Saturday
May032014

Ark. DR teams enter ‘weekend of deployment’, 15,000 meals and 3,200 ‘Buckets of Love’ provided

ARKANSAS BAPTIST disaster relief teams have prepared 15,000 meals, provided 30 showers, several loads of clothes and more than 60 recovery/cleanup jobs for the victims of the April 27 tornadoes, Joe Garner, disaster relief director for the Arkansas Baptist State Convention, told convention leadership in an email earlier today.

He said that 3,200-plus “Buckets of Love” containing essential items for tornado victims have been delivered to Central Baptist Church in Conway and that 50 volunteers are on site today at the church (Saturday) to assist with delivering the buckets.  

Buckets of Love“We have 50 volunteers going to Point of Grace Baptist Church in Vilonia today to help at their distribution center. We have 125 volunteers going to Center Hill to work in that community,” said Garner.

He added the teams are entering the “weekend state of the deployment,” adding that teams working in Mayflower this past week returned home as additional assessment is underway.

“I have a white cap coming in on Monday (May 5) to continue the assessment of the community and have two teams on standby, ready to come back should we need them,” Garner said. 

He added that two teams would work in the Vilonia area today (Saturday) to continue with the cleanup efforts. “I have two more teams coming Monday to Vilonia and one leaving after today. This will give us three teams in Vilonia on Monday.”

The feeding operation and the shower and laundry unit are still on site in Vilonia, said Garner, who said the disaster relief team is evaluating additional cleanup methods that may include “bringing in small units with ‘skid steers’ to clean off slabs” of destroyed houses. “We are doing this in Vilonia and will begin to do this in the Mayflower and west Pulaski County/Ferndale area next week.”

Garner said Arkansas Baptist disaster relief deployment in the aftermath of the April 27 tornadoes that ravaged the central Arkansas towns has been a challenge, but leaders are resolute to assist the hurting and displaced in the name of Jesus Christ.

“This has been a challenge, as well as a new learning experience for all of us as we are having to rethink deployment and normal DR response,” he said, adding, “We are committed to helping the people where they are with the needs they have. We are here to do ministry and to share the love of Christ. Thank you for your help, prayers and support.”

Thursday
May012014

Southern Baptists to meet, minister in Baltimore

BALTIMORE – Prayer and revival will be the focus of the 2014 Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) Annual Meeting which is to be held June 10-11 at the Baltimore Convention Center located in the city’s famous ‘Inner Harbor.’

SBC President Fred Luter applauded the emphasis of the annual meeting, to be built around the theme Restoration and Revival Through Prayer.

“We have not had a theme that focused on prayer and revival for many years,” said Luter, pastor of Franklin Avenue Baptist Church in New Orleans. 

“I pray that God will send revival across America and particularly among Southern Baptists.”

Downtown Baltimore at nightPsalm 80:18–19 is Luter’s selection as the biblical text to support the theme: “Then we will not turn away from You; revive us, and we will call on Your name. Restore us, Yahweh, the God of Hosts; look on us with favor, and we will be saved” (HCSB).

Luter will preach during the June 10 evening session, marking his last presidential address.

No other business will be presented or discussed in the evening session, adhering to last year’s annual meeting format, said David Smith, chairman of the SBC Committee on Order of Business and executive director of the Austin Baptist Association in Texas.

“It obviously had such a great response last year that we decided we wanted to do it again,” Smith said of the evening session. 

“We just think it’s going to bring back something that folks go to convention for – to hear the Word, to be inspired and to worship. And we’re looking forward to it.”

Floyd nominated

Arkansas pastor Ronnie Floyd is expected to be nominated for SBC president at the annual meeting. R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, announced Floyd’s nomination Feb. 20.

During the nearly 28 years Floyd has led Cross Church in northwest Arkansas, it has become “one of the most evangelistic, visible and innovative congregations in our convention,” Mohler said. The church encompasses campuses in Springdale, Rogers, Fayetteville and Neosho, Mo.

PressleyClint Pressley, senior pastor of Hickory Grove Baptist Church in Charlotte, N.C., is expected to be nominated for the office of first vice president, and Oklahoma City Pastor Hance Dilbeck is expected to be nominated for second vice president. 

Pressley has served as pastor of Hickory Grove since 2009. The church is one of the largest churches in North Carolina with more than 17,000 members. Hickory Grove has five worship services that meet weekly on two campuses and two Hispanic services, in addition to a Christian school with more than 940 students on the main campus. 

Dilbeck has been senior pastor of the 4,600-member Quail Springs Baptist Church in Oklahoma City since 2003. Dilbeck has been called the American “Hispanic” pastor by Hispanic church planters. Quail Springs is involved in planting 14 Hispanic churches in North America. Last year, the church set aside $1 million to plant Hispanic churches and contributed more than $3.7 million to the Cooperative Program in support of Southern Baptist missions and ministry in Oklahoma and around the world. 

SBC Pastors’ Conference

The 2014 Southern Baptist Pastors’ Conference will be held June 8-9 at the Baltimore Convention Center. The theme of the conference is Show Us Your Glory. Bruce Frank, pastor of Biltmore Baptist Church in Arden, N.C., is serving as president of the conference.

DilbeckConference speakers will include Floyd; Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback Community Church, Lake Forest, Calif.; Francis Chan, pastor of Cornerstone Church, Simi Valley, Calif.; Johnny Hunt, pastor of First Baptist Church, Woodstock, Ga., and David Platt, pastor of The Church at Brook Hills, Birmingham, Ala., as well as others.

More information about the Pastors’ Conference is available at www.sbcpc.net. 

Crossover 2014

As in previous years, Southern Baptists will coordinate a variety of events in the city beginning June 7 through Crossover Baltimore.

Bob Mackey, executive director of the Baltimore Baptist Association, said his team is working hard to prepare for the event.

“We visited a lot of different events taking place as a part of Crossover Houston,” Mackey said. “It was exciting to see what God can do for a city through service and partnership. I left with a great sense of hope and expectation for what God will do when Crossover comes to our city this year.”

The day of evangelism takes place the Saturday before the SBC and invites visiting Southern Baptists to serve alongside Baltimore churches by hosting block parties, evangelism outreaches, health clinics, sports camps and various other outreach events. Mackey and his team already have participants scheduled to serve from more than 12 states, including Georgia, North Carolina, Mississippi, Maryland and Delaware, as well as commitments from many sister associations.

For more information about Crossover Baltimore, visit www.embracebaltimore.com/crossover.

New messenger rules

The SBC Executive Committee is scheduled to consider a proposal June 9 to update the SBC constitution regarding qualifications for churches to send messengers to the annual meeting.

Under the new proposal to be considered, each cooperating church that contributed to convention causes during the preceding fiscal year would automatically qualify for two messengers. 

Additional messengers would be recognized from a cooperating church by one of two options, whichever allows the greater number of messengers: (1) One additional messenger for each full percent of the church’s undesignated receipts through any combination of gifts through the Cooperative Program, designated gifts through the Executive Committee for convention causes or to any SBC entity; and (2) one additional messenger for each $6,000 the church contributes in the preceding year through the same combination of the Cooperative Program, designated gifts through the Executive Committee for convention causes or to any SBC entity.

Resolutions Committee

Members of the SBC Committee on Resolutions for the annual meeting were named by Luter March 28.

Luter announced the appointment of the committee in keeping with the provision in SBC Bylaw 20 that its members be named 75 days prior to the start of the annual meeting.

David Dykes, pastor of Green Acres Baptist Church in Tyler, Texas, was named committee chairman.

The other members named to the committee were: Jay F. Shell, member of West Baptist Church, Batesville; Whitney Alexander, member of First Baptist Church, Gadsden, Ala.; Matthew Arbo, member of Redeemer Fellowship, Kansas City, Mo.; Greg Belser, pastor, Morrison Heights Baptist Church, Clinton, Miss.; Roger Freeman, pastor, Grace Baptist Church, Nashville; Matthew Hall, member of Clifton Baptist Church, Louisville; Chris Osborne, senior pastor, Central Baptist Church, College Station, Texas; Ramon Osorio, member of First Redeemer Church, Cumming, Ga., and Kevin Smith, assistant professor of Christian preaching at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, Ky.

The committee’s composition, according to Bylaw 20, must include at least two members who served the previous year, with Dykes and Arbo meeting this requirement. Bylaw 20 also stipulates the committee include at least three SBC Executive Committee members. This year they are Dykes, Shell and Osborne.

The procedure for submitting resolutions is as follows according to Bylaw 20:

– Proposed resolutions may be submitted as early as April 15 but no later than 15 days prior to the SBC Annual Meeting, giving the Resolutions Committee a two-week period in which to consider submissions. The committee also may propose resolutions for consideration during its deliberations. Resolutions may not be submitted during the annual meeting.

– Proposed resolutions must be accompanied by a letter from a church qualified to send a messenger to the SBC Annual Meeting certifying that the individual submitting the resolution is a member in good standing.

– Proposed resolutions preferably should be submitted by email or mailed to the Committee on Resolutions in care of the SBC Executive Committee, 901 Commerce St., Nashville, TN 37203. The drafts must be typewritten, titled, dated and include complete contact information for the person and his or her church.

– No person will be allowed to submit more than three resolutions per year.

– If a properly submitted resolution is not forwarded by the Committee on Resolutions to the SBC Annual Meeting, a two-thirds vote of messengers would be required to bring the proposed resolution to the convention floor.

Camps registration opens

Registration is open for preschool childcare, Children’s Conferences International, Children in Action Missions Camp and Youth on Mission in conjunction with the annual meeting.

Southern Baptist disaster relief childcare volunteers will care for preschoolers, while Children’s Conferences International and Woman’s Missionary Union (WMU) will guide the Children in Action Missions Camp and Youth on Mission curricula and activities.

Preschool childcare and activities for children who have completed grades one through six will be housed at the Baltimore Convention Center. Youth who have completed grades seven through 12 will begin their days at the convention center with worship before going into the community for hands-on missions work. 

Preregistration is required and will be accepted online at www.sbcannualmeeting.net under the “Children/Youth” tab. All participants should register as soon as possible because space is limited.

Due to space limitations and worker-to-children ratio objectives, on-site registration will not be accepted. For more information about each of the camps or to register, visit www.sbcannualmeeting.net and click on the “Children/Youth” tab.

Preschool childcare for newborns through 5-year-olds will be available during the SBC Pastors’ Conference and annual meeting. Parents should pay all related fees when registering to insure their child’s participation. The SBC will verify registrations with an emailed confirmation packet, including a parents’ handbook.

Children’s Conferences International will offer the adventure “Christ Who Strengthens Me” for children ages 4-12 during the Pastors’ Conference.

Children in Action Missions Camp, for children who have completed grades one through six by May/June, will be offered June 10-11. The camp theme Gotta Tell It! is designed to challenge children to tell God’s story to people who need to hear it.

“Children attending the Children in Action Missions Camp will learn that they can know God and have a relationship with Him,” said Cindy Bradley, Michigan WMU executive director and camp coordinator. 

“In addition to Bible studies, children will visit with missionaries representing both the International Mission Board and the North American Mission Board,” Bradley said. “Children will also participate in worship sessions, games and recreation, crafts and mission projects. These Bible study and missions experiences will show children that they are a part of God’s story and have a place in His story.”

Youth on Mission, for students who’ve completed grades seven through 12 by May/June, will be provided June 10-11. 

“Youth on Mission will learn that they can know God and have a relationship with Him. They will be encouraged to be bold in telling His story and by serving others. The youth will serve through hands-on missions projects in Baltimore,” said Kristy Carr, National WMU ministry consultant and Youth on Mission coordinator. “Each morning mission studies will be presented by both International Mission Board and North American Mission Board missionaries.”  

For additional information about the SBC Annual Meeting in Baltimore, visit www.sbcannualmeeting.net.

Information for this article was compiled from various Baptist Press reports.

Wednesday
Apr302014

Ark. disaster relief volunteers prepare 4,300 meals for tornado victims

Matt Ramsey
Arkansas Baptist State Convention 

LITTLE ROCK – Since arriving in Vilonia two days ago volunteers with the Arkansas Baptist State Convention’s (ABSC) mobile mass feeding unit have prepared more than 4,300 hot meals for victims displaced by the killer tornado that devastated the community April 27.

The Red Cross is providing and distributing food while ABSC disaster relief volunteers are preparing the meals.

“The Arkansas Baptist State Convention disaster relief crews are diligently working in affected areas,” said Joe Garner, ABSC disaster relief director. “Our mass feeding unit is stationed in Vilonia and volunteers are preparing about 2,800 meals per day at the request of the Red Cross. We are continuing to partner with the Red Cross and the Salvation Army. We will remain in the affected areas until the last person is helped.”

In addition to the feeding unit, eight teams of ABSC disaster relief recovery (chainsaw) volunteers are helping cut down trees and helping with clean up efforts in Vilonia, Mayflower and Little Rock. To date, the chainsaw volunteers have completed 30 jobs. An ABSC disaster relief mobile shower unit is also on site at the Beryl Baptist.

A total of 135 volunteers are currently part of ABSC disaster relief efforts in Vilonia, Mayflower and Little Rock. Online donations can be made to the ABSC disaster relief fund by going to www.absc.org and clicking on the “Donate Now” button. These donations go directly to the recovery efforts and victims affected by the storms.

ABSC leaders are partnering with Arkansans to collect “Buckets of Love,” consisting of a plastic five-gallon bucket packed with selected items. For more information on Buckets of Love go to www.absc.org and click the “Buckets of Love” button.

Matt Ramsey is the communications director for the Arkansas Baptist State Convention.

Tuesday
Apr292014

Arkansas Baptists dig out following tornadoes; praise God in the storm

A house in Vilonia that was destroyed. Photo by Caleb Yarbrough

View of photo gallery of damage here.

A NUMBER of Southern Baptist congregations in Mayflower and Vilonia were impacted greatly during April 27 tornadoes and storms that ripped through Arkansas.

Fifteen people are confirmed dead as a result of tornados and storms across Arkansas, according to officials. The National Weather Service estimated the tornadoes had wind speeds of up to 165 mph during its 40-mile path of destruction across Central Arkansas.

An Arkansas Baptist feeding unit capable of producing 10,000 meals a day was deployed to Beryl Baptist Church in Vilonia April 28. The church is located at 873 Main Street in Vilonia. As of Thursday, April 31, the unit from Calvary Baptist Association had prepared and served 4,500 meals.

The Arkansas Baptist State Convention (ABSC) is already providing monetary assistance to the pastors who lost their houses, and will be assisting the churches destroyed or damaged with recovery funds, said J.D. "Sonny" Tucker, ABSC executive director.

The Valley church, Vilonia, a Southern Baptist congregation, was completely destroyed by the tornado.

“The tornado took our entire facility. But our people hear me say every week that the Church is not a building.” said Rothacher, pastor of The Valley. “The Church is the followers and disciples of Jesus that are chasing God together.” 

RothacherRothacher said when he heard that a tornado was coming through Vilonia that his first thought was that The Valley would be able to minister to those in the community that would be affected by the storm. When a member of the church who works as a fireman in town called and told him the church’s building was destroyed Rothacher was surprised –but not concerned – about the building.

“Pray for Vilonia as a whole. I know some families that are hurting. Obviously we have had several casualties, one is too many but we had more than anyone expected. On top of that I know some families that have lost their house for the second time in three years. This is a very resilient community,” said Rothacher.

“Ultimately God is sovereign. He is working behind the scenes for our good. Even in times when we don’t see that.”

Matt Baxter, who serves as youth leader at The Valley, had his house destroyed by the tornado, as did Shane Cauthen, worship leader, who rented a house in Vilonia.

The remains of The Valley church in Vilonia. Photo by Caleb YarbroughA portion of the roof at Saltillo Heights Baptist Church in Vilonia was torn off, and the church received other damage to other buildings on the property. Church vans and the pastor’s truck were damaged. 

Rick Morrow, pastor of Saltillo Heights Baptist Church, relocated to Arkansas about six months ago from the Dallas area.

“Our main damage to our auditorium is the roof. We’ve got a lot of damage to the front of the church where the baptistery is located, and lot of the metal roof is torn off of it,” he said, adding, “the roof off of our nursery area was completely taken away and the whole back wall of the church is basically damaged. I don’t know if it is going to be able to be repaired or not.

“It kind of blew it off it’s foundation and kicked it out,” Morrow said. “It is kind of like it is just leaned up there now. It’s the whole back of the main church building." 

Additionally, the church’s multipurpose building used for basketball, fellowship gatherings and Sunday school was severely damaged.

“Basically, both ends got blew out,” he said. “I won’t know how bad until the insurance company gets out here. It was hit really bad.”

The pastor said a number of members’ homes were damaged or destroyed by the tornado. The church parsonage where he lives received roof damage as well.

“It’s heart wrenching to see what folks are going through and experiencing now,” said Morrow, adding that he and others have attempted to help members of the church “that we could find.”

“We are in that stage now that everything is in such a disarray now that folks are just trying to get their roofs and their fences back up to keep their cows in and get the insurance people out,” he said.

“People have been so gracious and so generous,” said Morrow. “People have been bringing around bottled water and stuff like that that has helped a lot of people out. It’s really been a blessing. It’s amazing to see people reach out and extend that hand of encouragement.”

Morrow added that eight members of the U.S. Air Force stationed at the Jacksonville Airbase came to help out. 

“They came out with their chainsaws. They worked in our yard and in our church’s yard from early yesterday morning (April 28) until late yesterday evening,” the pastor said. “And I mean they worked. There wasn’t any sitting around. They were hard-working gentlemen.

“It was a blessing to have our servicemen come.”

Morrow said he knows God ultimately has a greater purpose in the tragedy in Vilonia.  

“I know He has far greater plans than I can imagine or ever hope for, and that’s what I’m trusting in” he said.

“In my finite mind I see all of the loss and the way it has totally uprooted lives,” Morrow said. “As far as my wisdom and understanding goes, I couldn’t even begin to think about what God is going to do with this, but I know that He is faithful and that He knows. I am just going to lean on that understanding.”

Randy Norman (right), his wife, Veronica, and son, Riley, rode out the Mayflower tornado in a bathroom covered by a mattress.Randy Norman, pastor of Life Source Church in Mayflower, rode out the tornado in his home, which also served as the gathering place for his congregation. On the day the Arkansas Baptist News spoke to Norman he was actively searching for a new house to rent.

"'Cried out to God' takes on a whole new perspective and meaning after coming like this," said Norman, adding that he, his wife, Veronica, and son, Riley, huddled in a bathroom covered by a bed mattress as the storm ravaged his house.

"I've always wondered ... people say they believe in God, but do they really? I ask, 'What would they do when put to the test?'" said the pastor, adding that LifeSource church moved from Jacksonville in an effort to reach unreached people with gospel and that he is convinced more than ever that it was the right thing to do.

"In the middle of that storm God showed me that He was with me," said Norman. "I know He is with me and my faith is stronger than I thought it was."

He added, "(It's) making me more resolute in my call."

The house of Wade Lentz, pastor of Beryl Baptist Church in Vilonia, was completely destroyed in this year’s tornado after being damaged heavily in the 2011 tornado that hit the area. Lentz has only been pastor of the church for about six months. 

Lentz told media at the scene that after hearing warnings of the upcoming storm, he was at first complacent that the Vilonia area could be hit twice in three years.

His wife, Amanda, convinced him otherwise and they left for his parent’s house before the tornado swept the Lentz house off of its foundation.

“We lived through this once before, and it was the same roar then,” Lentz told NBC News. “We went back to check out my house and I saw right away that we didn’t have a house.”

Volunteers in Vilonia stage awaiting assignments. Photo by Caleb YarbroughThe pastor’s Chevy Silverado was turned upside down on its roof, as was the family’s Toyota Corolla. Like the Lentz house, both cars were completely destroyed.

“We don’t understand why the Lord has allowed us to go through this again, but I also know that our God does not make any mistakes,” Lentz told NBC News.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has announced that federal disaster aid has been made available to the State of Arkansas and ordered federal aid to supplement state and local recovery efforts in the area affected by severe storms, tornadoes and flooding. 

Assistance can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses, and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of the disaster.

In addition to the feeding unit from Calvary Baptist Association preparing meals in Vilonia, a Geyer Springs First Baptist Church shower unit is located in Vilonia, along with chainsaw crews from Union Valley Baptist Church, Beebe the Arkansas Valley Baptist Association and the Bartholomew Baptist Association. Chainsaw crews from Faulkner Baptist Association, Balboa Baptist Church, Hot Springs Village, Central Baptist Association and the Arkansas River Valley Baptist Association are serving in Mayflower. Another chainsaw team from The Church at Rock Creek is serving in west Little Rock.

Arkansans seeking to assist with recovery efforts may make donations to the ABSC disaster relief fund by visiting www.absc.org and clicking on the “Donate Now” button. Donations will go directly to the recovery efforts and victims affected by the storms.

ABSC leaders are partnering with Arkansans to collect “Buckets of Love,” consisting of a plastic five-gallon bucket packed with selected items, for distribution to victims of the tornadoes. Those wishing to contribute to Buckets of Love may visit the ABSC Web site at www.absc.org and click on the “Buckets of Love” button, for more information. The collection point is at Central Baptist Church, Conway, and will continue until Friday, May 2.

Compiled by the ABN staff and additional media reports.

Monday
Apr282014

Arkansas Baptist disaster relief feeding unit deployed to Vilonia

LITTLE ROCK – The Arkansas chapter of the American Red Cross has asked the Arkansas Baptist State Convention (ABSC) to deploy its mobile, mass feeding unit to Vilonia, to assist with ministering to victims displaced by a massive tornado that devastated the community April 27. The feeding unit will provide up to 10,000 hot meals per day. The Red Cross will provide the food and ABSC volunteers will be preparing meals.

Disaster relief volunteers with the Calvary Baptist Association serve in Vilonia. As of April 29, about 1,500 meals have been prepared by the volunteers, according to the Arkansas Baptist State Convention.The feeding unit from Calvary Baptist Association will be located at Beryl Baptist Church in Vilonia. It will be in place later today, April 28, and begin serving meals this evening. The church is located at 873 Main Street in Vilonia.

“Our hearts and prayers go out to those affected by the storms,” said J.D. “Sonny” Tucker, ABSC executive director. “Our disaster relief units are on the ground and others are waiting for notifications from local authorities. Arkansas Baptists will be a part of rebuilding lives and reestablishing hope.

In addition to the feeding unit from Calvary Baptist Association preparing meals in Vilonia, a Geyer Springs First Baptist Church shower unit is located in Vilonia, along with chainsaw crews from Union Valley Baptist Church, Beebe, the Arkansas Valley Baptist Association and the Bartholomew Baptist Association. Chainsaw crews from Faulkner Baptist Association, Balboa Baptist Church, Hot Springs Village, Central Baptist Association and the Arkansas River Valley Baptist Association are serving in Mayflower. Another chainsaw team from The Church at Rock Creek is serving in west Little Rock.

Arkansans seeking to assist with recovery efforts may make donations to the ABSC disaster relief fund by visiting www.absc.org and clicking on the “Donate Now” button. Donations will go directly to the recovery efforts and victims affected by the storms.

Online donations can be made to the ABSC disaster relief fund by going to www.absc.org and clicking on the “Donate Now” button. These donations go directly to the recovery efforts and victims affected by the storms.

In addition, ABSC leaders are partnering with Arkansans to collect “Buckets of Love,” consisting of a plastic five-gallon bucket packed with selected items. For more information about bucket items, go to www.absc.org and click on the “Buckets of Love” button.

For additional information on the disaster relief efforts contact Matt Ramsey at 501-376-4791, ext. 5158 or email mramsey@absc.org.

Arkansas Baptists are part of a larger network of Southern Baptist volunteers trained to respond to disas- ters by manning mass feeding operations, using chainsaws to clear downed trees and limbs, clear mud out of flooded homes and more. Together, Southern Baptists comprise the third largest relief organiza- tion in the United States.

To learn more about Arkansas Baptist Disaster Relief, go to www.absc.org/disasterrelief

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