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SBC DIGEST: Two ultrasound placements; Barber addresses NOBTS chapel

Psalm 139 Project, TBMB partner to place ultrasound machine in Tennessee; another placed in Arkansas

By ERLC Staff

NASHVILLE (BP) – The Psalm 139 Project, a pro-life ministry of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, in partnership with the Tennessee Baptist Mission Board, has donated an ultrasound machine to Confidential Care Mobile Ministry in Millington, Tenn. The Psalm 139 Project has also donated an ultrasound machine to Hope of the Delta in West Memphis, Ark., as a part of the ERLC’s mission to place 50 ultrasound machines in pregnancy care centers by 2023.

Both dedication ceremonies will be held on Friday, Oct. 28. Details below:

Confidential Care Mobile Ministry

Date & time: Friday, Oct. 28, 1-3 p.m. CDT

Location: 16228 US Highway 51 North, Millington, TN, 38053

Attendees: ERLC’s Director of the Psalm 139 Project, Rachel Wiles, will be present at the event along with Tennessee Baptist Mission Board’s Compassion Ministry Specialist, Beth Moore.

“It is our joy, on behalf of Tennessee Baptist churches, to partner with the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission in providing a new life-saving ultrasound machine to Confidential Care in Millington,” said Randy Davis, executive director of the Tennessee Baptist Mission Board. “The generous Cooperative Program and Golden Offering for Tennessee Missions giving from TBC churches makes this bold support possible. Together, we stand for life.”

Confidential Care Mobile Ministry was founded in 1996 and has three mobile units that provide counseling, pregnancy tests and ultrasounds for clients. The mobile ministry serves eight locations within Shelby County, Tenn. Each mobile unit is equipped with ultrasound equipment and is staffed by medical ministry teams, including a licensed registered nurse and a patient care provider. This specific machine placement is for the ministry’s third mobile unit.

“With the overturn of Roe, we anticipate thousands of women this year in the Mid-South will be seeking a way to obtain an out-of-state abortion,” said Cathy Waterbury, executive director of Confidential Care Mobile Ministry. “The addition of our continuum-of-care vehicle, equipped with this new ultrasound machine, will enable us to go to these women and show them that a new human being is alive within their womb. Once they see the living child on the monitor, many will choose life. This gift of an ultrasound in the hands of our medical ministry team will mean life for hundreds of preborn human babies and will open the door for a clear introduction to the giver of that life.”

Hope of the Delta

Date & time: Friday, Oct. 28, 10:30 a.m.-noon CDT

Location: 308 S. Rhodes Street, West Memphis, AR 72301

Attendees: ERLC’s Director of the Psalm 139 Project, Rachel Wiles, will be present at the event along with ERLC Trustee, Todd Howard.

Hope of the Delta was founded in 2001 by Harmony Baptist Association. They have locations in Pine Bluff, West Memphis and Stuttgart, Ark., and a mobile unit that serves five counties. The center’s purpose is to ensure that women, men, students and families have a safe place to turn when facing pregnancy decisions, making sexual health choices and seeking emotional healing from pregnancy loss, abortion or miscarriage. Hope of the Delta serves approximately 700 clients annually. They offer medical services such as:

  • Pregnancy testing
  • Limited obstetrical ultrasounds
  • STD screenings
  • Prenatal and parenting classes
  • Fatherhood programs
  • Post-abortion and sexual abuse recovery

“The ultrasound machine is vital to saving unborn lives by providing mothers with a picture of their baby and the sound of its heartbeat,” said Tamela Turbeville, executive director of Hope of the Delta.

One hundred percent of financial contributions designated to the Psalm 139 Project go toward purchasing ultrasound machines and providing training for workers. No ERLC Cooperative Program resources are used for these machines. Tax-deductible gifts may be made online to The Psalm 139 Project, or via check to ERLC, 901 Commerce Street, Nashville, Tenn., 37203. Learn more at psalm139project.com.

Barber praises deacons during NOBTS chapel

By Marilyn Stewart/NOBTS

NEW ORLEANS (BP) – SBC President Bart Barber praised deacons in his chapel message at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and Leavell College Oct. 20, but quipped first that his sermon could have been filled with jokes or complaints. When it comes to deacons, Southern Baptists have supplied plenty of both, Barber said. 

Instead, Barber expressed heartfelt appreciation for deacons and urged listeners to do the same.

“All through my ministry, from the first church I pastored when I was 17 years old, all the way through to today … at every point along the way, God has blessed me with the help of people who have truly been gifts to the church, deacons who have served well,” Barber said.

Barber told listeners that as seminary students preparing for ministry they are “Southern Baptists’ future and hope” and reminded them that many give “sacrificially” through the Cooperative Program because they believe the work of the seminaries is important.

“You are God’s gift to the churches, but you are not the only gift that God gives to churches,” Barber said. “When you arrive at a church, new for the first time, there will be people already there whom God has given as a gift to the churches.”

Helping the church succeed

Barber pointed to a “profound truth” he said should sustain pastors throughout ministry.

“God cares about churches …,” Barber said. “You are never having to do it all by yourself. God cares about His church more than you ever will. God is committed to the long-term success of churches.”

Drawing from Acts 6:1-2, Barber explained that deacons in the early church were servants who helped solve problems in ministry, took up the task of ministry and served as peacemakers within the church.

Barber pointed out that early deacons served widows in need, those whom Jesus identified as a ministry “priority.” Because the same needs exist today, deacons can help the church and the pastor succeed, Barber said.

Barber shared from his personal experience of deacons who cared for his family and supported him in ministry.

“I’m here to thank God for deacons who have helped us, as our church has grown and developed, to be far more successful than I could possibly have been on my own,” Barber said.

Deacons were first

Barber pointed out that the first martyr of the church, Stephen, was not a pastor but a deacon. Barber pointed also to Philip to say that a deacon, rather than a pastor, was the first to share the Gospel internationally.

“Deacons are a gift of God to the church,” Barber said. “They’re a gift of God to your ministry.”

Barber urged listeners to “think differently” about deacons and rather than limit deacons, pray that God would “light their fire” for ministry and “[then] stand back and see what God does when the Spirit of God moves upon His people.”

Two offices – pastors and deacons – are recognized by The Baptist Faith and Message 2000, Barber noted, adding that his prayer is that they would pray for, encourage and serve with each other.

While often called “the peacemaker president,” Barber said his greater desire is to see peace in the local churches.

“I believe your ability to form a team with the leaders God has given you through the local church will impact the cause of the Gospel more than anything else,” Barber said. “The church is the vehicle Jesus has chosen to share the Gospel with the world and He cares about His churches. Peace there matters more than anywhere else.”

NOBTS President Jamie Dew called on the audience at the end to gather around Barber and his wife Tracy and daughter Sarah, present that day, to pray for them. Dew praised Barber for his work and acknowledged the “immense load” Barber carries as SBC president at this moment in culture and in the convention.

“Every now and then God raises up somebody who aspires to that seat for all the right reasons and I believe he’s standing right here,” Dew said. “We need him right now in major, major ways.”

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