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MID-AMERICA

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PRAYER— THE OFTEN NEGLECTED COMMAND IN THE GREAT COMMISSION BY D R . MIC HA EL SPR A D LIN Therefore said he unto them, The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest (Luke 10:2). Where will we find the next generation of missionaries? Though many answers can be given to this question, one key component of an answer that cannot be overlooked is the foundation of specific, concentrated prayer. If we have a shortage of workers, then we must have a shortage of prayer. When the Lord Jesus instructs his followers to go two-by-two in Luke 10, he gives them a two-fold commission. Interestingly the second part of this commission is often overlooked. First, the disciples are commanded to go tell people about Jesus. Second, they are instructed to pray for more workers. This is a very specific command to pray a very specific prayer. Go and pray for more “goers” is the challenge before us today. The challenge is great, but the Great Commission compels us to give our all in service to our Savior. Would you join me in praying for a great response to the call of God to take the Gospel to the nations?


contents VOLUME 46, NUMBER 1 | SUMMER 2018 Published by the Mid-America family of educational institutions

PRESIDENT Michael Spradlin, PHD EDITOR Randy Redd, PHD CONTENT COORDINATOR Deanna Coscia DESIGN Eternity Communications

MISSIONS & CULTURE The theme of this summer issue of the MidAmerica Messenger is “A Constant Commission in Changing Cultures.” Standing steadfast in the face of waves of change requires a rock solid commitment to God’s unchanging Word— underscoring the need for Mid-America training.

KEEPING THE LIGHT SHINING A guest writer from Answers in Genesis, founded by Dr. Ken Ham who will be our featured speaker at Founders’ Days, brings a timely reminder that we need to defend biblical truth and not allow culture to dim the light of the Gospel.

OPPORTUNITIES TO GIVE A world of new opportunities awaits Mid-America, but funding is urgently needed in order to take advantage of them while the window is still open. Discover how you can invest in the vision and help Mid-America reach “all the world for Jesus’ sake.”

NORTHEAST AWAKENING Discover growth principles for your own ministry drawn from the Second Great Awakening and from remarkable Gospel advances happening right now in the Northeast, influenced by the impact of Mid-America’s Northeast Campus.

CONNECT P.O. Box 2350 Cordova, Tennessee 38088-2350 901-751-8453

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„„ Biblical Worldview

WE WILL NOT BE DETERRED FROM THE MISSION IF WE HOLD FAST TO THE ROCK OF AGES BY DR. GUY A. THOMPSON The world has demanded that everything and everyone keep pace and conform to its contemporary and ever-changing culture, leaving behind all that resembles conviction, truth, and certainty. Faith is classified as foolishness; blessed assurance is considered nothing more than a naïve illusion for weak minded religious fanatics; and the preaching of the Gospel is often interpreted as nothing more than “a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.” Who would dare send forth messengers with a contradictory message during such shifting times and unfavorable circumstances? Simply put, nobody but God.

CONSIDER GOD Perhaps one of the most detrimental flaws in the life of modern-day

MID-AMERICA MESSENGER

5

twofold experience with God: it is God’s

REMEMBER GOD DOES NOT CHANGE

pleasure to use us, and it is our pleasure

So, what is God’s response to

alone use us? Such a scenario provides a

to serve Him. So, when we think about

changing cultures and the demand for a

God setting His mind upon us and using

more contemporary and open-minded

us, it should take us to unparalleled

approach concerning Christ, our faith,

depths of humility and praise. We must

and His Word?

not forget to consider God.

DEPEND ON GOD’S POWER God reveals His power in both

First, God directly states in Malachi 3:6 that He does not change, saying, “For I am the LORD, I do not change.”

His message and His messenger, and

We know that the Eternal God is not

both will lack any true effectiveness

subject to time, but He dwells in eternity;

apart from God’s power. Unfortunately,

therefore, He is forever the I AM God.

changing cultures and worldly

GOD DOES NOT CHANGE!

influences often cause the messenger

Second, the Spirit tells us in the

to rely on gadgets and gimmicks and

letter to the Hebrews that “Jesus Christ is

to compromise God’s message in order

the same yesterday, today, and forever”

to gain favor and produce man-made

(Hebrews 13:8). We also know that Christ

results; but an artificial gospel can only

“has an unchangeable priesthood”

produce artificial Christians.

(Hebrews 7:24). So, CHRIST DOES NOT

The apostle Paul declared, “For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ;

CHANGE! Third, Jude exhorts us “to contend

for it is the power of God unto salvation

earnestly for the faith which was once

to every one that believeth” (Romans

for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3).

1:16). Therefore, it is the message of the

Scripture also tells us that without faith

Gospel that represents God’s power

it is impossible to please God (Hebrews

and produces salvation, and God’s

11:6), and “the just shall live by his faith”

messengers must trust in God’s power

(Habakkuk 2:4). So, we know that OUR

alone and leave the results to God

FAITH DOES NOT CHANGE!

Himself, no matter the changing tides of society. We should also find encouragement

Finally, the apostle Paul declares that “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God” (2 Timothy 3:16), and Peter

messengers is our lack of consideration.

in our risen Lord and Savior Jesus

reminds us that “the Word of the Lord

By this I refer not so much to our

Christ, who gives us reassurance for

endureth forever” (1 Peter 1:25). So,

consideration of others, but I am

the mission. Before commissioning the

we see that GOD’S WORD DOES NOT

referring to our lack of consideration

apostles after His resurrection, Jesus

CHANGE!

towards God; in all our thinking, we

declared that He possessed all power.

often forget to consider God.

Our Lord also promised His presence

In Psalm 8, the psalmist uses the

with those He commissioned, saying,

words “When I consider,” and then he

“I am with you always, even to the end

goes on to present a contrast with the

of the age” (Matthew 28:20). So, we are

words “What is man?” In other words,

reminded to depend on God’s power,

when we consider God, what are we

and we are reassured by the ever-

that He should set His mind upon us, let

abiding presence of Christ.

Dr. Guy Thompson (MABTS alumnus, MDIV, 2002) is the pastor of Riverdale Baptist Church, Roanoke, Virginia. He also served as a U.S. Navy Chaplain.


WILL AMERICA, TOO, LOSE OUR PLACE AS A LIGHT TO THE WORLD? BY ME L I S SA W EB B Great Britain was once known for sending Christian missionaries all over the world. David Livingstone, William Carrey, and J. Hudson Taylor went to Africa, India, and China to spread the Gospel to the ends of the earth. Before heading to the United States to help spark the Great Awakening, George Whitefield and John Wesley lit Gospel

fires across the United Kingdom. Earlier

and knew the Gospel. He assumed he

William Tyndale gave his life to translate

was a Christian early on in his life but

and disseminate the Bible in English.

realized it was in name only and came to

But the UK, once a light to the world,

faith in Christ in his early 20s.

only 4.3 percent of the nation’s citizens

HIS CONCERN ABOUT THE CHURCH in the UK has grown as

attend church and 48.5 percent identify

he realized the damaging effects of

themselves as nonreligious.

abandoning belief in biblical creation

is now spiritually dark. Statistics show

Simon Turpin, a speaker and the

and instead, accepting Darwinism and

new general manager for Answers in

the belief that it took millions of years

Genesis–UK (AiG–UK), has a desire

for the earth to evolve. “Although the UK

to see the Gospel impact his country

never was a Christian nation, it certainly

once again. Simon believes Christians’

was Christianized in its values and laws.

inability to understand Genesis 1–11 is

But the evolutionary ideas have changed

weakening their faith and undermining

the course of this nation.”

their witness to their lost countrymen.

Simon cites F. Sherwood Taylor, a

Simon grew up in a churchgoing home

world expert on the history of science and


„„ Challenging the Culture

MID-AMERICA MESSENGER

7

“I MYSELF HAVE LITTLE DOUBT THAT IN ENGLAND IT WAS GEOLOGY AND THE THEORY OF EVOLUTION THAT CHANGED US FROM A CHRISTIAN TO A PAGAN NATION.”

curator at the Oxford Science Museum

make a difference, no matter what their

that connects creation and the Flood in

after World War II: “I myself have little

calling or place in life. The focus of the

Genesis 1–11 to our everyday lives.

doubt that in England it was geology and

ministry is not evangelism directly,

the theory of evolution that changed us

but to encourage and train Christians

this year in West Bromwich, West

from a Christian to a pagan nation.”

to become better evangelists—to

Midlands, more than 1,300 people from

After his conversion, Simon wanted

AT THE UK MEGA CONFERENCE

show them how to defend their

all over came to understand more about

to serve the church, completing a BA in

faith and expose the bankruptcy of

how the creation message affects the

Theology in 2010 and serving in church

evolutionary ideas, so they can use

Gospel and can improve our witness.

ministry for five years. But in working

their understanding of biblical history

In the two years since he started

with people, he began to recognize the

to make sense of our world and explain

working for AiG–UK, Simon has spoken

need for Bible-based apologetics if the

everyone’s need of the Gospel.

to thousands of believers about the

church was to reach his country. This led

AiG–UK does this primarily through

truth of God’s Word and has also had

him to finish an MA degree in Theology.

speaking at churches, conferences,

numerous opportunities to share the

And in 2015, an opportunity opened for

homeschool groups, and creation

Gospel with nonbelievers.

him to become a speaker at AiG–UK,

groups—wherever they can help all

known for its creation-based apologetics.

around the UK and in Ireland. People

of Christians who “have a hunger for

are hungry for solid, practical teaching

biblical truth. God has also answered

Simon trusts every believer can

At every event, Simon talks to lots


8

MID-AMERICA MESSENGER

prayer by opening doors for us to get into churches where the people have never heard a case for biblical creation.” The UK ministry has six members

relating the Gospel back to Genesis. “Believing in a six-day literal creation right from the start of my Christian life was not a problem at all.

on staff, all of them wholeheartedly

Having had my eyes opened, it just

dedicated to sharing the Gospel and true

seemed incredibly obvious,” he said.

message of creation. Office manager Gary Burchnall typifies the staff’s

YET THE CHALLENGE IS DAUNTING. Even most conservative

passion. Gary once openly denied the

churches in the UK will not take a stand

Creator. On a typical Sunday, he could be

on the biblical account of Creation, the

found drinking at a local pub.

Fall, and the global Flood. In fact, most

“I was reckless, anxious, and utterly

preach that God created the world

depressed,” he said. But he noticed the

through evolutionary means, if they talk

joy and contentment of Christians with

about creation at all. So the key is to work

whom he came into regular contact. So,

with individuals, to see the light turn on

he decided to try to be like a Christian

and spread in God’s perfect timing.

and began attending church. One Sunday the pastor preached on

Simon and the AiG–UK staff cling to the example of the book of Acts, where

Ecclesiastes 12:1, “Remember also your

God spread the Gospel and grew his

Creator in the days of your youth,” and

church despite the adversity of a hostile,

Gary said the “lights came on.”

pagan culture.

“I now knew that I deserved

“Whereas the culture may deny that

absolute punishment for my many sins

they have a Lord over them, our duty as

and for rejecting the Creator.” The church

Christians is to proclaim Jesus Christ as

he attended stressed the importance of

Lord over us all.”

Melissa Webb is an editor for Answers magazine, published by Answers in Genesis, an apologetics ministry dedicated to helping Christians defend their faith and proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Answers in Genesis was founded by Dr. Ken Ham.

DR. KEN HAM PRESIDENT/CEO OF ANSWERS IN GENESIS

SPECIAL CONVOCATION SPEAKER DURING FOUNDERS’ DAYS AUGUST 21 7:00 P.M. FOR MORE DETAILS, VISIT MABTS.EDU/ FOUNDERSDAYS SEE BACK PAGE FOR MORE INFORMATION ON FOUNDERS’ DAYS AND CONVOCATION OF THE COLLEGE AT MID-AMERICA, AUGUST 20–21

“WHEREAS THE CULTURE MAY DENY THAT THEY HAVE A LORD OVER THEM, OUR DUTY AS CHRISTIANS IS TO PROCLAIM JESUS CHRIST AS LORD OVER US ALL.”


SHARING FAITH SHARING STORIES BY S I RG REGO RY THO R NTO N The Witness One:Seven program has truly

WITNESS ONE:SEVEN & GO! PROGRAM REPORT 2017–2018

encouraged and motivated me to live an intentional life of personal evangelism. My first semester at Mid-America, I heard stories of how my classmates were sharing the Gospel with lost people in the city. Hearing these stories placed a desire in my heart to join in the work. The problem was that, due to my job, I didn’t have time to go out and be involved fully with a ministry in the city that routinely went out to evangelize. So, I shifted my focus to sharing the Gospel at my workplace. I began to pray every day as I entered into the doors to start my shift, “Lord, allow me to be light and salt in this building.” I asked God for opportunities to share the Gospel with my coworkers.

ONE DAY, A COWORKER AND I began to have small talk. He randomly told me that he was getting baptized the upcoming Sunday. I asked him what was making him get baptized, and his response showed me that he did not have a clear understanding of baptism. He said he didn’t know when he was going to die and “just wants to make sure he is good to go.” I then in full detail was able to teach him man’s problem with sin and how because of sin we all stand facing an eternity separated from God, being punished for our sins. Though we have all sinned, God saw us and

Sirgregory Thornton

because of His great love for us, He sent His one

Mid-America student

and only Son Jesus to come and die, taking upon Himself the wrath of God that was due to us. He died on a cross, was buried in a grave, and three days later He defeated sin and death by rising from the grave. Through believing and trusting in Jesus as Lord and Savior, believers are able to spend eternity in Heaven with God the Father. I was able to share with him that baptism isn’t the source of salvation, instead it is an outward expression of an inward reality. As I reflect on this conversation, I am thankful that God answered my prayer by giving me an opportunity to share. I have been encouraged weekly during this time of sharing stories, and I pray that the Lord continues to save souls and change lives. What a blessing it is to be a part of something so great.

TENNESSEE NEW YORK TOTAL

PRACTICAL MISSIONS 5,617 363 5,980 PERSONS WITNESSED TO 4,932 274 5,206 PROFESSIONS OF FAITH

496 25 521

SERMONS PREACHED 1,102

38 1,140

Witness One:Seven and GO! Program reported August 1, 2017–May 23, 2018

PROFESSIONS OF FAITH SINCE 1972 = 165,135


DO YOU BELIEVE IN PLANTING NEW CHURCHES? DO YOU BELIEVE IN STRONG BIBLICAL TRAINING FOR NEW PASTORS?

DO YOU BELIEVE IN GLOBAL MISSIONS?

IF SO, WOULD YOU PLEASE STRONGLY CONSIDER FINANCIALLY SUPPORTING MID-AMERICA?

DO YOU BELIEVE IN SUPPORTING THE NEXT GENERATION OF CHURCH LEADERS? DO YOU BELIEVE MID-AMERICA SHOULD GO “TO ALL THE WORLD FOR JESUS’ SAKE?”


„„ Development

A WORLD OF NEW OPPORTUNITY AWAITS MID-AMERICA, BUT FUNDING IS URGENTLY NEEDED

MID-AMERICA MESSENGER

11

scholarships, curriculum, and

every seven days. It is a major

materials. All of these important

reason that Dr. Negrut wanted to

areas require funding.

partner with Mid-America. At Mid-

„„Are you aware of Emanuel

America, Witness One:Seven has

University in Oradea, Romania?

resulted in hundreds of thousands

Emanuel is the only accredited,

of people being saved through

conservative Baptist seminary

the Gospel as it is shared by our

in Europe. Dr. Paul Negrut, the

students.

president of Emanuel University

3.

was on campus in February, speaking to our faculty and students

To provide transportation for professors and students to

Romania to share and demonstrate,

BY RAY HELTON

and participating in private group

firsthand, how to build the doctoral

We never apologize for asking you to

discussions. Dr. Negrut has

program and establish a culture and

support Mid-America because there are

demonstrated a desire to lead

habit of evangelism.

significant God-given opportunities right

Emanuel to a higher academic level

All of these important areas require

now that must be funded for us to move

and a greater impact on the lost

funding.

ahead. We are having difficulty making

people in Europe. As a result, he has

budget this year, but we are going to

asked Mid-America to become a

Convention has provided us with

follow Dr. Gray Allison’s advice to “trust

partnering institution with them in

an opportunity. With the approval

God and tell the people.” God has given

three areas:

of the governor of Arkansas and

us some great windows of opportunity

1. 2.

To establish a doctoral

the Arkansas Department of

program.

Corrections, we have been asked

to teach in more places to more people. These windows of opportunity will pass us by unless we can fund the initiatives needed to take advantage of them.

LET’S TAKE A LOOK AT SOME OF THE OPPORTUNITIES THAT ARE CURRENTLY AVAILABLE BUT STILL REQUIRE ADDITIONAL FUNDING. „„You already know The College

To provide guidance to build an integrated evangelism

program for Emanuel that is similar to Mid-America’s key evangelism distinctive, our Witness One:Seven program. As you know, Witness

at Mid-America is launching in

One:Seven

August. That’s less than three

is unlike

months away! We still need

any other

adjunct professors, classroom

evangelism

upgrades, printed materials, website

program in

(collegeatmidamerica.com) updates,

any other

accreditation of new degrees, and

seminary

social media upgrades. All of these

because

important areas require funding.

it requires

„„We are scheduling the launch of

„„The Arkansas State Baptist

every student

two or more new degrees every two

to share the

years to ensure The College at Mid-

truth of the

America offers diversified courses

Gospel with at

of study. This requires professors,

least one person

THESE WINDOWS OF OPPORTUNITY WILL PASS US BY UNLESS WE CAN FUND THE INITIATIVES NEEDED TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THEM.


12

MID-AMERICA MESSENGER

to offer a degree in biblical studies

these opportunities, they cannot be

about increasing your support to

in their maximum-security facility

funded by our current budget, as we

Mid-America?

near Pine Bluff, Arkansas. Prisoners

will likely have an operational shortfall

in this facility are serving life

this fiscal year. Both Dr. Spradlin and Dr.

America recently, would you

sentences and have no possibility

Allison have always led Mid-America

prayerfully consider supporting

of parole. Often, prisoners are saved

to and through great visions that God

these new, key opportunities?

and want to share the Gospel with

provided by relying on the principle

You will be supporting the training

other inmates, and Mid-America

that “God’s money always follows God’s

of the next generation of pastors,

has a unique opportunity to train

mission.” The Lord has repeatedly

missionaries, deacons, businessmen,

them. When a prisoner completes

engaged Mid-America in visionary

church leaders, community leaders,

his study and is awarded his degree,

challenges that He funded in His way in

and parents. You will have global impact

he will be moved to another prison

His time. Our prayer is to work within

through the gifts you offer to support

in Arkansas where he will teach

the vision He provides for Mid-America,

Mid-America Baptist Theological

others the Gospel and the truths of

regardless of the ease, difficulty, or

Seminary.

the Bible. This program has already

challenge that it produces.

seen great success in Louisiana

If you believe in this mission and

„„If you have not supported Mid-

Because you are reading this, you are already a good friend of Mid-America

and Texas. The level of violence has

vision, would you please help us as God

and part of everything we do across the

decreased substantially where God’s

directs you?

globe.

Word is taught and inmates are saved. All of these important areas require

„„Would you pray about becoming a first-time donor? „„As a current donor, would you pray

Please ask God what He would have you do, and then be obedient to His guidance in your life. Thank you for your

funding.

generosity and for your concern to go “to

ALTHOUGH THERE IS AGREEMENT BY OUR LEADERSHIP

all the world for Jesus’ sake.” Ray Helton serves as Mid-America’s Chief Development Officer.

and our trustees that God has provided

GIVE ONLINE AT MABTS.EDU/ SUPPORT


„„ Mid-America Team

MID-AMERICA WELCOMES NEW SENIOR DIRECTOR OF ADMISSIONS & ENROLLMENT

MID-AMERICA MESSENGER

13

many different opportunities to develop

has for this place. It’s hard not to get

my skills and develop the gifts God chose

excited to come to work every day and

to give me. Each one has benefitted me

work in that type of environment. It is

in different ways to be successful in the

obvious that God is working at Mid-

role I have at Mid-America.

America, and to have the opportunity to

I wanted to do something that when

work alongside such godly people is very

I laid my head down at night, I knew I

humbling.

was making a difference. I worked in the

WHAT ARE YOU MOST EXCITED ABOUT?

Mid-America is pleased to announce

admissions office at Union University

that Tad Wingo has accepted the role

and managed a team of enrollment

of Senior Director of Admissions and

counselors, a transfer coordinator,

Enrollment. With the current needs of

America grow, and watching the impact

student counselors, and student

the Seminary and the beginning of The

it makes in the Memphis community. I

ambassadors. I loved Christian higher

College at Mid-America, Tad begins his

know we are going to do amazing things,

education and truly thought I would

work at an exciting time.

and I am ready to get going!

never leave Union University. It took a

TAD, TELL US ABOUT YOUR BACKGROUND, TESTIMONY, AND FAMILY.

special opportunity at Mid-America for

I was born and raised in Bradford,

and I love that challenge. Past roles

Tennessee. My family attended First

have taught me how to plan, and

Baptist Church Bradford, and we were

most importantly how to lead

in church whenever the doors were

my team to execute that plan. I

open. I was baptized when I was eight

understand the importance of

Please pray for

years old. My wife Tara and I were

customer service and the need to

Tad and ask our

college sweethearts. After our college

take care of people. Lastly, I have

graduation, Tara and I married, and we

experience in recruiting and know

were blessed with a son, Jack, in 2004.

what it takes to succeed. I have a

Jack was born with cystic fibrosis (CF).

passion for Christian higher

It’s been a difficult road at times, but

education, and I know

God, in His providence, has used this

God has prepared

situation to bless our family and others

me well to lead

in ways we would have never expected.

recruiting and

Jack is currently an 8th grader at

enrollment at Mid-

Trinity Christian Academy in Jackson,

America.

Tennessee.

You never realize when you’re going

WHAT HAVE YOU ENJOYED LEARNING MOST ABOUT MID-AMERICA IN YOUR FIRST TWO MONTHS?

through things what God has in store

The thing I have

for you, what He’s preparing you for,

enjoyed most so far at

but sometimes when you get there, it all

Mid-America is the

makes sense. My past roles have given so

passion everyone

YOU COME TO MID-AMERICA WITH A STRONG RESUME. TELL US ABOUT YOUR PAST ROLES AND HOW THEY HAVE PREPARED YOU FOR THIS OPPORTUNITY.

me to be where I am today.

I am most excited about seeing Mid-

WHAT HOBBIES DO YOU ENJOY? I enjoy all things Tennessee Vols, golf,

We are starting something new,

playing video games with my son, hanging out at home with Tara and Jack.

Lord to bless the team he leads.

Tad Wingo Senior Director of Admissions and Enrollment


THE COLLEGE AT MID-AMERICA OFFERS A CHRIST-CENTERED EDUCATION THAT CHECKS ALL THE BOXES

future spiritual and vocational growth.

þ FULL ACCREDITATION The curriculum for the Christian Studies, Biblical Counseling,

“scholarship on fire.” Students know from the first day that faculty hold themselves to the highest standards and expect no less from their students.

Organizational Leadership, and Business

þ AFFORDABLE COST

Administration (pending SACSCOC

According to Gordon Wadsworth, author

approval) degrees has been designed for

of The College Trap, college costs have

students to strengthen their personal

been rising roughly at a rate of 7 percent

relationship with Christ as they develop

per year for decades. Since 1985, the

the skill for their chosen profession. The

overall consumer price index has risen

As we anticipate the convocation of The

four components of each undergraduate

115 percent while the college education

College at Mid-America this fall, it is an

degree (Bible and Theology, General

inflation rate has risen nearly 500

opportune time to remind ourselves of

Studies, Major and Minor Studies) have

percent. The College at Mid-America

the great benefits of earning a degree

been planned to cultivate a student’s

at a Christian college. Those who are

mind, heart, and spirit. Because these

enrolling at The College at Mid-America

degree programs are fully accredited,

will learn alongside classmates from

academic rigor and credentialed faculty

different ages and backgrounds who

are of utmost consideration. Being

BY DR. BRAD THOMPSON

are committed to Christian scholarship in the context of a Christian community of learning. This experience of “iron sharpening iron” will catalyze

taught by instructors who have succeeded in their respective fields makes the Mid-America experience


„„ The College at Mid-America

MID-AMERICA MESSENGER

15

is dedicated to keeping tuition costs

importantly, they agree not to teach

connects the classroom to the practical

low so students can graduate without

against Mid-America’s Articles of Belief

aspects of community service and

mortgaging their futures. Each student

as they build up the faith and experience

enhances his/her preparation to serve in

pays approximately $8,000 a year, and

of students, not tear it down. Every class

the local church or the business world.

scholarships can reduce tuition to a

begins with prayer, and the unwritten

If you are interested, we are

lesser amount.

curriculum or “teachable moments”

currently accepting applications.

þ INVOLVED FACULTY

shared by students and professors is a

To apply and for more information,

The quality of instructional staff at The

defining characteristic of the College.

please view our website:

College at Mid-America is unparalleled.

þ COMMUNITY FOCUSED

Only those who have earned the

The College at Mid-America’s GO!

appropriate credentials and have been

Program provides the ideal setting for

approved by the school’s accrediting

students to learn how to serve others.

body are allowed to teach. More

Connecting the classroom to the community has always been essential to the Mid-America experience since its founding. The GO! Program is the demonstration of what the student learns in the classroom. Students are expected to fulfill the biblical command to love their neighbor and thus are required to serve in community service sites each week and report on the work completed. By serving weekly, the student

COLLEGEATMIDAMERICA.COM Dr. Brad Thompson serves Mid-America as Executive Vice President, Dean of The College at Mid-America, and Chairman and Professor, Department of Christian Education.


„„ Church Planting

NORTHEAST PROFESSOR DISCOVERS HISTORIC PRINCIPLES STILL AT WORK BY D R . S E A N P IE R C E One night, while my kids watched a movie I had already seen too many times, I searched for “Albany Church Planting” on the Internet. I hoped to find out what was happening in my area that I didn’t already know about. Instead, I soon found myself reading Second Great Awakening accounts of church planting in our area. I was in awe of what God was doing in the Albany-Schenectady region 200 years ago. I read about 21 people starting First Baptist Church, Albany in 1811. The church struggled during its first 18 years. However, through the ministry of a young pastor, Bartholomew Welch, it grew to 327 members by 1834. It was then that the church made an amazing decision. Feeling the responsibility to multiply rather than simply grow, they sent out their pastor and 123 members to begin Pearl Street Baptist Church in the same city. Their commitment to multiplying churches led Pearl Street to start four more churches. In all, about a dozen Baptist churches were started during the Second Great Awakening in our area. The Second Great Awakening resulted in significant church planting efforts in New York State. I was encouraged, realizing that Hudson Baptist Association (HBA) has been experiencing a similar story. We have adopted similar strategies of church multiplication with similar results. Approximately 30 churches

MID-AMERICA MESSENGER

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have been started in HBA, and we are

partnership among churches in a region

continuing to average one new church

for church planting will continue to be

per year. God is still at work in New York!

critical for Gospel expansion.

While our culture today is different, our efforts remain the same. Many of the

4

New churches were started to reach recent immigrant groups.

challenges we face are the same as 200

Many new churches in the United States

years ago. Some are not. While people

are needed among people groups God is

in our area often explore spiritual ideas

already bringing to our neighborhoods.

online or through other non-church

To miss them is to miss the Great

related activities, they are still asking

Commission.

eternal questions. People are still just as lost and in need of a Savior. While

5

New churches struggled to afford sufficient meeting space and to

cynicism and lack of trust rules the day,

adequately compensate their pastors,

only the Gospel provides answers that

but the churches continued anyway. A

truly satisfy. Where the Gospel is lived

daunting task and humble beginnings

and shared, God still changes lives!

shouldn’t stop us from continuing

To help us continue the same Gospel mission in a changing culture, here are seven lessons from Albany’s

church planting efforts today.

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Because of financial issues, the new churches relied on

first church planting efforts among

bivocational pastors. The future of

Baptists. We would do well to learn

ministry in North America hinges on

from them in our efforts to reach North

raising up and helping these capable

America:

men.

1

The churches were equally committed to church planting and

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A few churches died after a season, but significant things happened

church growth. They sensed a profound

during their short lives. While we

responsibility to plant new churches

should minimize the closure of new

in obedience to the Great Commission.

churches, waiting to plant until there

We need to see these two initiatives in

is minimal risk of failure means many

tandem and not as opposing priorities.

people will never hear the Gospel.

2

Dr. Sean Pierce serves as Adjunct Instructor of Missions and Church Planting at Mid-America’s Northeast Campus.

Church planting wasn’t simply for pastors or missionaries. New

churches were started by sending out members, often before securing a pastor. We need to make evangelistic church planting a part of the regular conversation and activities in all of our churches.

3

Two primary elements sustained church planting efforts: 1. Lead

pastors whose ministry was blessed evangelistically, and 2. An association of churches that catalyzed church planting efforts. Coordinated


TODAY’S PASTORS MUST UNDERSTAND MODERN AMERICAN CULTURE

in order to understand the historical

missionary anthropology, I teach the

setting of each scriptural passage. The

students headed for missionary service

professors further teach the students

how to understand the cultures in their

the principles of biblical interpretation,

new countries. This involves learning

especially how to interpret each Bible

to understand their worldview, values,

text in its context. All the above are

beliefs, and customs. In order to reach

necessary to “rightly divide (interpret)

these nations for Christ, the missionaries

the Word of truth,” as the Apostle Paul

must learn to preach the Gospel in the

instructed Timothy (2 Timothy 2:15).

local language and to do it in a way that

Perhaps there was a time when pastors

resonates with the people. For example,

I live in Texas now, and I picked up a

only needed to learn to do biblical

Adoniram Judson was the pioneer

nice bumper sticker at our local library.

exegesis, but that time has passed long

Baptist missionary to Burma. He and his

It says, “Take Care of Texas; It’s the Only

ago.

wife, Anne, arrived in 1813. He learned

One We’ve Got.” Of course, that is a community and state. One could make

PASTORS TODAY MUST ALSO LEARN TO EXEGETE THEIR CULTURE. Of course,

the same statement in regard to our

this is what I have taught

nation—Take Care of the United States;

missions volunteers

It’s the Only One We’ve Got. The problem

for years. In my class on

BY D R . J O H N MA R K TER RY

noble sentiment. We should care for our

with that is the USA is constantly changing. In fact, the pace of change in the USA makes older folks dizzy. One issue we face at Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary is preparing our students to minister in contemporary culture. Our graduates must minister in contemporary culture. It is the only one they have, at least here within the USA. I have spent much of my adult life teaching in seminaries, both overseas and in the United States. In a seminary the professors teach the students to carefully exegete (analyze) a passage of Scripture. They study Greek and Hebrew in order to understand the Bible verses in the original languages. The students also learn biblical history and geography


„„ Preaching and Culture

MID-AMERICA MESSENGER

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to speak Burmese and began to preach

to chat with him, and within one year

communicate the Gospel. Facebook

the Gospel. He preached faithfully

he won 19 people to Christ. He did not

did not exist and Mark Zuckerberg was

for five years without one convert.

change his message, but he did adopt a

not even born yet., Facebook, however,

Naturally, this frustrated him, and he

new way of communicating the Gospel.

can be an effective means to share the

decided to observe how the Buddhist

MANY PASTORS TODAY HAVE GROWN UP IN CHRISTIAN HOMES

Gospel today. In order to evangelize

monks taught the Burmese. He noticed that they just sat and conversed with

and attended Christian schools or

planters must study contemporary

the people, answering their questions.

have been home schooled. They may

American culture to understand how to

Adoniram decided to try that method

not understand the modern American

share the Gospel in new, effective ways.

of communication. He built a zayat

culture, nor how to best communicate

Rick Warren is the most famous

(covered pavilion) in front of his house,

the Gospel. For sure, when I studied

Southern Baptist church planter in

and he sat in it for several hours every

in the seminary 45 years ago, we did

America. In 1980, he and his wife

day. Burmese folks passing by stopped

not learn how to

moved from Texas to Orange County in

use Facebook to

southern California. He realized that as

the United States, pastors and church

a native Texan, he did not understand the culture of Southern California. So, for one year he interviewed people and tried to learn as much as he could about the people of Orange County. After that research, he started holding worship services. His efforts succeeded beyond his wildest imagination. Now, Saddleback Community Church runs 30,000 in worship and has planted more than 40 daughter churches. If pastors today will learn to think and function like a missionary, they will imitate the sons of Issachar mentioned in the Old Testament—“the children of Issachar who had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do” (1 Chronicles 12:32). That is the challenge we professors face—how can we teach our students to understand the times? Dr. John Mark Terry serves as Chairman of the Department of Missions and Professor of Missions at Mid-America.


IN THE FACE OF CHANGING TIMES, THE SOLUTION REMAINS THE SAME: MAKE MORE AND BETTER DISCIPLES


„„ Making Disciples

KEY TO FULFILLING THE GREAT COMMISSION IS FOLLOWING ALL THREE PARTS BY DR. BRAD RODERICK

MID-AMERICA MESSENGER

parts. As we go into the world baptizing

“. . . I AM WITH YOU, ALWAYS . . .”

new believers and helping them grow as

Another question I frequently ask when

disciples, we are to:

talking about discipleship is “who in

have Jesus’ answer, and it contains three

“TEACH THEM . . . ALL THAT I COMMANDED YOU . . .” Obviously, a key component of making disciples is transferring knowledge. The Apostle Paul referred to this

Originally, the article I was asked to

aspect of disciple making when he

write was “A Constant Commission in

met with the Ephesian elders at the

Changing Cultures,” but I changed the

end of his third missionary journey.

last word, because I think sometimes

He reminded them that he did not

we overlook the fact that the answer to

“shrink from declaring to you anything

many of the issues facing the church

that was profitable and teaching you

today, in America and around the world,

publicly and from house to house”

has the same solution no matter our

(Acts 20:20). In Western churches, the

culture or circumstance: make more and

communication of information about the

better disciples.

Bible often has been seen as the entire

Are you sensing that God is calling

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discipleship process. As important as

the Bible, as a category of people, were the best at knowing and obeying the commands of God?” The answer, of course, is the Pharisees. They kept every jot and tittle of the law. So, is our goal in making disciples to make Pharisees? Indeed not! So, what was missing? The third essential to making disciples is an intimate abiding relationship with the Lord Jesus. Our disciple making process must emphasize a dynamic relationship with the Living Christ as the only way to live out all that

you to serve Him as a missionary

that is, however, it is only one third of the

overseas but you don’t know how to

definition Jesus has given us.

prepare? Go and make disciples. And

“. . . TO OBSERVE . . .”

magazine or moving

Frequently when I am teaching on

on to the next article,

Matthew 28:18–20, I will quote the

take out a sheet of

passage intentionally dropping the

paper and write down

phrase “to observe” and ask my audience

the issues that you

if I am right. Almost always, the answer

are confronting in your

is “yes.” Sometimes I ask people to tell

ministry today. As you pray

me what the verse says, and more often

through the list, ask yourself, “What

than not, the answer will be “teach them

would happen in this circumstance if we

all I commanded you,” or some variation

could make more and better disciples?”

on that theme. But what is missing?

Then ask the Father to guide you as

Obedience. Discipleship, according to

you share knowledge and demonstrate

Jesus, is not just about knowledge—it

obedience from the basis of an abiding

is about action. What do we do with the

relationship with God in Christ. “And

things Jesus has commanded us to do?

may the God of all hope fill you with all

Making disciples, according to Jesus,

joy and peace in believing so that you

requires putting into practice the word

will abound in hope by the power of the

of God in very real ways—and holding

Holy Spirit” (Romans 15:13).

people accountable so that we know if

The newest addition to the Mid-America faculty, Dr. Brad Roderick serves as Professor of Missions and Evangelism.

when you get to the field you will know how to do what you need to be doing— making disciples. Has God called you to plant a church in an urban environment? Memphis, for example, needs 900 new churches before it will have the same church to population ratio as the rest of the United States. Go into the city and make disciples. Perhaps you are part of one of the 85 percent of American churches that are plateaued or declining and you are wondering what the best strategy is to revitalize your congregation. May I suggest that you go and make disciples. The commission of the church has not changed since the day it was first delivered by the Lord Jesus. We are to go into the whole world, every corner of the world, and make disciples. But what does that mean? In Matthew 28:20, we

they are actually obeying and not just hearing the commands.

He has commanded. Before closing this


„„ Mid-America News

MID-AMERICA MESSENGER

SUMMER PREVIEW DAY JUNE 20, 2018

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ACCELERATED MASTER OF DIVINITY

Come spend the day with us at the Mid-America

When a student has earned a Bachelor of Arts

Summer Preview Day, June 20, 2018. Whether you’re

in Christian Studies or Bachelor of Arts

interested in the Associate, Bachelor, Master, or Doctoral

in Biblical Counseling, Mid-America

level program, we have a special day planned just for

believes that they have acquired

you. Hear about our academic programs, scholarships,

the basic biblical knowledge

student life, and understand what makes Mid-America

necessary to move forward into

unique. Prospective students will participate in a

the Master of Divinity program.

breakout session on understanding cultural issues

This means that Accelerated Master

through a biblical worldview. After lunch, students and

of Divinity students are not required

families can tour student housing and see what makes

to repeat all of the basic courses on the

us a community. We look forward to getting to know you!

Master level that they have already completed on the

To register, visit our websites, email tannerh@mabts.edu,

Bachelor level, and they can move more quickly into

or call the admissions office at 901.751.3060. Deadline to

their desired area of concentrated study. (Some courses

register is June 16, 2018. Come preview your future!

do repeat; with the languages and preaching/teaching the administration of Mid-America feels that repetition on a higher level has benefit.) Each Accelerated Master of Divinity concentration consists of 60 total credit hours. Within that total, the Pastoral Ministry and Biblical Counseling programs also incorporate hands-on practicums. Students who have achieved an undergraduate degree with Mid-America (either BACS or BABC) are eligible for the Accelerated Master of Divinity. Also, students who graduated from other Christian colleges may also be eligible if they have a biblical or Christian studies undergraduate degree that included certain required classes. For more information, please visit:

MABTS.EDU/ACCELERATEDMDIV

NEW! MICHAELRSPRADLIN.BLOG THE ADVENTURE OF LIFE ETERNAL Dr. Michael R. Spradlin, President of Mid-America, recently launched a new blog entitled, “The Adventure of Life Eternal.” A man of many talents and interests, Dr. Spradlin introduces the blog, writing, “Welcome to my place to observe the world in action. My interests are varied, bordering on eclectic. Topics may range from travel, to sports, to faith, and to history. I have so many interests that I plan to write on a host of topics.” You’ll also find information on Dr. Spradlin’s recent books, Sons of the 43 and Beaman’s Commentary on the Gospel of John.

Visit Dr. Spradlin’s new blog at: MICHAELRSPRADLIN.BLOG


S U M M E R & FA L L

SBC ALUMNI & FRIENDS LUNCHEON June 12, Dallas Convention Center Registration: mabts.edu/sbcluncheon

JUNE MINI-TERM June 18–29

REGISTRATION FOR FALL SEMESTER July 9–August 15

ORIENTATION AND REGISTRATION FOR NEW STUDENTS FOR FALL August 9–10

FOUNDERS’ DAYS AND THE COLLEGE AT MID-AMERICA CONVOCATION August 20–21

FOUNDERS’ DAYS ALUMNI & FRIENDS RECEPTION August 20

FALL SEMESTER CLASSES BEGIN August 23

FALL PREVIEW DAY October 23


NON-PROFIT ORG. U.S. POSTAGE PAID MEMPHIS, TN PERMIT NO. 831

P.O. Box 2350 • Cordova, Tennessee 38088-2350 901-751-8453 • info@mabts.edu • mabts.edu

A

C A

M

You’re Invited to the

2018

Founders’ Days and Convocation of The College at Mid-America August 20–21, 2018 7:00 each evening

Special Convocation Speaker

Dr. Ken Ham President/CEO of Answers in Genesis August 21, 7:00 p.m. FOR MORE INFORMATION, VISIT MABTS.EDU/FOUNDERSDAYS

Mid-America Messenger-Summer 2018  

The official magazine of Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary (mabts.edu) and The College at Mid-America (collegeatmidamerica), Memphis,...

Mid-America Messenger-Summer 2018  

The official magazine of Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary (mabts.edu) and The College at Mid-America (collegeatmidamerica), Memphis,...