Page 1

J U LY/A U G U S T 2 0 1 9

DON’T MISS THE BLESSING Why Sunday School Matters

More than we Could IMAGINE An All-Abilities Playground Cultivates Community

VOLUME 60 | NO. 4

AN UNLIKELY FRIENDSHIP Faith Shared through Prison Walls

Fr om the Pa s t or What does it mean to be a church member? It sounds like a simple question, and yet the subject has been a source of confusion for many people. If you have come to Bonsack from a different denominational background, or if you are new to church altogether, then the concept of membership may be unfamiliar to you. Others may assume you are automatically a member if you attend regularly or if you participate in a Sunday School class, but this isn’t the case. Membership involves an intentional step on your part. It is important to first understand that personal salvation and church membership are not the same thing, though they are connected. Personal salvation comes the moment you place your trust in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. That can happen anywhere, anytime, even if there is not a church building anywhere in sight. Membership in the local church follows as the outworking of that experience. Once we are saved, God calls us to connect with His church, which the New Testament describes as the body of Christ. In other words, church membership is the proper response to the experience of salvation.

membership status. No documentation required! However, I pray there will come a point at which you decide to personally embrace the mission and ministries of Bonsack Baptist Church as your own. This is the point at which you move from being a casual participant to being an invested member. Spiritually speaking, becoming a member is an act of commitment by which you declare your desire to live out your salvation in fellowship with other believers. Practically speaking, becoming a member qualifies you for certain roles of service only members can fill, such as teaching a Sunday School class or serving as a deacon. It also grants you voting rights in matters of decision that require action from the church body, such as calling ministerial staff or approving the annual budget.

testing things out for a while. Whatever the case, you are free to worship, study, and fellowship regardless of your

According to our church bylaws, there are three pathways you can follow to become a member. The first is to undergo believers’ baptism by immersion following an experience of personal salvation. This is the pathway most relevant for those who are coming to faith for the very first time. The second pathway is to request a transfer of membership from another church that also practices believers’ baptism by immersion. This pathway is relevant when you are simply moving your membership from one church to another. The third is a personal statement of having previously experienced baptism by immersion


J u l y / August 2019

It is also important to understand you can participate in the life of the church without officially becoming a member. Perhaps, for example, you are new to the idea of following Jesus and you are


when no letter of membership is available. This final pathway applies in cases where it isn’t possible to identify the church from which your membership is coming. Perhaps your home church didn’t keep records, or perhaps you’ve changed churches several times and don’t know where your membership currently resides. In this case you are simply giving your word regarding your prior experience. The one common theme in all these is believers’ baptism by immersion. Some churches practice infant baptism, but our tradition as Baptists is to delay baptism until an individual is able to make a personal choice to follow Jesus. We then conduct baptism by full immersion, which symbolizes being buried with Christ and being raised to live in newness of life with Him. If you are coming from a church that does not practice baptism in this way, we celebrate your prior Christian experience and thank God for the church that first introduced you to and nurtured you in the faith. However, we ask that to fully identify with our history and tradition as a member, you CONTINUED ON PAGE 3

reaffirm that faith through baptism by immersion. Regardless of which path is most relevant to your story, the simplest way to initiate the membership process is to present yourself at the close of a worship service during the final song. This is true regardless of whether you are worshipping in the CLC or the Sanctuary. The minister who is closing the service will acknowledge your decision before the congregation and then will work with you afterward to establish which step needs to be taken next, whether that be to set a date for baptism or to identify the church from which your membership is being transferred.

I know it can sound a bit complicated, but membership matters. It is a way of declaring to the world that you are a follower of Jesus, and it is a way of committing yourself to other believers who share your faith. If you haven’t joined, I hope you will prayerfully consider embracing the mission of this church as your own! Grace and Peace,

Bonsack Baptist Church 4845 Cloverdale Rd. Roanoke, VA 24019 P: (540) 977-5701 W: T: @bonsackbaptist FB: IG: Cover photo: The Addy Grace All-Abilities Playground at the Botetourt YMCA


LOOK I NG A HE A D july 3 4 7 7-11 8-12 12 14 15-20 21 28

a u g u st No Choir Rehearsal or Power Hour 1.5 Independance Day | Church Office & CLC Closed Deacon’s Meeting, 3:30 p.m. No Evening Worship Youth VBS, 6-9 p.m. Children’s VBS, 9 a.m. - 12 p.m. VBS Family Night, 6 p.m. No Evening Worship Youth to Centrifuge Camp No Evening Worship No Evening Worship

4 7 8-9 24 26-27 28

Deacon’s Meeting, 3:30 p.m. Church-wide Fellowship following Evening Worship No Adult Choir Rehearsal Global Leadership Summit, City Market Building Youth Golf Tournament, Ole Monterey Golf Club Staff Fall Planning Retreat Wednesday Night Dinner & Activities Resume


J uly / August 2019




A ll- A b ilitie s P la yg ro un d

The Garners accept a check from members of Bonsack Women’s Ministry at the 2019 Barn Dance.

Bonsack members James and Jennifer Garner didn’t set out to bring an allabilities playground to Botetourt County, but a family trip to the beach almost 4 years ago changed all that. Having founded the Addy Grace Foundation after their daughter, Addy Grace, was diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy in 2009, the Garners were already advocating for families impacted by the diagnosis. But when the family went on vacation in 2015, they found a refined vision for the Addy Grace Foundation. James explains, “We took Addy to Virginia Beach because Jennifer wanted [Addy] to get her feet in the sand. We noticed once we got her down to the beach that she kept looking back. We didn’t realize what she was looking back at- it was an all-abilities playground. She wanted to go play on that more than be at the beach.”

After spending more time on the playground, with a wheelchairaccessible play surface and wide pathways for navigating, the Garners knew they wanted to bring that experience home. As the Garners talked, researched, and prayed, they learned that funding the project would cost approximately $750,000. The project was larger than anything their foundation had previously organized, but ultimately they knew they had to press ahead. Jennifer says, “I told James from the very beginning, ‘We have nothing to worry about, God’s got this.’ I never worried that the financial piece wouldn’t come together, because I knew that when people heard and understood the story, they would believe [in this project] and see why it was important.”


J u l y / August 2019


Promoting the playground’s inclusivity was important to the Garners. “It’s an all-abilities playground, because we wanted people to realize this is for typically-developing children just as much as it is for special needs children or adults. We wanted a place where both could come and play together. Not just the brothers playing with Addy sitting there watching,” Jennifer explains. After being gifted land for the playground’s location from the Botetourt YMCA, the Garners began fundraising. Meanwhile, the women’s ministry at Bonsack was praying for opportunities to sponsor family events and impact the community. Kim King, one of Bonsack Women’s Ministry coordinators, describes how the connection was made: “Debbie


Cu l t i vates Commu n i t y

Jennifer & James Garner with their children (Bryson, Colson & Addy Grace) at the Addy Grace All-Abilities Playground

McAllister was part of the team and she told us that her family had been doing a Barn Dance at Camp Bethel for years. She suggested we move the dance to the new Community Life Center (CLC), and use it as a fundraiser to help in our community. It was then that we decided we would like to do a fundraiser for the Addy Grace Foundation All-Abilities Playground.” Bonsack Women’s Ministry hosted the Barn Dance in the CLC, raising $4,400 in its first year. Kim remarks, “We never dreamed we’d raise $4,000. The second year, we really turned the dance over to God and that changed everything. We began praying daily for the dance 40 days out with a devotional each day by Mark Batterson. Our prayer was based on Eph 3:20, ‘God can do anything, you know-far more than you could ever

imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams. (MSG)’ God not only showed up each year after that but He showed off!” The 2018 and 2019 Barn Dances raised $24,000 and $24,605, respectively. Thanks to fundraisers like the Barn Dance, a network of supporters through social media and local television, and generous donors that matched gifts to increase momentum, the Addy Grace All-Abilities Playground reached full funding. The Garners estimate that around 80% of the funding came from small donations, one-time gifts, and events that hundreds of people attended. When the Addy Grace Foundation cut the ribbon opening the playground on May 4, 2019, children flooded into a playground that a community had made possible.

J uly / August 2019

A bright butterfly plaque explains the Foundation’s vision, concluding with a dedication: “Addy Grace, thank you for the contagious smile and miles upon miles of courage that you have brought to our world.” The Garners are quick to give credit to the village that supported them, but the vision was realized because they acted on their courage and stepped out in faith. Reflecting on what this journey meant for Bonsack Women’s Ministry, Kim says, “Never try to put God in a box. He wants to give us so much more than we could ever ask or imagine, if we only let Him lead the way.”




BILL COCHRAN When I graduated from college, the pastor of the church I grew up in came by my house and said, “Bill, the church has nurtured you many years, now it is pay-back time. I want you to teach a Sunday School class.” This occurred more than 60 years ago. I have been teaching ever since. That’s how important I think it is, and the bigger the church, the more important it becomes. The best way to make friends in a large church is to join a Sunday School class. We have more than 100 on roll in the Seeker’s Class, where I teach. The experts say that is way too many; 20 is better. Maybe so, but I think we do a good job of making a big class work. We do that by praying for one another and loving one another, along with a few other things, like assigning each person to one of our 14 small-care groups, and teaching through discussions rather than lectures. We also are strong on socials and missions and we are heavily involved in recruiting new members. We believe if a Sunday School class isn’t growing, it is sick. If I get a big head over size, I think back on that year when I had a class with just one member. I believe people come to Sunday School looking for friends and friendliness, and not so much brilliant teaching. Maybe they don’t even realize it, but they are searching for people who will laugh and cry with them, who will hug them, and who will be faithful to pray for them. If you think Sunday School is just for kids or is a dinosaur headed for extinction, like some churches do, I’m sorry. You are missing a blessing. BILL COCHRAN has taught the Seeker’s Sunday School class since it was organized 15 years ago, receiving a great deal of help from his wife, Katherine, and class members.



J u l y / August 2019

W EDNES DAY N IGH TS AT BON SAC K Bonsack’s Wednesday night dinner and activities resume on August 28; read on for ways you and your family can pursue God in the midst of your transition into fall.

Dinner for the whole family Wednesday night dinner for the whole family begins August 28 at 4:30 p.m. in the Roanoke Hall for $6/person. Children age 3 and under eat free, $20 cap for families of four, $25 cap for families of five and up. Because of food purchasing reservations are required. Fill out a reservation card at church on Sundays beginning in August, or call our church office: (540) 977-5701.

MUSIC TIME FOR KIDS & MISSIONS Music Time for Kids: Beginning Wednesday, August 28 at 6 p.m. Using songs and musical concepts to help children learn biblical truths and scriptures. Open to children ages three- sixth grade. Mission Kids, GA’s & RA’s: Beginning Wednesday, August 28 at 6:50 p.m. Mission Kids, GA’s or Girls in Action, and RA’s, Royal Ambassadors for boys, offer opportunities for children ages 4- sixth grade to learn about missions through study, activity and service. Register online beginning in August, ( and join us!

opportunities for youth Acteens and Baptist Young Men: Beginning Wednesday, August 28 at 6 p.m. Missions programs and activities for students grades 7-12. Power Hour: Beginning Wednesday, August 28 at 7 p.m. Power Hour is worship and bible study offered to students grades 7-12.

opportunities for adults “Through the Bible” Study: Held each Wednesday at 6 p.m. in the Chapel Join Pastor Chris as we collectively walk through the story of the bible. Coffee House: Begins Wednesday, August 28 from 5:55-7 p.m. in the Gathering Room (A200) Join Jerry & Candace Helm for a video based bible study from speakers such as Andy Stanley. Adult Choir: Held each Wednesday at 7 p.m. Contact: Grant Frederick ( to learn more. FOR A FULL LIST OF ALL UPCOMING DISCIPLESHIP OPPORTUNITIES , VISIT BONSACKBAPTIST.ORG/DISCIPLESHIP

FINISHING WELL: A LIVING STONES CAMPAIGN UPDATE The Living Stones Capital Campaign is preparing us to manage the debt related to the Community Life Center (CLC) building project. The CLC has served the church’s ministries in our community in ways never thought possible. The Stewardship Committee anticipates and has budgeted for approximately $5.5 million in remaining debt after the campaign. This debt is scheduled to be paid over a 20-year period. However, because of your foresight and generosity, Bonsack has always paid off its debt early. Now, we have a unique opportunity to prepay principle, thus reducing our long-term debt, before we “lock” the loan in mid-2020. By way of example, every $100,000 we give jointly as a church before midyear 2020 saves the church $145,000 of interest and principle over the 20 years. That’s a lot of money for ministry to share the gospel in our community and around the world. The time is short before the loan is set. You may have given in excess of your pledge amount or are just now in a position to start giving - either way I ask you to pray and consider what you can do to help secure the wellbeing of BBC as we reach into a lost world needing Christ like never before. Rev. John Recktenwald Minister of Education

J uly / August 2019




S H A R I N G FA I T H T H R O U G H P R I S O N WA L L S CHRIS CADENHEAD Connie Moorman couldn’t understand

typing, because those weren’t my

Jesus Christ and has committed to be a

why Jeremy’s name kept grabbing her attention. He was on trial for charges related to a double murder, and every time she would hear about him in the local news, she felt a sense of burden about him. A few days later a coworker asked Connie to please pray for a friend, whose son was on trial. It turned out that son was Jeremy. She wondered if it was a coincidence, or if God was trying to get her attention. Shortly thereafter she picked up a local paper, and there on the front page was a picture of Jeremy. The photo stopped her in her tracks. Jeremy bore a striking resemblance to her late son, Sean, who had died five years earlier. That’s when she knew she had to do something.

words coming out. But I told him the story of Sean, and how I had seen his name, and I said, What can I do for you?” Within days, Jeremy wrote back, and a friendship quickly began.

Christian witness behind the bars of his prison cell.

At the time, Jeremy was in the local jail while the trial proceeded. Connie had never visited a jail, didn’t know anyone who had ever been in prison, and had no knowledge of how the correctional system worked, but she knew how to write. Connie explains, “I sat down and typed him out a letter, and I didn’t even know what I said. I just started

Jeremy was convicted for his role in the crime and received a 30-year sentence. As he has been moved around within the Virginia prison system, Connie has done more than write him letters. Along with her husband, Steve, she has gone to visit him. She has received phone calls from him. She has offered financial assistance to him. Most importantly, she has shared her faith with him. Jeremy came from a very broken home with no viable Christian witness, but over the years Connie found useful ways to share the gospel with him. She sent him copies of devotional writings she thought would be helpful. She ordered books for him. She even read through the Bible with him, with the two of them writing back and forth to share with each other how far they had read and what they had learned. In time, Jeremy gave his life to


J u l y / August 2019


That witness has had far reaching effects. As other cellmates have come and gone, Jeremy has told them about both Connie and about Jesus. Referring to 1 Corinthians 9:19, Jeremy says, “This is the only acceptable attitude if we as prisoners have any hope of winning others to Christ. Even as a prisoner, I belong to no one but Christ, but have made myself His slave and do His work. Thus, to me, ministry to inmates is no idea, but a way of life.” Because of the connections that have grown out of Jeremy’s witness, Connie now maintains correspondence with at least eight other prisoners who are spread all across the state. One such person is Doc, who is serving a life sentence. Doc now has cancer and is in a medical ward, where he will probably die, but he will not die without the hope of the gospel! You see, for a time, Doc and Jeremy were cellmates. At first he didn’t want to hear anything

about Jeremy’s faith, but over time his heart softened, thanks in part to a book Connie first shared with Jeremy, which he then passed on to Doc. Today, Doc is a believer, and he leads a small group of other prisoners in regular Bible study. Who can say what seeds are being sown through those conversations? The relationships Connie has formed have not always been easy. “These guys live in a completely different culture that we can’t identify with,” she says. “They face pressures and trials I

going to be here for Jeremy for as long as I can,” Connie explains. When this all began, Connie had no idea she would be that intervening presence. She was simply responding to a burden God placed on her heart for a young man society was ready to toss aside. In the 13 years since that first letter was sent, God has done things through Connie and Jeremy’s friendship neither of them could have expected. It all began with a spirit of openness and a single letter from one stranger to another.

what God will do. Just be completely open. I never imagined God would lead me [to minister to prisoners]. I just felt like God was asking me to do something, so I did the only thing I could figure out to do. Do your part, plants seeds, whatever you need to do. God will take it from there.” Jeremy offers a similar insight, saying that we simply have to be ready to be a blessing to other people. He writes, “For me, I truly believe it is God’s will for all His children to be blessed... We should be willing to

DON’T TRY TO W H AT G O D W I L L D O. J U S T B E C O M P L E T E LY don’t know anything about, so one of the biggest obstacles or challenges is communication.” Sometimes it weighs on her. The more Connie has come to know about their world, the greater the burden she has felt for them. She understands they have made bad choices that landed them in prison, but she also realizes many of them came from terribly dysfunctional circumstances where there was no one to guide them or teach them a better way. Without something or someone to intervene, most of them will drift right back into the same old patterns of behavior. “All they’ve known all their life are people who drop them. I’m

do such at all times since it is His will, not just under certain circumstances.”

When asked how others can learn to sense God’s leading in their lives, Connie says, “Don’t try to anticipate

J uly / August 2019

One of the key initiatives in our strategic plan is to go and serve. More specifically, we want to create a culture in which everyone is actively serving someone else. Some of those acts of service will take place through the programs and ministries of our church, but some of the most important ones will happen in the individual lives of believers who simply respond to the needs God places in their path. When we are responsive to the burdens God places upon us, he will often do things we cannot even begin to imagine.



senior adult ministry Out to Dinner at the Homeplace Thursday, July 11, leaving the CLC at 4 p.m. You are sure to have a good meal and some great fellowship. Join us on this adventure. Contact Lisa at 9775701 to sign up by Monday, July 8. World Changers Bonsack will host World Changers the week of July 8-13. Please pray for all the youth from across the south as they come to Roanoke to work on various renovation projects. This is a tremendous project for the Roanoke Valley with many opportunities to be a witness. Fall Kick-Off Our Senior adult ministry fall kick-off for 2019-2020 is scheduled for Thursday, August 29 at 5:30 p.m. in the Roanoke Hall. We will enjoy a delicious meal prepared by Chef Wayne with “special” entertainment. Please call the office to sign up by Wednesday, August 21. Cost will be $10, payable at time of sign-up. This will be a time to share activities with any adult 60 years of age and retired or older. Coming in September: September 19 is our Fall Expo for senior adults. This will be a unique time for seniors. This event will be during the day with lunch served. Details to come. Please Note: All activities will be shared in our Sunday bulletins each week with further information. If you have questions, contact Elmo for clarification or explanation. Elmo McLaurin Minister of Senior Adults



youth ministry Youth VBS Middle and high school students are invited to Youth VBS 2019 from Sunday, July 7 through Thursday, July 11 from 6-9 p.m. This year’s theme is Closer, and students will be exploring how to grow closer to God and to one another. Upcoming Events: Youth travel to Centrifuge Camp: July 15-20 Youth Ministry Golf Tournament: Saturday, August 24 at Ole Monterey Golf Club. Contact Tim Lucas to register a team: (540) 966-3230 Youth Power Hour Time Change: August 28 at 7 p.m. Contact: Rob Covington Minister of Youth

children’s ministry

Education ministry SAVE THE DATE | Fall Sunday School Training: Sunday School teachers and leaders, join us Thursday Evening, August 22, 2019 at 5:30 p.m. in the Roanoke Hall. Dinner will be provided and training begins at 6 p.m. Discipleship Details about current and upcoming discipleship opportunites are available on page 7, and will be shared online at Contact: John Recktenwald Minister of Education

community life Upward Flag Football & Cheerleading Bonsack is excited to host Upward Flag Football and cheerleading for kids in Kindergarten-6th grade this fall. Register now at, and contact Ryan Saunders to learn more.

VBS: Into the Wild | July 8-12 We’re gearing up for amazing encounters with Jesus! VBS online registration is open online until Tuesday, July 2, and you can register children in person on Sunday, July 7 or Monday, July 8. Pray for a safe, fun week for our volunteers and participants!

Community Block Party On Saturday, September 7, we’re hosting an evening of games for kids/families, food trucks, music, and a movie under the stars on the Field of Dreams (Upper Field). Profits will support international and local partners Sodzo International and Baptist Mission Centers.

Volunteers Needed We still have openings to help teach children’s Sunday school classes this fall. Contact Carolyn if you’re interested in getting involved.

Ryan Saunders Minister of Community Life

Contact: Carolyn Krisha Director of Children’s Ministries

J u l y / August 2019

MUSIC ministry Organ Update: If you hear a new, vibrant sound coming from the sanctuary in upcoming months, it might be organist Susan Smith practicing on our new organ. Installation on our church’s Walker Technical Organ is scheduled to begin in July and will be completed in August. The installation will be followed by dedication events on September 29 with guest organist Samuel Metzger. That day, Metzger, a nationally celebrated artist and church musician, will play a hymn festival and solo recital. This nearly 200 rank digital

instrument marks an historic moment for our church, as an organ of this scope is unparalleled in the Roanoke Valley and surrounding region. Most importantly, the organ will be able to be right at home within a variety of musical genres and help us to offer a beautiful musical offering to God in worship. Grant Frederick Minister of Music


Amy Waddell, father – Keith Rudolph Jesse Brown, sister – Judith “Judy” Brown Cuddington Jay Hipes, mother – Barbara “Jeanie” Deisher Hipes Keith Rickoff, father – John Edward Rickoff Harley & Jean Thorne, son – Jay Lee Thorne Suzann Bowman, father – Raymond Lee Puckett, Sr. Janice Whitenack, husband – Douglas “Doug” Banks Whitenack Sallie VanLear, husband – Charles “Charlie” Albert VanLear, III Darrell Hensley, mother – Barbara “Bobbie” Ann Noel Hensley Family of Julia McDaniel

HOMEBOUND & NURSING HOME FRIENDS: Sheila Boatwright Cindy English Regina Gross Helen Hungate Bob & Phyllis Mitchell Jim Wheeling



Al & Jan Nichols – Logos Cyrstal Martin – Parents of School-Age Children (Agee) Chandler Martin – 4th Grade Sophia Martin – 2nd Grade Elijha Martin – Daniel’s Lions Donna Paradiso – Logos Scott & TJ Agee - Parents of School-Age Children (Cooley/Payne) Jackson Agee – 4th Grade Reagan Agee – 1st Grade Eli Quirin – Little Lambs Lauren Robertson – Little Lambs Miles Conn – 1st Grade Claire Conn – 1st Grade Audrey Wickham – Little Lambs Gloria McAllister – Peace & Joy Andrew Gilbert – 8th Grade Ben Gilbert – 7th Grade Judy Byrd – God’s Love

Fourty eight new members have joined since the beginning of this church year (10/01/18). These nine since the last newsletter: Bob & De Vandeburg Scott, TJ, Jackson, & Reagan Agee Rob Covington Leo & Angela Burnette


Budget Receipts: $216,955 “Living Stones”: $34,803 May 2019

Budget Receipts: $158,566 “Living Stones”: $35,045 YTD Budget Receipts: $991,710 Detailed Stewardship available weekly in bulletin, or online at media>bulletin.


Ex. Session 82

Total 993


J uly / August 2019



Bonsack Baptist Church 4845 Cloverdale Road Roanoke, VA 24019 A D DR ESS SERVIC E RE QUESTE D MINISTERIAL STAFF: Dr. Chris Cadenhead, Pastor Rev. Rob Covington, Minister of Youth Rev. Grant Frederick, Minister of Music Carolyn Krisha, Director of Children’s Ministries Rev. Elmo McLaurin, Minister of Senior Adults Dr. Robert Moore, III, Pastor Emeritus Rev. John Recktenwald, Minister of Education Rev. Ryan Saunders, Minister of Community Life

don’t miss the blessing W H Y S U N D A Y S C H O O L M AT T E R S

more than we cOULD imagine A N A L L - A B I L I T I E S P L A Y G R O U N D C U LT I V AT E S C O M M U N I T Y

a n u n l i k e ly f r i e n d s h i p FA I T H S H A R E D T H R O U G H P R I S O N W A L LS

Profile for Bonsack Baptist Church

July / August 2019