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FROM THE STATES: Okla., Texas, Ky. evangelism/missions news; ‘This is the first time that I received evangelistic training like this’


Today’s From the States features items from:
The Baptist Messenger (Oklahoma)
Southern Baptist TEXAN
Western Recorder (Kentucky)

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45 attend Hispanic narrative
evangelism training in Okla.

By Staff

DAVIS, Okla. (Baptist Messenger) — Forty-five Hispanic pastors and church members met with an International Mission Board (IMB) missionary couple at the new Falls Creek facilities Feb. 5-6 to learn how to more effectively reach oral learners — groups of people not often reached — with the Gospel.

Veteran IMB missionaries and orality specialists Paul and Robin Tinley trained the participants in Narrative Evangelism, telling the evangelistic stories of the Bible to large numbers of people who learn primarily by listening to and telling stories. Pastors and church members were challenged to train many others in their congregations who are also primarily oral learners to tell evangelistic stories. This will mobilize far more members to effectively evangelize than by relying solely on training methods that do not relate to oral learners.

Telling stories is a very reproducible methodology. The Tinleys used the story of the paralytic who was lowered through a roof to Jesus and the woman who washed Jesus feet with her tears. These are stories of faith, forgiveness, and salvation. They explained how to tell these stories faithful to the biblical text. Participants learned to tell the stories and helped each other remember the details, characters, and chronology of the stories.

Pastor Rigoberto Varela, Duncan, Divine Savior, said, “This is the first time that I received evangelistic training like this.”

The training was conducted by the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma (BGCO) Ethnic Evangelism ministry. Ethnic Evangelism Specialist, Mark McClellan, told participants that this training was made available by Oklahoma Baptists through the Cooperative Program.

“Telling evangelistic stories is one of the methodologies being provided for ethnic churches by the BGCO,” he said. “This training conference served as a catalyst for Hispanics to receive this training in their regions all around the state. We want to celebrate those who are being reached with the Gospel, but we must consider how to more effectively evangelize those we are not reaching, and this includes using methodologies that reach oral learners.”

Alfaro Orozco, pastor of Hispanic Baptist Church in Edmond, Okla., echoed the feelings of others at the training: “I am grateful to God for what He is going to do through this form of communicating His message.”

Rebekah Juarez of City of God Church in Oklahoma City commented that, “Biblical narrative is one of the most effective methods of teaching the truths of the Bible to those who do not believe. From the most studied person to the person who does not read or write, all of us benefit from and enjoy a good story. Adding the power of the Holy Spirit to change lives and we have a marvelous formula to reach the world with the story of the redemption of God and His creation through His Son, Jesus Christ.”

Rosa Trejo, also from City of God Church, expressed what others at the training experienced, “I had heard about telling the stories of the Bible, but I had not deeply studied how to do it, and I am thrilled about this method of evangelism. I have many friends who need to hear the Word of God, but it has often been difficult for me to know how to speak to them. Now I have a very practical tool to help me.”

The Tinleys have served as IMB missionaries for the last 30 years in Venezuela. Paul has served in training hundreds of Latin Americans in Orality and Chronological Bible Storying. He and Robin are passionate, experienced and well-prepared trainers in Bible Storying. Participants in this training captured not only the method, but also the heart of the Tinleys for Narrative Evangelism.

They said, “During our years as missionaries in Venezuela we had some special opportunities of sharing God’s Word through Bible narratives. In many cases, the people could read the Bible on their own, but they had trouble understanding what they had read. In Latin America at least 80 percent of the population are oral learners — that is they prefer to learn orally rather than by reading and writing. For this reason we began sharing God’s Word orally and in a narrative format. With this method, we had more success helping people understand the truths of the Bible.

“Our goal in leading the BGCO Ethnic Evangelism training at Falls Creek was to equip the participants with a simple and practical way of sharing the message of Christ. The majority of the Hispanic population in the U. S. are oral learners, even if they can read and write. We had a meaningful time with the participants, perceiving from their comments and participation an enthusiasm for making use of Bible narratives as a way to reach people for Christ.”

“The Connect One Sunday School Campaign this year has presented us with the 3151 Challenge,” McClellan concluded. “Pray for three people who do not know Christ, learn one gospel presentation, invite five people to your Sunday School group, and present the Gospel to one person. Telling an evangelistic Bible story is one gospel presentation for those in our congregations who are primarily oral learners, and can be the most effective gospel presentation for that one person who does not know Christ. It can be a part of fulfilling the 3151 Challenge.”
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This article appeared in The Baptist Messenger (baptistmessenger.com), newsjournal of the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma.

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Texas women encouraged to
rely on God, release burdens

By Sharayah Colter

LAS COLINAS, Texas (Southern Baptist TEXAN) — About 200 women filed into the Irving Convention Center at Las Colinas to attend the ladies session of the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention’s 2016 Empower Conference Feb. 29. During the three-hour afternoon session, women heard from author and Bible study teacher Jennifer Rothschild, actress Shari Rigby who serves on staff at the Dream Center in Los Angeles, and Jennie Allen, founder of IF: Gathering. Modern-day hymn writers Keith and Kristyn Getty led the group in praise and worship.

Jennifer Rothschild

Rothschild spoke from a place of personal experience, talking about how blindness that overtook her at age 15 brought out the self-determination in her to not be overcome by her circumstances. Although when that sharp self-will faded later in life, Rothschild said she came face to face with the reality that she could do nothing without the grace and power of God.
“I was relying on my can-do attitude,” Rothschild said.

Pointing to Philippians 4:13, she explained that those following God can do all things through Christ who strengthens them, emphasizing the “in Christ” portion.

Rothschild went on to talk about two other “I” statements in the passage, including “I am,” pointing to a Christian’s identity being rooted in Christ, and “I will,” talking about placing “my will” under “his will.”
“I am going to put my will under thy will, and then I will be able to say, “I will.”

Shari Rigby

Rigby, who played the role of a birth mother in the feature film “October Baby,” offered portions of her testimony to the group of women, highlighting how God called her to minister to “broken women.” Having had personal experience with drugs, alcohol, an abusive relationship and becoming a mother at age 17, Rigby said she hopes to, through the Lord’s help, minister to those women who need to know they are valuable and “enough” for the Lord to love them.

She talked about wanting to “activate women to inspire, influence and dream,” urging women to seek what the Lord would have them do in their own areas of influence and ministry.

“Ask in prayer, ‘God, what breaks your heart, and what have you called me to?’ Commit to being that shield and linking arms with women,” she said.

Jennie Allen

Allen, wife of a former minister and a ministry leader herself, spoke about shrugging off the burdensome “backpacks” women carry for the sake of loving Jesus more and exuding his joy and light.

“Life is hard, and inadvertently a lot of time we strap it on our backs,” Allen said. “What we’ve got to do is care more about other people’s freedoms because then we want to get free ourselves.”

Allen said women must stop and ask themselves, “What am I not believing about God?”

Pointing to John 6 where Jesus feeds the 5,000, Allen explained that Jesus, believing fully in God and his ability to provide for the people, did not operate out of worry or fear or burden.

“Something Jesus beloved about his father caused him not to strive, caused him not to worry,” Allen said. “There is a reason we are so tired. We don’t have to be. I’m not saying that it is easy, but I am saying that it could be easier. If we really believe that God is so good.”

Allen closed with thoughts from Romans 8.

“There is a spirit of life that has set you free, and there is a spirit of flesh that results in sin and death,” Allen said. “The question is which one are you feeding? Are you feeding the spirit, or are you feeding the flesh?”
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This article appeared in the Southern Baptist TEXAN (texanonline.net), newsjournal of the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention.Sharayah Colter is a staff writer for the Southern Baptist TEXAN.

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RISK speakers in Ky.:
‘Make Much of Jesus’

By Todd Deaton and Myriah Snyder

BOWLING GREEN Ky. (Western Recorder) — “How do we make much of Jesus?” asked Southern Baptist Convention President Ronnie Floyd. “With humility,” he suggested to the more than 260 Kentucky Baptists attending the RISK Conference in Bowling Green Feb. 8-9.

The two-day event at Hillvue Heights Baptist Church featured Floyd and more than a dozen other speakers — all sharing practical ways to “Make Much of Jesus” in an increasingly hostile and unbelieving world.

Frank S. Page, president and CEO of the SBC Executive Committee, launched the conference with a message from John 1, urging participants to “look up and see the power of the Lord Jesus.”

“What is this power we use for the church and evangelism?” Page asked, underscoring the power of the creative Word, the eternal Word and the incarnate Word — not the denomination’s resources or one’s own abilities.

“Be strong in the Lord and His mighty power,” he charged. “I did not come here to help you be better Baptists; I came here to get you to look up at our Lord Jesus and realize that He is the one who we are all about.”

Alex Himaya, pastor of the fast-growing The [email protected] in Broken Arrow, Okla., and author of “Jesus Hates Religion,” advised church leaders to “go back to the building blocks” found in Acts. “We didn’t read a manual (on church growth); we went to the Book,” he said.

A general theme throughout the Bible is, “God did not go out and find people who had righteousness to stand on, who were the best people, who got it right,” he said.

Recalling how God wove the stories of Tamar, Rahab and Bathsheba into the genealogy of Jesus, Himaya asserted, “Christianity is not for all those who got it right, but for all people who have a past … and because of that past, they think they can’t get close to God.”

“When they think about getting involved in church, they get like a Heisman (trophy),” he continued. “They stiff arm God.”

“It’s great news that we have!” he exclaimed. “Their sin might have distanced them from God, but the story of this Book is that God has not distanced Himself from them; He is pursuing them. That’s the invitation of Christianity.”

“The evangelical church is smaller than most of us have been told,” asserted John Dickerson, author of “The Great Evangelical Recession” and a California pastor, noting that it now accounts for less than 1 in 10 Americans.

Setting the stage, Dickerson outlined key trends in the evangelical church by pointing out that it is shrinking because a majority of young evangelicals are abandoning the faith by age 30.

“The shrinking church is on the verge of a fuel crisis,” he continued, explaining that the older generations contribute about 70 percent of donations, and that the church is not converting the lost fast enough to keep pace with the rapid population growth.

“We are increasingly hated,” he said, observing that the external culture is no longer apathetic, but antagonistic. Meanwhile, the struggling church is sharply divided over how to respond to a changing culture,” he concluded.

“How do we prepare for these trends?” he asked, leaving the question hanging in the air.

Ricky Chelette, director of Living Hope Ministries in Arlington, Texas, picked up where Dickerson left off, urging, “We must be willing to proclaim the gospel in a culture that does not want to hear it.”

Observing that young men and women are confused about their identities, as “old definitions (of marriage) are blowing up” and seem “far too limiting and restricting for the modern world,” Chelette asked, “In the world to come, what is youth ministry going to look like?”

Highlighting the conflict between the intention of God and the reality of man, he asserted, “The call of Christ is not to define ourselves, but to deny ourselves.”

“We have a story that transforms people’s lives at deepest part of who we are,” Chelette proclaimed.

“What year is it in your church?” LifeWay President Thom Rainer began, observing that most are stuck in 1990.

A majority of churches are growing at a pace less than the community’s growth, Rainer noted, advocating awareness of five key issues in order to become an evangelical force in their communities:

— For most churches, practices that were common in 1990 are still common today.

— The church has gone through a tumultuous period recently, and things have changed from a stewardship perspective.

— A major shift has happened in how to reach communities—from attractional to incarnational outreach.

— Most church members operate from a selfish mindset of “serve me, meet my demands, listen to what I want.”

— The greatest challenge is understanding how to lead change in a change-resistant church, and the need for unity. “You cannot send a fractured, fighting body into the community and expect it to be a force for the gospel,” Rainer said.

Shane Farmer, a pastor from Highlands Ranch, Colo., asserted the need to become a “welcoming church,” suggesting members start thinking of Sunday as an open house and practice being good hosts by not limiting our interactions to family and friends.

“You don’t have to have spiritual gift of evangelism for your church to fulfill the first half of the Great Commission,” he encouraged church leaders. Rather, church members possess a high “EQ”—evangelistic quotient—a way of relating well to people. “They have the “get-it” factor,” Farmer observed.

“Community forms best around a cause, and I believe that cause should be an evangelistic one,” he said, advocating the need to create missional communities around affinity groups.

Brian Mills, speaker/consultant for churches and ministries and co-author of “Virtuosity,” stressed the importance of evangelism.

“We live in a world full of sinners, and so are we. Sometimes we forget that,” Mills said.

He asked, “Throughout the journey do we not forget about the day we were saved by the way we treat lost people? Sometimes instead of saying I’m better than that dude, we need to recognize that we are all sinners and all need to be saved by the grace of God.”

Mills stressed that if “you want to be an evangelist, live like an evangelist.”

“In our churches, if we’re not seeing people saved, then we have no disciples. Disciples evangelize and evangelists disciple,” he added.

“There’s a need for evangelism to overflow out of us. We’ve got to stop separating it. We’ve got to stop saying, ‘That’s not my gift.’ You’ve been saved, son

“Wake up! We’ve got to wake up to the gospel and recognize it’s not in our giftedness. It’s who you are. If you’re saved, you talk about your faith. It’s what we do,” he challenged.

David Bailey, founder of Arrabon, a ministry dedicated to reconciliation through community and worship, said that fallen human beings build walls.

“We end up building walls because we don’t know what the other is. We who are the church are called to be a reconciling community. That is part of the mission of the church,” he said.

Bailey presented three action items to help the church break down walls and reach the lost.

— Collect information on how to engage in cross cultural engagement.

— Find good practices of cross cultural engagement and imitate them.

— Integrate that throughout your whole community, throughout all ministries.

Ron Edmonson, pastor of Immanuel Baptist in Lexington, reminded attendees that their calling is to the church.

He shared “five things I’ve learned about leadership from Moses” in Exodus 17.

— “God calls imperfect people to His work and to His churches.”

— “Some of the biggest battles Moses fought were among his own people.”

— “The larger the vision, the harder it is to move forward.”

— “Moses had a group of people around him who were willing to defend him and help him.”

— “Moses stayed committed to the vision and fully relied on God to do so.”

“Dear Pastor, protect your soul; protect your family; protect your ministry; protect your calling; protect your character. We don’t need any more casualties for the kingdom,” he challenged.

R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of Southern Seminary, spoke of the call to the culture.

“We didn’t worry about the culture when we thought the culture was with us. We were the mainstream,” Mohler said.

This is obviously not the case anymore, he observed. “We find ourselves having to ask some hard questions about how we are to engage this culture and we are having to ask it in a completely different way,” he said.

“It’s a sense of urgency that now falls upon us because we recognize we’re not asking this from a position of cultural dominance anymore, we’re asking this from a position of cultural displacement and vulnerability,” he said, drawing attention to the fact that in a biblical context, “losing cultural privilege is not a problem.”

Christians will have to come together and learn from other minorities how to respond to culture as another minority.

Mohler shared “another reset for us.” “We need to stop thinking about the culture as a thing,” he said.

He continued, “The reset needs to be this: We need to engage the culture not because the culture is made up of cultural artifacts, entertainment, politics, economics, sociology and all the rest, but because it is made up of our neighbors. It is made up of human beings, and those human beings, every single one of them, is deeply embedded in culture.”

“So if we really care about reaching people, about individuals, we are going to recognize that every single one of them is embedded in culture,” Mohler said. “If you love God, you will love your neighbor. That’s why we’re called to the culture.”

SBC president Ronnie Floyd pulled the entire theme of the conference together by reminding attendees that they are called to make much of Jesus.

“One event defines human history: the cross of Jesus Christ. This cross event not only intersects time and space but it also speaks to the deepest needs of the human heart. Where there is pain, truth, love, justice, or forgiveness, they all converge at the cross,” he said.

“This cross calls you and it calls me to make much of Jesus Christ,” Floyd added. “We need to leave here with a passionate conviction that we will be preachers of the gospel, church leaders of the gospel, that are committed to making much of Jesus and what He has done for us on the cross.”
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This article appeared in the Western Recorder (westernrecorder.org), newsjournal of the Kentucky Baptist Convention. Todd Deaton is editor of the Western Recorder. Myriah Snyder is a news writer for the Western Recorder.

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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.

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