Vol. 45, No. 4
in this issue Sue Nishikawa Offering Read more about Nishikawa and her love for missions. Page 5 Church recordkeeping Thom Rainer lays out the most important records for churches to keep. Page 4
Churches in the Pacific impacting the world
HPBC Executive Board Meeting
Highlights from the SBC annual meeting See photos and stories from the June annual meeting. Page 6
President Alberto Camacho presided over the May Executive Board meeting held at the HPBC Chapel in Honolulu. Executive Board members approved recommendations from each of the committees of the Executive Board. Honolulu—The HPBC Executive Board met on May 22 and approved reports and recommendations from the committees. The Administrative Committee (made up of the chairs and vice chairs of each committee) recommended the following: 1) George Moyer serve on the Hawaii Baptist Academy Board of Directors; 2) The HPBC staff move to a four-day work week as long as two ministry assistants are present on all days, Monday through Friday. 3) The HPBC calendar be adjusted with the Creative Arts Camp to June 15-20 and Church Planting Church Training be held in one day. 4) Pearl Maeda (Eleele) and Andrew Tong (Hawaii Chinese) serve on the Executive Board. 5) The executive director will occupy the residence located at 1920 Keeaumoku St. in
Honolulu and paying all utilities beginning June 1, 2015. The Communications Committee recommended the following: 1) HPBC consolidate various publications (E-News, Awareness Bulletin and HPBC newspaper) into one electronic publication and building it from the ground up. 2) Change the purpose of existing “E-News” or “Awareness Bulletin” as main source to disseminate urgent prayer requests and events. 3) The offering goals for 2016 for the Hawaii Pacific Baptist Convention be – Annie Armstrong Easter Offering $150,000, Lottie Moon Christmas Offering - $260,000,Sue Nishikawa Hawaii Pacific Missions Offering - $115,000, Global Hunger Relief Offering - $40,000. See HPBC..Page 12
Moving? See page 2 (0401)
FBC Pearl City held a RA/GA recognition service Sunday June 21. The Church recognized the kids, junior leaders and leaders under the leadership of Shirley Matsumura.
Annual Church Profile accurate, helps churches By David Roach
Nashville, Tenn.—With more than 80 percent of “National ACP statistics provide churches participating, the Southern Baptist Con- trends in how vention’s yearly statistical many people survey of cooperating congregations is seen by Southern Baptist congregations many as a model of denominational record are reaching and keeping that plays a vital impacting each role in formulating misyear” sions strategy. Known as the Annual Scott McConnell, Church profile, the surLifeway Research vey is a report churches vice president voluntarily submit to the Southern Baptist Convention, usually through their local association and/ or state convention. Associations that receive ACP reports pass them along to state conventions, which, in turn, report the data to LifeWay Research. LifeWay compiles ACP data for the entire SBC. Based on a survey of 10 Baptist state conventions with more than 20,000 cooperating churches, Baptist Press estimated that 82 percent of Southern Baptist churches report their ACP data each year. That percentage is better than the 66 percent threshold that some other denominations with autonomous churches aim for in their statistical surveys, and it is nearly as good as the reporting rate in some denominations with topdown authority structures, a representative of the Association of Statisticians of American Religious Bodies (ASARB) told BP. “Southern Baptists often serve as models for other groups, especially those primarily relying upon voluntary reporting systems,” ASARB secretary-treasurer Dale Jones told BP. “Even those of us in the more connectional groups learn from the Southern Baptists in the areas of technology and appropriate phrasing. Within the framework of their denominational practices, their annual report rates and data sets appear to be very good by ASARB standards.” Of the 10 state conventions surveyed, seven reported an ACP response rate between 70 and 90 percent for 2013. One convention reported that 95 percent of its churches submitted an ACP report, and another reported participation at just over 90 percent. The lowest response rate reported was 48 percent. “National ACP statistics provide trends in how many people Southern Baptist congregations are reaching and impacting each year,” Scott McConnell, vice president of LifeWay Research, told BP. “This includes important statistics such as the number of congregations that are related to the Southern Baptist Convention and the number of people related in membership and participation to those churches.” In 2013, the last year for which a report is available, Southern Baptists recorded a record number 46,125 churches, with an additional 4,789 church-type missions, for a total of nearly 51,000 congregations. Data for the 2014 ACP is being collected this fall by associations and state conventions. See ACP...Page 3
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CHRISTOPHER MARTIN Editor FAITH McFATRIDGE Associate Editor The Hawaii Pacific Baptist is published bi-monthly by the Hawaii Pacific Baptist Convention. For general information, call (808) 946-9581. Periodicals postage paid at Honolulu, Hawaii, and additional mailing office. To subscribe: Send request to the Hawaii Pacific Baptist at the above address. Subscriptions for nonresident members of the HPBC are $12 annually. To register a change of address: Send the mailing label from page 1, along with your new address, to The Hawaii Pacific Baptist at the above address. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to HAWAII Pacific BAPTIST, 2042 Vancouver Dr., Honolulu, HI 96822-2491 To give news tips: Call the editor at (808) 9469581. To submit a letter: Letters on any subject will be considered for publication if sent to the above address, provided they do not make a personal attack on anyone. Letters are limited to 250 words and may be edited for length. Publishing services provided by Western Recorder Inc., Box 43969, Louisville, KY 40253.
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Lifting up needs at an SBC prayer meeting By Chris Martin
Recently, an interesting event took place at the Southern Baptist Convention that has been desperately needed for a long time - a prayer meeting! That may sound absurd, but instead of business and reports cluttering every session, the SBC President, Dr. Ronnie Floyd, called for a full session dedicated to prayer. On Tuesday evening, Chris Martin messengers from all over our convention met in the assembly hall and joined together to lift up
needs and seek God’s wisdom and favor. Dozens of organized prayers were offered for our nation and our churches, our religious leaders, military members and more. Many denominational representatives, pastors and lay-leadership led the prayers with open hearts for God to guide and speak to all of our churches. Since that evening, I have heard a lot of feedback from different people regarding the prayer meeting - and it has all been very positive. This event has caught the attention of many and I pray that God will use our continuing dedication to prayer to shape us and our nation for His glory. I want to encourage us all to join together in a more earnest prayer life that God will use our simple sin-
Worldview: Blessed are the plodders By Erich Bridges
Richmond, Va.— Inspiration only gets you so far. It’s great for starting a major task. As for finishing one -- not so much. That’s where commitment comes in. Don’t get me wrong: As followers of Christ, we need His inspiration every day, every hour, every moment. We need the constant nourishment of His Word and the power of His Spirit to accomplish anything worth doing. We need to encourage and challenge one another. Erich Bridges But then we need to act. Obedience is the truest sign of faith. Sometimes obedience is hard -- especially after the glorious music fades and the exciting speakers move on. Sometimes the people who raised their hands with you in those high moments of worship and inspiration may change their minds when things get hard. They’ re willing to go anywhere, do anything, until they aren’t. What about you? That’s when you find out if you’re serious. Paul, the first great Christian missionary, didn’t sugarcoat the task for his young friend Timothy: “You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. … Suffer hardship with me as a good soldier of Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 2:1, 3 NASB). Many centuries later, another great missionary had similar words. Writing to her friend Annie Armstrong in 1889, Lottie Moon had this to say about daily life in north China: “Please say to the new missionaries that they are coming to a life of hardship, responsibility and constant self-denial. ... They will be alone in the interior and will need to be strong and courageous. If ‘the joy of the Lord’ be ‘their strength,’ the blessedness of the work will more than compensate for its hardships. Let them come ‘rejoicing to suffer’ for the sake of that Lord and Master who freely gave His life for them.” Sometimes serving Jesus isn’t particularly
HPBC annual meeting updates The 73rd Annual Meeting of the Hawaii Pacific Baptist Convention will take place on Oahu Nov. 5-6, 2015. Co-hosts for this year are Olivet Baptist Church, Nuuanu Baptist Church and the Filipino Southern Baptist Fellowship of the Pacific, Inc. Olivet Baptist Church will be the venue for the meeting and is located at 1775 S. Beretania in Honolulu. This year’s theme is “Great Awakening” with the scripture reference to 2nd Chronicles 7:14. The Disaster Relief Feeding Team
hard or dangerous. Sometimes it’s just mundane. Boring, even. Blessed are the plodders who do boring stuff faithfully. One of the most faithful plodders in Southern Baptist mission history was Bill Koehn. He died in 2002 after being shot point-blank along with medical missionary colleagues Martha Myers and Kathy Gariety by a Muslim militant in Yemen. Until then, Koehn, age 60, had spent 28 uneventful years running the Jibla Baptist Hospital as administrator. Relatively uneventful, that is. The hospital faced the daily challenge of ministering to an endless stream of patients from all over the impoverished Middle Eastern nation. At its peak, the 77-bed mission facility employed several hundred workers, treated some 40,000 people a year, performed more than 400 surgeries a month and operated a busy outpatient clinic. Koehn and his staff also endured extended civil war in Yemen, occasional kidnappings, a disastrous fire, numerous financial crises, ongoing personnel shortages, political pressures and legal battles that threatened to shut down the hospital. Other than that, it was pretty normal. How did Koehn cope? The former supermarket manager from Kansas was quiet, predictable, a creature of habit. He operated on a strict daily schedule, starting with prayer and Bible study before dawn and proceeding with clockwork precision until nightfall. Unfinished projects, whether at the hospital or in his woodworking shop, irked him. “You never called Bill after 9, because he was in bed,” said a longtime colleague. Koehn’s highly structured style enabled him to handle the countless details and headaches involved in running the hospital. Yet he somehow found the time to make wooden toys for the orphanage he loved to visit, to assist needy widows in the community, to drink tea with Yemenis and listen to their struggles and needs. Plodders get things done, even on the mission field. The apostle James said our lives are but a will provide lunch on Friday at $5 per person. On Friday night, the Filipino Association will host the evening with Filipino culture and food. A mass choir will also perform that evening. More information will be send to the churches. So you can plan your time, registration begins at 5 p.m. on Thursday, November 5. On Friday, the meeting begins in the morning and goes until the last song and prayer on Friday night. On Friday night, we will have elections of new officers and members of the various committees and Executive Board.
cerity to stir another national Great Awakening in our days. In these days of unprecedented progressive decisions from our government, may God’s people not be filled with despair, but rise to seek Him more than ever before that He may lead us to share the Gospel with a greater passion and live with a greater intentionality to see Him do amazing things in us, around us and through us… beginning with a prayer meeting. I pray that God will bless your day and this upcoming month. We are the convention! Together! Mahalo and God bless you! Chris Martin is the Hawaii Pacific Baptist Convention executive director.
mist that will soon disappear (James 4:14), IMB President David Platt reminded listeners June 17 during a “Sending Celebration” to recognize 59 new missionaries and their sending churches at the annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention in Columbus, Ohio. None of us is guaranteed tomorrow, so we should make our lives count for God now -even in seemingly small things. “May the urgency of this mission mark us,” Platt said. “May our light shine amidst the darkness, and may our mist count while we’ve still got time.” Roger Cohen of The New York Times warns about using that precious time to “follow your passion,” as the cliché goes. “Life is a succession of tasks rather than a cascade of inspiration, an experience that is more repetitive than revelatory, at least on a day-to-day basis,” Cohen writes. “The thing is to perform the task well and find reward even in the mundane. … I’ve grown suspicious of the inspirational. It’s overrated. I suspect duty -- that half-forgotten word -- may be more related to happiness than we think. Want to be happy? Mow the lawn. Collect the dead leaves. Paint the room. Do the dishes. Get a job. Labor until fatigue is in your very bones. Persist day after day.” Following your passion is great, as long as your passion is following God. Day by day. One foot in front of another, faithfully. God will multiply every step you give to Him. (BP) Erich Bridges is the International Mission Board’s global correspondent..
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Urging participation Some Baptist state conventions have gotten creative in their efforts to inspire participation in the ACP. This summer the Kentucky Baptist Convention gave $200 to the first director of missions to submit completed ACP reports from all of the churches in his association. All Kentucky associations that return ACP data to the KBC will be entered in a drawing to win another $200, and the association with the greatest improvement in its participation rate will also receive $200. In Tennessee, the Baptist and Reflector newsjournal publishes a recurring graphic on its front page during the fall showing the percentage of Tennessee Baptist Convention churches that have reported their ACP data. The graphic is updated each issue to show the convention’s progress in compiling a complete ACP report. The Illinois Baptist State Association lists submission of an ACP report as one of two requirements to be considered a cooperating church. In the same vein, a proposed amendment to Article III of the SBC Constitution does not require ACP participation by cooperating churches but states that “the regular filing of the annual report requested by the Convention” may be one indication of cooperation with the convention. The amendment will be adopted if messengers approve it for a second consecutive year in Columbus, Ohio, next June. At least two state convention executive directors have blogged about the ACP, urging their churches to participate. Paul Chitwood, executive
JULY 2015 director of the Kentucky Baptist Convention, called the ACP “an essential measuring tool.” The ACP “helps me do my job,” Chitwood wrote. “How so? The KBC was created by churches to help churches. To effectively carry out our assignment, we need to know what’s working and what’s not. And the ACP is perhaps our best measure of that.” Rick Lance, executive director of the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions, compared the ACP to a “report card” that tracks churches’ health. “Most local churches keep records so they can measure progress or track areas of needed attention,” Lance wrote. “Although there is no Biblical requirement for this record keeping, it does make good sense. As a pastor, I made sure we kept good records and I also led the way for my churches to do an Annual Church Profile (ACP), which was sent to the State Board of Missions each year. At least one Baptist commentator has called the ACP a ‘church report card.’” Other state executive directors told BP they value the ACP because it helps them identify local church leaders and determine what ministries are most needed to assist churches. Among their comments: -- John Yeats, executive director of the Missouri Baptist Convention, said “the data mining” of church leaders’ contact information “is the most important thing we do in the state conventions with regard to the ACP. It enables us to provide the value added service of a state Baptist paper in the homes of those church leaders so that they are informed. The old adage is ‘an informed Baptist is a better Baptist.’” -- Leo Endel, executive director of the Minnesota-Wisconsin
Baptist Convention, said ACP data allows state conventions, especially in pioneer areas, to see “the strength of our churches in certain areas so that we are able to take a broad, strategic view of where we need more churches.” -- Nate Adams, executive director of the Illinois Baptist State Association, said, “The three primary ways we detect and meet the needs of churches and their leaders are through personal relationships, through surveys of churches where they can express their needs and through the Annual Church Profile where we can objectively assess the results of our work together with churches. While all are important, the ACP is the most objective and historically consistent tool we have to answer the question, ‘How are we doing, really?’” -- Robert White, executive director of the Georgia Baptist Convention, said, “The ACP is a valuable tool for evaluating ministry effectiveness and developing future mission and ministry strategy. It’s like an annual physical to determine the health of our work throughout the state and the SBC as a whole.” The value of statistics Record-keeping is a time-honored biblical practice, said Roger S. Oldham, SBC Executive Committee vice president for convention communication and relations. “Four millennia after the fact, we know how many members of Jacob’s/Israel’s family travelled to Egypt and we know how many left Egypt more than 400 years later during the Exodus,” he said. “Two millennia later, the biblical writers were faithful to report the number of people Jesus fed in the desert -- about 5,000 men plus women and
Annual Church Profile Deadline for HPBC Churches: 0ctober 10
Go to www.hpbaptist.net for ACP monthly worksheet. HPBC Churches must provide annual statistics to bring messengers to the HPBC Annual meeting. For information on the ACP, contact Clyde Kakiuchi at firstname.lastname@example.org.
children -- and how many were baptized on the Day of Pentecost – about 3,000,” Oldham said. “In addition, in Jesus’ explanation of the parable of the soils, He indicated that qualitative soil produces quantifiable, measureable growth – some thirtyfold, some sixtyfold and some one hundredfold.” Still, some Southern Baptists hesitate to report their church statistics for a variety of reasons, McConnell said. “Some leaders do not want to respond when their numbers are not particularly good or if they are unusually good. Still others want their church to function in privacy. It is important that users of ACP data not use the data to look down on anyone,” he said. Among those who choose not to submit ACP data is Washington, D.C., pastor Mark Dever, who believes numbers without accompanying explanation and analysis are not a biblical way to measure church health. “You never see Paul asking about the size of a work, or in any writing we know saying, ‘We had 47 at our church in Rome on Sunday,’” said Dever, pastor of Capitol Hill Baptist Church. Citing Acts 15:36, where Paul and Barnabas discussed visiting churches to “see how they are,” Dever said, “Having to weigh rather than count to me feels spiritually safer and more biblical as a way to discern and estimate the health of a church than numbers. Written numbers can be idols as well as carved figures.” The best way to report church statistics is
within a narrative account of a congregation’s ministry with explanation of the spiritual realities behind the numbers, Dever said, adding that heretical churches can increase in size at times and faithful ones can dwindle. He cited minutes of early Baptist associations and David Benedict’s book “Fifty Year Among the Baptists” as examples of helpful statistical reporting. McConnell acknowledged that some Baptists share Dever’s opinions but said the value of the ACP outweighs its shortcomings. He compared it to a “family photo” of the Southern Baptist Convention. “In the same way one family member horsing around during a family photo can ruin the moment, when a church does not report statistics the annual family photo is not as focused as we would all like,” McConnell said. “Some statistics can be estimated by using the prior year’s number, but others such as baptisms only reflect activity reported for that year.” Churches, associations, state conventions and the SBC have an opportunity to be healthier when congregations report their data and Baptists analyze ACP data responsibly, McConnell said. “We don’t need a family photo filled with fake smiles. But we all want to see our family,” he said. “Some accountability to share how you are doing each year is wise for any leader or family member.” (BP) David Roach is chief national correspondent for Baptist Press.
PEOPLE AND CHURCHES
Eight weekly records every church should keep By Thom Rainer
Arnold Goto elected as HBF new president The Hawaii Baptist Foundation’s Board of Directors recently announced that Arnold Goto will become HBF President on Oct. 1. Goto will leave his position as Executive Pastor of Hawaii Kai Church to work part-time for the Foundation, reporting to the Board of Directors. Goto, who recently turned 60, brings to the Foundation a wealth of experience, both ministerial and secular. He has held significant positions at Hewlett Packard, Oracle Corporation, and KPMG (the international CPA partnership). At KPMG Consulting Arnold was a national partner, responsible for overseeing the installation of large computer systems in the technology industry. More recently he has operated an executive recruiting business and served on the staff and as elder chairman at Hawaii Kai Church. Last year he completed eight years of service on HBF’s Board of Directors, serving as chairman of its Development Committee. Goto earned a degree in engineering and an MBA from the University of Hawaii. Arnold and his wife have two grown sons. Paul Oyer, who has led the Foundation for the past nine and a half years, could not be more pleased. In a letter to many Hawaii Pacific Baptist leaders and friends of the Foundation, Oyer wrote, “I believe Arnold has the ability and the energy to lead the Foundation to a new level of effective service. I am so pleased that the Lord has provided such an outstanding successor. I commend to you the Hawaii Baptist Foundation, under the leadership of a strong Board of Directors, and President Arnold Goto. They are prepared to assist you and your church in many ways.” Hawaii Pacific Baptists welcome Goto to his new position of service and are so thankful at his willingness to serve us in his new important capacity.
If you have an aversion to numbers, you may want to skip this post. I understand. There have been too many church leaders who see numerical realities as a goal. Numbers thus can become the end instead of the means. But let’s not lose sight of the ways numerical tracking can help us. To use the parabolic illustration of Jesus, we can never know where the missing sheep are if we are not keeping track of them (see Luke 15:3-7). The list of potential records to keep is long, but I am focusing on those eight records I have seen be most helpful to churches. They do not have to be arduous to track. 1. Membership. In many churches, this number has become almost meaningless. If a church has 900 members and an average attendance of 150, the gap is too large. Church leaders need to start taking membership seriously and, thus, the way they track it. While speaking at the annual assembly of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church recently, I met a lady who told me she was a member of her Presbyterian church, but still on the membership rolls of two Southern Baptist churches. 2. Worship attendance. This metric is the most common among churches today. It is at least a general indicator of involvement. I do not encourage church leaders to try to account for individual
Disaster Relief preparedness Hurricane season began June 1 and goes through November 30. We are expecting a more active hurricane season in this El Nino year. Hurricanes Iwa, Iniki, and TS Iselle occurred in El Nino years. With that said, please make ready your preparedness kits. You should have 7 days of food and water for each person. Here’s some additional things to consider: keep your prescriptions filled, have cash on hand, gather things for your children to keep them entertained (non-electronic). Remember, electricity will most likely be out. Have a propane or other alternative fuel stove ready to use. I have HDRs (Humanitarian Daily Rations) available at the Convention office. These are like MREs but are meatless. One meal pack is for one person for one day. If you would like some for your preparedness kit, see Darrell McCain. They will be available on a first come, first served basis, free of charge. For more information on how to put together a preparedness kit, visit hpbaptist.net/ pages/ isaster-relief.
attendance in worship services; it is too cumbersome and often invasive. An aggregate number is sufficient, and should include everyone on campus during worship services, including children who may not be in the worship center. 3. Small group attendance. Assimilation rates are very high in small groups. Connections are best made here, whatever the group name may be: small groups, Sunday school classes, life groups, home groups, and others. It is vital to keep track of this number, especially relative to average worship attendance. If I see a church with average small group attendance equal to at least 80 percent of worship attendance, I know that assimilation is likely very effective. 4. Individual attendance in small groups. It is at this point where I recommend churches keep track of the individual attendees of those in small groups. It can be a relatively easy process with a person responsible for keeping records in each small group, and a good, yet inexpensive, tracking software. I know of a number of churches that do an excellent job of following up on those who are not present in a given week. 5. Total undesignated giving. These are the funds that can be used for church budget needs. These totals are often lead indicators about the future growth or decline of the church. 6. Total designated giving. These funds include anything not given to undesignated giving. I strongly
discourage reporting total undesignated and designated giving as a single number. It can give an impression that church stewardship is better than it really is. 6. Individual giving. This metric is required for tax purposes. I will have an article in the future on whether the pastor and staff (outside the one person keeping records) should have access to these records. I never did in the four churches I served as pastor. 7. Ministry involvement. This metric is kept in only about 10 percent of churches in America, but I think it is vital. I would attempt to account for the number of people involved in some type of ministry or volunteer activity in the church. This record could be an exception to weekly reporting. Most churches of which I am aware keep track of a single number quarterly. For example, if the number of different persons involved in a ministry increased by 50 from one year to the next, you can assume it is a trend toward greater assimilation and greater church health. One of the best ways I learn from churches is to hear from leaders and members in those churches. Let me know what your perspectives are on these eight metrics, and let me know what you track in your church. Thom Rainer is the President and CEO of Lifeway Christian Resources. Printed with permission.
Sue Nishikawaa life lived for missions M I
issions and ministries is what Sue was all about. She lived it and taught it wherever she went. tsuko Saito was born July 2, 1916 to Japanese immigrant parents. Sue was the second oldest of seven and started working at age 13 or 14 to help support the family. aved after going with friends to Sunday School at the Wayside Baptist Chapel which later became the First Baptist Church of Wahiawa, the first Southern Baptist church in Hawaii. As a teenager, she served in church leadership positions. ue was the nickname she acquired while at college in Texas because Itsuko was so hard to pronounce. Wearing her kimono, Sue spoke at many churches about the mission work in Hawaii. After graduating from Baylor University, she became the first Hawaiian woman to graduate from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary with a Masters in Religious Education. nvolved in Baptist work first at Olivet Baptist Church, Sue served as the missions education director. She initiated many opportunities to bring young people to church. She was also involved in the early beginnings of the
Hawaii Baptist Convention, serving as secretary, and within many of the WMU ministries. In 1954, Sue became the first woman elected to serve as executive secretary of the Hawaii Baptist Convention’s Woman’s Missionary Union. hana was special to Sue. She loved seeing young girls involved and serving in missions education. She also spoke often at churches and WMU groups to encourage missions and ministry through the local church. obuo Nishikawa met and married Sue when she was 50. Nobu was a deacon at Waikiki Baptist Church so Sue joined the church and started ministries there. Nobu and Sue served in many leadership positions until his death in 1991. ue suffered a stroke in 1980 that ended her almost 26 years of state WMU work. But retirement didn’t slow Sue down. She became the first Mission Service Corps volunteer editor of the state Baptist paper. She continued to serve on the state WMU Council and the Aloha Council at Hawaii Baptist Academy. In 1981, the state missions offering was named for Sue, a fitting honor for a woman who had become Hawaii’s symbol of missions and ministry. Sue passed away in 2004, but her legacy lives on: the power to serve.
Hawaii State Missions Allocations Evangelistic Ministries and Healthy Churches – 30%: HPBC affiliated churches and organizations can request an allocation for Evangelistic Ministries – such as block parties, camps, outreach ministries in the community. Churches can request an allocation for workshops or training for the church to stay or become a healthy church. State and Associational Ministries – 25%: Ministries sponsored by the state or association can receive an allocation for Baptist Collegiate Ministries, International Ministries, youth or children’s camps and other ministries such as Seafarers’ Ministries or Crisis Pregnancy Ministries. Financial Assistance for Students – 8%: This allocation of the Sue Nishikawa Offering assists Baptist youth and adults with tuition assistance. Recipients of this assistance include Hawaii Baptist Academy and Wayland Baptist University. Assistance can be received for Leadership Development courses. Disaster Relief Ministries – 5%: This allocation is used to fund
resources needed in times of disaster. It is also used to purchase equipment needed in disaster relief. Church/Mission Emergency Fund – 2%: This fund is available to HPBC churches and organizations to help in times of crisis. State or Association Sponsored Camps/Retreats – 15%: Scholarships make events possible for people to attend HPBC or associational sponsored camps or retreats. Assistance requirements includes a scholarship of up to one-third of registration fees or $100 per person for airfare, not to exceed 10 persons or $500 for airfare per church. WMU Administration – 10%: This fund supports and carrys out the administration of the WMU and Missions Education programs. Promotion and Communication - 5%: This allocation is used in production and mailing of materials promoting the offering to HPBC churches.
Offering Goal $115,000
Floyd: ‘Rise up’ in a ‘dangerous, hopeless world’ By Tammi Reed Ledbetter
Columbus, Ohio—Southern Baptist
Convention President Ronnie Floyd called for pastoral leadership in the nation’s largest Protestant denomination to seize a “Bonhoeffer moment” by refusing to be silent in the face of persecution, to hold on to the word of God, take heart and be encouraged. “The lostness has never been greater in our dangerous and hopeless world,” Floyd, pastor of Cross Church in northwest Arkansas, said in his president’s message to the SBC annual meeting June 16. “Everyone, and I mean everyone, needs to rise up and lead.” Punctuated by frequent applause from nearly 5,000 messengers, Floyd’s message, titled “Now Is the Time to Lead,” began with broadcast clips showing that “the alarm clock is going off in our nation and across the world.” “I believe if the 59 presidents who have preceded me could speak to us in this hour, … they would declare to us that we are living right now in our most defining hour as Southern Baptists.” Citing Romans 13:11 to declare it a “kairos” moment, Floyd described a season “fixed by a sovereign God as a true moment of destiny.” From Islamic militants’ savagery and the horrors of human trafficking to the void of religious liberty that wrongly imprisons believers like Saeed Abedini in Iran, Floyd appealed for Christians to heed the warning of the German pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Quoting from “The Cost of Discipleship,” Floyd said the opponent of the Nazi movement was right in saying, “Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.” With 153 million orphans worldwide, a seventh of the world living in extreme poverty, 750 million lacking clean water, continuing natural disasters and the global economy hanging in the balance, Floyd said the world not only is dangerous but living without hope. Racism, abortion & marriage He called on Christ-followers to decry all racism and prejudice as well as callousness over the estimated 57 million babies killed since the 1973 Supreme Court ruling on abortion. He underscored Southern Baptists’ belief that God created all people for His glory, “that humanity’s bearing of God’s image is not contingent upon one’s skin color.” Abortion, meanwhile, remains “a glaring desecration of the unborn child’s purpose and value,” he said, urging vigilance on behalf of all human life and dignity from the womb to the tomb. “Now we await the outcome of the next possible Supreme Court ruling that could alter our nation’s belief and practice on traditional and biblical marriage, but also our historic commitment to religious liberty for all people,” Floyd said, calling it a watershed moment potentially fueling “the already sweeping wildfire of the sexual revolution” beyond “anyone’s control locally, statewide, nationally and globally.” He appealed to Southern Baptists to love all people “even if they are struggling with same-sex attraction or adultery or anything else,” aware that “we are all
Victim’s son says love is stronger than hate By Butch Blume
Ronnie Floyd, SBC president, called on all Southern Baptists to pray for the next Great Awakening. (By Paul Lee)
sinners in need of the Lord’s help and grace.” Since neither the Supreme Court nor the culture is the final authority, Floyd insisted that he and thousands of pastors in the nation refuse to officiate any samesex unions. Advocating freedom of religion, Floyd said Christians in America must stand for that priority, knowing it promotes the common good of the nation and the world. Local churches Instead of advancing as leaders, Floyd said many churches are sleeping or fighting, affected by indifference or internal debate. The fellowship of the Southern Baptist family is challenged by a mindset that believes “combat against one another is some valiant, spiritualized effort,” Floyd said. “We need to be careful not to chase after secondary matters that end up in the weeds of suspicion, skepticism, criticism and cynicism about one another,” he said, calling on leaders to refuse such carnal actions by operating relationally from Matthew 18. Instead of shrinking back in timidity and fearfulness, Floyd appealed for leadership that “believes and stands” on the promises of God’s Word, pointing to the Lord’s words in Revelation 3:7-8 that “I have placed before you an open door that no one is able to close.” “When other denominations and leaders are beginning to relax their message to be more politically correct, will we rise up in faithfulness to believe and stand on His word and for Jesus’ name?” Floyd asked. “There is not one government, one Supreme Court, one court case, one editorial, one commentator, one liberal, one conservative, one world leader, one politician, one radical group, one demon or one of anything that can shut the doors Jesus Himself has opened for us.” Not only is Jesus the door to salvation,
Floyd reminded, but He is the overseer of all doors. “Stop seeing all the trends and events as obstacles for us and the gospel,” he insisted. “These are things that God will turn into open doors for the gospel.” Era of desperation Underscoring the focus on prayer for spiritual awakening at the SBC annual meeting, Floyd reiterated a theme he has been declaring most of his adult life— since his own conversion as a teenager in Texas in 1972 when baptisms in the Southern Baptist Convention peaked at 445,725. “In that same year, we saw 137,667 12to 17-year olds baptized, almost double what we reach today,” Floyd said. He described God’s awakening of “the fearful preacher, the dead church, the lifeless state convention and even the complex Southern Baptist Convention” as “our greatest hope today.” While rejoicing that the SBC is gaining ground in the number of churches, Floyd lamented that churches reported evangelistic outreach so low that they returned collectively to the level of baptisms 67 years ago when the U.S. population was 144 million in contrast to the 321 million Americans today. The call for a simultaneous prioritization of evangelism and spiritual awakening requires great risk, Floyd acknowledged, calling on Southern Baptists to rise up and pray, give, believe, live and go like never before. Floyd concluded by stating, “The need is great, the hour is late and we must advance the gospel together to every ethnicity in the world. “I appeal to you, that if anything in our churches, Southern Baptist Convention entities, state conventions and associations is not accelerating the Great Commission locally, nationally and internationally, we need to rid ourselves of it now. The urgency is upon us.” (BP)
Charleston, S.C.—Less than 24 hours after his mother died at the hands of an assassin during a church prayer meeting, Charleston Southern University sophomore Chris Singleton stood before television cameras and declared that “love is always stronger than hate.” Flanked by coaches and teammates, Singleton, who plays baseball at CSU, thanked his teammates for their “amazing” support and recalled his mother’s example of showing love to others. “If we just love the way my mom would, then hate won’t be anywhere close to what love is,” he said. “My mom was a God-fearing woman. She loved everybody with all her heart.” Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, 45, was a speech therapist and women’s track-and-field coach at Goose Creek High School outside Charleston. She was one of nine people shot to death June 17 by a lone gunman in the basement of Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in downtown Charleston. Chris Singleton recalled a game in which he was standing in the on-deck circle. He caught his mom’s eye, and she told him she was praying for him. “Mom, don’t you think I already did that?” he said. His mom replied, “You can never have too much prayer.” Answering reporters’ questions, Singleton admitted that his knees were “a little weak right now, but I’m trying to stay as strong as I can while I press on. “I just think about her smile,” he said. Singleton described Emanuel AME as a place where he felt like “everybody’s grandson.” “This church is such a family,” he said. “It’s tough times, but our church will get through it. Everybody will press on.” Following the press conference, Singleton’s teammates and coaches surrounded him and placed their hands on him while a coach led the group in a prayer. In a school press release, CSU baseball coach Stuart Lake said the players and coaches are hurting and are praying for Singleton and his family. “Chris’s mother was just that parent that, as a coach, you are proud to have as part of your program,” he said. “What she brought to our team is immeasurable.” Charleston Southern University is one of three South Carolina colleges affiliated with the South Carolina Baptist Convention. (BP)
Crossover nurtures churches’ ties to Ohio communities Columbus, Ohio —”Do you know why we are here, sweetheart?” Paulette Foster asked a young girl receiving a Parsons Fest registration bracelet at Indian Mound Rec Center in south Columbus. “Are you here to tell people about Jesus?” she asked. “That’s right! And what did Jesus do?” Foster asked. “He died for our sins?” “That’s right, He died for our sins on the cross. We are here to show people His love. You know Jesus loves you, don’t you?” Foster said. Similar conversations took place at 47 venues around the greater Columbus area June 13 as thousands of volunteers—local Baptists and others from across the U.S. and Canada—took part in the culmination of a year-long effort to reach the city with the gospel and connect local ministry and outreach to long-term church strategy. Weeklong activities with college and seminary students and Monday events increased the number of opportunities for gospel conversations. Early reports for Crossover showed at least 3,385 participants making 4,950 gospel presentations and recording 345-plus professions of faith. (BP)
Photos by Bob Carey, Adam Covington, Matt Miller & Paul Lee
Center going clockwise, Greg Hitchcock, pastor of Transformation Church in Carroll, Ohio, builds a gazebo as part of Crossover. Far right, former Cleveland Browns player William Green, a member of the Strength Team, rips apart a license plate during a block party at Violet Baptist Church in Pickerington, Ohio. Middle, Traci Stanton, left, Steve Lopper, back right, and Scott Sanders of Bloom Baptist Church in Lithopolis, Ohio, provide free full service at a local gas station. Above, Jeff Vana, a student at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, helps a boy hit a whiffle ball at a block party in Columbus, Ohio. Top left, boys play basketball at a block party held at Faithway Baptist Church in Columbus, Ohio.
Taylor Warren, 4, part of a mission team from Eagle Lake, Fla., washes cars at a free car wash at Bloom Baptist Church in Lithopolis, Ohio.
Leo, 5, who lives in Columbus, Ohio, helps Morehead State University senior Chelsea Turner, center, and MSU grad Rebecca Seagraves plant vegetables.
SBC presidents unite, declare stand on marriage By Bonnie Pritchett
Columbus, Ohio—A coalition of all living former Southern Baptist Convention presidents since 1980 issued a joint statement declaring they will stand on the biblical truths concerning marriage despite anticipated legal and civil changes to the definition. Pastor Jack Graham called it “the most critical issue of our times—religious freedom and the very definition of marriage itself.” Current SBC President Ronnie Floyd led the press conference and was joined on the platform by former SBC presidents Jimmy Draper, Bailey Smith, Paige Patterson, James Merritt, Jack Graham, Frank Page, Bryant Wright and Fred Luter. Reading from the statement, Graham said, “The Scriptures’ teaching on marriage is not negotiable. We stake our lives upon the word of God and the testimony of Jesus. We will not accept, nor adhere to, any legal redefinition of marriage issued by any political or judicial body including the United States Supreme Court.” The statement, signed by 16 former
presidents, was not issued on behalf of the SBC but issued to the SBC, evangelicals and the nation, Graham said. The statement reiterates the longestablished SBC stand on homosexuality and same-sex marriage but was issued as a proactive response to the impending U.S. Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage. The 2015 National Day of Prayer served as the impetus for the statement. Floyd said he felt the weight of the nation’s burdens at that event and asked Graham, coordinator of the prayer event, to spearhead the drafting of the statement. Graham, pastor of Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano, Texas, said the document was written from the heart of pastors and with a spirit of brokenness and boldness. He said, “No one needs to wonder where we stand as Christians in these days.” James Merritt, pastor of Cross Pointe Church, Duluth, Ga., said the issue is not who can get married but what marriage is. As the culture lunges toward a historically unprecedented alteration of the definition, pastors, religious
Committees report giving, diversity of members Columbus, Ohio—The SBC Committee on
Nominations for the coming year has the most diversity in its history, Committee on Committee Chairman Bryan Smith reported at the SBC annual meeting. The Committee on Committees, which includes two members from each state convention, names members of the Committee on Nominations, which nominates people to serve on the Southern Baptist Convention’s boards, commissions and committees. Ethnic and minority members comprise 27 percent of the new Committee on Nominations, Smith said, calling it “one of the highlights” of the report. “It is the largest percentage of racial diversity ever brought to our convention for the Committee on Nominations,” Smith said. With Southern Baptists committed to reaching America for Christ, he noted, “Our convention committees Chip Hutcheson ought to reflect the faces of those in America for whom our Savior died to save.” The churches of those serving on the Committee on Nominations give an average of 7 percent of their non-designated receipts to the Cooperative Program, and 12.6 percent to Great Commission giving, including the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering and the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering, Smith reported. The Committee on Nominations will nominate members to the boards of the Executive Committee, GuideStone Financial Resources, the International Mission Board, the North American Mission Board, LifeWay Christian Resources, the six Southern Baptist seminaries, the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission and the Committee on Order of Business. Currently, members appointed to boards by the 2014-15 Committee on Nominations include 16 percent non-Anglos, are members of churches that gave 8.7 percent to the Cooperative Program, and include 86 nominees serving in their first term on an agency or institution board, 2014-15 committee chairman John (Chip) Hutcheson, a member of Southside Baptist Church in Princeton, reported at the SBC annual meeting. (BP)
institutions, ministries, and individual Christians will face spiritual and legal challenges for standing on the biblical truth about marriage. “This is coming and it’s coming now. And the trajectory of this issue is at breakneck speed,” Graham said. If the Supreme Court affords gays and lesbians protected class status—as Ronnie Floyd, SBC president, speaks during the Greater the Civil Rights Act afforded Columbus Convention Center about biblical marriage and the national ramifications of same-sex marriage. the same status to blacks— refusing to marry same-sex against churches” for failure to comply couples or affirm with local, state, or national regulations. homosexuality in the workplace could Pastors offered advice on how pastors come with fines, taxes, and, as demonstrated in one case in Idaho, threats and leaders of religious institutions can insulate themselves, to a degree, against of incarceration. the legal tide. Frank Page, president of the SBC Bryant Wright, pastor of Johnson Ferry executive committee, said, “Many Baptist Church in Marietta, Ga., said these churches live on a razor-thin edge of institutions must have well-documented finance and it well could be catastrophic policies clearly defining marriage and the to many churches. Even more than the policies grounded in that definition. (BP) tax-exempt status are the fines levied
SBC panel: Value love, gospel with LGBT community By Tom Strode
Columbus, Ohio—Christians should not undervalue the effect of love or the gospel in relating to gays and lesbians, recognizing, however, that faithfulness to the biblical definition of marriage will prove costly, members of a special panel told messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention. Five panelists answered questions from SBC President Ronnie Floyd about how churches and pastors can minister in an American culture that increasingly approves of homosexuality and same-sex marriage. The discussion occurred about two weeks before an expected U.S. Supreme Court ruling that resulted in gay marriage’s legalization nationwide. Same-sex marriage already is legal in 37 states and the District of Columbia. In addition, the conversation came on the same day Floyd and 16 former SBC presidents released a statement saying they will not perform and the churches they pastor will not host same-sex ceremonies. Rosaria Butterfield, an author who has chronicled her journey from lesbianism to Christ, told messengers not to “deny the power of the gospel to change lives and to travel at the grassroots level. Your friendships matter. “Don’t underestimate the power of genuinely loving people with a sense of fervency and consistency and honesty,” Butterfield said in explaining how to minister to gays and lesbians. “(W)ith compassion, we’re going to speak the truth in love, but we’ve got to show up to do it.” Matt Carter, lead pastor of Austin Stone Community Church, said the Texas church is attempting “to train the believers who go to our church to pursue (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender—LGBT) people with the gospel in the same way they would
Ronnie Floyd leads an SBC Presidential Panel on “The Supreme Court and SameSex Marriage: Preparing Our Churches for the Future.” The panel was held during the last session of the SBC annual meeting in Columbus.
pursue anybody with the gospel.” “We try to help our folks understand: ‘These people are not your enemy.’ Satan is our enemy. These are people that desperately need the blood and the love of Jesus Christ,” Carter told messengers. “We offer love. We offer grace. We offer kindness. But we do call to repentance.” Albert Mohler Jr. said he believes “we’re going to pay an enormous social, cultural price for not doing a same-sex ceremony.” In the past, people “gained social capital” by joining SBC churches, said Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. “Now they’re going to lose it.” For pastors, “the next decade of ministry is going to require courage,” said Ryan Blackwell, senior pastor of First Baptist Church in San Francisco. Pastors should teach their church members “a robust understanding of biblical sexuality” and instruct them “to be very good listeners,” Blackwell said. “Our churches should be the safest places to have conversations about same-sex attraction.” When asked how to help Christians with same-sex attractions, Russell Moore said the first thing needed is to “recover testimonies in our worship services in Southern Baptist churches.” Those testimonies need to reflect the biblical reality that Christians are “all fighting spiritual warfare,” said
Moore, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission. In the case of same-sex attraction, he said, a Christian would testify, “I’m a follower of Christ, and I’m having to fight and to struggle against the temptation to homosexuality.” He also urged Christian parents not to be ashamed of their gay and lesbian children. Churches need to become communities that are safe places “to work through who I am,” Butterfield said, “and whose I am eventually.” Mohler said the SBC and its churches must be diligent to confess and abide by biblical truth to make certain they do not follow other denominations that long ago abandoned the word of God and the gospel and now affirm homosexuality and gay marriage. Southern Baptists also should say, “There but by the grace of God would we have gone—and we nearly did,” Mohler said. At Floyd’s request, Moore closed the discussion by referencing the ERLC’s resources on the issue for pastors and churches. These include “Protecting Your Ministry,” a new legal guide for churches and other institutions, and Equip, an online initiative with the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention to aid pastors and others in ministering to the LGBT community. (BP)
‘What if?’ asked at Send North America luncheon By Joe Conway
Columbus, Ohio —“What if?” That was the question posed to more than 2,600 attendees of the June 15 Send North America luncheon at the SBC Pastors’ Conference in the Greater Columbus Convention Center. The event promised a glimpse into the future of missions in the SBC from the presidents of the International Mission Board and North American Mission Board. “What if we looked for every possible way to partner together to equip the church in North America for missions?” NAMB President Kevin Ezell began. “What if we equipped every pastor to lead his people to live lives on mission?” Ezell said NAMB has streamlined to advance the Send North America strategy to assist every church in finding its next step in missions—both across the continent and through 32 strategic Send North America cities. “I am excited about what God is doing through the church in North America,” said David Platt, president of IMB, who co-sponsored the event. Platt said he believed it unwise both practically and biblically to pursue a top-down strategy of missions. “The local church is the center of missions,” he said. “When you look at the Book of Acts, you don’t see NAMB or IMB anywhere, but you do see churches.” Platt shared IMB’s concept of limitless mission teams which combine traditional, fully funded missionaries; professionals who move to an area to both work in a secular job and serve with the team; retirees who intentionally use their status to serve on a team; and students who strategically select their universities and commit to serving with the teams. “We have 4,700 missionaries who are challenged in serving in some of the hardest and darkest places on the planet,” Platt said. “But there are 6,000-plus unreached people groups. In its history, IMB has funded 26,000 missionaries. I am thankful for their service. But we need
International Mission Board President David Platt (far left) and North American Mission Board President Kevin Ezell visit with IMB missionaries Scott and Wendy via Skype during the Send North America luncheon at SBC Pastors’ Conference. Scott and Wendy serve in a South Asian megacity working to evangelize an unreached people group.( Photo by John Swain/NAMB)
26,000 missionaries now.” Facing reality, Platt said the IMB missionary force will likely drop in the coming year because of last year’s $21 million budget shortfall. “We have to think in different ways,” Platt said. “We don’t need 100 more missionaries, we need 1,000 more. Our mission demands more. God is opening up opportunities for us with the globalization of the marketplace. We have to recognize those opportunities. When we think of global missions, we have to know that everyone has a part to play. The IMB has a part in that.” Ezell asked Platt about his first nine months at the helm of IMB and where he finds himself today with potential changes. “Everything is on the table,” Platt said. “We are exploring the most effective and efficient systems to get the gospel to the nations. But we must be deliberate in what we do.” The move to a more simplified
leadership structure at IMB was one change that made sense, Platt said. Policy changes to advance the creation of limitless missionary teams also made sense, he said. He emphasized that IMB’s board of trustees is in no way diminishing its commitment to the sound doctrinal and theological principals that have made the entity trustworthy, but rather is aligning policies with the Baptist Faith and Message. The mission board presidents also discussed ways the entities can cooperate to benefit God’s kingdom and Southern Baptists in advancing God’s mission. “We are working as closely together as we can,” Ezell said. “There are aspects of missions and church planting that are different in North America and overseas, but there are also commonalities in church planting. We can rely on each other’s expertise. People need to be comfortable with us exploring ways to advance missions.”
One of those possibilities is a combined registration process for missionary candidates, Ezell noted. Platt added having competing systems “makes no sense.” NAMB also provides scholarships for church planters to take vision trips to connect with people groups overseas for possible adoption. Another area of cooperation is the Send North America Conference the entities will host Aug. 3-4 in Nashville. “What if we held a missions conference to celebrate what we can do together and explore the mission of God?” Ezell asked. He told the gathering the initial goal for 2012’s first Send Conference was 1,000 people; 2,200 attended. In 2013, more than 4,400 participated. Paid registration for the 2015 conference is above 12,000. Only 1,500 seats remain. The Send Conference is designed to help churches find their next steps in missions, regardless of their level of engagement. The luncheon also included a Skype session with the two presidents and two Christian workers serving in South Asia. The couple has seen 25 people accept Jesus as Savior. “We are working among an unreached people group,” one of the workers said. “We give the churches tools for multiplication. Seeing them catch the vision is exciting.” The couple met in seminary and married before serving on mission in South Asia. They had been unable to have children, a journey that led them to commit to adoption. They received a letter of acceptance for a three-month old child with special needs from another country. And, six months ago, they welcomed the birth of their first son. Platt informed the couple that the SBC Minister’s Adoption Fund, founded by Ezell when he was president of the Pastors’ Conference in 2010, will pay the remainder of their adoption expenses, about $10,000. (BP)
Bumpers: ‘Earnestly cry out’ for awakening By Benjamin Hawkins
Columbus, Ohio—God can send the flames of spiritual awakening that the church and nation so desperately need, Eddie Bumpers told messengers during his convention sermon. “It is possible for God to send revival to bring us to a place of new obedience to God, a new commitment to the Great Commission and the Great Command of the Lord Jesus,” said Bumpers, pastor of Crossway Baptist Church in Springfield, Mo. He said the story of Elijah, King Ahab and the prophets of Baal in 1 Kings 18 depicts the conditions in which God chooses to send the fire of His Spirit upon His people. “Step one to the fire of God falling is that we must aggressively deal with our sin,” he said. “There will never be revival in my life, your life, my church, your church or this nation until we put our finger on the problem and say, ‘Sin is the problem.’ It is not economics. It is not
education. It is not the environment. It is sin, my sin, your sin, that must be confronted and must be dealt with aggressively. … We must get honest with God and confess our sin before God.” In 1 Kings 18, Bumpers explained, God sent the prophet Elijah to confront King Ahab, who had abandoned the worship of God for idolatry and had led God’s people to do the same. Ahab accused Elijah of bringing trouble to Israel, but without flinching Elijah declared the truth of the Israelite king’s sinful behavior and its detrimental effect on that nation. Southern Baptists likewise must stand for the truth of God’s word as they confront sin, Bumpers said. “It is our responsibility as preachers and teachers and leaders and believers to speak the truth to a culture that does not want to hear the truth,” he said. “We speak the truth in love. We speak the truth in grace. We speak the truth in wisdom, but we must speak the truth because that is what God called us to do.”
Alongside challenging the culture, Southern Baptists must challenge God’s people if they desire to see the fire of God poured out in this nation, Bumpers said. After confronting Ahab, Elijah confronted the Israelites, who refused to follow God wholeheartedly, wavering between the worship of God and the false god Baal. “You cannot walk with God with one foot on the path of obedience and another foot in the ditch of pluralism,” Bumpers said. “God wants all of me and all of you, and He wants us to believe His Word
totally.” Elijah, after rebuking God’s people for their unfaithfulness, then challenged the prophets of Baal to set up an altar and call on Baal to send fire from heaven that would consume the sacrifice on the altar. They accepted his challenge, but Baal never responded to their prayers. Then Elijah built an altar, drenched it in water several times and prayed that God would magnify Himself and show His people that He alone was God. Even so, Southern Baptists must earnestly pray for God to send the fire of spiritual awakening, Bumpers said. “We must earnestly cry out to God,” he said. “We’ve all agreed in visible union and earnest prayer during these days of this convention that what we need the government can’t give us, Republicans can’t give us, the SBC can’t give us, the church can’t give us. Only God can provide what we need. … What our nation needs and our churches need is to see the power of God.” (BP)
‘He Must Increase’
focus of SBC pastors Columbus, Ohio—Pastors and churches must humble themselves and pursue a closer walk with God if they want to experience His peace, joy and purpose, speakers urged at the 2015 Southern Baptist Pastors’ Conference June 14-15. The conference, focusing on the theme “He Must Increase” from John the Baptist’s statement in John 3:30, preceded the Southern Baptist Convention’s annual meeting at the Greater Columbus Convention Center. John Meador of First Baptist Church of Euless, Texas, was elected as next year’s Pastors’ Conference president. Among the dozen speakers to address the conference were:
Dean Fulks Dean Fulks, lead pastor of LifePoint Church in Columbus, Ohio, in the opening message of the conference June 14, used the story of Jonah to illustrate the need for pastors to live with repentant hearts. Sometimes pastors may mistakenly believe that God is waiting for them to step out of Dean Fulks line so He can clobber them, Fulks said. But a biblical picture is found in Romans 2:3, where Paul writes that God’s kindness is what leads to repentance. “God will be glorified by my life. God will be glorified by your life,” Fulks said. “Either through my joyful obedience or through my rebellious disobedience ... God will be glorified.” As God didn’t give up on Jonah, Fulks said He wouldn’t give up on pastors. “Jesus took on His shoulders the wrath of God—not just of the sinners that fill our pews but the sins of those of us who fill the pulpits,” Fulks said. Vance Pitman Christ alone satisfies, and ministry both locally and globally overflows from a relationship with Him, Vance Pitman said. “As Christ has increased in my life, I’ve realized that God’s primary call on my life is not ministry,” said Pitman, pastor of Hope Church in Las Vegas. “It’s Vance PIttman
intimacy.” Calling attention to Luke 4:42, Pitman noted that Jesus “walked away from ministry to pursue intimacy with the Father.” “Some of us are too busy with ministry to pursue intimacy,” he said, warning that such a lapse in intimacy may come with dangerous consequences. But intimacy with Christ overflows with ministry, he added. According to Mark 3:13-14, Christ called the 12 apostles first to “be with Him” and then “to preach.” Christ’s increase in a minister’s life, Pitman said, means that they are called not only to a church, but to a city. Ministers who gain a heart for the city “develop a passion to multiply the church” and “a passion for multicultural expressions of the gospel,” he said, which in turn connects the pastor with God’s global Kingdom work. David Uth David Uth, pastor of First Baptist Church of Orlando, Fla., urged conference participants to turn from casual Christianity to a willingness to die for the cause of Christ. Citing 2 Timothy 4:6, Uth noted that the apostle Paul, in his last days, spoke of having been “poured out like a drink David Uth offering” for the cause of Christ, referring to the Old Testament practice when a priest pours a sacrifice on the altar until the last drop was gone. Uth cautioned against pouring one’s life on the altar of one’s ministry or the altar of the denomination, noting only one altar is worthy—”pour every drop you’ve got on the Lord Jesus Christ.” “If Jesus is going to increase,” Uth said, “We have to decrease by pouring everything out on the altar for Christ.” Clint Pressley “God takes what seems impossible, and He makes it a reality,” said Clint Pressley, senior pastor of Hickory Grove Baptist Church in Charlotte, N.C., and first vice president of the Southern Baptist Convention. Pressley preached from Ezekiel 37:1-10 and encouraged pastors to not be fearful. “Don’t be afraid, brothers and sisters, if God calls you into the valley of the dry bones,” Pressley said. “You stand there with the word of God; you preach the word of God and beg the Spirit to come give life.” Pressley focused on allowing God to work through the power of the Holy Spirit. “Do you believe that it is God doing the
work or you doing the work?” he asked. “The conversion of our people, the strength of the church and the power for our ministry cannot come from the flesh; it comes from the Spirit. “Don’t be afraid to walk into something that doesn’t make sense to anybody but you and the Lord,” Pressley said. Clint Pressley
H.B. Charles Preaching on “The Changeless Christ” from Hebrews 13:18, H.B. Charles, pastor of Shiloh Metropolitan Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Fla., declared, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow.” While leaders come and go and rise and fall, Jesus Christ is the same, Charles said. And while preachers H.B. Charles come and go, “preaching must remain gloriously monotonous. You don’t need new truths when you have the same Christ.” No matter changing circumstances or the way that the wind blows, “you can face the changing culture with faith in the changeless Christ,” Charles said. The name “Jesus” reflects His humanity, Charles said, and “Christ” is His divine office that is found in His exclusivity, Charles said. “He is able to sustain our faith, our witness, our ministry because He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. “Jesus is heaven’s wonder. Jesus is hell’s worry. Jesus is humanity’s way out of sin, guilt, shame, death and hell,” he added. “Whatever you are going through, whatever your days may bring, you can always count on Jesus Christ because of His matchless name, His exclusivity claim and the unwavering faithfulness of Jesus Christ,” Charles said. Steve Gaines Pastors must pray with fervency, faith and forgiveness if their ministry is to follow the model for biblical revival, said Steve Gaines, pastor of Bellevue Baptist Church in Cordova, Tenn., and a former president of the Pastors’ Conference. “The difference between us and the early church is that we don’t pray like they prayed,” Gaines said.
Preaching from Mark 11:22-25 when Jesus told His disciples how to move mountains through prayer, Gaines said, “If we want God to birth a revival, we must labor in fervent prayer.” In addition to fervency, Gaines said pastors should learn to pray with faith and forgiveness. Faith, Gaines said, is Steve Gaines placing trust and dependency in God and His promises. And prayer will not be effective, he said, unless believers first forgive those who have wronged them. Closing with the “Parable of the Unforgiving Debtor,” Gaines encouraged attendees to seek out those who have hurt them and forgive them in Jesus’ name. James MacDonald James MacDonald, pastor of Harvest Bible Church in Chicago—who announced that the church had recently voted to join the Southern Baptist Convention— explained to Pastors’ Conference attendees that when one is enduring a particular trial in ministry that “you can’t do what you want” but James MacDonald must “humble yourself.” Drawing from John 13:1-16, MacDonald portrayed Jesus’ example of humbling Himself before the disciples on the eve of His greatest trial. In light of this, regardless of “when it’s hardest to love,” “when it’s personal and painful,” “when you endure injustices,” one should “humble yourself.” MacDonald noted that the act of humbling oneself is an action, not a concept, and it requires servanthood. Like the servant and messenger depicted in verse 16, MacDonald said, “I am the servant. I am the messenger, and I am nothing.... I deserve nothing.... The messenger is nothing; the message is everything. “And if you get ahold of ‘I am nothing,’ the message is everything. I am sent, but it is about the Sender.... Only God is great; humble yourself.... It’s okay if we decrease … so that He (Jesus) could increase.” (BP)
IMB, NAMB celebrate missionaries, sending churches By Laura Fielding
Asia; North Africa and the Middle East; Europe; Sub-Saharan Africa and the Americas. Stationed throughout the crowd, missionary families and representatives of their sending churches stood with an open lighted “book” illuminating their faces, while information about the missionaries and their work was displayed.
Columbus, Ohio—In a darkened convention center hall filled with Southern Baptist messengers, individual pinpoints of light illuminated the darkness. Moments earlier, in passionate pleas, IMB President David Platt and NAMB President Kevin Ezell urged Southern Baptist messengers not to be cold toward the vast lostness in the world, The sending church but to join in God’s global mission as church planters, missionaries and Ezell said although the service was sending churches to take the light of the focused on missionaries, they also wanted gospel to a dark world. to celebrate the sending churches. IMB and NAMB partnered together in “Churches plant churches,” he said. a Church and Mission Sending Ezell interviewed Chuck Herring, Celebration to recognize 59 missionaries pastor of First Baptist Church of and their sending churches during the Collierville, Tenn., about being a sending final day of the annual meeting of the church pastor. Herring has led the church Southern Baptist Convention. to adopt an unengaged, unreached people “The stakes are too high, the gospel is group in South Asia and send a family to too good for us to settle for incremental plant a church in Toronto. increases in “It’s good for our Southern Baptist church to have church planters and “Think about the big vision of ownership of a missionaries,” Platt church plant in an asking God for an awakening said in his message. unreached part of so we can reach the world with “We need to open North America,” the gospel of Christ,” Floyd the door for tens of Herring said. thousands more said. “All of it goes together, Being a sending people to engage the church does not a mighty move of the Lord and nations with the require a large His people mobilized to reach gospel. congregation or a lot the world.” “Wouldn’t you of money, Ezell said. want that to be our “It’s about having a SBC President Ronnie Floyd legacy?” Platt asked. big heart and “Don’t we cry out for compassion and a God to bring a … missions movement passion to reach people here and around among us so that our legacy might be a the world.” convention of churches who send Five truths thousands, tens of thousands of Godexalting, Christ-following, Spirit-led, In light of the vast darkness, Platt biblically faithful, people-loving, highemphasized five truths. quality missionaries and church planters The stakes are high. Darkness is a real across North America and the nations for destiny for billions of people who are the sake of God’s fame?” headed to hell, he said. “We don’t have time to waste our lives and lead our Light of the world churches in casual, cold, comfortable, The Sending Celebration symbolically cultural Christianity.” celebrated commissioning the new The gospel is good. “The divine Savior missionaries and church planters to share has defeated the deceptive snake,” Platt Jesus as the Light of the World (John 8:12). said. “The sovereign King has conquered Of the 59 missionaries and church sin and suffering and death forever. This planters highlighted, 27 will serve in is the greatest news in all the world.” North America in the Northeast, South, The church is central. It is God’s chosen Midwest, West and Canada, while 32 will agent for the eventual accomplishment of serve overseas in East, Central and South the Great Commission. That truth drives
Top, Kevin Ezell, NAMB president, and David Platt, IMB president, end a joint Church and Mission Sending Celebration Above, David and Katie Kizziah and their daughter Karis, open an illuminated book at the celebration. David, a Southern Seminary graduate, is a former pastor of Springfield’s New Hope Baptist Church. (Photos by Paul Lee/IMB, John Swain/NAMB
both IMB and NAMB, Platt said. “We want to say to 46,000 Southern Baptist churches, ‘You exist for mission, we exist to help you accomplish it.’” The opportunities are limitless. Missionaries and church planters can be sent through new pathways for students, professionals and retirees. “Are we going to let our minds broaden and in our churches begin to say to people, ‘Global missions is not a compartmentalized program in the church for a select few people who are called to that—the glory of God among the nations is actually the reason you have breath on the planet?’” Platt said. The time is now. Our lives are simply a mist (James 4:14), Platt stressed. No one is guaranteed tomorrow, so Southern Baptists should make their lives count now. “As IMB, NAMB, as every entity and every local church across the SBC, let’s unite together around this good gospel, in view of these high stakes, and in light of limitless opportunities God’s given us to send and shepherd church planters and
missionaries around the world,” Platt said. “May the urgency of this mission mark us. May our light shine amidst the darkness and may our mist count while we’ve still got time.” Sending out After Platt’s challenge, the missionaries, church planters and their sending churches stood with their faces aglow from their lighted books. Platt and Ezell led in prayer for them as messengers gathered around to lay hands on them in prayer. SBC President Ronnie Floyd closed the celebration, urging pastors and church leaders to fill out commitment cards to pray passionately, give generously and intentionally disciple people to be sent out nationally and internationally. “Think about the big vision of asking God for an awakening so we can reach the world with the gospel of Christ,” Floyd said. “All of it goes together, a mighty move of the Lord and His people mobilized to reach the world.” (BP)
AROUND THESE ISLANDS
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The Operations Committee recommended that Wes Segawa and Jerry Sulliban visit the Kahaluu property to investigate the property line discrepancies. The Programs Committee recommended the following: 1) The recommendations from the Church Planter Catalyst Department be approved. 2) The recommendation from the state WMU Council be approved for the Start Something New allocation – Pago Pago Baptist Church ($850 for worship instruments), Voyage Ministry ($800 for drama camp), Ohana Church ($1,000 for Ohana Beach Outreach) and Evangelism Projects allocation – Kona Baptist Church ($1,000 for Big island Impact Camp), Oahu Baptist Network ($1,458 for Youth Camp). 3) The monthly reports by the church planters be submitted by the 20th of each month in order for the sponsoring churches to receive funding by the end of the month. The Executive Board of the Hawaii Pacific Baptist Convention serves as the principal advisory group on the total program of the Convention and recommends the overall plan for organization, program objective, policies, general allocations of undesignated funds, division of special offerings, and action to be taken on annual reports and budgets of the programs of the Convention (source: by-Laws of the Hawaii Pacific Baptist Convention). The next Executive Board meeting will be September 12.
DR volunteers needed DR volunteers are needed to get our equipment ready for this hurricane season: Two older generators need to be checked for repairs or replacement; power washer needs engine cleaned and serviced; military grade water purifier needs to be checked to see if it is useful or outdated. Contact Darrell McCain, DR Coordinator at email@example.com.
Ebenezer pastor resigns Raul Martinez has resigned as pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church in Kailua-Kona and will leave Hawaii in August.
Saunders to be Waialae pastor Matt Sanders has accepted the call as pastor of Waialae Baptist Church. He and his family was expected to move to Hawaii in August from Texas.
HPBC-sponsored events in bold AUGUST 1 Social Issues Sunday 8 Pinewood Derby, HPBC Chapel 9 Student Evangelism Day 17-18 Training for Churches Planting Churches 21 Statehood Day 23-29 Worship Music Week
6-13 Sue Nishikawa Week of Prayer 6 Single Adult Sunday 7 Labor Day 12 Executive Board 14 Discipleship Rally 18-19 Hawaii Baptist Early Education Conference 20 Anti-Gambling Sunday 21-23 Missions Leadership Conference, Puu Kahea
prayer calendar AUGUST 6 Hiroko Merritt - Waimea, Kauai 8 Teresa McCain - MSC, Oahu 8 Stephen Ventura – Church Planting, Kauai 10 Beth Camacho - Filipino Intl, Oahu 10 Sun Yun Kim - Maui 1st Korean, Maui 12 Clyde Kakiuchi - HPBC, Oahu 12 Alice Newman - Retired, Oahu 12 Mercy Mariano - Mililani, Oahu 13 Dawn Akutagawa - HPBC, Oahu 15 Ed Perez - Tamuning, Guam 18 Karen Tomita - Kinoole, Big Island 20 Wilma Marshall - Hilo, Big Island 21 Ed Poppe - Marianas, Guam 21 Kathy Uchino - Agape Japanese, Oahu 22 Kyu Ho Chang - Emmanuel, Oahu 22 Carrie Onellion - Chaplaincy, Oahu 25 Trong Bui - Dong Tam, Oahu 25 Annette Hockney - W. Oahu, Oahu 31 Lilian Hiratani - Retired, Oahu 31 Patty Martin - Hawaii Kai, Oahu SEPTEMBER 4 Marino Ramones - Pahala, Big Island
5 Doreen Kelley - Halawa Heights, Oahu 5 Grant Okamura - Olivet, Oahu 6 Tuisuga Simi - Fagalii, Samoa 7 Sarahn DeLoach - Palisades, Oahu 8 Josie Ramones - Pahala, Big Island 9 Clara Tate - Abundant Life, Oahu 14 Monica Kang - HPBC, Oahu 15 Romeo Eder - Hilo Ilocano, Big Island 15 Keiko Ishiwata - Pearl City Japanese, Oahu 18 Glen Basuel - Village Park, Oahu 19 Aaron Davis - Aloha Comm., Oahu 19 Sandee Falkenberg - Kihei, Maui 20 Julia Lee - New Covenant, Oahu 20 Brent Schlittenhart - Wayland, Oahu 20 Raymond Young - Retired, Kauai 21 Betsy Murray - Kaanapali, Maui 22 Erin Schlittenhart - Pali View, Oahu 25 Dean Stanley - Kona, Big Island 24 John Vaughn - Retired, Oahu 26 David Hockney - W. Oahu, Oahu 26 Rhonda Stanley - Kona, Big Island 27 Ae Kyun Lee - Samoa Korean, Am. Samoa 27 Dana Nakasone - Fellowship, Oahu 30 Chad Logan - Kahuhipa, Oahu
Clayton named Cornerstone pastor Tim Clayton is the new pastor at Cornerstone Fellowship in Mililani. He is pictured here with his wife, Leslie.