Arrested 47 times, former alcoholic testifies to gospel’s transforming power
By Michael Foust TEXAN Correspondent
At times, Ellis Brasher still wonders why God kept him alive more than five decades ago when he was hopping from bar to bar, town to town, and jail cell to jail cell, wanting nothing more than another sip, another beer, another buzz. Brasher, 83, testifies today to the saving power of the gospel, but there was a time when he was a 30-year-old drifter searching for meaning in life and trying to find it in the bottom of a bottle. By his count, he was arrested 47 times in four different states, spending time behind bars in nine jails. His life was the stuff of outlaw movies: hanging with the wrong crowd and talking to the wrong girls, with a fight or two See BRASHER, 3
RACIAL UNITY, PRAYER, MISSIONS AMONG JUNE SBC EMPHASES 18
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COURT PONDERS RELIGIOUS LIBERTY IN HHS MANDATE 11
FLOODED DISASTER RELIEF
Deweyville church looks to be base for community relief PASTOR MAKES FIRST HOME VISIT BY BOAT FOLLOWING RECORD FLOODING IN SE TEXAS By Jane Rodgers TEXAN Correspondent DEWEYVILLE Damon Bickham, pastor of First Baptist Church in Deweyville, never expected to make a home visit in a boat. But Bickham and his brother, Brad, First Deweyville’s associate pastor, brought batteries, lights and snacks to area residents who had not evacuated their homes when the Sabine River crested to record levels March 15 following a week of heavy rain. Bickham could have steered the boat to his church, which was filled with 3 feet of water. “[Authorities] gave us a day or two notice that the flood-
ing was imminent. We tried to elevate everything that we could,” Bickham said of the church. Musical instruments and literature were saved, but the pews ended up floating in water. The role of DR victim is an unusual one for FBC Deweyville, historically the center of the community in times of emergency. “We’ve met crises such as [hurricanes] Katrina, Ike, Rita; people come here. We are—or were—outfitted with showers, kitchens and sleeping facilities,” Bickham said. The church that sheltered around 200 New Orleans refugees fleeing Katrina in 2005, See FLOOD, 2
Vidor pastor Terry Wright (white shirt) discusses cleanup with SBTC DR incident commander Daniel White (white hat) and DR volunteer Anette Collier. PHOTO BY PRESTON WETHERINGTON
Flooded by 3 feet of water, First Baptist Church in Deweyville is recovering and looking to be a center of disaster relief operations in their community. PHOTO BY SONYA THAMES
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MUSIC IN WORSHIP: BEYOND THE WORSHIP WARS
By Keith Collier Managing Editor
For the past four decades, hitting a fever pitch in the 1980s and ‘90s, churches have experienced seismic changes as a result of what has been dubbed the “worship revolution,” or more cynically, “worship wars.” Typically situated along generational fault lines, well-intentioned discussions centered on dichotomies such as hymns vs. choruses, choirs vs. praise teams, and orchestral instruments vs. band equipment. See MUSIC, 12
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now finds itself in need of help. SBTC disaster relief volunteers are answering the call, as are area churches urged on by the efforts of their pastors, but the still need additional help. “The portion of our church family that resides in Deweyville, all of their homes were inundated,” Bickham said, estimating that 65 percent of the congregation had been affected. Bickham’s own residence, remodeled only four months earlier, was flooded by 6 feet of water. “My wife is heartbroken. All that has been taken away. It’s in the yard. Our church, my home, all of our congregants’ homes. … I know we will get on the other side of this thing.” Few, if any, Deweyville residents have flood insurance. The community of only 1,200 is not in the 100-year flood plain, and the overflow of the Sabine was “unprecedented,” Bickham noted. “We were able to move some of our elderly and find places for them. We are concerned about the families that have lost everything. We don’t want to lose anybody from our community. We are encouraging folks to stay and gather around one another. Let’s help one another be a town again.” First Baptist Church in Orange has opened its doors, allowing FBC Deweyville to hold worship services there for the 500 who regularly attend. “It’s been really
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good. We’ve had great numbers and good worship, primarily from our church family seeing one another after such a blow. It’s been not only Christ honoring, but it’s been therapeutic for us,” Bickham said. The pastor praised the outpouring of help from area churches and Southern Baptists of Texas Convention’s disaster relief (DR) teams, in addition to help from organizations such as Samaritan’s Purse, the Red Cross and the Salvation Army. He also lauded the local fire department. “Congressman [Brian] Babin came. Directors and presidents of entire Baptist conventions have talked to us. It has been encouraging and edifying.” SBTC teams have removed sheetrock, pressure washed floors and applied anti-mold treatments at the church and area homes. Local churches, pastors and personal friends have pitched in with labor and donations. “Folks have come in and literally spent themselves,” Bickham said, calling DR crews not just helpful but experts. “They know what they are doing.” The disaster claimed no lives, but when asked about moving experiences, Bickham replied, “It’s emotional.” He recalled driving into his driveway to see a “big fat water moccasin” on his front porch. “I moved!” Bickham laughed. “I went to another door and prayed that God would get rid of [the snake] for me.” It was a humorous moment for Bickham, who hates snakes. “With every day, that glimmer of hope gets a little bright-
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Two young men empty debris into a pile outside FBC Deweyville. PHOTO BY PRESTON WETHERINGTON
er,” Bickham continued. “I love the passage [in Scripture] where the Lord Jesus endured the cross for the joy that was set before him. I feel that we are enduring some things for the joy that is set before us. There will be a bright day again. We must hold our heads up.” Part of the joy, Bickham noted, is that unchurched flood victims have responded positively to the outpouring of help. Residents whom the Bickham brothers assisted had resisted efforts by first responders to help them evacuate. After the Bickhams reached out from the boat, members of two of the families attended First Deweyville church services at their temporary location at FBC Orange for the first time. “We didn’t realize the area was under martial law when we drove the boat in,” Bickham mused. “We just delivered supplies.”
Larry and Odessa Cooper of LaBelle Baptist Church help clean out a flooded room at FBC Deweyville. PHOTO BY SONYA THAMES
Monte Furrh of Bonham, Texas, cuts pieces of FBC Deweyville church pews into sections after they were ruined by flooding. PHOTO BY SONYA THAMES
Angel Shoffer from Commonground Community Church in Bridge City, and Blake Amy of Orangefield remove flooded sheetrock and insulation from FBC Deweyville. PHOTO BY SONYA THAMES
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“WE ARE CONCERNED ABOUT THE FAMILIES THAT HAVE LOST EVERYTHING. WE DON’T WANT TO LOSE ANYBODY FROM OUR COMMUNITY. WE ARE ENCOURAGING FOLKS TO STAY AND GATHER AROUND ONE ANOTHER. LET’S HELP ONE ANOTHER BE A TOWN AGAIN.” — DAMO N BIC K HAM , PASTOR OF F BC DEWEYVILLE
They also delivered hope, but the work is not finished. “Needs will continue” at Deweyville, said Jeremy Bradshaw, pastor of Liberty Baptist Church in nearby Bridge City. Bradshaw, whose church hosted 117 for a special SBTC disaster relief training held March 20, said he and other area SBTC pastors contacted one another to coordinate efforts to help First Deweyville and its community. “We contacted [SBTC director of disaster relief] Scottie Stice, who was glad to come and do it,” Bradshaw said. “We hosted, but pastors and people from several churches attended. We were hoping for 25 and the Lord blew us out of the water” with attendance for the event that had been announced only four days prior. Another DR training event was held the following Thursday, March 24, at First Baptist Church in Mauriceville, which is also hosting the command center for SBTC DR efforts. Liberty Baptist and FBC Mauriceville congregations understand what it is like to go through natural disasters. “We went through [hurricanes] Rita and Ike here,” said Kevin Brown, pastor of FBC Mauriceville. Volunteer work crews and individuals from both Liberty BC and FBC Mauriceville have been among those assisting in Deweyville DR efforts. “We help one another. This is not new for us. Storms are part of our experience,” Brown said. “All of the churches are working together, and God is providing.
We have faith that God is going to take care of it. Deweyville will rebuild and keep going.” The need is likely to remain great. “This disaster does not have the national or even statewide attention a hurricane does,” Bradshaw said. “We are in the cleanout phase, but the recovery efforts will be continuing for weeks and months ahead.” “There is a shortage of volunteers, with Louisiana hit so badly with flooding. Resources are spread thin,” Brown added, noting that area pastors, including Terry Wright from FBC Vidor, which has housed feeding operations, are in the early stages of planning how to coordinate ongoing rebuilding initiatives to assist Deweyville. “We are in the process of helping organize for long-term recovery,” Brown said. “Our focus is to get Pastor Bickham and his church back on their feet so that First Deweyville will be the heroes for the community that they have always been,” Bradshaw added. Stice affirmed the focus, “Our goal is to get their family life center back online. This will serve as a place to worship and as a center of ministry to help the community.” Stice praised the involvement of Liberty BC, FBC Mauriceville and other SBTC churches such as FBC Vidor and Hartburg BC in Orange, while agreeing, “There’s a lot left to do.” For those wishing to volunteer or donate online to relief efforts in Deweyville—visit sbtexas.com/dr and click on “How to Help.”
WATCH ONLINE VIDEO OF DISASTER RELIEF AT TE XANONLINE.NET/DEWEYVILLE
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mixed in here and there. He had trouble holding down a job, and it wasn’t rare for his boss or coworker to bail him out of jail. He even contemplated suicide. “I firmly believe God kept me alive so that I could be a testimony to other people,” Brasher says, after 51 years of marriage to his wife, Irene, and more than 54 years being dry. But for a long time, Brasher appeared headed for a lifetime of alcoholism and an early death. Raised in church and the son of a deacon, his weakness for alcohol was obvious from the moment he took his first sip. By the time of his 25th arrest at age 25, he was facing a 60-day sentence at a Mississippi jail when the sheriff—a friend of the family—urged him to attend a free six-week alcoholism treatment center, paid for by the state. Facing health problems and nightly 104-degree fevers, Brasher agreed, and for a while, things looked up. He got off the bottle, got on a doctor-prescribed drug, and went back to work. Less than three months later, though, he was drinking again, living in his car and, eventually, he was back in jail. This time, his widower mother intervened, and the two of them moved to Corpus Christi, a transition that Brasher favored because,he figured, there were no jobs left for him back in Mississippi. And it worked, for about 60 days.. When Brasher began drinking again this time, he nearly died. One day, jail officials took him to the local hospital for an IV injection because he was in such physical pain that they feared he
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wouldn’t live another night. On another occasion, Brasher contemplated suicide and might have followed through if not for the fact his mother and sister needed him because his father had died about seven years earlier. Brasher had given up trying to quit drinking. “I think I may have been hoping for death,” he says. When Brasher was working, he always visited the bar soon after he clocked out. One of his favorite beer joints was the HiHat, which was run by a 6-foot6, 250-pound man named Jack— a man who Brasher accidentally ticked off once when the two were sitting together. “Without any warning he backhanded me in the face with that club of a hand, knocked me off the bar stool, across the floor and under a pool table,” Brasher says. “… Jack is towering over me like a huge gorilla saying, ‘Come on out. I’m gonna kill you.’” At 5-foot-10 and 140 pounds, Brasher didn’t seem to stand much of a chance, but he rushed the large man, knocked him over, and somehow got him in a tight headlock. Jack, desperately wanting to breathe, promised not to bother Brasher if he let him go, and so Brasher loosened his grip … and sprinted out the door. Brasher survived then, but on a different night, he nearly didn’t. While living with his mother, he came home drunk and unknowingly set the bed on fire while passed out with a lit cigarette. Smoked filled his room, but his mom woke up, dragged him out of bed and then dowsed the fire with water. The next morning, Brasher asked what happened. “When I finally looked in my bedroom, the mattress springs were all burned out and laying on the floor,” Brasher says. Brasher took his last drink of alcohol in January 1962, and he
Ellis Brasher stands on the porch of of his cypress log home near Rusk. Ellis and his wife, Irene, raise cattle there. PHOTO BY GARY LEDBETTER
“I firmly believe
God kept me alive so that I could be a testimony to other people.” —ELLIS BRASHER
credits the power of God and an Alcoholics Anonymous group for helping him quit his addiction. But it was a co-worker, in 1968, who planted the seeds of the gospel within him, telling Brasher about “salvation, Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit and many other aspects of true belief.” “He witnessed to me very strongly,” Brasher says. “He made the remark, ‘I think the Holy Spirit is speaking to you right now.’ That’s the very first time I had ever experienced that, and I was confused.”
“I began to realize that sooner or later I was going to have to do something about it,” he says. Brasher, though, delayed his personal decision more than 25 years, rarely attending church. Finally, one day in the early 1990s, he asked his wife if she wanted to start going to church with him. “Yes, I thought you would never ask,” she replied. “It had been in the back of my mind all the time. A lot of times when I was traveling, I would be in a hotel and pick up a Gideon Bible and read those. I kept think-
ing, ‘I have to do more.’ I read a little of the Bible every time I was in a hotel,” Brasher recalls. It took him a few more weeks, but Brasher finally walked down the aisle of a church service, having been prompted the previous Sunday by the testimony of a man who had lived a similar life. Shortly thereafter, he was baptized. Today, Brasher and his wife attend Calvary Baptist Church in Rusk. Brasher wants his testimony to serve as an example of the power of the gospel—that anyone, even an alcoholic who has been arrested nearly 50 times, can be saved. But he also wants to encourage Christians to share their testimony with others, not giving up if they don’t see results. To this day, the co-worker who witnessed to Brasher, the co-worker who planted the seeds, does not know how the story ended. “Miracles,” Brasher says, “happen every day.” Read Brasher’s full testimony at texanonline.net/brasher.
SWBTS president, security chief, professor discuss guns and self-defense By Katie Coleman SWBTS FORT WORTH During the chaos of an active shooter situation, seconds matter. However, in such a situation, many people are frozen by fear and do nothing. In light of this, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary Chief of Security John Nichols says preparedness is essential. Security teams should form a plan, consider potential scenarios, be aware of exits in a building, and even participate in an active shooter course. Nichols was one of three panelists at a discussion on the seminary campus, March 22, where students had the opportunity to ask questions concerning guns, general safety and self-defense. Panelists included Nichols, seminary president Paige Patterson and ethics professor Evan Lenow.
“[Active shooter courses] help prepare you to know what your body and your brain will do when you hear gunshots and when you see a threat,” Nichols said. “Folks are surprised to find themselves frozen in their seats when they hear gunshots. The people who take action by fleeing the building or heavily barricading themselves in a room are usually the ones who survive.” The panel also discussed how Christians should think about the possibility of using deadly force, even if justified by the defense of self or others. “A lot of people have never thought through that scenario before,” Patterson said. “What if you had to kill someone in order to save lives? I pray every day that I do not have to do that because if I have to shoot someone, there is a very good chance that the man is not saved and
would go to hell. I have spent my entire life trying to get people into heaven, so how could I ever be happy about that?” Lenow added that when people think of self-defense, they must consider the defense of others. “If you are the one carrying a weapon and are going to act, you are the one putting yourself in the line of fire,” Lenow said. “Those who are willing to step up and defend others must ask themselves if they are willing to do so at the risk of their own lives.” During the Q&A, a student prompted the topic of the use of lethal force in defense of property. Although allowed by Texas law, Lenow said he would hesitate to use such force. He clarified that in a situation of home invasion where the criminal intent was unclear, he would take necessary steps to protect life and property. “But
if a TV is being stolen, and the guy is fleeing to a car, shooting the guy in the back isn’t going to do any good,” he said. Concluding the discussion, Patterson said, “Nobody is ever killed by a gun. People are killed by other people. You can’t build an army big enough to keep it from happening. The only thing you can do is change
men’s hearts. And only God can do that [through you]. “He called you into the first line of prevention of crime and evil in the world. He made you a witness for Christ. Whatever it is you do, you do it for the Lord; it is the first line of defense. The fact that we carry a pistol or something like that is absolutely secondary.”
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FIGHTING OVER MUSIC Gary Ledbetter Editor
hat does “worship” mean to you? In everyday church conversation we speak as though “worship” and “music” are synonymous. When pressed, most of us would admit that preaching, praying, giving, reading Scripture and the ordinances are also acts of worship we do during our corporate meetings. Thus we speak of the “worship hour” or “worship service” each week. Those who attend regularly expect all those diverse things to be on the program. They are all worship. Today, a Friday, my brothers and sisters are mostly not in a worship service. They are driving to work, typing, in class, digging, cooking and even writing traffic citations. I’d say those things can be worship as disciples do them “as unto the Lord.” We are instructed by God in Scripture to do these apparently mundane things in exactly that way and for his glory. Worship is not everything, but it is much broader than a couple of hours a week or even just one significant portion (music) of those hours.
Perhaps the confusion came when a generation back we began speaking of “worship wars.” We were not debating expository verses therapeutic preaching (but let’s please do) or the meaning of the ordinances. We were arguing about music. And that discussion is much more emotionally charged than any debate I’ve heard about preaching style or even the meaning of the Lord’s Supper. Why call it a “war” rather than a “discussion”? It goes back to the reason music even matters, I think. Music is an emotional medium, an art form intended to get into our lives through our hearts. Consider the difference between reading the Psalms and the books of history in the Bible. The Psalms have theological throw weight and even prophetic messages, but they enter our thinking through poetry and word pictures—emotion and imagination. These are part of who we are, the work of the God who made so many things beautiful and important beyond what propositional statements can convey. And I’m a big fan of propositional truth, but I also love music. Prose, even historical narrative, can move me emotionally, but music does more often. Some people have playlists for weightlifting or running, others select their favorite driving music or
music that settles their minds before sleep. Music impacts our morale, our mood, our energy levels. God intended it to do those things, I must conclude. How could we not use this in corporate and private worship? That is surely what he intends also. I am immune to very few styles of music. Hip-hop and most Eastern music are limited in what they carry into the psyche of this Midwestern boy, but that is likely more a matter of my inexperience than objective judgment. God has moved me through classical, rock, jazz, symphonic, salsa, country and bluegrass music—most of them styles I disdained 40 years ago. If I’m willing, I can worship alongside anyone in nearly any style. To be plain, the “worship wars” were/are about bias and selfishness on both sides. “Leaning on the Everlasting Arms” is not a better song than “In Christ Alone.” Neither is “At the Cross” less worthy than any song currently more popular in our churches. We all take comfort in the familiar, the treasured patterns of our youth, and expect to have that comfort in church. It’s not wrong to be fond of these things, but it is almost always wrong to expect them, demand them or mourn for them in corporate worship. It’s wrong to insist that church
MUSIC IMPACTS OUR MORALE, OUR MOOD, OUR ENERGY LEVELS. GOD INTENDED IT TO DO THOSE THINGS, I MUST CONCLUDE. HOW COULD WE NOT USE THIS IN CORPORATE AND PRIVATE WORSHIP? music entertains us. If we have to concentrate to catch the message of music in a new style or with new words, it may be that we’re paying attention to something the Lord would say to us. Is our discipleship complete after 20 or 30 years of following Christ? Are we exempt from learning new things from God through brothers and sisters of another generation? Some Christian songs are better than others. That’s been true since people started writing songs for churches. It will always be true. Quite apart from “better,” some Christian songs are more popular with one group in the church than with another. The transitions in taste from father to son, world without end, have migrated from pop music to church music, and it disturbs our fellowship when one generation takes the reins and gets to pick the music. We need to work hard to avoid that disturbance and stop grumbling about that, even within our own tribal groups.
For entertainment value, most Christian songs won’t make my playlist. That’s fine; I don’t go to church because I want to find amusement. As I have matured I find that I have to work harder at worship than I did when I was younger. That has been all to the good. Perhaps having things my way made me lazy, taking things for granted that should never be presumed upon. I am grateful for those trained church musicians who work hard each week to teach us God’s way through music. I’m grateful for those talented amateurs who lead music in so many Southern Baptist churches across the country. Their earnest efforts to move our emotions toward God deserve our respect, and our patience. In the end, though, our worship, our experience with God alongside our brothers and sisters, is part of being a disciple of Jesus. We are responsible to him for our stewardship of even our opportunities to praise him.
5 Ways to Tear Down Walls Between Pastors we have time for is to spend time together. But it’s a major Nathan Lino kingdom loss that we don’t. SBTC President When pastors talk to each other, we are better able to discover what the Holy Spirit is sn’t it strange how often trying to do to build the kingpastors of gospel-preaching dom in our area. I’ve learned local churches in the same over 14 years of pastoring that area don’t really know each the Spirit rarely moves in only other? Our church members one church when he is at work; think we all get along fondly; I he seems to work in broader mean, after all, we are outposts movements so that what he of the same kingdom, pursuing lays on the heart of one pastor, the same mission, on behalf of he also lays on the hearts of the same king, so it only stands other pastors. Further, when pastors talk to reason, we must get together. to each other, misperceptions If they only knew. It’s understandable that pas- from afar about each other and tors of different churches in our churches are replaced with the same area operate in silos. truth; we are far less likely to Admittedly, our roles can be so form opinions of each other demanding and the pressures so based on hearsay from church great, that often the last thing members. Additionally, if we
talked with each other, we’d probably spend kingdom resources better in our community. And in the coming days, we would be able to encourage each other and work together as the vice tightens on religious liberty. We are going to need each other. Here are some ideas for breaking down the invisible walls between pastors in a community: 1. Pastors can pray by name in their personal prayer times for other pastors in the area. It is really hard to remain hardened toward someone when you pray by name for the Lord to bless him. When I do this, I sense the rivalry, competitiveness and jealousies in my heart evaporating, and I find myself rooting for him. 2. Pastors can use their pastoral prayer times in Sunday
Jim Richards, Executive Director
Contributors: Lance Beaumont
Southern Baptist TEXAN VOLUME
Gary K. Ledbetter, Editor Keith Collier, Managing Editor Tammi Ledbetter, Special Assignments Editor Sharayah Colter, Staff Writer Gayla Sullivan, Circulation Manager Russell Lightner, Layout/Graphic Artist
Michael Foust Jonathan Leeman Nathan Lino Nathan Lorick Bonnie Pritchett Jane Rodgers
morning worship to pray by name for another pastor and his church in the area. Your people will be blown away. When my people hear me give thanks for the pastor and church down the road and pray God’s blessing on them, it starts erasing the sense of rivalry and jealousies in our congregation’s hearts, and we find ourselves instead rooting for the churches around us. 3. Pastors can choose to speak very carefully to their members about area churches. I remind my members every so often that we do not criticize area churches. No matter what happens, they are the bride of Christ. Do not criticize his bride. 4. Pastors can send each other “kudos” when they hear of kingdom victories at each other’s churches. If you want to
encourage another pastor, celebrate with him when the Spirit is moving in his congregation. Give him a call. Write him a letter. Stop by his office. 5. Finally, of course, rather than wait for that other pastor to call you to go to lunch, why don’t you initiate? Our different convictions about methodologies are no cause for contention, but rather celebration. How much does our Lord love your city that he sent a pastor like you and a pastor like the other guy to the same area so that by all means necessary, our Lord might reach some! Go to lunch with that pastor if for no other reason than to drive home afterwards marveling at the love of Christ for your city and to commit to pray for God’s favor on that shepherd.
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EMPHASIZE THE FAMILY IN WORSHIP Jim Richards Executive Director
ver the next few weeks many will be observing Mother’s Day and Father’s Day in addition to recognizing high school graduates. When I was a pastor I usually scheduled a day for baby dedication, a children’s day and a senior adult day as well. For about six weeks every year, I highlighted the family. Coming in the June issue of the TEXAN will be a look at the complementarian approach to life and ministry. Simply put, complementarianism is the position that men and women have different but complementary roles and responsibilities in the family and church. Some complementarians are open to women holding an egalitarian place in government and business. Others are not. The Baptist Faith and Message Statement (2000) in Article 18 states:
The husband and wife are of equal worth before God, since both are created in God’s image. The marriage relationship models the way God relates to his people. A husband is to love his wife as Christ loved the church. He has the God-given responsibility to provide for, to protect, and to lead his family. A wife is to submit herself graciously to the servant leadership of her husband even as the church willingly submits to the headship of Christ. She, being in the image of God as is her husband and thus equal to him, has the God-given responsibility to respect her husband and to serve as his helper in managing the household and nurturing the next generation. Unapologetically, the BF&M 2000 presents the complementarian position for the home. Likewise, Article 6 on “The Church” says, “While both men and women are gifted for service in the church, the office of pastor is limited to men as
qualified in Scripture.” Without equivocation, our faith statement restricts the office of pastor for a male. At the same time, the statement as it relates to church ministry provides a great deal of latitude in Baptist life. Churches may have women serving as deaconesses, on church staff with varying titles or leading in a variety of ministries. While my personal conviction would not allow me to pastor a church with some of those practices, the BF&M 2000 does not prohibit them. Let me make a brief parenthetical comment here about the BF&M 2000. Our faith statement is broad enough to include Calvinists and whatever non-Calvinists are called. Eschatology is open to wide interpretation—nonmillennialists, millennialists and numerous views on the tribulation all fit within our faith statement. We all agree Jesus is coming again! While we do not demand every Southern Baptist to be in lock step on every matter, we do have some positions that
HAVING A FAMILY EMPHASIS ON YOUR CHURCH/ PREACHING CALENDAR IS NOT THE ANSWER, BUT IT IS A START. are irreducible. For example, there is no compromise on the nature of Scripture, salvation, the ordinances of baptism and the Lord’s Supper, and “the sanctity of all human life from conception to natural death.” We are a confessional people with essential, specific beliefs. So, where there is room for differing positions, let grace abound toward one another. But, where there is undeniable clarity, let us not waver. The BF&M 2000 presents what we believe is the biblical position on the first institution given by God—the family. Churches are increasingly confronted with a myriad of challenges to this fundamental institution. People with samesex attraction, gender identity issues, divorce, single-parent homes or couples living together without marriage are likely
attending your church. What are we to do? Having a family emphasis on your church/preaching calendar is not the answer, but it is a start. As broken as we are, by God’s grace we can be light in darkness. Preach the truth of God’s Word! Teach biblical answers to family matters. Look for ways to highlight healthy families. Model before a dying culture a living example of Christ and the church through your husband and wife relationship. Encourage family worship at home that fuels worship as the church. We must constantly elevate God’s design for the family in a world that continues to devalue it. EDITOR’S NOTE: The June edition of the TEXAN will feature a special report on complementarianism and its implications on churches.
The Hole in our Evangelism Nathan Lorick
SBTC Evangelism Director
e are living in the midst of a spiritual epidemic that often goes ignored by churches throughout our nation. This epidemic can’t be treated by new books or buzzwords. It can’t be contained through catch phrases or cute acronyms. It can only be turned around by pastors, church staff and lay people who are broken and burdened for the lost. This spiritual epidemic is evangelistic indifference. We live in a nation growing at overwhelming rates. In 1981, the U.S. population was approximately 229 million, and today, we are at 322 million. The fact that our nation is growing at such rapid rates and yet our churches are dying and baptisms are dropping should send chills down the spine of every follower of Jesus. We must recover our fervency for reaching the lost with the gospel of Christ.
In Acts 17, Paul is in Antioch awaiting the arrival of Timothy and Silas. In the midst of this pagan culture, he becomes driven to reach the lost. Here, we learn three lessons to help us end the epidemic of evangelistic indifference: 1.) Lostness was personal to Paul. As Paul awaited his ministry partners in Antioch, his spirit was provoked. His spirit was not provoked because people were constantly pursuing him or persecuting him. It was simply that Paul found himself in the middle of a city giving glory to a god who did not deserve it. It became personal to Paul that the god of man’s imagination was bypassing the God of creation. As we look around today, we find ourselves in a similar place. Our culture is busy laying its praise on the altar of false gods and self-centered pursuits, growing more and more hostile to the things of God. People are flocking to our nation to pursue the American dream while our churches sit
silently hoping they will somehow stumble into our doors. If we are going to see this epidemic turned around, we can no longer be indifferent about lostness. It must become personal to us, as it was to Paul. We often forget the reality of hell because we refuse to be close to those who are on their way there. As long as we are more provoked about politics, economics or sports than we are about those lost and going to hell, we will not see this epidemic turned around. We must take personal action. 2.) Paul was intentional about engaging the culture Because the city’s spiritual state became personal to Paul, he wanted to do something about it. In verse 17, Paul goes into the synagogue with the Jews and devout men. In other words, Paul went to church. However, Paul doesn’t just go to church and expect others to join him there. He also went into the marketplace every day to seek those with whom he could share Christ. In churches
today, we need less expectation that the lost will join us in our church and more intentionality for us to go into the marketplace. We need to apply our time, resources, strategies and efforts to equipping and mobilizing marketplace missionaries who work to make a living but live to make a difference. Too often, we have made the Sunday morning experience our primary method of evangelism when it’s only a fraction of our church members’ week. This is the hole in our evangelism—that we subconsciously train our people to spend the minimal time on what matters the most. What if we built our strategies on marketplace evangelism? What if we equipped our people to share the gospel where they spend most of their time? 3.) Paul’s objective was the gospel, and his message was compelling Provoked by the need, Paul began to preach. He went before the Areopagus; and as verse 18 tells us, he preached Jesus and the resurrection. This was the
common pattern of Paul’s ministry. His sole objective was to proclaim the gospel. In verse 20, the men of the city demonstrate a hunger to know more about Jesus and his resurrection. So, too, when we engage people with the gospel, we will see them hunger for more of Christ. Taking Paul’s example, let’s take the lostness around us personally. Let’s intentionally engage our culture by equipping and mobilizing our people to go into the marketplace. Let’s keep our main objective of faithfully proclaiming the gospel. We are tempted to identify ourselves and churches as “gospel-centered.” However, if the gospel is not being shared individually and corporately, how are we “gospel-centered”? Perhaps it just becomes a buzzword and a hole in our evangelism. May we work together to put an end to the epidemic of evangelistic indifference! EDITOR’S NOTE: An expanded version of this article first appeared on Southwestern Seminary’s blog TheologicalMatters.com.
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PARENTING, GENDER CONFUSION, AND CHILD ABUSE Keith Collier
hich of the following options would you define as “child abuse”? A) a parent encourages a child to pursue desires that will cause irreparable physical, psychological and emotional damage, or B) that parent protects the child from these desires, despite the child’s insistence on what’s best The answer seems easy, but when it comes to the debate over treatment for gender-confused children, medical professionals demonstrate competing worldviews that could prove disastrous for this generation. The American College of Pediatricians released a startling article March 21, calling on educators and legislators “to reject all policies that condition children to accept as normal a life of chemical and surgical impersonation of the opposite sex.” The medical professionals highlight the dangers of puberty-blocking drugs and cross-sex hormones in gender-confused adolescents—treatments that pave the way for gender reassignment surgery as an adult— and conclude that encouraging children and parents to pursue such treatments is “child abuse.” Key to their propositions is the biological fact that human sexuality is binary—male and female—and having these ge-
netic (XY and XX) markers is normal and healthy. Children with gender confusion, such as a boy believing he’s a girl or a girl wanting to be a boy, suffer from “an objective psychological problem [that] lies in the mind not the body,” these pediatricians say. The article condemns attempts to normalize transgender treatments, citing the most recent edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the American Psychiatric Association that “as many as 98% of gender-confused boys and 88% of gender-confused girls eventually accept their biological sex after naturally passing through puberty.” Noting that suicide rates are 20 times higher among adults that use crosssex hormones and undergo sex reassignment surgery, the ACP asks, “What compassionate and reasonable person would condemn young children to this fate … ?” The LGBTQ community will likely do everything it can to discredit these physicians and their claims. Certainly they cannot allow the massive surge in the acceptance of the transgender movement, popularized by last year’s media frenzy over Bruce Jenner’s “transformation” into Caitlyn Jenner, to lose steam. After all, don’t they hold the rights to the term “child abuse” in reference of parents who refuse to allow children to “be who they really are”? This claim shows just how skewed the term “child abuse” has become.
Make no mistake, this is about opposing ideologies. The medical analysis of the ACP flies in the face of doctrine given to parents of children with gender dysphoria (the medical term for gender confusion) who are told they are abusive to force their kid to accept their biological sex. Take, for example, the story of Mela Singleton, mother of 12-year-old “Evan” Singleton. She first noticed her daughter Evie’s desire to be a boy when she was just 2 years old. As a toddler, Evie rejected anything “stereotypically girly” and threw fits when people would refer to her as “she.” By age 7, Mela and her husband decided that Evie must have a boy brain with a girl body, so they acquiesced to their adolescent’s wishes, changed her name to Evan, and gave her a boy’s haircut and clothing. Two years later, “Evan” became the first patient in the Children Medical Center Dallas’ transgender program, absurdly called Genecis (GENder Education and Care, Interdisciplinary Support), the only pediatric clinic of its type in the Southwest and among the 40 such clinics nationwide. “It’s my job as a parent to help him be his authentic self,” Mela says, adding, “it’s not about me; it’s about raising a child to be the best him that he can be.” Evan, whether conditioned by his parents or the Genecis program, simply wants transgender to be normalized, stating “it’s not that big of a deal.”
WHEN IT COMES TO THE DEBATE OVER TREATMENT FOR GENDER-CONFUSED CHILDREN, MEDICAL PROFESSIONALS DEMONSTRATE COMPETING WORLDVIEWS THAT COULD PROVE DISASTROUS FOR THIS GENERATION.
But what if “raising a child to be the best him that he can be” actually means raising him as a her, which is her God-given biological sex. That is, after all, what the data presented by the pediatricians at ACP suggests. Sadly, an over-idealized concept of individual freedom runs rampant in our culture, asking, “Who are you to refuse to let someone choose who they want to be?” My answer to that question is simply, “I’m the dad.” As parents, we face difficult choices over what is best for our children all the time, and these decisions often come at the protest of our children, who think they know best. What if my 5-year-old daughter, who has her dad’s sweet tooth, says she thinks M&M’s are the healthiest food for her and throws a fit when I place anything else in front of her? What if I acquiesce to her wishes and feed her only M&M’s because “that’s just who she is”? Or what if after she complained of a headache, I handed her a bottle of Aspirin and encouraged her to
eat as many as she wanted to make her feel better. I’m pretty sure in both of these cases that Child Protective Services would be knocking at my door. Let me be clear, gender dysphoria is a serious psychological disorder in children, and I would never encourage parents to ignore it or say “he’ll get over it.” Parents should patiently and prayerfully seek help but also be aware that recommendations they get from some doctors will go against God’s design for human sexuality. At the same time, just because your daughter likes to skateboard or doesn’t like the color pink doesn’t mean she’s a boy trapped in a girl’s body. And just because your son is more effeminate, it does not mean you should pursue medical treatments that could jeopardize his health and his life. Undoubtedly, this debate will rage on, but I appreciate physicians like those with the ACP who are willing to stand against the trends in psychology and medicine in order to more clearly identify the true definition of “child abuse.”
State leaders discuss church revitalization best practices By Keith Collier Managing Editor CHARLESTON, S.C. Leaders from 14 Baptist state conventions met March 21-22 in Charleston, S.C., to network and share best practices related to their work in church revitalization. Also present were representatives from LifeWay Christian Resources and the North American Mission Board as well as several leaders from local associations in South Carolina. “Church growth is a supernatural event, and therefore church revitalization is more of a spiritual issue than a mechanical one,” said Ken Hemphill, guest speaker for the meeting and director for North Greenville University’s Center for Church Planting and Revitalization. “Our core conviction is [that] nothing changes the heart and mind but the Word of God applied by the Spirit of God.
Church revitalization must be undergirded by prayer and based on the effective and accurate teaching of God’s Word.” The leadership network was initiated by Kenneth Priest, director of convention strategies for the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention, and Steve Rice, church consulting and revitalization team leader for the Kentucky Baptist Convention. “The Southern Baptists of Texas Convention believes church revitalization is brought about by the people of God returning to the Word of God,” Priest explained. “This means that the strongest model for bringing about the needed change in a church is done from the pulpit by the pastor. Therefore, we use a process that is focused on preaching for revitalization and reinforce this with small group study based off the sermon.” Darwin Meighan, director of church revitalization/
evangelism for the Nevada Baptist Convention, shared ways his convention partners with pastors and churches, including providing resources that give “transferable scriptural principles along with key components essential to the spiritual process of revitaliz- Darwin Meighan, director of church revitalization/evangelism for the Nevada Baptist Convention, ing every church shares ways his convention partners with pastors and churches in church revitalization. PHOTO BY regardless of its KENNETH PRIEST size, condition or Each year, a different state “Even though each of us context.” “Our desire is to come along- convention hosts the meet- has a different model, none of side pastors and churches to join ing of state convention lead- them are bad or wrong; they them in the journey of restoring ers so they can discuss what are simply different,” said spiritual health, hope and re- is happening in their respec- Steve Rice. “Each of us has to approach newal in each church’s unique tive states, new practices ministry setting, with the goal and tools developed in the revitalization within the model of helping them more effective- past year, what is working and the context of the model ly accomplish the Great Com- and what is not working in within our respective state convention.” church revitalization. mission,” Meighan said.
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18 THINGS TO PRAY FOR YOUR CHURCH Jonathan Leeman
Have you ever been reading your Bible and noticed how Paul prays such rich, kingdomsaturated prayers for churches? For the church in Thessalonica: “To this end we always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling and may fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by his power” (2 Thess. 1:11; see also 1 Thess. 1:9–13). For the church in Colossae: “We have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God” (Col. 1:9–10). For the church in Ephesus: “I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him” (Eph. 1:16–17; see also 3:14–21). For the church in Rome (Rom. 15:14–33) and the church in Philippi (Phil. 1:9–11). Leading the Charge It’s comparatively easy for you and me to pray for ourselves, our families and our friends. But how can we learn how to pray more fervently and consistently for our local churches? For one, we just need to start doing it—and encouraging others to do so. To help with that, here are 18 things you can pray for your church. They aren’t as rich as Paul’s since I wanted to
keep them simple and Twitterlength. (Also because I’m not inspired.) Still, perhaps you could print out this article and pray two or three of the points below per day for the next week—maybe in your quiet time, maybe at the family dinner table. Also, consider copying your favorite prayers below into Twitter or Facebook, led by the phrase “Pray for your church: ...” Don’t insert my Twitter handle. You don’t have enough room, and it’s not the point. The point is to use your social media platform to encourage others to pray for their church. Who knows? One day in glory, perhaps we’ll see all the good accomplished from believers being more deliberate about praying for their churches. What to Pray For That we would have unity amid diversity—loving those with whom we have nothing in common but the gospel. That a culture of discipling would form in which making disciples is viewed as an ordinary part of the Christian life. That faithful elders would use Scripture to train members to do the work of ministry. That a hunger for studying the gospel would form among members so that they can guide and guard one another in it. That transparent, meaningful relationships would become normal and remaining anonymous would become strange. That the preaching of God’s Word would be biblically careful and Holy Spirit imbued. That elders would remain above reproach—kept from temptation, complacency, idols and worldliness.
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That the church’s songs would teach members to biblically confess, lament and praise. That the church’s prayers would be infused with biblical ambitions, honesty and humility. That adult members would work to disciple teenagers and not just leave it to programming. That the church’s primary teachers grow in dedication to God’s Word even when no one’s watching. That the church would grow in being distinct from the world in love and holiness, even as it engages outsiders.
That members would share the gospel this week—and see more conversions! That members would be prepared for persecution, remembering to love, not curse, their persecutors. That hopes for political change would be outstretched by the hope of heaven. That giving would be faithful, as well as joyful, consistent and sacrificial. That more members would use their careers to take the gospel to places it’s never been. That members would be good and do good in their workplaces this week.
Can you think of something I didn’t include? Then pray it and share it! This is hardly the “official list” of the 18 most important things to pray. They’re simply what one guy thought of while sitting in his office chair. The point is for all of us to start praying more intentionally for our churches and to encourage others to do the same. This article first appeared on The Gospel Coalition website. Jonathan Leeman is editorial director for 9Marks Ministries and an elder at Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington, D.C.
Longtime Houston deacon, SBTC trustee John Brunson dies By Alex Sibley TEXAN Correspondent
John Soles Brunson, a lifelong Houstonian and committed Southern Baptist, died April 8. He was 82. Born in Houston, Texas, Brunson completed his undergraduate work at Baylor University in 1956 and later received a Doctor of Jurisprudence from Baylor College of Law in 1958. He practiced law professionally for more than 30 years and continued to provide legal wisdom and guidance to countless individuals and organizations following retirement. Brunson was a member of Houston’s First Baptist Church (HFBC) for more than 75 years.
At HFBC, where he also met his wife, Joan, Brunson served as chairman of deacons, sang in the choir, chaperoned youth trips and served in countless leadership roles. He taught Sunday school for roughly 60 years in the college and newlywed departments and, most recently, in the Cornerstone Class. In addition, he was called upon regularly to provide wisdom and discernment in difficult situations or whenever a need arose. Dedicating much of his time and energy to Christian education and missional efforts, Brunson was a member of the board of trustees at Southwestern Seminary for the past eight years. He was a member of the executive board of the South-
ern Baptists of Texas Convention from 2003-2011, serving as vice chairman from 2007-2009. In addition, he was a trustee of Houston Christian High School for 12 years, where he remained trustee emeritus until his death. The beloved patriarch of his family, Brunson shared his love of the Lord and Scripture with his children, grandchildren and anyone else who would listen. Sunday lunches were filled with his stories of family, history and theology. Brunson is survived by his wife of 62 years, Joan; two children; four grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren. His family says Brunson will be most remembered for his gift of wisdom, brilliant mind, sense of humor and hearty laugh.
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A COOPERATIVE PROGRAM FOR TODAY & THE FUTURE Ronnie Floyd SBC President
ast fall before speaking at one of our state conventions, I had the privilege to meet a man employed by another major denomination. As we were talking, I asked what he felt was one of the biggest challenges in their denomination. He said their biggest problem is their churches not funding missionaries like they used to. He stated they are searching for a new way to get this done because when the missionaries come to their churches to raise their individual financial support, the churches are doing so much themselves, they no longer feel they need the missionaries. Additionally, due to the changing nature of church life and the economy, churches are struggling to support missionaries individually and consistently. Then he stated, “You guys seem to do that so well.” I told him about the Cooperative Program and the way it functions. I explained it is not just the way we fund our international missionaries but also our ministries and mission work statewide and nationally. He was amazed and very complimentary. I believe a Cooperative Program for today and a Cooperative Program for the future has to be built upon five major convictions. Conviction #1: Mission, not money The driving engine of the Cooperative Program is not money but the mission of God to redeem the world from sin. The final orders of Jesus before he ascended to heaven were the words given to us in Acts 1:8, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come on you, and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
The compelling mission of Jesus Christ to be his witnesses regionally, statewide, nationally and internationally is what the Cooperative Program has been built upon, is built upon, and must be built upon in the future. This is why churches give through the Cooperative Program, not to the Cooperative Program. We give through the Cooperative Program in order to fund our work together with one compelling cause: presenting the gospel to every person and to make disciples of all the nations. I am convinced the more we talk about what we are doing to accomplish this mission, the more dollars will flow through the Cooperative Program. Conviction #2: Unity, not unbelief The Cooperative Program is our unified plan of giving. It places us shoulder-to-shoulder in our work together, regardless of the size of our church, the color of our skin, or our location in America. When we continually question this plan, we represent uncertainty to generations of Baptists. Clashing opinions lead to an unseemliness that affects our mission effectiveness. Entertaining societal methodology jeopardizes our unified plan of giving. Just as it would damage a church’s fellowship and mission, it would even more so in our convention. We need to continue believing in the value of our unified plan of giving. Conviction #3: Cooperation, not competition The spirit of cooperation is so important in funding our work together. A societal method of financial support would fuel competition between our state, national and international work. The Cooperative Program eliminates competition between our entities as it provides a balanced approach for support.
Each state convention has the privilege to annually evaluate the percentage of monies kept for their statewide ministries versus what is forwarded on to our national and international work. This is why each church needs to have representation in their state convention. As this is evaluated annually, the desires of the churches are fulfilled. The financial formula for the allocation of monies received nationally from the churches through their state conventions is regularly reviewed by our Executive Committee. Change is possible and does occur when we work together toward a common goal. The Cooperative Program exists to serve the churches in helping them accomplish their Godgiven responsibility to fulfill the Great Commission; it does not exist for the churches to serve it. Conviction #4: Partnership, not personalities Partnership is the key to the Cooperative Program. Churches
partner with other churches through their state conventions and our national Southern Baptist Convention. Each state convention partners with other state conventions in funding the work of the SBC. And our national entities partner with each other and state conventions to present the gospel and make disciples of all the nations. Partnership, not personality, drives our mission. If we keep our eyes on personalities and things occur that cause tension, we may be tempted to consider our financial support as optional. This is not the wisest approach nor best for our work together. Refuse to let personalities determine your support. If concerns exist, each state convention has an executive board and each national entity has a board of trustees. In other words, a process is in place to deal with a personality that may concern you. Baptist work is built upon our partnership together for the gospel, not on human personalities.
Conviction #5: History, not just the here and now While the relevance of the here and now is important, we must never disregard the lessons from history. Just think how many times we hear in our society that things have changed and we need to adjust our moral beliefs because of it. In other words, what is valued as truth in the here and now is more important than our own history as a nation. I believe the Southern Baptist Convention must be relevant today. In regards to funding our work together, we do not need to return to what we walked away from 91 years ago, a societal method of financial support. The Cooperative Program is not perfect. But I believe this unified method of support that began in 1925 is still relevant today and have seen others marvel at how we are able to work together to accomplish our mission.
GIFT TO MIDWESTERN SEMINARY, RECORD ENROLLMENT CELEBRATED By T. Patrick Hudson MBTS KANSAS CITY, Mo. Assembling for its spring meeting, members of Midwestern Seminary’s board of trustees celebrated the announcement of a significant gift and received reports of enrollment growth. President Jason Allen announced to the board during its April 4-5 meeting an anonymous gift of $500,000 toward the institution’s student center. He also reported that the spring semester enrollment reached another record level.
“Year-to-date comparisons with the 2014-15 academic year indicates another year of robust enrollment growth,” Allen noted. “Our August 1 through April 4 total headcount last year was 1,789 students. Over the same time period this year, our unduplicated headcount rose to 2,193. In that we’ll add more students the remainder of this academic year, we anticipate our overall headcount to rise even more. Already, though, this year we’ve realized the largest enrollment in the history of the seminary.” In other seminary news, Allen informed trustees about the development of a new Chinese
Studies program to be launched next academic year. Within this program, Midwestern Seminary plans to offer courses and degrees in the Chinese language as a means of serving Chinesespeaking people in the U.S. and around the globe. “With an already robust Korean Studies program, adding Chinese Studies will expand our offerings and, together, they will constitute our Asian Studies department,” Allen said. In other business, trustees approved the coming year’s budget of nearly $15 million, elected and promoted faculty, and elected board officers.
GET TO KNOW OUR SBTC TEAM NAME: SAN JUANITA (JUANI) SHELTON
WHAT IS THE FUNNIEST THING YOU’VE SEEN HAPPEN IN THE COURSE OF WORKING AT THE SBTC? Some of the funniest things have happened during the Christmas parties. Too many to mention. Impersonations come time mind.
JOB: HISPANIC MINISTRIES MINISTRY ASSISTANT CHURCH: NORMANDALE BAPTIST CHURCH, FORT WORTH
WHAT DO YOU DO AS A MINISTRY ASSISTANT? I assist Mike Gonzales, director of the Hispanic Ministries. I work with the team to organize, implement and oversee all of our events. HOW LONG HAVE YOU WORKED FOR THE SBTC? 6 years in July IF YOU COULD GAIN ANY SUPERPOWER, WHAT WOULD IT BE AND HOW WOULD YOU USE IT? Teleporting. I would use it for daily commute and traveling to events. And my son would think I was pretty cool.
PASTOR u Faith BC, located 3 miles outside Fredericksburg, TX, seeks a FT pastor with at least 5 years’ experience; Master of Divinity desired. Please submit resume to [email protected]
or Pastor Search Committee, Faith Baptist Church, 3022 N State Highway 16, Fredericksburg, TX 78624 by May 15. u Grace BC, Salado, is seeking a FT pastor. A minimum of five years’ pastoral experience is required. Resumes will be accepted until filled and should be sent via email to [email protected]
. Receipt of resume will be acknowledged. Salado is located approximately 50 miles north of Austin, TX. u Friendship BC in Weatherford is seeking a FT senior pastor. Friendship is a rural church with an average worship attendance of 110. Please contact [email protected]
or mail resume to Friendship Baptist Church, 801 Friendship Rd, Weatherford, TX 76085. 817-594-5940. u FBC, Timpson, is seeking a FT pastor. Resumes will be accepted with a minimum of four references (name and addresses included). Must be received no later than May 20, 2016. Please mail to Pastor Search Team, c/o Don Barnett, 486 West Lake Timpson Rd, Timpson, TX 75975. u FBC of Roby seeks FT pastor. Parsonage available. Send resume to FBC Roby, PO Box 460, Roby, TX, 79543 or email to fbcroby@ sbcglobal.net. u FBC, China is searching for a FT pastor. Please send resume to Perry Seaman at First Baptist Church, PO Box 68, China, TX 77613. u Piney Grove BC is accepting resumes for the position of pastor. Resumes may be mailed to the following address: Piney Grove Baptist Church, Attention: Pastor Search Committee, 3268 Texas Highway 77 W, Atlanta, TX 75551. u Lone Oak Baptist Church in Snook, TX is receiving resumes for a bi-vocational pastor. Resumes may
IF YOU WERE IN CHARGE OF PRODUCING THE NEXT ISSUE OF THE TEXAN NEWSPAPER, WHAT NEWSWORTHY TOPIC WOULD YOU MOST WANT TO INCLUDE FOR TEXAS READERS, AND WHY WOULD YOU CHOOSE IT? With the upcoming election, I would want to be informed of the importance of voting and how one should vote as a believer. It seems to be heavy on a lot of people’s hearts knowing what decision to make that will impact the future of our country. IF YOUR CO-WORKERS WERE SECRETLY INTERVIEWED ABOUT YOUR MOST INTERESTING HABITS, WHAT WOULD THEY SAY? I spend too much time watching Rangers baseball.
be sent to Lone Oak Baptist Church, PO Box 300, Snook, TX 77878. u FBC Flat is seeking a bi-vocational pastor. Parsonage included. Send resume to FBC Flat Search Committee, PO Box 87, Flat, TX 76526 or email to [email protected]
. u FBC Blum seeking bi-vocational pastor. Parsonage included. Send resumes to First Baptist Church, attn: Sam Howard, 207 E 3rd St, Blum, TX 76627. u Maplewood Baptist Fellowship, North Richland Hills, is seeking a bi-vocational senior pastor. Please submit resumes to [email protected]
. u Sylvester BC is searching for a bi-vocational pastor. Parsonage available. Send resume to Sylvester Baptist Church, PO Box 8, Sylvester, TX, 79560, [email protected]
or call 325-962-5571. u Calvary BC, Woodville, is seeking a bi-vocational pastor. Send resume to PO Box 484, Woodville, TX 75979 or email [email protected]
. MUSIC u Highland Park BC, Bartlesville, OK, a conservative, reformed Southern Baptist Church, is seeking a FT worship pastor to lead in a blended worship style service. Preferred abilities include choir conducting and media skills. Visit our website at highlandparkbaptist.net. Email resume to: [email protected]
. u Cornerstone Baptist Church in Lucas is looking for a pastor of worship & creative arts who is gifted instrumentally and administratively. He will have the ability to recruit, train and shepherd volunteers and execute technical, creative and musical aspects of the church. Contact Darrell Edwards pastor@cbcLucas. com or 2242 W Lucas Rd, Lucas, TX 75002. u FBC, Kingsville, is seeking a FT minister of music and worship. Please send resumes to [email protected]
or mail to First Baptist Church, Attn: Search Committee, PO Box 751, Kingsville, TX, 78364.
u FBC of Rogers seeks bi-vocational worship leader to oversee choir, praise band and blended-style worship services. Compensation based on experience. Please send resumes to fbcrogers@fbcrogers. com. COMBINATION u FBC Borger seeks FT worship arts & college ministry pastor. The successful candidate will partner with the senior pastor in communicating the mission and message of the church to the young and old, churched and unchurched, by creatively incorporating elements of song, video, and the visual and performing arts into an authentic worship experience. The successful candidate also leads college ministry to students at Frank Phillips College. Resumes to [email protected]
by May 13, 2016. YOUTH u Kirkwood Church, Houston, is seeking a FT student pastor to work with high school and college students. Contact Pastor David Mai 281-495-7783 or email resume to [email protected]
. u Community BC, Crosby, is seeking a FT student pastor. If interested, please send resumes to dwilliams@ cbccrosby.org. CHILDREN u FBC of Malakoff is searching for a FT children’s minister to lead out in our ongoing effort to reach the children and families of our community. Please email resume to [email protected]
, Attention Children’s Minister Search. OTHER u Del Rio-Uvalde Baptist Association, druba.net, is seeking DOM for South Texas/Hill Country area. Minimum 10 years ministry experience, fluent in Spanish and English, willing to travel in association area. Send resumes to Del Rio-Uvalde Baptist Association, 117 E. Commerce Street, Uvalde, TX 78801 or [email protected]
ANTIOCH AWARDS As Antioch Award recipients, these churches, in collaboration with the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention, served as a primary sponsoring church for a new church plant in 2015. First Baptist Church, Brownsville First Baptist Church, Mount Vernon Primera Iglesia Bautista Nueva Vida, Dallas First Baptist Church, Columbus First Baptist Church, Lillian Primera Iglesia Bautista, Keller Kendall County Cowboy Church, Boerne Mesquite Friendship Baptist Church, Mesquite McCombs Baptist Church, El Paso Respuestas-Centro Cristiano, El Paso North Longview Baptist Church, Longview Redeemer Church, Tomball CityView Church, Pearland Prestonwood Baptist Church, Plano Rockpointe Church, Flower Mound First Baptist Church, Paris GracePointe Church, Denton First Baptist Church, Farwell Sent Church, San Angelo First Baptist Church, Beaumont Connection Community Church, Rowlett South Park Baptist Church, Grand Prairie Hill County Church, Fair Oaks Ranch El Companerismo Biblico El Camino, Lewisville Murphy Road Baptist Church, Murphy Iglesia Bautista Genesis, El Paso Denton Korean Baptist Church, Denton Church of the Way, Plano Impact Country Church, Burleson Southcrest Baptist Church, Lubbock Primeria Iglesia Bautista, Pflugerville Macarthur Boulevard Baptist Church, Irving First Baptist Church, Keller Timber Ridge Church, Stephenville
SOUTHERN BAPTISTS OF TEXAS CONVENTION
Approved exhibitors at the SBTC Annual Meeting include (subject to available space) SBTC ministries, SBC agencies, SBTC ministry relationships (under the oversight of the Ministry Relationships Committee of the Executive Board), Baptist associational ministries, and any host church. All other entities desiring booth space must submit their request in writing to Joe Davis at the SBTC, prior to June 1, 2016. Entities or individuals may share exhibit space with approved exhibitors only with the approval of the Committee on Order of Business. For profit entities that have no formal relationship with the SBTC shall not be granted exhibit space. All exhibit material must be in agreement with the SBTC Constitution and Bylaws, which includes the Baptist Faith & Message 2000. Fund raising or sales that do not conflict with SBTC priorities will be allowed in the exhibit area.
Announcements u NATIVE AMERICAN PARTNERSHIP MISSIONS - We have essential needs for a new church start-up on a Navajo reservation in New Mexico. We will be conducting their first vacation Bible school & revival. We have a need for Bibles, backpacks, new sneakers, socks & basic school supplies. All items needed by July 1. Contact Bill & Bettye Roberts, 903-364-2515, 361 Harris Lane, Whitewright, TX 75491, [email protected]
PAID CLASSIFIEDS u BUSINESS FOR SALE Christian publisher, Nets $47K, Parttime from home. E-Z to learn. Will train. $24,900. Call 828-633-2737. u CUSTOM SCREEN-PRINTED T-SHIRTS FOR CHURCHES – Great prices and free shipping across the state! Small and large orders welcome. Printed by Christian owned and operated business. Call Southeast Texas Printing Co. 409-622-2197. u CAREER OPPORTUNITY Immediate earning potential. Be part of the rapidly growing precious metals
industry. Free training and ongoing support. Work from home. Rapidly growing international company. 888-644-4408. Call NOW! u Bring a mission team to Puerto Rico. Experienced team coordinators will design a mission trip tailored to your need and goals. Come for 10 days or two weeks. No passport needed. Area is safe, cost effective and perfect for all ages and sizes of teams. You can teach, preach, hold an evangelistic outreach, work in schools, senior citizen centers, light construction, painting, sports or music ministry. Learn more at vision-puertorico.org.
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LGBTQ GROUPS TARGET CRISWELL COLLEGE OVER TITLE IX EXEMPTION By Rob Collingsworth Criswell College DALLAS For the second time in a matter of months, Dallasbased Criswell College has been called out as LGBTQ groups target religious institutions that have received or applied for Title IX exemptions. Most recently Criswell was named by the Dallas Voice as over 80 groups filed an appeal asking the NCAA to “divest from all religious-based institutions that have made Title IX waiver requests targeting transgender youth.” Although Criswell has no sports programs and no affiliation with the NCAA, the school must remain in compliance with Title IX regulations in order to receive Title IV funds such as Pell Grants and Direct PLUS Loans for students seeking financial aid. Drafted in 1972, Title IX was intended to protect women from gender-based discrimination in educational institutions
“OUR POSITION IS NOT COMPLICATED. WE ARE RESOLUTE IN OUR POLICY, STANCE AND DOCTRINE REGARDING GENDER, SEXUALITY AND MARRIAGE. WE WOULD CEASE TO OPERATE BEFORE WE WOULD CHANGE OUR COMMITMENT.” —BARRY CREAMER, CRISWELL COLLEGE PRESIDENT
or programs that receive federal money. Under the Obama administration, Title IX protections have been expanded to prevent discrimination based not only on sex but also gender identity. “The current federal administration’s interpretation and enforcement of Title IX gender discrimination guidelines has
created a threat for every school with sincerely held religious beliefs about traditional understandings of gender, sexuality and marriage,” Criswell president Barry Creamer said. According to Creamer, this expanded interpretation of Title IX protections poses a substantive threat to religious liberty.
“Some LGBTQ advocacy groups believe that the religious liberty of school administrators and supporters is less important than the sexual liberty of their own constituents,” he said. The law contains a specific exemption for religious institutions if accommodation “would not be consistent with the religious tenets of such organization.” Criswell is one of more than 50 institutions requesting exemption. “We believe our request for a religious tenet exemption will be granted and that our students will not be adversely affected by the pressure tactics of these groups,” Creamer said. “We know our conviction regarding the issues will not change.” In December, the Human Rights Campaign called upon the Obama administration to enact laws that would require schools seeking or receiving exemptions to publish information about the scope of the exemption and force the Department of Education to report
which schools have been granted exemptions. Just last week a coalition of LGBTQ advocacy groups called on the NCAA to divest from those institutions that are seeking or receiving religious exemptions in keeping with the organization’s stance on diversity. While many of the immediate implications regarding the law affect sports programs, the law more broadly applies to discrimination in areas such as admissions, housing and financial aid. According to Creamer, Criswell directed $500,000 last year toward the establishment of a Religious Liberty Education Fund with the Southern Baptists of Texas Foundation that will eventually replace federal assistance for students. “Our position is not complicated. We are resolute in our policy, stance and doctrine regarding gender, sexuality and marriage,” Creamer said. “We would cease to operate before we would change our commitment.”
Foundation welcomes new director of planned giving By Sharayah Colter TEXAN Correspondent
The Southern Baptists of Texas Foundation welcomed a new team member in March, hiring Jeffrey Steed to fill the role of director of planned giving. Steed, who holds degrees from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and the University of Texas at Arlington in addition to a Doctor of Ministry degree from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, comes to the Foundation with experience in ministries and higher education including serving as the vice president of the Arkansas Baptist Foundation in Little
Rock for more than 10 years. Prior to joining the SBTF team, Steed also served as director of development Jeff Steed and public relations for the Union Gospel Mission in Dallas and senior director of gift planning for the University of Texas at Arlington. He also has experience as a business owner and a church planter, having pastored Rock Creek Baptist Church in Maud, Texas. Steed has written articles for various publications including Christian Leadership Alliance,
Texas Nonprofits, Church Business, Church Solutions, and Philanthropy Journal. He says he is excited about the opportunities this new role with the Foundation presents and hopes to use
his skills to serve the people of Texas as they consider making planned gifts for the Lord’s work and purposes. “I am looking forward to serving the ministry of the Founda-
tion in helping Southern Baptist Texans establish legacies for the kingdom through their estates,” Steed said. For more information, visit sbtexasfoundation.com.
CHURCH COMPENSATION SURVEY DEADLINE MAY 31 By Roy Hayhurst GuideStone DALLAS The biennial SBC Church Compensation Survey in 2016 has been launched by GuideStone Financial Resources, along with LifeWay Research and Baptist state conventions.
Southern Baptist ministers and church employees are invited to participate in the survey, a resource used by churches of all sizes to determine fair wages and benefits. Church ministers and staff have until May 31 to complete the online survey.
Survey participants will have the opportunity to enter for a chance to win an iPad. The survey and complete contest rules are available at GuideStone. org/CompensationSurvey. The winner of the iPad will be notified via email.
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6 . 80 %
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Notes: Rates are subject to change. Rates are based upon one-life.
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SUPREME COURT PONDERS RELIGIOUS LIBERTY IN HHS MANDATE By Tom Strode Baptist Press WASHINGTON The U.S. Supreme Court considered arguments March 23 that the federal government is intent on forcing Christian and other religious ministries to violate their consciences by accepting a rule that makes them complicit in abortion. Lawyers for the objecting institutions—including some Southern Baptist-related entities—and the Obama administration made their cases before the justices regarding the abortion/contraception mandate, a federal regulation issued to help implement the 2010 health-care reform law. The mandate requires employers to provide for their workers not only contraceptives but drugs and devices that can potentially cause abortions. Those who refuse to abide by the requirement face fines in the millions of dollars. GuideStone Financial Resources, the Southern Baptist Convention’s health and financial benefits entity, and two of the ministries it serves, as well as three Baptist universities, are among the challengers to a mandate accommodation provided by the federal government to religious nonprofits. During the arguments, Paul Clement, representing those challenging the accommodation, told the justices the Little Sisters of the Poor—a Roman Catholic order of nuns—and others “face a dilemma.” They can abide by their religious be-
liefs and pay millions of dollars of penalties or obey the government, he said. “My clients would love to be a conscientious objector, but the government insists they be a conscientious collaborator,” Clement said. The seven consolidated cases accepted by the high court involve religious nonprofits that have lost at the appeals court level. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) provided an exemption to the mandate for churches and their auxiliaries but did not extend it to non-church-related, nonprofit organizations that object. HHS issued an accommodation for religious nonprofits, but many of those ministries or institutions have found it unacceptable. They contend it still makes them complicit in covering contraceptives and potentially abortion-causing drugs. HHS requires them to provide written notification they meet the requirements for an accommodation, which forces the nonprofit’s insurer or a thirdparty administrator to provide contraceptive coverage. The federally approved contraceptives for which coverage is required include the intrauterine device (IUD) and such drugs as Plan B, the “morningafter” pill. Both the IUD and “morning-after” pill possess post-fertilization mechanisms that potentially can cause abortions by preventing implantation of tiny embryos. The rule also covers “ella,” which—in a fashion similar to the abortion
drug RU 486—can even act after implantation to end the life of the child. In the oral arguments, Clement, a former U.S. solicitor general, told the court the ministries have no objection “to signing an opt-out form,” but they do object to what amounts to an authorization form for coverage of abortion-causing and other contraceptives. Donald Verrilli, the current solicitor general, argued on behalf of the federal government the accommodation constitutes a “sensible balance” between religious freedom and the government’s interest. The Supreme Court specifically is seeking to determine in the case if the accommodation violates the 1993 Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which bars the federal government from substantially burdening free exercise of religion unless it can demonstrate it has a “compelling interest” and is using the “least restrictive means” to further that interest. The government does not concede the accommodation is a “substantial burden” on the nonprofits’ religious liberty because the contraceptive coverage is provided by a third party, Verrilli told the justices. Chief Justice John Roberts, however, told Verrilli it seems accurate to him to describe the accommodation as a “hijacking” of the nonprofits’ insurance plans. Roberts and Associate Justice Samuel Alito sounded especially skeptical of the federal govern-
ment’s position, while the three female justices—Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan—led the challenges to the arguments by lawyers on behalf of the nonprofits. As has been the case since the mid-February death of conservative Associate Justice Antonin Scalia, the high court heard oral arguments with only eight members sitting. It appears the court could split 4-4. If so, the appeals court decisions would stand, leaving only the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals with a ruling in favor of the nonprofits’ religious freedom rights. Lawyers for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty and Alliance Defending Freedom told Baptist Press outside the courtroom, however, even some of the liberal justices seemed to struggle with the government’s position and might vote in support of the nonprofits. Three Southern Baptist entities—the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC), the International Mission Board (IMB) and Southern Baptist Theological Seminary—and Southern’s president, R. Albert Mohler Jr., filed a friend-of-the-court brief in January that urged the high court to rule the accommodation violates religious freedom. In a column published in The Hill, ERLC President Russell Moore said of the case, “The government isn’t really arguing that it has no other choice. The government instead is arguing that the ministries misunderstand their own faith; that they can participate in
its complicated contraceptive delivery scheme without disobeying God.” Moore wrote, “Let’s hope the Court stands up for freedom and cooperation, not for government pressure and coercion.” GuideStone is exempt from the mandate and accompanying fines, but it serves ministries that face massive penalties for failure to obey the rule. TruettMcConnell College in Cleveland, Ga., and Oklahoma City-based Reaching Souls International joined GuideStone in challenging the accommodation. Other Baptist institutions involved in appeals before the high court are Oklahoma Baptist University, East Texas Baptist University and Houston Baptist University. GuideStone President O.S. Hawkins said in a news release, “The accommodation was unacceptable from its first reading. As many in Southern Baptist life rightly noted, this was nothing more than an accounting trick. The government claims this is an ‘opt-out,’ when actually, it is an ‘opt-in,’ in that the government seeks to use our plan.” One of the arguments offered by Hawkins, Moore and others for rejecting the accommodation is the fact that more than one-third of Americans are not subject to the mandate. Several large corporations, the American military and cities such as New York are exempt from the requirement. The court is expected to issue its opinion before its term ends, which normally is in late June. The case is Zubik v. Burwell.
Draper draws from 50 years of experience in book for pastors By Keith Collier Managing Editor
What would happen if a young, first-time pastor had access to a well-respected pastor with 35 years of ministry in churches ranging from small, rural ones to megachurches? What if a veteran pastor who is thinking about throwing in the towel had the same access? Well, pastors at all ages, stages and backgrounds now have access to Jimmy Draper, former pastor of First Baptist Church in Euless and president emeritus of LifeWay Christian Resources, and his 50 years of experience as a pastor and de-
nominational leader. Draper offers sage advice from a biblical perspective in his recently published book, Don’t Quit Before You Finish (Clovercroft Publishing). In the endorsements section of the book, Southern Baptists of Texas Convention Executive Director Jim Richards says, “This book should be required reading in every pastoral ministries class. The invaluable practical wisdom for relating to people will enhance anyone’s spiritual walk.” Similarly, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary President Paige Patterson says, “This will keep your head above
water, your body at home, and your heart with the Lord.” Draper’s personable demeanor and gracious spirit radiate from this book on pastoral ministry. He addresses a broad spectrum of topics, from the call to ministry to the pastor’s character, from dealing with conflict to leading for change, from starting a new pastorate to leaving one well. Simply reading the table of contents alone would be worth the price of the book, with section titles that present straightforward imperatives to pastors like “Never Make a Decision When You Are Discouraged or Depressed,” “Be Quick to For-
give Mistakes,” “Learn to Delegate,” and “Always Accept Resignations.” However, Draper’s unique blend of biblical stories, leadership principles and personal anecdotes fill out these imperatives from a to-do list to a how-to list. Based on the premise that most failures in church leadership are self-inflicted, Draper’s advice is both practical and accessible. For example, in a short section titled “Write Notes of Concern, Consolation, and Appreciation,” he lists seven simple ways he personally incorporated the practice in his own ministry. Elsewhere, he encourages pastors to avoid
compromising situations and to mange their time well. While the book’s organization and chapter arrangements could be better presented, this book is a go-to resource for any pastor, so much so that the SBTC Pastor/Church Relations department has purchased a copy of the book for every pastor of a SBTC church and is distributing them through Field Ministry Strategists across the state.
MUSIC CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1
As the dust has mostly settled, churches can now look back and see both positive and negative trends that emerged as a result. None can deny that the landscape of musical worship in churches has diversified, as churches seek to move beyond the worship wars. The TEXAN spoke with several music ministers and worship leaders to get a lay of the land and to identify ways music in congregational worship can best glorify God. The Purpose of Music in Worship From Old Testament narratives to the Psalms to New Testament instructions on worship, Scripture is clear that music should be an integral part of how the people of God praise and glorify him. Each of the worship leaders interviewed agreed that music is “the universal language,” a gift from God that brings people together in unison. “There’s something powerful about the way music moves us, changes us and motivates us,” said Michael Armstrong, worship and family pastor at The Well in Argyle. Likewise, Curtis Brewer, associate pastor of worship & celebration at First Baptist Church in Odessa, spoke of the emotional range that music evokes. “It is unbelievably powerful— it can be so intimate and tender, and at the same time it can be massive, like an army,” Brewer said. “What can really touch the heartstrings of the people are the experiences that you can sense through the beauty of the music, regardless of genre.” Used rightly, music can bring unity to the corporate worship experience, according to James Ervin, minister of music at Coggin Avenue Baptist Church in Brownwood.
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At the same time, Ervin said, “Music can be used to teach or remind us of the great truths of the Christian faith. It can express our adoration of God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. Music can and should focus our hearts and minds on the object of our praise—God.” Brad Jett, worship pastor at North Richland Hills Baptist Church, also noted the way musical worship can help church members learn and remember God’s Word. “Songs are the greatest memorization tool in the history of the Christian faith,” Jett said. “In worship services, we must sing songs that come from Scripture. Then our congregation members will have God’s Word in their hearts.” And, leaders said, it’s this foundation in the Scriptures and the preached Word that music helps amplify. “I will be the first to say that the most powerful thing in our church in Odessa, and I hope it would be in every church, is the gospel of Christ through the spoken word,” Brewer said. “But it’s also important that we’re singing it. When we sing scripturally correct music that is not watered down, it’s going to touch the heartstrings and move the people.” Echoes of the Worship Wars Given music’s emotional impact and essential nature in worship, it comes as no surprise that major changes during the worship revolution have produced both advances and casualties. Positively, these changes brought about more diversity in musical genres and ignited a new generation of worship songwriters. At the same time, it caused churches to “re-evaluate the future of music ministry,” Ervin said. Lance Beaumont, music and worship technology associate for the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention, agreed. “Wor-
BUILDING A YO U T H C H O I R
“One must possess a core belief in the value and necessity of a student choir in the local church. If the church choir ministry is going to continue and thrive, we must build on a solid foundation. Youth choir is not an activity for students; it is a training ground for future ministry. I work with exceptional students who are very involved in church and extra-curricular activities, so there will be competition. It’s easier not to have a choir for students because I find it takes a lot more work on my part, but the rewards are so much greater. Get to know the students outside of youth choir. Support their other activities. The use of a choir trip or mission trip builds excitement during the year. I have our youth sing in worship once a month to give them singing experience. Make requirements and build expectations. I have found them to respond well, and meet the challenge. Building momentum takes time.”
MINISTER OF MUSIC, COGGIN AVENUE BAPTIST CHURCH
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ship has come to the forefront as a topic of conversation in staff and leadership meetings.” Armstrong, who started leading worship in the ‘90s, said the new songs produced a greater focus on the “vertical” nature of worship. Whereas hymns often have more of a horizontal perspective, where Christians sing to one another about God, these newer songs included a vertical perspective, where Christians sing directly to God. Sadly, though, not everything about this shift was positive. Several interviewed noted an overemphasis on style and preference along with unhealthy communication and sinful attitudes, which sparked discord and disunity in a majority of churches. Additionally, many of the new worship songs lacked the theological depth found in hymns, and worship music became a commodity for the Christian marketplace. Leo Day, dean of the School of Church Music at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, travels extensively to churches across the nation to teach and lead worship. One byproduct of the worship wars he has witnessed is the emergence of “silo worship,” where churches offer separate worship services based on musical preferences. “The enemy has subtly and grandly separated the church body, and nowhere in Scripture will you find that Jesus wants all of his people divided into these different segments of worship so they can ‘really worship him freely.’ In fact, it’s the very opposite of what the Word encourages us to do,” Day said. Day believes this unintentional elevation of preference has promoted a spectator mentality and brought with it a spiritual coldness in many churches. “It has made their hearts cold. Why? Because at the heart of it, God created us for fellowship. He created us to corporately worship together, not apart.” Brewer, who has led music in churches for more than 45 years (34 of them at FBC Odessa), has seen the massive changes in the corporate worship experience over the years. He said he has been blessed with a church that was “open and willing to try what the new generation might be wanting.” Still, he always maintained a healthy balance between musical styles. “Our older adults paved the way for us to get here, and I think it’s such a tragedy that churches split because of the style of worship,” Brewer said. “If we can just remember who it’s all about—it’s not about us. Remember that it’s all about Jesus, and if it reaches people, let’s give it a try. But at the same time, we must disciple people when we get them in, and not only is that done through the Word, but also musically.” Each of those interviewed agreed that many churches are recovering from the painful experiences of the worship wars
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“We have a healthy dose of theological courses that all of our musicians must take. Theological training is crucial because the Word informs my worship, not my worship (informing) a shallow approach to the Word. When we learn classically, that is the central core of technique. Once I’ve gathered all the technical education, then I can sing all (genres). When we learn classically, we are respecting the gifts that God has placed within our care to the best they can be. When we are doing what heaven has called us to do, we do it skillfully and with excellence not for selfglorification but for the glory of God.” + L E O D AY,
DEAN OF SWBTS SCHOOL OF CHURCH MUSIC
larly combines youth and adult choirs during Sunday morning worship. “The excitement that the kids bring to the worship experience has caused the adults to jump right in and have fun with them, and at the same time, when we can turn the tables on the kids where they can sense the power of music that has a little more meat on the bones, they jump in with it as well. I think that is the beauty and one of the secrets to keeping our churches strong The Heart of Worship Refocusing on the purpose for congregationally.” A multi-generational apmusic worship—to praise God and build up his church—will proach has practical implicahelp recalibrate church mem- tions, including how worship ministers select the songs to bers’ hearts, these leaders said. “I believe that a church’s sing. Here, worship leaders are responsibility is to connect encouraged to introduce new people with God, not connect songs to their congregations but people with music,” Armstrong to do so patiently, not introducsaid. “Music is a tool. Paint him ing too many at one time. “It’s important for people to beautiful, and a true follower of Christ should see the beauty, re- participate in singing,” Ervin gardless of the style. … Worship said, “so we must balance our is about what we give him, not efforts to introduce new songs; make sure they are singable, in what we get.” Similarly, Day said that as he appropriate ranges, and theotrains future worship leaders logically correct.” Meeting all these criteria can at the seminary, he challenges them to focus on their heart be challenging but ultimately and their personal walk with prove fruitful in unifying a congregation around worship the Lord. “It’s not about the songs, it’s through music. “The future of worship in the not about the sheet music; it’s local church, in my view, lies in about the heart,” Day said. the “multis”—multi-generational worship and multi-ethnic worConnecting With ship,” Beaumont said. “Worship All Generations Ultimately, the greatest wor- leaders need to know how to ship experiences occur when select music that will engage all church members of all ages age groups within the church and backgrounds celebrate God utilizing styles that are inclutogether through a variety of sive as well. Additionally, wormusical styles and genres. Thus, ship leaders need to understand these ministers agree, a blended how different ethnic groups enmusical approach provides a gage with music and their cultural contexts.” healthy diet for the church. Regardless of the challenges “Embracing the music that helped found our churches, as that come, Brewer said leading well as being open to move on the church in worship through and embrace the new is where music has been one of the greatwe will find peace and growth est joys of his life. “If God’s in it, and you sell out within our churches,” Jett said. Brewer considers the trend to it, it’s the most phenomenal toward cross-generational mu- experience that you’ll have on the sic to be one of the best things face of the earth, this side of heavhappening in churches today. en only,” Brewer said, adding, “I In his own church, he regu- wouldn’t trade it for the world.” and charting new courses in worship with more Christ-centered, congregationally sensitive approaches. “Introducing a new style of music to our churches had its time of growing pains, which still lingers in many churches,” Jett said, “but the overall benefit has been the molding together of different styles of music and therefore different generations of people.
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SONGWRITING CAPTURES THE VOICE OF A CONGREGATION
Matt Boswell and his wife, Jamie, with their four children. PHOTO PROVIDED BY MATT BOSWELL
By Jane Rodgers TEXAN Correspondent
With debates about traditional, contemporary or blended worship in most churches’ rearview mirrors, a growing trend among worship pastors is the creation of original music for their churches. Two worship pastors from SBTC churches—David Gentiles and Matt Boswell, both songwriters and sons of Southern Baptist ministers—weighed in on the place of songwriting in the church during an interview with the TEXAN. For Boswell, in his sixth year as worship pastor of Providence Church in Frisco, writing songs came early. Boswell, now 36, started leading worship services at age 15 in the church where he grew up. As a young teen, he wrote songs for his local church and continued writing modern worship choruses until he started dating the young woman who later became his wife.
“When we first started dating, she came to our church and mentioned that we didn’t do any hymns,” Boswell said, recalling his reply: “Nobody sings those anymore.” “I had forgotten really where I came come from musically,” Boswell added. Six months later, Boswell introduced the classic hymn “Just As I Am” to his congregation, only to be surprised when a church member asked if he had written it. This amusing incident led to what Boswell called “a plunge into recovering hymnody” in his own compositions. “I have never looked back. It has changed how I now write music and has changed even the music that we do now at Providence.” Boswell credits long-term friendships with Northern Ireland’s Keith Getty and the UK’s Stuart Townsend with shaping his thinking in the writing of modern hymns that reflect both God’s kingdom and a songwriter’s national homeland.
“Although I don’t believe it is necessary for every worship pastor to be a songwriter, I do believe it is important for worship pastors to be attentive to the hearts and needs of their people—to always put songs in front of their congregations that resonate with their specific season and context. Sometimes, that means writing songs specifically with their city and congregation in mind, but most of the time it simply demands that worship pastors be faithful to the calling on their life—to shepherd their flock.” + A A R O N I V E Y,
PASTOR OF WORSHIP, THE AUSTIN STONE COMMUNITY CHURCH
David Gentiles leads worship at Youth Ministry Lab at Southwestern Seminary. PHOTO BY SWBTS/MERCY ROBINSON
“I wanted to see what new American hymns would sound like. Even more so, what Texan hymns would sound like,“ Boswell mused. “I saw a space American songwriters were not addressing: modern hymns written in the vein of older, historic hymns. I set my course in that direction, and I haven’t looked back.” Boswell noted his hymn “Christ the Sure and Steady Anchor” as an example. That hymn, written for Providence Church, also illustrates how songwriting personalizes corporate worship, allowing the worship leader/composer to address needs within a local body. “I wrote that hymn with specific people in mind in our congregation who were fighting doubt, fighting depression, fighting sickness, fighting sin,” Boswell explained. “I specifically wanted to give voice in our church as to what it looks like in the midst of those battles to still point our attention and affection to Christ.” Boswell is also careful to base his compositions upon sound theology, explaining that in planning corporate worship, he reads Scripture and commentaries on the text to be preached. “I allow the contours of that text to shape the songs that we sing.” Thus, teaching pastor and worship leader “have the same kind of kindling in the fireplace.” In both songwriting and leading music in worship, Boswell and Providence focus on the gospel narrative, with Boswell organizing services along a gospel liturgy. “Four movements: God, Man, Christ, Response inform what we sing and what I write,” Boswell said. Songs address the character of God, the nature of Man and his need for God’s grace, the nature of Christ and His atoning work, or the nature of humankind’s response to that
truth. “If I am writing, I will write in one of these four categories.” Both Boswell and Gentiles believe they have been called to be worship pastors. In addition to leading worship for Sagemont’s Sunday night contemporary service, Gentiles also produces the church’s recording projects: to date, two EP (extended play) records available as digital downloads, the first based on the book of Philippians; the second, “Save Us,” released Easter weekend. “I produce our records and hope to write new songs for our body. My heart and my vision are to create musical content for our people that originates from our voice and experiences in life.” Worship leaders are “shepherds,” noted Gentiles. “We are first ministers of the gospel. God has graciously given us music as a vehicle by which we share this gospel and shepherd our people in following Jesus.” While not integral to guiding the congregation in worship, Gentiles said, songwriting can be “an incredible tool for the local church body,” explaining that crafting songs for a particular group is a method by which the worship leader expresses the “heart language” of his flock. “Songwriting provides the opportunity for a church to discover who they are,” Gentiles said. As an example, Gentiles discussed serving as a worship leader at First Baptist in Euless. The church had launched the Miracle Campaign to retire a multimillion dollar debt in a short time. “I wrote a song called ‘We Need a Miracle.’ It would become our anthem for two years. For that moment in time, it was what we needed to sing as a people.” Sometimes songs written for a particular group end up with widespread appeal, Gentiles noted. The song “Good Good Father,” popularized by Chris
Tomlin, originated from a small home church. “The message of that song, written for the needs of a local group of people, [was] something the global church needed,” Gentiles said. “It has crossed over and had a national platform. That is what God does with songs.” Thus what begins as a ministry on a local level expands in God’s economy. “The Holy Spirit is really the distribution department of the church,” Gentiles explained. “I write for where I am in life and my church’s life and let the song go. … If that message resonates with a larger subset of the church, the church will sing it.” While writing music for the church is valuable, Gentiles also acknowledged that the trend can sometimes put undue pressure on those who lead music in the church but do not write songs. “There is pressure in the church culture that if your church is not producing records or if you are a worship leader and you don’t write songs, you are less than others. That is just not true,” said Gentiles, an exclusive songwriter for LifeWay Music. Gentiles, whose father is a Southern Baptist minister of music, noted that in his father’s generation, many music ministers neither wrote music nor played instruments, instead focusing on choral music and voice. Songwriting may not be necessary, but both Boswell and Gentiles affirm that songwriting enhances corporate worship. Gentiles concluded, “Songwriting provides an important opportunity to tell our story to one another, to affirm to one another what God is doing in our church and what God is doing in the world. To be able to sing songs that are in our own heart language, that’s pretty special.”
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MUSIC TO THEIR EARS: WORSHIPPING GOD IN THEIR NATIVE LANGUAGE By Bonnie Pritchett TEXAN Correspondent
The music of Texas is as extensive as the state—a chorus of voices transitioning from English to Spanish to Vietnamese all with one twist of the radio dial. What is foreign to one person’s ear is the sweet sounds of home to another and, for yet another, a reminder of Jesus’s commission to make disciples of all nations. Southern Baptists of Texas Convention church planters recognize that the world is moving to Texas and are working to stay ahead of the cultural curve that is redefining the state’s neighborhoods and communities. Churches that minister in a person’s “heart language,” or native language—there are 126 languages spoken in the Lone Star State—are key to reaching such diverse communities. For first-generation immigrants, hearing the gospel in their own language can be music to their ears. And being able to worship with the familiar chords, melodies and instruments of their homelands is music to their hearts. “Music is its own language,” said Larry Tardy, founder of Equip Worship. Tardy’s ministry began in 2012 as a conference for Texas church worship ministers. He was asked to duplicate the conference in Vancouver, British Columbia, where a friend
had been working as a church planter. Of the 80 churches represented at the conference only 40 had music leaders. “Immediately, my heart was burdened,” Tardy said. His ministry, supported in part by the North American Mission Board to reach its Send Cities, teaches professionalism, not performance, to would-be worship leaders, emphasizing that worship with music should be grounded in Scripture. Upon that foundation, Tardy teaches leaders the technical and musical elements of worship ministry. Before there is even the first strains of a music ministry, ethnically stylized strains of music can be used to “pre- evangelize,” said Milton Lites, a retired International Mission Board missionary who served 34 years in Asia and Latin America. “It would be like learning their language,” he said. “It’s a bridge.” In the field Lites taught music and directed a variety of choral and orchestral groups. Although he has not been involved in missions outreach to immigrants in the United States, Lites said the concept of using music to draw people to the gospel message would not be too different than overseas. Using “heart music” can open doors for evangelists seeking entry into the community of a specific people or language group.
“It lets them know you are familiar with their culture and that you care about their culture,” Lites said. While preaching in an immigrant group’s heart language is effective, adding music can have a powerful impact. For example, Lites suggested, if he and other patients were seated in a doctor’s waiting room and he began speaking to the group, only some might pay attention. “But if you start singing, everybody will listen,” he said. Tardy recommended pursuing first-generation immigrants, as they are hungry for the things of home. Couching the gospel message in word and song of a specific language serves to draw the attention of unbelievers as well as encourage immigrants who brought their Christian faith with them from home. Tardy and Lites both have witnessed international congregations slogging through English-language hymns, focusing on word pronunciation instead of word proclamation. But once the music changed to that of their native language, “the energy of the worship experience was full and there was a lot of joy as they sang,” Tardy said. “Just like evangelism and preaching in the heart language of the people, however, it will inevitably limit who will be attracted. But, in a sense, that is the point,” said Terry Coy, retired di-
ADV I C E FO R C H U R C H P L AN T E R S
“I would say this to church planters: find someone that really loves Jesus, and then if he can maybe play and sing a little bit, that’s a big bonus. You don’t want the music to be something you have to grit your teeth to get through, but if your worship leader really is a lead worshipper, if he really paints Jesus as beautiful, it will be OK if he’s not ready to perform on American Idol just yet. Also, when you hire someone, hire someone you trust as a leader. Don’t dictate what he’s supposed to do. Stretch him, lead him, and help him, but let him be who God has called him to be. Let him lead.” MICHAEL ARMSTRONG,
WORSHIP & FAMILY PASTOR, THE WELL
rector of missions with the SBTC. “Communicating the gospel in words or music in the heart language of the people is inherently limiting; it is to ‘attract’ those of that language who might otherwise not be reached.” Subsequent generations of immigrant families may share, in part, the heart language and can participate in the worship services inaugurated by their parents. But as the third and fourth generations use more English and less of their grand-
parents’ language, churches must adjust to accommodate the dual heart languages of their growing congregations. There is sometimes a bit of God-ordained serendipity when using heart music evangelism. It reaches people who, back home, shared only a common language. During a Vancouver church service, an immigrant church member pointed to another member and told Tardy, “At home we are enemies. But in Vancouver we are in church together.”
Surprising Statistics (and Solutions) for Equipping Worship Leaders tional singing. While this is a great use of technology to meet SBTC Music & a current need, it is missing the Worship Technology pastoral presence a church reAssociate ceives from a minister, whether bi-vocational or full-time. hen I started working This data convinced me that at the SBTC in June we have an incredible need for 2014, one of the first bi-vocational music ministers. things on my to-do At the same time, our supply, bilist was to get a clearer picture vocational and volunteer worof the churches we serve. What ship leaders need resources and I gleaned from available data training opportunities that do was that 76 percent of SBTC not fit conventional methodolochurches have bi-vocational or gies. Armed with this informavolunteer worship pastors. Just tion, I feel I have a clearer lens to as surprising to me was that bi- look through when developing vocational worship pastors are programs and resources to help serving at churches of all sizes. SBTC churches. Additionally, I have also come In light of this, I am grateful to realize that many churches for the bi-vocational and volunin our convention have no con- teer worship leaders who serve sistent worship leader week in our churches. You are giving and out. Churches often rely on your time, talent and resources recordings or YouTube videos to serve the bride of Christ, and to provide music for congrega- this service cannot be underLance Beaumont
estimated. Your sacrifice and service have not gone unnoticed and are to be greatly commended. Thank you for serving churches like you do. The SBTC Worship Ministries is here to help you do ministry more effectively. Some of the ways we can assist you are in worship technology training and optimization, locating musical resources and songs for worship, music and worship leadership training, and having a person to call when you have questions about worship ministry. We also have training resources, music and worship related, on our website (sbtexas.com/ worship). Using this platform we can cover a narrow topic in three to five minutes. I also believe we need more bi-vocational worship leaders, plain and simple. For this
reason, we are working to create mentorship opportunities throughout the state for college students. Many college students are involved in worship ministries while they are in school—serving on college praise teams or playing in praise bands at the churches there are attending in college. We should be mentoring these college students in the areas of discipleship, worship leading and theology, pastoral care, and musical skills so when they start their careers they are equipped to serve a local church in worship ministry. This is not a quick-fix solution to the issues I see in worship leadership, but it just might be a solid long-term one. Students need to have opportunities to serve in worship leadership. A church’s next worship leader might be
a junior in high school. The primary resource we have to equip high school students in this way is LEAD Camp. LEAD Camp is a one-week intensive summer camp where students are taught Christian leadership principles, worship theology and planning, instrumental lessons and master classes, how to run rehearsals and build worship teams. We should think of our high school students like a baseball farm team, giving them an opportunity to “do the reps” of worship leadership. In this way, we will equip and train the next generation of church leaders. Without bi-vocational and volunteer worship pastors, worship in our churches would suffer. My goal at the SBTC level is to serve, resource and equip our churches for dynamic worship.
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TEXANS ANIOL AND BOSWELL OFFER GUIDANCE ON WORSHIP By Tammi Reed Ledbetter Special Assignments Editor
In his book By the Waters of Babylon, Worship in a Post Christian Culture, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary music professor Scott Aniol answers the question, “How should churches today worship considering the increasingly pagan culture around them and their biblical mandate to reach that culture with the gospel of Jesus Christ?” Aniol observed that evangelical worship leaders often call for worship to be rooted in the mission of God to the world. “Recognizing the postmodern, post-Christian nature of the North American context, worship leaders are asking, ‘What worship forms will best accomplish God’s mission in our culture?’” He offers a careful study of the relationship between worship and evangelism and provides a biblical model for cultural engagement. In later chapters he explains how corporate worship shapes behavior and the regulation of worship elements and forms. Aniol’s book will provide a solid foundation for church leaders who value the importance of evangelism in music ministry. More of his writing is available at ArtisticTheologian.com, Southwestern’s journal of worship and ministry arts published by the School of Church Music. “Thanking his parents and grandparents for instilling a deep love for the church
and to see the worship of Jesus form his people,” thirdgeneration Southern Baptist minister Matt Boswell of Providence Church in Frisco explains why theology should matter to music ministers in his edited work, Doxolog y and Theolog y: How the Gospel Forms the Worship Leader. Instead of merely thinking about sound, charts, and guitars, he draws wisdom from a dozen ministers of music to explain how to approach worship theologically. His own chapters on “Doxology, Theology, and the Mission of God,” followed by “Qualifications of a Worship Leader” set the stage for input by others on the worship leader in relation to Scripture, the Trinity, mission, heart, justice, liturgy, creativity, disciple-making, the pastor, singing, and the gospel. Addressing family worship, Boswell shares his concern that “many worship leaders stand in front of their congregations and profess the primacy of Scripture but then enter their homes and fail to connect these truths to our lives.” He and other contributors provide guidance for men to walk in light of scriptural truth and faithfully serve local congregations. Two other books written by worship leaders serving in Louisville were recommended by several sources for the TEXAN’s report on music. Endorsed by several Southern Baptists, Rhythms of Grace: How the Church’s Worship Tells
the Story of the Gospel by Mike Cosper addresses spiritual formation, liturgy and the pastor as worship leader among other topics, including sample service orders and an extended resource list. “We remember our identity as gospelformed people, journeying together through the story that gave us our identity and being sent out to live gospel-shaped lives,” said Cosper who is associated with Sojourn Community Church in Louisville. “Practiced in these rhythms, we learn to think in them, much as we learn to improvise on an instrument.” Worship Matters by Bob Kauflin is the go-to guide for many music ministers. With an entertaining style, the director of Sovereign Grace Music works in stories from his experience in local churches to provide a nuts and bolts approach to addressing what he calls “a disconnect between the God they worshiped on Sundays and the one they seemed to follow during the week.” Sections on the music leader and his task are followed by his analysis of healthy tensions and development of right relationships with the church, music team and pastor. “I like
to think I can do a great job leading worship with nothing but my own experience, resources, wisdom, and leadership gifting. But I can’t,” Kauflin wrote. “God never intended me to. I can certainly lead, but it
won’t be as effective or fruitful as when others are involved,” he said, offering a reminder that “every week is another opportunity to benefit from the contributions and insights of others.”
S P E C TAT O R S V S . PAR T I C I PAN T S
“I’ve (noticed) open letters on social media and conversations in churches that open doors for everyone in the local church to be the “expert critic” in congregational worship as opposed to a person wanting to experience the Living God in worship and giving their whole self to him during each service. The church needs less spectators and more active, willing participants each Sunday.” + B R A D J E T T,
WORSHIP PASTOR, NORTH RICHLAND HILLS BAPTIST CHURCH
S E N I O R PA S T O R A S WO R S H I P L E AD E R
“The pastor is the head worship leader. My role is to enhance his ministry, so I want to make sure we’re on the same page. If we’re not together, it’s going to be a disaster. The greatest role of a worship pastor is supporting the pastor. My job is to complement his ministry. Whether or not we agree together, he has the final say, and when he makes the call, it’s a done deal, let’s get moving in that direction and ask God to bless it. One of the best things that can bridge the gap between generations in the church is that the pastor and the worship pastor are on the same page.” +CURTIS BREWER,
ASSOCIATE PASTOR OF WORSHIP & CELEBRATION, FBC ODESSA
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MULTICULTURAL CHURCHES TAKE VARYING APPROACHES TO MUSICAL DIVERSITY
By Tammi Reed Ledbetter Special Assignments Editor
By most any definition of a multicultural church, Servant House in Lewisville and High Pointe Baptist in Austin have succeeded in reaching the culture in which they live. An ethnically diverse staff is one component that both churches have in common, though their approach to styles of music is very different. When Will Langstaff sensed God leading him to plant Servant House in 1999, he was determined to reach a multiethnic population. “God gave me a vision,” Langstaff told the TEXAN. “I saw all races and people singing in the choir. I knew from that what I was going to do,” the AfricanAmerican pastor said. Over time, the congregation grew to include African-Americans, Asians and Anglos. Langstaff turned to a series of black music leaders, each lasting
“God gave me a vision. I saw all races and people singing in the choir. I knew from that what I was going to do.” —WILL LANGSTAFF, PASTOR OF SERVANT HOUSE IN LEWISVILLE three to six months, followed by an Anglo who stuck with it for a year. “We had a Korean drummer, and he decided he would go to seminary,” the pastor said, recalling the opportunity to mentor Insung Lee by giving him more opportunities to serve. “I found out he had been a worship leader in South Korea so I started letting him lead on Wednesday nights and he did a good job,” Langstaff said.
MUSIC DURING T H E I N V I TAT I O N
“At the end of Peter’s Pentecost sermon (Acts 2:38-39), he called them to repentance—a gospel invitation. Whether or not one adds music to the gospel invitation, the seriousness of the moment must surely speak to the heart, indeed, the emotions, as one is called to escape hell, receive the forgiveness of his sins, and come to faith in Christ. Hear the gospel call from the very titles of timeless invitation hymns: ‘Only Trust Him,’ ‘Softly and Tenderly, Jesus Is Calling,’ ‘There’s Room at the Cross for You,’ ‘Turn Your Eyes upon Jesus,’ ‘I Surrender All’ and ‘Why do you Wait.’” + B R U C E M C C O Y,
SWBTS DEVELOPMENT OFFICER, FORMER MINISTER OF MUSIC
“After about six months I put him in on Sunday, and he did a great job!” Soon he enlisted Insung Lee to become worship pastor, a position he has held since 2012. While Lee grew up singing traditional hymns, he enjoys listening to black gospel, which accounts for more than half of the songs selected for worship services. Contemporary Christian, Southern gospel and traditional hymns make up the remainder. “God has trained and prepared me to love and embrace all kinds of worship,” Lee said. Choir members gather for quarterly meetings and help select songs they love to sing, Lee said. “That helps worship ministry to have more kinds of music styles as well as various theological worship themes.” The adult choir is featured on the first and third Sundays. A men’s praise team typically offers black gospel renditions for one week, and a youth choir draws from hip-hop songs or Christian rock on the other Sunday. Langstaff provides Lee with his sermon series schedule far in advance, making it possible for him to select a song like “He’s an On Time God” to reinforce the pastor’s message on the faithfulness of God.
The preached word is the focus of worship at High Pointe Baptist Church in Austin as well. As a congregational church, “We seek to keep our worship congregational as well,” explained Robert Baldwin, an elder and pastor of worship. “Our musical center is hymn-based,” he added, incorporating both contemporary and traditional hymns. Located in a fast-growing area of Austin that is both ethnically and socially diverse, High Pointe Baptist Church is pastored by Juan Sanchez. Its stated mission is “to see all peoples become whole-hearted followers of Jesus Christ,” according to the website. Asians make up the fastest growing population in the area surrounding High Pointe with Vietnamese as the dominant ethnic group. Hispanics account for the largest group equaled with Anglos and followed by African-Americans, according to Baldwin. High Pointe membership follows that demographic with African-Americans and Hispanics “making up a healthy percentage of our congregation,” he said. “Anglos still make up the majority, but not by much. We are also well represented by Asians, both Far East and Indian.” A Spanish-speaking congregation established years ago is now self-sustaining. High Pointe also live translates their services in Spanish and projects lyrics to music in both English and Spanish. In another part of the campus, Ethiopians meet to worship in Amharic. They join High Pointe’s service once a quarter, occasionally helping lead music. “They have a pretty typical African style of worship [that is] very expressive and rhythmic,” Baldwin said.
While Amharic is difficult to translate into English, Baldwin said a song like “How Great Thou Art” proved to be an effective means of corporate worship for both congregations. While High Pointe does not intentionally pursue musical diversity, Baldwin, who is white, finds “that naturally happens as we focus on the gospel and keep our worship focused on what we are seeking to accomplish as a church.” “We believe worship should be corporate, and we seek to involve everyone,” Baldwin said. As a result, there is no “special music” and very few instrumental or vocal solos. Keeping accompaniment as simple as possible, it is an acoustic set-up of piano, keyboards, trumpet, trombone, clarinet, violin, and both bass and acoustic guitars. The drum set was replaced with congas and a Cajon. Baldwin asks four questions as he plans the music portion of worship each week: u Is this song Word-based and theologically and doctrinally sound? u Is it gospel-centered, dealing with God, man, Christ or our response? u Is it helpful to the preached text this week? u Is it singable? After 39 years in ministry in several Southern Baptist congregations, Baldwin said, “Like any church, High Pointe has been a mixture of peaks and valleys, joys and sorrow, but through it all God has proven himself to be more than sufficient.” The diversity of the Austin congregation has been one of the greatest joys he finds in serving there. “It continues to be a little taste of heaven every week.”
TV content ratings system needs reform, PTC says
BRIEFS Pakistani Easter bombing death toll rising The death toll is rising from a suicide bombing targeting Christians in a crowded park on Easter Sunday in Lahore, Pakistan, with at least 75 dead and more than 368 wounded, 138 of them critically, based on reports from Morning Star News and CNN. -from bpnews.net
Bellevue security subdues ‘heavily armed’ man A “heavily armed” man was subdued and arrested at the Memphis-area Bellevue Baptist Church Easter Sunday, the congregation’s director of security services told Baptist Press. The man—31-year-old Marcus Donald—who was taken into custody remains under mental evaluation, according to media reports. Just before Bellevue’s 11 a.m. worship service began March 27 with an estimated 3,500 attendees, greeter Kathy Jackson noticed a man entering the church with “a pistol sticking out of his pocket,” administrative pastor David Coombs said. She told a nearby ministerial staff member, who radioed security. Andy Willis, Bellevue’s director of security services and a reserve officer with the Memphis Police Department, approached the man, identified himself as a police officer and escorted him into a hallway. Donald told Willis he had a permit to carry the pistol and did not have any other weapons. Donald then agreed to let Willis put the gun in a backpack Donald was carrying. When Willis opened the backpack, he discovered a rifle with ammunition and ordered Donald to get on his knees. After another security team member arrived to assist, Donald rolled off his knees and ran toward the auditorium. Willis said he tackled Donald, and security team members handcuffed him and escorted him to an exit to wait for police.
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the case and Harris’ inability to be objective in her role as attorney general when she is circulating a petition to support Planned Parenthood on her campaign website. The Center for Medical Progress filmed and released the series of videos last summer outing Planned Parenthood for selling body parts of aborted babies. -from christianpost.com
Religious property tax-exemption case goes before Supreme Court While precedent has been that religious organizations in America are tax-exempt, the Supreme Court is hearing a case involving a Catholic missionary group in Massachusetts that the city of Attleboro has decided can only be tax exempt in part. Though the Supreme Court ruled in a landmark 1970 case that churches should be sheltered from property taxes, noting that few concepts are more embedded in America’s fabric than religious tax-exemption, the case moves on to go before the highest court in the land, bringing with it the question of who gets to decide which parts of a religious structure are required for religious purposes and which are not.
The television content ratings system has harmed children by failing to protect them from graphic sex, violence, and profanity on screen, the Parents Television Council (PTC) reports in a new study analyzing 20 years of broadcasting. Operated by a TV Parental Guidelines Monitoring Board that provides insufficient
Ill. inn owners ordered to host samesex wedding An Illinois administrative judge has given the owners of a bed and breakfast one year to provide their facility to a gay couple “for an event celebrating their civil union.” The order, part of a decision handed down March 22 in a discrimination case filed by the two men, also includes an $80,000 fine. In September, Illinois Human Rights Commission Judge Michael Robinson declared Jim and Beth Walder, owners of Timber Creek Bed and Breakfast near Paxton, Ill., in violation of the state’s Human Rights Act, which bans discrimination in public accommodation based on sexual orientation. -from bpnews.net
Sale of Florida Baptist Building announced
LifeWay Christian Resources celebrated its 125th anniversary, then held a groundbreaking ceremony and prayer service April 6 on property in downtown Nashville where it intends to build its new headquarters. LifeWay announced plans in February to build a nine-story 250,000-square-foot office building in a mixed-use development located just blocks from the campus LifeWay sold last November. -from bpnews.net
Florida Baptist Convention, during the State Board’s April 1 meeting at Lake Yale Baptist Conference Center in Leesburg, Fla. -from bpnews.net
Ben Sells to lead Ouachita Baptist Univ. Ouachita Baptist University trustees unanimously elected Ben R. Sells as Ouachita’s 16th president during a special called meeting April 7. Sells will begin serving as president-elect this month and officially will assume the presidency June 1 of the 1,500-student university in Arkadelphia affiliated with the Arkansas Baptist State Convention. Sells, who has extensive leadership experience in higher education, fundraising and missions involvement, served as vice president for university advancement at Taylor University in Upland, Ind., from the fall of 2006 to January of this year. -from bpnews.net
CP 6.5% ahead of projection at mid-year point
LifeWay holds 125th anniversary & groundbreaking
oversight, the ratings system has suffered “systemic failures” and should be comprehensively reformed, the PTC announced at an April 4 press conference releasing the report. “Parents who rely on the TV content ratings system to make informed decisions about what to watch on television have been deceived,” PTC President Tim Winter said, “as our new research shows that the ratings system has systematically failed to provide accurate and con-
A sacrificial investment made by Florida Baptists decades ago could make a far-reaching global missions impact this year as the State Board of Missions approved a multimillion dollar contract to sell the Baptist Building property in Jacksonville. Fifty-one percent of the proceeds of the Baptist Building property sale will be directed to the Southern Baptist Convention’s Cooperative Program for worldwide mission causes, pledged Tommy Green, executive director-treasurer of the
Year-to-date contributions to Southern Baptist national and international missions and ministries received by the SBC Executive Committee are 6.5 percent above the year-to-date SBC Cooperative Program Allocation Budget projection, and are 3.09 percent above contributions received during the same time frame last year, according to a news release
sistent information for its entire 20-year existence.” -from bpnews.net
from SBC Executive Committee President Frank S. Page. “This report marks the second successive year that CP contributions have increased over the previous fiscal year’s mid-point and is the highest mid-year total since March 2010,” Page said. -from bpnews.net
Burl Cain, former Angola warden, exonerated Burl Cain, a longtime warden who infused faith into what had been called the nation’s most violent maximum-security prison, has been cleared of alleged ethics breeches following investigations by two Louisiana state agencies. “Thank you so much for the prayers,” said Cain, former warden at the Louisiana State Penitentiary in Angola, in an exclusive interview with the Baptist Message newsjournal. A Southern Baptist, Cain was Angola’s warden from February 1995 until Jan. 1 when he retired amid various ethics allegations pressed by the daily newspaper in Baton Rouge, the state capital, last year. “It was really important for me to be restored, especially so Louisiana Baptists would know I didn’t really stumble; it was a political thing,” said Cain, 73, who was instrumental in opening Angola to a pioneering theological education initiative by New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. The Baton Rouge newspaper, The Advocate, acknowledged in a March 22 report that Cain had been cleared in investigations by the state’s Inspector General’s Office and the Department of Public Safety and Corrections. -from bpnews.net
Conflict of interest surrounds Calif. official leading search of pro-life activist’s apartment California Attorney General Kamala Harris, who is currently campaigning for the U.S. Senate, ordered the raid of Center for Medical Progress founder David Daleiden’s apartment in Orange County. Pro-life group Life Action is calling Harris out for the conflict of interest in
Canada removes religious freedom office Canada’s new Liberal government decided the country no longer needs an office dedicated to religious freedom, allowing it to expire on March 31. “We now have one less strong partner and one less voice
for religious freedom,” Katrina Lantos Swett, commissioner of the United States Commission
on International Religious Freedom, told WORLD News Service. “This is a very unfortunate message to send out to the rest of the world at this time.” Former Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper advocated for an office dedicated to international
religious freedom, finally opening it in February 2013. But newly elected Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, leader of the Liberal Party of Canada, quickly shut the door on the operation. Trudeau’s administration vows to take a broader approach to global issues of human rights—devaluing a focus specifically on religious freedom. —from bpnews.net
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RACIAL UNITY, PRAYER, MISSIONS, CULTURE AT SBC IN JUNE By Art Toalston Baptist Press ST. LOUIS “A National Conversation on Racial Unity in America” will be among the highlights of the 2016 Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting in St. Louis, as listed in SBC LIFE’s spring edition. The racial reconciliation emphasis will take place during the Tuesday morning session of the June 14-15 annual meeting, as announced by SBC President Ronnie Floyd. Jerry Young, president of the National Baptist Convention, USA, and Marshall Blalock, pastor of First Baptist Church
in Charleston, S.C., will be among the featured speakers. Floyd and Young were key participants in two racial reconciliation gatherings in Jackson, Miss., in November and August last year. Floyd, senior pastor of Cross Church in northwest Arkansas, and Young, who leads New Hope Baptist Church in Jackson, subsequently were interviewed together by The New York Times and wrote an op-ed at CNN about racial healing in America. Also on Tuesday morning at the SBC annual meeting, Floyd will deliver his presidential address and military veterans will be honored for their service.
For a second year, Floyd will lead a Tuesday evening session devoted to prayer, titled, “A National Call to Prayer for Spiritual Leadership, Revived Churches, The Next Great Spiritual Awakening, and The Future of America.” Reports by the International Mission Board and North American Mission Board are scheduled for the Wednesday morning session, June 15, and the two boards will close the
annual meeting with a special missions presentation on Wednesday afternoon. T h e W e d n e s d ay afternoon session will begin with two panel discussions: “The Local Pastor and Church in American Politics” and a question-and-answer period with the presidents of the SBC’s 11 entities and the Executive Committee. Delivering this year’s convention sermon on Wednes-
day will be Ted Traylor, pastor of Olive Baptist Church in Pensacola, Fla. The theme of the annual meeting will be “Awaken America, Reach the World” drawn from Acts 4:31. Online registration for messengers and local hotels can be accessed at SBCAnnualMeeting.net. Information for preschool childcare and programs for children ages 6-12 and students in grades 7-12 also is available through the website. Information about the annual Crossover evangelism outreach prior to the annual meeting can be accessed at St. Louis Metro Baptist Association.
DAVID CROSBY TO BE THIRD SBC PRESIDENT NOMINEE By David Roach Baptist Press
Louisiana pastor David Crosby will be nominated for president of the Southern Baptist Convention, former SBC President Fred Luter announced March 24. “I have watched David the last 10 years here in New Orleans as he has taken the leadership of all the churches and pastors of our city in helping to rebuild New Orleans, which everybody knows was totally destroyed [in 2005] in Hurricane Katrina,” Luter, pastor of Franklin Avenue Baptist Church in New Orleans, said in an interview, telling Baptist Press of his intention to nominate Crosby. “I saw how he was able to get a lot of things done to get the city back up and running,” Luter said, noting Crosby’s “passion for the body of Christ and for our convention.” During the 20 years Crosby has pastored First Baptist Church in New Orleans, the congregation has given between 7 and 15 percent of its undesignated receipts through the Cooperative Program, Luter said. That level of CP giving persisted despite a major relocation effort and $3.5 million of damages sustained from Katrina, Crosby said. During the fiscal year that began a month following Katrina, First Baptist gave 10.4 percent through CP, according to the SBC’s Annual Church Profile. Over the past five years, the congregation has averaged 9.5 percent giving through CP.
Total missions giving for the congregation has been at least 22 percent of its undesignated receipts each of the past five years, according to ACP. Currently, First Baptist forwards 7 percent of undesignated receipts through CP; 1 percent to New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary; 1 percent to the New Orleans Baptist Association; .5 percent to Baptist Friendship House in New Orleans (a joint ministry of the North American Mission Board and the New Orleans Baptist Association); and approximately .5 percent to a ministry to seafarers at the Port of New Orleans, Crosby said. A designated gift held in trust also generates funds given through CP each year, Crosby said. The church has averaged 658 in worship and 24 baptisms annually over the past five years, according to ACP. Previously, Crosby pastored churches in Texas and Mississippi. Luter said Crosby has demonstrated “a heart for missions and a heart for people regardless of their skin color or what side of the tracks they were born on.” Some 20-25 percent of worship attendees at First Baptist come from non-Anglo ethnic groups, Crosby said. Following Katrina, Franklin Avenue, which is predominantly African-American, met at First Baptist’s facilities for two and a half years, and the two churches continue to engage in joint ministry and fellowship activities. Total missions participation at First Baptist “may rival” worship attendance, Crosby said,
with 4,235 instances of indiv iduals participating in missions projects reported on the 2014 ACP, the David Crosby most recent year for which data is available. That statistic includes some individuals being counted multiple times because they participated in multiple missions projects, Crosby explained. Each week, First Baptist sends 80-100 adults into New Orleans to perform a variety of ministries, including feeding the homeless, providing weekend food for needy public school students, conducting prison ministry and nursing home ministry, teaching English as a second language and ministering to people in the sex industry. The church has taken 14 trips to Ghana over the past six years in conjunction with its adoption of an unreached people group “through the guidance and encouragement of the International Mission Board,” Crosby said. First Baptist sponsors NOLA Baptist Church, a NAMB church plant, and Crosby is a founding board member of New Orleans Baptist Ministries, the umbrella organization that operates Baptist Friendship House on behalf of NAMB and the local association. Crosby has served a variety of leadership roles at the association, state convention and SBC levels, including moderator of the New Orleans Baptist Association, Executive Board
member of the Louisiana Baptist Convention and member of the SBC Committees on Committees and Resolutions. He is a trustee at Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary. Crosby told BP, “I really believe in cooperation, and I believe the Southern Baptist Convention exists primarily to facilitate cooperation among our churches for the world mission of the gospel. Cooperation, to me, has a financial component, and my churches have always been deeply invested in the Cooperative Program and the special missions offerings. Cooperation also has a personal component.” He continued, “I also feel strongly about the gospel being
both proclaimed and enfleshed. The gospel needs proclamation and incarnation. So I’m convicted that our behavior, both individually and collectively, should reflect the Savior and please him, and that our words are not enough. ... I try to keep both the Great Commandment and the Great Commission on my heart.” Crosby’s nomination is the third to be announced for the SBC annual meeting, in addition to the nominations of Tennessee pastor Steve Gaines and North Carolina pastor J.D. Greear. Gaines’ and Greear’s nominations were announced in the April edition of the TEXAN. See questions and answers with all three candidates on pages 20-21.
SBC Ministers’ Wives Luncheon registration opens By Keith Collier ST. LOUIS The annual Southern Baptist Convention Ministers’ Wives Luncheon will take place on Tuesday, June 14, 2016 at the St. Louis Marriott Grand Hotel at noon in the Majestic Ballroom. With a theme of BE.ENCOURAGED, this event is planned with the sole purpose of inspiring, uplifting and encouraging ministry wives. Comedian and author Anita Renfroe will be the guest speaker. Renfroe is author of
Don’t Say I Didn’t Warn You: Kids, Carbs, and the Coming Hormonal Apo calyp se. She has been Anita Renfroe featured in The New York Times, Reader’s Digest, Woman’s Day and the Washington Post. Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 at the door until sold out and can be purchased at lifeway.com/events
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FLOYD NAMES COMMITTEE ON COMMITTEES By Baptist Press ST. LOUIS Appointments to the Southern Baptist Convention’s Committee on Committees have been announced by SBC President Ronnie Floyd, pastor of Cross Church in northwest Arkansas. The Committee on Committees has 68 members, two from each of the 34 states and regions qualified for representation Willy Rice on boards of SBC entities. The Committee on Committees will assemble in St. Louis just prior to the SBC’s June 14-15 ses- Ed Litton sions to nominate members of the Committee on Nominations who, in turn, nominate trustees for the boards of SBC entities. Floyd named Willy Rice, pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in Clearwater, Fla., to serve as chairman of this year’s Committee on Committees. Ed Litton, pastor of Redemption Church in Saraland, Ala., will serve as vice chairman. Floyd announced the appointments March 14 in ac-
cordance with SBC Bylaw 19, which calls for providing notice to Southern Baptists of the appointees no later than 45 days in advance of each year’s annual meeting. Committee members are: ALABAMA—Jeff Gardner, First Baptist Church, Trussville; Ed Litton, Redemption Church, Saraland ALASKA—Shirley Bearce, Pioneer Baptist Church, Wasilla; second member TBD ARIZONA—Tim Pruit, Pinal County Cowboy Church, Gila Valley; Monty Patton, Mountain Ridge Baptist Church, Glendale ARKANSAS—Jamar Andrews, Central Baptist Church, Jonesboro; Manley Beasley, Hot Springs Baptist Church, Hot Springs C A L I F O R N I A — A n d re w Spradlin, Valley Baptist Church, Bakersfield; Gilberto Peralta, Iglesia San Francisco Downtown, San Francisco COLORADO—Ray Shirley, Grand Junction Baptist Church, Grand Junction; Sherry Lambert, Riverside Baptist, Denver FLORIDA—Willy Rice, Calvary Baptist Church, Clearwater; Janet Wicker, First Baptist Church, Naples GEORGIA—Emir Caner, Helen First Baptist Church, Helen; Liliana Lewis, First Baptist Church, Woodstock
HAWAII—Charles Beaucond, First Baptist Church Pearl Harbor, Honolulu; Stacy Hirano, Waialae Baptist Church, Honolulu ILLINOIS—Doug Munton, First Baptist Church, O’Fallon; Michael Allen, Uptown Baptist Church, Chicago INDIANA—Barry Rager, New Circle Church, Indianapolis; Laura Smith South Side Baptist Church of South Bend, Mishawaka KANSAS-NEBRASKA— Casey Casamento, Wichita City Life, Wichita; Elias Bracamonte, Topeka Emmanuel Baptist Church, Topeka KENTUCKY—Curtis Woods, Watson Memorial Baptist Church, Louisville; John Flores, Highview Baptist Church, Louisville LOUISIANA—Leroy Fountain, Franklin Avenue Baptist Church, New Orleans; Michael Wood, First Baptist Church, West Monroe MARYLAND-DELAWAREWASHINGTON D.C.—Katie Barnes, Capitol Hill Baptist Church, Washington, D.C.; Jose Rojo Medina, Iglesia Bautista de Waldorf, Waldorf, Md. MICHIGAN—Darryl Gaddy, Victory Fellowship Community Church, Detroit; Mary Allen, Warren Woods Baptist Church, Warren MISSISSIPPI—Gina Headrick, Salem Heights Baptist
Church, Laurel; Greg Belser, Morrison Heights Baptist Church, Clinton MISSOURI—Josh Hall, Selmore Baptist Church, Ozark; Kim Hardy, First Baptist Church, Kimberling City NEVADA—Sharon Angle, Fellowship Baptist Church, Reno; Sam Crouch, Calvary Baptist Church, Elko NEW ENGLAND—Daniel Cho, Antioch Baptist Church, Cambridge, Mass.; Sherrill Coberley, Lake Sunapee Baptist Church, Newport, N.H. NEW MEXICO—Danny Kirkpatrick, Taylor Memorial Baptist Church, Hobbs; Kyle Bueermann, First Baptist Church, Alamogordo NEW YORK—Patrick Thompson, New City Church, Long Island City; Freeman Field, Apostles Church of the City, New York City NORTH CAROLINA—Greg Poss, Calvary Baptist Church, Winston-Salem; Lori Frank, Biltmore Baptist Church, Arden NORTHWEST—Tom Gillihan, First Baptist Church, Longview, Wash.; Warren Mainard, Essential Church, Bellevue, Wash. OHIO—Reginald Hayes, United Faith International, Columbus; Jeremy Westbrook, Living Hope Church, Marysville OKLAHOMA—Will Wilson Jr., New Hope Baptist Church,
Tecumseh; Lana Melton, Southern Hills Baptist Church, Oklahoma City P E N N S Y LVA N I A - S O U T H JERSEY—Jerry Lepasana, Bible Church International, Randolph, N.J.; Larry Anderson, Great Commission Church, Philadelphia, Pa. SOUTH CAROLINA—Don Wilton, First Baptist Church, Spartanburg; Marshall Blalock, First Baptist Church, Charleston TENNESSEE—Drew Tucker, Bellevue Baptist Church, Cordova; Donna Avant, First Baptist Church Concord, Knoxville TEXAS—Jeff Young, Prestonwood Baptist Church, Plano; Gloria Irving, First Baptist Church, Euless UTAH-IDAHO—Kent Burchyett, Calvary Baptist Church, Idaho Falls, Idaho; Rob Rowbottom, First Baptist Church, West City Valley, Utah VIRGINIA—Eric Thomas, First Baptist Church, Norfolk; Mary Smith, First Baptist Church, Roanoke WEST VIRGINIA—Ryan Navy, New Heights Church, Milton; Brandon Carter, Cross Lanes Baptist Church, Cross Lanes WYOMING—Dale Thompson, First Southern Baptist Church, Worland; Fred Creason, Boyd Avenue Baptist Church, Casper.
Committee on Resolutions named for 2016 SBC By Baptist Press ST. LOUIS Southern Baptist Convention President Ronnie Floyd has named the members of the Committee on Resolutions for the June 14-15 Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting in St. Louis. Floyd, pastor of Cross Church in northwest Arkansas, appointed the 10-member committee in keeping with the provision in SBC Bylaw 20 that its members be named at least 75 days prior to the start of the annual meeting. Floyd named Stephen Rummage of Florida as committee chairman and Jason Duesing of Missouri as vice chairman. Rummage is pastor of Bell Shoals Baptist Church in Brandon; Duesing is provost and associate professor of historical theology at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City. The other committee members, in alphabetical order, are:
4Kelvin Cochran, chief strategic officer at Elizabeth Baptist Church in Atlanta. 4Linda Cooper, national president of Woman’s Missionary Union. 4Mark Harris, pastor of First Baptist Church in Charlotte, N.C. 4Brad Jurkovich, pastor of First Baptist Church Bossier City in Shreveport, La. 4Shannon Royce, chief of staff and chief operating officer of the Family Research Council in Washington D.C. 4Rolland Slade, pastor of Meridian Southern Baptist Church in El Cajon, Calif. 4Jim Smith, vice president of communications for the National Religious Broadcasters in Washington, D.C. 4Mat Staver, founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel, with offices in Florida, Virginia and Washington, D.C. The committee’s composition, according to SBC Bylaw
20, must include at least two members who served the previous year, with Rummage, Duesing and Slade meet- Jason Duesing ing this requirement. Bylaw 20 also stipulates that the committee include at least three SBC Executive Committee members. This year they are Rummage, Slade and Cooper. Submitting resolutions The procedure for submitting resolutions is as follows according to Bylaw 20: 4Proposed resolutions may be submitted as early as April 15 but no later than 15 days prior to the SBC annual meeting, giving the Committee on Resolutions a two-week period in which to consider submissions. This year’s cut-off date is May 30. Resolutions may not
be submitted during the annual meeting. 4 Proposed resolutions should p re f e rab l y Stephen Rummage be submitted by e-mail through the resolutions submission page at sbc.net/resolutions/submit or mailed to the Committee on Resolutions in care of the SBC Executive Committee, 901 Commerce St., Nashville, TN 37203. Proposed resolutions must be typewritten, titled, dated and include complete contact information for the person and his or her church. NOTE: The submission form on the webpage will be available beginning April 15. 4Proposed resolutions must be accompanied by a Credentials for Resolutions Submittal form (downloadable from the resolutions submission web-
page) or by a letter on church letterhead, either of which must be signed by the pastor or other church officer from a church qualified to send a messenger to the SBC annual meeting, certifying that the individual submitting the resolution is a member in good standing. 4No person will be allowed to submit more than three resolutions per year. 4The Committee on Resolutions submits to messengers at the convention only those resolutions the committee recommends for adoption. Such resolutions may be based on proposals received by the committee or may originate with the committee. 4If a properly submitted resolution is not presented by the Committee on Resolutions to the messengers at the SBC annual meeting, a two-thirds vote is required to bring the proposed resolution to the convention floor for consideration.
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CROSBY, GAINES, GREEAR PARTICIPATE IN SBC PRESIDENT Q&A, PART 1
Steve Gaines, pastor of Bellevue Baptist Church in Cordova, Tenn., gives the Committee on Resolutions report during the 2015 SBC annual meeting in Columbus, Ohio. PHOTO BY PAUL W. LEE
David Crosby, pastor of First Baptist Church in New Orleans, at a WMU Missions Celebration and Annual Meeting. PHOTO BY MATT MILLER
“I long for our SBC to be united. People over 40 need the fire and the fresh ideas of the people under 40. And people under 40 need the veteran wisdom and life experience of those of us over 40.”
“[Hurricane] Katrina washed us out of our pews and into the streets and lanes of our city. If churches are interested in becoming relevant to their communities, we can show them how it is done.”
EDITOR’S NOTE: The TEXAN conducted interviews with each of the candidates for SBC President. The following is the first of a two-part series. Part 2 will appear in the June 2016 edition. By Tammi Ledbetter and Bonnie Pritchett TEXAN Staff ST. LOUIS Three pastors nominated for Southern Baptist Convention president are offering indications of how they will address issues such as presidential priorities, committee appointments, denominational diversity and religious liberty, if elected. The SBC Voices blog interviewed each man within days of his nomination being announced. The Southern Baptist TEXAN followed up with additional questions and reviewed information available on their church and personal websites. Messengers to the annual meeting in St. Louis will vote June 14 on new officers, with the possibility of additional nominees being offered when that item of business is considered. David Crosby of First Baptist Church in New Orleans, Steve Gaines of Bellevue Baptist near Memphis, and J.D. Greear of The Summit Church in Raleigh-Durham, share a call for increased support for missions by Southern Baptist
churches. All three declared their expectation that individuals appointed to committees by the president should serve within the parameters of the Baptist Faith & Message 2000, expressed support for the Cooperative Program, and pointed to experience with their own churches that can serve as a model for spreading the gospel. Priorities Crosby said the willingness to “voluntarily join our resources to accomplish greater things for Christ and the gospel” is a key distinctive of Southern Baptists. “I want to help facilitate the discussion about changes that need to be made in our structure and our funding process,” he said, noting his congregation’s “deep and consistent participation in our cooperative missions effort.” Reliance on the Cooperative Program does not preclude his consideration of new initiatives, Crosby added. “We must enlarge the tent and increase participation in our cooperative efforts.” To that end Crosby wants to call pastors and churches to “a new submission to Christ as Lord that transcends both national and denominational politics,” with a commitment to missions that is both cooperative and community-oriented.
As for his priorities, Steve Gaines expressed a desire to work with all Southern Baptists, continuing current president Ronnie Floyd’s emphasis on spiritual awakening and revival. Concerned at the downward trajectory of baptizing 100,000 fewer people than were reported 16 years ago, Gaines told SBC Voices he wants to see Southern Baptists embrace a “Great Evangelism Resurgence” that begins with training pastors and people to share Jesus oneon-one with lost people. “Each of us must own this, including myself,” he told the TEXAN. “I must share Jesus with more lost people. I must be more intentional about opening my mouth and telling people what the Bible says about Jesus in order to win them to faith in him,” he said. Addressing the SBC’s “stewardship crisis,” Gaines said, “We must teach our church members to handle money God’s way. We must teach them to tithe to their churches, set reasonable budgets and live within them, pay off debt, save for future needs, and give generously to those in need as the Lord leads.” Ultimately, those actions will increase funding to the Cooperative Program and, hopefully, he said, lead to “an additional 1,000 missionaries back on the field instead of bringing them home.”
J.D. Greear addressed the priorities that would shape his presidency as he described his own call to the ministry that began with two years of service with the International Mission Board as a sending pastor. He told SBC Voices that his candidacy is “all about the Great Commission.” With more than 6,000 unreached people groups in the world and the number of unchurched in the United States increasing, Greear said, “We can’t be okay with these things. This has to break our hearts, and we have to do something.” He is calling for a new generation to take personal responsibility for the agencies of the SBC. “It is time for us to step up and own this mission, and the vehicles God has given us for accomplishing it, as our own,” he said on his personal website. In addition to calling for a new era of engagement, Greear hopes to keep the focus on gospel-centeredness in both theology and missions, engage the culture with both grace and truth, and “platform and equip non-Anglo pastors and members.” How big a tent? “I think the BFM 2000 is intended to be a pretty big tent,” Crosby said when asked by the TEXAN what he means by the reference. “I think it provides
sufficient parameters for our work together. Within these parameters we should welcome churches who wish to join us in our world mission enterprise,” he said. “I can live with unresolved theological tensions. I embrace the mystery of God, and I hold my own positions with humility, I hope, knowing how limited my puny comprehension of our great God surely is,” he said. “When I pull in the tent pegs and make my tent smaller, I am usually trying to winnow the crowd to make them look more like me, not more like Jesus.” He advised, “Forget about being an evangelist for your own point of view. People need Jesus, not your own best ideas. A lost world needs us both to speak and to model the gospel. Living in unity and loving our neighbors is our greatest apologetic. Unity has never been as important to us as it was to our Lord.” If elected, Crosby told SBC Voices, he will appoint Baptists from churches large and small who “have a reputation that they love God and love others. I want to appoint people who are truly cooperative, who know how to speak their minds, advocate for their perspective and submit to the will of the majority in order to get things done.” See Q&A, 21
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be allowed membership in the SBC,” he explained. “I am happy to ‘broaden the tent,’ but there must be biblical, Baptist parameters,” Gaines said. He said he will use the same standard for appointments that he has used in selecting people for leadership and service in
and minority cultures, those with a more traditional and those with a more modern approach to ministry, to look CONTINUED FROM PAGE 20 to each other as indispensGreear also sees the BF&M able and valuable parts of the 2000 as an ideal doctrinal convention.” statement that serves as a Crosby said, “We need their guide and rallying point for voices now at the tables where the convention. “It is narrow we make decisions and develop strategies. If they see our cooperative work as their own, they will embrace it and undergird it.” Gaines said young Southern Baptists, particularly church planters, need to take the initiative to make the denomination and its convictions their own. Drawing inspiration from “spiritual generals” like Adrian Rogers, Jimmy Draper, Charles Stanley J.D. Greear, pastor of The Summit Church in Raleigh-Durham, N.C., preaches during the 2015 and Jerry Vines can SBC Pastors’ Conference in Columbus, Ohio. PHOTO BY BILL BANGHAM serve young pastors and members well, he added. “I long for our SBC to be united,” Gaines said. “People over 40 need the fire and the fresh ideas of the people under 40. And people under 40 need the veteran wisdom and life experience of those of us over 40.” He called for —J.D. GREEAR ON THE BF&M 2000 multi-ethnic and multi-generational enough to keep us unified the churches he has pastored. representation on SBC boards on the essentials and broad “I will simply look diligently for as well as trustees from all sizes enough to encompass all gos- the most qualified people, those of congregations. As it relates to multi-ethnic pel-loving, scripturally faith- who are actively involved in the ful Baptists. For the sake of life of a Southern Baptist church and multi-racial congregations, the mission, that kind of unity that is itself involved in and each pastor has moved from is absolutely crucial. Every committed to the various levels high hopes to practical applicatime we fight about a non-es- of SBC life,” he said, including tion. Gaines, Crosby and Greear sential, evangelism loses and financial giving through the Co- recounted the transformation of their congregations and, for the enemy wins.” operative Program as a factor. Asked by the TEXAN to As a member of the com- Greear, church staff. The Summit Church has clarify his use of the wide tent mittee that drafted the 2000 analogy, Greear said, “The SBC revision, Gaines said, “I will seen its non-Anglo memberintentionally has a ‘wide tent,’ make sure that each person ship rise from 5 to almost 20 but sometimes we let our rath- appointed is committed to the percent. Half of the campus er minor differences obscure doctrinal beliefs set forth in the pastors and worship leaders are non-Anglo. the glorious gospel and urgent Baptist Faith & Message.” “Our church still has a long mission that unites us.” Ethnic and way to go, but we are proof He called for Baptists of all Generational Diversity that diversification is possible,” kinds to be engaged in the All three nominees recognize Greear said. He hopes to see mission—“traditional as well as younger; black, white, Hispanic the importance of ensuring SBC minority leaders take “places and Asian,” adding, “It’s all of leadership is representative of of real prominence in the SBC, the Southern Baptists sitting such that diversity might beour convention.” Greear pledged to look for in the pews each Sunday. Each come a hallmark of our denompeople who sincerely support recounted their efforts at the ination” and the world sees “a the SBC statement of faith and local level to create multi-racial uniquely united fellowship.” As a Memphis-area pastor “display a love for the Great and multi-ethnic congregations Commission, a passion for lo- reflective of their communities. for more than 10 years, Gaines cal churches, a habit of evange- How they approach intergen- made it a priority to reach out and make friends with gospellism and a disposition toward a erational cooperation differs. “[SBC President] Ronnie centered pastors and churches wide tent of SBC life.” Gaines said Bellevue co- Floyd really has done an of all ethnic and denominationoperates with many gospel- outstanding job in bridging al backgrounds. “We don’t just talk about preaching churches in the the gap between younger Memphis area that are not and older Southern Baptists,” racial reconciliation; we actuBaptist. “But we do not plant Greear told the TEXAN. “He ally experience it and live in churches with them. We can exemplifies the kind of unity it as a reality,” Gaines said. “It serve in harmony with other amidst diversity that I believe works in our church because gospel-preaching churches that we need in our convention in we focus on Jesus-centered engage in such non-biblical the coming days—a spirit that racial reconciliation.” Crosby said, “I hope to make practices as infant baptism, encourages both young and but those churches should not old, those from both majority this a matter of consideration
“It is narrow enough to keep us unified on the essentials and broad enough to encompass all gospel-loving, scripturally faithful Baptists. For the sake of the mission, that kind of unity is absolutely crucial. Every time we fight about a non-essential, evangelism loses and the Enemy wins.”
from the very first as we seek to structure in the present for a future gospel strategy that is ever wider in its reach.” Religious Liberty Although each pastor supports states’ efforts to pass religious freedom legislation protecting the conscientious objections of individuals regarding sexual morality and marriage, they addressed LGBTQ activism differently. The TEXAN asked these pastors if Religious Freedom and Restoration Act (RFRA) laws discriminate against gays, lesbians and transgender persons. Greear and Crosby said the government should never demand, under the force of law, a citizen violate his conscience. Local and state laws establishing civil rights protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity do just that and should be repealed, all three argued. “Marriage is a sacrament within many churches, a holy ordinance—a fundamentally religious institution,” Crosby said. “Weddings for us are filled with prayers, Scripture readings, hymns and vows made before God. No government can tell us how this worship service should be conducted or who may or may not participate.” He added, “We are dealing in these bills with an emotional and painful situation that has touched our families, our churches and our individual lives. We must walk and talk in the mercy and grace of God as we express our differing perspectives. “My heart is with those who are defending freedom of conscience, our most fundamental liberty,” Crosby added. “As I understand these bills, they prevent government from violating conscience. If participating in a same-sex marriage is against religious belief, then the government should not coerce participation or punish those who decline for conscience’ sake,” he said. Those who feel constrained by conscience in such situations should act in love and kindness toward those seeking services and assist them in finding alternative providers for their weddings. Gaines cut to what he views as the heart of the issue—sexual sin. “God created every person as a male or female. The only kind of marriage Jesus sanctioned was heterosexual, monogamous marriage (Matthew 19). Thus, that is the only kind of marriage a Bible-believing church should sanction. Our government should not discriminate against Christians and Bible-believing churches that adhere to such principles,” he said. He supports religious liberty bills because of his belief that homosexuality and lesbianism are sexual sins prohibited in Scripture, the same as adultery and fornication. “In my
opinion, that precludes homosexual marriage from being a ‘civil right,’” Gaines said. “Civil rights have to do with things people cannot help such as the color of their skin. But sexual sins are different in that they are choices.” Greear emphasized the dual nature of the situation—the local church should want to be good neighbors with those who share our convictions and those who do not. In so doing, his congregation has established a relationship with gay individuals, seeing some of them come to faith in Christ. “Christians should despise discrimination with every fiber of their being,” Greear said, “and we should be the first to stand up against it whether it affects us directly or not. But religious liberty is a sacred right—the first right protected in our Bill of Rights. Our Constitution respects the right of private individuals and corporations to live according to conscience. Recent laws, under the guise of anti-discrimination, force conscientious believers of multiple faiths to not only tolerate, but participate with others in practices that violate their consciences.” In the case of the law passed in his home state prohibiting men from entering women’s restrooms and vice versa, Greear said it is not so much a case of religious liberty but whether one group can mandate acceptance of and participation in their views by the whole. “If someone wants to redefine gender for themselves, that is one thing, but to thrust their redefinition on the whole of society by opening up public bathrooms is to go far beyond individual liberty to coerced compliance. It is not only the rights of the transgender person that are in question but the rights of people everywhere. Opening up public bathrooms to both genders jeopardizes multiple public interests and individual liberties, like safety, privacy and so forth,” he told the TEXAN. “But as the church, we want to be good neighbors with those who share our convictions on this and those who do not. We want to live peaceably with everyone and to be the first to stand up to love and protect our neighbors,” he said, describing ministry by his church to gays and lesbians. “We believe it is important to posture ourselves, as much as we can, like Jesus, speaking with both truth and grace. Both are necessary if we’re going to reflect the ministry of Christ.” Greear reminded that truth without grace is fundamentalism, but grace without truth is just sentimentality. “I think it is important that we refuse to reduce gay and lesbian people to their sexuality. They are individuals made in the image of God, like us, with the same basic problems—sin, and the same hope—gift righteousness through the blood of Jesus.”
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CRISWELL TRUSTEES GIVE DISTINGUISHED STATUS TO 40-YEAR PROFESSOR By Tammi Reed Ledbetter Special Assignments Editor DALLAS Criswell College trustees meeting on April 7 promoted H. Leroy Metts to distinguished professor status a week before the New Testament and Greek scholar was honored at a special chapel service recognizing his 40-year tenure at the school. Metts joined the faculty in 1976 and has since taught 20 different courses. Twice named Professor of the Year, Metts received an honorary doctorate from Criswell College in 2009 and was the first recipient of the Metts Language Award that is presented annually. Dozens of Metts’ former students attended the April 14 chapel, paying tribute to his impact on their lives. Theology professor Alan Streett praised Metts for his faithfulness to the Scripture and to the gospel. “When other people devoted their energies to writing or gaining a reputation or using the classroom as a springboard to a large pulpit and a large salary, Roy gave his life to the exegesis of God’s Word and preached the gospel of the kingdom before the kingdom was ever cool.” Criswell College President Barry Creamer honored Metts for the love that drove his passion for the gospel. “What drives this is not just your love to have your nose in books; you love the Lord.” Gary Ledbetter presented Metts with a plaque from the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention that described him as “a living example of Titus 2:7-8,” modeling good works, teaching, integrity, dignity and sound speech. Looking out at his former professor, the SBTC communications director said, “Forty years
later, I’m grateful for what I learned in your first Greek class.” Academic Affairs Vice President Joe Wooddell commended Metts’ generosity with his time, money and energy, and awarded him with a Criswell Study Bible signed by the founder of the college and surprised him with news of his promotion to distinguished professor. “You should have gotten that 10 years ago,” Wooddell added. In final remarks, senior professor Lamar Cooper drew from comparisons to Joshua, describing Metts as a godly leader, a mentor who bred students to be good stewards of the Scripture, and a man devoted to sound doctrine. Energized by a financially healthy forecast without any current debt, the board also unanimously approved a $6.6 million budget during its April 7 meeting. The budget represents an 8 percent increase over last year. Department initiatives in development, communications, and student services, along with security expenditures and employee benefits, account for the increase. “We are not struggling to survive,” Creamer stated as he reflected on the school’s improved outlook. “We are focused on accomplishing our vision.” Speaking to long-range goals, he told trustees, “The goal is 1,500 students in 25 years—so whatever it takes to build the infrastructure and the quality of program so that we are consistently growing, deliberately, to get there— that’s what we’re going to do year after year until we get there.” A motion from the Audit and Finance Committee to increase tuition between 9 and 11 percent for each of the next five years prompted discussion before
approving the measure. “I’m concerned about the student from Pickles Gap, Texas, who is pastoring a small church and struggling already for tuition,” trustee Andrew Hebert of Hobbs, N.M., said, recommending a discounted rate for ministerial students. Factored into the decision were projections of affordability, the impact of a tuition hike on Criswell College professor Roy Metts (left) receives an award markenrollment, and how in- ing his 40 years of service from academic dean Joe Wooddell creased revenue would (right). PHOTO BY DIANA COOPER help the school fulfill School officials were given authoriits mission and vision for high quality education, stated Kevin zation to execute documents to amend Stilley, vice president of finance and the “separation and contribution agreeChief Business Officer. Instead of dis- ment” entered into with First Baptist counting tuition for one group, adminis- Church of Dallas, authorizing the sale trators pledged to rely more heavily on of several stations through First Dallas Media. Sales will facilitate expanded endowing ministerial scholarships. “We’re going to be able to find donors coverage of KCBI-FM’s reach to the who are more ready to jump in and fund Denton and McKinney markets. Trustee Curtis Baker of Lindale, Texas, ministry students than anybody else,” Creamer said, explaining the rationale sought assurances that the school’s interof a systematic, across the board tuition ests were being protected. Stilley said there increase announced in advance for the would be no compromise of the school’s position, and Creamer told board members he five-year period. With only one dissenting vote for would pass the final agreement by them bethe proposal, next year’s tuition will in- fore it is ratified by the Criswell Foundation. In other business, the board approved crease from $315 to $345 per credit hour for undergraduate courses and $415 to graduates for the May 14 commence$455 for graduate courses. Among both ment, updated policies on conflict of peer institutions and those that serve interest and presidential assessment, apas models for Criswell College’s future, proved the first reading of policies related the school remains in the top 5 percent to acceptance of gifts and investments, in affordability, a status administration and endorsed the Long Range Planning expects will continue even with cost in- Committee’s strategic plan of institutional goals and department outcomes. creases over a five-year period.
Hispanic ministry leaders discuss strategies for reaching changing demographic By Sharayah Colter TEXAN Correspondent GRAPEVINE The only country population comprised of more Hispanics than the United States is Mexico, Mike Alameda said during a leadership summit April 5. And, according to U.S. Census projections, the number of Hispanic American citizens will continue to climb over the coming years, Alameda explained during the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention’s second annual Hispanic Leadership Summit, April 5. Alameda, who serves as founder and director of Corazon Ministries in Tucson, Ariz., spent the day speaking about Hispanic culture, changes Hispanics are experiencing and ways in which they can be reached for Christ. Alameda said he learned early on as a missionary to his own people 24 years ago that they are relational at the core. “I was the first Christian in my Hispanic family,” Alameda said. “Like many of you, I wanted them to know Jesus Christ as their savior.” Initially, family members were put off by his evangelistic methods, but Alameda says he learned that merely telling them they were going to hell would not
work. When he began to invest in family members as individuals, taking interest in them and being aware of their need for love and purpose in life, they became more receptive to the gospel. “All 76 of my family members are born-again Christians,” Alameda said. Alameda also told summit attendees to observe and account for changes in the culture from generation to generation. “Every three generations, I have to change my approach to ministry,” he said. Whereas grandmothers were formerly strict disciplinarians, he said, today many of them instead opt for becoming the friends of their children and grandchildren. Even so, he said, Catholicism is still a large influence in the Hispanic culture, leading families to regard issues such as the sanctity of human life as deeply important. Alameda said where churches were formerly monolingual, they now need to incorporate Spanish and English. Alameda also addressed younger generations, mostly Millenials, and their desire for authenticity. “Everything looks good at church, but as soon as they walk out of church, everything looks terrible,” Alameda said.
Millennials need to hear testimonies in church and at home of how God has been good and faithful even in difficult times and trials, he said. They need to know that God will never leave them or forsake them, even amid grim news reports and current events.
“Discipleship is being honest and telling the truth,” Alameda said. “That is what they’re looking for.” For more information about SBTC Hispanic Ministries and events like the Hispanic Leadership Summit, visit sbtexas.com/hispanic-ministries.
BACKGROUND CHECKS NOT ENOUGH TO PROTECT CHILDREN FROM SEXUAL ABUSE IN CHURCHES, EXPERT SAYS By Keith Collier Managing Editor NORTH RICHLAND HILLS While running background checks on nursery workers and children’s volunteers is a good first step, background checks alone are insufficient to protect children fully from sexual predators in the church, attorney Gregory Love told ministers and staff from more than 30 churches. Love, co-founder and director of MinistrySafe and Abuse Prevention Systems, shared research, experience and advice during the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention’s regional Safeguarding Church Ministry conference at North Richland Hills Baptist Church, March 31. Studies indicate that less than 10 percent of abusers ever encounter the criminal justice system, which leaves more than 90 percent who would go unidentified as a risk through a criminal background check, Love said. Additionally, research shows 1 of 4 women and 1 of 6 men have
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suffered abuse as a child, but most do not share it until they are adults. Love explained the process used by sexual abusers to “groom” both children for abuse, and he explained how molesters “groom gatekeepers”—those in ministry positions who stand between abusers and the children they desire to access. Love said leaders in the church can be trained to spot the grooming behaviors.
Attorney Gregory Love, co-founder of MinistrySafe and Abuse Prevention Systems, shares research, experience and advice during the Safeguarding Church Ministry conference at North Richland Hills Baptist Church, March 31. PHOTO BY MARK YOAKUM
“Understanding the grooming process,” Love said, “is the key to understanding and reducing this risk—it is the core of any system designed to protect children AND those who serve them.” The SBTC’s church ministries department holds the regional, one-day conferences at various times throughout the year to help equip churches in protecting children and youth in their care. Future 2016 conferences will be held at Castle
Hills Baptist Church in San Antonio on Sept. 15 and Champion Forest Baptist Church in Houston on Oct. 13, with additional conferences being planned for 2017. “Safeguarding the next generation in the church is not an option; it’s a necessity,” says SBTC Women’s and Children’s Associate Emily Smith. “That’s why it is so important for ministers and church leaders to be aware of how vulnerable they
may be without a strong safety plan in place. “We provide the Safeguarding Church Ministry conferences to help churches become proactive rather than reactive. We want to prevent an incident or even an accusation from happening within the church. This is too important of an issue to ignore.” Get more information and register for future conferences, at sbtexas.com/safeguarding.
SWBTS trustees elect dean of theology, approve text-driven M.Div. By Tammi Reed Ledbetter TEXAN Correspondent FORT WORTH In what was thought to be their shortest meeting on record, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary trustees spent less than an hour in plenary session April 15 to hire a new dean of theology and beef up systematic theology and language requirements to remedy what the president called his momentary “lapse in courage” when he approved an earlier effort to graduate students faster. “Seminaries have the responsibility to supply churches with pastors skilled at exegeting, proclaiming and applying God’s Word,” explained Vice President for Strategic Initiatives Charles W. Patrick Jr. In a statement provided to the TEXAN, Patrick said, “A pastor who is not optimally proficient hurts the church long term and adds
to the biblical illiteracy prevalent in today’s congregations. Shepherding much of that effort will be newly named dean and professor of the School of Theology, Jeffrey Bingham, who was elected unanimously by trustees. He comes from Wheaton College where he held a similar position as associate dean. A member of First Baptist Church of Dallas, Bingham briefly served as an assistant theology dean at SWBTS from 2002-2003 after six years at Dallas Theological Seminary. He replaces David Allen who serves as the founding dean of the new School of Preaching at SWBTS. Allen was surprised with news of his promotion to distinguished professor of preaching, which was also approved during the trustee meeting. Other promotions were given to Old Testament Professor Helmuth Pehlke and Systematic Theology Professor
Malcolm Yarnell, both bumped to the status of research professors, and H. Gerald (Jerry) Aultman from professor of music theory to the rank of distinguished professor. Three new faculty members were elected, including, Justin Buchanan as assistant professor of student ministry in the Terry School of Church and Family Ministries and Robert Lopez as professor of humanities in the College at Southwestern. A third candidate, John-Paul Lotz, was elected but declined to accept a post teaching church history, citing a lack of peace about the move from a Boston pastorate. The current 92-hour M.Div. degree was replaced with a new 91-hour “text-driven” curriculum that offers greater emphasis on biblical authority and exposition, extending systematic theology to three semesters, adding another semester
of both Old and New Testament survey courses, and a third semester of Greek to focus on translation and interpretation. Elementary Greek courses become uncredited prerequisites, which would make the degree 98 hours for those with no prior Greek classes in undergraduate work. Also, the three-hour education class was shortened to one hour on ministries of the local church, and the number of elective hours was reduced from 18 to 15. Changes were made to all other master’s degrees to incorporate elements of the new three-semester sequences courses in Old and New Testament and systematic theologyf. A new B.A. in humanities and biblical studies combines elements of the current B.A. in humanities and B.S. in biblical studies and phases out the former. In other business, trustees approved a nearly $37.5 million
budget, approved May graduates, elected Kevin Ueckert of Georgetown as vice-chairman, and re-elected current chairman Lash Banks of Murphy and secretary Danny Johnson of Little Rock. In his report to trustees, SWBTS President Paige Patterson praised the school’s fundraising efforts to become an “all Steinway school,” previewed an upcoming archaeology dig in Gezer, celebrated the matriculation of seven women earning Ph.D.s, and noted soul-winning endeavors by SWBTS students in Revive this Nation efforts and pre-convention outreach in St. Louis. “Since the fall of 2013 there has not been one single week that we have not reported at least one person coming to Christ as Savior through the witness of students and faculty,” Patterson said.