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December 2013 Newsjournal of the Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware • www.baptistlifeonline.org

INSIDE: CONNECT 2013 A GREAT SUCCESS ........................................5 HOW SOME CHURCHES ARE CELEBRATING CHRISTMAS..........16 SHARING WARMTH THIS WINTER .........................................22


BaptistLIFE (ISSN 331-640) is published bimonthly except for January as a Cooperative Program ministry of the Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware.

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VOLUME 98 ISSUE 6/ December 2013

CONTENTS p. 3

p. 20

p. 12

Features

Perspectives

GREATEST ACT OF LOVE p. 3 BCM/D’s Will McRaney shares first address to BCM/D messengers.

WILL MCRANEY p. 3 ROBERT ANDERSON p. 4 TREY WOOTEN p. 17

CONNECT 2013 p. 5 This year’s annual meeting was a wonderful time to gather to worship, grow/learn, and connect. GREAT CHALLENGES p.12 Connect speakers exhort messengers to be faithful to the Gospel. CELEBRATING CHRISTMAS p.16 Check out these upcoming events FEEDING THE HUNGRY p.19 Ministerio de Amor en Cristo makes big difference CALL TO MISSIONS p.20 Pastor’s son follows call to missions REACHING OUTp.21 ‘Whole church went to Africa’ SHARING WARMTH p.22 BCM/D churches open their doors and hearts to those in need

This edition of BaptistLIFE focuses on Connect 2013, the annual meeting of the Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware, held Nov. 10-12 at Ogletown Baptist Church in Newark, Del. ON THE COVER: Annie Armstrong “tells” Robert Anderson she’ll see him in Baltimore for the 2014 Southern Baptist Convention meeting on Jun. 10-11. December 2013


Will McRaney: ‘Engage,’ ‘Prepare,’ ‘Connect’ by name,” thereby also engaging the Even magician Penn Jillette, NEWARK, Del.—In his first Father as well. from Penn & Teller, got it right, address to the messengers of the Secondly, they begin to McRaney said. In a YouTube video, Baptist Convention of Maryland/ prepare for people without Jillette said, “I don’t respect people Delaware, BCM/D’s new executive Christ. who don’t proselytize. If you believe missional strategist, Will McRaney, Pointing to the there is a heaven and talked about the greatest act of love Luke 15 passage of a hell, and people are one can do—share the Gospel. the “Prodigal Son,” going to hell and will At Connect 2013, the McRaney says Bible never get eternal life— convention’s annual meeting held readers often think of whatever—and it’s not Nov. 10-12 at Ogletown Baptist the prodigal son, the worth telling others Church in Newark, Del., McRaney loving father and the because it is socially shared “his heart in a verse,” Ps. older brother, but there awkward for you…,” 78:72. “David shepherded them with is somebody else in Jillette said. “Atheists integrity of heart and with skillful the story: the servants believe you should leave hands, he led them.” who make preparations people alone—keep “That’s my prayer for my serving for the return of the your religion to yourself. you. I count my role as a matter of prodigal son. stewardship before the Lord and … all How much do you have This is “a picture to hate someone not the people in this Baptist Convention Will McRaney of what the church’s to proselytize? How of Maryland/Delaware,” he said. BCM/D Executive posture should be much do you have to McRaney acknowledged people Missional Strategist towards the prodigals hate someone to believe want to know what love is, and they as the Spirit of God there is everlasting life want to experience love. He described draws people … and they come to the and not tell them about it?” a recent way his wife Sandy showed church.” Are they finding us more like McRaney countered, “To share love for him, as she diligently cared for the older brother or like the servants the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the him in the aftermath of a terrible car making preparations for them? accident he experienced four years ago. ultimate act of love. I want to call us He also said it’s not just a church forward to love Him enough in spite “What [Sandy] did for me was matter. “What about you and me of everything else that holds us back.” to provide love in the midst of my individually? Are we prepared to give To make his point, McRaney going through a 100-mph head-on an account of the hope that is within looked at three different Bible accident, torn-up body, legs, knees, passages, beginning with Acts 3:1-10, us?” flew me in, blood To get training to share the clots, developed Gospel is not a discipline; it’s an pulmonary emboli, “Dr. McRaney’s message on loving act of love, he asserted. “Maybe and months people was timely, challenging if we’re not trained to share the and months and and a real call to action for our pastors and Gospel with them, we’ve got a months of rehab.” churches. Implementation of its truth will love problem.” Realizing he really be a game changer for the eternity of those Thirdly, they bridge or shouldn’t, by human connect people to Christ and standards, be standing, around us.” to other believers. he said Sandy “watched -- John Smith, Executive Pastor, Church at Severn Run That was what the Good when I went through Samaritan did in Luke 10:25-37 when to see three ways churches can love 167 formal therapy sessions, surgeries, he assisted the beaten person and people without Christ. many threats.” brought him “to someone who could First, they engage people. At the time, he was in the actually bring some healing to him.” In this passage, how many times beginning stages of developing “Love He said, “The ultimate had Peter and John walked by the Your Neighbor—Share Christ,” a connection is to connect a person to ‘a Beautiful Gate? Many, many times strategy used to help churches with point of harvest.’” they likely walked by the lame beggar, their own evangelism strategies. “We get a chance to help change McRaney surmised. In his message, McRaney gave the eternal destination of generations Like the disciples, “how many the framework for this strategy, which through people we lead to Christ,” people are we walking by that we is based on what he calls the greatest he said, noting his listeners had a act of love one could ever do—sharing are not even seeing? We just get in specific lineage back to Jesus through our habits, doing our thing, going to the Gospel with others. individuals who have were faithful to meetings… that we walk by the very He pointed to the greatest the Gospel. commandment in Luke 10:27, “‘Love people we could lead to Jesus. We “So, I wonder, if Jesus tarries, have to see them first and then reach the Lord your God with all your heart who will have a spiritual lineage to you them for Christ.” and with all your soul and with all and to me?” He added, “If we begin to see your strength and with all your mind’; people, we will begin to pray for them and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” --By Shannon Baker December 2013

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PERSPECTIVE BY ROBERT ANDERSON

T

he holiday season is here. What does it mean to you… family, friends, food, the presents? The holidays, especially Christmas, can cause many to be depressed. The memories of loved ones who are no longer here, the thought of spending the holidays alone and not having money to buy gifts can cause us to feel down. While your thoughts and feelings can be overwhelming, remember you are not alone. God the Father has specifically addressed these very concerns in the central message of Christmas. The central message of Christmas is not only about the concerns of being with family, sharing the holidays with loved ones or buying and receiving gifts. It’s about “God with us.” In Matt. 1:23 we are told that a virgin would conceive a child and that child would be called Immanuel. Immanuel means God with

YOU ARE NOT ALONE

us. This is the miracle…you are not alone. Matt. 1:23 quotes Isaiah 7:14 to show the fulfillment of this prophecy. The prophet Isaiah records God asking Ahaz to request of him a sign. Ahaz declined, but God gave him a sign anyway. “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” Again, this is the miracle. You are not alone. In the New Testament, John 1:14 states that “God became man and dwelled among us.” Therefore, the Bible proclaims He was crucified on a cross for our sins, was buried and on the third day He arose victoriously. And whoever believes in Him shall receive everlasting life. Once we receive Christ He will never leave us nor forsake us. Thus, you are not alone. So when you think

about this Christmas make sure you get to the heart of what Christmas means. It’s about the fulfillment of scripture for which God sent his Son Immanuel. God cares so much about us that He sent His very best, Jesus Christ. This is the gift of salvation which we should share with family, friends, coworkers and neighbors. Matt. 28:20 says, “I am with you always, til the end of the age.” You are not alone. During this holiday season, I would truly be remissed if I did not thank the congregation of Colonial Baptist Church who has allowed me to serve as their pastor for the last 17 years. That in itself is a special Christmas gift for me. Have a wonderful holiday season! In closing, I have had the pleasure of serving as the president of the Baptist Convention of Maryland/ Delaware (BCM/D). The

Robert Anderson BCM/D President and Pastor of Colonial Baptist Church, Randallstown, Md.

BCM/D is comprised of over 500 churches, which represents various ethnic groups and nationalities. I look forward to serving these wonderful churches over the next year. Also, I want to recognize many of my new friends who are a part of the Baptist Ministers’ Conference of Baltimore & Vicinity. I can’t wait to see what God will do among all of us in the coming year.

Congratulations to the newly elected 2013-2014 officers of the Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware

(From left to right): The following officers were elected during BCM/D’s Nov. 10-12 annual meeting: David Gaines, pastor of Manna Bible Baptist Church, Baltimore, recording secretary; Randall Blackmon, pastor of Faith Fellowship Church, Cambridge, second vice-president; Robert Anderson, senior pastor of Colonial Baptist Church, president; Stephen Hokuf, pastor of First Baptist Church of North East, first vice-president; and Aaron Stewart, minister of music at Towne Baptist Church, Joppa, assistant recording secretary. Page 4

December 2013


SPECIAL REPORT:

By Sharon Mager

CONNECT 2013: THE 178TH ANNUAL MEETING OF THE BAPTIST CONVENTION OF MARYLAND/DELAWARE

NEWARK, Del.— approved a resolution to encourage churches to affirm that The 178th meeting of children are a gift from God, to protect them from abuse the Baptist Convention of and to help those who have been abused. Maryland/Delaware, Nov. 10-12, was held at OgleSunday Session town Baptist Church. Messengers Sunday’s session opened with the BCM/D praise re-elected Robert Anderson, senior pastor of Colonial team, led by worship ministers throughout the convention. Baptist Church, as BCM/D president. They elected SteDel Morgan, pastor of worship ministries at The Church phen Hokuf, pastor of First Baptist Church of North East, at Covenant Park, led a special presentation, “Through the as first vice-president; Randall Blackmon, pastor of Faith eyes of a Child,” featuring a musical black light puppet skit. Fellowship Church, Cambridge, as second vice-president; Morgan sang a song of the same name. David Gaines, pastor of Manna Bible Baptist Church, BalThe skit featured Morgan and Ferrell Marr. Marr timore, as recording secretary and portrayed a man who had Aaron Stewart, minister of music grown cynical through years of at Towne Baptist Church, Joppa, ministry. As the two work toas assistant recording secretary. gether as painters, Morgan puts This year’s meeting featured his brush down and confides his guest speakers James Merritt, frustration and struggles with senior pastor of Cross Pointe his friend. Church, Duluth, Ga., and former “In the journey to adultSouthern Baptist Convention preshood, we often lose the wonder ident; A.B. Vines, senior pastor that comes naturally to a child,” of New Seasons Church, Spring Morgan told Marr. “God hasn’t Valley, Ca.; Robert Anderson;Jose Newly elected WMU President Barbara Matney and changed a bit since we were kids. Nater, senior pastor, Primera IgleInterim Woman’s Missionary Union (WMU) Executive We got busy with the everyday sia Bautista Hispana, Cambridge; stuff and lost track of our focus and BCM/D’s new Executive Mis- Director Melody Knox presented the WMU report. in life.” Morgan shares that Marr sional Strategist, Will McRaney. must see Jesus in that simple trustDenominational leaders, ministers and lay-leaders ing child-like manner. laughed, cried, hugged old friends and met new ones To illustrate, Morgan snaps his fingers and music at ministry brunches, dinners and specialized breakout plays. As Morgan paints with neon colors, the “paintings” sessions intended to equip, educate and encourage church come to life and dance across the stage as flowers, rainbows leaders at all levels. and other blessings in life appear. Rachel Morgan and the Messengers approved Oak Grove Baptist Church children’s choir particia combined BCM/D and pated in the program. Skycroft budget of $8,088,057. James Merritt brought the Sunday evening They voted to release Baptist message. He said, Jesus lived only 33 years and only Family & Children’s Services three of those years were “measured.” Jesus did more as a BCM/D agency, approved in those three years than anyone has ever done, the intent to sell property in Merritt told messengers. St. Mary’s County and apMerritt referenced Luke 5. How could a carproved adding content to the penter tell a professional fisherman where to catch Constitution and By-Laws more fish than any fisherman in history? Because regarding the convention’s Jesus made the lake. definition of marriage as delineated in Scripture and the There’s a difference between fishing and catching fish, convention’s stance on the use of convention property for Merritt said. The real fisherman knows where the fish are. use in solemnizing any same-sex marriage. Messengers also The United States is dealing with a missing person December 2013

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G A T H E R 2 epidemic. Every hour, adults and children will go missing. Nine hundred thousand people in a year vanish. That’s why the “America’s Missing Broadcast Emergency Response” (AMBER) Alert was established. “God has an AMBER Alert for every lost person on this planet,” Merritt said. Robert Anderson closed the evening in prayer.

Monday Session

Monday morning’s activities began with a variety of brunches for pastors, ministers, ministers’ wives and lay leaders, followed by a Crossover Baltimore lunch, and over 20 breakout sessions over a three-hour period. The BCM/D praise band led worship Monday evening. A.B. Vines, senior pastor of New Seasons Church, Spring Valley, Ca., encouraged listeners to join in with their “Amens.” “I don’t want to preach to the ‘chosen frozen,’” Vines laughed. Vines shared Matt. 6:24-27.

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“Worry is a costly consequence of choosing self,” Vines said. When pastors get together, Vines said they generally ask each other how their churches are doing numerically. “How about asking, ‘Where is Jesus moving in your ministries this year?” Vines said. “Preachers, stop stressing about numbers, deacon boards...let God be God and do your part.” Vines said churches often put their faith in programs and schemes. “We forget God can do it all by Himself.” During the business session, messengers re-elected Robert Anderson as BCM/D president. Anderson shared his heart for supporting hunger ministry. October 2 was Hunger Sunday, and Anderson thanked churches for participating. “The needs are increasing, and I think we can do more,” he said. Anderson showed a t-shirt that was being sold at the meeting to raise funds and awareness for hunger ministries. Messengers could purchase

December 2013


W O R S H I P the shirts. Sandy McRaney, wife of BCM/D Executive Missional Strategist Will McRaney, sang an acappella medley of “My Tribute” and “The Old Rugged Cross” before McRaney addressed messengers and guests. McRaney quoted Psalm 78:2, “And David shepherded them with integrity of heart; with skillful hands he led them.” McRaney said he, too, wants to lead with integrity of heart and with a skillful hand. “We exist to serve you,” McRaney said. McRaney shared his evangelism emphasis: “The ultimate act of love is sharing Christ.” He referred to Acts 3:1-10 and the account of Peter and John ministering to the lame beggar in the temple. How many times had they passed this man? McRaney said. How many people are we walking by and not even seeing? McRaney said we must see the lost, engage them, prepare for them and connect them to Jesus and to

other believers. “If we’re not careful, we get tied up doing religious stuff and miss what we’re supposed to be doing in the first place,” McRaney said. “God give us fresh eyes, give us fresh hearts. Remove the cataracts from our eyes and help us to see people as you see them and to take the Gospel of Christ to them,” McRaney prayed.

Tuesday Session

Chris and Carrie Morris, worship leaders at Ogletown Baptist Church, led worship on Tuesday morning. Jacqueline Anderson, wife of Robert Anderson, sang “It is Well With My Soul” before her husband shared the President’s Address. Anderson used Luke 14, the passage about the great banquet. God was the host, but invited guests began giving excuses. They were busy with wealth, with work, with family.

(Continued on page 8)

“My favorite element of our 2013 convention was being encouraged by the representation of our own MD/ DE region of pastors, worship leaders and church planters. Christian Nuckles did a superb job in recruiting Worship Pastors and musicians from our various churches to lead us in praise for each session.” -- Pastor Dave Brown, Severna Park Baptist Church, who has served the past three years on BCM/D’s Order of Business Committee December 2013

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G A T H E R 2 God will not take excuses, Anderson said. “God does get angry. The Lord is angry at the wicked every day,” he said. “There’s still room... the invitations are out. The banquet table is set. Dinner is being served. They won’t come unless we go out and invite them to come and sit at the table of the Lord Jesus. “We have fellowship with God, then we go out and bring others to the banquet table,” Anderson said. David Hall, senior pastor of Oak Grove Baptist Church, invited churches to continue to participate in Billy Graham’s “My Hope” initiative. Hall said 25 families at Oak Grove Church had “Matthew Parties,” inviting friends to view the presentation by Graham on national television. Several accepted Jesus as

a result of the outreach. It’s not too late to invite people in homes or churches to watch the DVD. For more information, contact Hall, davidahall@oakgrovebaptist.com, or Evangelism Missionary Ellen Udovich, Eudovich@bcmd.org.

Business

Messengers voted to release Baptist Family and Children’s Services (BFCS) from their status as a BCM/D agency and they voted to make the necessary change in the constitution, Article V11 Section 6. General Mission Board President Kerry Hinton said the agency has been working to get their individual 501 3C status for several years. “We are a non-profit, and like most non-profits, we are suffering financially,” Sandy Wehunt, BFCS

Connect 2013 offered many training opportunities through brunches and breakout sessions held during this year’s annual meeting at Ogletown Baptist Church on Nov. 11.

(Continued on page 9) Page 8

December 2013


G ROW / L E A R N board president, said. “When you have a parent organization, it is assumed the parent can provide all of the funding.” Wehunt asked messengers to acknowledge the request and “join us to move ahead as God has called us to do.” Harold Phillips, senior pastor of Pleasant View Baptist Church, Port Deposit, expressed concerns, citing troubled times with families and the home. “Why do we want to relinquish this very valuable ministry we have had for 90 years?” Phillips asked how Bob Gerstmyer, former BFCS director would respond. Gerstmyer replied that the convention has given approximately $22,000 a year for the past 15 to 20 years. While a generous amount, that

still represents less than one percent of the annual operations budget. “I have mixed feelings about this. I am a Maryland/Delaware convention advocate and have been since 1969 when I began my ministry. From that perspective, it’s sad to see that happen. On the other hand, I understand why the agency is proceeding in this matter, and I would be supportive.” Wehunt said the agency will still remain Baptist and anticipates functioning similar to CentrePoint Counseling. “We see this as a door opening and an (Continued on page 10)

“As a new pastor to the state, the whole meeting was a highlight. I was encouraged by the fellowship and the renewed challenge to be faithful in sharing Christ with others.”

-- Pastor Kurt Wesolowski, Parkville Baptist Church

December 2013

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G A T H E R 2 opportunity to serve God in a more effective way.” Messengers also voted to approve selling land held by the BCM/D in St. Mary’s County for a sale price of $450,000 and to allow the GMB to entertain a viable offer. An adjustment greater than a reduction of $50,000 in list price would be brought to the Administrative Committee for approval. Proceeds from the sale would be used to fund church wellness initiatives. BCM/D Missionary Randy Millwood explained there are support streams for work in evangelism and church multiplication but little in church wellness. “This initiative speaks to implementing long-term turn around strategies for churches in plateau and decline,” Millwood said. Messengers also voted to add content to Article II in the constitution regarding marriage: This convention will subscribe to the tenants of the Baptist Faith and Message (BFM) as adopted by the SBC, in its most recent form. In Article 18 of BFM when marriage is referred to, we believe that term “marriage” has only one meaning and that is marriage sanctioned

by God which joins one man and one woman in a single, exclusive union, as delineated in Scripture. We believe that God intends sexual intimacy to only occur between a man and a woman who are married to each other. We believe that God has commanded that no intimate sexual activity be engaged in outside of a marriage between a man and a woman. The following language was added to Article VII Section 6 from the constitution: By-Laws - Avoidance of illegal action No action of this Convention will be construed as authorizing its committees or related agencies to take any action that may be contrary to the law, unless such laws are contrary to the convention’s statement of faith. Specifically, the Convention will not solemnize any same-sex marriage or allow any Convention property or facilities to be used for the purpose of solemnizing or celebrating any same-sex marriage. Will McRaney introduced BCM/D Missionaries Grace Schofield and Wendy Mindte then he

“I really enjoyed being a part of the roundtable discussion on staying in your church for the long haul. Getting to minister and serve those young men and women was of great joy to me. I felt like I really made a a difference as did the three other pastors with me. Next, it is always a joy seeing old friends and the fellowship is priceless.” --Pastor Gary Glanville, Reisterstown Baptist Church Page 10

December 2013


C O N N E C T welcomed new pastors and staff to the convention.

Reports

Baptist Family & Children’s Services’ Interim Director Debbie Marini thanked churches for their support and shared her passion for families and the agency’s commitment to grow as a Christian organization dealing with the attack on families. Marini said the work of BFCS is often like a fire company, running in to try to save people while everyone else is running out. “It’s messy. It’s dangerous. And sometimes the house burns down, and there’s nothing we can do. “We recognize change can raise questions. God is the same yesterday, today

and forever,” Marini said. “James 1:27 says to care for widows and orphans. We are building the kingdom of God,” she said. John Schoff, President of the Baptist Foundation of Maryland/Delaware, reported that the Foundation manages assets of almost $10.4 million. Through the church loan program, 21 BCM/D churches are beDecember 2013

ing assisted with over $3.1 million in loans. The churches have favorable interest rates and low closing costs. The Foundation makes an annual distribution to BCM/D to start and strengthen churches. Schoff presented a check to Will McRaney for $145,054.94. Interim Woman’s Missionary Union (WMU) Executive Director Melody Knox and newly elected WMU President Barbara Matney presented the WMU report. Matney shared WMU is celebrating its 125th birthday. She told how a small group of women formed a group to work alongside the Southern Baptist Convention. One of those women was Annie Armstrong. Maryland/ Delaware was one of the first sites to join and start WMU. “We have a rich heritage in missions and sharing the Gospel,” Matney said. Knox shared WMU has seen successful ministries throughout the year

including mother/ daughter camps; Royal Ambassador camps, distribution of health kits; working with Samaritan Women to serve women escaping the traps of human trafficking; and women’s conferences, including “Breathless.” Brian Sandifer, senior pastor, Potomac Heights Baptist Church, reported for the Resolution Committee. Messengers approved a resolution on the church and the abuse of children. The resolution refers to Psalm 127:3-5, that it is clear in its affirmation that children are a

gift from God, that Jesus demonstrated His love for children; that sexual abuse remains an ever-increasing criminal offense and tragically, that instances of sexual abuse have been perpetrated within Southern Baptist congregations and churches of other denominations and other Christian ministries. The resolution declares that messengers stand with Jesus in loving and protecting children and urges all Maryland/Delaware Baptists to employ every preventative tool at their (Continued on page 15)

“I really enjoyed the fellowship and visiting with folks I don’t see all the time. I really appreciated Will’s message that perhaps we have a love problem (e.g., Penn Jillette’s statement of “How much do you have to hate a person to believe there’s a way to live for ever and not tell them?).” I had just used that with my people on Sunday morning. I also enjoyed the Send Baltimore Breakfast as well listening to what God is doing in Baltimore.” --Steve Wolverton, Canton Baptist Church Page 11


G A T H E R 2

James Merritt: ‘Find missing persons’

A.B. Vines: ‘Do not worry’

NEWARK, Del.—Noting Jesus “did more and accomplished more in his last three years than any other human being did in a full life,” James Merritt urged Connect 2013 attendees to follow Jesus’ example in finding missing persons and making committed disciples. He spoke during the opening session of the annual meeting of the Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware on Nov. 10 at Ogletown Baptist Church in Newark, Del. “The Son was sent for 33 years, but only the last three years were measured. What would you do in those three years?” asked Merritt, the lead pastor of Cross Pointe Church in Duluth, Ga., and host of the broadcast ministry, Touching Lives. “When you make the purpose of His life the purpose of your life, you find the real purpose of all of life.” He explained, “We have a missing persons epidemic in this country. Every hour… 100 Americans—both adults and children—will go missing.” That is 2,400 people a day, and 900,000 people a year who just vanish or disappear. “God has an AMBER alert out on every lost person on this planet,” he said, pointing to Luke 5, where Jesus teaches Peter to be a “fisher of men” (v. 10b). “When you study the life of Jesus, you’ll find His life revolved around finding missing persons,” Merritt said, outlining five steps to fulfill one’s ultimate purpose on the journey to a God-filled eternity.

NEWARK, Del.—In economic times like this, did Jesus really say, “Don’t worry?” “If we put our eyes on Him, we shouldn’t have to worry. Worry is a costly consequence of choosing self,” answered A.B. Vines, senior pastor of New Seasons Church, in Spring Valley, Calif., who spoke at the Nov. 11 morning session of Connect 2013, the annual meeting of the Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware. “The issue is we can have too many gods,” he said, pointing to Matthew 6:24, where Jesus warns against serving two masters. “If God is God, then we are going to put all our trust in God and not put our trust in mammon or the other thing. When we choose the other thing, we are asking God, ‘How is this thing going to work for me and not for You?’” Vines, who also serves as president of the National African American Fellowship of the Southern Baptist Convention, stressed, “If I choose to worry, I am saying, ‘God, I am more concerned about my issues than Your issues. I am more concerned about my needs than Your needs.’” Pointing to Matthew 13:22, Vines asked, “How many of us can hear the Word of God, know the Word of God, and allow the cares of the world choke us?” Vines said people spend too much time worrying, and as a result, find themselves not doing the will of the

(Continued on page 14)

(Continued on page 14)

Connect 2013 speakers

“James Merritt’s preaching was a highlight for me. I was really surprised at how much he didn’t sound like a ‘big- church, former-SBC president.’ I think the way we do the annual meetings now is a good approach.” --Kenny Heath, Director of Missions, Western Baptist Association Page 12

December 2013


S C A T T E R

Robert Anderson: ‘The turkey is ready’

Jose Nater: ‘Happy ending–or a sequel?’

NEWARK, Del.—In the president’s message at Connect 2013, the annual meeting of the Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware at Ogletown Baptist Church in Newark, Del., BCM/D President Robert Anderson shared about the Parable of the Large Banquet in Luke 14:15. “Whenever we talk about scattering or gathering… what really makes that a ministry is when we care for one another,” said Anderson, senior pastor of Colonial Baptist Church in Randallstown, Md. He described the prior situation in the Luke passage. The Pharisees had invited Jesus over. There He was, everybody looking at Him, trying to find some mistake with Him or His ministry. Knowing, Jesus took the issue at hand. Anderson shared, “It was that Sabbath day issue that the Pharisees got all bent out of shape over.” Jesus asked the Pharisees, “Is it lawful to do good on the Sabbath?” (Luke 15:3) and then He healed the man “on the Sabbath in the face of the Pharisees. Oh boy!” The Pharisees didn’t say a word. Calling attention to Jesus’ caring heart, Anderson said, “While He was making this issue with the Pharisees, and healing this man on the Sabbath, it’s the fact that He healed this man…out of a heart of love.” People are not always (Continued on page 14)

NEWALK, Del.—In the last session of Connect 2013, the annual meeting of the Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware, bi-vocational pastor and church planter Jose Nater noted his sermon was like the closing credits of a movie. But did this movie have a happy ending—or a sequel? Nater has planted and leads simultaneously three churches on the Eastern Shore, Primera Iglesia Bautista Hispana, in Cambridge, Easton, and Seaford, Del. Presently, he is developing a Church Multiplication Center in Cambridge with a Hispanic Ministry Training Center. Nater, who will be featured as one of the missionaries highlighted in the 2014 Week of Prayer for North American Missions and the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering to be held March 2-9, 2014, read the last two verses of Luke, “After worshiping Him, they returned to Jerusalem with great joy. And they were continually in the temple complex praising God” (Luke 24:52-53 HCSB). “We are going to make a decision today. Is this a happy ending? Is this the way it was intended to be?” Nater noted the closing verses in the Gospels of Matthew and Mark focused on Jesus’ commands to “go and do.” Conversely, in the Gospel of Luke, (Continued on page 15)

By Shannon Baker

“I loved the theme’s point of encouraging us to do something after the end of the meetings. I believe that Jose Nater was the perfect speaker to end our final session by reminding us that we want more than just an ending to our meetings...we want the ‘Happy Ever After’ ending that happens when our local churches get outside of our walls and minister to the needs of our community and share Christ with them.” --Steve Poole, Music & Worship Pastor, Oak Grove Baptist Church December 2013

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James Merritt... First, “hear the Word of God.” Jesus used the lake water to amplify His words as “He sat down and taught the people from the boat” by the lake of Gennesaret (Luke 5:3), said Merritt, speaking from the English Standard Version translation. Next, “trust the Son of God.” Jesus instructed Peter to “put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch” (Luke 5:4). Though Peter questioned Jesus, he followed. “At your word, I will let down the nets” (Luke 5:5b), Peter said.

Peter then “experience[d] the grace of God,” the next step. The fishermen, though fishing in the daylight when fish traditionally hid themselves, “enclosed a large number of fish, and their nets were breaking” (Luke 5:6). Merritt then urged his listeners to be like the disciples, who “follow[ed] the will of God” to catch men (Luke 5:10b). Merritt noted the subtle differences between fishing and actually catching fish. Jesus wanted Peter to do what Jesus did for him: “I

want you to catch people just like I caught you.” In the final step, “surrender to the call of God,” the fisherman “left everything and followed Him” (Luke 5:11). From now on, Peter’s life is going to be about two things, Merritt said, finding missing persons and making committed disciples. “That is the will of God for every Christ follower … because every empty chair in your church represents a missing person.”

ally and spiritually, Vines added, “To worry is to divide your mind between that which is useful and worthwhile and that which is damaging and destructive,” he said. Worry also blocks the flow of the Holy Spirit in one’s life, Vines said, calling worry, “unbelief.” “I have to trust that God is going to make a way, that God is going to send a fresh revival, and God will do something, if I just trust God and preach His Gospel,” he said. “But I’ve got to go do the will of God. I just can’t stand and wait for another program.” Even the rapper “50 Cent”

seemed to understand. “If you are going to worry, why pray?” he once told Oprah. Finally, “worry is a captivating challenger but can be conquered completely by the commands of Christ,” Vines said, referring to Matthew 6:33, where Jesus urges his listeners to seek first the Kingdom of God. “Listen, I know it’s hard. I know it’s tough. But you’ve got to refocus your faith,” he said. “Stop worrying... Remember, grace, mercy and the Holy Spirit are with you. If you just do something, God will bless your efforts… Stop trying to figure it out and just start moving.”

A.B. Vines... Lord. “Preachers, stop stressing about numbers… deacon boards… choir members. Just serve God, and let God be God. You do your part, and I guarantee you, God will show up!” Noting God will step back and allow people to choose the sin of worry, Vines further defined worry as “a costly consequence of choosing sin. “Sometimes, when we put all our faith in our schemes, our programs, our denomination and association, we forget to know that God can do it all by Himself… He just needs to hear you say, ‘Lord, I surrender all.’” Acknowledging worry causes people to change physically, emotion-

Robert Anderson... going to be concerned what your message is, but they will respond if they see something in your heart that says, “I love you,” he said. Later in the passage (Luke 15:7), Jesus noticed how the guests were picking places at the table. Jesus saw the Pharisees were trying to have the best seats. Anderson noted, “I am going to tell you what can hurt a convention… a church … a ministry, when we’ve got people squabbling over positions.” Alternatively, the “way you show your dignity is to be a servant,” Anderson said, much as Jesus advised: “Don’t go and get the best seats because you don’t want to be embarrassed” if someone else more important is asked to take that seat instead (Luke 15:8-9). Page 14

“We’re living in a day of celebritism and everybody is a big shot,” Anderson observed. “I’m sorry. That’s the wrong attitude. In fact, to have that attitude, you’ve put yourself in a very special club—called the Pharisees!” Anderson then pointed to how Jesus advised his listeners to have an “open home” (Luke 15:12-13), inviting the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind. “When’s the last time you intentionally threw a party…” for these groups? “Now, you’re looking like a Christian!” he exclaimed. “Jesus here challenges us to have an open home and an open heart.” In the parable that follows, Jesus shared how many people were invited to the banquet. “The host of this banquet, by way of illustration, is God

Himself,” Anderson explained. “And God is creating a fellowship in which He is inviting people to come… for everything is ready!” But people gave excuses—bought a field, oxen, was just married—so they didn’t come. “When you realize God is calling you… there is no room for excuses,” Anderson said. “Can you imagine standing before God and saying, ‘God, I didn’t go, I didn’t witness, I didn’t love by sharing the Gospel, I didn’t…?’” Yet, the servant is called to go out and share, “There is still room” (Luke 14:22). “And, the turkey is ready,” Anderson concluded. “How many people are coming? They won’t come unless we go out and invite them.” December 2013


CONNECT 2013 (continued from p. 11) Thee Every Hour,” before Jose Nater presented his mesdisposal, including background checks, to discourage the sage. existence of environments in which the exploitation of Nater is a bi-vocational church planter who started children can take place; to remind Maryland/Delaware three churches in seven years. He was selected as one of six Baptists of their legal and moral responsibility to report missionaries who will be highlighted by the North Ameriany accusations of child abuse to authorities; to cooperate can Mission Board in 2014. fully with law enforcement ofNater compared the anficials in exposing and bringnual meeting to a movie and ing to justice all perpetrators, his presentation time to the and to encourage pastors and finale just before the closing church leaders to develop and credits. implement sound policies and “It’s where the villain procedures to protect children. gets what he deserves or the The resolution also urges hero gets to kiss the girl. It’s all Maryland/Delaware Baptist a moment of change,” Nater churches, associations and the said. The ending can be just convention and to pray for chilthat, an ending, or there can dren who are victims of abuse, be a sequel. to stand for their protection, to Nater shared the end of support safe and healthy chilLuke, 24:53, “And they stayed dren’s ministries and communicontinually at the temple, ties and to provide supportive praising God.” But there’s professional counseling and a sequel. In Acts, the Holy other resources that will assist Dave Brown, pastor of Severna Park Baptist Church Spirit arrives. in their recovery. J.B. Hixson, academic “Do we have the same trainer and conference speaker for Logos Bible Software power? Yes! Are we using it?” Nater asked. “I would like shared that Logos is available to partner with churches and our last verse to be like this: ... ‘and that is how the true other organizations at conferences and special events at no followers went to their neighborhoods, their cities, their cost. nations, proclaiming to all that needed to hear it. Then Chris and Carrie Morris led the final song, “I Need Jesus returned.’”

Jose Nater... Jesus’ closing words said, “Go and wait: Go to Jerusalem and wait.” “It tells me that this Gospel was intended to have a continuation,” Nater said. “This Gospel was intended to have a sequel.” Nater shared part of his testimony. He came to know Christ in 1978. He had grown up in a very traditional Catholic family and didn’t know much about the Bible and God. “I was doing everything that was required of me,” he said. “I learned the Christian life was mostly about church—about going to church, about doing church.” Pointing to verse 53, where the disciples were continually in the temple, Nater confessed he wondered if that was all. Pointing to preceding passages in Luke 24, Nater noted Jesus didn’t want his disciples to just stay in December 2013

Jerusalem. “He didn’t intend for them to be at the church continually from that point on. It was just a matter of a small period of time.” They were to wait for the promise of their Father, Nater explained. They were to wait for the Holy Spirit to empower them. “That was it!” he stressed. It was not going to church every day and doing church things every week. It was to wait for the “power to come to you because when He comes to you, you can do what [He] wants you to do.” If the Gospel had ended there, it wouldn’t be a happy ending, Nater said. “It sounds like a beautiful happy ending, but it was not. It was just the ending.” He continued, if we as Christians do church every Sunday and did what these people did, without using the power of the Holy Spirit and not tak-

ing the Gospel to the lost, then this is not a happy ending for the church. Nater then pointed to the first two chapters in the book of Acts, where the disciples learned what they were waiting for: the Holy Spirit’s empowerment. Do we have the Holy Spirit in our lives? Yes! Are we taking Him seriously in our lives? “I wasn’t for a long time,” Nater answered, explaining, “In 1978, I received Jesus as my Savior. But I received Jesus as my Lord a lot later than that.” “When you surrender to the Lord, that’s when the book of Acts— and the sequel starts.” This is our “before-the-credits” moment, he said. “This could be our happy-ending moment, our happilyever-after moment, or it could be just our ending.” Page 15


Christmas in the BCM/D B

elow is just a sampling of some of the Christmas activities BCM/D churches are having to honor the birth of Jesus and to share the same Good News with their communities that the angel announced over 2,000 years ago: “Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:10-11). Oak Grove Baptist Church will present “Christmas Hope,” Dec. 6-8 and Dec. 13-15. The show is a Broadway-style musical written by Oak Grove’s worship pastor, Steve Poole. It incorporates music arranged by Nashville composer Dave Williams and choreography by world medal winning HipHop dancer Kevyn Jones. The program follows “Pastor Dave” and his work at a small church in New York City. Dave gets some help from a coffee shop owner, a NYPD officer, one of the women in the church, and Dave’s wife. Together they share hope with a pregnant teen and her not-so-street-smart boyfriend. The church will perform the program eight times during the month of December. Tickets for this program are free and can be ordered online at www. oakgrovechristmas.com or by calling the church office at (410) 838-9898. Bethany Church will present “Persian Sky” on Dec. 13-15 at their Ellicott City campus. The original production focuses on the Magi as they encounter “the insane King Herod” and ultimately make their way to worship the “King of Kings,” who is then a toddler in Bethlehem. The dramatic musical features a full orchestra, choir, dance and drama teams as well as stunning visual and special effects. The musical was written and is directed by the church’s minister of music, Sherrie McKay. Hope Baptist Church, Laurel, will host the “2013 Women of Faith Christmas” simulcast from Dallas, Texas, on December 6 at 8 p.m. Doors open at 7 p.m.

Tickets cost $5 per person. There is no child care. Speakers are Sheila Welsh, Lisa Harper, Max Lucado, Rick Warren and music with Francesca Battistelli. Lynnhaven Baptist Church will host its annual “Walk Through Bethlehem” from 6 to 9 p.m. on Dec. 13-15 and 20-22. Over 15,000 people have visited the outdoor event. The church turns the church grounds into the town of Bethlehem during the time of Jesus’ birth, complete with animals, “money changers,” angels and shepherds. Oak Ridge Baptist Church, Salisbury, will have Santa’s Wonderland 5 to 8 p.m. on Dec. 6 and 13 and 2 to 5 p.m. on Dec. 7and 14. Kids can visit with Santa, hear a story by Mrs. Clause; make Christmas crafts and enjoy goodies and hot chocolate. It’s all free! First Baptist Church of Beltsville will have a live nativity and open house from 6 to 8 p.m. on Dec. 7-8. Following a Christmas story “come to life,” visit indoors for refreshments and craft activities for the children. Westminster Baptist Church will have a Christmas program at 7 p.m. on Dec. 1, featuring the children’s choir, mission friends and the “Epic Puppet Ministry.” The church will take the Lottie Moon Christmas offering for international missions during a parade of flags. There will be a time of refreshments fellowship following the service. Ogletown Baptist Church will present the concert, “Hope Arrives” from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Dec. 15. Grace Place, Dundalk, is collecting writing journals for students at Norwood Elementary School. Last year, the church gave over 700 books to the school, enough for every child to have a gift. This Christmas, at the request of the school principal, the church is providing journaling pads for each child. Pastor Troy McDaniel said the church wants to bless the school and to reach out to the neighborhood with the love of Jesus.

By Sharon Mager

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December 2013


Sunday morning Vacation Bible School By Trey Wooten

T

hink outside the box! Vacation Bible School is probably your biggest outreach ministry of the year. Are you looking for ways to get the unchurched into your church? Do away with your normal “Friday Family Day/Night” and replace it with “VBS Family Day” on a Sunday morning. At Oak Grove Baptist Church in Bel Air, Md., we did just that, and the results were amazing! God was definitely at work throughout the VBS week and on our family day the following Sunday. Are there logistics with which one has to worry? Of course. You have to consider space, parking, and other details when you are inviting in many more people than you normally have on a Sunday morning. Give it all to God and let Him work out the details. Oak Grove had almost 400 children (three-year-olds through fifth grade) enrolled in their Vacation Bible School in July 2013. Every person was invited back to worship on family day. Oak Grove normally offers a traditional worship service and a contemporary worship service. However, on VBS family day, both worship services were identical and were designed in VBS-rally style. The VBS elementary students were encouraged to sit together during the worship service. Preschoolers were given the opportunity to go to the preschool area for their own ageappropriate Bible study or sit with their families. Mostly all VBS music was used during the worship services and as minister of children and senior adults, I brought the message December 2013

from 2 Cor. 11:22-33. Following the second service, all VBS children and their families were invited to an afternoon of food, fun, and games. Everyone enjoyed the time of fun and fellowship including the moms and dads! Because the girls won the missions offering contest in which the children collected a record amount of money for a missionary in Bolivia, they got to slime me! (See above photo) Another creative idea being used in Oak Grove’s VBS is to have an adult “mom time” for a portion of VBS time. Moms like to have time to run their errands but Oak Grove has

found that many moms don’t mind taking time for a short Bible study with other moms. Why a Sunday morning family celebration? Why a daily mom time? Connecting with the people! Other than the top priority of sharing

Christ, a church must be willing to connect with the people. Oak Grove is willing to do whatever it takes to get the Gospel of Jesus Christ into the homes in its community. Will you join them in your community? Yes! Oak Grove is going to do it again in 2014. Vacation Bible School is scheduled for July 14-18 with family day scheduled on July 20. If you live in the Harford County area, come join us as we teach the children (and adults) through LifeWay’s “Agency D-3” to discover, decide, and defend! Trey Wooton has been serving in full-time children’s ministry for over eleven years. Over half of his ministry career has been in Maryland. He is part of the BCMD children’s teaching/training team and is available to give advice in the area of children’s ministry to any church. You may contact him at (410)838-9898 or trey@ oakgrovebaptist.com to set up a time to meet. Page 17


Baptist Family & Children’s Services expands beyond denominational lines Baptist Family & Children’s Services (BFCS) has begun the process of becoming an independent, faith-based non-profit with its own 501(c)(3) designation. As it expands beyond denominational lines, it is important for BFCS donors, volunteers, service providers and other stakeholders to know that this transition will provide a context in which the agency, local churches and ecumenical associations engage cooperatively in addressing the challenges of today’s family. And while all organizations change incrementally over time— adapting to the environment in which they operate—much of its work would remain the same: • The focus will remain “family stability” with continued services offered through the Good Samaritan Network, including Safe Families for Children and CHOSEN Treatment

Foster Care. • BFCS will remain a Christian, non-profit organization, true to its founding principles. • It will continue to honor its history as a Baptist entity with a defined Baptist heritage. • The board of trustees will continue to be made up of a majority from Baptist churches and the Executive Director will continue to be a professing Christian with a strong faith commitment. • BFCS will continue a commitment to and a strong working relationship with BCM/D and its member churches. Here are a few things that are anticipated to change: • The nomination and election of BFCS trustees will cease to be a

BCM/D function, but will be an internal process. • BFCS will develop a more ecumenical approach to ministry by expanding services to and through evangelical churches. • In order to apply for an independent 501(c)(3) non-profit status, a change in name is required. Our new name will be: Building Families for Children (BFC) With the tagline: “….serving out of love, faith & community.” Please pray that as BFCS expands services and moves forward under God’s direction, the arms of Jesus will continue to touch lives and reach souls in distress. If you are interested in keeping informed about this transition, visit www.baptistfamily.org for current information.

2013 LOTTIE MOON CHRISTMAS OFFERING AND WEEK OF PRAYER FOR INTERNATIONAL MISSIONS, DEC. 1-8 In 2013 Southern Baptists celebrated 125 years of annual giving to support international missionaries. More than 3.5 billion has been given to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering, whose namesake inspired the first collection of gifts in 1888 so the world might know Christ. Then, as now, every penny you give to Lottie Moon supports missionaries as they share the Gospel overseas. The 2013 theme is “Totally His … heart, hands, voice,” based on Matthew 22:36-39. Totally committed to God, first to love Him, then love others. No less than all of our heart, soul and mind is what’s required of us as believers in Christ. All believers, all of the church, all Southern Baptists — totally His. For more information about the offering and the week of prayer, go to imb.org. Page 18

December 2013


Ministerio de Amor en Cristo makes big difference in Lexington Park By Shannon Baker BCM/D National Correspondent LEXINGTON PARK, Md.— Despite being a smaller church, Ministerio de Amor en Cristo, affectionately known as MAC, is large in heart. In the past year especially, MAC members have made a big difference in the lives of those who live in their Lexington Park, Md., community. The 30-member church (up to 45 members with kids) has gotten involved in a number of outreach efforts this year, including providing weekend meal packs for hungry children, serving food at a local men’s homeless shelter, and partnering with a nonprofit to distribute locally grown food to underprivileged families. Jose Barreto, MAC’s bivocational pastor, said it all began when members began donating food for the United Way’s Snack Pak program, which provides food for children who otherwise would have no food on the weekends. MAC sponsors 15 children at Lexington Park Elementary School, who discreetly hands out the food to the children at the end of the school day on Fridays. December 2013

And then the church started providing food for the Three Oaks Center, which provides the homeless in St. Mary’s County with housing, stabilization, assessment, and referral to appropriate resources. “We started out by just taking food regularly for a year,” said Barreto, a software engineer at the Naval Air Station on the Patuxent River. “Now, we can use the kitchen and

actually serve the food.” Barreto said the “cool thing about that” is they are allowed to interact with the guys. “It’s a real good opportunity to share the Gospel in a real practical way,” he said. This past September, MAC also started a partnership with Farming 4 Hunger, which raises fresh vegetables for the area food banks and other distribution sites. “Almost every adult in the

church participated in this ministry—interacting with people, giving out Bibles and sharing the Gospel” while sharing the food, Barreto said, noting the food was gone after only an hour and half of distribution time. In addition to these ministries, Barreto is now a part of a hunger task force set up by Maryland’s state legislature to address hunger issues in the area. “This has really been a breakthrough year for our church,” Barreto said. “I’m praying next year will be even greater!” Presently, MAC meets on Sunday afternoons at Lexington Park Baptist Church, where they enjoy a worship service followed by a time of fellowship. The church, which was founded ten years ago by Rolando Castro, Hispanic churchplanting missionary for the Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware, is composed of members from Puerto Rico, El Salvador, Colombia, Venezuela, Guatemala, Mexico, Dominican Republic and America. The services are in Spanish but there are translators who translate the messages into English. Learn more at http:// amorencristo.org.

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Pastor’s son follows call to missions By Shannon Baker BCM/D National Correspondent OAKLAND, Md.—It was news that many pastors like to hear. Joshua Lahay, a freshman at Garrett Community College, has decided to follow God’s call to be a missionary. This news made Ben Lahay ecstatic. Lahay is the pastor of Deep Creek Baptist Church in Oakland, Md. But more than that: he is Joshua’s father. Deep Creek Baptist Church actively sends and supports five missionaries in three countries: Botswana, Guatemala and the United States, where they support Windswept Academy, a Christian School for Native Americans; First Baptist Church, Eagle Butte in South Dakota; and local ministries, Deep Creek Lake Resort Ministries and a jail ministry. This past summer, Deep Creek took a team of ten people to Guatemala to minister in communities surrounding ClubHouse Guatemala, which serves over 400 children in five different villages through student programs and summer camps. The church was introduced to this ministry by Amped Student Ministry, the student evangelism ministry of the Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware. Former Amped Ministry staffer Peter Odulana, who now lives and ministers in Guatemala, led the Deep Creek volunteers. Among the church volunteers was Page 20

Joshua, a recent high school graduate the children waited patiently and who came along to help build stoves, didn’t touch food until it was given chicken coops and even houses for the to them. poverty-stricken families in the Nixcio As a pastor’s kid, Joshua didn’t and San Miguel villages. grow up with a lot of things, but after “The goal was to do whatever serving in Guatemala, he realized how the Lord wanted us to do,” shared much he does have. Now, he wants to Pastor Lahay. Though he had served share. as a U. S. Marine and witnessed “I really didn’t want to leave,” poverty all over the globe, Lahay was shared Joshua. “It’s something I am overwhelmed by the extremely poor being pulled to. I don’t understand it. conditions in the villages. Much of I had no desire to leave that country.” their work involved improving those “God used this experience to conditions. awaken what was The team already in him,” Pastor built several Lahay said. concrete block Joshua agreed, stoves, designed “That was an experito push smoke ence that would be outside of the something I would houses and prowant everyone to do, tect the inhabitespecially Americans!” ants from smoke Joshua said he inhalation. wants to go back to Joshua and Guatemala to help fellow church them build houses and member, Miguel to serve as a resource Perinne, built for the mission teams one of the stoves who come to assist in by themselves. the ministry. He now They were overworks with a private Joshua Lahay whelmed by the contractor who “flips” family’s gratitude in return. (buys, renovates and resells) houses. The team also shared shoes with He currently plans to earn an the children, many who “had bleedassociate’s degree in network admining feet because their shoes were too istration, and then attend a trade small.” There weren’t enough shoes school to learn more about computto give to kids, Joshua marveled, “and ers—and about metal work. not one child complained!” “That’s what they need there,” he He was equally impressed that said. December 2013


Southern Calvert Baptist Church pastor: ‘Whole church went to Africa’ By Shannon Baker, BCM/D National Correspondent LUSBY, Md.—When Southern Calvert Baptist Church formally ended its mission partnership with Mexico, Pastor Steve Fehrman wanted to continue a missions focus. One of his church members told him about Pastor Chrispinus Okumu from Nairobi, Kenya. He has a ministry in Kibera, the biggest slum in Africa and one of the biggest in the world. Okumu spoke one Sunday at Southern Calvert’s evening service, sharing how almost one million people live in the densely populated area that the city uses as a dump. The place is full of waste garbage, aborted babies and all kinds of bones. “The whole congregation was moved,” shared Fehrman. “Everybody wanted to do something.” Church members decided, though they ultimately wanted to engage an unreached people group, they would first serve in Nairobi, where Okumu had started a school in the slums. Okumu had grown up in the area, later earning a theological education. He could have gone anywhere, but he really felt called to minister in his homeland. There, the government gave him a piece of land—a rock—saying it was worthless. Okumu hired people in the slums to dig through the rock, where he later literally scraped Soweto (which means “go to school and have an education”) Academy right out of the rock. And in the digging came another wonderful surprise: 600-800 feet below the surface was some of the purest water on the earth. Its purity has since been tested, and the water bottled and exported, assisting with the necessary finances for the school and its workers. The Southern Calvert team painted and otherwise worked at this school in the slum, where the “living conditions are terrible,” Fehrman said. Ironically, this slum, where there is sewage water running through the streets, is in the heart of an otherwise middle class African city. There is even a golf course nearby! The team also conducted a pastor training school at the nearby church, where Fehrman taught 150-plus pastors, who traveled as far as 11 hours away to learn. These pastors stayed for three days, sleeping on the church’s floor each night. December 2013

At the same time, the rest of the team ministered to 300-400 children in a bustling Bible school. On the last day of the Bible school, a nurse on Fehrman’s team was alerted to an unconscious girl lying near the bathroom. Though the nurse couldn’t feel the girl’s pulse, she administered CPR, and the girl revived. “It was a heart-pumping experience,” explained Fehrman. “If we hadn’t been there, that girl would have died!” Next summer, Southern Calvert intends to take a team of medical professionals to work at the Academy. “They have one doctor, but no medicine—and a bed you wouldn’t let your own child lie down on,” he explained. Southern Calvert’s church members still hope to make trips out to the African Bush, where they hope to engage unreached people groups. The church began praying about this trip last Thanksgiving, developed a planning team in February, and started raising money for the team in March. It cost $2,500 per team member to go so the church really rallied together to raise the money. They hosted Spirit nights at their local Chick-fil-a. They held silent auctions with items donated from the congregation. Pastor Fehrman cut grass and did other work to raise money for the team. “It really was a good church effort,” he said. “It wasn’t just a small group of people. Our whole church went to Africa! We’re excited about what God does next!” Page 21


BCM/D churches open their doors and hearts to those in need COLUMBIA, Md.—As temperatures dip, many BCM/D churches throughout Maryland and Delaware partner with other churches and non-profits, of a variety of denominations, to house the homeless, feed the hungry and help those “falling between the cracks.” Riva Trace Bapitst Church, Davidsonville, participates in the Winter Relief shelter sponsored by The Arundel House of Hope in Glen Burnie. Churches provide transportation to the church, a place to sleep, and a hot meal. At Riva Trace, in addition to the basic needs, members provide free haircuts, special chili nights, a cookout and an ice cream social. One of the evenings, guests are treated to crab soup and crab cakes. Youth help set up and pack lunches. Kids decorate placemats and lunch bags. One woman knits hats. “They really like the hats. As fast as she knits them, they’re claimed,” Site Coordinator Ron Rayhorn said. Guests also participate in Bible studies and prayer time. Faith Baptist Church, Glen Burnie, also participates in Winter Relief. The church offered karate demonstrations provided by Warriors of Grace Karate. Members provided mending services, patching clothing and repairing zippers. Church member Cindy Barlock played the piano and sang for the men. “We had incredible participation - over 100 volunteers,” Site Coordinator Lauren Hawkin said. Sunday school classes and small groups provided meals. The youth served lunch and dinner. One guest was particularly touched when the church gave him a birthday party with a cake. “He said it meant so much to him. He doesn’t have a family. I told him he’s always welcome to come back and we’ll be here for him. “Another gentleman came to us midweek. His wife had just passed away. He needed a lot of counseling and several from the church stood by him to help him through the viewings Page 22

and funeral.” South Columbia Baptist Church partners with Laurel Winter Shelter (Formerly Winterhaven), sponsored by LARS (Laurel Advocacy and Referral Service). Site Coordinator Lis Doane is very clear in her personal calling to oversee this ministry at the church. “I don’t look at this as a shelter, but as a ministry. We are trying to touch people with the love of Christ,” Doane says. “What motivates me is my relation-

ship with Jesus Christ. “These men are on the streets and they don’t get a lot of love. We always hold our week during Valentine’s Day. We throw a big Valentine’s party and give them cookies. This year, we’re having someone make chocolates and they always get Valentine’s cards.” Church members write notes and put them in their guests’ bag lunches. One man told Doane he saved every single note. The church provides homemade quilts, offer free haircuts; the children’s choir sings and the youth perform drama. “We do everything we can think of to show them love,” Doane said. A vital part of the ministry is simply sharing time with the men. A lot of times these guys don’t have anyone to listen to them,” Doane said. Doane said when the church began participating in the ministry, some had doubts and hesitations. Now, it is one of the two primary ministries that brings the church together as a body. Hokessin Baptist Church participates in “Family Promise,” a

non-profit organization that helps low income families achieve lasting independence. The church hosts homeless families for three to four separate weeks in a year-round program. Church members prepare Sunday school rooms to be makeshift bedrooms for several families, furnishing the rooms with inflatable mattresses, lamps and other amenities. “We pick them up at 6 p.m., bring them to the church and provide a hot meal for them. Typically, volunteers will hang out with them, talk, watch television and pack lunches for the next day. A volunteer from the church stays overnight during the week,” explained Keith Riley, who serves as the congregational coordinator, along with his wife, Brenda. The families go to a center during the day where they have access to a kitchen, showers and laundry facilities. Riley said the families are in transition. “Typically, they have not been on the street for a long time. Most are blue collar workers. Some have college educations. They were living paycheck to paycheck and due to downsizing, medical expenses or a reduced shift, they couldn’t handle the cost of rent anymore. “This is a great opportunity to share the love of Christ, to share with the poor in a real way.” Riley said funding is important, but the handson ministry is a tremendous blessing to the families and to the church. “This has opened people’s eyes to the reality of how a lot of the world lives. It’s easy to go through the days, weeks, even years, without being aware of how privileged we are.” Riley said some church members have had opportunities to share what God has done in their own lives, how He is the source of their stability and strength.

December 2013


CLASSIFIEDS ASSOCIATE PASTOR, HISPANIC MINISTRIES— First Baptist Church of Laurel, Maryland is seeking an experienced pastor to lead the (150+) multi-national, Spanish speaking members of our congregation. Candidates must be bi-lingual in Spanish and English with Spanish as their first language, with a minimum of five years experience in leading an Hispanic congregation. A seminary degree is preferred. This is a full-time position. Interested candidates should submit resumes (including references) to our email address : office@ fbclaurel.com or to Ms. Sharon Carkhuff, Church Administrator, First Baptist Church of Laurel, 15000 First Baptist Lane, Laurel, MD 20707. CONTEMPORARY WORSHIP LEADER—Westminster Baptist Church is looking for a part-time contemporary worship leader. For further information, call (410) 848-6330. Email resumes to wbaptist@comcast.net. FREE PEWS—Cobb Island Baptist Church in Southern Maryland has seven free 10 ft. pews to share. Please call (301) 259-4106 if you are interested. INTERIM OR FULL-TIME BIVOCATIONAL PASTOR— Eastport Baptist Church, 208 Chesapeake Avenue, Annapolis, MD, is looking for an interim pastor or a full-time bi-vocational pastor. For more information, please call (410) 707-2392 or send an email to dbluze_7777@verizon.net. MUSIC WORSHIP LEADER— We are looking for a musician to lead our traditional Sunday morning service and special services throughout the year. Must be able to play piano and lead with love and joy for the Lord with both traditional and blended music. Electric keyboard is a plus. We hope to start an evening praise service in the future. Please send your resume to: The First Baptist Church, 300 State Street, Stevensville, MD 21666 or e-mail to fbcki@verizon.net. OFFICE MANAGER— CrossRoads Community Church, located at 2830-D Churchville Road in Churchville, MD 21028, seeks a part-time office manager to support the church’s ministries and support the senior pastor and staff as an administrative assistant. Send resume and introductory letter to Bob Bullis at rvbullis@gmail.com. PART-TIME BIVOCATIONAL PASTOR—Calverton Baptist Church is looking for a part-time bi-vocational pastor. For consideration, please send your resume to 12625 Galway Dr., Silver Spring, MD 20904 or psc@ calvertonbaptistchurch.com. December 2013

December 2013 - February 2014 BCM/D Events (www.bcmd.org/calendar or 800-466-5290 + ext. below)

DECEMBER ___________________ 1-8 Week of Prayer for International Missions (x218) 6-7 Elevate! Church Planters’ Conference, BMRC (x222) 6-8 reBOOT@Skycroft Conference Center for Grades 6-12 (800-536-6759) 23-Jan1 BMRC closed for Christmas JANUARY ___________________ 2 BMRC reopens 3-5 reBOOT@Skycroft Conference Center for Grades 6-12 (800-536-6759) 10 Tax and Legal Issues for Church Planters, BMRC, 1-4pm (x222) 10-12 reBOOT@Skycroft Conference Center for Grades 6-12 (800-536-6759) 14 Weekday Education Directors Network, BMRC, 10am-2pm (x218) 17-18 Worship Leader Boot Camp/Summit, Skycroft, (443-506-7096) 19 Sanctity of Life Sunday 20 BMRC Closed - Martin Luther King Day 23-24 Soul of the Servant Retreat, Skycroft (x217) 28 Ministers Tax Seminar, BMRC, 9am-1pm (x207) FEBRUARY ___________________ 1 Kids’ Ministry Conference, The Church at Covenant Park, 9:30am-2:30pm (x218) 4 BCM/D Tour for Language Pastors, BMRC, 5:30-8pm (x222) 9 Racial Reconciliation Sunday 11-17 Focus on WMU (x218) 22 VBS Expo/Celebration, The Church at Severn Run, 9:30am-2pm (x218) 23 The Baptist Foundation of Maryland/Delaware Sunday

PASTOR—Georgia Avenue Baptist Church, 12525 Georgia Avenue, Silver Spring, MD 20906 is requesting resumes for permanent pastor. Successful candidate must be a graduate of a Southern Baptist theological seminary. Please send resume and references to Pastor Search Committee, address as above. PART-TIME WORSHIP LEADER—North Point Baptist Church is looking for a part-time (15 hours) worship leader who can effectively lead a blended worship service. North Point Baptist Church, 4201 North Point Blvd, Dundalk, MD 21222, (443) 570-1211. MAIL, E-MAIL OR FAX AD: Deadlines are the first day of each month for the following month’s issue. Classified advertising is 75 cents per word ($18.00 minimum) for BCM/D

churches and church members; 85 cents per word ($20.00 minimum) for non-profit organizations; and 95 cents per word ($25.00 minimum) for commercial organizations. Word count does not include words with two letters or less. Contact us (iwhite@bcmd. org) for display ad pricing. Acceptance of advertising does not constitute an endorsement of any advertiser’s products or services.

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BaptistLIFE December 2013