BP Ledger, May 8 edition
EDITOR'S NOTE: BP Ledger carries items for reader information each week from various Southern Baptist-related entities, and news releases of interest from other sources. The items are published as received.
Today's BP Ledger includes items from:
Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary
Baptist and Reflector
Joni and Friends
SBC LIFE/North American Mission Board
SBC LIFE Focus on Your SBC Entities: The Executive Committee
By Roger S. Oldham
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (SBC LIFE)--Following Monday morning prayer time, Mike delivers the weekend mail. Ruth Ann removes checks from their envelopes, enters contributions into the general ledger, and prepares the daily deposit. Next door, Martha reviews check requisition reports, preparing the accounts payable for the week. Lynn continues negotiations for hotel rooms in next year's annual meeting host city, while Don visits on-site with the local arrangements committee and the manager of the convention center. While there, he does a walk-through of the convention center's security features.
One floor down, Janice responds to a request from a Kansas pastor, sending him material that explains how his existing church can cooperate with the Convention through "three levels of cooperation"—associational, state convention, and SBC. Andy puts the finishing touches on the next issue of SBC LIFE. Michael, Erin, and Diana, in separate offices, are interviewing a pastor, a state convention employee, and a Baptist paper editor for three news stories that will appear in Baptist Press (BP) later that afternoon.
Leanne is proofing the SBC Book of Reports, a book she compiles each spring in preparation for the SBC annual meeting, Across the hall, June receives an email update from the SBC Committee on Order of Business chair, allowing her to release the annual meeting program through BP, SBC LIFE, and SBC.net. And, in the conference room, Vella sets out coffee and water for a meeting of African American pastors.
These are but a few of the far-reaching, routine, but important duties performed by the SBC Executive Committee staff under the EC's Ministry Assignment 1. As a facilitating ministry of the Convention, the work of the EC may not have the exciting ring of overseas missions or inner-city ministry; but its work is an essential component of "keeping the wheels on the car" of our cooperative work as Southern Baptists.
What the Executive Committee Is
Many Southern Baptists are probably unaware of the work of the EC and its staff. If they are, they may think of it as a sprawling denominational organization. In reality, the EC is a standing committee of the Convention and an entity of the Convention that employs a small staff to assist it in its day-to-day duties.
As one of only two SBC standing committees (the other is the Committee on Order of Business), the EC is comprised of eighty-three pastors and laypersons from cooperating Southern Baptist churches scattered across the United States. EC members are nominated by the SBC Committee on Nominations and elected by the SBC in its annual meeting. The Committee meets three times a year to carry out fourteen specific functions outlined in SBC Bylaw 18 and five ministry assignments listed in the SBC Organization Manual. Members are elected to a four-year term with the possibility of serving a second term.
The EC is also "the fiduciary, the fiscal, and the executive entity of the Convention." As an entity, the EC functions as a board of directors, employing thirty individuals to carry out the day-to-day duties that pertain to the EC's assignments. The EC staff acts on behalf of the EC to assist Convention entities and cooperating churches, state conventions, and associations in our cooperative efforts to carry out the Great Commission of Jesus Christ.
What the Executive Committee Does
The Executive Committee is charged with six ministry assignments that summarize its Bylaw 18 responsibilities.
Ministry Assignment 1 -- Assist churches through conducting and administering the work of the Convention not otherwise assigned—charges the EC to coordinate a myriad of responsibilities on behalf of the SBC each year. The staff serves the EC in fulfilling these day-to-day duties.
The EC staff is administered by the president through four offices— convention advancement, convention communications and relations, convention finance, and convention policy. In the office of convention finance, Bill supervises the weekly distribution of all Cooperative Program and designated gifts to the Convention's entities according to the Convention-adopted Cooperative Program allocation budget. His office also plans and coordinates all physical aspects of each Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting, the largest annual deliberative body that meets in the United States. Some other EC duties include:
• Among other duties, Augie, the EC's executive vice president, assists the Convention's president and Committee on Order of Business in coordinating the parliamentary business components of each SBC annual meeting. He also works with the Convention's attorneys to monitor all legal matters which may impinge upon the rights of the Convention to conduct its affairs and to address all legal matters related to the EC and the SBC throughout the course of the year.
• Phil manages the operations, maintenance, and security of the SBC Building in Nashville. The building houses the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, Executive Committee, Seminary Extension, Southern Baptist Foundation, and Southern Baptist Historical Library and Archives. Convention committees and other Convention-related groups, as well as Mosaic, a Southern Baptist congregation serving the downtown Nashville community, also meet here.
• Among other duties, Becky serves as staff liaison to the SBC Committee on Nominations, while Linda assists the SBC Resolutions Committee, providing resources for their three-day meeting. EC staff also assist the SBC Committee on Committees, Committee on Order of Business, Credentials Committee, and the elected officers of the Convention.
• Chris manages the SBC.net family of Web pages, produced, overseen, managed, and safeguarded by the EC. Wayne, who oversees maintenance of hardware and software applications, keeps the EC staff up and running and connected with one another and the world.
Ministry Assignments 2 and 3 codify that the EC is to provide "a convention relations service and a convention news service to publicize and interpret the overall Southern Baptist ministry" (SBC Bylaw 18.E.) in an effort to keep more than 45,000 autonomous churches, 1,175 autonomous Baptist associations, forty-two autonomous state Baptist conventions, and almost thirty autonomous ethnic fellowships connected.
Baptist Press and SBC LIFE are the two dominant means by which news and information is routinely disseminated to Southern Baptist pastors, entity and denominational leaders, state paper editors, churches, and individual subscribers. BP editor Art also oversees the SBC press room at the SBC annual meeting. With Laura's assistance, he coordinates bringing together more than sixty news writers, photographers, and support personnel to provide comprehensive coverage of the SBC annual meeting and all the ancillary meetings taking place during that same week. Sing seeks to communicate the overall Southern Baptist ministry through SBC LIFE and by producing ministry brochures, responding to media inquiries, and overseeing responses to thousands of general email inquiries that come to the EC each year.
Ministry Assignment 4 -- Assist churches, denominational agencies, and state conventions through estate planning consultation and investment management for funds designated for support of Southern Baptist causes—refers to the work of the Southern Baptist Foundation. A subsidiary of the EC, the Foundation collaborates with the many state convention foundations to promote and provide opportunities to Southern Baptists and other individuals to leave a portion of their estates to support Southern Baptist ministry causes.
Ministry Assignments 5 and 6 —- Assist churches through the promotion of cooperative giving and in stewardship education -- directs the EC to collaborate with state conventions and Southern Baptist Convention entities regarding Cooperative Program advancement. Thomas and Ashley, assisted by Terry, meet regularly with pastors, state convention executives and stewardship directors, and SBC entity leaders to lead out in promotion of a unified Cooperative Program strategy. The CP remains the vital lifeline that supports Southern Baptist missions and ministries across the nation and around the world.
The relationship between the EC and churches, state Baptist conventions, local associations, and ethnic fellowships is one of voluntary cooperation. These groups, however, have covenanted to work together to promote a noble purpose—"eliciting, combining, and directing the energies of the Baptist denomination of Christians, for the propagation of the Gospel" (SBC Charter, 1845).
The Southern Baptist Convention meets in annual session two days a year. During the remainder of the year, the EC is charged to minister to the churches of the Southern Baptist Convention "by acting for the Convention ad interim in all matters not otherwise provided for in a manner that encourages the cooperation and confidence of the churches, associations, and state conventions and facilitates maximum support for worldwide missions and ministries" (EC Mission Statement, SBC Organization Manual).
The EC staff, led by Frank S. Page, president and CEO (chief encouraging officer, as he often says), serve as the visible representatives and spokespersons for the Executive Committee and the Southern Baptist Convention to the thousands of individuals who look to the EC for assistance on any number of issues each year.
The staff starts each work week with concentrated, focused prayer for the Convention, its work, and the personal prayer and praise reports of the staff members. On this particular Monday, Sandy, the EC's receptionist, joyfully announced that a single mom was baptized the day before, one week after Sandy had led her to faith in Christ through her church's clothing and food ministry. Frank told about a woman he had met on an airplane who responded, "Absolutely!" to his question, "If you were to die tonight do you know for certain that you would go to heaven?"
Betty Sue, who assists the president in his work, asked prayer for a member of her family. Kim gave a praise report about the birth of her niece. Others chimed in with a variety of prayer requests, ranging from prayers for friends facing cancer to requests for neighbors who have not yet received Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord. When prayer time ended, T.A. began checking levels and temperature on the twenty-six-year old chiller and Mike began his round of delivering the weekend mail ...
Roger S. (Sing) Oldham is vice president for convention communications and relations with the Southern Baptist Convention’s Executive Committee. This article first appeared in SBC LIFE, journal of the Executive Committee.
Francis Schaeffer, the man and his legacy
By Michael McEwen
WAKE FOREST, N.C. (SEBTS)--Francis Schaeffer was undoubtedly one of the most influential theologians of the 20th century. Through his theological wit and cultural engagement, Schaeffer was able to illustrate that if Christ is Lord, then he is the Lord over all of life, not just sections of it.
Anyone who reads Schaeffer's works quickly realizes Schaeffer's love for God, his love toward others, and how he desired for non-believers to understand the truth of the gospel. He writes in The God Who Is There, "The whole purpose of our speaking to twentieth-century people in the way I have outlined is not to make them admit that we are right in some personally superior way, nor to push their noses in the dirt, but to make them see their need so that they will listen to the gospel."
At the moment, Southeastern Seminary is the custodian of the Francis Schaeffer collection. Dr. Bruce Little, Professor of Philosophy and Directory of the L. Russ Bush Center for Faith and Culture, said, "The Francis A. Schaeffer Foundation retains ownership, and that ownership will be transferred to Southeastern upon the dissolution of the Foundation."
The Schaeffer collection in Southeastern's Library is composed of personal correspondences, books, videos, manuscripts, and audiotapes. Additionally, said Little, the collection includes some of Schaeffer's personal library, and one of the most valuable assets of this collection is Schaeffer's personal Bible, which has his own notes scripted in the margins. The entire Schaeffer collection – composed of approximately 50,000 entries in inventory – is in the process of being archived and digitized by library employees, Dr. Bill Youngmark and Craig Freeman.
Little befriended Udo Middelmann, son-in-law of Schaeffer and president of the Francis Schaeffer Foundation, in 2008. Little later invited Middelmann to come to Southeastern's Center for Faith and Culture the following fall (2009) to give a couple lectures at the Center. Little said, "It was while he was here with Deborah [Schaeffer's daughter] that they approached me with regards to assuming responsibility for the Schaeffer papers."
Speaking about the character and thinking of Schaeffer, Larry Lyon, Southeastern M.Div. graduate and current Southeastern Ph.D. student, said, "Schaeffer was genuinely hospitable. Whether he was addressing a crowd from a pulpit or a podium, was in his home, or later in life in the hospital, Schaeffer's message carried such weight because he engaged people in a hospitable manner.
"Schaeffer's theology was also very practical. He would always engage others and make them think out the logical conclusions of their beliefs. So, he would ask them, 'If you can't live this particular way in the world, then is it a system worth living?'"
At certain times, Schaeffer was made out to be the grandfather of the Religious Right and also, he is often labeled as a hard presuppositionalist. Speaking about both of these labels, Little said that Evangelicals must be more careful in their perception of Schaeffer. As for being a grandfather of the Religious Right, said Little, "this is simply not true to history and yes he was a presuppositionalist, but Schaeffer defined the term much differently than the way it is used today."
In essence, Little conveyed, Evangelicals must first faithfully read Schaeffer and also correct such misrepresentations of the great 20th century theologian.
M.Div. and Th.M. Southeastern graduate, Doctoral Candidate at the University of Bristol, and secretary on behalf of Dr. Bruce Little, Benjamin Quinn said, "Schaeffer was unwaveringly committed to Scripture and to the Lordship of Christ in all things. Evangelicals today can further Schaeffer's legacy by remembering and teaching these two important qualities."
Most of the items in the Schaeffer collection are indexed and archived. The audiotapes featuring Schaeffer's lectures and debates are not yet available to the Southeastern community. Any alumni or student interested in researching the Schaeffer papers should contact Dr. Little for authorization; afterward, he or she can proceed to the library to access the collection.
Another way alumni can become involved with Schaeffer's ideas is through Southeastern's Center for Faith and Culture. Drawing on the character of Schaeffer, the Center's goal, Little said, "is to be theological in purposes, cultural in awareness, redemptive in nature, and charitable in disposition."
Every spring and fall semester, the Center hosts a number of forums where prominent speakers are invited to discuss important issues of the day and inform Christians as to how they can be involved in bringing a Christian perspective to the public square.
Little said that Southeastern alumni and friends can be involved by attending the lectures and forums and even by supporting the Center financially. Little said, "I would like to think that what we at the Center do is part of biblical missions by training others to be the salt and light and doing so in an informed and wise fashion."
Michael McEwen writes for Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.
SS Teacher Steps Down After 73 Years
By Lonnie Wilkey
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (Baptist and Reflector)--She may not hold a record, but Dot Booker just completed an amazing feat.
Booker stepped down in March as teacher of the Faithful Workers Sunday School class at Immanuel Baptist Church here, a position she held for 73 years.
When you consider that the average life expectancy of someone is about 78.5 years (according to the Center for Disease Control in 2009), Booker's accomplishment is even more incredible.
A lifelong resident of south Knoxville, Booker began attending Immanuel at the age of 3 months, was baptized at age 10 and began teaching the class at the age of 19.
What's even more unusual is that the teacher she replaced was her mother, Lucy Anderson who taught the class for many years.
And, to continue the family affair, a class taught by her mother-in-law eventually merged with the Faithful Workers class.
Pastor George Hollander of Immanuel Baptist noted that Booker was "on the cradle roll" at the church.
"You don't find many people who have stayed in church all their life or taught for 73 years," he observed.
Booker, who will be 92 years old on May 11, said she didn't plan to teach so long. "It just happened," she said, giving credit to her mother and mother-in-law for being good role models. "I hope I got better at it (teaching) as I went along," she added.
She noted that she enjoyed teaching and she took her role seriously. She would begin on Monday and spend several hours preparing for the next week. She would then study several more hours during the week.
Hollander also noted that Booker also attended training events offered by Knox County Baptist Association and the Tennessee Baptist Convention.
"Her classes were always organized and had officers in place to reach people," he said.
In addition to teaching, Booker also played the piano and organ at the church for about 50 years, sang in the choir and was very active through the years along with her late husband, Bill Booker, who was a longtime deacon.
"They couldn't get rid of me," she laughed.
The church honored her on "Dot Booker Day" during a Sunday service in March. She was given a plaque from the church, a certificate from the county mayor proclaiming Dot Booker Day in Knox County and a certificate from the TBC.
Booker is settling into being a member of her former class which is taught by Hollander's wife, Marie, and also includes Marie Hollander's mother, Henri Orrell who is 100 years old. "I'm getting used to being in the class. Marie is a good teacher," she observed.
Booker said she still enjoyed teaching but felt it was time to give it up, but "as long as I'm here I will be in church every Sunday," she pledged.
Not surprising for someone who has been in church for nearly 92 years. "The church has been everything to me," she said. "I don't know what I'd do without it."
Lonnie Wilkey is editor of Baptist and Reflector.
Joni and Friends International Disability Center
Joins Lausanne Global Conversation: Ministry leads discussion on outreach to disability community
AGOURA HILLS, Calif. -- The Joni and Friends International Disability Center is engaging in a month-long conversation on the website of The Lausanne Movement – an organization dedicated to international evangelization – focusing on evangelism to people with disabilities. The Global Conversation Project is designed to spur the local church into action and to emphasize selected portions of the Cape Town Commitment, which resulted from the Third Lausanne Congress on World Evangelization held in Cape Town, South Africa, in 2010.
"We at Joni and Friends are passionate about taking the Gospel to people with disabilities, and we want to highlight the section of the Cape Town Commitment called 'Christ's Peace for People with Disabilities' during this month," said ministry founder and CEO Joni Eareckson Tada, who has for many years served as senior associate on disability concerns for the Lausanne Movement.
The Global Conversation Project is designed to get Christians all over the world involved in discussion on issues that require a global response. Conversations are conducted in eight different languages so that individuals from many nations can be involved. There are three steps for entering the conversation:
Sign up for a free account to participate fully in the conversation
View all topics to learn more about the issues that are a part of the conversation
Join conversations about the issues that matter to you
The schedule of topics during May includes:
Week 1: A Culture of Life Ethic – The lead post features Tada's acceptance speech, "Sanctity of Life and Disability," which she gave upon receiving the Wilberforce Award at the Wilberforce Forum March 30, including two response articles, one by Dr. Kathy McReynolds, director of academic studies for the Joni and Friends Christian Institute on Disability, and one by Dr. Rick Langer, Biola University's Talbot School of Theology professor specializing in the integration of faith and learning.
Week 2: Disability Ministry: A Challenge to the Church – Featuring the "Tale of Two Churches" video from the Joni and Friends Christian Institute on Disability educational course Beyond Suffering and additional papers.
Week 3: A Biblical Basis for Disability Ministry – Featuring a lead post, "The Kingdom of God and Disability," the Luke 14 mandate, by Joni and Friends Vice President Steve Bundy with responses by Dr. David Deuel, director of international academic studies for Joni and Friends; Chris Ralston, co-editor of "Philosophical Reflections on Disability" and a member of the Board of Reference for the Public Policy Center of the Joni and Friends Christian Institute on Disability; and Ryan Dobson, co-host of Family Talk with his father, Dr. James Dobson.
Week 4: Total Access: Inclusion of Individuals with Disabilities into the Life of the Church – Featuring Dr. Deuel's Beyond Suffering article "God's Story of Disability: the Unfolding Plan from Genesis to Revelation."
Week 5: A Challenge to a Culture of Life Ethic – Featuring the Terri Schiavo Story videos from the Joni and Friends television series.
For more than 30 years, Joni and Friends International Disability Center has worked to accelerate ministry to the disability community, offering a wide array of life-affirming ministries to people with disabilities around the world. Joni and Friends does this through the Christian Institute on Disability; the International Disability Center; international radio and television programs filled with inspirational stories; Wheels for the World, which every year sees thousands of individuals receive wheelchairs and the life-giving message of the Gospel, and Family Retreats, where families affected by disability learn they are not alone.
Adapted from a news release by Larry Ross Communications.
March tornadoes rally 13 state conventions
By Mickey Noah
ALPHARETTA, Ga. (SBC LIFE/North American Mission Board)--Although the multi-state outbreak of some 100 confirmed tornadoes in March -- which claimed nearly 40 lives -- was not as deadly as those that ravaged Alabama and several other states in April 2011, last month did record the second highest number of tornado deaths of any March in U.S. history.
On Friday, March 2, 21 of the 39 deaths came in Kentucky, where three separate EF-3 tornadoes ripped through 46 of Kentucky's 120 counties, injuring another 300 people.
But also that Friday, a massive EF-4 tornado barreled down the main street of Henryville, Ind., a small town of 6,000. Thirteen people were killed across the state. Some 100 Indiana Southern Baptist Disaster Relief (SBDR) volunteers arrived in Henryville a few days later to start cleaning up the town.
"It was unlike anything I've ever seen in my life," said Toby Jenkins, pastor of Henryville's First Baptist Church, where Jenkins and 200 others survived the tornado by huddling in the church's basement.
Almost every window in First Baptist was blown out by 175 mph winds and houses on each side of the church were leveled. Half of Henryville -- the birthplace of Kentucky Fried Chicken's Col. Sanders -- was destroyed.
Because of the extensive damage in Henryville on March 2 -- and at the request of the State Convention of Baptists in Indiana -- the Southern Baptist Disaster Relief command center was deployed from its North American Mission Board base in Alpharetta, Ga., on March 5, and set up at Bethel Baptist Church in Memphis, Ind., about four miles south of Henryville. In addition to Henryville, the Indiana towns of Marysville and Pekin also suffered heavy tornado damage.
In hard-hit West Liberty, Ky., an eastern Kentucky town of about 3,500, feeding units also geared up to provide as many as 5,000 meals a day for West Liberty storm victims, first responders and DR volunteers. DR volunteers also were mobilized for chainsaw and recovery work.
Sixty students from nearby Morehead State University assisted West Liberty homeowners, under the leadership of the Kentucky Baptist Convention and the Southern Baptist Conservatives of Virginia DR teams. In all, about 300 Kentucky DR volunteers were mobilized to West Liberty. The State Convention of Baptists in Ohio provided childcare volunteers.
Kentucky DR teams also fanned out across several other counties, and volunteers from the Baptist Convention of North Carolina moved into Martin and Lawrence counties at the request of Kentucky state DR director Coy Webb.
Southwestern Ohio also was struck by five tornadoes on March 2, with the strongest destroying dozens of homes in Moscow, where more than 200 people were left homeless.
While late February to May is the traditional tornado season for states in the South, Southwest and Midwest, even Hawaii recorded a rare tornado on the island of Oahu in March.
In response to the March tornadoes, SBDR teams from 13 state conventions chalked up 2,918 volunteer days; prepared more than 29,000 meals; completed nearly 500 debris removal, chainsaw, repair and roofing jobs; provided childcare for nearly 70 children; and provided 840 showers and laundry loads.
More importantly, SBDR volunteers generated 2,535 ministry and chaplaincy contacts and 288 Gospel presentations, resulting in 41 professions of faith and other decisions.
SBDR teams pressed into action in March for tornado response included those from the Georgia Baptist Convention, Hawaii Pacific Baptist Convention, Kentucky Baptist Convention, Illinois Baptist State Association, State Convention of Baptists in Indiana, Baptist State Convention of Michigan, Missouri Baptist Convention, Baptist State Convention of North Carolina, State Convention of Baptists in Ohio, Tennessee Baptist Convention, South Carolina Baptist Convention, Texas Baptist Men (Baptist General Convention of Texas) and Southern Baptist Conservatives of Virginia.
In addition to the March tornadoes, California Southern Baptist Convention disaster relief responded to fires in Reno, Nev., and the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention and Texas Baptist Men volunteers provided fire cleanup assistance in Bastrop, Texas. Louisiana Baptist Convention DR assisted with flood recovery in the Dry Creek area of southwest Louisiana, while the Hawaii Pacific Baptist Convention DR team also handled mud-out work on the island of Molokai.
"The response to the early March tornadoes demonstrated the growth and development of the capacity of disaster relief ministry in state conventions," said Mickey Caison, NAMB's disaster relief team leader. "State conventions continue to do a good job of enlisting, training and deploying volunteers and other resources to provide spiritual and physical ministry to communities affected by disasters."
Mickey Noah writes for the North American Mission Board. For regular updates about Southern Baptist Disaster Relief, visit namb.net/subscribe-dr-enewsletter/ to subscribe. Donations to SBDR are fully tax deductible and are used to meet the needs of hurting people in the wake of disasters. Donations can be made online at namb.net/givenow; by phone 866-407-6262; or by mail. Checks should be made payable to "North American Mission Board" and sent to Disaster Relief Fund, P.O. Box 116543, Atlanta, GA 30368-6543.