1,500 worship, learn at YEC

LITTLE ROCK – Energy was high as more than 1,500 students and youth leaders converged on Immanuel Baptist Church, Little Rock, Aug. 8-9 for the 2014 Arkansas Baptist State Convention (ABSC) Youth Evangelism Conference (YEC).

YEC is an annual youth conference in which Arkansas Baptist churches from across the state come together to worship, hear speakers, fellowship and learn how to share their faith. Youth leaders received training from Michael Wood, lead pastor of First Baptist Church, West Monroe, La., and one of the event’s speakers, on how to equip students to share the gospel in their local communities and beyond.

Students from churches across Arkansas worship during YEC Aug. 8-9 at Immanuel Baptist Church, Little Rock. Photo by Caleb Yarbrough“Students go back to school in a week. YEC had a goal of students launching their school year with a more missional mindset where they are taking the gospel to their campuses and to their families,” said Warren Gasaway, ABSC evangelism and church health team member. 

“YEC allowed us to train them to share their faith in everyday conversations. Since the gospel is shared, not sold, students were taught how to share their faith through their relationships. After this weekend, we know that they are inspired and equipped for that,” he said.

The Digital Age led worship during YEC. Entertainment was
provided by 321 Improv and the band Capital Kings. Speakers for the event included Brian Burgess, an evangelist based in North Carolina, and Wood. Evangelism training for students, youth ministers and youth leaders was led by ABSC team members, Burgess and Wood.

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Floyd addresses ABSC Executive Board Aug. 12

Ronnie Floyd, pastor of Cross Church in Northwest Arkansas and president of the Southern Baptist Convention, speaks to the Arkansas Baptist State Convention (ABSC) Executive Board Aug. 12.

Tim Yarbrough
Arkansas Baptist News

LITTLE ROCK – “We cannot afford to play solo during this time.”

That was the word Aug. 12 from Ronnie Floyd, pastor of Cross Church in northwest Arkansas and newly elected president of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), to the Arkansas Baptist State Convention (ABSC) Executive Board, staff and guests.

“God is going to fulfill His commission with or without us,” said Floyd. “I want to be with Him.”

Floyd said the reach of the SBC is far and wide, such as in the 42 state conventions and the ABSC.

“We have one common goal,” he said, “to reach the world for Jesus Christ.”

Floyd said since all Southern Baptists are in agreement with that goal, now is the time for “everyone to find their part in that.”

He said the convention needs to strive to “strategically plant gospel churches.”

“We need to be together, and we need to engage the culture,” said Floyd, emphasizing that means inside the borders of Arkansas, the nation and throughout the world, “such as in Iraq.”

Floyd said he recently returned from a trip to Columbus, Ohio, the site of the 2015 SBC Annual Meeting. He encouraged churches to commit to attend the annual meeting and “check on your $9 million investment.” Floyd was referring to the $9.4 million Arkansas Baptists send to the SBC to support causes such as the International Mission Board, the North American Mission Board, seminary education, Christian ethics and religious liberty ministries and other facilitating ministries.

“We need to have a mighty time in the Lord there,” said Floyd, adding that he recently recorded a 5-minute video encouraging everyone to attend. He is asking every state convention to show the video at their upcoming annual meetings.

Floyd also encouraged everyone to read his weekly blog at, in which he said he is asking thousands of Southern Baptists to pray for the next great awakening and to work toward increasing baptisms.

He said the SBC experienced its worst year in baptisms in 62 years, which was when “Harry Truman was in the White House.” He added that all Southern Baptists – including him and his church – must do better because there are a lot more people who live in the United States today than did 62 years ago.

On the front lines are 4,600 student ministers in the SBC, said Floyd, adding that it is imperative that Southern Baptists reach young people through their ministries and other ministries.

“We have all got to do better,” he said. “God has us ready for a mighty movement!”

Contact Tim Yarbrough at


Floyd tours US border

Ronnie Floyd, pastor of Cross Church in northwest Arkansas and president of the Southern Baptist Convention, joins Russell Moore, president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, and other key leaders during a tour of federal facilities holding children who crossed the U.S./Mexico border illegally.

SAN ANTONIO (BP) – Southern Baptist leaders recognized something when they toured federal government facilities for children who have fled to the United States without their parents – hope.

Arkansas Pastor Ronnie Floyd, president of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), and Russell D. Moore, the SBC’s lead ethicist, joined others in tours July 22 of two centers established to address the crisis of unaccompanied minors crossing America’s southern border.

The centers in McAllen and San Antonio, Texas, are part of the response to a wave that includes more than 57,000 underage children who have been apprehended at the border with Mexico in the last nine months. Most of the children – and sometimes children accompanied by a young parent or parents – have fled Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala, which are plagued not only by poverty, but by violence among gangs involved in drug trafficking.

“I was struck as we were walking through the facility with two things: a sense of fear and a sense of hope,” said Moore, president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission. “A sense of fear when I asked the kids why they made the trek up to the United States. And a sense of hope: I saw many crosses and Bibles. Many people are desperately hoping for an end to the violence where they come from.”

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Baptists, Methodists drive Antioch mission

Jim Gilliam (left) pastors the Methodist congregation associated with Antioch Community Church located in the small community of Antioch in Beebe, and Scott Johnson pastors the Southern Baptist congregation associated with the church. The churches meet together each Sunday.

Caleb Yarbrough
Arkansas Baptist News

BEEBE – The relationship that most Southern Baptists have with other protestant Christian denominations is much like the relationship most Americans have with Canada and Mexico.

While the United States share borders with Canada and Mexico, its citizens often know very little about their neighbors to the north and south.

For more than 100 years, however, Antioch Community Church, Beebe, has blurred denominational borders.

The name “Antioch Community Church” is both deceptive and descriptive because Antioch is really two churches, one Southern Baptist and one United Methodist, which in many ways, function together as one body.

Today the church is home to both a Methodist congregation and a Baptist congregation. The two congregations, each autonomous, share ownership of the church’s facilities, meet together on Sunday mornings and partner together in many aspects of their ministry. 

While each congregation has separate membership and holds to separate denominational convictions, the two bodies have become incredibly close cousins over the years and could not imagine their church lives any other way.

While the church records are sparse due to tornadoes and fires that destroyed its buildings over the years, a church member named Helen Harrison compiled a brief history of Antioch Community Church in 1967.

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Friends form bond through World Changers

Jessica Vanderpool
Arkansas Baptist News

THE NAME “World Changers” probably brings to mind a bunch of teenagers painting and hammering. After all, World Changers – an initiative of LifeWay Christian Resources – is known for its construction projects. 

But for Hunter Douglas and his friends, men who volunteer together each year through World Changers, the experience is not as much about investing in houses as it is about investing in the lives of the teenage participants.

From left: Ron McMaster, Clifford Casey, Terry David “Turk” Cunningham and James “Jimmy” Red have been volunteering together through World Changers for many years.Douglas, a member of Life Line Baptist Church, Little Rock, said he has volunteered through World Changers with the same group of men for about 20 years. 

Douglas’ cohorts in missions are Terry David “Turk” Cunningham, member of Newark Southern Baptist Church, Newark; Ron McMaster, member of Brush Creek Baptist Church, Springdale; Clifford Casey, also a member of Brush Creek Baptist Church, and James “Jimmy” Red, member of First Baptist Church, Horn Lake, Miss.

Douglas explained that some combination of the five men had worked together at various Baptist missions events throughout the years. But he said it was when the West Memphis World Changers project was started in the 1990s that they really began to pull together as a group. Still, it was a gradual process.

“We did not consciously get together as a team suddenly,” said Douglas. “We found ourselves volunteering for the same jobs and gradually began to consciously go the same road.” 

Now, the friends try to volunteer together at two World Changers projects every year.

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