More than 500 participants representing 107 Arkansas Baptist churches took part in training for LifeWay Christian Resources’ Journey Off the Map vacation Bible school. The training, which was made possible by the Cooperative Program and the Arkansas Baptist State Convention, was hosted at First Baptist Church in Lowell, Central Baptist Church in Jonesboro and Geyer Springs First Baptist Church in Little Rock.
LITTLE ROCK – The Arkansas Baptist State Convention (ABSC) hosted region three disaster relief directors and their associates at a disaster relief conference April 20-21, during which they discussed current issues, policy and procedures affecting the ministry.
“This is the second time we have hosted the Region Three Directors’ Conference. At the last meeting, all the directors were very impressed with our ABSC facilities and wanted to return,” said Randy Garrett, ABSC disaster relief director.
Southern Baptist disaster relief is organized into regions. Arkansas falls into region three with Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, Southern Baptists of Texas Convention and Texas Baptist Men. Region three is represented by Terry Henderson, disaster relief director of Texas Baptist Men.
Garrett said region three works together to strive to continue to be a pace-setter in the fast-paced disaster relief community.
“When disaster strikes, region three is often on the forefront with our incident management team being first to respond,” Garrett said.
He explained that honoring the Lord through ministering to hurting people is the heart of disaster relief. He said when life gets really hard, Southern Baptist disaster relief volunteers bring “help, healing and hope.”
Arkansas Baptist News
SHERWOOD – “A lot of your people want to go on a mission trip, but they are never told they live on a mission field.”
That was the message Steve Gaines, senior pastor of Bellevue Baptist Church in Cordova, Tenn., shared with more than 100 pastors during a luncheon and workshop at the close of the Arkansas Baptist State Convention 2015 State Conference on Evangelism and Church Growth at First Baptist Church in Sherwood Jan. 27.
Gaines, who came to Bellevue Baptist following the tenure of longtime Pastor Adrian Rogers, told pastors, “You need to be able to tell people about Jesus at home before you go on a mission trip.”
He said since becoming the church’s pastor, he has led Bellevue to intentionally reach out to its community, as well as Memphis and the surrounding region. Gaines said activities of the church have been carried out through its Bellevue Loves Memphis program and funded in part through the church’s annual love offering, which was started when the church was located in Midtown Memphis by then Pastor R.G. Lee.
Gaines said included in the church’s activities is a quarterly work day, prison ministry and a host of other community-focused outreach events all designed to reach people for Jesus – whether or not they ever darken the door of the church.
“I want to be like the first responders that ran into those building at 9/11,” said Gaines, adding that social ministry and evangelism are a “marriage made in heaven” for the local church in the 21st century.
One of the activities Bellevue has undertaken is cleaning and repairing city schools, he said, adding that “community renewal” leads to renewing lives and reaching people for Jesus.
“Forget separation of church and state,” he said, pointing to the welcome the church received during its initiative to assist city schools.
It is important for churches to practice “intentional hospitality,” said Gaines, adding the church should be quick in “welcoming everyone who walks through the door.”
Gaines said that he initially received some criticism regarding the community outreach strategy, adding it was a tough period for him.
“You’ll lose some people, but you’ll gain more than you lose,” he said, adding later in his talk, “Not everyone was exuberant about it when it started, (but) we worked with the ones who were.”
Gaines emphasized to pastors that community ministry doesn’t require a lot of money, just willing and committed volunteers.
“Don’t let the money thing prevent you from getting involved,” he said, adding that the money will come as the church serves.
Contact Tim Yarbrough at firstname.lastname@example.org.
LITTLE ROCK – The Arkansas Baptist State Convention (ABSC) will offer a unique missions experience on March 14 called Families on Mission Day. The event will take place at the Little Rock Zoo starting at 10 a.m.
The event will provide activities for children ages 4 through sixth grade and their families. These activities will allow participants to experience missions and ministry in a fun environment. Some of the activities include interacting with missionaries, learning about disaster relief and partnering with church planters in a ministry project. The ministry project will be helping church planters collect school supplies.
Charity Gardner, ABSC missions team member, explained the purpose of Families on Mission Day.
“This event was created to provide an opportunity for preschoolers and children to interact with different missions experiences,” she said. “We want the participants to walk away with information about missions and how they can be a part of missions.”
For more information about this event and to register, visit absc.org/childhood. The registration deadline is March 2.
LITTLE ROCK – The annual State Handbell Festival will be held at Geyer Springs First Baptist Church, Little Rock, March 6-7. For more information or to register, visit absc.org/music or call 501-376-4791, ext. 5121.