FROM THE STATES: Mo., Calif. and N.C. evangelism/missions news; 'The word of God is as quick and powerful today as it has ever been'
Today's From the States features items from:
The Pathway (Missouri)
California Southern Baptist
Biblical Recorder (North Carolina)
Mo. church experiencing
BURFORDVILLE, Mo. (The Pathway) -- Bryon Kindle claims he isn't a good preacher.
"I drive my wife insane every time I butcher the English language," said Kindle, pastor at Burfordville Baptist Church here. "I am not an attractive person, and I can't sing. But praise God it's not about personalities. It's about Jesus Christ. There is no reason we should see what has been going on down here. No reason other than it's 100 percent about Christ."
Burfordville, a small town west of Cape Girardeau, is experiencing true revival. In the last 16 months, the church has baptized 63 people. And what's even more exciting: Kindle said 40 percent of those baptized have been adults over 30 years old.
"I tell folks that these are the glory days of Burfordville Baptist," he said. "God is moving mightily. There has never been a time in my life where I've witnessed the Holy Spirit get ahold of so many grown adults."
Kindle accepted the call to preach around the age of 40 and does not have a seminary degree. He and his wife, Cathy, came to Burfordville 16 months ago with the desire to preach with compassion to anyone who will listen.
"At first there were a lot of hard feelings because when the word is plainly preached, sin is named," he said. "My passion for the truth of God's word and the holiness of His church caused some to see me as 'mean-spirited.' But I love the souls of people and my Savior Jesus Christ too much to compromise God's plainly revealed word. The backlash was horrendous and many folks left. But others repented. The word of God is as quick and powerful today as it has ever been and we started seeing salvations immediately."
Not only is the gospel message preached clearly at Burfordville Baptist, Kindle said it is taught consistently. Every sermon, Sunday school class, youth event or church-wide service project; no matter what is going on the teachers and leaders clearly preach the gospel with the assumption that an unsaved person might be sitting there.
"Most of the adults who are being saved told me that they believed they were Christians and were even baptized as part of their next step as children," he said. "Nope. All they did was take a bath in public. They thought as long as they lived the Christian life of 'do's and don'ts' they were good. That general belief is so wrong. You must be born again."
And as the harvest of souls continues to move from darkness to light, Kindle said Satan is not sitting on the sidelines watching it happen.
"We've experienced some opposition and, sadly enough, people left," he said. "But listen, if they are going to be enemies of the cross of Christ than they probably needed to leave. We are not fighting against people. It's Satanic. Be aware that we are in a battle and be aware that the enemy uses those closest to us. He uses the ones we put our faith and trust in to attack us. We need to set our sight on Christ. Remember Peter began to sink when he started looking at the winds and waves. He was fine when he kept his eyes on Christ."
But as more souls have come to the cross, Kindle said the church body at Burfordville Baptist, including his wife, Cathy, has stepped up "magnificently" to meet the needs of the people and reach out even more to the community. The hard-working church has a thriving Wednesday night youth and children's ministry, free hot meals before services, a clothes closet ministry, a nursing home ministry and a van ministry (which they would like to expand to a bus ministry in the near future.)
"Whatever ministry we're doing, we work together in one accord and we've seen great success," Kindle said. "We are desperately seeking the will of God and the continued salvation of souls. The church's sacrificial work is a testament to the support of the congregation behind the gospel ministry. I just lick the cream off the top and watch people respond. Christ gets all the glory."
This article appeared in the Illinois Baptist (ibsa.org/illinoisbaptist), newsjournal of the Illinois Baptist State Association. Kayla Rinker is a reporter living in southwest Missouri.
Calif. church uses football
as evangelism strategy
By Amanda Phifer
OAKLAND, Calif. (California Southern Baptist) -- It's working for pastor Mustafa Muhyee and the leaders of B.A.S.I.C. Ministry, a seven-year-old church plant in Oakland.
Their youth football program, the Oakland Jr. Raiders, is a team of the Snoop Youth Football League (founded by entertainer Snoop Dogg). In its eighth year, the program accounts, Muhyee said, for "probably half our membership" at the church.
Football as a church planting strategy is devotions and prayer at practice. It's gospel artists and prayer booths and rap sessions at games and as half-time shows. It's food distribution and free haircuts at games. It's a lot of the 150 players and 72 cheerleaders having life lessons and conversations in the car with adults who are committed Christians, on the way to and from practice. Mentoring.
It's troubled teens like Earl Johnson and Demaria Day, whose lives are turned around by the Gospel. It's 28-plus families, like the Ramirezes, coming to faith and plugging in to B.A.S.I.C. Ministry. It's hundreds of East Bay residents, about 400 per game, hearing the gospel over the course of a football season.
Rapper Snoop Dogg just happens to have founded the league. Last year the Oakland Jr. Raiders won the state championship, earning them a trip to Houston to play in the national championship game -- a lifetime highlight for a crew of kids who'd mostly never left the Bay Area, much less flown on a plane halfway across the country.
And the church was recognized by the City of Oakland for their community service through Oakland Jr. Raiders.
"The Lord has placed us here to evangelize and (for) outreach. And football is one of the key elements of our evangelistic ministry," said Muhyee, an East Bay native who is the high school football coach at Madison Prep Academy.
"Through football, we are sowing into our neighborhood and community. At least eight families, if not more, have come to the church through this football program."
The Oakland Jr. Raiders (ages 5-14) isn't your run-of-the-mill church or Pee Wee League. For one thing, most of the players are from rough East Oakland, Richmond or Berkeley neighborhoods -- single-parent homes, homes without fathers or maybe any adult male figures; neighborhoods with too many drugs, gangs and crimes, and too little priority on education.
Mustafa and other coaches have to transport most of the players to and from practice because their parents cannot.
When a player can't afford the cost ($175), program leaders seek sponsors, donors and scholarships, and do their own fund-raising. They award 15-20 scholarships per season.
Muhyee and Solomon Ervin, the B.A.S.I.C. deacon who oversees the football program, have bona fide football backgrounds themselves -- a combination of having played in high school, some college and coaching as a career.
"All of our coaches are believers who view what they do as a ministry," Muhyee stressed. "So many of our kids are coming out of rough places. Our football team is a safe haven for them. They can be embraced by men who love the Lord, they can hear positive encouragement and feedback -- no cussing allowed!
"Our staff are people of integrity and character, and this attracts the kids. They can really feel the love of God, they can see men who are raising children, mentoring, visiting them at schools.
"We try to be light and hope in their lives," Muhyee added. "If we don't get them, the drug dealers and gang bangers will."
Muhyee said his favorite part of the program is the drive with players: "I get to sow into their lives, individually, drop nuggets of wisdom, do more than coach football."
Football is just one aspect of B.A.S.I.C.'s evangelistic focus. There's also a food ministry (off the field as well), summer services at the park and mentorship.
"I'm involved with this because of the unity it brings among youth, parents and community," said Ervin, who is himself studying for a degree in sports business management. "If the kids don't get teaching about God at home we provide it here.
"Ultimately our goal is to see these kids saved, and see them excel, go to college."
Muhyee adds: "It has been an awesome journey, watching God draw people to Himself, giving us influence with the City Council, growing the church through football."
Through it, Ervin said, "I see a sense of hope for these kids."
A church planting strategy any believing football enthusiast can endorse.
This article appeared in the California Southern Baptist (csbc.com/csb), newsjournal of the California Southern Baptist Convention. Amanda Phifer is a writer for the California Southern Baptist.
N.C. church camp teaches
children biblical stewardship
by Krista Pierce
MAMERS, N.C. (Biblical Recorder) -- In this age of entitlement, many people argue societal norms tell us we are owed certain privileges simply because we exist. Parents have unknowingly fed this sense of entitlement by providing children with far more than what is necessary, and they are now seeing undesirable behaviors associated with this idea of deserving something for nothing.
That is what inspired financial planner Amanda Burke and Rebecca Lindhout, minister of children and education at Antioch Baptist Church in Mamers, to work together to create Camp Change, a five-day counter-culture course in the basics of finance, geared toward children ages 6 to 12.
Burke and Lindhout designed Camp Change to teach children what it is like to earn money, to spend money and to use their financial resources to glorify God.
"Current culture teaches our children instant gratification," Burke said. "At Camp Change, we show children what it's like to earn money, just how much it costs to run a household and also to spend responsibly and to give. Teaching children these core principles early on will help them develop the necessary skills to be faithful stewards later in life. Education is key."
Lindhout saw Camp Change as an opportunity to teach biblical principles like tithing but also to address a deeper spiritual matter -- contentment.
"Camp Change was born out of conversations with parents about great kids who are greatly discontent and entitled," Lindhout said.
"We talked about how enough is never enough and how there's always that one more thing that our children think they need to have to be happy. We thought, 'how did we get here?'"
Lindhout said she and Burke started with a list of questions: What would it take for our kids to understand the value of a dollar? How would their futures realign with God's purpose for them if our children learned responsibility to God and others through their finances? How much peace would our families experience if our children knew what it means to be content apart from "things?"
"What we were trying to teach them was to be responsible stewards of what God has given them by teaching them contentment with God means we don't have to fill our lives with things," Lindhout said. Things aren't "where we find our sense of peace and contentment, wholeness and goodness."
Burke said as a financial planner, she sees how early ideas about money shape each person's financial future.
"Children often demand more than the necessities from parents," Burke said. "Because of this idea of entitlement, they never fully develop into financially stable adults later in life. And parents are feeling pressured to conform to the cultural standard of providing children with much more than they need."
Camp Change was held each day for a week in June from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Registration was capped at 30 campers who started each day with a time of worship. Lessons about money were enhanced with games and creative activities.
Lindhout said the curriculum for the camp was put together from a combination of resources, such as Financial Peace Junior, MoneyPalooza!, Kidpreneurs, Piggy Bank University and "a lot of it was just self-created." They taught students "in very kid-friendly ways, very adult concepts like responsibility and gratitude."
Throughout the week, students played Moneypalooza!, a free budgeting resource and board game from Marbles Kids Museum in Raleigh, in which they earned a commission for their "jobs" around the church and had to decide how to use their money. To win the game, students had to pay God first through tithing 10 percent, put money into savings and spend responsibly. By the end of the week, many students opted to give a percentage of their earnings to the church for the installation of a playground.
A major theme of Camp Change was educating children on the concept of needs and wants.
"Children don't fully understand the financial obligations their parents must meet to keep a home functioning," Burke said. "If we can shape our children's expectations and model healthy financial behaviors, we can begin to change our culture."
At the end of the week, campers used a portion of their earned commission to spend on a field trip to Marbles Kids Museum in Raleigh where campers had fun learning and playing in the Moneypalooza! exhibit, among others.
Lindhout said they plan to host the camp again next summer. "We felt God working and saw what works and what didn't work. Our goal for next year is to create more of our own material." Burke is also excited about the camp and is already meeting with leaders to discuss next year's camp. "The goal is to double the numbers," Burke stated. " We just need more volunteers next year."
This article appeared in the Biblical Recorder (brnow.org), newsjournal of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina. Krista Pierce is a stay-at-home mom, former journalist and member of Antioch Baptist Church in Mamers, Mo. Laura Crowther, Biblical Recorder editorial aide, contributed to this story.
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, formatting and grammatical changes, the items appear in Baptist Press as originally published.