Today’s From the States features items from:
Baptist and Reflector (Tennessee);
Biblical Recorder (North Carolina);
Baptist Message (Louisiana)
Tenn. All Nations Camp sees
156 salvation decisions
By Lonnie Wilkey
NEWPORT, Tenn. (Baptist and Reflector) — William Burton has been praying all year that 150 youth and children would come to know Jesus Christ as their personal Savior during the 25th All Nations Camp, May 28-June 1, at Carson Springs Baptist Conference Center.
He fell just a tad short in his expectations. God provided 156 first-time salvation decisions and 24 recorded rededication decisions among the record 438 campers and staff. “It was an incredible week,” said Burton, ethnic evangelism/church planting specialist for the Tennessee Baptist Mission Board.
This year’s attendance was a 52 percent increase over last year’s then-record of 288. Twenty-five additional ethnic churches participated as well, a 32 percent increase over last year. The camp is open to international children, ages 7 to 17, he noted.
“Approximately 15 different ethnic groups representing 32 nations participated in All Nations Camp,” Burton related.
“Everlasting” was the theme of this year’s camp based on John 3:16, Burton said. “Children hear Gospel presentations twice a day and had an opportunity to respond,” he said.
Burton praised the efforts of camp director Dave Shelley, director of missions for Wilson County Baptist Association, who has been involved in all but one of the All Nations Camps. “Only eternity knows the influence Dave Shelley has had on the lives of volunteers and international students who have come to All Nations Camp over the past 25 years,” Burton said.
Burton noted the growth of All Nations Camp in recent years didn’t just happen.
“All Nations Camp used to be the best kept secret in Tennessee. We have been intentional in promoting it among our ethnic churches,” he said.
The TBMB specialist also said there has been an intentional effort to include more ethnic pastors and churches in the annual camp. “It has given them a sense of ownership. They are sending their kids to camp and it has just exploded.”
Burton is appreciative of the Golden Offering for Tennessee Missions which provides about two-thirds of the cost of camp for each participant. “When you see 156 children and teenagers accept Christ, you see what a great investment that is,” Burton said.
Lonnie Wilkey is editor of the Baptist and Reflector (baptistandreflector.org), newsjournal of the Tennessee Baptist Convention.
N.C. church confronts
community’s opioid crisis
By Liz Tablazon
ROCKY MOUNT, N.C. (Biblical Recorder) — In 2017, the North Carolina Division of Public Health reported 5,762 emergency department visits for opioid overdoses — a 38 percent increase from 2016. According to the N.C. Department of Justice, nearly four North Carolinians die from a medication or drug overdose every day.
When Mike Dixon, pastor of Oakdale Baptist Church in Rocky Mount, realized the gravity of the state’s opioid crisis, he and his church decided to act.
In March of last year, Oakdale Baptist launched Living in Freedom Everyday (LIFE), an addiction recovery ministry. Today the ministry serves about 26 individuals through weekly fellowship and counseling, and it recently extended counseling services to family members dealing with a relative’s substance abuse.
“The Lord delivered me from drugs and alcohol 30 years ago,” Dixon said. “I’ve had a burden to reach out to minister to those that are where I once was.”
Every Tuesday night, participants meet in two Edgecombe County locations for a free meal, co-ed Bible study and smaller group discussions, for which men and women meet separately. Dixon, a licensed clinical addiction specialist, said they approach counseling with a biblical perspective, studying how scripture relates to participants’ struggles.
“It’s more about how you build your relationship with the Lord. For lost people, it’s evangelism. For saved, it’s discipleship,” he said.
LIFE’s name is founded on John 10:10, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”
Dixon based part of LIFE’s curriculum on a book he wrote, “Casting Down Idols Through the Power of the Gospel.” The program takes one year to complete, but Oakdale invites people from the community to join at any time.
Dixon leads the ministry with a team of Oakdale Baptist members who have also overcome drug addiction in their own lives. They partner with Christian nonprofit detox and recovery programs such as Hebron Colony in Boone, N.C., and Bethel Colony of Mercy, in Lenoir, N.C., and connect individuals to those residential organizations when necessary.
LIFE also works with local law enforcement initiatives, such as the Nashville (N.C.) Police Department’s Hope Initiative, which encourages anyone caught in substance abuse to bring drugs to the police without fear of charges, and guides them in beginning a recovery process.
“Part of our vision is to see it multiply, to help other churches implement the program,” Dixon said about LIFE. “We want to reach more people. The epidemic is just getting worse. Too many people are dying.”
This article appeared in the Biblical Recorder (brnow.org), newsjournal of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina. Liz Tablazon is a staff writer for the Biblical Recorder
Prayer and revival go
hand in hand in La.
By Brian Blackwell
NORTHEAST LOUISIANA (Baptist Message) — Extended prayer preceded revival at a pair of recent Harvest crusades in Louisiana.
Twenty-six people committed their lives to Christ during the Red River Crusade, and the Morehouse Youth Revival saw 16 individuals submit to live for Him.
“Prayer was absolutely essential to having the effective crusade we experienced,” said Red River Crusade director Richard Kaufman, pastor of Martin Baptist Church in Coushatta. “We prayed where vehicles would be parked, where people would sit in the stands and even where people would be standing to get their food and drinks in the concessions area. The great evangelist Billy Graham said three keys to revival are prayer, prayer and prayer. The same thing goes for a crusade. I was overwhelmed at just how the Lord blessed our efforts.”
Both crusades were among a number held so far this year as part of the statewide Harvest campaign to “pray for every home and share with every person” in Louisiana.
Nearly 900 of 1,650 Louisiana Baptist churches have signed up to participate in concentrated prayer and soul-winning activities such as multi-church crusades, door-to-door outreach, one-on-one evangelism, single-church revivals and other activities which leverage compassion ministries to share about the love of Christ.
Red River Crusade
Churches in Red River Baptist Association gathered for prayerwalks and held individual times of prayer leading up to the crusade, which took place April 30-May 4. The churches also gathered for a prayerwalk at the Red River Parish fairgrounds in Coushatta the night prior to the opening service of the crusade.
Kaufman said the cooperation among the association’s churches was a contributing factor to the success of the Gospel outreach to the community. Multiple churches played an active role in filling positions on the counseling, cooking and prayer teams.
“The times of fellowship, from the initial planning several months ago to the very last song, made this joint cooperation so enjoyable,” Kaufman said. “Anyone who is part of a crusade that spans this many nights will tell you that it takes a lot of teamwork to pull off something like this. A lot of people in our churches have a burden for lost people in our parish. By having that common bond, we were able to press forward in reaching our communities for Christ.”
Nathan Davis, pastor of the First Baptist Church in Coushatta, was encouraged by the new converts who came forward each night. He also enjoyed seeing so many of the association’s churches cooperate.
“When we see the young and old give their life to Christ, we rejoice with them,” he said. “It just goes to show us time and time again that anyone can be saved.
“Personally, I have been encouraged by the involvement across the association,” he continued. “We have people, from churches all across our area, who were trained as encouragers or counselors and to speak with those who came forward to be saved. We know the most important thing is seeing people come to know Christ as their personal Lord and Savior. We owe Him everything.”
Sam Moore, the crusade evangelist, observed how the power of prayer played into the decisions made.
“The pastors of Red River Parish cooperated together in an intentional effort to reach lost people in their parish, and God blessed,” said Moore, founder of Sam Moore Evangelistic Ministries in Bentonville, Ark. “The churches prayed, invited and brought lost friends, family members, neighbors and co- workers to the crusade, and many of them left the crusade as new persons in Christ. There is power in the simple preaching of the Gospel and extending an invitation for people to receive Christ and be saved.”
Morehouse Youth Revival
During the Morehouse Youth Revival, evangelist Casey Johnson challenged students to come and lay down their burdens at the cross. Johnson, pastor of Bonita Road Baptist Church in Bastrop, was encouraged by the faithfulness of the students who came. Attendance averaged 140 each session, April 23-25, at First Baptist Church in Bastrop.
“In a culture that provides so much for them to do, it was great to see their dedication to gathering with their peers to worship Jesus,” Johnson said.
Bodie Spicer, pastor of Faith Baptist Church in Bastrop, said the revival was bathed in prayer in the months leading up to the first session. He was overwhelmed by the students’ response as they cried out for repentance and revival at the altar.
“There were a lot of tears and a lot of decisions,” Spicer said. “The message and music were both timely, and God moved.
“This revival was another way we saw how God answers prayer,” he continued. “We prayed for months for the evangelists, musicians and the kids that God brought there. And we prayed they would be open to hear what God had for them individually. And all those things were answered. The kids turned out and we saw a great move by the Holy Spirit.”
Richard Gambill, pastor of First Baptist, Bastrop, said while he was pleased to see students come forward to accept Jesus, he also was excited that so many others expressed a desire to have revival in their own lives.
“The last night proved to be the climax of the revival, as Brother Casey Johnson challenged students to live out their faith day-by-day before their peers, many were convicted by the Holy Spirit,” he recounted. “At the end, when he called the students to come and pray for strength in their walk, the alter filled. It was exciting to see God move among our youth and to see their desire to live for Christ.”
He expressed appreciation for the way the association’s churches came together for the desire of reaching the students and others for Christ during the revival.
“This is an association of churches who are truly working together for the glory of Jesus Christ and the advancement of His Kingdom,” he said. “I’m glad to be a part of it.”
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.
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. Except for minor style, security, formatting and grammatical changes, the items appear in Baptist Press as originally published.