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The Gathering of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of North Carolina

September/October 2016 • Vol. 21 Issue 5 Bringing Baptists of North Carolina Together for Christ-Centered Ministry

vocation as mission sweet reward, page

6


full-time christian service My wife, Kim, is the most organized person I know. It’s in her DNA to organize her environment. When we have guests in our home and they look at our refrigerator, pantry, or closets, they are amazed at how neat, orderly, and uncluttered everything is. Every space is subdivided into smaller

I think, overall, that’s a good way to live (though to be honest, I do sometimes resist her attempts to organize me!). I don’t think, however, that’s a good way to exercise faith. Too often, we compartmentalize our lives into categories such as family, work, leisure, hobbies, and church. For too many of us, too much of the time, faith is a separate category from the other areas of our lives. No wonder we often fail to be the salt and light that Jesus says we are if we are in him (Matthew 5:13-16). Perhaps no phrase betrays this compartmentalization better than one I heard often in my formative years: full-time Christian service. When I was growing up and the pastor extended an invitation at the conclusion of the worship service, in addition to accepting Jesus as Savoir and Lord and uniting with the church, he often added, “and dedicate your life to full-time Christian service.” What he meant, of course, was to accept God’s call to vocational ministry – as pastor, staff minister, missionary, or chaplain. It was a good thing to extend this call, one we too often neglect in our time. But the unintended consequence of this phrase was to reinforce the misconception that only the clergy follow Jesus full-time. For everyone else, it’s not their whole life, but only a part, perhaps a small part, of their daily life. In the last issue of The Gathering (July/August 2016), I shared several definitions of the word, vocation. The most common in our time is “a particular occupation, business or profession.” If we are asked the question, “What’s your vocation?” most of us respond with the way we earn money. Another, perhaps more ancient definition is “a divine call to God’s service or the Christian life.” When we profess faith in Jesus and promise to follow him, that is our vocation. How can we bring these two understandings of “vocation” together? Most of us spend more time at work than in any other activity, except maybe sleeping. How can we live out our vocation to serve Christ through our occupation? If we are going to faithfully participate in God’s mission to “reconcile the world to himself” (2 Corinthians 5:19), then we better learn to reconcile these two definitions of vocation and practice them daily. What does that look like? While there is no “one size fits all,” and each of us must discern how we will pursue our calling, here are some concrete examples to encourage creative thinking. n

compartments where items are

n

arranged based on category, size, shape, and frequency of use. For Kim, the phrase, “a place for everything, and everything in its place,” has real meaning.

by Larry Hovis, CBFNC Executive Coordinator

n

A doctor not only serves in a free community health clinic every week, but prays for each patient in his care (out loud if they desire), and understands himself to be an agent of God’s healing in the lives of those he serves.  hough she can’t pray out loud in the classroom, a teacher still prays for her students by T name every day and pays special attention to the neediest students – not only with academic struggles but with emotional and family challenges as well. Jesus was a teacher, and she seeks to follow his example. A business owner strives to operate her business as she believes Jesus would operate it, treating both employees and customers as she would want to be treated. Plus, she invests heavily and gives generously to causes she believes help bring God’s kingdom “on earth as it is in heaven.”

When my father was a teenager, he briefly thought he might be called to serve as a pastor, but never pursued that path. He attended several colleges, never graduated, and finally attended trade school to become an auto mechanic. He pursued that trade by becoming a service station dealer. My dad was not the ideal Christian by normal standards. Until he retired, he was sporadic in church attendance. He had a short temper and used coarse language. He struggled with other demons. But in less conventional ways, he (along with my mom) served Jesus through his vocation – as he gave away free service to the needy; as he cared for the community alcoholic time and again; as he invited an employee to live for a season in our home when his wife kicked him out of theirs; as he loaned employees money that they never would be able to pay back. For these reasons and more, my father didn’t make much money and would not be considered a “successful businessman.” I believe, though, when viewed from an eternal perspective, he did faithfully follow that early call to full-time Christian service.

2 • The Gathering – September/October 2016


the laity of the future is here now by Wanda Kidd, CBFNC Collegiate Engagement Coordinator

schools with CBSF

Appalachian State University................ Curtis Privette Duke................................................. Danny Steis ECU.................................................. Taylor Crumley NCSU and Raleigh Area ....................... Lawrence Powers UNC-Asheville and Western Carolina ...... David Stone UNC-Chapel Hill.................................. Molly Brummett Wudel UNC-Greensboro ................................. Adam Horton

historically Baptist schools

Calling out God’s giftedness in young adults is what campus ministers do. They are the people who have the opportunity to meet students at the crossroads of their lives—a point when they are about the make some of the most life-shaping decisions that will impact them for years to come. If the campus ministers do it well, they speak with a prophetic voice that challenges students to seek Christ in all that they do regardless of their career choice. I remember my campus minister, Joe David Fore, telling me how seriously he took that responsibility and how important it was to speak truth and God’s grace into the lives of students who had so many people vying for their attention. It is an amazing and sobering opportunity for those willing to take up this mantel, whether they are career campus ministers or people with a heart to mentor and walk with young adults during this season of life. One of the goals of going to college is for students to be open to new ideas, meet a variety of people, and explore their life’s calling. They are deciding what career path to take and, in some cases, their life partners. There is no better time to have a seasoned Christian mentor help guide and challenge a person with insights into what Scripture says about integrity, generosity, and courage than during this pivotal period. This college season of their life is also the time to help shape young adults as Christian leaders. Whether they partner with a local church or join a student group such as Cooperative Baptist Student Fellowships (CBSF), they need to be invited to develop and practice leading as Christ would have them lead. We can offer places for them to lead in worship, to serve on committees and teams that match their gifts, to join in on mission days or trips and to begin to contribute financially to Kingdom work. They will give in every way if they see value and the possibility of helping to change things for the better. These students are our laity of the here and now as well as the future. If we want them to lead in the future, we must provide them with authentic models of Christian service. Our challenge is to help them participate and shape the church that can impact a hurting and broken world. I beseech you to take up the challenge, because young adults are looking for a place to serve and invest, and what better place than in the ministry of serving Christ? Please encourage your students to check out the CBFNC collegiate ministries (CBSFs) and churches when they go off to college. We have campus ministers and groups at several campuses.

Campbell University ............................ Faithe Beam Chowan University.............................. Mari Wiles Gardner Webb University...................... Mindy Robinson Mars Hill University ............................ Stephanie McLeskey Meredith College................................. Donna Battle Wake Forest University......................... Chris Towles Wingate ........................................... Dane Jordan The Gathering – September/October 2016 • 3


what you offer

by Amy Vaughn

I experienced a strong call to teach during my junior year of college. It is a decision that has given me true joy. Many of you have mentioned that my job as a teacher must be difficult and it is, but no more so than anyone else’s. While it has not always been easy, it has been a place that I could easily carry my faith. I find that there are two areas of Christianity that readily apply to my work: growing where I am planted and Jesus’ all-encompassing grace. As Christians, we are called to love everyone and minister to all. I don’t get to choose who enters my classroom and because I have teenagers, I am privileged to see one of the most amazing, hilarious, and occasionally painful transitions in life. The most beautiful part of my job is the relationships I build with my students. I am able to watch them grow from immature 14-yearolds who are physically and socially awkward kids who scare and annoy those not used to them into 18-year-old men and women who, although they don’t have it all together, are so impressive in their self-confidence and idealism. One of my favorite moments about end-of-semester testing is the totally silent time in the classroom which I use to pray for each of my students as they test. It will be the last time I will see most of them daily. I know them well and can pray for them individually because we have about three hours together that day! I can name each of their strengths and their weaknesses too. It is such a beautiful way to end a semester. I believe that growing where I am planted is the best way to be a Christian in this world. I have been taught by caring teachers and Jesus’ own example that creating a community that values everyone is more important than any curriculum. No matter what clothes you wear, what language you speak, or where your home is, you are precious in His sight and mine. 4 • The Gathering – September/October 2016

This past week, I watched a student struggle in a group of children who didn’t really care for her. At the end of the week, after intentionally grouping the students in several different ways to try to build new relationships, the student now has a small group of friends. God moved among my class and made that happen. For a while, I fought the plan that God had for my life, but once I stopped fighting God opened doors in ways I would never have expected 15 years ago. God has enabled me to work within the framework of the school among faculty willing to stretch and believe that the impossible is possible, helping students channel their concern for others through the Giving Games at Patton. Our school has raised more than $7,500 which has been used in places like Burke United Christian Ministry, Habitat for Humanity, and as far away as Sudan to help build a school and a well. We even built a house working with Habitat for Humanity. This year we are working on better physical and mental health within the community. Our ideas come from a variety of places, but most of them are rooted in Christian faith systems. I love my job. I love my colleagues. I love my students ... even the ones who are sometimes difficult. All of you deal with the same kinds of people in your everyday life: clients who always complain about everything; patients who never do what they are told and always question you; and customers who ruffle your feathers every time they enter your store. God calls us to love them with His grace as he loves us. What you offer to them as a Christian can change the world. I had a student many years ago who was abandoned by his parents when he was 15. He and his brother managed to make it through school. With some help from scholarships, he made it to college and then he became an English teacher. He quit his job this year to become a missionary in Budapest, Hungary. You simply never know what the seeds you sow will return. As we celebrate Labor Day tomorrow, I am thankful for a job I love (most days). But more importantly, I’m thankful for a God who is willing to use my little gifts to make amazing things happen. Grow where you are planted. God will use you and you will be better for it. Amy Vaughn is an English teacher at Patton High School in Burke County. She shared her testimony at her church, First Morganton, last Labor Day weekend.


a new mission

field

by Rick Jordan, CBFNC Church Resources Coordinator

“We were a sponsor,” Shane Nixon, pastor of First Baptist, Mocksville, says. “We would sponsor a meal for the teachers at the school once or twice a year. That was it. But what we realized was, we want to be more than a sponsor. We want to be a partner with our school system.” Shane had heard educators, members of FBC, say that they felt like they were missionaries – but they did not feel that churches recognized them as such. Several of them approached the church staff about having a special service that would be similar to commissioning services that churches often do for short-term mission trip groups. “So, we had our first educational commissioning service on the Sunday just before the school year began. Word got out. Teachers, administrators, support staff, and students turned out. On a typical Sunday, we average 260 in our worship services. On that Sunday we had about 400 people show up.” For the last two years, more than 400 have come to this special annual service. It is their second highest-attended service behind the Christmas love feast service. “We do a legitimate commissioning service and we include everybody – preschools, homeschools, private, and public schools. We put the school’s name on the screen and we hear prayer requests from the principals. We have a litany written by Tiffany Brown Seaford, a church staff member. The superintendent of the school system gives a 7-8 minute ‘state of the schools’ address that highlights his greatest pride of the schools as well as his greatest fears. My sermon has a focus on education. At the end of the service, we pray for the students, teachers, everyone – even the retired school system employees – and then we distribute papers the size of a business card that read, ‘Please join us in continuing to pray for the educators and students of Davie County during the school year.’” The church is now seen as a partner with the school system. “They trust us now. They will call on us for help. We tell them, ‘If you have a need, we want to be the first place you call.’” Sometimes, that help comes in the way of space. The church recently opened a brand new space that includes a large gathering hall with the latest in audio-visual technology as well as small spaces on multi floors with an elevator. “The school system seems to use this as much as the church does. And we like it that way.” The annual athletic banquet is now held at First, Mocksville, as is the baccalaureate service. “For some children and parents, this is the only time they will be in a church all year, so we want to be excellent, hospitable hosts.” “I believe this translates to just about everywhere. It does not take that much more time or money or effort for a church to become a legitimate partner with your local schools,” I felt like 100 people were Shane says. praying for me every day. Although the commissioning service and the ministry of hospitality were the primary thrusts, these have also been catalysts for new growth. In the last 3 years, 17 families of educators have joined the church. In a recent commissioning service, Shane asked the educators and students, “You are going to school, you are going to work tomorrow. What difference does it make that you are now commissioned?” He heard back from several persons including a just-retired teacher who said, “Because of those prayer cards last year, I felt like 100 people were praying for me every day.” And another person said, “Because of the commissioning service, as a school-bus driver, my route became my mission field.” You may find the worship bulletins, prayer cards, and litany on CBFNC website, www.cbfnc.org/resourcelibrary. The Gathering – September/October 2016 • 5


When you own a business, the workplace is just about the only Besides the hand-stirred ice cream, Jack Frost Dairy Bar place you go, “as you go.” Jim and Connie Burgin spend a lot of is unique because of its Missionary Corner. “I was very moved time at the Jack Frost Dairy Bar just off I-40 in Marion, a family- by the missionaries we met on a trip to Senegal. They were so owned business since 1954. dedicated to their calling. I thought, ‘We need to give missions The parable of the talents in Matthew and Luke guides their more attention! How can we do that with our business?’” business philosophy. Jim says, “We feel we have been entrusted Four large panels opposite the ordering windows describe with a valuable asset that can be used to further the Gospel on all missions. On the day I visited, the panels included First Baptist sorts of levels: by encouraging believers; by showing unbelievers Church of Marion’s mission trips to Belize, local ministries to Christianity in word and deed; prisons, food pantries, and crisis by treating employees with ministries. “Many times, people Christian dignity; and by being will comment on the ministries open to opportunities to talk we have highlighted. Some of about our faith to customers and them even make donations after sales people and anyone else reading the panels!” who comes to the business.” Although Jim’s church is Jim is intentional about his very important to him, he says, influence with his staff. “We’ve “The church and my business discovered that we are a firstseem to be on two separate job-place for teenagers. Part islands, each in their own space of my business is being fair praising God and furthering to them, of course. But I hope the Gospel. The two are just they also pay attention to the over the horizon from each way a Christian can operate a other, relatively close to each business. Someday, they may other but unseen. Churches own their own business and I’d could help laity by recognizing like to think we will have some their particular circumstances positive influence on the way as a viable mission field. This they do that.” would entail some outside-theby Rick Jordan, CBFNC Church Resources Jack Frost Dairy Bar had box thinking concerning what a rocky road a few years ago. a mission field is and how the “We were struggling. That’s church can get involved in it.” when we determined that we Because the business sells would give the business over to only ice cream, the Dairy Bar God. This is His business now. is closed for the winter months. Things have gotten a lot better As I stood in line to place my since then. We pray with our order, a fellow customer told workers every day before we me, “Jim’s a really good guy open and we pray every day as ... except he’s a pusher. Those we finish our clean up. We’re so peanut butter milkshakes are busy our noon prayer is often addictive. So, he gets you ‘give us the strength we’re hooked on them, then he closes going to need!’ And our closing down for the winter. You got to prayer is ‘thanks for all the go without for four months. It customers’ and a prayer that we really ain’t fair.” had a good influence on them in On a hot July afternoon, the way we treated them.” Jim couldn’t talk long with me. “Business is all about Every hand was needed inside making decisions, some big the shop. He concluded our and many small, from how customers are treated to how much to conversation, “There is only one problem. I’m 67 years old and charge for our products to whether someone can put a poster on the have been saving for retirement for some time, but the Boss won’t side of the building. All our decisions are made with the Bible as let me retire yet.” Based on the lines at the windows, many people our guide, seeking God to be honored by our decisions.” are hoping the Boss will keep Jim Burgin churning.

sweet reward

6 • The Gathering – September/October 2016


a particular c

b and f

by Paul Burgess, Pastor, Benson Baptist Church, Benson

Type “CBF” into your means, he’d be as likely to say, “We support Brazilian soccer” as he would say, “We support the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship.” That’s not to say no one in the congregation knows what CBF is and why it’s important; we made a very prayerful decision years ago to channel our missions giving through this route. But we’ve had new people come in since then, and some folks have short memories, and CBF is always up to new and exciting things; for all these reasons, we needed a refresher about why those three letters are so important for our church. So we invited Larry Hovis, Executive Coordinator for CBFNC, to come visit with us one Sunday. Not only did he preach in both of our services, but we combined all Sunday School adult classes and he led a lesson titled “CBF 101,” which informed participants on the particulars of CBF in our state and what exactly we’re supporting when we give to the Fellowship. Additionally, elements of worship reflected our day’s theme; testimonies were given about “Why CBF Is Important to Me”; and all prayers and music encouraged us to focus our hearts on our missional call as Christians. Focusing a day on CBF was beneficial for us in many ways. For starters, some folks simply had no idea that the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship even existed, and this helped inform them of its purpose and importance. For other folks, it helped connect some dots; they were able to say, “Oh, that divinity school intern we have benefits directly from our giving because she receives a scholarship from CBFNC!” or “Hey, through CBF, we’re giving to ministries I love, like WMU and NC Baptist Men!” And for others still, the day simply offered space to ask questions and hear from someone within the Fellowship itself about CBF’s identity and vision for the future. After our CBF Sunday was over, several in our church remarked how much they enjoyed and learned from the experience. We absolutely plan to do it again; hopefully, you’ll join us. It’s a whole lot easier than hacking into Google, and there are several individuals within CBFNC—be they staff, field personnel, or just deeply involved volunteers—who would love to help express the identity of the Fellowship to your congregation. Because at the end of the day, although French Bulldogs are adorable and I’m sure the Chicagoland Bicycle Federation does a lot of good work, the vision of CBF is so particularly important for what God is doing today that there’s no reason the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship shouldn’t be a top hit for anyone out there searching.

favorite search engine,

and you’ll discover that those particular letters in that particular order represent a particularly

cbf

popular acronym.

A quick perusal of Google reveals that the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship does not hold a monopoly on its initials. Instead, it must share them with organizations like Capital Bank Financial, the Canadian Bridge Federation, and the Confederação Brasileira de Futebol (or as we might say in this part of the world, “The Brazilian Soccer Team”). Now I grew up playing soccer, and I believe Canadians are as essential to our society as the bridges they build. Nonetheless, I can’t help but be a bit perturbed that when people type the letters C, B, and F into their browsers, our beloved organization is just one result mixed in amongst several, making it appear, on a screen, no more particular than a club for French Bulldog enthusiasts (no offense to the Club du Bouledogue Français). That’s frustrating, because we who love CBF, we who have served with CBF, we who have given our time, deepened our relationships, and seen God through CBF know that our Fellowship is, indeed, particularly important for the Church and world today. Problem is, no one will know of our particular vitality unless we are intentional in recognizing how essential our trio of letters is for Baptists around our state, nation, and globe. So what can we do to increase that awareness? Well, one option would be to hack into Google and eliminate all digital references to organizations that share our acronym. Admittedly, though, this would be unethical, illegal, and thus counter-productive to our mission of modeling Christ for the world. Surely a safer and much easier option, then, would be to host a “CBF Sunday” at your church. We decided to do this recently at Benson Baptist, and it couldn’t have been more helpful. I say that because our church is probably a lot like many of yours—we give to CBF, but if you ask Joe Q. Pewsitter what that

The Gathering – September/October 2016 • 7


vocation as a ministry

by Rick Jordan, CBFNC Church Resources Coordinator

Ministry is a vocation. It is also true that vocation can be ministry as a lay person lives an “as you go” lifestyle. Each of the following lay persons was asked the following questions: n How

do you integrate your faith with what you do in your daily life (work, play, hobby, community volunteerism, etc.)

n How has your church helped or hindered your “as you go” lifestyle? n What do you imagine a church could do to create more “as you go” witnesses? n What

could CBFNC do to help churches do this?

Anna Rubin is a stay-at-home mom. She is a member of Ardmore, Winston-Salem.

As a stay-at-home mom, I find freedom and purpose in intentionally inviting other moms over to my house or to the park for playdates. I also started inviting people over for dinner a couple of years ago after realizing that showing Christian hospitality is a great way to love people and build genuine relationships. Being vulnerable and transparent with others gives them permission and freedom to do the same. Our church hosted “Ardmore at Home” last year as way to encourage our congregation to invite someone from their neighborhood or workplace over to eat to build intentional relationships with people outside our church. We also recently began a relationship with World Relief to build relationships with newly arriving refugees and help them adjust to life in the U.S. I think the church could equip congregants to naturally integrate faith into everyday conversations in non-threatening, nonproselytizing ways. The church could encourage and help us reach out to our neighbors and coworkers in tangible, practical ways that lead to relationship building. The things we do outside the church that involve building relationships or serving others should count as “church activities.” The church could encourage us with the freedom and permission to know that anytime we engage and spend time with our neighbors or coworkers, we are living on mission, perhaps even more so than when we are in the church building. 8 • The Gathering – September/October 2016

Perhaps CBFNC could offer training to pastors and lay people on the following: how to intentionally be a good neighbor with tangible ideas of what that looks like; how to direct more church activities outside the church into our everyday, regular, Monday-Friday lives; and how to talk naturally about our faith without being afraid of offending other people and, more importantly, without being pushy or trying to impose our views on others. Gary Knight, president and owner, ProBenefits, Inc., is a member of First, Winston-Salem.

Being a witness “as you go” can take many different forms. It means emphasizing and cultivating an atmosphere in the workplace where Christ is welcome and present. We don’t always get it right, but we do see glimpses of it from time to time. It’s when our folks take initiative and make a meal for a homeless shelter. It’s taking the time to give thanks before a business lunch with a colleague. It’s taking the time to care about your coworkers as individuals when they go through joy, grief, illness, and struggles. It’s our annual hunger initiative every December. Supporting communities through giving has always been a cornerstone of our business. For the past several years, we have focused our efforts on fighting hunger in our local community in the Piedmont Triad. Beginning in 2013, we expanded that effort to help fight hunger not only in our local community but also in a number of other communities where our clients are located.

The church models this when we do ministry not as a “project” but within the normal rhythm of church. We are doing this at church through an expanded relationship with a local school and neighborhood which began as a backpack program. A church could be more intentional about sharing stories with others. It’s difficult to articulate without sounding boastful, but we cannot neglect that for many, a huge way we learn is by modeling others. In my business, Wes Morgan was a model and mentor for me. We can hope and pray that one day the same could be said about us. Kenneth Rust and wife, Lisa, are franchisees with McDonald’s Corporation. They are members of First, Lumberton.

My faith is something I try not to compartmentalize into only church-related activities. My faith is the lens through which I attempt to view the world. “As you go” means that when I’m in our restaurants, speaking with our staff, I try to get to know them, ask about them and their families, and try to be an encourager. Our business philosophy is taken from 2 Corinthians 9:11 – You have been blessed so that through your generosity, others will give thanksgiving to God. Lisa and I have chosen to offer employee benefits and opportunities that aren’t traditional for our industry. This is one way of caring for our employees. These benefits include starting wages above the local average, a 401(k) retirement plan with company match offered to all employees, company funded scholarships to the local university, and providing a corporate chaplain on our staff. Being part of the community is also part of our generosity. Volunteering on local non-profit boards, working with the Boy Scouts as well as being active leaders in our local church all play a part. If the church has hindered me, it has been how very easy it is for the busyness of the church and the


business of church to crowd out time that might have been spent in service elsewhere. As many are called into their chosen profession, the church could acknowledge and affirm that calling. This process of “setting aside” the layperson who has been “called” to their chosen profession could be intentionally done and would be a true blessing of God’s calling. Medical professionals, educators, little league coaches, insurance agents, etc., could all be “set aside” for their ability to touch lives during their daily work and play. Tara Beth Warrick is an occupational therapist. and a member of First, Shelby.

One of the main reasons I was drawn to occupational therapy was because it’s a “helping” profession, providing a way to interact with God’s children on a daily basis. Because I work in pediatrics in a rural community, I work with a large population living in poverty and unrest. I have opportunities coming out of my eyeballs to work for Jesus. I can help with patients’ OT needs and hopefully give them a safe space to work out other issues as well. A patient can cry and confide in me about a family issue while I stretch her shoulder. We aren’t just working on the shoulder! I am very involved in raising money for March of Dimes and creating relationships with bereaved parents. I have spent many hours in person, on the phone, and online creating community with people who have experienced profound loss. People who have been there for me during and after tragedy are a large part of why I’m still here. I feel a huge responsibility to contribute to that community. Laity receive very little training and blessing from their churches about how to engage their communities. My strategy comes from contemplation on the Word, watching other people to assess what works (or not), and committing my time to activities outside church where I might actually run into non-Christians (or people who might be different than me).

I felt prepared to work in vision clinics in Nicaragua because of intentional training sponsored by the church. But what about day-to-day? What about something that doesn’t involve a committee or a program? Sometimes I am more motivated to go hang out with a dysfunctional family at my day job than “church people.” Sigh. I’m working on my attitude. Some people see their only ministry opportunities at church. What if churches encouraged members to sign up for volunteer organizations, civic organizations, and community events, and gave them ideas how to share in those non-church arenas? Chris Mitchell is responsible for Outside Sales (eastern NC) for Ewing Irrigation & Landscape Supplies. He is a member of Zebulon, Zebulon.

“As you go” is very strong in my time on the Wakelon Elementary PTA. During the 5 years I served, the PTA/school began reaching out to the churches for help and held events at churches to expose the parents and children to church. ZBC now partners in teacher appreciation events, test proctoring, funding school health rooms, and providing necessity items for the kids. “As you go” is strong in my professional career also. All of my co-workers and customers know how involved I am with ZBC. I use skills that I learned on a church team or committee to solve a problem. Our East Wake Task Force committee discussed how our community can help schools, particularly our high school. It was easy to talk about how churches and the members of those churches could be a huge resource. The church needs to be open to this “as you go” culture. Is it involved in the community around it? Is it contributing to the betterment of its members by being involved in various projects with them? Is it willing to open up the decision-making processes of the church to more people? Ministers can learn from laity about ministry outside the church. Young ministers could learn from church members who are business leaders, trained to

influence people. Seminaries and divinity schools could create internships with churches that will expose young ministers to multiple levels of leadership and thought processes to be used in their careers.   Erin Buskey teaches third grade at Tommy’s Road Elementary School in Goldsboro. She is a member of First, Goldsboro.

I am a very open, talkative person, so it is only natural for me to share parts of my life. When God or church comes up in a classroom conversation, it is usually the children who bring it up. Sometimes it is an attempt to distract us from getting to the math lesson, but other times, it is sincere. I weave lessons about people’s faith in my lessons, particularly if there is a religious holiday or if a question is raised in class. I will not lead in a public prayer with my students, but last year when a little girl asked if we could all join hands and pray before End of Grade tests, I could say, “No, we won’t do that, but you know I have been praying for you already.” I get a lot of strength from members of my church on, say, a Wednesday night meal when retired teachers ask me, “How was your day?” or say things like, “You are doing a great job.” I need this personal, weekly support from those who understand. Sometimes, someone sends me a text out of the blue to say they are praying for me. That means the world to me. When my husband was stationed in England, the church we attended led in prayer walks around five different schools. We simply walked around the property of the school and stopped to say prayers as we felt led. It had a real impact on me. I suggest churches “adopt” new teachers in their first year. Send them an encouraging note that lets them know you are praying for them. Respond if they tell you, “I need 20 glue sticks.” CBFNC could create a network of persons who are Christian and in the same vocation – I would like to try something like that. The Gathering – September/October 2016 • 9


Visit our website,

CBFNC Financial Report:

June 2016 Contributions Undesignated - $90,580 Designated - $195,763 July 2016 Contributions Undesignated - $115,532 Designated - $185,954 April 2016 - March 2017 Monthly Undesignated Goal: $114,432

www.cbfnc.org to find a listing of our staff and leadership

CBFNC Honorary and Memorial Gifts Julie Pittman, Dade City, FL; In honor of Gail and Holland Coulter

Donate to CBFNC today! www.cbfnc.org/give

Choose a particular ministry, our Mission & Ministry Offering, or undesignated.

Take a look at CBFNC’s blog,

Ministers on the Move Our encouragement and support go to the following ministers who have recently moved: Scott Hammett to Clemmons First Baptist Church, Clemmons, as Pastor Chris Wilson to First Baptist Church, Wilson, as Minister of Youth

Thoughts from across our state ... cbfnc.wordpress.com.

Would you like to contribute? E-mail smitchell@cbfnc.org.

Coordinator Visits June 2016 - July 2016 First, Asheville

Josh Godwin to Knollwood Baptist Church, Winston-Salem, as Minister of Youth and Recreation

First, Bryson City

Richard Stevens to First Baptist Church, Stoneville, as Pastor

First, Graham

First, Forest City

Justin Cox to First Baptist Church, Statesville, as Minister to Students

First, Kannapolis

Paul Batson to First Baptist Church, Elizabeth City, as Pastor

Hillsong, Chapel Hill

First, Wilson Hope Valley, Durham

Caleb Foust to Emerywood Baptist Church, High Point, as Minister of Students and Missions

Iglesia Bautista Roca Fuerte, Raleigh

Sean Gallagher to First Baptist Church, Fairmont, as Pastor

Mars Hill, Mars Hill

Jersey, Lexington

Charles Allard to Crabtree Valley Baptist Church, Raleigh, as Pastor

Northwest, Winston-Salem

Jeff Allred to Rolesville Baptist Church, Rolesville, as Minister of Music and Outreach

The Memorial, Greenville

When you make a move or know of someone who has changed places of ministry, let us know by e-mailing us at cbfnc@cbfnc.org. For assistance to search committees and ministers seeking vocational discernment, visit our reference and referral page on our website at www.cbfnc.org or call (336) 759-3456 or (888) 822-1944.

10 • The Gathering – September/October 2016

Providence, Hendersonville Together in Christ International, Charlotte White Oak, Clayton Winter Park, Wilmington CBFNC ministry coordinators are available to visit your church to speak, preach, teach, consult, lead and minister in ways appropriate to your context. Contact the CBFNC office for more information.


the extraordinary

by Kheresa Harmon, Gardner-Webb University

During my last week as a volunteer patient feeder at UNC Hospitals, I checked in at the nurses’ station, and my eyes zeroed in on one name, Mr. Langley. Mr. Langley was a new patient to me, and I noticed that his liquid diet had not been offered to him that morning. I found Mr. Langley clad solely in Depends and reclining in his bed. The odor and the barrenness of the room slapped me in the face. There were no greeting cards, no flowers, no balloons. The chairs were untouched by family or friends. I may have been only 21 years old, but I knew what death looked and smelled like. Mr. Langley was dying, alone. I greeted him as cheerfully as I could and offered a joke about my name. I was invisible to him. I slowly inserted a straw into the Ensure and leaned into Mr. Langley. He finally spoke, “I don’t want that. Leave.” I left, but Mr. Langley remained with me. That night, I could not sleep. I cried and prayed for a man I did not know, for a man whose life had transformed mine. Two days later I returned to the floor and was informed that Mr. Langley had died, alone. Mr. Langley was gone, yet his presence remained with me. Twenty-one years later, it still does. The extraordinary often breaks into the ordinary to transform us. That final week as a volunteer patient feeder was one of those extraordinary moments for me. Two things happened. First, I saw the body of Christ in a very different way; I saw Jesus in the dying, diapered body of a lonely, bitter man. I left that suffocating, sterile, stench-filled room with a new image of the body of Christ and a new understanding of the suffering Christ. I also accepted a call to ministry that I had been running from for years. My early years of baptizing my cat and dressing up as a preacher flashed before my eyes. The words of Marjorie, another volunteer, “Why in the world are you not volunteering in the chaplain’s office?” echoed in my head. I entered divinity school assuming that I would serve in children’s ministry or perhaps go on to earn a Ph.D. and teach. God had other plans, and I soon found myself serving in admissions at Campbell University Divinity School. Listening to the stories of God’s call upon the lives of God’s children and walking alongside persons who have been called by God to vocational Christian ministry is an invitation to stand on holy ground. I found my ministry place in the strangely exciting world of enrollment management in theological education. Being with Mr. Langley taught me, and continues to teach me, how to do that. So, here I am: a person who now serves in ministry as a director of admissions for the divinity school at Gardner-Webb. I have the privilege of hearing the call stories of college students, chemists, teachers, retired physicians, and bankers. I have the privilege of walking alongside seasoned ministers who know that the time is right for them to begin (or resume) a degree for which they longed a ministry lifetime. The time I share with these women and men is fragile, vulnerable, and sacred. Life happens to these ministers. Ministry happens to them. My phone rings. There is a knock on my door. The texts come in. The e-mails trickle in – 24 hours a day.

I can’t manage the commute, the classes, church, and family. Should I just quit? I noticed one of your students is taking showers at the Wellness Center, Kheresa. He’s not in one of our dorms. Is he homeless? I have cancer. I have to withdraw. I have a three-hour commute one way. Please help me find a place to spend one night each week this semester. Please! Kara is dead. How do I live without my little girl? Denied? God called me! How can you deny admission to me? The deacons met. I lost my pastorate. I don’t know what to do. Didn’t God call me to this? My wife left me after church on Sunday. She took the kids with her. What do I do?

Moments like these happen. I remember Mr. Langley, and I remember that which I am called to do. I am called to be the presence of Christ to the ministers who pour out their lives for and to the body of Christ. I am called to see Nell, Kim, Tony, Pedro, and Lee as persons created by God, as persons in the image of God, and as persons who reflect God’s presence in the world. God called me, and all of us, to be the presence of Christ in the world. God called me, and all of us, to remember that every single human being is a reflection of the Divine in this world. God called me, and all of us, to make those safe, sacred spaces where all of God’s children, from diapered adults to ministers, can come to the table and be welcomed as family. The Gathering – September/October 2016 • 11


Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of North Carolina Bringing Baptists of North Carolina Together for Christ-Centered Ministry 8025 North Point Blvd., Suite 205 Winston-Salem, NC 27106

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Upcoming Events SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER EDITION

Creating a Spirit-Led Deacon Ministry September 10, 2016 Mountain Grove, Hickory As You Go laity conference September 18, 2016 - Mount Carmel, Chapel Hill October 9, 2016 - First, Henderson October 16, 2016 - Hominy, Candler November 13, 2016 - First, Mocksville WNC Baptist Ministers’ Meeting September 19, 2016 Lutheridge Conference Center, Arden 2016 Elevating Preaching October 3, 2016 Campbell Divinity School, Buies Creek Fall Youth Beach Retreat October 7-9, 2016 Caswell CBFNC Coach Reunion October 24-25, 2016 CBFNC offices, Winston-Salem

Children’s Mission Days November 5, 2016 - First, Winston-Salem November 12, 2016 - First, Boone November 12, 2016 - Zebulon, Zebulon November 19, 2016 - Oakmont, Greenville Congregational Coaching November 14-15, 2016 Christmount Conference Center, Black Mountain Youth Ski Retreat January 20-22, 2017 Winterplace, WV Youth Choir Festival March 3-4, 2017 Knollwood, Winston-Salem Children’s Choir Festival March 11, 2017 First, Southern Pines Foundations of Christian Coaching (501) March 13-14, 2017 CBFNC offices, Winston-Salem 2017 CBFNC Gathering and Laugh in Peace with Susan Sparks March 30-April 1 First, Hickory

CBFNC September/October 2016  
CBFNC September/October 2016