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fellowship! Newsletter of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship Vol. 10, No. 5

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CBF Coordinator Daniel Vestal Editor David Wilkinson

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Managing Editor Phyllis Thompson

More Than BandAids for QuangXi

Assistant Editor Rachel Gill

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Turning Spring Break into a Missions Project

Demonstrating God’s Love in China

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Bisu Find God From ‘Heart Language’

Brian Wren Teaches Worship Through Music

CBF Mission To network, empower, and mobilize Baptist Christians and churches for effective missions and ministry in the name of Christ.

Happy Anniversary, Associated Baptist Press

Phone 770.220.1600 Fax 770.220.1685 ●

E-Mail fellowship@cbfnet.org Web Site www.cbfonline.org ●

fe l l ow s h i p ! is published 10 times a year by The Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, Inc., 3001 Mercer University Dr. Atlanta, GA 30341-4115. Periodicals postage paid at Atlanta, GA, and additional mailing offices. USPS #015-625

is celebrating its 10th anniversary, and the

independent news agency has never

secular newspapers and 28 Baptist papers rely on ABP for at least some portion of their religion news. But a decade ago, when word

looked better. Its staff has grown from

spread that an alternative Baptist news

one to seven, including a new bureau

service was being formed, the reaction

chief in Washington, D.C. It is on firm

of most Baptists was, at best, skeptical.

financial ground,

Since 1947, when

with a solid base

Baptist Press (BP)

of supporters and

began to supply

subscribers.

Southern Baptist

It has a maga-

news, BP was an

zine, Faithworks,

icon, as much

targeted at

a part of Baptist

younger read-

life as Sunday

ers. And 62

School.

POSTMASTER: Send address changes to fellowship! Newsletter, Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, P.O. Box 450329, Atlanta, GA 31145-0329.

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ssociated Baptist Press (ABP)


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Greg Warner Profile:

• ABP executive editor since 1991, devoting approximately two-thirds of his time to FaithWorks and one-third to ABP development. • Born in Oneida, NY; lived in Florida since age 8. Father was a salesman, mother a secretary. • Felt called to religious journalism in high school. • Earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Florida Southern College and master’s degree from Southwestern Seminary. Commuted by motorcycle from Fort Worth, where he worked as news coordinator for the Radio and Television Commission, to Denton, where he earned a master’s degree in journalism at the University of North Texas. • Worked as associate editor of the Florida Baptist Witness (1985–91) before coming to ABP. • Has twice won the prestigious Frank Burkhalter award for excellence in religious journalism. • Married high school sweetheart, Cheryl, a speech pathologist, in 1976. They have two children: son, Dane, 16, and daughter, Shawn, 13. • Hobbies include racquetball, golfing, snow skiing and carpentry (friends call him “two-thumb Greg”). ■

On the Cover —

the option of a free press, unattached to any one organization. At first, the group of supporters was large — consisting of nearly every state paper. But by July 17, 1990, when ABP was actually formed and the time came to act on the proposal, only 12 papers — Maryland/Delaware, South Carolina, Louisiana, Alaska, Mississippi, Virginia, Kentucky, Missouri, New York, Florida, Texas and North Carolina — actually followed through. Nevertheless, ABP pressed forward. Floyd Craig, a Nashville marketing and communications specialist, helped with raising funds and organizing the fledgling news service. Martin, who had moved to North Carolina, was editor.

A S S O C I AT E D B A P T I S T P R E S S S TA F F: (clockwise from front center) Charles Qualls, development director, Phillip Poole, executive director, Greg Warner, executive editor, Franceen Cornelius, development and financial associate, Kenny Byrd,Washington bureau chief, Lindsay Bergstrom, art director, and Bob Allen, editor, news service.

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The fact that Associated Baptist Press was formed during a time of turmoil did not help public opinion. The Executive Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention had fired Baptist Press editors Al Shackleford and Dan Martin, in a very public and controversial way, accusing them of biased reporting. The words “moderate,” “conservative,” “fundamentalist” and “liberal” were flung at individuals and groups. Wounds ran deep, and many saw the decision to form an alternative news service the day of the firing as reactionary. But that move had actually been in the making for years, batted around at meetings of Baptist state paper editors, most of whom vowed support of all kinds to the proposed news service. Editors said the move would give Baptists

CBF Funding History Year

ABP Total Revenue

CBF Contribution

% of ABP Revenue

1992–93

$211,651

$79,569

37.6%

1993–94

$239,631

$115,080

48.0%

1994–95

$249,364

$128,075

51.4%

1995–96

$267,323

$120,036

44.9%

1996–97

$294,029

$144,000

48.9%

1997–98

$469,976

$144,000

30.6%

1998–99

$487,195

$137,412

28.2%

1999–2000*

$543,161

$138,866

25.6%

*projected totals, does not include gifts from churches and individuals.

— ABP Mission Statement

C B F ’ S P E R C E N TA G E of giving to ABP has changed intentionally over the years because neither the Fellowship nor ABP wanted the news agency to be tied exclusively to one entity.

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“To serve Christ by providing credible and compelling information about matters of faith.”

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As CBF Has Grown, So Has ABP ABP was officially launched in September 1990, its first story a big piece on the 50th anniversary of the Baptist Joint Committee. After that, stories were faxed, usually on Thursdays, to state Baptist papers and some secular newspapers. In February 1991, ABP hired Greg Warner as executive editor. (Martin is now a news writer for the Baptist General Convention of Texas and Shackleford is editor of Mature Living, a Lifeway publication.) Warner is surprised that some would see his decision to become a one-person news agency, with shaky financial backing, as risky: “I thought I was being hired for the best job in the Southern Baptist Convention. It was a wonderful opportunity.” News editor Bob Allen, hired 18 months later, agrees: “I was honored. Jobs like this just don’t come along every day.” Today, ABP is a bi-weekly electronic news service. Last year, it published 579 stories. Still, there have been tough times. When Associated Baptist Press began, organizers thought the news service would be supported totally by subscribers — primarily state Baptist papers. It soon became apparent that would not be the case. Many state papers were hampered from contributing because constituencies and boards thought it would be disloyal to Baptist Press, official news source of the Southern Baptist Convention. Others simply did not have the funds. Today, ABP receives financial support from churches, individuals and organizations as well as user subscriptions. State Baptist papers pay $1,800 a year for the service and permission to reprint ABP articles. Individuals pay $100, and institutions $600 annually to receive ABP via e-mail. J u n e

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Individual and institution rates are lower because they include only limited reproduction rights. Until CBF was formed and began to contribute half of ABP’s budget, Warner had to wear two hats: fundraiser and journalist. After Allen was hired, he turned over the news side of ABP to him and continued his fundraising role. With last fall’s addition of Charles Qualls as development director, Warner has more time to devote to his first love — journalism. Now he spends at least two-thirds of his time on Faithworks, a magazine formed two years ago for young adult Christians. Allen still manages the news, and Kenny Byrd just became Washington Bureau chief, assuming a role held 40 years by the Baptist Joint Committee. The BJC recently lost press credentials to cover the capital because of its affiliation with a religious agency. Since ABP is independent, it can fill the role. But Warner believes people are becoming increasingly ambivalent toward denominational ties, and that some question the need for a

International news 3% Personalities 4% CBF 5%

Other 2%

SBC politics 1%

Government/politics 19%

Church life 5% Missions 6% New ventures 9%

Spirituality/ theology 11%

State conventions/agencies 12%

Social/ethical issues 12% SBC/agencies 11%

A LT H O U G H C B F has funded ABP since its beginnings, statistics show that the Fellowship does not control story content.

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ince 1992, CBF has supported ABP financially. As CBF has grown, so has ABP. The current CBF allocation for ABP is $138,866, compared to a $79,569 contribution in 1992–93. But, although CBF’s financial support of ABP has increased, it has become a much smaller percentage of the ABP budget. Total ABP revenues for 1999–2000 are estimated at $543,161, making the CBF contribution 25 percent of total income, rather than the 50 percent it was in 1992. This decrease in percentage has been intentional, both on the part of CBF and ABP, because neither wanted the news service tied too closely to a single organization. However, CBF’s initial financial support came at a time when the fledgling agency desperately needed funds. “I’m not sure where we would be today without it,” admits news editor Bob Allen. But CBF’s funding comes “without strings attached,” emphasizes executive editor Greg Warner. Last year, only 27 of ABP’s 579 stories (4.7%) were specifically about CBF. In contrast, 114 stories were about government or secular politics, 73 about state or national Baptist organizations, 70 about social and ethical issues and 68 about the Southern Baptist Convention. ■

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ABP’s Path is Dotted With Significant Milestones uly 17, 1990 — Founding of ABP is announced, within minutes of the firing of Baptist Press editors Al Shackleford and Dan Martin.

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May 1, 1991 — First full-time staffer hired — editor Greg Warner. May 18, 1993 — 1,000th story published. November 1, 1993 — Second journalist, Bob Allen, added to staff. October 27, 1994 — First ABP Religious Freedom Award presented to Jack Brymer, former editor of the Florida Baptist Witness. May 14, 1998 — ABP news available via the Internet — www.abpnews.com. June 25, 1998 — ABP launches first publication — FaithWorks magazine — at CBF General Assembly. December 14, 1999 — 5,000th ABP story published. April 15, 2000 — First major-gift campaign approved, coinciding with 10th anniversary. May 1, 2000 — First regional bureau opened — in Washington, D.C. ■

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ABP continued

ABP Reaches the World Through 62 Daily Newspapers

specifically Baptist news service. He sees that as ABP’s greatest challenge. “There are still a lot of Baptists out there who want to be in the know,” he says. “But how we define news and how we deliver news is going to have to change.” He is constantly on the lookout for new outlets. ABP has a web site where viewers can call up the latest headlines or search the “stacks” for older stories. (Headline links are also posted several times a week on CBF’s home page at www.cbfonline org). Warner launched FaithWorks for the same reasons. From the beginning, he has seen the magazine as a way to reach a younger audience with issues they face every day. It isn’t meant to be a specifically Baptist publication. So far, the magazine has 4,000 subscribers. Warner aims for 5,000 this year and tries to be realistic about how many young adults he can actually reach: “We are just a small organization. We aren’t a marketing agency with the resources we need to find a larger audience.” And Warner is very optimistic about ABP’s future. “We’re at a wonderful juncture,” he says. “In a lot of ways, we’re just beginning. We still ask, ‘Is this the right technique? Is it going to work?’ We’re at a great place because we have the freedom to share what’s going on in the Christian world in ways that will touch people’s minds — and hearts. “In 1991, I never dreamed we would have come this far.” f ! — By Sarah Zimmerman, freelance writer and Peace Corps volunteer, Senegal, West Africa

One sign of ABP’s success is the respect the news agency has garnered from secular media. The 62 daily newspapers that subscribe to ABP rarely reprint a story exactly as ABP sends it. Reporters, however, depend on the material. It influences their stories and, in turn, the public’s image of Baptists. “ABP is a good source of news tips and a lot of inside information,” says Richard Vara, veteran religion writer for the Houston Chronicle. “I regard it as the best source of information on Southern Baptists.” Religion reporters for various media become acquainted with ABP staff as they work sideby-side. Those personal contacts add to the agency’s credibility, says Gayle White, religion writer for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “The reason I trust ABP is I know the people who run it,” she says. While many fear that in a postdenominational age, a press agency devoted to one denomination may have run its course, White predicts that the need for reporting about specific denominations will increase: “In such an age, what affects the Baptists or the Lutherans or the Methodists affects all of them eventually. They’re not as insular. They all want to know what everybody else is doing.” f !

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A I M I N G F O R A YO U N G E R A U D I E N C E : FaithWorks, founded two years ago, addresses young adult Christians “with their special needs,” says ABP executive editor Greg Warner.

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Jon Roberts Gives More Than Band-Aids to Guangxi

N M AY 2 0 0 0 , J O N R O B E RT S , A physician from Mountain View, Mo., could have been vacationing in a warm, relaxed climate. Instead, he and a team of four, including Missouri CBF coordinator Harold Philips, took more than $100,000 of medical supplies and equipment — including 420 boxes of Band-Aids donated by Mountain View Elementary School children — to Guangxi in Southwest China. CBF Missouri raised more than $10,000 for the project and physician friends donated money and equipment. “It was unbelievable how it worked out. The response was overwhelming,” says Roberts. “Who would have expected that even Missouri school children would have become involved?” This was his second trip to China. The first time, Roberts and his wife, Sue Ellen, evaluated regional health care. Among findings was a lack of medicine, inadequate clinics, and poorly trained health-care providers. By U.S. standards, the conditions were pre-1950. “But all the medical personnel we met, without exception, were very cordial, friendly and anxious to hear about

our American health system,” he says. Back in Missouri, the Roberts spent nine months raising money to take much-needed equipment and supplies back to China. “It was such a fulfilling experience,” he says. “We were able to open little doors.” Health care in China is unique. Partnering “churches and government have different motives, but they work together,” he says. During sessions on medical conditions, problems were discussed freely. And they talked of more than health care. Every evening, he visited with communist party members who were curious and questioning. In response, he shared his faith. “It’s so fulfilling to reach out to people who have never heard the gospel,” he says. “When the government feels that everything is above board and that Christians are working with them,” he said, “it’s a very positive witness for the local church.” f ! —By Rachel Gill, assistant editor For a complete summary of the Missouri Medical Missions trip, visit the Missouri CBF Web site at www.cbfmo.org.

POVERTY AND HOPE: Jon Roberts (top) sits among children, who welcomed the visitors with smiles and colorful flags. Poverty in the region is rampant; a school dorm room (left) is bereft of any comforts. Missouri CBF contributed funds for a new clinic and pharmacy at Tai Ping. Signs outside express gratitude. Photos by Harold Phillips.

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CBF Partners With Amity To Bring Improvements he Amity Foundation is a government-sanctioned Chinese social service organization initiated by Chinese Christians. Amity is a Christian organization, but not all employees are Christian. It serves the Chinese people in a variety of ways. CBF representatives work with the Amity Teacher Projects to bring volunteers into the country. This summer they will assign from 70 to 80 CBFsponsored English teachers for one month. The project began in 1997 with 10 teachers; in 1998, 55 teachers volunteered; and in 1999, 70 made the trip. Other Amity projects fall into broad categories: medical, rural development, education, social welfare, church-sponsored projects, emergency relief and the printing press, which published for distribution two million Chinese Bibles in 1999. The Chinese Christian Council is another official group through which CBF representatives do community work and lay training. “We really enjoy our relationship with the Amity Foundation and the China Christian Council,” says Gary Baldridge, CBF global missions cocoordinator. “Working in an open fashion in complete cooperation with these leaders is a blessing to us.” ■

CBF Lives Out God’s Love in China

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China that we must follow, but against ‘love, joy, BF REPRESENTATIVES RON peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and Ina Winstead are amazed at how the gentleness and self-control’ there is no law,” she church is growing in China. “The secret says. “The Chinese people respond to these fruits here seems to be the pew rather than the pulpit,” of the spirit.” says Ron. “Chinese Christians take their faith seriously and find many ways to share it. Living and working here is like attending a seminary on church growth with God as teacher.” The Winsteads know of churches that baptize more than 300 adults each year and where Sunday morning services are standing room only. Based in Nanning in Southwestern China, the Winsteads teach English at the university. They also do outreach through CBF Limited, a foundation that partners with Amity, a Chinese Christian organization that oversees a variety of projects: English teachers, rural development, medical, educational and social welfare projects, emerA S T U DY I N C O N T R A S T S : In downtown Nanning, streets bustle with gency relief and the printing of bicycles, motor bikes and pedestrians. But the outer areas are rural and Chinese Bibles and other poverty-stricken, with the average farmer making less than $100 per Christian materials. year. Photo by Janie Peacock China is a communist nation where open expressions Lisenby is also an English teacher. “I value the of religion, once banned completely, are still opportunity to contribute to this society openly restricted. Brenda Lisenby, as a Christian, so that the Chinese can see how appointed in 1999 as a CBF Christ influences life in a very real, concrete and representative to China, views positive way.” these restrictions as opportuni“The gospel is demonstrated in vital relationties. “There may be laws in ships,” says Ron, “and we have seen how this can be more powerful than the mere spoken word.” W AT C H I N G C H U R C H E S Nanning is a city of two million people located G R O W: Ron and Ina Winstead in the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region in are officially English teachers, Southwestern China. The surrounding area is but through their influence, rural and very poor; farmers earn the equivalent many Chinese churches have in U.S. currency of $60 a year and still work by thrived. Photo by Janie Peacock

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Teaching Opens Doors For Willing Volunteers (continued from page 6) hand or with water buffalo. “We get depressed when we see the magnitude of poverty,” says Ron. “But we remember that Jesus was concerned about the poor and he found ways to assist them.” The Winsteads help through their work with the Guangxi Christian Council led by pastor Yu Yau Kun. “We thank God for Pastor Yu,” says Ron. “He has been our mentor through a variety of projects. God uses these projects to help us establish relationships and build his church in the hard places.” At La Gao village, where they helped with an electrification project, the Winsteads were the first foreign visitors since the Japanese withdrew at the end of World War II. The project was paid for by Missouri CBF (about one third of the total cost), the government and local people. They found many there who had never heard about Christianity. “When we got a direct question about our beliefs,” says Ron, “we told them that helping others is what Christians do.” During the past year, Missouri CBF assisted villages with funds to provide electricity to a remote Zhuang village; to help dig a deep well for a village without water, and to renovate several school buildings. Each project meant cooperating with local and government leaders, making it possible for Christians to go into areas where both aging Communists and little children have never heard the gospel. “We believe that CBF has an open door in China,” says Ron. “The Chinese church leaders are committed to winning their nation to Christ and CBF can assist them.”

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The Winsteads will retire this fall; Lisenby, who will assume the role of CBF’s international coordinator in China, shares their optimism. At a Christmas gathering, Lisenby welcomed Chinese friends who came to cook dinner. As they left, she told them to take books from her “give-away” shelf. Among them were ChineseEnglish Bibles. “They cleaned out my Bible collection,” she says, “but the best thing was the compliment they paid me. I have few cooking utensils so we made a steamer lid out of a flat skillet and some dishcloths. This impressed them. They said I was not like most foreigners who have so many ‘things.’ “They said I was like them.” f ! —By Rachel Gill, assistant editor

POVERTY AND O P E N N E S S : Women (above) wash clothes in the same way they have for centuries. Brenda Lisenby (left), though saddened by the needs around her, is optimistic about CBF’s role in China. Photos by Michelle Darrah and Harold Phillips.

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hen Janie Peacock, a recently retired middle school teacher of language arts, was challenged to go to China to teach English, she couldn’t figure out a reason not to go. “I had time, enough money, and I can teach,” she says. In July 1999, she became one of 70 CBF volunteer English teachers in China. In Nanning, her students were middle-class high school and college youth who wanted to learn English for economic reasons. “They say, ‘if you can’t go to the U.S., the second best thing is to learn English,’ ” she says. “They think of the U.S. as the Garden of Eden.” Students were very cooperative, standing when called on and asking permission to come into a room. “They were a warm, considerate group of kids,” she says. “I was expecting a police state. I just didn’t see it.” At church, she found that older people, who had gone through the Cultural Revolution, were very friendly. “I would like to know their stories,” she says. “I wonder what they have undergone for their faith.” She is returning to China this summer. ■

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Volunteers Share the Load n every aspect of Fellowship work, volunteers are involved, sharing the loads of missionaries, doing the overlooked work around missions sites, so that missions workers may carry out other responsibilities. Last year, 3,645 volunteered through CBF, serving in nearly equal numbers abroad and in the States. Sixteen volunteered for a month or longer.

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• In 1995, 575 volunteered through CBF. • In 1996, 1,875 • In 1997, 3,180 • In 1998, 3,499 This year 13 teams have been involved in volunteer missions; the final tally of individuals who participated will be available in July. To learn more about how you or your church can volunteer, visit our web site at www.cbfonline.org or call Marie Moore at (770) 220-1631. ■

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Spring Break Becomes a Worldwide Missions Project of many churches and volunteers from across the country.” Since Boulevard was only 90 minutes away, it was possible to send a preplanning team to determine what was needed for the project. Back at home, volunteers made curtains for the worship center, donated materials and enlisted people for specific projects. In May 2000, 40 volunteers from Boulevard

N THE FALL OF 1999, BOULEvard Baptist Church in Anderson, S.C., invited Sam Bandela, director of the Chamblee-Doraville Ministry Center in Atlanta, to speak at their fall missions emphasis week. After Bandela’s visit, the center became the church’s choice for a spring mission project. They chose spring break, when young people as well as adults could participate. “This church has a deep commitment to hand-on missions and ministry,” says Boulevard’s pastor, Johnny McKinney. The congregation has sent teams of volunteers to Europe and Latin America and serves as a primary channel for the adoption of gypsy children through a partner relationship with Providence Baptist Church in Bucharest, Romania. At Chamblee-Doraville Center, a CBF partner organization, they worked in one of Atlanta’s most diverse international communities. In addition to its work of tutoring children, teaching English, distributing food and clothing, counseling pregnant women and girls, community health networking, and sponsoring Bible clubs and summer camps for children, five different language congregations meet each Sunday in its worship center. Only 20 years ago, the area around the center was small-town Georgia in look and feel. Today, it’s an international community with refugees and immigrants from more than 150 nations. The center’s purpose: to share God’s love with virtually a microcosm of the whole world. “The Chamblee-Doraville Ministry Center continues to be a source of good pride and great joy for CBF,” says CBF global missions co-coordinator Gary Baldridge. “We’re so grateful for the involvement

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C H O O S I N G T H E R I G H T C O LO R : Volunteer Ellen Sechrest helps Jocelyn Salazar with a special Easter project. Photo by Charlotte Mullins

arrived at the center. Working in teams, their accomplishments at the end of three days’ work were phenomenal. “Advance planning was the key,” says McKinney. “They had a very ambitious agenda, but they were so organized they finished all their projects a day early,” says Charlotte Mullins, director of educational programs at the center, “They had a very thoughtful approach to volunteering.” At the center, “the work went without a hitch,” says McKinney. “And we would do it again. To see the diversity of that culture was amazing. The world is truly at our doorstep.” f ! —By Rachel Gill, assistant editor

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A L L I N A D AY ’ S W O R K : Becky Lynch (top), irons curtains for the ministry center; pastor Johnny McKinney (far left) paints floors in an upstairs room; Jordan Parnell, 10, (above) sands and refinishes a wooden table and Deisy shows off her new Easter basket. Photos by Gary Meek and Charlotte Mullins.

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The Bisu People Population: 7,000 Religion: Buddhism/ Animism Language: Bisu Location: Southeast Asia he Bisu live primarily in northern Thailand, an area known as the “Golden Triangle” because of its vast opium and heroin production. Their total population in Thailand is approximately 1,000, with almost 800 of those living in two villages. An estimated 6,000 Bisu live in neighboring countries. The Bisu are believed to have originated in Tibet, then migrated to China and traveled south along the Mekong River into the valleys and mountains. At that time, they were hunter-gatherers; now they are primarily farmers. Neighboring ethnic groups generally consider the Bisu uneducated and backward, referring to them as “filthy ones.” A combination of discriminatory business practices by these groups coupled with the financial toll of making spirit sacrifices has produced a cycle of poverty and debt for the Bisu. Over many years, this mistreatment has led to their mistrust of outsiders. ■

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Bisu Find God in Language of the Heart

worked in Thailand for eight years as English BF MISSIONARY SARAH WEAVER* teachers and Bible translators before they heard was two months pregnant with her first of the Bisu. While working with the Muang, a child when she arrived in a Bisu village neighboring group, they met English teacher in northern Thailand. Noi Tong. A Bisu, he told of his people’s conOlder village women often placed their hands cern about preserving the on Sarah’s abdomen, conBisu language and culture for cerned about her health and their children. With no writthe health of her unborn ten language, they did not baby. In Bisu culture, a know how to begin. woman in the first trimester “That’s what linguists do,” of pregnancy must sacrifice a the Weavers told Tong. He pig, dog and chicken to promptly invited them to live appease village spirits. in his village. Although vil“I believe in the God who lagers are very anti-Christis above all spirits,” Sarah ian, he told the missionaries, told the women, assuring “you will be welcome as long them the baby would be proas you don’t preach at us.” tected. Months later, Patrick, Fifty years ago, shortly a healthy baby boy, was born. after a Bisu couple became While in the village, he has Christians, a terrible epidemnever been sick. ic swept through the village. “Your God is really proAfter the new Christians tecting your baby,” the village B E A U T Y I N S I M P L I C I T Y: Eager to preserve their culture, elder Bisu have were thrown out, everyone women told her. Although welcomed the Weavers into their rural became well. Villagers conthe Bisu are Buddhist, anisociety. cluded that the spirits were mism controls their lives. angered and then appeased. They worship spirits of the After their move to Thailand’s second largest village, forest and fields, with no concept of a Bisu community, the Weavers were able to work higher deity. Rules on how to with both the Muang and the Bisu. “It was defiplease the spirits often keep nitely ordained by God,” says Sarah. Although villagers impoverished — a the couple told villagers their ultimate goal was sacrifice of one pig equals to translate the Bible into Bisu, the Bisus’ zeal to two months wages. preserve their language helped them accept the The Bisu are a small, Weavers’ Christianity. They wanted to read folkunreached people group who tales to their children, sing the old lullabies to number approximately 1,000 their infants, and produce a dictionary to prein the northernmost serve the validity of their language. province of Thailand, with Working with a fellow literacy specialist and a another 6,000 in neighboring cross-section of Bisu, the Weavers developed a countries. Villagers grow written alphabet and language, produced the first rice, corn for cattle feed, ginA N I M I S M C O N T R O L : A man Bisu language book and translated portions of ger, garlic and onions. worships at a small, makeshift the Bible. Sarah and her husband, shrine at the village where the From early morning to late at night, the Mark, are linguists who had Weavers work.

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Adopting and Praying Can Be Enough replica of a bamboo hut sits in Fredericksburg Baptist Church in northern Virginia to remind the congregation of its commitment to the Bisu people of Thailand and to the CBF missionaries Mark and Sarah Weaver who live and minister among them. The congregation adopted the Bisu through CBF’s Adopt-A-People initiative, committing to pray and provide support. Offerings taken during its spring missions emphasis will support ministry projects for the Bisu. Cambria Baptist Church, a small, struggling American Baptist congregation in Corydon, Iowa, led by CBF pastor Allen Thomason, also adopted the Bisu. Sue Smith of Fredericksburg coordinates the prayer network and corresponds with adoptive churches. She believes prayer is one of the most important ways to support the ministry. “Churches ask ‘What can we do?’ Many don’t want to just pray,” Smith notices. “But praying,” she emphasizes, “is doing.” For information on CBF’s 14 Adopt-A-People groups, contact Tom and Beth Ogburn at the World A Link Office, (800) 782-2451. The summer CBF curriculum series Doing Missions in a World Without Borders offers more information about the Bisu or B People.To order CBF curriculum, visit our web store at www.cbfonline.org or call tollfree (888) 801-4223. ■

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(continued from page 10) Weavers’ home is open to villagers. “Your heart just breaks when you see all the villagers’ physical and spiritual needs,” Sarah says. As a result, the Weavers have encouraged development of cottage industries to combat poverty and helped establish a Bisu scholarship fund. Since the Thai government provides public education through only sixth grade, no Bisu has graduated from high school or college. “Christians can talk incessantly about Jesus and his love, but the Bisu need to have the Bible to fully understand, and to be a basis for their discipleship when they do become Christians,” says Sarah. “As God’s plan unfolds story by story in the language of their hearts, the Bisu will

understand God’s plan for them.” *Real names of missionaries and the people with whom they work cannot be used due to the sensitive areas in which they serve. f ! —By Lisa Jones, freelance writer, Atlanta. Photos by CBF missionaries

T H E B I S U W AY: A woman grinds meal with the only utensils available, handmade from stone, clay and wood.

Khao Niaw Mamuang (Mangoes and Sticky Rice)

Soak the sticky rice in lukewarm water for 5–8 hours. Strain, rinse with water, and place the sticky rice in the top of a double boiler or steamer (The rice may be wrapped in cheesecloth to keep it from falling through). Steam for 25 minutes. Cook 2 tablespoons coconut milk over low heat. Set aside.

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In a mixing bowl, dissolve sugar and salt in the cup of coconut milk. Add the cooked sticky rice and stir until well mixed. Cover and let stand for 15 minutes. Peel the mangoes off the seed and slice. Place on a serving plate. Spoon the cooked sticky rice beside the mango. Top with cooked coconut milk. Sprinkle with ground peanuts if desired. To order the free cookbook, Breaking Bread in a World Without Borders, call (888) 8014223 or browse the online store at www.cbfonline.org or call toll-free (888) 801-4223. ▲

2 cups sticky (glutinous) rice 1 tsp. salt 5 medium yellow mangoes 1 cup coconut milk 2 tbsp. cooked coconut milk 1/2 cup sugar

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F o r m a t i o n

Music Can Cure What Freezes Us usic can “unfreeze” the minds of Parkinson’s disease patients — and church-goers, says Brian Wren. “It has a meaning and power of its own, and the brain perceives it as free-flowing movement,” he explains. Music can bypass damaged brain connections and transform many patients from a frozen Parkinsonian state to a moving, speaking state for some time. “It can do that less dramatically for us all,” says Wren. “Music lifts from our frozen mental habits and makes our minds move in creative ways — stimulating intellect and emotions, expressing belief, transmitting theology, lifting and inspiring the human spirit, and drawing people into the fellowship of God.” ■

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Baptist Hymnal Texts by Wren “Christ Is Alive” (173) “This Is a Day of New Beginnings” (370) “I Come With Joy to Meet My Lord”(371) “There’s a Sprit in the Air” (393) “When Christ Was Lifted From the Earth” (562)

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Brian Wren Puts Human Needs Into Song

seminaries as a lecturer and workshop leader in HEN CRAFTING WORDS creative worship, hymn-writing technique and to be sung in worship, noted content, and use of language. poet-theologian-hymn writer “My calling as a lyricist — a church minstrel Brian Wren believes in being “PC” — “Profes— is to listen and help others put their needs sionally Concerned” and following a “Profound into song,” he says. “I started writing when I was Conviction.” serving a congregation — to meet Wren believes part of his duty needs.” is to give voice to neglected, Words in lyrics become even rejected and abused people who more important, he says, when have no voice. worship leaders realize that music Texts should also “give visibiliembeds them in the memory of ty to those who are invisible in singers, especially those who language, such as women and have developed familiarity with children,” says Wren, one of four songs through repeated use. British lyricists credited with trig“If you’ve sung jingles, you gering a worldwide contemporary know the power of what I’m talk“hymn writing explosion” over ing about. Music brings back the last quarter century. Hymns words. They’re encoded with should also be connected “to the music, allowing quick recall that needs of the real world,” he says. can sustain us in crisis. What we Deeper than that, “it’s imporA MODERN-DAY MINSTREL: sing can shape our faith and help tant to be careful how we speak Songwriter and lyricist Brian it grow.” to and about God,” adds Wren, a Wren uses inclusive language and Contemporary hymns from minister of the United Reformed modern-day needs to build woracross the world enrich faith Church of Great Britain, now liv- ship into his songwriting. Photo development and worship, he ing in Maine. “Part of the probcourtesy of Baptist Theological says. “There’s a welcome willinglem with traditional ‘God-lanSeminary at Richmond. ness to look beyond pale-faced guage’ is that many people claim North America, to listen to songs final and complete authority for from other places and sing them. That puts us in it,” he says. “We should worship God, not our touch with other people and cultures.” language about God.” Singing together can unite Christians, Wren Wren seeks words that “offer vivid pictures of believes, “because it says, ‘We agree not to comthe divine mystery” because “no one picture is pete but to blend our voices’ — a simple but adequate.” important way of saying, ‘We agree to love and And he minces no words about inclusive belong to each other.’ ” language. “Does our worship language make And it can bring body and spirit into harmony. people visible or invisible?” he asks. “Those “We can’t just sing from the neck up,” he who use the outdated language of ‘man’ and says. “When we sing with a full heart and voice, ‘men’ to mean ‘humankind/ humans in general’ our bodies are committed. choose to use language that makes women and “And — as the body is — so the spirit is apt children invisible. “God made humankind male to be.” and female, jointly, in the divine image (Genesis — By Robert O’Brien, freelance writer, Rich1:27).” Wren has visited many churches, colleges and mond, Va.

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Wren Goes ‘Barefoot’ to Find ‘Stains on Earth’s Driveway’

NE OF THE best-known and most prolific contemporary hymn writers, Brian Wren doesn’t set out to write about world issues. But they surface in the texts of the poet-theologianhymn-writer and include ecology and stewardship of the earth, social justice and peace-making. When asked why he tackles such issues he answers with a metaphor. “In my mind’s eye, I imagine stepping outside a safe house of prayer and standing barefoot on the concrete in the driveway,” he says. “The ‘concrete’ in earth’s ‘driveway’ has stains on it — grease stains, representing pollution of the earth; bloodstains, where innocents have been murdered and faithful witnesses have been martyred,” he says. “There are cracks in the concrete, and beyond it are patches of green where our bare feet can feel the wet grass, and give thanks for all living things. “When I go outside, I stand on the concrete, on the grease-stains, on the bloodstains, on the grass, and pray to God, lament with God, or praise God. The issues that surface in our lyrics depend on where, and how, we are willing to go barefoot.” f !

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Choosing the Right Hymnal ince music is such an integral part of worship for most CBF churches, selecting a hymnal that will meet the worship needs of a congregation can be an awesome responsibility. Paul Richardson, professor of music at Samford University, suggests the following steps to make the process easier: Think of the hymnal as a resource for worship, not a collection of music. Obtain and respectfully consider congregational input early in the process. Develop criteria around needs and purposes the hymnal is to serve. Rank criteria as (1) essential, (2) desirable, (3) peripheral. Communicate with other congregations about their experiences, both in selecting and using particular hymnals. Include hymnal purchase in the congregational budget to broaden the sense of ownership. Promote individual purchase for devotional use of the hymnal selected. Dedicate the hymnal as an act of worship. In early use, employ more familiar hymns, branching out to demonstrate newer materials along the way. Excerpted from a longer article, available in the Forum area at www.cbfonline.org. ■

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Easum and Bandy Offer Advice on Leadership Figures, Facts & Stats

Behind the Numbers percent of African-Americans are churched, compared to slightly more than 55 percent of Anglo-Americans.

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percent of Americans are unchurched.This has changed little over the last two decades.

44

percent of men are unchurched, compared to 39 percent of women.

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percent of liberals are unchurched, while 47 percent of moderates and 35 percent of conservatives are unchurched. Source: Gallup News Service For the full article see www.gallup.com.

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New at cbfonline lanning some vacation time before or after the 2000 General Assembly—or still thinking about going? We’ve added a link in our General Assembly section to a site loaded with information about things to see and do in Orlando. http://www.cbfonline.org/community/ga2000/i ndex.cfm Click on “Orlando Attractions.”

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The following sound bites are from a recent seminar in Raleigh, N.C., led by Bill Easum and Tom Bandy, co-authors of Growing Spiritual Redwoods:

Easum

• One key question church leaders must ask themselves: “What is it about my experience with Jesus that this community cannot live without?” • On what he’s learned from five years of work on Leadership on the Other Side, due out later this year: “Every time I discovered a law of leadership, it changed. There are no more laws of leadership.” Instead, there are BILL EASUM clues to leadership, but they are “hidden in the hearts of spiritualists and mystics who avoid our churches like the plague. . . . ” • On characteristics of pastors under age 30 who are leading growing churches: “These pastors don’t build churches. They live to transform individuals and society.” They are focused on Jesus, but flexible about everything else. “When they hear, ‘We’ve never done it that way before,’ they

ship an extension of pastoral care, can cause healthy people to avoid churches. (4) The “myth of progressive justice” makes worship passive. This results in people know that’s the way it’s got to believing that if they do the be done. It’s like waving a red right things then God will keep flag in front of a bull.” On church leadership: them from dangers like cancer. • Clergy should (5) The “myth of spend less time on pasheavenly favors” leads toral care and more on people to believe that equipping church worship is only for the members to minister insiders of the church. to one another. Laity • On adult faith formation: should discover God’s It is “the pivot calling and live out TOM BANDY point around which their gifts rather than everything turns.” trying to “run the Growing churches church.” know that the youth are not “Lay people are the heart of the church of tomorrow. the church if they’re not in “Adults between the ages of 18 committee meetings. If they’re and 45 who are in a spiritually in committee meetings, they’re transforming walk with Jesus not worth squat. No one are the future of the church. comes to Christ in committee You transform the adults, meetings.” they’ll take care of the kids.” For the complete story go to Bandy the 4/4/00 edition in the ABP • On “demythologizing” archives via www.cbfonline.org. five myths of worship as For more reading on this subject, one of the key “leverage points” for introducing CBF’s church resources coordinaneeded change: tor Terry Hamrick suggests the (1) The “myth of reasonable following: religion,” which tries to Moving off the Map: A Field “explain gratuitous evil and Guide to Changing Congregarationalize grace,” causes tions by Thomas G. Bandy wordy worship. Instead, wor(Abingdon, 1998). ship should open worshippers Aqua Church by Leonard to “the mysteriousness of God Sweet. (Group Publishing, that exceeds our efforts to 1999). define it.” Five Challenges for the (2) The “myth of the conOnce and Future Church by trollable Holy” makes worship Loren B. Mead (Alban Institute, predictable. Instead, make wor1996). ship unpredictable. “NetResults” Journal at (3) The “myth of therapeuwww.netresults.org. tic process,” which makes wor-

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Class Notes

Mainstream Baptists Form National Network

First Baptist Athens Severs Ties With SBC

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LIGHTLY MORE THAN 100 representatives from 15 states met in Atlanta recently to participate in a “mainstream Baptist consultation.” They adopted the label “mainstream” to signal their adherence to what they call historical/traditional Baptist beliefs. The group also believes the label sets them apart from other more conservative Baptists. They disavowed any interest in forming a national convention or a way of regaining control of the SBC and made it clear that the network is not a competitor to CBF. Daniel Vestal, CBF’s coordinator, who attended several sessions of the consultation, was supportive of the group. “CBF has thrived in states where there has been a presence speaking to freedom and Baptist principles,” he says.

HE HISTORIC FIRST Baptist Church of Athens, Ga., has voted to sever ties with the Southern Baptist Convention. Church members voted 28528 at a recent church conference to discontinue affiliation. The 800-member, 170-yearold congregation had belonged to the SBC since the convention’s founding in Augusta, Ga., in 1845. The break follows a two-year study, which concluded the church and denomination had been moving apart since the late 1970s. Differences cited by church members included pastoral authority, academic freedom at seminaries and the role of women. The church “strongly favors” the priesthood of all believers, free academic inquiry and women’s ordination.

CBF Co-Sponsors Jubilee 2000

The three CBF representatives were Lonnie and Fran Turner, missionaries to the Washington diplomatic community, and Ben Bryant, research, development and operations analyst in Atlanta. The event and a preceding rally on the Mall were sponsored by Jubilee 2000/USA, a national coalition of religious, labor and social justice groups that urges international debt relief as a millennial gift to poor countries, allowing them to pour more money into social services. CBF was a co-sponsor, contributing $500 to the effort. “Participating in Jubilee 2000 is an intentional effort toward a holistic model of Christian discipleship,” says CBF coordinator Daniel Vestal. “It is the way of Jesus.” “We want to help our brothers and sisters of the Third World overcome the almost insurmountable challenges they face in the new century,” adds Gary Baldridge, CBF’s global missions co-coordinator.

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A M O M E N T O F J U B I L AT I O N : Lonnie Turner (left) and Ben Bryant present CBF’s check for $500 to support Jubilee 2000 to Jo Marie Griesgraber, co-chair of the Jubilee 2000/USA committee. Photo by Ben Bryant.

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HEN LEADERS OF the World Bank and International Monetary Fund prepared to meet in Washington recently, several thousand people, including three CBF representatives, formed a human chain around the Capitol building to show support of debt relief for the world’s poorest countries.

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D I S TA N C E L E A R N I N G : Jim Peak (left) who directs the distance education program, and Israel Galindo, Richmond executive director of educational consultants, display some of the equipment to be used in the new distance education program of BTSR. Photo courtesy of BTSR

At BTSR aptist Theological Seminary at Richmond (BTSR) has begun a new distance education program that projects five courses this fall and at least three more next spring. For more information visit BTSR’s web site at www.cbfonline.org or call (888) 339-2877. Isam E. Ballenger, veteran missions educator and administrator, is acting dean of the faculty, succeeding G.Thomas Halbrooks, who is now president of Colegate Rochester Divinity School/Crozer Theological Seminary.

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At IBTS nternational Baptist Theological Seminary library has gone online. This collection of 60,000 volumes is the largest English-language theological library on the mainland of continental Europe. Davorlin Peterlin has resigned as pro-rector, academic dean and director of Biblical studies “for personal and family reasons. . . .”

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At Truett radley Creed has resigned as dean of the divinity school to return to full-time teaching.

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Coming Attractions June 29–July 1 General Assembly

Orlando, FL Location: Orange County Convention Center Theme: Living Missions Contact: Connections (800) 262-9974 for hotel reservations; Boehm Travel Companies, (888) 383-5816 for discounted flights and auto rentals. July 10–15 15th Annual Summer Conference, Wake Forest University

Winston-Salem, N.C. Sponsor: Baptist Peace Fellowship of North America Theme: On Earth As It Is In Heaven Leaders: Rebeca Montemayor, Bill Leonard, Ken Medema, Kate Campbell Registration Fees: $100 ($55 for spouse, partner, student, low income) Contact: BPF at (704)521-6051 or <bpfna@bpfna.org> June 28-30, 2001 General Assembly, Atlanta

Location: Georgia World Congress Center For a complete schedule of events, visit our web site at www.cbfonline.org

corruption. Giving in to their fears was justified by the Baptist editors, I suppose, by the rationalization that one was serving God and protecting a people unable to handle all the truth. IFTY YEARS AGO, JANUARY OF Baptist publications in the early 1950s seemed 1950, to be exact, I accepted my first posito have only two roles in which they functioned tion as a “religious” journalist in the Southwell: leading the fight in keeping church and state ern Baptist Convention. I place quotes around separate, and indoctrinating members with the “religious” because journalism is journalism, denomination’s positions. In time, however, a few whether with a daily newspaper or with a editors became champions of informing the Baptist publication. The major differpeople with a strengthened emphasis on ence is most religious journalists the news. Baptist Press began to flower have a sense of calling to work in as a budding news service. Editors also their areas. opened pages to dialogue with readers. I had worked in my teens as a I lived to see a free press come into reporter for a small daily newspaits own, to see Baptist Press honored by Viewpoint per under my editor father, had editthe secular press as one of the finest of its ed a weekly newspaper while serving in the Army kind, and to see Baptists mature in their ability to Air Corps during World War II, and had secured handle difficult issues. I witnessed denominational a degree in journalism from Baylor University. But leaders concerned primarily with getting the truth I was still in for some surprises when I observed told, not putting their “spin” on the facts. SouthBaptist journalism up close and personal. ern Baptists flourished in this new climate of The first surprise, even disappointment, came openness. in discovering how fearful the religious press was I have also lived to see the cycle return to conof reporting all the truth. Controversy, they trol and fear and manipulation. A controlled and feared, might be divisive. Maybe I shouldn’t have manipulated press may, in the short run, serve the been surprised, as most editors were former pasinstitution, but only a free press — religious or tors who had worked hard to keep controversy in secular — serves God. As Jesus said, “I am the check within their congregations. way, the truth and the life.” When the press is not Another reason I should not have been surfree, the truth is not found and the true Spirit of prised was I had seen my editor father wrestling Christ is denied. with some of the same fears. In the late 1930s, — By Walker Knight, founding editor, Baptists our county in Kentucky was adrift in illegal gamToday and former editor, Home Missions Magazine. bling. My father once told me, “I could blow this *This editorial is excerpted from a longer article. town wide open over this gambling.” And the To read the full text, see our web site at paper never, in news or editorials, attacked the www.cbfonline.org. Click on Forum.

Only a Free Press Can Serve God

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P. O. Box 450329 Atlanta, GA 31145-0329 Address Service Requested

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