Churches should be purposeful in building teams

CONWAY – Oftentimes, the word “team” is associated with sports teams or even corporate teams. But for Wendy Nelson, a member of Woodland Heights Baptist Church in Conway, it also applies to church “teams.”

“When we talk about church ‘staffs,’ we talk in more church language. So we don’t talk a lot in terms of team building. But they (church staffs) are a team,” said Nelson, who founded The Edify Group LLC as a means of helping companies with things like employee training, education, leadership development and team building.

She said a lot of what she does for corporate teams can be applied to church staffs.

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Arkansas pastor witnesses at Planned Parenthood

Jessica Vanderpool
Arkansas Baptist News

MEMPHIS, Tenn. – On Friday mornings between 9 and 11, you can find Pastor John Rech on the sidewalk outside Planned Parenthood in Memphis, Tenn.

While this may not be where you would expect to find an Arkansas Baptist pastor, Rech has a heart for this particular location and the people who come and go from the building.

Each week Rech – who pastors New Hope Baptist Mission in Marion, a mission of First Baptist Church in Marion – crosses the state line to street preach and witness in front of the Planned Parenthood building on Poplar Avenue.

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Hurricane Katrina left mark on Baptist relief

Tobin Perry
North American Mission Board

Hurricane Katrina evacuees were spread across the Gulf Coast. Here Southern Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers prepare a meal in Meridian, Miss. In total, SBDR volunteers prepared 14.6 million hot meals in the response. File photo by John Swain/NAMBGULFPORT, Miss. (BP) – "We've shared the Gospel with so many people in this community, I don't know if there is anyone else we can share with," Randy Corn thought to himself six months after Hurricane Katrina when he arrived in Gulfport, Miss., one of the many Gulf Coast cities devastated by the historic hurricane 10 years ago.   

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Still experiencing Katrina in mind and heart

David E. Crosby
First Baptist Church, New Orleans

NEW ORLEANS (BP) – A middle-aged woman attended worship at our church a few Sundays ago. She came in early and sat up front on the center aisle. I greeted her and introduced myself.

CrosbyShe promptly told me her Katrina story. She lived for years in Lakeview. The flood destroyed her home. She permanently relocated to a small town in central Louisiana. A faith community there reached out to her, and she now attends every Sunday. She came to our church during a visit to New Orleans because she wanted to thank God for the journey of faith the flood had caused her to travel.

A week earlier, a couple I had not seen before slipped into a pew. They had evacuated in Hurricane Katrina, they said, and were only now, nearly 10 years later, returning permanently to our city.

Week by week – almost day by day – without prompting or questioning, I hear the Katrina stories. I told my own story the other day in response to the query of a stranger. The evacuation on the contraflow, the destruction of my daughters' homes, the church facility as a relief center, our deployment of 21,000 volunteers, building 91 homes in partnership with Habitat for Humanity, gutting more than a thousand flooded homes – these are components of my own narrative.

A Baptist denominational executive from Texas said he was surprised and delighted to see the diversity in the membership of First Baptist New Orleans after a visit to our church.

We are black and white, Asian and Latino, and all over the economic scale as a church. This diversity is in part the legacy of Hurricane Katrina.

The devastation of Hurricane Katrina forced an outward focus for our church. The flood washed us out of our building and into our community. Cleanup and rebuilding programs, educational ministries, feeding initiatives, medical missions and rehabilitation efforts involved hundreds of our members. I found myself working in Treme, Bywater, Mid-City, the Ninth Ward, Gentilly, East New Orleans, Chalmette, Lakeview and virtually all over the flooded footprint of our city.

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Ark. Baptist Kay Hardin shares conversation with Elisabeth Elliot

ElliotIn 1987, Kay Hardin, current member of Second Baptist Church in Little Rock and chaplain at Baptist Health Medical Center in North Little Rock, had the opportunity to sit down for a one-on-one Q-and-A session with Elisabeth Elliot Gren – missionary, widow of murdered missionary Jim Elliot and widely influential author and speaker. Elliot recently died at the age of 88. The following is from Hardin's journal following her conversation with Elliot.

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