Digest

Stories of interest to Arkansas Baptists ...

Wednesday
Jun112014

GuideStone announces new enrollment guidelines for medical Personal Plans

DALLAS — GuideStone has announced new guidelines for enrollment in its medical Personal Plans, effective July 1.

Churches and ministries eligible to offer GuideStone’s medical Personal Plans will be able to add new employees and their families to the Personal Plans within 60 days of employment.

For the first half of 2014, due to the uncertainties in the health care market as a result of the Affordable Care Act, GuideStone imposed temporary guidelines that limited enrollment to participants experiencing HIPAA special enrollment events, such as marriage, birth, adoption or loss of coverage.

Under the new guidelines, new employees of an eligible Personal Plan church or ministry can enter the health plan within 60 days of employment or HIPAA special enrollment event. Further, covered individuals may continue to add dependents to the health plan due to such events.

Church employees who began their employment between January 1 and July 1, 2014 may enroll themselves and eligible family members through August 1, 2014.

“The Affordable Care Act has created unprecedented changes and challenges for all health plans, including church health plans,” said GuideStone President O.S. Hawkins.

“GuideStone has been diligently seeking legislative, regulatory and judicial recognition of the unique nature and needs of church plans, with the continued goal of keeping the plan strong and stable. At the same time, GuideStone continues to explore ways of providing coverage to new enrollees in a manner consistent with that goal. GuideStone has determined that this change will enable us to balance ministry objectives with good stewardship," he said.

- From a GuideStone news release

Monday
Jun092014

Hearing set for Glorieta lawsuit

A judge in New Mexico has scheduled a hearing on pending motions regarding the suit filed by an Arkansas couple who claim LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention lacked legal authority to sell Glorieta Conference Center.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Robert Hayes Scott set the hearing for 9 a.m. June 19.

The court will consider a motion from the plaintiffs, Kirk and Susie Tompkins of Little Rock, for an emergency hearing to grant a temporary retraining order blocking all construction by Glorieta 2.0 at the conference center.

The court also will consider multiple motions to dismiss filed by defendants named in the suit, who assert lack of jurisdiction and standing, failure to state a claim and improper service of process.

The Tompkins family seeks $400,000 for loss of their vacation home built on property leased from Glorieta. They want an additional $12 million to be divided among about 65 homeowners who built or purchased homes on Glorieta property secured by what the couple says were understood to be perpetually recurring leases. - The Baptist Standard

 

Friday
Jun062014

Lottie Moon offering for international missions reaches record $154 million

In Sweden, IMB worker Anissa Haney (left) meets with Linda Hamfors for Bible study. Struggling with addiction and spiritual questions, Linda approached Anissa after a musical performance and asked if they could talk more. Today, the young Swedish woman is a follower of Jesus. The 2013 Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions and gifts through the Cooperative Program enabled Anissa to be there when Linda, searching for truth in a highly secularized society, was ready to hear it. IMB PhotoRICHMOND, Va. (BP) – Southern Baptists gave an unprecedented $154 million to the 2013 Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions, breaking the record for the largest total in the offering's 125-year history.

The 2013 offering, finalized June 5, reached $154,057,852.36. The total represents an increase of nearly $4.8 million over 2012, or 3.2 percent. It tops the previous record, $150.4 million in 2007, by more than $3.6 million, and marks the fourth increase since 2008.

"This gives us an opportunity to reflect on the incredible generosity of Southern Baptists over many years," IMB President Tom Elliff said. "The Lottie Moon Christmas Offering represents well over half of our budget each year, so those who give sacrificially and out of concern for the lost can be assured that an enormous portion of all that happens overseas can be directly tied to their support. 

"It's estimated that close to 1 billion people living now are very likely to go through life without ever hearing the Gospel in such a fashion that they can understand it and respond to it in faith," Elliff said. "Our missionaries are 'chasers after darkness.' We're looking for those dark corners of the world where the light of the Gospel has yet to be shed so we can get the message of Christ into the hearts of people who need so desperately to hear about it."

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Tuesday
May272014

Thailand coup sparks call for prayer

BANGKOK, Thailand (BP) – In a country that has already endured months of political unrest, International Mission Board (IMB) leaders are calling believers to fervent prayer for Thailand after the Royal Thai Army declared martial law last week and gained control of the government in a coup two days later.

"We pray for a resolution that is best for the Thai people," Peter Hillen,* an IMB worker in Thailand, said. "Pray for people to be patient as this resolves. Please pray for our personnel to take opportunities to share about where their eternal security comes from; we can't trust in man for our security."

Following the May 22 coup, IMB leadership continues to monitor the situation and has advised personnel to exercise caution and avoid areas where protests have been held.

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Friday
May232014

Thousands respond during Master’Singers tour

Thousands of Ukrainians attended Master’Singers concerts during their recent visit to the country.Jessica Vanderpool
Arkansas Baptist News

MORE THAN 4,400 people made decisions to “become serious followers of Christ” during the Arkansas Master’Singers choir tour in western Ukraine, which took place April 21-May 2.

“I’ve been in ministry since I was 18 years old, and this is by far the most powerful thing I’ve ever gotten to be a part of,” said Larry Grayson, Arkansas Baptist State Convention evangelism and church health team member. 

Grayson, who serves as Master’Singers director, noted that “the intensity, the excitement, the feelings … cannot be recreated with words.”

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