Arkansas pastor Mark Dance to help LifeWay become ‘best friend to pastors’

DanceNASHVILLE, Tenn. – Arkansas pastor Mark Dance has joined the staff of LifeWay Christian Resources to lead efforts in building closer relationships with pastors in the Southern Baptist Convention.

Dance, senior pastor of Second Baptist Church, Conway since 2001, officially started Oct. 1 as LifeWay’s associate vice president for pastoral leadership.

Thom S. Rainer, LifeWay’s president and CEO, said Dance will develop and strengthen LifeWay’s relationships with SBC pastors and staff, as well as denominational entities, state conventions and associations.

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Tommy Miller to be nominated president of the 2015 ABSC Pastors’ Conference

TMillerOMMY MILLER, pastor of Union Valley Baptist Church in Beebe, is expected to be nominated president of the Arkansas Baptist State Convention (ABSC) Pastors’ Conference Oct. 27 in Texarkana. 

Matt Pryor, pastor of First Baptist Church, Manila, made the announcement Oct. 7, saying that he plans to nominate Miller to the post.

“I will be nominating my friend and fellow pastor, Tommy Miller, for president of the 2015 Pastors' Conference,” said Pryor in a statement to the Arkansas Baptist News. “God has been using Tommy to lead Union Valley Baptist Church in Beebe for many years. Tommy is an excellent pastor and will prove to be a wonderful leader for next year's pastor's conference. I pray you will support him. Thank you.”

The pastors' conference meets immediately prior to the annual meeting of the Arkansas Baptist State Convention, Oct. 28-29, at Trinity Baptist Church, 3115 Trinity Blvd., Texarkana. If elected, Miller will serve as president of the 2015 ABSC Pastors' Conference Nov. 2 at Hot Springs Baptist Church in Hot Springs.

Miller has been pastor of Union Valley since 1987.


Arkansas Baptist State Convention Annual Meeting Oct. 28-29 in Texarkana

Trinity Baptist Church, Texarkana, will be the host church for the 2014 Arkansas Baptist State Convention Annual Meeting Oct. 28-29.TEXARKANA – The 161st annual meeting of the Arkansas Baptist State Convention (ABSC) is set for Oct. 28-29 at Trinity Baptist Church, 3115 Trinity Blvd., Texarkana. 

Every One Matters is the theme of the annual meeting. Throughout the meeting, ABSC ministry teams will share stories of how they have seen lives impacted through their work. In addition, new church plants will be highlighted in each session.

Business of the convention will be conducted, including receiving entity reports, election of convention officers and a vote on the 2015 ABSC Cooperative Program (CP) budget of $22 million.

Additionally, the ABSC Nominating Committee will bring recommendations of people to serve on ABSC boards, committees and agencies. Miscellaneous business sessions are set for 2:20 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 28 and 9:05 a.m.,
Wednesday, Oct. 29. 

As reported Aug. 21 in the Arkansas Baptist News, the ABSC Executive Board unanimously approved a $22 million CP budget proposal for 2015 at its Aug. 12 meeting. The budget reflects the third year of the ABSC’s 2013-17 budget formula approved by messengers at the 2011 annual meeting.

The formula increases the percentage of funds (total receipts) forwarded to the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), with budget surpluses being divided with the SBC. The percentage increase for SBC causes is two-tenths of 1 percent each year during the five-year budget formula period. Additionally, the formula directs the convention to conduct a statewide emphasis every five years, encouraging churches to increase their Cooperative Program percentage.

Archie Mason, senior pastor of Central Baptist Church, Jonesboro, will preside over the meeting in his first year as convention president. Mason is eligible to be elected for a second year.

No other candidates for the office of president or other convention offices had been announced as of press time.

Speakers during the meeting will be Mason; Ben Mandrell, a church planter for the North American Mission Board in Denver; Frank Page, president and chief executive officer of the SBC Executive Committee; Ronnie Floyd, SBC president and senior pastor of Cross Church in northwest Arkansas; Dale Thompson, pastor of First Baptist Church, Fort Smith, and J.D. “Sonny” Tucker, ABSC executive director.

Prior to the annual meeting, a number of meetings will take place. On Sunday, Oct. 26, a Hispanic worship service will be held at Trinity Baptist. On Monday, Oct. 27, the Pastors’ Conference, Credentials Committee Orientation, Ministers’ Wives Network, Hispanic Baptist Fellowship, International Parents Fellowship, Associational Missionaries Fellowship, Innovative Church Planters and Delta Connection will meet at various times of the day. A chaplains breakfast will be held at 7 a.m.
at the church on Tuesday, Oct. 28.

For a complete listing of related meetings and other annual meeting information, see additional stories in this edition.


Pastors’ Conference Oct. 28

Be Encouraged! based on Isaiah 52:7 is the theme of the 2014 Arkansas Pastors’ Conference set for 10 a.m., Monday, Oct. 27 at Trinity Baptist.

2014 Pastors’ Conference speakers are David Wilson, senior pastor of Southcrest Baptist Church, Lubbock, Texas; Ed Newton, staff evangelist at First Baptist Church of Central Florida; Mandrell; Junior Hill, Southern Baptist evangelist, and Jerry Vines, retired pastor of First Baptist Church, Jacksonville, Fla.

Additionally, Josh Wilson, a contemporary Christian musician will perform, along with Clay Crosse, Christian artist and music pastor at First Baptist Church, Bentonville, and Kari Jobe, contemporary Christian singer and associate worship pastor at Gateway Church, Southlake, Texas.

Officers of the Pastors’ Conference are Phillip Smith, pastor of First Baptist Church, Bentonville, president; Michael Franklin, pastor of Rye Hill Baptist Church, Fort Smith, vice president, and Marty Sikes, pastor of Bono Baptist Church, Greenbrier, treasurer.

For extensive coverage of the annual meeting, related events and stories, visit 

Meeting alerts and updates will be posted during the meeting on the Arkansas Baptist News Twitter account at and Facebook page at More information is available at


Jones, longtime BSU director, dies at 91

JonesFAYETTEVILLE – Jamie Jones, 91, longtime Baptist Student Union (now Baptist Collegiate Ministry) director at the University of Arkansas, and a Christian icon in the Fayetteville community, died Sept. 9.

Jones, a member of First Baptist Church, Fayetteville, is survived by his wife, Beverly, and many other family members.

Funeral services will take place at 2 p.m., Friday, Sept. 12 at First Baptist Church, Fayetteville. Visitation will follow the service at the church. Arrangements are being made by Moore's Chapel Funeral Home in Fayetteville.

The Arkansas Baptist News will publish a full obituary when it is available.


Truett Cathy, Chick-fil-A founder, dies

ATLANTA (BP) – S. Truett Cathy, founder and chairman emeritus of Chick-fil-A, died today (Sept. 8) at 1:35 a.m., according to an announcement from the Atlanta-based restaurant chain. Cathy was 93.

CathyBaptist Press will post a broadened obituary later today. This story includes information from company-released obituary of Cathy, a Southern Baptist churchman known for his commitment to Chick-fil-A restaurants being closed on Sundays.

Cathy, who died peacefully at home surrounded by loved ones, was born March 14, 1921, in Eatonton, Ga., moving to Atlanta with his family at age 4.

In 1946, Cathy relied on a keen business sense, a strong work ethic and a deep Christian faith to build a tiny diner in the Atlanta suburb of Hapeville. He developed it into Chick-fil-A, which today has the highest same-store sales and is the nation's largest quick-service chicken restaurant chain based on annual system-wide sales. It was at the original restaurant that Cathy created the sandwich that became the company's signature item.

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