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Serving Christians and churches as they discover and fulfill their God-given mission
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Predatory lending f!magazine_OctNov13.indd 1
Baptists confront a neglected justice issue
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From the Executive Coordinator John Norwood, a CBF church starter, recently spoke to the CBF Texas Coordinating Council and said: “CBF churches have a most compelling vision for the Kingdom of God. There are other groups whose vision is just as holistic as ours, but they don’t have the benefits of local autonomy. There are other groups who have local autonomy, but their vision of the Kingdom is very narrow. “There can be a bright future for churches that share our core values. But this future is only possible if we get serious about starting churches. This future is not going to happen by chance. We must be intentional about it. This is a big task, but it is one where we can have great success.” How is the church being born? Re-born? “This is the only student who ever stole theological education from McAfee,” said Alan Culpepper, dean of Mercer University’s McAfee School of Theology, as he introduced me to Gary Burke, a minister and McAfee alum. While in prison serving an 18-month sentence for drugrelated offenses, Gary became involved with the 40 Days Without Violence program. Several years later, Gary followed God’s call to seminary. When Gary’s church was unable to pay his tuition during the second semester, he continued to attend classes and take exams — until an online assignment that Gary could not complete forced him to share with his professor that he was not actually enrolled. Rather than kick him out, Dean Culpepper gave Gary a full scholarship to McAfee. Vol. 23, No. 5 Now, a few years later, Gary executive Coordinator • Suzii Paynter co-leads the Power of Peace Associate Coordinator, Fellowship Advancement • Jeff Huett Project in Atlanta, an organizaEditor • Aaron Weaver tion founded on the principles Associate Editor • Emily Holladay of Martin Luther King Jr., NelAssistant Editor • Candice Young son Mandela, Mahatma GanPhone • (770) 220-1600 dhi and other peacemakers. Fax • (770) 220-1685 Gary’s congregation is an oasis E-Mail • firstname.lastname@example.org Web Site • www.thefellowship.info in the Lakewood community fellowship! is published 6 times a year in with its focus on peacemaking Feb./March, April/May, June/July, Aug./Sept., and life restoration. It is a conOct./Nov., Dec./Jan. by the Cooperative gregation that is changing lives Baptist Fellowship Inc., 160 Clairemont in the name of Christ. Avenue, Suite 500, Decatur, GA 30030. Periodicals postage paid at Atlanta, GA. In some cases the ministry USPS #015-625. POSTMASTER: Send comes first and then the address changes to fellowship! Cooperative church follows. As ministries Baptist Fellowship, 160 Clairemont Avenue, Suite 500, Decatur, GA 30030.
grow in communities, they become the seedbed for a new congregation. It takes leadership and commitment, a core group of supporters and encouragers alike and much prayer. In other cases the relationships come first and the community cannot get over it. Such is the story for the Western North Carolina Cooperative Group Fellowship, a group of friends who, although living in different cities, drive every Sunday to meet and be church with each other. Born of friendship and spiritual connection, these friends cook, eat, study and worship together. However they get their start, here are 10 things I have learned about new churches: • The church on our “cradle roll” may not look at all like the mother church. • Merging churches are new churches — embracing another church through mission or ministry partnerships can lead to a blended family. • Bicultural and bilingual outreach can be the exponential multiplier for new churches. • New churches are the passion of certain called believers — join up with one and support their work. • Re-purposed property can be the source of a new church. The cowboy church started with an abandoned corral. • Refugee communities often long for a church in their new town. They just need a friend. • Contemplative prayer groups can be the soil of a new church. • A congregation of less than 200 people is four times more likely to participate in a church start than a congregation of 1,000 or more. • Sometimes it’s just a matter of one person. Lending help to support a staff person in a struggling church can revitalize that church. • A chaplain — hospital, military or corrections — can be the catalyst for a new congregation. Some churches are fertile places — they have been supporting or sponsoring congregations here and abroad. Perhaps this is a chapter in the story of your church and its history. How will it be a chapter in the future?
Suzii Paynter, CBF Executive Coordinator
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6 8 9 10-17
Church Spotlight: New Millennium Church Partner Spotlight: Campbell University Divinity School CBF Church Starting 101 Church Starting • 10-13 CBF church starters use creativity to build community • 14-17 Women respond through church starting
Affect: October Church Starting Poverty and Justice • 19-21 Predatory lending: Baptists confront a neglected justice issue • 22-25 Beyond survival: Podgaiskys help Kiev’s orphans find families • 26-27 CBF and Czech Baptists offer hope to families displaced by floods in Central Europe
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Affect: November Poverty and Justice Upcoming Events Students reflect and grow at fourth annual Selah Vie retreat
Connect with the Fellowship Keep up with the work and ministry of CBF churches, partners, field personnel and individuals through our online networks. Learn about ways to get involved in CBF life and plug in! fb.com/cbfinfo — “Like” Cooperative Baptist Fellowship on Facebook for the most up-to-date news on CBF missions and ministries. twitter.com/cbfinfo — Follow us on Twitter and join the conversation about how CBF individuals and churches are being the presence of Christ globally. cbfblog.com — CBFblog is the place where you can always find the latest news and views in the Fellowship. thefellowship.info/subscribe — Subscribe to fellowship! weekly for regular updates on CBF events as well as breaking news.
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prayerspeople of the
Praying with water By Bo Prosser
ater is one resource that we can’t live without. We are urged to drink at least 64 ounces of water a day. Water is crucial for our physical bodies in much the same way that prayer is for our spiritual selves. Every time you encounter water in the coming days, pray. Each time you drink water, wash your hands, wash clothes or dishes, bathe, water your lawn or flowers,
CBF Ministries Prayer Calendar CH = Chaplain FP = Field Personnel FPC = Child of Field Personnel GMP = Global Missions Partner PC = Pastoral Counselor PLT = Church Planter S = CBF Staff October
pray! This is going to take a little discipline and for some it won’t be as “spiritual” as other prayer practices, but with a little creativity and selfawareness, you’ll Bo Prosser get the hang of it. CBF Ministries Coordinator Your prayer for drinking water could go something like this, “Lord, even as water nourishes my body, may you nourish my soul.” Your prayer for washing/cleaning could be, “Lord, even as this water provides cleansing, may you
cleanse my soul.” Be creative. Design a prayer for each “water” encounter. Now, add one more part to your prayer. “Even as you nourish me today, please nourish...” Or, “Even as you cleanse me today, please cleanse...” And add one of the names from the prayer calendar below. Many listed in the calendar are serving where water is not an abundant resource. Many are serving where there is not ready access to clean water. Many are serving where a cool drink or a clean bath is a luxury. Pray with me for these and so many others around the world who need the healing, refreshing power of cool, clean water and who need “Living Water,” Jesus the Christ.
19 Mike Hutchinson, Togo (FP)
10 Kevin Crowder, Fredericksburg, VA (CH); Angela Lowe, Lawrence, KS (CH); Ralph Mikels, Jr., Seymour, TN (CH); Jim Smith (S-Atlanta)
20 Annette Ellard, Louisville, KY (FP); Chuck Hawkins, Pearland, TX (CH); Luke Langston, Durham, NC (CH) 22 Keith Cooper, Lubbock, TX (CH); Skyler David, Student.GO intern, Romania (FP); Paul Robertson, Sugar Land, TX (CH); Missy Ward, Uganda (FP) 23 Adele Henderson, Greenville, NC (CH); Michael Weaver, Knoxville, TN (CH) 24 Ben Collins, Deland, FL (PLT); Tawanda Hughes (S-Atlanta); Charles Lumpkin, Greensboro, NC (CH); Wes Monfalcone, Casselberry, FL (CH); Robert Powell, Lubbock, TX (CH); Rick Ruano, North Miami Beach, FL (CH)
1 Tiny Bailey, Southeast Asia (FP); Ron Craddock, Evans, GA (CH); Jonathan Davis, Spring, TX (CH)
25 Doug Cobb, McGregor, TX (CH); Suzie, Thailand (FP)
2 Maha Boulos, Lebanon (FP); Keith Holmes, Netherlands (FP)
27 Robert Carter, Virginia Beach, VA (CH); Terrell Moye, Riviera Beach, FL (CH)
3 Jonathan Bailey, Southeast Asia (FP); Greg Long, Elgin, TX (PLT); Matt Norman, Spain (FP); Lucy Vick, Cincinnati, OH (CH); Gene Vincent, Fairview, TN (CH)
28 Marilyn Menges, Coronado, CA (CH); Jim Travis, Durham, NC (CH)
4 Matthew Eddleman, Travelers Rest, SC (CH); Dennis Herman, Raleigh, NC (CH) 5 Jo Ann Hopper, Emeritus (FP); Gregory Thompson, Oakwood, GA (CH); David White, Johnson City, TN (CH)
26 Dean Dickens, Emeritus (FP)
29 Sam Scaggs, Dublin, GA (CH); Troy Todd, Sneads Ferry, NC (CH); Charles Watson, Washington, DC (CH) 30 Richard Brown, Troutville, VA (CH); Hazel Thomas, Houston, TX (CH)
12 Michael Cox, Elizabethtown, KY (CH); John Lepper (S-Kentucky); Bob Pipkin, Virginia Beach, VA (CH); Harry Rowland, (S-Atlanta); Caroline Smith, South Africa (FP) 13 Shelia Earl, Emeritus (FP); Earl Martin, Emeritus (FP); Devita Parnell (S-Atlanta); Gail Smith, Hillsborough, NC (CH); Cindy Wallace, Carpentersville, IL (CH) 14 Katie Anderson, Louisville, KY (CH); Patterson Coates (S-Atlanta) 15 Chris Avila, Newnan, GA (PLT); Marcia McQueen, Eden, NC (CH) 16 Anita Snell Daniels, Emeritus (FP); Edwin Hollis, Odenville, AL (CH) 17 Chuck Strong, Olive Branch, MS (PLT); Elizabeth Thompson, Littleton, CO (PC); Cade Whitley, 2004, Spain (FPC); Dylan Whitley, 2004, Spain (FPC)
31 Phyllis Boozer (S-Northeast)
18 Elaine Greer, Frankfort, KY (CH); Kristin Long, Richmond, VA (PC); Kat Spangler, Shelby, NC (CH)
8 Lisa Jeffcoat, Charlotte, NC (CH); Melissa Kremer, Rome, GA (CH); Robb Small, Geismer, LA (CH)
19 Larry Hurst (S-Atlanta); Will Kinniard, Keller, TX (CH); Nancy Stephens, Georgetown, KY (CH)
9 Sarah Carbajal, Fort Worth, TX (CH) 10 Joseph Boone, Cold Spring, KY (CH); Beth Duke, Smithville, TN (CH); Amber Hipps, Gadsden, AL (CH); Jay Martin, Woodland Park, CO (PC); Tina Woody, Spartanburg, SC (CH)
2 Karen Alford, Southeast Asia (FP); Mark Elder, Spartanburg, SC (CH); Brad Holmes, Gaffney, SC (CH); Jesse Hunt, Fort Drum, NY (CH); Mickie Norman, North Brunswick, NC (CH/PLT); Suzii Paynter (S-Atlanta); Ryan Yaun, Wetumpka, AL (CH)
11 Robert Barker, Republic, MO (CH); Laura Senter, Everett, WA (CH); Sing Yue, Bakersfield, CA (CH)
3 Michael McCawley, Elizabethtown, KY (CH); David Reid, Boise, ID (CH); Jeffrey Ross, Virginia Beach, VA (CH)
12 Will Burke, Student.GO intern, Atlanta, GA (FP); Ben Newell, San Antonio, TX (FP); Greg Sink, Killeen, TX (CH)
4 Cyndi Abbe, Waco, TX (PLT); Eric Maas, Belize (FP); Mary Stinson, Berea, KY (CH); Mark Westebbe, Waynesboro, VA (CH)
13 Lloyd Blevins, Fayetteville, NC (CH); Bob Newell, Greece (FP); John Painter, Charleston, SC (CH); Fran Turner, South Africa/Zambia (FP); Gretchen Watson, Louisville, KY (PC)
5 ____, North Africa (FP); Cameron Gunnin, San Antonio, TX (CH); Michka, 1992, New Jersey (FPC); Clyde Waters, Columbia, SC (CH)
7 Daniel Brockhan, Lubbock, TX (CH); Mary Kaylor, Student.GO intern, India (FP)
14 Kathy Reed, Hot Springs, AR (CH) 15 Bruce Guile, Mexico, MO (CH); Denise Ryder, Greenwood, IN (CH) 16 Karen Black, Fort Worth, TX (CH); Betty Drayton, Sumter, SC (CH); Greg Greason, Kansas City, MO (CH); Monty Self, Little Rock, AR (CH) 17 Frank Broome (S-Georgia); Bob Cheatheam, Abilene, TX (PLT); David Fambrough, Todd, NC (CH) 18 Hank Demous, Opelika, AL (CH); Danny Garnnett, Irmo, SC (PC); Gregory Oman, San Antonio, TX (CH)
11 Phoebe Angel, 2010, Belgium (FPC); Scott Blair, San Antonio, TX (CH); Dana Durham, Sacramento, CA (CH); Victor Perez, Knoxville, TN (PLT); Troy Petty, Palmyra, VA (PC); Bert Sanders III, Winston-Salem, NC (CH); Steve Sweatt, Birmingham, AL (PC)
1 Lynn Mouchet, Johns Creek, GA (CH)
6 Emerson Byrd, Fort Bliss, TX (CH); Jeff Lee, Macedonia (FP); Meghan McSwain, Winston-Salem, NC (CH) 7 Craig Butler, Sugar Land, TX (CH); Pat Coley, Sugar Grove, WV (CH); Darrell Hudson, Georgetown, TX (CH); Roland Kuhl, Round Lake Beach, IL (PLT); Zachary Morrow, 1995, Aledo, TX (FPC); Jeffrey Porter, Statesville, NC (CH); Allison Tennyson (S-Atlanta)
20 Chuck Christie, Loganville, GA (CH); Kevin Park, Bellingham, WA (CH) 21 ____, Turkey (FP); Fred Madren, Indianapolis, IN (CH) 22 Becky Smith, Atlanta, GA (FP) 24 Will Barnes, Savannah, GA (CH); Robert Fox (S-Virginia); Peggy Gold, Durham, NC (CH); Will Manley, Johnson City, TN (CH); David Posey, Medina, TN (CH); Ruth Valencia (CH) 25 Gary Batchelor, Rome, GA (CH); Tony Biles, Richfield, NC (CH); Robert Cooke, Selma, NC (PC); Ed Farris, Topeka, KS (CH); Brad Hood, Knoxville, TN (CH); Sue Smith, Fredericksburg, VA (FP); Lee Weems, Pineville, LA (CH) 26 Carol Fletcher, Athens, GA (CH); Blake Hart, Chile (FP); Michael O’Rourke, Lawton, OK (CH); Charles Reynolds, Spring Lake, NC (CH) 27 Macarena Aldape, India (FP); Posey Branscome, Charlotte, NC (CH); Saul Burleson, Atlanta, GA (CH) 28 Ronald King, Midland, GA (PC); Abigail Parks, 2004, Slovakia (FPC); Mark Tidsworth, Chapin, SC (PC); Joel Whitley, Spain (FP)
8 Jay Kieve (S-South Carolina); Mark Weiler, Greeley, CO (CH)
29 Shannon Binkley, 1993, De Soto, KS (FPC); Paul Mullen, Clemmons, NC (CH); David Ramsey, Rolla, MO (CH); Duewayne Tullos, Clinton, MS (CH)
9 Debby Bradley, Owensboro, KY (CH); Charles Seligman, San Antonio, TX (CH); Audrey Wilson, Durham, NC (CH)
30 John David Hopper, Emeritus (FP); Rick McClatchy (S-Texas); Lucas Pittman, 2003, Miami, FL (FPC); Peter Stephens, Georgetown, KY (CH)
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Give and Serve Disaster response ministries By Matthew Hensley
n 2004, the deacons of First Baptist Church of Pendleton, S.C., called on member Wayne Patterson to lead a team focused on congregational care in times of crisis. Within a year, Pendleton’s mission of congregational crisis care had expanded well beyond the church’s community in upstate South Carolina to the Gulf Coast more than 600 miles away. FBC Pendleton’s Crisis Care Team was tasked with responding to pressing needs within the congregation resulting from
Wayne Patterson recently led the FBC Pendleton team on its 35th disaster response trip. The team traveled to Adairsville, Ga., where they worked with CBF volunteers to rebuild a church destroyed in a tornado earlier this year.
an unexpected crisis such as death, illness or job loss. But, just a year after the team was established, a different kind of crisis emerged when Hurricane Katrina wrecked communities along the Gulf Coast from Florida to Louisiana. Patterson and his team took action and promptly responded to Katrina, gathering a group of church members who traveled with Cooperative Baptist Fellowship partner churches in South Carolina to Bayou La Batre, Ala., and Pascagoula, Miss. During its first trip to the Gulf Coast, the team cleaned out home after home filled with water and mud. This experience led Patterson and his team to commit to providing continued relief to the Gulf Coast communities and to respond to other disasters. Since the first trip in 2005, Patterson has led nearly three dozen relief trips to areas affected by other disasters including Hurricane Ike, Hurricane Gustav, the
Give to CBF Disaster Response and other life-changing ministries online at www.thefellowship.info/give. Connect with CBF and learn about opportunities to serve at www.thefellowship.info/serve.
tornadoes that ripped through Alabama in 2011 as well as flooding in Georgia. “Organizing groups is something I take pride in,” said Patterson, who serves on the newly-created CBF Governing Board. “Our trips are open to other churches. Most trips include a mixture of churches — our groups have been as small as four and as large as 50, but generally the group size is eight to 10.” Patterson said that God’s presence is what makes disaster response work powerful. “We work with the poorest survivors of the natural event — those that have no insurance or are underinsured. Many of the homes we work in are in bad shape before a storm. After leaving, the work we’ve completed usually provides far better living conditions. Very seldom do we feel anything but appreciation for our work and can feel reassured that we have been the presence of Christ to the families helped.” After nine years of disaster response ministry together, Patterson and his fellow team members have developed a warm camaraderie with one another, leading the team to discover new ways of serving in their own Pendleton community. Disaster response is a golden opportunity for CBF churches to give and serve, Patterson said. “Even though we are not usually included in the first responder group, we do have the staying power to help families get their lives back. Often we hear comments like, ‘We could make it without FEMA because they are here such a short time. But we couldn’t make it without the churches that continue to return over and over again to help.’” fellowship!
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church spotlight New Millennium Church serves Little Rock community in unity and purpose By Emily Holladay
– We praise and worship God, together.
– We welcome all persons in God’s love, together.
– We petition God, together.
– We live for God, in every breath and heartbeat, by the power
– We proclaim God, together.
Photos Courtesy of new Millennium Church
oin New Millennium Church in Little Rock, Ark., for worship any given Sunday, and you will hear this affirmation of unity and purpose enthusiastically recited by all gathered. Stay for any length of time, and you will see these words reflected in the way this congregation worships, serves, learns, loves and shares, together. Since June 2009, New Millennium has met weekly for worship and Bible study under the leadership of pastor Wendell Griffen, a judge for the Sixth Judicial Circuit of Arkansas. The church is aligned with the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship and the National Baptist Convention USA, and
of the Holy Spirit, as followers of Jesus Christ, together.
also maintains a strong partnership with the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of Arkansas. “When we first started, we all decided at the same time that we were looking for something more, something deeper, so we started meeting at Wendell’s house for Bible study. We were just so thrilled at the level of understanding that we got from his teaching and the genuineness of fellowship that we started thinking, ‘Why can’t we do this all the time?’” said Suzette Cannon, a charter member of New Millennium. The group now meets at Lakeshore Drive Baptist Church for worship, followed by a weekly book study, during which they read and discuss books from Radical Reconciliation:
Beyond Political Pietism and Christian Quietism by Allan Boesak and Curtiss Paul DeYoung to Rob Bell’s Velvet Elvis to Desmond Tutu’s God is not a Christian. Different church members take turns facilitating book discussions, and through their conversations New Millennium has been challenged and inspired to explore different ways of serving and being arbiters of justice in their community. “Leading our study of Radical Reconciliation helped me become more cognizant of what it means to follow Jesus and offer true forgiveness. The study helped me to look at things differently than I ever have before and move beyond what a person can give me to see the God in them — to see the humanity in them,” explained Regina Hunt, a New Millennium member. Digging into difficult topics, the church is often convicted to take action in their community to promote justice in sustainable ways. One major example of their involvement is a partnership started three years ago with Bale Elementary School, a nearby school with students from financially struggling families. Through Partners in Education, a program of the Little Rock school system, New Millennium began a long-term partnership with Bale Elementary to help families in non-conventional ways. “As we were trying to discover our mission, we realized that there were several educators in the Wendell Griffen represented CBF at the Evangelical Day of Prayer and Action for Immigration Reform in Washington, D.C., in July.
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A self-described “social justice church,” New Millennium regularly reads and discusses books on pressing justice issues and frequently hears from well-known prophetic preachers like J. Alfred Smith, Sr. (bottom right), pastor emeritus of Allen Temple Baptist Church in Oakland, Calif.
congregation, and thought we should find a way to work with the elementary school right down the street. So, we sat down with the principal, saw what needs existed and took action,” Cannon said. The church began the partnership with a uniform funding strategy, providing uniforms to students whose families could not afford them. But, wanting to form deeper relationships with the families, the group decided to develop a program to interact with and educate both students and their parents. Over the past three summers, New Millennium Church has developed and led an enrichment program for parents and children to learn life skills like managing time wisely, dealing with pressure, anger management and finding a moral basis for decision making. The parents and children come to New Millennium every night for two weeks during the summer for a meal and learning sessions led by church members. “We interact with the children through stories and help them see how the decisions made by the characters apply to their own lives. Sometimes, it takes us two or three days to get the meaning of the story across to the kids, so it’s a learning and growing process for us and the children,” said Joyce Williams, a member of New Millennium who helped start the Summer Enrichment Program. While the children are learning decision-making skills, their parents also take a class to learn skills that will help them better support their families, including role modeling, developing family traditions and managing responsibilities. “One lady I worked with was able to find a job, because she realized that she had more to offer to
her child and could do more for herself. We really try to teach the parents the value of self-empowerment and understanding your worth as a person so that you can be a better parent,” Hunt added. New Millennium is now working on ways to maintain these relationships, so they can help the families support each other while their children are back in school. In addition to the partnership with Bale Elementary, New Millennium actively seeks more ways to be involved in the fight against injustice in their community. “We are a social justice church. We’re always looking to help empower people who have no voice. Recently, we joined a missional coalition that was responding to research about the bullying of Hispanic students by African-American students in the community, and were successful at getting the school district to be more proactive about applying policies to
prevent bullying,” Hunt said. Church members can regularly be found at city council and school board meetings and other community action events speaking out for the rights of all people. “Every Sunday, pastor Griffen says that we should be working to correct the wrongs that have been done in our community. I’ve always been very proud of our church, because we go outside of our four walls and interact with our community. I’m proud of how we take action and the depth of action we take,” New Millennium member Ken Greenwood said. From the first moments of their worship service on Sunday until returning the next week, the members of New Millennium Church truly live out their affirmation of unity and purpose. They strive to “live for God, in every breath and heartbeat, by the power of the Holy Spirit, as followers of Jesus Christ, together.”
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Campbell University Divinity School Campbell University Divinity School opened its doors in August 1996, a year earlier than planned because of the high demand for Christ-centered theological and seven countries. The divinity school was the sixth school of Campbell University, joining the School of Arts and Sciences and four other graduate schools — Business, Education, Law and Pharmacy and Health Sciences. Beginning this academic year, Campbell Divinity School is offering two additional certificates for students who are already involved in ministry and are not degreeseeking. Certificates in biblical studies and youth ministry are a part of an intentional effort to build community with flexibility and convenience. In addition, the divinity school continues to build on the resources of a rapidly growing
Courtesy of Campbell University Divinity School
education. Today, the school boasts more than 500 graduates serving in 30 states
university, and beginning this academic year, will offer a dual Master of Divinity and Juris Doctor degree in partnership with the Norman Adrian Wiggins School of Law. This dual degree joins the Master of Divinity/Master of Business Administration and Master of Divinity/Master of Arts in Mental Health Counseling dual degree programs.
“Campbell Divinity School
welcomes students from a wide range of denominations. This welcoming attitude is not in spite of, but rather because of our intentional foundation in Campbell University’s strong Baptist identity — an identity grounded in the historic Baptist principles of soul competency, priesthood of the believer and religious liberty. We share these Baptist principles with the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, and from the first day have seen CBF as a key partner in our efforts to train ministers for service that is defined, not by narrow doctrinal boundaries, but rather by the shared and generous commitment to be Christ-centered, Bible-based and Ministry-focused.”
Andy Wakefield, Dean, Campbell University Divinity School
Campbell University Divinity School has partnered with the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship since its
Campbell Divinity was named one of CBF’s four identity partner schools. The divinity school collaborates with CBF to train ministers of the Gospel serving in a variety of ways through churches, local ministries, hospitals and other institutions as well as global missions. The school fosters this partnership through equipping traditional and non-traditional students for ministry, along with providing ministers with continuing education opportunities. CBF and Campbell Divinity partner to offer occasions for continuing education in preaching, church starting and ministerial conferences. The divinity school provides meeting space and personnel, financial and promotional resources for CBF events.
Bo Prosser, CBF Ministries Coordinator
Partnership founding in 1996 and had its first student receive a CBF leadership scholarship in 1998. In 2006,
continues to be a vital partner in preparing young ministers for vocational ministry. The faculty and staff have consistently and creatively sought ways to be a good partner with CBF in providing quality theological education.”
Location: Buies Creek, North Carolina Website: divinity.campbell.edu Building on its noble mission statement to be “Christ-centered, Bible-based and Ministryfocused,” Campbell University Divinity School provides excellent programs in academic studies, professional leadership skills and spiritual growth. Together, faculty, staff and students bond as a spiritual family to form
CBF also provides scholarship assistance, leadership development, internships and encouragement
this unique community of scholarship, fellow-
in a myriad of additional ways to Campbell students and graduates.
ship and service.
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CBF Church starting 101 By David King
tarting new churches has always been part of CBF’s mission, and its importance within our Fellowship continues to grow. Some people ask, “Don’t we already have a church on every corner?” Others wonder, “With so many established churches struggling, should we not first reinvest our resources there?” Although there are areas with an overabundance of churches, many places have
very few or no options. Starting new churches allows for new partnerships and missional engagement for a brighter future together.
Why start new churches? Numerous studies agree that new churches are best at reaching unchurched and dechurched (former churchgoers) populations. New churches are also better at reaching younger generations, new residents and new socio-cultural groups. Many express an unwillingness to enter an established church because of past experiences, personal preconceptions or out of a fear of unfamiliar language and traditions. But, many find new churches easier to enter and get involved. New churches are often more responsive to new contexts. If a community has no active church presence or has changed so that the current congregations cannot reach the entire population, a new church can tailor itself to a target population. A diversity of churches in an area can transform faith communities into one of shared mission rather than existing as competitors of scarce resources. CBF needs to start new churches because it is in our DNA. Numbers are important, but church starts are never simply about counting baptisms or adding names to the membership roll. Church starts are about being on mission and expanding the Kingdom of God. Because we are excited
about sharing who we are and whose we are, we should hope that our movement can multiply new churches, through which we will grow and develop more vital connections together as a Fellowship.
What is CBF church starting? In contrast to some groups, CBF is not tied to a single model of church starting. If each church is indeed contextual and organic, it should emerge out of its particular cultural setting. There is no one type of CBF church start. Some of CBF’s newest churches have brought together Hispanic or African immigrants to meet in homes or spaces offered by established congregations. New churches come in many varieties and appeal to all ages. CBF has recently started churches in retirement villages as well as among young professionals moving back into the hearts of urban cities. CBF church starts meet in all kinds of spaces. One new church meets in a mobile home park, another rents space from a suburban elementary school, while another has taken over a century-old sanctuary from a church that is closing its doors. CBF church starts are not committed to any particular worship style. Some have
contemporary music. Others value traditional hymns and ancient liturgies. Many are a mix of the above. CBF church starts strive to reflect their cultural contexts. That often means making the intentional commitment to develop multi-racial and diverse socio-economic communities. Like the Kingdom of God, church starts come in all shapes and sizes.
Why is church starting important for CBF? While being part of a church start is not everyone’s calling, neither should church starting be set aside as a specialized ministry distinct from the work of the congregation. If we are serious about reaching out beyond our walls, we may find a need our church can’t meet or a context where our church can’t connect, where a new congregation can. Helping to launch new churches opens opportunities for service, leadership and engagement. Church starts make us stronger as a Fellowship by providing new ways to connect. And it might serve to revitalize established churches through continued self-examination, renewal and rebirth.
What next? CBF’s New Church Starts Initiative provides resources for individuals considering planting a church, core groups interested in establishing a CBF presence in their community and established congregations interested in supporting CBF’s church starting efforts throughout the United States. If you or your church are interested in partnering with CBF or considering starting a church, we would love to explore these possibilities with you. Contact David King, CBF New Church Starts Associate, at email@example.com and visit www.thefellowship.info/churchstarts.
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CBF church starters use creativity to build community
“It’s been affirming to have the backing of a fellowship that will say they believe in me and want to support me in this endeavor,” said Wesley Craig, a CBF church starter commissioned at the 2013 General Assembly. Craig recognized the need for a different expression of church life in Southtown, an extremely diverse urban community in San Antonio, Texas, with residents of differing socio-economic statuses. “There was something pushing me to explore this possibility, and as scary as it was, my heart and mind were set on it,” Craig said. That “something” was God. After many conversations and much prayer, Craig began a church, still unnamed, that he felt best reflected Southtown. Nontraditional, this ecumenical union church identifies
with two Christian groups — the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship and the United Methodist Church. CBF’s willingness to partner with a non-Baptist group was exactly the support that Craig needed. “We value and need a larger community. These are two traditions we feel naturally connected to,” Craig explained. Harry Rowland, missional congregations director for CBF, is a strong advocate for church starting and mentor to church starters. Rowland understands the desire of ministers to be able to respond to their call to start a church. “If we are truly serious about building and growing the Kingdom, it is going to take new churches,” Rowland said. “New churches reach new people — people who are not attending and will not attend an ex-
Wesley Craig Photo; Mosaic Photo
very Sunday night, a group huddles around a television to watch their favorite show, “The Walking Dead.” These friends meet in the living room of Andy Hale, pastor of Mosaic of Clayton in Clayton, N.C., and a Cooperative Baptist Fellowship church starter. One zombie at a time, Hale and Mosaic members connect with each other and their community. CBF — through the New Church Starts Initiative — provides resources to those who feel God’s call to start a new congregation. Church starters take part in a 10-week discernment process and online cohort, and CBF provides coaching to church starters and facilitates a network for additional support.
By Katelyn McWilliams
(Above) CBF church starter Wesley Craig leads a community group in a Bible study over dinner at a local bicycle shop — one of many creative locations where CBF church starts meet. (Right) Mosaic of Clayton builds community by offering prayer and support to one another.
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“If we are truly serious about building and growing the Kingdom, it is going to take new churches. New churches reach new people.” — Harry Rowland
isting church. CBF’s church starting strategy encourages creative church starting.”
Creatively building community The word “creative” accurately describes Mosaic of Clayton, a church start located in a community that is moving beyond its agriculture-dominated past to embrace new businesses, hospitals, recreational opportunities and other economic development. With affinity groups designed to build candid relationships based on shared mutual interests ranging from Pinterest to books to beverages, members experience community with one another on a weekly basis. “Our desire is to reach the people who don’t want to go to a traditional church, both the dechurched and unchurched, through
genuine community,” Hale said. “Our hope is to be a Christ-centered community for all ages and socio-economic backgrounds. We hope to serve as an authentic Christian community for those who have not realized the full potential of their relationship with Christ and for those with a jaded perspective of Christ and his followers.” Halfway across the country in west Texas is new CBF church starter Robert Cheatheam, pastor of Pleasant Hills Country Church in Abilene. Cheatheam was driving one day on the north side of Abilene when he noticed a mobile home park. “I had driven by it many times,” Cheatheam said. “It seemed to be a ‘drive by’ and avoided area. I knew this was where God wanted my wife and me to start a new church.”
Cheatheam felt led to start a congregation that ministers creatively to the outcast and marginalized, letting them know they are accepted and loved just as they are. The average person that Pleasant Hills seeks to serve is hard-working and blue-collar; many juggling multiple jobs to make ends meet. “Ten years ago, we lived in a mobile home park for a period of time,” Cheatheam added. “We understand the deep predjudice and judgmental attitude people have toward mobile home dwellers. We feel strongly about living on the ‘mission field,’ and so we have moved into the park.”
Being and serving “in the world” Two hundred miles southeast of Abilene is Williamson County, Texas, where Kyle
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When Andy Hale is not discussing zombies over an episode of “The Walking Dead,” he too spends much time “in the world” — in restaurants, coffee shops and outdoors in Mosaic’s community garden. “For many, the day and age is gone where people will simply come walking up to your church out of interest,” Hale noted. “Instead, people want to connect through relationships. The majority of people who have connected to Mosaic have been the result of someone investing time into that person’s life.” A mother and daughter found Mosaic’s garden while walking down Main Street in downtown Clayton. Designed to be a place for physical, emotional and spiritual renewal, the garden is home to 10 agricultural beds and a place for prayer. Upon discovering the garden and learning about Mosaic’s
vision, the mother and daughter began sponsoring a bed. Through their involvement, a member of Mosaic invited them to church, and the entire family attended the following Sunday. “The Raper family has fallen in love with Mosaic, and we in turn have fallen in love with them,” Hale said. The mother now serves as Mosaic’s part-time accountant. In Abilene, Cheatheam and the Pleasant Hills congregation hope to connect with people through country dancing. The surrounding area lacks venues that offer a clean and safe environment, but the people love to dance. “We plan on hosting dancing here in Abilene,” Cheatheam said, joking, “Who has ever heard of a Baptist church hosting a dance?”
Grace Baptist Photo; cbf Photo
Tubbs, pastor of Grace Baptist Church and CBF church starter, serves a more traditional, albeit progressive-minded, congregation. Tubbs and Grace Baptist minister primarily among commuters to the nearby Austin area. Tubbs says the lack of congregational traditions and formal history is a great advantage to starting a church. “You get to set the culture. You get to create with God from nothing,” Tubbs explained. Many church starts rent rather than own a building, which some might see as a disadvantage, but Tubbs views renting as a perk in that his office is out “in the world” among the people he serves. “I am out in Williamson County every day. I spend much of my time having coffee, eating meals and getting drinks with people in the community.”
(Above) Kyle Tubbs’ Grace Baptist Church often meets in the homes of church members for fellowship and worship. (Right) Mosaic of Clayton recently took their first mission trip to Atlanta, Ga., where they served in a food pantry.
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All four of these CBF church starters look for oppportunities to creatively and effectively serve their communities. For Craig, an outing to the local farmers market, where he met the coordinator of the market’s weekly bazaar, resulted in an idea for an outreach opportunity. In October, Craig’s church will provide a canvas and ask those passing by to express their relationship with God through painting. “Some might walk across it while others might dance or stomp. It is up to them to decide how they want to express themselves,” Craig said. After a passerby paints the canvas, the church will offer to wash the person’s feet and say a prayer.
Congregations often partner with new church starts financially, but more than money is needed. Gifted volunteers are needed too. According to Cheatheam, “The biggest challenge for us is getting musicians to come help us with worship.” These church starters emphasized that young churches need volunteers willing to help when specific needs arise, from donating chairs to helping network. While the target audience for many new church starts is not regular churchgoers, mature and committed Christians are still a necessity. “We need Christians who have a solid background and maturity to their faith, so we do need people who are churched, even though that’s not who we are trying to reach,” Craig said.
Rowland stresses that church starters need partnerships both with churches and individuals to meet their diverse needs. “CBF church starters are courageous people. They journey forward in faith, facing challenges such as being bi-vocational, having limited resources, lack of facilities, transportation and even the infrastructure to facilitate a block party.” “The only thing more difficult than facing hard challenges and making tough decisions is having to do so alone. Each CBF church starter needs other churches and individuals to partner and help with finances, volunteer to lead music or teach a Bible study class and let them periodically use church facilities, the church grill or bus,” Rowland said. “Prayers are needed and those who will follow those prayers with partnerships, reminding church starters they are not alone.”
Pleasant Hills Country Church, started by Robert Cheatheam (back row, second from right) held a Vacation Bible School over the summer in a local mobile home park in Abilene, Texas.
More than money
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Women respond through church starting
Photos courtesy of mcafee school of theology
ccording to Pam Durso, executive director of Baptist Women in Ministry, females made up 40 percent of the student population attending Cooperative Baptist Fellowship’s partner theological schools in 2012-2013. With so many women attending and graduating from CBF partner seminaries and divinity schools, a popular question asked is: “How and where in Baptist life will these women find ministry positions?” George Bullard, president of The Co-
By Emily Holladay
lumbia Partnership, suggested in a recent Associated Baptist Press column that this generation of women in ministry should consider starting churches. “We need more congregations that are started with the joyous spirit of the first century Christians, and are possessed by an innovative style with which they express the good news. ... Perhaps it will take several dozen Baptist women in ministry risking and stepping out on their own to create a new church planting movement among moderate to progressive Baptists,” Bullard wrote.
CBF offers training, mentorship and commissioning for ministers seeking to start churches. Though women do not make up a large percentage of these church starters, CBF is eager to support women called to start churches and celebrate with them as their ministry flourishes. Three such women are Carrie Dean, Susan Rogers and Linda Jones. Each started a church within the past four years. They started churches in different areas, with different goals, but their stories show the valuable gifts women bring to church starting and the joy they share for their ministries.
Carrie Dean (above) prays with a congregant at Edgewood Church in Atlanta, an urban church that she started with her husband Nathan.
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Forty percent of students attending Cooperative Baptist Fellowship’s partner theological schools in 2012-2013 were women.
Edgewood Church, Atlanta, Ga. Carrie Dean and her husband, Nathan, were students in an Urban Ministry class at Mercer University’s McAfee School of Theology when they felt called to start a church in Atlanta. As a requirement for the class, they visited many Atlanta-area nonprofits and interviewed their leadership. When the Deans asked the leaders where they receive their support, “churches” was the most common answer for both financial resources and volunteers. Driving around the city, the Deans noticed that many churches were shutting down, and began to ask themselves, “What would the future of Atlanta look like without these churches?” Over time and through significant networking efforts, their passion became evident to many in the Atlanta area who chose to support the couple financially and through volunteer efforts, including the Atlanta Metro Baptist Association, CBF, the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of Georgia and CBF-partner churches. In October 2010, the Deans began hosting worship services at a local middle school. The couple moved to Atlanta’s Edgewood neighborhood with their newborn son, and sought to build a church that reflected and made a positive impact on their urban community. “Our hope is that if people see the church as being good for something in the world, they might start thinking that there is something more to this whole ‘Jesus thing,’” Carrie said. Edgewood Church now has between 4560 people attending services every Sunday morning. And, working alongside her husband, Carrie has noticed some interesting differences in being a female church starter.
“Being a female pastor in our neighborhood, people are intrigued rather than put off by the title of ‘pastor.’ For about the first year, people called me the ‘First Lady!’” Carrie laughed.
susan rogers Photo
The Well at Springfield, Jacksonville, Fla. In 2008, Susan Rogers was serving as a resiThe Well at Springfield, a CBF church start pastored by Susan Rogers, dent at Peachtree Baptist often meets in different places in Jacksonville, Fla., to maintain a visible, Church in Atlanta when vibrant presence in the community. she recognized a calling CBF Florida. Her home church, Hendricks to pastoral ministry. She loved this church Avenue Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Fla., because of its willingness to take risks and its strong emphasis on social ministry with- also partnered with her by offering office space, prayer, financial resources and a in the community. As her residency came support team. to a close, Rogers hoped she could carry The relationship with Hendricks Avenue these aspects of Peachtree Baptist with her continues to be vital, with people from that to the next church she served. congregation committed to worshipping Around the same time, the Cooperative and serving with this new church, The Well Baptist Fellowship of Florida announced at Springfield, and volunteering at many of that they planned to sponsor a strategic the community events hosted by The Well. church starter, and began a conversation Rogers found the Springfield communiwith Rogers. “I envisioned someone who ty in Jacksonville to be the perfect place to was very entrepreneurial. I envisioned a start a new church in a diverse and eclectic male, because that’s all I knew of church community. A year before her first service, starters. I didn’t know a single woman who Rogers began intentionally connecting with started a church,” Rogers said. and getting to know Springfield residents. “One of the pivotal moments for me “I chose a very grassroots, organic was going to a conference in Washington, way of starting The Well, versus a launch. D.C., put on by the TransFORM missional I knew from my own experiences that community network. The first speaker was there were many people who were very a woman who had five children and had cynical about church. We were trying to started a church. It gave me confidence to get the word out about a church where hear her story.” you could do things differently, where Rogers returned to CBF Florida with a you could be honest and where you could new passion for church starting, and began find a safe space that offers an intersection a discernment process with both CBF and fellowship!
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Linda Jones Via Faith Community, Winston-Salem, N.C. Linda Jones’ first experience in church starting was in 1985, when she was part of a leadership team that planted a church in Connecticut with the Southern Baptist Convention’s Home Mission Board. But, nearly five years ago, Jones felt called to do it again. Supported financially by the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of North Carolina, Jones began discussions about what a missional church start would look like. One year later, the church — called Via Faith Community — began meeting for worship in a community arts center in Winston-Salem. “We felt that this was the emerging worship expression for the future, and
Resourcing church starters Each of these women started churches to address the unique needs of their community. And because of their niche, they are able to minister to people who might not otherwise step in the doors of a church. But church starting is not easy and established churches can help provide
Linda Jones (left), pastor of Via Faith Community, poses with one of the Via Faith interns from Wake Forest University School of Divinity.
much needed resources for church starters. “The groundwork education needed for church starting is generally not taught in seminary classes, but education and training, especially in the areas of funding and strategic planning, need to be available. We need to do a better job of providing these resources to women and men church starters,” Pam Durso said. “We also need to provide them with mentors who have walked where they are walking. Church starting is much harder if you have nowhere to turn with your questions, no one to encourage and support you during the challenging times. Fortunately, mentors can be provided at a minimal cost and can have huge benefits.”
susan rogers Photo
When Susan Rogers started The Well, she aimed to create a community that reflects the diversity of the Springfield neighborhood.
no one else was doing it. So, we felt that there was a space for emergent expression. Winston-Salem is called ‘City of the Arts,’ so we thought we could be a space for the many artists, musicians and painters in the area,” Jones said. Together, Via Faith Community has shifted from a worship emphasis to a focus on serving and learning. They meet weekly for community meals and discussions on how to live authentic spiritual lifestyles. Every member is considered a leader, and each person is encouraged to participate in worship and community group leadership. “I love worshipping with the people of Via Faith. There’s a genuineness of being with each other and worshipping God together. It’s very life-giving, and that’s what keeps me going. It just feels like genuine worship,” Jones added.
Photo courtesy of Wake forest university
of people from diverse backgrounds,” Rogers explained. The church has grown to more than 40 people and meets at the City Kidz Event Center every Sunday for an interactive worship service, and weekly for community dinner and discussion groups. The Well has become a place where people come to follow the way of Jesus together.
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Photo courtesy of Wake forest university
Via Faith Community meets weekly for a fellowship meal and Bible study at a local arts center.
A unique calling So, what are the options for the multiplying number of female seminary graduates? Church starting is certainly one of them, as women can be uniquely situated to start a church. Rogers recalls some encouragement given to her as a female considering church starting. “The nurturing ability of a woman to bring something new into life is a powerful gift for church starting. The image of a midwife has always been on my mind as I was starting The Well. I was an instrument to help it come into life,” Rogers said. For women, church starting can have a significant impact on the make-up of the congregation. Whether a female pastor is intriguing or her gender is simply not an
issue for church members, you likely will not find those uncomfortable with women in ministry drawn to a church started by a woman. “Automatically, there are people who will not come to The Well, because there is a female pastor. So, where we could have drawn a lot of disgruntled members from other churches looking for the new, latest, greatest hit church, they are not going to be drawn to a church pastored by a woman,” Rogers continued. While church starting is a route to fulfill a calling to ministry, and CBF is invested in helping men and women explore this call, it is certainly not for everyone. “Church starting requires a unique calling and a specific skill set. It’s not something you do because you can’t do anything else or you
can’t find a ministry outlet. Church starting has to be your calling, your dream, and for those who are drawn to starting a new church, it certainly is a wonderful avenue of ministry,” Durso said. Susan Rogers, Linda Jones and Carrie Dean started churches out of dreams to respond to the varied needs of their communities. Their passion for church starting is evident in the work they do and the commitment they have shown throughout these years of visioning, fundraising, planning, relationship building and worshipping. “If you’re interested in starting a church, take the discernment process seriously,” Rogers said. “Listen to your giftedness and sense of calling. Trust the vision that you sense taking hold of you, and trust that you are enough.” fellowship!
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Missions Education Resource How to use this page
The suggestions below will be helpful for using the stories on pages 10-17 of this issue in the life of your church. Small Group interaction, Study Group or Reading Group options are given, as well as suggestions for other congregational or family settings. Go online to www.thefellowship.info/affectonline for more suggestions.
In Small Groups:
The following is an outline for adult mission groups, Bible study classes or other small groups. Share copies of fellowship! with group members prior to the meeting and have extra copies available. These suggestions are for a 45-minute time frame. 1. This session centers on female church starters featured in this issue of fellowship!. Gather copies to distribute to participants. Read the article titled “Women respond through church starting” to help you guide the discussion. 2. Start by asking how many people know someone who has been hurt or disillusioned by the church. Allow brief discussions on why such people have left the church — and why they don’t return. 3. Say, “Sometimes people who will not come to a regular church service might participate in a new church start. New church starts often approach church life in different ways that allow people to engage or re-engage with their faith.” 4. Introduce the three women in the article: Carrie Dean, Susan Rogers and Linda Jones. Note that each person helped create a church start unique to her neighborhood. For Dean, it’s an economically disadvantaged area in a major city; for Rogers, an eclectic neighborhood called Springfield; for Jones, an arts community. 5. Observe that while women often face challenges finding a pastorate in an existing church, the call to start new churches creates an opportunity for
women to serve and provides ways to reach out to those without a faith community.
Cooperative baptiSt fellowShip | www.thefellowShip.info
6. Focus on the opportunities for service, community and spiritual conversation each church provides. Ask, “Why do you think people disillusioned with the institutional church might still be willing to help put together a neighborhood children’s fair or join in a community potluck meal? How might this nurture their relationship with Jesus?”
Serving Christians and churches as they discover and fulfill their God-given mission
predatory lending baptists confront a neglected justice issue
7. Note that the early church often gathered for fellowship meals or “love feasts” (Jude 1:12, Acts 2:46). These meals were essential to their life together and often preceded or followed a time of prayer and worship. 8. Pray for Carrie Dean, Susan Rogers and Linda Jones, the church starts they lead and for CBF churches to support these vital expressions of the body of Christ. Also pray for those on the Prayer Calendar on p. 4 who celebrate birthdays this month.
Around the Table: At Home 1. Read the two articles about church starters so you can share about these ministries. 2. Ask those around the table, “What’s one of your favorite things to do?” Allow everyone time to offer several answers. 3. Note that there are likely others in your church or neighborhood who like those things, too. Say, “I recently read about new churches that encourage ‘affinity groups’ — people getting together around a shared interest or hobby.” 4. Explain that there is one church that focuses on the arts (Via Faith Community, Linda Jones) and another that watches their favorite TV show together every week (Mosaic of Clayton). 5. Ask, “What kind of affinity group would you like to be a part of?” 6. Explain that sometimes people who wouldn’t attend a regular church service might be more likely to participate in a group that focuses on one of their interests. 7. Invite them to think about how often Jesus ate with or just hung out with people away from actual worship services. Remind everyone that Jesus welcomed the children when the disciples tried to send them away (Mark 10:13-16).
8. Say, “Affinity groups might be a great way for believers to reach out to people who think church isn’t for them.” Invite everyone to pray for the church starts that are reaching out to people who aren’t part of a faith community.
In Reading Groups Anne Lamott, Help, Thanks, Wow: The Three Essential Prayers (Penguin Group, 2012) In her most recent book on faith, Anne Lamott talks about three prayers, which she names as “help,” “thanks” and “wow.” But this isn’t a typical book on prayer. Both inspirational and humorous, this book invites readers to ponder spiritual practices in a new and fresh way. Throughout the book, Lamott shares her own experiences of faith in a way that allows readers to learn through experiences of “trial-and-error.”
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collin robertson Photo
The problem of
Baptists confront a neglected justice issue By Aaron Weaver
eet Elliott. Elliott is a Vietnam War veteran. Like a growing number of Americans, Elliott is underemployed and has lived paycheck to paycheck for quite some time. An emergency savings fund is a privilege that he has not been able to afford. When his wife Linda fell and broke her leg, Elliott panicked. With Linda unable to work, how would they make the next mortgage payment? To save their modest home, Elliott took out a $500 “payday” loan. But, that small payday loan proved to be a bad decision, if he even had a real choice. One loan led to another and then another. Elliott was forced to take out additional loans, a loan to pay for the last loan. Two years later, he was trapped, paying the lender $450 every two weeks, never able to touch the principal for all the interest. Elliott eventually lost his home, spending more than $30,000 in the process. Elliott shared his very personal story with Jeanie McGowan, associate pastor at First Baptist Church of Jefferson City, Mo., and former CBF Coordinating Council member. “He couldn’t tell the story without tears,” McGowan observed. Unfortunately, Elliott’s story is far from unique.
At a meeting of the New Baptist Covenant in Oklahoma in 2009, Stephen Reeves, then public policy director for the Texas Baptist Christian Life Commission, shared the story of a military veteran who took out a $4,000 title loan against his truck to help his daughter. Not able to pay off the loan in full, this veteran was charged a $1,200 penalty fee per month. “He could pay $1,200 each month forever and never pay off that loan,” Reeves told the crowd. A recent study by Pew Charitable Trust found that 12 million Americans take out at least one payday loan each year. These predatory loans allow a borrower to postdate a personal check for a small amount plus a fee, payable to the lender, in return for cash. The borrower is then obligated to pay back the entire loan at his or her next “payday,” generally due 14 days later. Interest rates on payday loans are usurious, often exceeding 500 percent for a two-week loan. In Texas, the average borrower is likely to pay in excess of $800 for a $300 loan. Annual percentage rates on payday loans average just over 444 percent in Missouri, where rates on such loans can legally rise to as much as 1,950 percent. The Insight Center for Community Economic Development determined that payday loans cost the slowly-recovering U.S. economy almost one billion dollars and more than 14,000 jobs in 2011. Their
study concluded that, had consumers not paid predatory lenders $3.3 billion in interest, the economy would have enjoyed a $6.34 billion boost in economic activity and created 79,000 jobs. The U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has accused the payday loan industry of “trapping borrowers in a cycle of debt.” Yet, only 15 states have banned this form of predatory lending. Recent data has shown that — not including online lenders — there are more than 24,000 payday loan locations nationwide. “Predatory lending is perhaps the most neglected justice issue in Baptist churches,” according to Robert Parham, executive director of the Nashville-based Baptist Center for Ethics (BCE), a CBF partner. Fortunately, there are a few exceptions to this troubling truth. Parham himself is one such exception having written many columns challenging Baptists on this subject. In 2010, Parham’s EthicsDaily.com, an imprint of BCE, produced an hourlong documentary on faith and taxes titled “Sacred Texts, Sacred Duty,” that featured Baptist pastors discussing the problem of predatory lending. Over the last few years, another CBF partner, the Texas Baptist Christian Life Commission (CLC), has led the charge for payday loan reform in that state, which is the corporate headquarters for industry fellowship!
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... payday loans cost the slowlyrecovering U.S. economy almost $1 billion and more than 14,000 jobs in 2011.
Reason foR fiRst Loan
Pew Safe Small-Dollar Loans Research Project, 2012.
giants Ace Cash Express, EZ Money and Cash America International. Until recently, the payday loan industry in Texas had been completely unregulated. “There were almost no controls or regulations in Texas. Lenders only had to register with the Texas Finance Commission,” said Stephen Reeves. In 2011, led by then-director Suzii Paynter and Reeves, the CLC formed a diverse faith-based coalition that successfully helped to pass two bills in the Texas legislature to regulate the payday industry. Now, the state is allowed to collect information about payday lenders and lenders are required to disclose to the borrower repayment amounts in two weeks, one month, two months and three months. Due to the intense lobbying efforts of the powerful payday industry, the CLC’s coalition was unable to set limits on payday fees. Nor was it able to cap the interest rate, averaging 417 percent. A second effort to reform the payday industry in Texas failed earlier this year, dying in committee having never received a vote. Baptists in other states have faced steep uphill fights too. The same year that the Texas CLC scored a small victory against the payday industry, Baptists in Missouri saw their efforts stalled in the legislature and then complicated by legal technicalities in 2012. Baptist leaders such as Jeanie McGowan joined up with other faith leaders to back a bill that would have capped the payday loan interest rate at 36 percent, prohibited loan renewals and mandated a 90-day payback period along with required partial payments. When their effort bogged down in committee, these faith leaders launched a petition to get payday reform on the ballot, to allow Missourians the opportunity to vote to cap the interest rate at 36 percent.
recurring expenses 69%
regular expenses 53% e.g. utilities, car payment, credit card
rent/ mortgage food unexpected/ emergency expense
8% 5% don’t know 2% other
McGowan and staff and church members of FBC Jefferson City worked together to secure signatures on the petition. “We gathered twice as many signatures as we needed to get the measure on the ballots, but the payday industry outspent us on legalities, bringing up issues that could not be solved before the election,” McGowan said. When the legal firm representing payday lenders sent several clergy a threatening (and false) letter warning that their petition drive endangered the tax-exempt status of their churches — punishable by a fine or even jail time — McGowan did not cower. “The bullying was helpful in our congregation,” she explained. “If anything gets a bunch of Baptists upset, it’s when someone threatens their freedom of choice.” The failure to pass substantial legislative reforms has not slowed down Bryan Richardson and Charles Wedge, both associate pastors at First Baptist Church of San Antonio. “What struck us was that there was this need in our communities that could only be partially addressed by legislation. We knew there were people who desperately needed money,” Richardson noted. Through Together for the City, a loose consortium of San Antonio churches and civic leaders partnering to promote the
common good, Richardson and Wedge participated in an effort to assess the impact of payday lending in their city and identify possible alternative lending models to pursue. “We looked for a holistic solution that encompassed financial education and a lending alternative that would foster financial growth among the economic underclasses of our community,” Wedge added. What Richardson, Wedge and the group came up with was an organization called Freedom First, set to launch later this year. Freedom First, in partnership with a community credit union, aims to help the working poor secure small loans and save money. “First Baptist Church has allocated monies that will help us have meetings and do public relations. But, we’re not going to be the bank nor will other churches. The beauty is that these folks will be partakers of the financial system. They will be in the lending economy. That means that they can repair their credit, build up an emergency rainy-day fund and will also be members of a credit union,” Richardson said. Richardson hopes that Freedom First will prove to be an alternative lending model that can be replicated throughout the state. They believe innovative approaches such as theirs will be successful and prompt larger and much-needed conversations about meaningful reforms to the payday industry. “We think our model will eventually give evidence that there is another way. It may take some time. Eventually, I think the tide will turn when people see political proof of concept, that something like this can actually exist and work, and that’s when we can begin to talk about real reform.” Church for the Highlands, a CBF church start in Shreveport, La., is another church taking an imaginative approach to the
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... had consumers not paid predatory lenders $3.3 billion in interest, the economy would have enjoyed a $6.34 billion boost.
john henson Photo
problem of predatory lending. When pastor John Henson started the church barely three years ago, they received a small grant from CBF to begin a sustainable financial services ministry in their urban community, which featured a dozen payday lenders within a mile’s reach of the congregation. So, the church purchased an ATM. “We decided that to make a dent in [the payday problem] and see some change in the neighborhood, we’d have to start with something very simple like an ATM and find a way to build a little bit of trust,” Henson explained. In Louisiana, qualifying low-income residents are issued a debit card dubbed the “Louisiana Purchase Card” that allows those receiving cash benefits to withdraw the funds at participating ATMs. Convenience stores in the Highland community hit customers with a $5 fee (or higher in some cases) to use their ATM. The Church for the Highlands installed an ATM and charged only a nominal fee of 50 cents to pay for the machine’s operating costs. With the automated teller machine in place, Church for the Highlands added another inexpensive component to their financial ministry and became an Internal Revenue Service-certified tax assistance site, providing free tax filing assistance and helping low-income taxpayers to secure the benefits that they have earned. “We looked around the neighborhood and saw H&R Block, Walmart and others in the predatory lending business, doing tax preparation and offering ‘instant returns,’ which is a myth; there’s no such thing,” Henson pointed out. Tax preparers — an unregulated multibillion dollar industry — such as Liberty Tax Service and Jackson Hewitt Tax Service (which operates in more than 2,000 Walmart stores), offers financial products
that function as costly short-term loans with steep interest rates and exorbitant fees in exchange for tax preparation services. These products called Refund Anticipation Loans (RAL) and Refund Anticipation Checks (RAC) target low-income workers promising an “instant” or “quick” tax refund. While federally regulated banks have recently been forced out of the RAL business, payday lenders have swooped in to underwrite these tax-time loans. The third part of the church’s strategy was to partner with a credit union. “We partnered with a state credit union with a great reputation for helping low-income people and those with bad credit ratings,” Henson said. Out of this partnership, Pelican State Credit Union opened up a branch in the building where Church for the Highlands meets, the site of an old Baptist church that closed its doors in the 1990s and has been turned into a large community center operated by Volunteers of America. The facility now features nearly 40 different programs to help meet the needs of the Highland neighborhood. Henson and the congregation used part of its grant funds from CBF to collateralize loans that the credit union would provide to people in their community. “It’s become a really neat partnership,” Henson added.
New businesses are being developed as a result of these loans. One Highlands member has started a small hair salon that operates in the community center where the church meets. The church co-signed a loan for the woman, who had overcome personal challenges, to purchase a stylist chair and other equipment. Henson emphasized the importance of community partnerships in combating the problem of predatory lending. “Our purpose statement is, ‘We exist to bless the Highland neighborhood with the love of Jesus through community partnerships.’ The overall goal, and we are seeing this happen, is that through our partnerships with Volunteers of America, churches and credit unions, we see a combined effort to make measurable change in the neighborhood, and it is helping the Highland community see the benefit of working together.” These partnerships and faith-based coalitions around the problem of predatory lending are transforming communities from Missouri to Texas to Louisiana. Although still a severely neglected justice issue among Baptists, these Baptists are putting forward models for other people of faith to follow. And in doing so, they are offering a reminder about our holistic role in God’s mission. “Wherever we live, we’re part of a community. What can we as the church do to minister to the community, not just to ourselves inside the church walls, but outside to make a difference?” Jeanie McGowan said. “We want to help those that have felt voiceless know that they do have a voice and that we are listening and want to know, what are the issues keeping people in the community awake at night. What can we do to help them be empowered? God has called us to this.” fellowship!
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Podgaiskys help Kiev’s orphans find families By Greg Warner In the parable of the Good Samaritan, the unlikely hero didn’t stop with “binding up the wounds” of the victim of street crime. He also carried him to shelter — and paid for it. What happened next? Jesus didn’t tell us. But if Mina and
Gennady Podgaisky were involved, they would have found the victim a real home, if he needed it, and a real family.
CBF field personnel Gennady and Mina Podgaisky work in Kiev, Ukraine where they offer hope to orphan street children.
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hat’s the mission of the Podgaiskys [pod-GUY-skees], longtime CBF field personnel ministering in Kiev, the capital of Ukraine. Like the Good Samaritan, the Podgaiskys rescue people from the streets of Kiev where thousands of children, mostly orphans, mistreated and abandoned, live on the streets, in basements and in tunnels under the city. Since 2003, the Podgaiskys have focused much of their time on these children, who are the product of more than two decades of societal neglect. Working with a coalition of Christian ministries, Mina and Gennady [gi-NAH-dee] have seen their ministry mature and evolve — from feeding and clothing orphans in order to keep them alive to placing them in foster homes and giving them a real chance at life. National calamity created the crisis of street children in the Ukraine. The downfall of the Soviet system in the 1990s, then the economic collapse that followed, threw many families into poverty and despair, said Mina Podgaisky, a native of Mexico. Stress on families resulted in increased alcoholism, domestic violence and family breakup. Many parents were unable to care for their children, and the Soviet social safety net was gone. The few orphanages that re-
In addition to providing food, clothing, medicine and other necessities to street children, Mina Podgaisky (top left) has developed a widely-used manual for youth, which teaches self-esteem, conflict resolution and homemaking.
mained were overcrowded. Instead of finding institutional care, thousands of children were forced to fend for themselves on the streets. In Kiev, where the average winter temperature is 25 degrees, the street children “live a life of hopelessness and helplessness,” said Gennady, a native of neighboring Russia. “They are always fearful of adults and older youth and used to being abused and mistreated by most members of society. They know they are unwanted and cannot trust anyone.” Tragically, like the priest and the Levite in Jesus’ parable, Ukrainian society pretended the street children did not exist. A stigma developed that ostracized these kids,
who numbered more than 17,000 in Kiev alone. It became taboo “even to mention the words ‘orphans,’ ‘adoption’ or ‘foster care,’” Gennady said. Although called “orphans,” only about a third of the children have no living parents or family, Mina estimated. Another third may have one parent who is alive but incapable of caring for the child. The final third have other living relatives but no one who will take responsibility for them. Slowly, the Podgaiskys have seen a happy ending begin to emerge. In the last decade, Ukrainians have had a change of heart about these “unseen” children. Christian charities and other non-governmental agencies have turned a spotlight on their plight and are banding together to give street children a future. When the Podgaiskys began working with Kiev’s street children, they — and many other Good Samaritans — focused on distributing food and other necessities to the children they rescued. That saved lives but didn’t solve the problem. The children were still stuck living in vacant basements and tunnels that housed city utilities, trapped in a cycle of substance abuse and despair. They needed shelter and hope. So a network of rescue shelters was developed by Christian organizations like the Alliance for Ukraine Without Orphans. That strategy has been successful. In addition to providing food, clothing, medicine, fellowship!
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showers and literacy training, the shelters emphasize preventative programs to keep children off the streets. There are also afterschool facilities and rehabilitation facilities. Mina has developed a very popular Life-Skills Manual for Youth — a year-long course that teaches self-esteem, conflict resolution, homemaking, how to apply for a job and the legal rights of children — that is taught in the shelters. Meanwhile, she trains teachers in the Ukraine, Russia and elsewhere to use the manual in their settings. But even shelters and life skills aren’t enough. The children need real homes and real families, Mina said. The strategy now is to find foster homes for Kiev’s most vulnerable. The Podgaiskys were instrumental in establishing Village of Hope, a multifamily foster home outside of Kiev.
The Podgaiskys were instrumental in establishing the Village of Hope, a multifamily foster home outside Kiev founded by an ecumenical coalition of Christian organizations and operated by the Ukrainian Center for Christian Cooperation, an affiliate of the Ukrainian Baptist Union. In addition to serving on the Village board, the Podgaiskys work with other foster families in Kiev. Currently the Village of Hope houses three families, but plans are to increase that to 10 families and up to 100 children. The Village includes a camp that hosts retreats for children and trains Christian leaders. A decade of concerted effort has reduced the number of Kiev’s street children from more than 17,000 to fewer than 3,000. “God is good and is answering the prayers of thousands,” Mina said.
Meanwhile, there are 30,000 children being nurtured in shelters and orphanages throughout Ukraine. “The focus now is, ‘Let’s do something with the orphans,’” Mina said. Two organizations — One Hope and the Alliance for Ukraine Without Orphans — “have been doing campaigns to educate the public and churches about the street children, orphans and foster care,” Gennady said. Finding foster homes for thousands of street children is a massive task. The Podgaiskys and their allies are focusing on churches. “We are mobilizing churches to do ministry in the shelters as a way of recruiting foster parents,” Mina explained. One recruitment tool is an annual conference on foster care. About 500 pastors and foster parents attend, and it is growing every year, she said.
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“We believe the solution will happen when the leaders of the church start preaching this from the pulpit,” she said. “One pastor is fostering 18 kids…. Our goal is to have one Christian family ministering [in foster care] in each church.” There is an urgent need to reach the children still on the streets. It’s important to find them when they are young, before the street takes its toll, Mina said. “If a street kid has to live on the street for more than two years, they cannot be placed in foster homes,” she continued. The reason? Glue sniffing is rampant — almost universal — among the children. They abuse it in order to dull themselves to the cold, pain and filth of living in the tunnels and on the streets. Frostbite and hunger gnaw at them constantly, and sniffing is their only relief. Brain damage follows, creating serious behavioral problems, Mina said, making the kids hard to place in foster care. “So we’re trying to catch kids as soon as they hit the streets,” Mina stressed. The Podgaiskys have rescued kids as young as three. Meanwhile, there’s little that can be done for the older youth. Once in the shelters, a lengthy process of evaluation and placement begins. “It is there that you develop long-term ministry with them,” Mina said. “It takes about a year to discover which ones should be in foster homes.” “Children have to go through the system in order to be placed in foster care,” added Gennady. “This means that they need to go to the authorities and be temporarily placed while their status as orphans is decided, and then put back into an orphanage. Once there, the children can be placed in adoption or foster care.”
Ministering to at-risk kids is the focus of their work, but the Podgaiskys have always been involved in a wide range of ministries. Gennady is a volunteer counselor in Ukraine’s only professional Christian counseling center, wrote the country’s first pre-marital counseling curriculum and counsels addicts. They both do pre-marital counseling, The ministry of Mina and Gennady Podgaisky allows Kiev children to feel safe and loved and gives them hope for a future. family and individual counseling, teach parenting classes and volunteer at their church’s Gospel,” said Mina. The Podgaiskys, along rehabilitation center. with their three children — Bogdan, Mark Olga was one of the Ukrainian mothers and Ana Maria — were commissioned as who sought counseling to deal with her field personnel in Kiev by the Cooperative teenage daughter. Baptist Fellowship in 2002. “There was no communication going on “Only after accepting the position in between Olga and her daughter,” Mina reKiev and starting partnering with the called. “After sharing some behavior modUkrainian Christian Cooperation Center ification techniques [with her], Olga went did we realize what an important ministry home. She returned six months later with that is,” Mina said of the street children. joy. Her daughter was now communicating “Of course, their biggest need is somewith her and even allowing Olga to touch one to accept them, love them, care for her. Olga’s husband and daughter now atthem,” Mina said. “On the spiritual side, tend our home Bible study group.” their biggest poverty is the lack of Christ!” One of Mina’s most satisfying moments was seeing an entire family — mother, father, son and two grandparents — come to faith in Christ after she counseled the mother. The mom later decided against aborting two other children. “We have always been involved in sharing the
The CBF Offering for Global Missions provides funding for the life-changing ministries of more than 130 CBF field personnel. This year, the Podgaiskys are part of the CBF Offering’s international focus. You can go online to www.thefellowship/ogm to download and order free resources for your church. As you learn more about the Podgaiskys’ ministry, consider how you can be a part of their work through giving. Go to www.thefellowship.info/givenow. fellowship!
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CBF and Czech Baptists
to families displaced by floods in Central Europe
evastating floods wreaked havoc on Central Europe and its economy this past summer. Persistent, heavy rains throughout May and early June resulted in significant flooding in Germany, Austria, Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic along the Danube, Elbe, Labe, Vltava and
several other rivers. More than a dozen people lost their lives in the floods and damages have topped $16 billion, making the Central Europe floods the costliest natural disaster so far in 2013. The Czech Republic bore much of the brunt of this disaster, losing a significant portion of its vegetable crop to the floods and an estimated 125,000 acres affected in
By Aaron Weaver
the western province of Bohemia. Martin Pycha, the president of the Czech Agricultural Association, emphasized the seriousness of the flooding, noting that many Czech farmers do not have flood insurance. Czech churches were affected too. Litomerice Baptist Church had more than 60 displaced families. Litomerice was one of the hardest hit towns. Another Bap-
Tomas Krist photo
The flooding in Central Europe this summer was the costliest natural disaster in 2013 with damages topping $16 billion.
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Ya Noya Shantie photo
tist ministry — a homeless shelter called Nadej (which means “hope”) — saw its facilities inundated. The Czech Baptist Union, a small denomination of about 40 churches and 2,500 members, responded with an offering to meet the immediate needs of those individuals and families impacted by the floods in towns like Litomerice. Cooperative Baptist Fellowship field personnel Dianne and Shane McNary and Rachel Brunclikova responded to this request with a $2,500 contribution to the Flood Relief Offering on behalf of CBF. “We are honored to support our sisters and brothers in the Czech Republic as you minister to those impacted. May God’s Kingdom grow through your efforts of being the presence of Christ during these difficult times,” read the letter from the McNarys and Brunclikova to the Czech Baptist Union. The McNarys and Brunclikova serve on CBF’s Romany Team. Commissioned as CBF field personnel in 2004, the McNarys are based in Slovakia where they coordinate ministry among the Romany people in both Slovakia and the Czech Republic. Brunclikova, a native of Sonara, Texas, who has ministered in the Czech Republic for nearly 20 years, serves as a liaison there between existing Roma ministries and partnering churches. In 2012, the Czech Baptist Union caused a stir in Central Europe when it refused — due to their commitment to the Baptist principle of the separation of church and state — to accept 228 million crowns (or just over $11.6 million) as restitution pay-
ment for having their property confiscated during the communist era. All of the member churches and denominations of the Czech Ecumenical Council — except the Czech Baptist Union — decided to accept government compensation. “The Baptists are the only church which took part in the property restitution negotiations that eventually refused to sign the agreement,” reported Radio Prague. At the time of this decision, Tony Peck, general secretary of the European Baptist Federation, wrote a column expressing praise for Czech Baptists. “I think it took some courage of conviction for the majority of churches in a small Baptist union to turn down a considerable annual grant from the state, which might have enabled new initiatives of the union and its churches.” The McNarys and Brunclikova agree. “Their decision to refuse the restitution money made me very proud to be associated with the Baptists here in the Czech Republic,” Brunclikova said. “The bold decision to refuse over $11 million in restitution generated conversations about faith even in perhaps the hardest place in Europe for Good News,” Shane McNary added. According to a 2012 survey conducted by WIN-Gallup International, the Czech Republic trails only China and Japan in population percentage that self-identifies as atheist. The survey indicated that 30 percent of Czechs identify as being a “convinced atheist,” while 48 percent view themselves as not being religious. Only 20 percent were willing to describe themselves as being “religious.” “This is an opportunity to not only re-
CBF field personnel Dianne and Shane McNary (middle) and Rachel Brunclikova (bottom left) worked with the Czech Baptist Union to provide relief to flood victims.
spond with Czech Baptists in a crisis but to stand with them as well. In addition to their strong church-state stand, the confidence of our Czech sisters and brothers that God provided for them in the past and will continue to provide for them is an inspiration,” McNary said. “I see this contribution by CBF towards the offering to respond to the flooding as an encouraging act of solidarity with the Czech Baptists, just as their courageous decision about the restitution monies was an encouragement for many Baptists. Czech Baptists have a lot to teach others about life in community, ministry as a minority faith and how convictions should not easily be swayed by pragmatism.” fellowship!
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Missions Education Resource How to use this page
The suggestions below will be helpful for using the stories on pages 19-27 of this issue in the life of your church. Small Group interaction, Study Group or Reading Group options are given, as well as suggestions for other congregational or family settings. Go online to www.thefellowship.info/affectonline for more suggestions.
Poverty and Justice
In Small Groups:
The following is an outline for adult mission groups, Bible study classes or other small groups. Share copies of fellowship! with group members prior to the meeting and have extra copies available. These suggestions are for a 45-minute time frame. 1. To prepare for this session, read the article on the work of the Podgaiskys in Ukraine. Gather copies of fellowship! so participants can refer to the article. 2. Invite the group to define the word “orphan.” Allow the group to brainstorm what circumstances might create orphans. 3. Explain, “In Ukraine, the 1990s saw the collapse of the Soviet Union, the regional economy and societal safety nets. As families struggled, more children ended up on the street: 17,000 in the capital city of Kiev alone.” 4. Say, “According to Mina Podgaisky, one of CBF’s field personnel, only about one-third of these children have two deceased parents. Another one-third have a living parent who cannot care for them. The last third have living relatives, but no one who will take responsibility for them.” 5. Invite someone to read aloud Mark 10:13-16. Observe that Jesus wants the children to come to him, even when the disciples don’t think they are important. Say, “These street children are just as precious to Jesus.” 6. Have everyone open to the article in fellowship! on page 22. Note that for the
past decade, Gennady and Mina Podgaisky have worked with a coalition of Christian charities and non-governmental agencies to serve the street children of Ukraine.
Cooperative baptiSt fellowShip | www.thefellowShip.info
7. Explain that these groups collaborate to create shelters to help feed and care for the children. From there, children are placed with foster families. The Podgaiskys help with Village of Hope where three foster families nurture former street children.
Serving Christians and churches as they discover and fulfill their God-given mission
predatory lending baptists confront a neglected justice issue
8. Say, “The Podgaiskys also counsel individuals and families, teach parenting classes and work with churches to identify and prepare families who will foster children. Our support makes this possible.” End with a prayer for the work of Mina and Gennady, all who serve the street children of Ukraine and other servants of God listed on the Prayer Calendar on page 4 who celebrate birthdays this month.
In Worship: A Litany Based on James 1:27, Mark 10:13-16, 3 John 8 Leader: We worship the One who watches over the widow and the orphan, People: who welcomes little children with open arms; Leader: Our God hurts for the children in the street, with no family, no home, People: and calls us to hurt for them, too. Leader: Our God sends out some, like Gennady and Mina Podgaisky through the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, People: to welcome the children, to bind up the brokenhearted, Leader: in a country we may never see. People: Yet God calls us to minister with them, in prayer and support,
In Reading Groups Lauren Winner, Still: Notes on a Mid-Faith Crisis (HarperCollins Publishers, 2012) In the preface, Lauren Winner says, “Some days I am not sure if my faith is riddled with doubt or whether, graciously, my doubt is riddled with faith.” In Still: Notes on a Mid-Faith Crisis, Winner writes beautifully about doubt and faith through sharing her own experience and challenges deep thinking about the reader’s own faith and life experiences.
Leader: so that together, as co-workers, we become All: the presence of Christ to those children in need. Amen.
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Upcoming CBF events KBF/CBF Current Retreat featuring Suzii Paynter November 7-8 — Faith Baptist Church, Georgetown, Ky.
A retreat for young Baptist ministers, leaders and seminary students who seek to connect with other young Baptists through the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship/Kentucky Baptist Fellowship. The retreat will begin at 3 p.m. Thursday and end with lunch on Friday. www.kybf.org
The Judsons: Celebrating 200 Years of Baptist Missions November 14-16 — Mercer University’s McAfee School of Theology, Atlanta, Ga.
McAfee School of Theology, in collaboration with the American Baptist Historical Society, the Baptist History and Heritage Society, Baptist Women in Ministry and the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, will host “The Judsons: Celebrating 200 Years of Baptist Missions, Learning from the Past and Looking to the Future.” theology.mercer.edu
Celebrating 200 Years of Baptist Missions November 14-16, 2013
Molly Marshall Bill Leonard President Central Baptist Theological Seminary
Professor of Baptist Studies and Church History Wake Forest University School of Divinity
McAfee School of Theology •
Graham Walker Pamela Smoot Professor of Theology and Philosophy McAfee School of Theology
Assistant Professor of Africana Studies Southern Illinois University
Associate Dean & Executive Coordinator Professor of Missions and Cooperative Baptist World Religions Fellowship McAfee School of Theology
2014 ChurchWorks Conference February 24-26 — First Baptist Church, Huntsville, Ala.
ChurchWorks provides opportunities for ministers to discover new ideas and meet others who are also in vocational ministry. The conference combines worship and small group time into a setting where ministers deepen their understanding of their ministry and how it relates to their church environment. Whether you serve in a traditional church setting or create aspects of church in non-traditional settings, come for a time of networking, renewal, fellowship and learning. The event is designed for young leaders and Christian educators of all ages. www.thefellowship.info/churchworks
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c’est la vie SELAHvie PAUSE Life.
Students reflect and grow at fourth annual Selah Vie retreat By Emily Holladay
“The first thing we did was build a house in 10 days,” said Phillip Davis, a student at Georgetown College in Kentucky who spent his summer working with the Kentucky Baptist Fellowship (KBF). As a summer intern for KBF, Phillip Davis hit the ground running through leadership with the McCreary County Extreme Build initiative. This summer marks the eighth house KBF partner churches have built in McCreary County, one of the 20 poorest counties in the United States sponsored by the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship’s Together for Hope initiative. “Getting to the project the first day was like jumping into a pool for the first time and there’s no turning back. To be welcomed into that community with open arms by all the new faces who are so eager to bring you in and put you to work,
discovering the assets that you have and combining them with their own was an amazing experience,” Davis said. Davis was one of 90 students who attended CBF’s Selah Vie conference, an endof-summer retreat for students who spent their summer serving with CBF field personnel and CBF partners, in local churches and other engagement opportunities. Selah Vie is intended to give students the time and space to reflect on their experiences and prepare for reentry into “the real world.” Students who served in ministry settings over the summer gathered in Clayton, Ga., for reflection, fellowship and worship at Selah Vie.
Like other Selah Vie participants, Davis engaged in new forms of ministry during the summer, without much downtime. With KBF, he spent his summer working on projects like Extreme Build, along with the administrative work of collecting information that will help the organization better serve its partner churches. “The most valuable experience of the summer has been getting to know all of the people involved in our organization and in our partner churches, because it really is a whole collection of people who come together with meager assets to produce something much larger than themselves.
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CBF staff member Alyssa Aldape led participants in a workshop on “green faith” at the retreat.
Getting to meet those people, put faces to names and see their hearts and hands come together has definitely been the most rewarding thing,” Davis said. For Davis, Selah Vie allowed him the opportunity to process the ways God has been present with him throughout the summer. “In a lot of ways, it has been so exceedingly clear that I needed this time just to have some silence to take some time to think about and reflect on what God has done,” Davis said. At Selah Vie, students from CBF’s Collegiate Congregational Internship program, Student.GO and other contexts join togeth-
er to share the stories of their summer, and reflect together on the things they learned. For many of the students, this connection and story sharing is the most meaningful part of the week, as they learn from each other’s experiences and grow as a body of young adults. The retreat also helps students think about the ways they’ve grown through their summer of ministry, so that they begin to understand how to take those lessons with them into their normal context. The “Life is a Labyrinth” theme encouraged the students to see how their journeys intersected and share their reflections with one another.
“This summer has been very formative for me in my calling as a Christian and where I feel like God is leading my life. I’ve been able to see the administrative side of ministry, which has been a big change from being solely a participant, but it’s been really nice to be able to lead people and see their lives changed,” Davis said. “And, because of that, my own life has been changed.” Next year, CBF will offer Selah Vie for the fifth time at Camp Pinnacle in Clayton, Ga., Aug. 3-6, 2014, and is open to any young adult who wants to participate. Look for more details at thefellowship.info/selahvie.
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Cooperative Baptist Fellowship 160 Clairemont Avenue, Suite 500 Decatur, GA 30030 www.thefellowship.info • (800) 352-8741
We’ve got Georgia on our mind
And we hope you do too! General Assembly 2014 - Atlanta June 23-27, 2014 www.thefellowship.info/assembly/preregistration Cooperative Baptist Fellowship
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