PraizFest 2015 offers large-scale choral experience to youth

BENTON – PraizFest 2015, a youth choir event sponsored by the Arkansas Baptist State Convention (ABSC) evangelism and church health team, is set for Jan. 30-31 at First Baptist Church, Benton.

Open to students in grades seven through 12, the event combines singing, worship and performances from several student choirs across the state.

Dan Baker, minister of music at First Baptist Church, Amarillo, Texas, will serve as clinician. Bill Newton, student minister at First Baptist Church, Hot Springs, will serve as event pastor.

“Your students will probably never get the opportunity to sing in a choir of 400, offering incredible praise and worship to God, but they will get that opportunity at PraizFest!” said Larry Grayson, ABSC evangelism and church health team member.

He said churches don’t have to have a youth choir in order for students to participate.

“You may have a student choir of 40, or you may not have a student choir,” he said. “Give those 40 the chance to sing with 400, or give the opportunity to that one student who loves to sing and doesn’t get to do that on a regular basis.”

Grayson said students must bring their own music. Four of the music selections can be ordered through LifeWay Christian Resources, and two can be ordered through the Arkansas Baptist State Convention.

For information or to register, visit Registration deadline is Jan. 19. Preregistration is required.


Workshops set to start in Jan.

The Arkansas Baptist State Convention (ABSC) will offer Compensation Planning Workshops starting in January. This workshop will be led by William Jaques Jr. from the ABSC and is for church ministerial staff and anyone dealing with church finances.

Topics will include proper salary structure for ministers, the importance of reimbursing for professional expenses and providing benefits and understanding what a minister’s housing allowance is and how to designate one.

The workshop will teach participants how to create a compensation structure that is compliant with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) regulations for ministers. This structure recognizes the unique tax status of ministers and helps churches minimize their ministers’ tax liability in a way that does not violate the IRS code.

“Too many churches fail to understand the importance of compensating their ministry staff properly. This workshop helps churches understand how to compensate ministry staff in a way that will help prevent them from paying unnecessary taxes,” said Jaques, evangelism and church health team member for the ABSC.

The workshops will be held at various locations around Arkansas during the months of January and February.

Preregistration is required. To register and to view times and locations, visit This workshop is made possible by gifts from Arkansas Baptists to the Cooperative Program.


Interim ministry conference set for Feb. 17-18 at Camp Paron

PARON – The Arkansas Baptist State Convention (ABSC) is offering an Interim Ministry for Today’s Church conference Feb. 17-18 at Camp Paron. The event is designed to enhance and improve the skill of men involved in interim ministry or those desiring to get involved in interim ministry.  

The time between permanent pastors is a critical time for a church. The conference will prepare participants to develop a covenant with a congregation that clearly describes the responsibilities of the interim pastor and the congregation. Additionally, participants will learn how to study a congregation and determine where the church might need assistance. This is done to prepare the church for the coming of a new pastor.

“This conference will teach participants how to do interim ministry. It will give them tools to help churches stay focused on their mission as they prepare for their new pastor,” said Jimmie Sheffield, executive administrator for the ABSC and leader of the conference.

Sheffield said he feels that the conference offers a great opportunity for someone interested in helping churches that are between pastors.

“You could be a retired pastor or someone who wants to be a pastor but is not ready for full-time ministry,” he said. “This conference is perfect if you want to do interim ministry.”

The conference is a stand-alone workshop; but it is also a requirement for those interested in becoming an intentional interim pastor. The deadline for registration is Jan. 17.  

For more information and to register for the event, visit


Events focus on missions

Three Missions Connection 2014 events were offered in mid-November by the Arkansas Baptist State Convention (ABSC). About 160 people participated.

The goal of the events was to give participants the opportunity to learn about missions partnership opportunities and to have their questions answered, said Bob Fielding, ABSC missions team member.
The event provided participants a chance to meet long-term missionaries and church planters from 10 locations.

“The presenters at this event are looking for partners – prayer partners, mission team partners, etc – so the 160 or so people who came were able to hear all 10 presenters and then go to three breakout sessions in the afternoon to get the ‘kitchen sink,’” said Fielding. “I’ve already heard that two couples are considering moving to Chicago to help with church planting.”

Laura Macfarlan, director of Heart Life Women’s Ministry at First Baptist Church, Siloam Springs, attended.
“I came away more inspired and equipped to pray and certainly filled with a desire to go!” she said.

 The events took place Nov. 13 at First Baptist Church, Fayetteville; Nov. 14 at Mt. Carmel Baptist Church, Cabot, and Nov. 15 at Central Baptist Church, Magnolia.

For more information, contact


2014 Missions GetAway and Camp-O-Rama set for May 16-17

Missions GetAway is a one night event for all girls in 1-6 grades and their adult female leaders. This weekend is to explore what missionaries do, experience cultures from around the world, and meet other girls who want to live out a missions lifestyle.

Missionaries from South East Asia will be with us sharing about their work. The weekend is for Girls in Action, Children in Action, and all girls in the church who want to learn more about missions. Cost is $40 per person. Missions GetAway will be held at the Tri-County Baptist Association Camp in Wynne. 

Camp-O-Rama will be happening the same weekend at the same campground. Camp-O-Rama is an overnight tent-camping missions event for all boys 1st-6th grades and their leaders. Cost is $15 per person.

For more information visit

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