News Articles

New England Baptists hear T.W. Hunt prayer messages

SOUTH PORTLAND, Maine (BP)–“In prayer, God achieves one of two purposes — to make us like him or to make us participate in his works,” author and Bible teacher T.W. Hunt told more than 200 messengers and guests attending the Baptist Convention of New England’s 15th annual meeting.
A retired Baptist Sunday School Board consultant who wrote “The Mind of Christ” and “Disciple’s Prayer Life,” Hunt was the featured Bible study teacher for the Nov. 6-7 gathering at the Sheraton Tara, South Portland, Maine.
Based on extensive study of the Bible’s prayers, Hunt linked prayers of confession to God’s holiness, prayers of worship to God’s glory, prayers of praise to God’s attributes and prayers of thanksgiving to God’s riches.
Calling prayer “an attitude, not an event,” Hunt said God prepares Christians for “eternal authority” through prayer. He urged those present to “stand on the authority of the name of Jesus when praying.”
Hunt also taught his popular “Mind of Christ” study, which takes its theme from Philippians 2:5,” at a “Toward a Fresh Encounter: Seeking the Mind of Christ” conference immediately after the annual meeting at First Baptist Church of Portland. More than 150 people from four Baptist denominations attended.
In the convention’s annual sermon, Mark Bryant, regional church planter for the Maine Baptist Association, discussed his trials and triumphs as a church planter in Spear Fish, N.D., and Bangor, Maine. When Bryant’s wife left him after 18 months as a mission pastor in Maine, he said he found himself “divorced, discouraged and defeated.” He was also more concerned then with “reputation than relationship,” worrying what others would think about a divorced pastor.
“After five years (of divorce), I was broken (and) I began to see myself from God’s perspective.” He began to “submit to God’s will regardless of the circumstances. As long as I remained broken and humble, I experienced joy, contentment, fulfillment and success.” In the midst of the heartaches, he experienced “freedom from the bondage of performance” that comes as a result of God’s grace.
Richard Wright, outgoing BCNE president and pastor of Faith Baptist Church, Warwick, R.I., and Ken Lyle, BCNE executive director, also were among the annual meeting preachers.
In the president’s address, which had “New England is not for crybabies” as its theme, Wright urged those present to recommit themselves to the cause of building God’s kingdom, saying, “We’re all in this together.”
At the missions banquet, Lyle echoed the BCNE meeting’s theme — Matthew 6:33 — when he said, “Let’s keep growing the kingdom of God.” He also asked people to “look around you and see the kingdom of God in small acts of faithfulness … . Where is the kingdom of God? It’s exactly where you are.”
At the missions banquet, messengers and guests also took a collection for the James H. Currin Mission Fund to support churches and heard several “Windows on New England” reports from BCNE staff on partnership, church development and extension, campus and mission ministries and the Baptist Foundation of New England.
Another highlight of the missions banquet was the naming of Adrian and Neva Burk of Northborough, Mass., as recipients of the North American Mission Board’s Mission Service Corps outstanding service award.
The Texas couple, who have served in New England more than 12 years, will retire in January. They are curators of the Luther Rice Home Site and Museum and she is BCNE’s receptionist. Bob Mills, NAMB Mission Service Corps director, presented the couple with a plaque and with words of appreciation.
Elected as convention officers were: president, Randy Fearon, pastor of Fellowship Baptist Church, Hanover, Mass.; first vice president, Dale Morell, pastor of Maine Street Baptist Church, Brunswick, Maine; and second vice president, Ray Roach, pastor of First Baptist Church of Tolland, Conn. All were the lone nominees for their respective offices.
During the business sessions, 171 messengers also adopted without debate a 1998 Baptist Convention of New England budget of $2,534,775, a 12 percent increase over the 1997 budget. The budget includes a $125,605 deficit, approximately $70,000 less than the ’97 deficit. In Cooperative Giving from New England churches, the ’98 budget anticipates $595,000, 21 percent of which will be forwarded to Southern Baptist Convention North American and international missions, the same percentage as the current year. Minor adjustments to the BCNE’s constitution and bylaws also were accepted by messengers.
Next year’s annual meeting will be Nov. 12-13 at First Baptist Church, Sudbury, Mass.