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Mandisa marvels at cooperative missions


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–Mandisa Hundley, one of last year’s “American Idol” finalists, doesn’t want any regrets.

And that includes missions.

Mandisa (who uses her first name) marvels at how missionaries “work day after day … that the body of Christ can be built up.”

So, she’s ready to do “anything that I can do” for missions -– which is why she readily agreed to host the most recent volume of “Missionary Moments Video Vignettes.”

The video missions segments, now in their sixth year, highlight the work of six international and six North American missionaries supported by prayers and Southern Baptists’ gifts through the Cooperative Program.

Suggested uses of Missionary Moments Video Vignettes -– each hosted by Mandisa and less than three minutes in length –- include highlighting the Cooperative Program in morning, evening or midweek worship services; during offering times or as sermon illustrations; in Sunday School departments or classes; and for church missions emphases.

“I have been hearing about (missions) for years,” ever since going to work at LifeWay Christian Resources after graduating from Fisk University in Nashville, Tenn., Mandisa said.

Before, however, she hadn’t known much about missionaries. But at Lifeway, “that’s when I heard about all these people either in short-term missions or giving their entire life going out to win people to the Lord. I have nothing but respect for them.”

Her aversion to regrets is reflected in her American Idol venture, with Mandisa recounting, “I went into American Idol thinking I just never wanted to look back and wonder what would have happened if I hadn’t tried it.

“At the end of my life, I never want to say, ‘I could have worshipped harder’ or ‘I could have had a bigger effect on people.'”

At LifeWay, Mandisa became a telephone sales representative in the fall of 2000 and later worked briefly for LifeWay’s women’s enrichment events before joining Bible teacher Beth Moore’s worship team as a singer for her Living Proof Live conferences.

Mandisa said Moore “has such a heart for the lost. She always takes a moment to talk about missions in all the conferences I’ve seen her at. She’s always wanted to make sure people know that there are people out there who are doing this fulltime and are really giving their lives to it.”

As Mandisa embarks on a singing career in Christian music and in churches across the country, she asks to be remembered in prayer “that every step I take would not be my own but would actually be down the path that He has for me.”

After being in the American Idol spotlight, Mandisa said, “I’m the same person. The only difference is that people can pronounce my name now…. I still enjoy worshipping. I still enjoy spending time with my friends and going to church. None of that has changed.”

In addition to Missionary Moments Video Vignettes, available for $6 via www.sbc.net/cp, the Southern Baptist Convention’s Executive Committee produces a number of resources designed to demonstrate the value and impact of cooperative missions and ministries.

Among these is a print-version “Missionary Moments,” a weekly prayer guide resource for a church service or a small group recounting the stories of Southern Baptist missionaries across the globe supported through the Cooperative Program. It’s available free online or in print via www.sbc.net/cp.

Other video and print resources include:

— “The Difference -– A Resource Suite for Southern Baptist Missions and Ministries, Volume 2” ($15). Promoted as “The Ultimate Resource for the Mission-Minded Church,” the DVD-ROM features more than 30 video features, most under three minutes in length, including never-before-seen features highlighting various Southern Baptist missions and ministries. Sermons, Sunday School lessons, PowerPoint presentations, posters, bulletin inserts and graphics also are included on the disc.

Potential uses of The Difference include ongoing missions promotion; missions conferences or special emphases; morning, evening or midweek worship services; new member classes; leadership meetings; a church’s budget planning team; small-group Bible studies; church newsletters; and missions bulletin boards.

— “Project M Praise and Worship” and “Project M Classic.” These music CDs (sold separately for $8 each) feature praise and worship songs from the artists who made them known as well as beloved hymns of the faith. The CDs are punctuated with stories of how God is using Southern Baptists to impact the world through the Cooperative Program.

Suggested uses for Project M CDs include as gifts for new members or first-time guests; high attendance day incentive; leadership appreciation/recognition; missions conferences; training resource for deacons, Sunday School teachers and other church leaders; special emphases (Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Senior Adult Day, etc.)

— A brief history and overview of the Cooperative Program, available without cost.

— A free downloadable PowerPoint file titled “CP in a Nutshell,” a 12-slide presentation with short descriptions of the national and international ministries supported by the Cooperative Program such as the International Mission Board, the North American Mission Board, Southern Baptist seminaries and the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission.

— Free reproducible articles, bulletin inserts, posters and Cooperative Program graphics.

Among other print items available are the “Flip Side Bookmark”; “CP –- Making a Difference”; and “Hi-Definition Missions.” Previews are available at www.sbc.net/cp. Suggested uses for these resources include bulletin inserts; new member classes; missions emphases; church tract racks; budget/missions committee meetings; church libraries; and leadership training.

Resources for kids include “Teamwork Works,” an eight-session curriculum that can be downloaded free from www.sbc.net/cp. Children in grades 1-5 can discover how they are part of a worldwide missions team as their church participates in the Cooperative Program. Using fun and creative activities, each session highlights a different state or SBC entity supported through CP. Children will learn about the purpose of seminaries, the role of their state convention and the roles of the IMB, NAMB and the ERLC. A parent letter included in each session gives parents ideas for reinforcing and practicing a missional mindset at home.

LifeWay’s children’s resources containing CP material include:

— TeamKID, a recreation-based discipleship program. This year’s material, “Count on Me,” provides opportunities in several meetings to reinforce missions giving and educate children about the Cooperative Program. The third meeting, “God Can Count on Me to Use Money Wisely” covers CP giving. Other lessons throughout the year educate children regarding such topics as world hunger and the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions and the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering for North American Missions.

— “I’m a Christian Now!”, a four-week curriculum that helps new Christians grasp the basics of living the Christian life. CP missions is covered in the CD-ROM lesson on missions.

— “Bible Teaching for Kids,” Sunday School materials for the elementary grades typically emphasize CP missions in a November lesson.

From the North American Mission Board, “Backpack Missions” is a new free downloadable resource available at sbcmissioneducation.org. Twenty-four “anytime, anywhere” object lessons teach Great Commission principles and Southern Baptist cooperative missions using a world-trekking character, “Backpack Andy,” who pulls objects from his backpack to teach about missions.

Among other enrichment tools, the www.actsone8missiontools.com website offers a large assortment of free downloadable resources categorized according to a church’s “Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and the uttermost parts of the world.”

A second installment in the “Forged by Faith” video series offers a 20-minute overview of the birth and purpose of CP. Titled “The Cooperative Program: One Sacred Effort,” churches can use the video for Sunday School classes, new member classes or special programs. For information about the first two installments of the Forged By Faith series and to view a sample excerpt of each film, visit www.sbc.net/forgedbyfaith.

Many state conventions also carry print resources in support of the Cooperative Program (and some of the resources listed above) and make them available to their churches.
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