Camp Siloam helps girls feel ‘Radiant’

SILOAM SPRINGS – What makes a person radiant? Psalms 34:5 (NASB) suggests that those who look to Jesus for their worth are radiant – “They looked to Him and were radiant, and their faces will never be ashamed.”
“I continually doubt my worthiness,” said Patience Beard, a senior at the University of Arkansas who also is a cheerleader for the Razorbacks. “I forget who God says I am. I forget what God says about me. I hope this weekend we can allow God to speak to our hearts.”

Beard was the keynote speaker at Radiant, Camp Siloam’s all-girls retreat. The event took place in Siloam Springs, Oct. 16-18. The event was developed on the premise that young women need to hear from women without the distractions of boys, and they need to know that they are valuable and special. Beard summed up the retreat by stating to the campers, “You are valuable and worthy, even though you have nothing to give.”

The retreat opened with a concert featuring Nashville recording artist and worship leader Kerrie Roberts.

“To me, being radiant is not just having a sunshiny disposition, but being real and honest about who you are in Christ and being consistent in that every day. That will make you shine the kind of light that is going to change lives around you,” said Roberts.

Linda Graham, Camp Siloam’s women’s ministries manager, shared why Radiant was so important to campers.
“When you saw the girls together and the issues they were dealing with, you saw why this is important. There are things girls aren’t going to talk about their struggles in front of men. We were able to biblically address the issues that are uniquely female in our communities: broken families, beauty, redemption, worth and value to God,” she said.

Joey Staton, who came with Friendship Baptist Church, Sherwood, agreed that it’s important to have something specifically for girls.

“Women understand the struggles of teenage girls because they’ve been there,” she said.

“I liked the breakout sessions. The activities were tied to our relationship with Christ. They weren’t just activities,” said Maya Swartz, who attended with Eastside Baptist Church of Collinsville, Okla.

The camp showed the girls they were special by creating an atmosphere especially for Radiant. Thirty-nine women volunteers from northwest Arkansas churches and 26 students from colleges around the region came together to decorate, serve and lead campers, making the event very special.

“I know a lot of this may seem frivolous, but for many girls, this is the first time they have felt special in a ‘not dirty’ way,” said Kristie Smith a counselor who attended with Winthrop Baptist Church, Winthrop. “We need to do more of this (events for specifically women). This is so important because so many girls have crossed the line. Our generation of girls 14-16 have crossed the line of purity, and they do not feel that they can be restored.”

“Joel 2:25 speaks of God’s promise to restore that purity,” Smith continued, “It says, ‘And I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten.’ I want girls to understand that they don’t need to find their worth in a man. They need to understand it is God who declares your worth.”

One-hundred-and-thirty-five girls attended Radiant from 22 churches. Due to the success of Radiant, Camp Siloam is planning a retreat for junior high and senior high boys called “Advance” March 4-6. The event will feature Brent Eldridge and worship band Carrollton. Visit for more information about Advance, summer camp and other retreats.


ABSC’s David Bond named runner-up Researcher of Year 

BondJEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – David Bond, who currently serves as assistant team leader on the Arkansas Baptist State Convention (ABSC) evangelism and church health team, was named runner-up Researcher of the Year by the Southern Baptist Research Fellowship (SBRF) for his dissertation “An Analysis of Selected Church Health and Church Context Characteristics among Growing, Plateaued, and Declining Churches in the Arkansas Baptist State Convention.”

Randy Stone, Donna Peavey and Jake Roudkovski constituted Bond’s dissertation committee.

“I am very grateful to have had the opportunity to participate in the program and work on this project,” said Bond. “The purpose of our study was to equip us to serve Arkansas Baptists with the best information on the principles behind how churches in our state are reaching the lost, making disciples and impacting their communities. This recognition gives affirmation that Arkansas churches can serve as a model for pursuing revitalization, revival and spiritual awakening.”

Bond’s focus areas at the ABSC are in church revitalization, adult Sunday school and small group ministries. He is a graduate of Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia; Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, and New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. For more than 20 years, he has served churches in Arkansas and Nashville, Tenn., as a minister of youth/music, minister of education and pastor.  

The SBRF is an organization that seeks to provide an informal forum for Southern Baptists with professional interests in and/or assignments for religious research. Each year the organization recognizes outstanding research by Southern Baptist students through the Researcher of the Year Award. The doctoral students were recognized as outstanding researchers by the SBRF at its annual meeting held at Carson-Newman University in Jefferson City, Tenn, Sept. 24-25.


Students seek to ‘Connect’ in Monticello

MONTICELLO – The idea of taking a mission trip can be daunting. But missions doesn’t have to mean packing up a dozen church members and flying to Africa for a week. It can be as simple as taking a handful of students to give out change at the local car wash while engaging customers in spiritual conversations and helping them connect to a local church.

And that’s exactly what a group of students did as part of Connect 2015, a short-term, local mission trip for students that took place Oct. 16-18 in Monticello.

About 150 students, leaders and volunteers took part in the weekend event, which was sponsored by the Arkansas Baptist State Convention (ABSC) missions team.

The event is designed to offer students the experience of a weeklong mission trip packaged into a single weekend, said Travis McCormick, ABSC missions team member. The goal is for students to connect with God through worship, devotions, prayer time and evangelism and ministry opportunities, as well as to connect with fellow Christians and the community through work projects.

Along with ministering at the car wash, students partnered with local churches to minister through activities such as prayer walking, construction, yard work and evangelism.

“I know that all of my students were committed to the tasks they were challenged with and that God spoke to each of them individually,” said Bryan Shanks, youth pastor and worship leader at First Baptist Church, Manila, who brought about two dozen students to Connect 2015. “I know that one of my students received a call to minister to the mentally handicapped during this trip. My students took away a deeper desire to grow in their faithfulness to serve as God calls.”

First Baptist Church, Monticello, provided housing for the weekend. Geyer Springs First Baptist Church, Little Rock, and First Baptist Church, Ozark, provided shower units, and Liberty Baptist Association’s disaster relief feeding unit provided meals.

As part of Connect 2015 and in partnership with the ABSC college and young leaders team and the ABSC Prayer Task Force, students also took part in a Haystack prayer meeting, which was a time of prayer for repentance, revival and renewal, on Oct. 17.

“God was evident and working in the lives of the students,” said Charity Taylor, ABSC missions team member, regarding the Haystack event. “What a sight to see students and their leaders praying and broken for the lostness of family members, friends and the world!”

The weekend ended with groups worshipping in churches around the Monticello area.

Telese Huffman, of Immanuel Baptist Church in Monticello, was one of four adult leaders for a group of youth from her church. She noted the particularly “local” aspect of the mission trip for her group.

“They (students) got to see there is mission work to be done where they live. They got to connect with local people and work on projects they can revisit on a regular basis if they choose,” she said, noting they connected with people they know from other area churches and there has been discussion about the possibility of joining together again to meet more needs in the community.

The students also connected with groups from across the state, and they experienced the disaster relief food and shower services.

“I believe the more familiar the youth become with missions, the more likely it is they will continue mission work as adults,” Huffman said.

“This was a great trip, and we are looking forward to next year.”


Camp-O-Rama, Missions GetAway teach children about missions

LONSDALE – Two missions events – one for girls in grades one through six and the other for boys in grades one through six – were provided by the Arkansas Baptist State Convention (ABSC) missions team at Spring Lake Baptist Assembly in Lonsdale the weekend of Sept. 18-20.

Almost 100 students and adults took part in Missions GetAway, the girl’s camp, and just over 100 students and adults took part in the boys’ Camp-O-Rama.

The Missions GetAway theme – Gotta Tell It – focused on sharing the gospel, said Charity Taylor, member of the ABSC missions team. Girls heard Bible stories about sharing the gospel, learned different methods of sharing the gospel and were encouraged to share their own faith stories in their spheres of influence.

Girls also visited Spring Lake Baptist Assembly’s People’s Village, which has several small model homes from around the world.

Lynn Lanthrip, of Shepherd Hill Baptist Church, Pine Bluff, said the weekend particularly hit home with one of her girls.

“The girls and leaders from Shepherd Hill had a great time; but one of our young ladies, Amelia Stewart, seemed to be the most touched by the weekend. She came home talking about how she felt she would be a missionary one day,” Lanthrip said.

Taylor also said a girl accepted Christ after the weekend.

While the girls were busy at their missions event, the boys were equally busy at theirs.

“Camp O Rama is a tent-camping, missions discipleship experience designed to aid boys and men in developing the skills necessary to become effective on-mission Christians who carry out the Great Commission to make disciples ‘as they are going,’” said Travis McCormick, ABSC missions team member.

“Camping and other outdoor activities provided opportunities for participants to interact with and learn from other Christian men and boys,” McCormick explained. “Men from around the state spent the weekend sharing their passions, telling their stories and demonstrating how God uses the things men love to do to help them reach other men and boys who share their passions.”

He said along with having a chance to interact with both “everyday missionaries” and vocational missionaries, Camp-O-Rama participants were able to take part in activities such as fishing, entomology, juggling, archery and much more.

Students from both camps heard from a missionary family who uses goat farming to reach people.

Both boys and girls were able to take part in missions themselves by bringing school supplies that Arkansas church planters will use to build relationships in their communities.


The Ark. Pregnancy Care Center Association holds quarterly meeting 

Ark. Pregnancy Care Center Assoc. – The Arkansas Pregnancy Care Center Association held its quarterly meeting May 21 at the Arkansas Baptist State Convention Building.