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YOUR 411


Spring Training The weather is changing and warmer days are a welcome thing!  People are always excited at this time of the year to get out of the house and get into the "swing" of things. There are many spring training opportunities for churches in the Blue Ridge Baptist Association this Spring - including VBS training, Disaster Relief, Social Media, and even an event for training Christian education (teacher/small group) leaders who volunteer in the local church.    Details on these events are inside. Make sure to take full advantage of ALL of these training opportunities so that your ministry volunteers are fully equipped to serve Christ with the best batting-average possible, as they head out on the field this spring!

Social Media Conference Join us April 13 at Faith Baptist Church in Knoxville MD, as we welcome Rev. David Mills. David is a veteran of 27 years in communications and community work, and has worked with thousands of organizations of all sizes to help them effectively engage communities.

With a keen understanding of the needs of local communication and special insights into practical ways to move organizations into greater outreach with social media, David leads an engaging and invaluable training in social media that will shape the next phase of your personal and organizational growth. Visit or call 301.834.7755.

ARE YOU ON FACEBOOK? If you are a member of the popular site, you can keep up to date with the latest news by liking our page at

PASTOR SPOTLIGHT: Eric Kersten, is the new the pastor of River’s Edge Ministries, on page 3.

DISASTER RELIEF TRAINING is coming this spring. See page 6 for more details and information.


The Difference Between Mission & Ministry From Bruce Conley Your Director of Missions •••

One of the problems that I run into as I help local churches is the lack of definition and specific strategy behind MISSION and MINISTRY. In fact, some churches think that MISSION and MINISTRY are synonymous – that they mean exactly the same thing.   Here's the problem: when any church outreach starts to meld the two, without asking, "How effective are we being with each goal individually?" - then I believe that some ineffectiveness is inevitable on one side or the other.   For example: a church might do a homeless outreach where they feed those in need, give them clothes, offer help in searching for a job ... and meeting all of those physical needs is a wonderful and God-honoring thing - but in the process, if that church never presents Christ, or teaches about God’s redemption and salvation, then they have only done MINISTRY... and the MISSION has suffered.   Some churches go to impoverished countries to preach the gospel, and try to help people understand salvation and God's grace - but if that is ALL that they are doing ... they are remiss in the possibility that God's Holy Spirit may also be calling them to help meet the physical needs of the people. They may also reach out by offering medical missions, bringing computer equipment, or providing a well for clean drinking water for a village.     You see, unless we plan for BOTH sides of the equation, then the MISSION will not have the same effectiveness - because MINISTERING to people's specific needs didn't pave the way for redemption and transformation to flow with a even greater chance for effectiveness. I am not diminishing what God's Holy Spirit will do in any situation,  but Dr. John Maxwell said it best, when he said, "People don't care what you know, until they (first) know that you care!"   This is the reason why every church must understand and embrace the differences between MISSION and MINISTRY, and realize that checks and balances need to be made for each element when reaching out in Jesus' name.

Mission is defined in John 17:15-18, and Matthew 28:18-20 Jesus defined His Mission for the Church: • Mission is why we are here • Mission is Jesus’ purpose for His Church on earth • Mission is the reason salvation and rapture aren't simultaneous • Mission is Corporate, not individual • Mission is to Redeem the lost • Mission is to Restore the broken • Mission is to build transformational churches

Ministry is defined in Acts 26:13-18, Luke 4:16-21, and John 14:11-12 Ministry has a beginning and an end ... it carries The Mission into new open possibilities: • Ministry is something you do • Ministry opens the door for Mission in many cases • Ministry is your relationship with God on public display It is my prayer – that every church in the Blue Ridge Baptist Association will take some time this year to reevaluate the distinctions between mission and ministry, and then boldly move forward to connect people to God, and make disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ. Blessings,


Ministry Spotlight Get to know Pastor Eric Kersten of Rivers Edge Ministries Pastor Eric and Stephanie Kersten have been married for almost 15 years. They have two beautiful children named Madison and Elias, who are 11 and 8 years old. Pastor Eric graduated from Central Bible College in Springfield, MO with B.A in Pastoral Studies. He has been in full time ministry for 12 years serving in an Executive Pastoral role while heading up the children’s Ministry, outreach ministry, and training lay ministers. Stephanie is working on her B.A. in Psychology with a minor in Christian counseling through Liberty University, and will graduate in the spring. She has also served in ministry for 12 years in leading worship, children’s ministry, women’s ministry and working with youth. They believe there are 3 things that create a strong healthy growing church: 1. Provide excellent services through praise and worship, preaching of God’s word, children’s ministry and operating in the gifts of Spirit. 2. Create fellowship for believers to build Godly relationships as well as opportunity for non-believers to find a connection within the body of Christ. 3. Reach out to the communities through a variety of outreached to express our faith while changing a neighborhood through the love of God with labor of love towards organizations and individuals who need a hand. Rivers Edge Ministries has grasped onto the vision of Pastor Eric, and the church has doubled within the last 10 months. The church continues to reach out into the community with “Hug Martinsburg”, where they donate a couple of Saturdays each year to help the community. Last year the congregation helped the children’s shelter with a new sidewalk, as well as spread mulch for a local school. The ability of being more involved in the community will increase as the church grows physically along with the opportunities. The church has revamped the children’s ministry, discipleship program, and I-Connect groups. They have added a café time before services to continue the thread of fellowship with one another. The next chapter in Rivers Edge is to build the local and foreign mission programs within the church as Christ as commanded us in Matthew 28 to “GO into all the World.” Rivers Edge Ministries is currently renting from a facility in Martinsburg, but stands on the word of God that soon they will build on their land located in Falling Waters. The church is in the beginning stages of the Building Forward building fund campaign believing for His miracle to complete the task of being a light to the world centrally located in the Berkeley County area. The Lord has given the land to Rivers Edge so many years ago and the church believes it is called to complete the task of the vision.


New Hispanic Mission

Coming SOON to Frederick, MD Please pray for Pastor and Church Planter Luis Serrano - a Frederick resident - as he starts a new Hispanic mission church plant in our Association. BRBA and the BCM/D are working with Luis to develop and grow a much-needed church to the Hispanic community in this region.   Pastor Luis has assisted in planting 2 other congregations in our State Convention: Iglesia de Rockville in the Montgomery Association, and Iglesia de Solomon in southern Maryland.  Luis also worked for a while with Christian radio, WCTN 950AM  in Potomac, MD.  He is originally from Argentina.  He is married with 3 children.   Luis said, "God put this area in my heart many years ago, and at Iglesia de Rockville we began praying for this opportunity in Frederick almost 5 years ago. I'm excited about everything God does when we are willing to focus on the harvest."      A core group is forming now, and will start this month meeting with an adult small group in a pizzeria across the street from Home Depot on Route 40 in Frederick. In addition, a youth Bible study group will be meeting every week at an apartment complex in the same area.   Pray for our newest Church Planter Luis Serrano and his family, as they embark on this incredible adventure together.  Pray for the core group of believers who will become "the church".    If your church can help in any way with this new work - contact Director of Missions, Bruce Conley at , or call (301) 821-0370.   Thanks you all for your support of church planting, and local missions.   Together - we can do more for the Kingdom of God! Pastor Luis Serrano & his wife Yolanda

FREE MASTER’S DEGREE FOR BI-VOCATIONAL PASTORS The North American Mission Board is offering a scholarship for a Master's degree in theology at Union University, an SBC school in Tennessee.   This is for bi-vocational pastors who derive most of their income from OUTSIDE of their church. This exciting program will pay for ALL of your tuition. You pay only for your books, most of which are downloads. You don't have to attend a single class at Union, and you can access the classes online, whenever it fits your schedule.   This is an exciting possibility for bi-vocational pastors in Blue Ridge, please consider taking advantage of this incredible offer! Rarely does something like this come down the pike, but Southern Baptists are more supportive than ever in investing in the lives of our bi-vocational pastors. For additional information email Bruce Conley at


The National Day of Prayer is an annual observance held on the first Thursday of May, inviting people of all faiths to pray for the nation. It was created in 1952 by a joint resolution of the United States Congress, and signed into law by President Harry S. Truman. Our Task Force is a privately funded organization whose purpose is to encourage participation on the National Day of Prayer. It exists to communicate with every individual the need for personal repentance and prayer, to create appropriate materials, and to mobilize the Christian community to intercede for America’s leaders and its families. The Task Force represents a Judeo Christian expression of the national observance, based on our understanding that this country was birthed in prayer and in reverence for the God of the Bible. Because of the faith of many of our founding fathers, public prayer and national days of prayer have a long-standing and significant history in American tradition. The Supreme Court affirmed the right of state legislatures to open their sessions with prayer in Marsh vs. Chambers (1983). The National Day of Prayer is a vital part of our heritage. Since the first call to prayer in 1775, when the Continental Congress asked the colonies to pray for wisdom in forming a nation, the call to prayer has continued through our history, including President Lincoln’s proclamation of a day of “humiliation, fasting, and prayer” in 1863. In 1952, a joint resolution by Congress, signed by President Truman, declared an annual national day of prayer. In 1988, the law was amended and signed by President Reagan, permanently setting the day as the first Thursday of every May. Each year, the president signs a proclamation, encouraging all Americans to pray on this day. Last year, all 50 state governors plus the governors of several U.S. territories signed similar proclamations.

History of the National Day of Prayer “Fasting and prayer are religious exercises; the enjoining them an act of discipline. Every religious society has a right to determine for itself the time for these exercises, and the objects proper for them, according to their own particular tenets; and right can never be safer than in their hands, where the Constitution has deposited it.” – Thomas Jefferson, 1808 5

Spring Training for New and Current Volunteers

April 5 - 6      Location: The Church at Covenant Park 4450 Centennial Lane Ellicott City, MD 21042 Training Offered: Introduction to DR - Feeding - and Recovery For information and registration visit April 13 Location: Mason-Dixon Baptist Church 713 Campbell Road  New Freedom, PA from 8:30 – 3:00 Training Offered: Introduction to DR - Feeding - and Recovery Cost is $25 for new volunteers, and $5 for those renewing their certifications.  Contact Larry Theisen - DOM with the Keystone Baptist Association for more details at  or call 717-502-0280.    May 11  Location:   Southern Calvert Baptist Church 12140 H.G. Trueman Road Lusby, MD 20657 Training Offered: Introduction to DR - Feeding - Recovery - Shower - and Damage Assessment For information and registration visit Bring your family to a weekend full of fun, worship, fellowship and family time. This is for the whole family to slow down a bit, spend time worshiping together, and just have a relaxing weekend away from home. Speakers: Peter & Isabel Guadalupe from Churches in Mission Date: May 10-12, 2013 Cost: $50 per person, with a $250 cap per family. The cost is all inclusive. (visit for information and registration)


Minister’s Retreat in Carlisle, PA Our neighbors to the north in the Baptist Convention of Pennsylvania / South Jersey will be hosting a Ministers’ Retreat May 20-22 at the Bonjiorno Conference Center in Carlisle, PA. Dr. Kevin Ezell and Jeff Christopherson of NAMB will be the guest speakers.  Deadline for registration is May 10th, 2013.   The cost is $50 for SBC pastors.  You can register online at by going to “special events” and drop down to ministers retreat, or call 800-451-6599.

Evangelism & Outreach Update On Saturday, March 2nd, 2013 - leaders from our churches and region met at the BAVARIAN INN in Shepherdstown, WV for breakfast and a roundtable discussion on evangelism and outreach coordination within the Blue Ridge Baptist Association.   21 leaders from 15 churches shared what their individual churches were doing to effectively reach out and connect with the lost in their communities.  Director of Missions, Bruce Conley challenged each leader to network with other churches in outreach efforts, and to borrow ideas that might also prove to increase evangelism results in their target neighborhoods. He also reminded attendees of the resources that were available to ALL BRBA churches for outreach projects such as the Block Party trailer, and the mobile Billboard trailer.     Leaders from many areas offered training that is available to local churches through the Blue Ridge Association, including such programs as Evangelism Explosion, and Open Air Campaigners.  A special presentation was made on how churches could participate in the upcoming MY HOPE outreach endeavor in cooperation with the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, which has a focal starting point this November, 2013 (   Look for another outreach networking event in the Fall of 2013 ... and more training opportunities available through your association later this year! If your church would like help with training for outreach and evangelism, please contact DOM Bruce Conley at 301.821.0370 or at


Vacation Bible School is on the way. Are you and your team ready for it? No matter how you answer that question, we invite you to attend a spring VBS training at First English Baptist Church in Frostburg, Maryland. THE DETAILS: The training will take place on Friday, April 19 from 6:30 to 9:30 PM. Training will be provided for pastors and directors, adults, students, children and babies, as well as for music, crafts missions, and recreation. For more information call 301.876.2483 or email

CHURCH TEACHER TRAINING DAY The Blue Ridge Baptist Association is teaming up with NEW LIFE CHRISTIAN MINISTRIES, 12031 Hopewell Road in Hagerstown, MD 21740, to sponsor a CHURCH TEACHER TRAINING DAY for anyone who is involved in Christian Education (Sunday school, children, youth, small groups, etc.) in the local church.   Pastor Peter Guadeloupe is a good friend to our Association, and will be one of the facilitators at this valuable teaching event that will include such topics as:   • creating conditions for effective teaching • spiritual dynamics of Christian teaching and education • important truths about the message of salvation • Q & A tools to motivate better thinking • discipline in the classroom • basic building blocks of success in a classroom setting      DATE:   MAY 4th, 2013  TIME:  8:30 AM - 3:00 PM  DEADLINE FOR ENROLLMENT:  APRIL 19th, 2013 (You must register with the Blue Ridge Baptist Association in advance, as we are paying the fees for this training for you as a representative from your church).   For enrollment contact Mae Argilan at (240) 818-8760, or e-mail her at   MEALS:  a light breakfast and lunch will be served during the training day


April 1 - 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM - Christian Skate Night at Turner Skate Palace on Virginia Ave. in Hagerstown. May 6 - 6:00 - 8:00 PM - Christian Skate Night at Turner Skate Palace


Virginia Ave. in Hagerstown. May 11 - 9:00 AM - 11:00 AM - Youth Ministry leader’s roundtable at Skycroft. Breakfast will be served. May 19 - 6:00 - 8:30 PM - Youth Night @ Skycroft. Open gym, snack bar, live music and more. This is a free event. Bring your group out for a great evening with other youth groups in our Association. First Friday of every month - Smithsburg Valley hosts their ONE Worship service for teens through college age (see for information).

Something More... On May 25, 2013 Paramount Baptist 412 Youth will be hosting a worship service "Something More" from 6:30 - 9:00 PM. It is an evening of worship, fellowship, and fun. The musical group Daniel’s ! Vision has graciously agreed to lead worship. There will be a season of worship, a brief message, as well as a time of commitment for anyone needing to make a decision. In addition there will be t-shirt give aways. So, please clear your schedule and bring your entire youth ministry for this incredible time of worship. (There will be a love offering taken for Daniel's Vision).



Event Calendar April 3 - 8:00 AM - Minister’s Fellowship breakfast at Bonnie’s Red Byrd in Keedysville April 5 - 6 - Minister’s Wives retreat in Annapolis, MD . To register visit or call 800.466.5290 April 7 - SBC Seminaries Sunday April 9 - SBC Disaster Relief training at Covenant in Ellicott City (see page 6 for details) April 13 - Social Media Conference at Faith Baptist (see page 1 for details) April 14 - 19 - Baptist Doctrine Study - SBC April 14 - Cooperative Program Sunday - SBC April 19 - VBS Training in Frostburg (see page 8 for details) April 20 - Medical Missions one-day event at The Church at Severn Run (visit / for more information) April 21 - Life Commitment Sunday - SBC April 29 - Pastors Appreciation Golf Tournament (visit for information and registration)

Birthdays APRIL 4 Debbie Buchman 9 Kevin Marsico 12 Donna Rose MAY 2 2 7 10 20 21 22 26

Jennifer Powell Lori Goforth Michelle Johnston Shawn Sheffers Jim Goforth Dan Housam Aaron Miller Ken Stalls

Anniversary April 12 May 8 May 10 May 13 May 19 May 23

Graves Sheffers Goforth Krauss Argilan Cherry


Event Calendar Continued May 1 - 8:00 AM - Minister’s Fellowship breakfast at Bob Evans in Frederick. Special Guest, Dr. David Lee. This is our opportunity to thank Dr. Lee for his many years of service to the Convention. May 4 - Inspire the Choir seminar at South Columbia Baptist Church with clinician Phil Barfoot (visit or call Bill Archer at 443.506.7096 for information and registration) May 5 - Senior Adult Sunday - SBC May 10 - Chick-fil-A Leadercast (visit for information) Bridge of Life Church in Hagerstown will be a host site ( May 10 - Family Retreat at Skycroft with Pastor Peter Guadaloupe (see page 6 and visit for information and registration) May 12 - 18 - Christian Home Week - SBC May 19 - 25 - Baptist Association Emphasis - bulletin inserts and posters are available through the BRBA Office. Please contact Phil Graves at phil@blueridgebaptist,org or 301.788.7424. May 21 - Multiplying Church Overview at the BMRC. Find out why your church should be planting churches (visit for information and registration)

Blue Ridge Baptist Association is looking for a SUMMER MISSIONARY to help our churches with Vacation Bible Schools and other outreach events. The ideal candidate is a high school or college student with their own transportation. There is a small stipend for this position. For more information or to apply, please contact our Director of Missions Bruce Conley at or call 301.821.0370 11

In the Churches Tri-State Community Church - Hancock: A new youth study is being led by Bethany Myers on Sunday evenings @ 6:00. They are discussing the book “Lies Young Women Believe” by Nancy Leigh DeMoss. Smithsburg Valley Church - Smithsburg: The first Friday of each month we celebrate our ONE Worship service. This is a combined worship service for teens through college (visit for details). Pleasant Valley Baptist Church - Rohrersville: PVBC is looking for a couple of women who love working with nursery and preschool age children to assist with their Vacation Bible School this summer during the last week of June 2013. In exchange, they will send workers as needed in YOUR VBS! For more information contact Sherrie Clark - (240) 818-5508, or e-mail her at Fellowship Baptist Church - Middletown: Is pleased to announce that Pastor STEVE ROSE was installed as their new pastor on Sunday March 17. Paramount Baptist Church - Hagerstown: PBC has hired 2 new staff members. Chuck Shroer is the new Associate Pastor. Neil Augustine has been installed as the bi-vocational youth pastor. The youth will be hosting a “Something More” worship service (see page 9 for details). Summit Trace Church - Frederick: Will be holding their next Rooftop Respite for families of children with special needs on Saturday, April 13. This is an excellent opportunity for families with special needs children to get a break from caring for their children. They will have a Baptism and picnic on Sunday May 19.


PRAYER REQUESTS Erin Youngbar has begun the radiation and chemo treatments on her brain tumor at Johns Hopkins. You can follow her progress by going to to share her journal entries. Please pray for Karen Fogg, the organist at First Baptist Church of Brunswick. She suffered a stroke. Please pray for a miraculous and full recovery. Remember Everett Powell, pastor of Berkley Baptist Church, who recently suffered a mini stroke. Please pray for Jeff Moss, former pastor of Fellowship Baptist, who recently had a mild heart attack. Pray for Pastor Luis Serrano and the new Hispanic work in Frederick, MD. Pray for the new initiatives being put into place to help cross-connect youth groups in BRBA. Pray for our North American missionaries - and that the Annie Armstrong offering will finish well, so that these outreach efforts can be properly funded. Pray for Myersville Baptist Church ... they will possibly be extending a call to a new Pastor soon.  Pray for wisdom and God's leading for the pastoral candidate and his family. Pray for Pastor Jon Beall as he works hard to finish his Hebrew seminary class. Pray for Kenny Heath - our new Church Planting Catalyst for our region. Pray for Dr. David Lee as he prepares for retirement.  Pray also for the search committee as they search for a new Executive Director for our State Baptist Convention. Pray for the people who felt the tug of the Holy Spirit during Holy week services at local churches all across the region.  Pray that God would bring them to a saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ, and in repentance - to salvation in Him! 

A NOTE OF THANKS AND PRAISE Hi everyone. PRAISE the LORD, HE IS AWESOME. We just returned home from seeing Beulah’s surgeon in Baltimore. He said she is cancer FREE. She can even drive the car now. He was really pleased with her recovery. He told her to go and enjoy life. He wants to see her in 3 months and again in 6 months. He said she was a fast healer for her age. I want to thank each one of you for the cards, phone calls, flowers, and most of all your prayers. It has meant so much to her. As she opened her cards I could see the tears. We are so thankful to have so many wonderful friends and our loving family. God bless you all and thanks once again for your love. Richard & Beulah Boswell



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Your 411 April May 2013  

News for Blue Ridge Baptists

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