Piney Grove to celebrate 125th

Piney Grove Baptist Church, Lewisville, will celebrate its 125th anniversary July 12-13. All are invited. The celebration will take place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. July 12 (including lunch) and will conclude with an 11 a.m. service July 13. For information, call 870-826-1957.


Sweatman to be honored

Royce Sweatman, associational missionary for North Arkansas Baptist Association, will be honored at a retirement celebration July 13 at First Baptist Church in Harrison. Activities begin at 3 p.m. with a concert by Dino Kartsonakis. A reception will follow.


Wellspring July 25-26 at FBC, Sherwood 

SHERWOOD - The Wellspring missions celebration held will be July 25-26 at Sherwood First Baptist Church.

Wellspring is a missions celebration event for anyone interested in missions and will offer a glimpse of mission work from around the world.

The event will have guest speakers, live worship and breakout sessions to help participants live a missional lifestyle. Guest speakers will include Christian author and speaker Chandra Peele, International Mission Board (IMB) Missionaries to Madagascar Drew and Christina Smith, and Arkansas Baptist State Convention (ABSC) Urban Church Planter, Willie Jacobs. Wellspring will provide the perfect opportunity to meet and hear from missionaries supported by the Cooperative Program. "Wellspring will encourage believers to live a greater mission lifestyle and provide opportunities to be personally involved in the mission of God," said Julia Ketner, interim Arkansas WMU director.

Each participant is responsible for their own lodging arrangements and encouraged to make hotel reservations as soon as possible. For more information and to register for this event, go to

Registration deadline is July 11. Wellspring is a Cooperative Program event of the ABSC and Arkansas WMU.

- This article was written by the Arkansas Baptist State Convention Staff


New Life-OBU holds dedication June 10

CONWAY – New Life Church (NLC) in Conway hosted a dedication and ribbon-cutting ceremony Tuesday, June 10, to celebrate a new educational partnership between NLC and Ouachita Baptist University (OBU).

OBU at NLC will offer Associate of Arts degrees in general studies and Christian ministry with in-depth opportunities for students to serve with and be mentored by NLC pastoral staff in hands-on ministry experience. Eleven students are preregistered for OBU at NLC’s inaugural semester, which begins Aug. 26.

The partnership was approved by Ouachita’s board of trustees in December 2013. Since that time, the Higher Learning Commission has approved Ouachita’s request to offer associate degrees and approved the university’s application to offer degree programs at an off-campus location. Stan Poole, Ouachita’s vice president for academic affairs, said a confirmation visit from the HLC will be held within the first six months of the program’s operation.

The resolution adopted by university trustees affirms that Ouachita and New Life “share a vision for equipping the next generation of Christian leaders with a quality education and passion for Christ’s work in the world.”

The resolution adds that the new degree programs “will provide a high-quality, relational and ministry-focused Christian education that is both nonresidential and highly affordable.”

“Equipping the next generation of church leaders with a Christian education has been part of the NLC vision from the beginning,” said Rick Bezet, lead pastor of New Life Church. “We are honored to be partnering with such a prestigious institution to make that vision a reality.”

Ouachita President Rex Horne noted, “It is my hope and expectation that the endeavor with NLC will see more students experience the difference of a Ouachita education.”

Brandon O’Brien, a 2004 Ouachita alumnus, is coordinating the work of OBU at NLC.

“We are grateful for the high-caliber students the program has already attracted,” he said. “Our admitted students have excelled academically in their previous studies and have demonstrated a commitment to ministry in the local church.

“This program offers a unique opportunity in the city of colleges: a chance to receive a world-class Christian education in the context of a life-giving local church,” O’Brien said.

A 7,000-square-foot facility is being remodeled specifically for OBU at NLC classes and administrative offices. It is located on the Conway campus of New Life Church at 633 S. Country Club in Conway. A second phase to construct a permanent facility on the Conway NLC campus currently is in the planning stages.


ABSC music camps set for June, July

ARKADELPHIA – The Arkansas Baptist State Convention (ABSC) evangelism and church health team will offer two music camps this summer at Ouachita Baptist University. The first camp, JoyWorks, will be held June 24-27, and the second camp, PraiseWorks, will be held July 14-18. 

JoyWorks is a worship arts camp for children completing fourth through sixth grades. The camp will allow children to see the unique ways God has gifted them and will allow them to explore those gifts.

This year’s theme is “Get Reel.” The camp will provide children with four tracks titled “Lights!” “Camera!” “Action!” and “Soundtrack!” Participants will also get the opportunity to share their God-given talents in music, drama and visual arts.

PraiseWorks is a student worship arts camp for students who have completed seventh through 12th grades. Students who have completed sixth grade may participate only if their church allows sixth-graders in their youth ministry. The camp will offer 28 different tracks and allow students to choose two tracks in which to participate.

The goal of the camp is to equip students with hands-on experiences and give them a place to discover and develop their passion and their God-given abilities. 

“Every church used to offer opportunities for students to learn about music and worship. Because church programming is so full, this has been dropped by many churches. Students are missing out on worship leadership opportunities in churches. Our goal is to provide opportunities for students to learn how to lead worship creatively in a local church,” said Larry Grayson, ABSC evangelism and church health team member. 

For more information and to register for JoyWorks, visit Registration deadline is June 16. 

For more information and to register for PraiseWorks, visit Registration deadline is July 7. Both camps are provided by Cooperative Program gifts of Arkansas Baptists.