KASMA students, mentors reflect on summer of ministry

ONE STUDENT took his first mission trip. Another led seven children to Christ. Others identified or narrowed God's call on their lives. Everyone had a life-changing summer.

About 60 people took part this summer in Kaleo Arkansas Summer Ministry Associates (KASMA). These included students, KASMA teams members and lead pastors.

This year, participants served in ministries such as children’s and youth ministries, worship, pastoral ministry, communications and church planting. They were also connected with mentors to help guide and grow them throughout the summer.

Here are some of their reflections from their summer of ministry:

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Black River Baptist Association churches team up to share Christ in communities

Sheila Booth
New Song Baptist Church

IN THE EARLY morning hours of Aug. 8, the small town of Williford began to awaken. In the quietness of the country, cars and walkers began to converge on New Song Baptist Church, Williford.

While it is not unusual to see a large group gather on the church grounds, this day was different. On this day, believers from all over Black River Baptist Association were coming together to reach out past the borders of the church property and share Christ with the community.

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Glen D. McGriff, 85, dies

Dr. Glen D. McGriff died Aug. 15. He was born February 27, 1930 in Dutton Alabama.

He was preceded in death by his parents Jo Lee and Ella Jane (Jenny) McGriff, six brothers, John, Claude, Alton, Howard, Fred and Robert, as well as four sisters Ella Deerman, Minnie Woolum, Maude Traylor, and Ola Mae Smith. He was also preceded in death by his first wife Helen Perry to whom he was married to for forty-two years.

He is survived by his wife, Cecilia, her daughter Shelby Kriz and her son Bobby Thompson; a son Rev. Lamar McGriff and wife Joenna of New Market, Alabama; two daughters Glenda Cross of Columbia Missouri, and Donna McGriff of Little Rock; five grand children, fourteen great grandchildren and one great, great grandchild; his sister Beatrice Taylor of Tyerly Georgia; and a host of nieces, nephews and other relatives.

He was a Baptist pastor of Alabama Baptist churches for twenty five years.

Dr. McGriff was a graduate of Samford Baptist University, Birmingham Alabama, with a bachelor of science. He attended the University of Alabama at Birmingham where he received his masters degree in Counseling. He went on to graduate from Luther Rice Seminary with a Doctor of Ministry degree in Counseling. He also attended New Orleans Baptist Seminary.

Dr. McGriff retired from the Arkansas Baptist State Convention after 15 years of serving as counselor to church staff members and their families, and leading conferences and workshops in churches in Arkansas as well as other states. He continued to be active in ministry for many years.

Visitation took place Aug. 22 at Kerby Funeral Home in Henagar, Ala.


900 attendees challenged at YEC

Students worship during the Youth Evangelism Conference held at Immanuel Baptist Church in Little Rock.Jessica Vanderpool
Arkansas Baptist News

LITTLE ROCK – Evangelist Clayton King talked to students at the 2015 Youth Evangelism Conference (YEC) about strength – but not the type of strength that comes from weightlifting or sports practice. He shared about God’s ability to use human weakness to show His strength.

“When you will embrace your weakness, you will see God’s strength like you’ve never seen it before,” King said, noting that for some attendees that might mean they need to admit their weakness without Jesus and give their lives to Him.
King served as the speaker for YEC, which took place Aug. 7-8 at Immanuel Baptist Church, Little Rock, and drew almost 900 students and leaders from more than 60 churches.

“I’m going to tell you that, if you are alive, you are weak; but your weakness does not make you unlovable. Your weakness is what draws Jesus to you,” King told attendees. “God does not expect you to be perfect. Jesus was perfect for you so that you don’t have to be perfect. … Here’s the good news – no matter what weakness you have, no matter what background you come from, no matter what mistakes you’ve made or sins you’ve committed, God is stronger than your sin. Jesus is bigger than your weakness.

“And if you will own up to your sin and confess it to Jesus, the weakness that you think impairs you will actually make you stronger because Jesus is strong in the midst of your weakness.”

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CWJC national scholarship winner: Shaffer goes from prison to purpose 

Lisa Falknor
Arkansas Baptist News

FORT  SMITH – In her 32 years, Christine Shaffer has worn many labels. Pregnant at 15 and again at 17, society branded her an unwed mother. At the age of 19 – weighing a scant 98 pounds – “friends” called her a meth addict and drug dealer. And, at 23, the state of Arkansas marked her with another title:  prisoner.

During her 366 days in prison, she committed her life to Christ.

This year, Aug. 3, Shaffer held an award representing her most recent title, an identifying marker to forward her graduate school dreams. Shaffer is the 2015 national $1,000 Faye Dove Scholarship Award winner. 

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