Stories of interest to Arkansas Baptists ...


National WMU welcomes new ministry consultants

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Amy Boone and Lena Plunk have joined join the staff of national WMU today as ministry consultants on WMU’s adult resource team. Jennifer Dodd is the organization's new senior marketing strategist.

DoddJennifer Dodd is the new senior marketing strategist for national WMU. In this role, she will give direction to the development and execution of marketing strategies for WMU missions organizations in the church and related resources. These organizations include Mission Friends for preschoolers; Girls in Action, Royal Ambassadors, and Children in Action for children; Acteens, Challenges, and Youth on Mission for students; myMISSION for collegiate and young women; and Women on Mission and Adults on Mission.

Dodd served for the past 12 years as marketing and public relations manager for Princeton Baptist Medical Center in Birmingham. She earned bachelor’s degrees from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and Henderson State University in Arkadelphia, Ark.

“Jennifer’s past experience touches on every area of marketing,” said Carol Causey, director of WMU’s missions resource center. “She will guide us well as we develop new and better ways to serve and to communicate with our churches.”

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America awaits justices' action on same-sex marriage

WASHINGTON (BP) – The wait for the U.S. Supreme Court to announce it is ready to provide a verdict on same-sex marriage may be near an end.

Then again, it may not.

The justices are scheduled to meet in a private conference Jan. 9, when they will consider appeals of lower-court decisions in favor of states' rights to limit marriage to heterosexual couples. The high court could decide to grant review in one or both cases in this term.

If the Supreme Court rules on the issue this term, gay marriage could be legal throughout the country by the time it adjourns this summer. Or states could maintain their authority historically to define marriage as only between a man and a woman.

The justices' conference will come in the context of a judicial and legislative landscape of swelling support for same-sex marriage and the civil rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people. Gay marriage is now legal in 36 states -- nearly tripling the 13 states where it was legal just 18 months ago -- and the District of Columbia. Florida became the 36th state with legalized gay marriage Monday (Jan. 5). Cities increasingly are enacting LGBT ordinances, though there has been recent pushback. All the while, the religious liberty of Christians and others with conscientious objections is under threat.

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IMB missionaries call for prayer after terrorist attack in Paris

PARIS (BP) – International Mission Board (IMB) workers in France pray Jan. 7 terrorist attack in Paris by Muslim extremists will not result in a greater divide between secularism and people of faith.

"The journalists who lost their lives have now become martyrs for the freedom of the press and the freedom of speech," said Tara Chaney, an IMB worker living in France. "We are praying that the outcry against these heinous acts committed by religious extremists will not become outcries against anyone who claims to have any sort of religious belief."

According to Mark Stone, a church planter in Southern France, the polarization of French politics can be traced almost entirely to immigration issues and racial and religious fear.

"There exists today a delicate tension in France that teeters toward breaking, and tragic events will likely serve to further stir up the tension," he said.

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Brentwood Baptist Church announces a one-year ministry residency experience for 2015

Brentwood Baptist Church, Brentwood, Tenn., has announced a one-year ministry residency experience for 2015.

The Ministry Residency at Brentwood Baptist is a one-year residency experience equipping next generation pastors, worship leaders, missionaries, disciplers and church planters to effectively lead the local church.

Brentwood Baptist has provided internships for hundreds of men and women impacting the kingdom of God around the globe, according to a press release. The release also stated that, by virtue of its many resources, strategic Nashville area location and distinctive multicampus approach to ministry, Brentwood Baptist is well-positioned to provide a more in-depth, church career focused training and hands-on ministry leadership experience for God-called men and women.

Just as a teaching hospital provides its residents with further clinical training and the opportunity to practice their trade, likewise The Ministry Residency at Brentwood Baptist seeks to provide a safe and intensive ministry training experience within the context of a body of believers, the press release stated.

The release also said that while seminaries and universities provide a solid foundation in many disciplines, Brentwood Baptist believes the local Church is well-suited to provide exposure to the realities of ministry and address the “experience gap” for those new to ministry. Therefore the purpose of The Ministry Residency at Brentwood Baptist is not to replace what universities and seminaries are providing, but to complement them.

Choosing from seven ministry tracks, residents will be placed in a daily learning environment on one of five Brentwood Baptist campuses under the mentorship of an experienced ministerial staff member. Residents will also participate in a cohort seminar learning experience one day each week taught by seasoned church leaders.

The release specified that successful applicants will come to The Ministry Residency at Brentwood Baptist postcollege, preseminary, mid- or post-seminary and called to vocational ministry in the local Church. The one-year residency includes housing, moving allowance, ministry resource budget and support raising training.

Paired with a degree from a seminary or university, graduates of The Ministry Residency at Brentwood Baptist will be prepared to become some of the greatest Church leaders of the next generation.

Applications are being accepted through March 1 for the first residency cohort beginning late August. Informative materials, frequently asked questions and an online application are located at brentwoodresidency.com.

For additional information, contact Brian Dodridge at bdodridge@brentwoodbaptist.com.


SBC Disaster Relief leaders keep wary eye on New York snowmelt flooding

ALPHARETTA, Ga. – When massive storms dump snow accumulations taller than the average person, all of that snowmelt has to go somewhere. Officials in Buffalo, N.Y., anticipate potential floodwaters following the seven feet of snow that fell on some parts of the city through Nov. 21. 

Cities across the Northeast are facing similar flood scenarios and the prospect of even more snow. The polar blast, generated by a pacific storm that curved north into the Arctic pushing a cold front, brought freezing temperatures and snowfall to parts of all 48 contiguous states. The New York snow event has also been responsible for 12 weather-related fatalities.

Fritz Wilson, executive director for Southern Baptist Disaster Relief (SBDR) at the North American Mission Board, expects state SBDR teams to handle most of the flood recovery and mudout work generated by the storm. The SBDR team at NAMB is closely monitoring developments. 

“The potential for flooding is high in the affected areas that have received from five to seven feet of snow,” said Wilson. “The strength of the Disaster Relief network and the preparation of state organizations like New York and others give us optimism that our state partners will be able to respond to possible flooding.” Wilson said depending on the nature of the event, New York could request assistance from states in the Northeast, but he does not anticipate that this event will call for a national response.

The National Weather Service (NWS) had multiple lake-effect snow warnings in New York, all set to expire Nov. 21. The NWS issued a flood watch for the most heavily affected areas that will not expire until Nov. 26. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, snowmelt typically generates a 10:1 ratio in water accumulation. In the case of the area around Buffalo, seven feet of melting snow would produce almost a foot of water.

Those wishing to donate to SBDR relief can contact the Baptist convention in their state or visithttps://donations.namb.net/dr-donations. For phone donations, call 1-866-407-NAMB (6262) or mail checks to NAMB, P.O. Box 116543, Atlanta, GA 30368-6543. Designate checks for “Disaster Relief.” 

NAMB coordinates and manages Southern Baptist responses to major disasters through partnerships with 42 state Baptist conventions, most of which have their own state Disaster Relief ministries.

Southern Baptists have 65,000 trained volunteers—including chaplains—and 1,550 mobile units for feeding, chainsaw, mud-out, command, communication, childcare, shower, laundry, water purification, repair/rebuild and power generation. SBDR is one of the three largest mobilizers of trained Disaster Relief volunteers in the United States, along with the American Red Cross and The Salvation Army.