp. The Mailbox Club sends encouragement and another lesson. According to Wimbish, The Mailbox Club has thousands of lessons, so children can stay involved for years.
Wimbish is promoting an upcoming statewide banquet on April 28, organized to introduce people to CEF and to raise funds through a silent auction. BCNM pastor Randy White will speak at the banquet on the biblical value of children. White pastors First Baptist Church, Taos. He hopes to start a club in the city and has just completed a four-week Bible club using CEF curriculum.
The banquet is free. Wimbish is looking to have 150 people in attendance to hear CEF’s vision and hear of his desire to work with local churches and create new ministries for them. The banquet will be held at the Albuquerque Sheraton Airport at 2910 Yale Boulevard SE. Those wishing to attend can call the New Mexico CEF office at (505) 881-9848 to make reservations.
Individuals can learn more about CEF at their website (cefonline.com) or by searching for them on Facebook (CEF of New Mexico).
This article appeared in the Baptist New Mexican (bcnm.com/archive). Kevin Parker is editor of the Baptist New Mexican.
Digital prayer map to help N.C.
churches engage internationals
By Seth Brown
CARY, N.C. (Biblical Recorder) — Chuck Register announced the release of a new, interactive, online map to help churches pray for international people groups in North Carolina. The April 8 announcement came as part of Register’s Peoples Next Door NCreport to the Executive Committee of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina (BSC).
The new digital tool allows Christians to locate and learn more about foreign-born people living in the state. Seven population centers across N.C. are designated with markers. Plans are underway to include the Wilmington area as an eighth region.
Clicking on a population center marker enlarges the map, allowing viewers to see the 10 “most strategic” people groups in the region.
The interactive tool features people such as Pashtuns of Pakistan in the Fayetteville area, Mexicans in the Blue Ridge region, Romanians in the Unifour region, Eritreans in the Charlotte region and Berbers of Morocco in the Triangle area.
Each people group is represented on the map by a marker. A click on the marker opens ethnographic information and prayer needs for the group. Data for the prayer map came from BSC field research across the state, including information from an ethnographic initiative called The Joshua Project. Peoples Next Door NC plans to keep data current in the future to reflect population increases and changes in receptivity to the Gospel.
One example of prayer map information comes from the Wolof people living in North Raleigh. The website reads, “God brings the Wolof people to us from the countries of Senegal, The Gambia and Mauritania.
“The Wolof people practice a unique version of animistic (superstitious) Islam. In their home context, they work as farmers, shepherds, fishermen and merchants.
“When they migrate to cities in North America, they tend to work in a variety of entry level jobs in the service industry. Their demanding work schedules leave them with little time for inviting others into their community. The Wolof people live in tight-knit communities and tend to self-sustain and self-exist within their own socio-economic-religious networks.
“In N.C., they struggle to integrate, even though many have lived here for more than 15 years. The Wolof people have few relationships with evangelical believers, but their reputation for kind hospitality leaves them open to cross-cultural friendships. Consider reorienting a portion of your life to fit the life rhythms of our Wolof neighbors. You may find that a gospel-centered friendship with one leads to a gospel-centered friendship with many.”
Register said he believes the interactive tool will help educate congregations about the people groups nearby. The ultimate goal is “prayer mobilization,” he said. “We believe the more [churches] pray, the more the Holy Spirit will lead them to engage that people group.”
Register also hopes the prayer map can serve as “a model tool for other missions organizations to use in their regions of the county to mobilize people to pray and engage the nations with the Gospel.”
This article appeared in the Biblical Recorder (brnow.org), newsjournal of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina. Seth Brown is content editor for the Biblical Recorder.
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.