VOL 2, ISSUE 4
When Storms Arise, Virginia Baptists Respond page 14 // Responding to Natural and Man-made storms with love
Summer of Service
While some students relaxed during break, others made a difference for Christ
See how a ministry equipped local students with supplies and acceptance for the 10 new school year
BGAV Scholarships Awarded Check out the new BGAV scholarship recipients for 2017-2018 22
IN THE MIDST OF STORMS by John Upton
What a season of life we are in! As I write, BGAV Disaster Response teams are heading south to help with hurricane recovery. Virginians are still trying to assess what happened in Charlottesville with racial tensions and trying to find ways to speak to the anger and hate in our society. As if that is not enough, the U.S. and North Korea are exchanging hostile words with one another, pushing ever closer to open conflict. With all these storms pressing us, it is no wonder our anxieties are high. When we add the anxiety that comes with daily challenges of life and church, it can all seem almost insurmountable. Is anybody depressed? Is anybody worn out, burned out, stressed out, tired of the confusion, and ready to withdraw and disappear? All of us at some point do our share of sighing. Maybe what we need is a reminder from one who has been there ahead of us. The Elijah story is a story of a strong, gifted, faithful human being slumped down under a broom tree with his head in his hands. There are days when I look out at our Baptist family that I see a forest of broom trees with exhausted individuals slumped under each one. Like Elijah, it is okay to sit for a while under our tree. Most of us think we are the only ones who feel this way. The struggle is usually in secret. Most of us probably think there is something uniquely wrong with us; everyone else is brave and sure.
JOHN UPTON is the Executive Director of the BGAV.
If you could get inside your heroes’ heads, you’d know better. You would see the hidden struggle beneath the outer success. You would see the secret fear behind the public courage. They’re just like you. Just like me. What is it we need? We need a great many things but, like Elijah, the first thing we need is rest. To be a better saint, we must first be a better creature. We are not a spirit; we are a body. Rest. Sleep is grace. Sleep is trust. Sleep is obedience that we are not God but a creature. Then eat. The smell of pancakes can be healing. It is all part of our daily bread. When we take time to recover, we become open to God’s voice again, which usually comes in a question, like: “What are you doing here, Elijah … John … you?” Isn’t it interesting that when I am feeling small and circling myself, God brings up a purpose bigger than me! If a terrible silence has come to your life, maybe the silence is a sign of a bigger mission than we have been serving. Maybe it is a sign that it is time to find our people. Oh, and when you do, when you leave the cave of yourself and go blinking back into the sunlight, notice there are about 7,000 faithful children who are there; that is your sustaining family. Walter Brueggemann says we miscount our community by 6,999. I don’t know where this finds you—maybe under some tree of some kind. If it finds you inside your cave of silence, you can be
Isn’t it interesting that when I am feeling small and circling myself, God brings up a purpose bigger than me! born outward to a new sense of purpose for you and for your people. Wherever these days find you, you are not far from Christ, who also wept on a tree, was laid in a cave, and who rose to gather us to a purpose and a family. I don’t know how quick Elijah’s step may have been or how high he held his head when he finally emerged. But as he walked toward his purpose and toward his brothers and sisters, I know he found his joy. So will we.
When Storms Arise, Virginia Baptists Respond
Responding to Natural and Man-made storms with love
4 // BGAV News & Notes 6 // Summer of Service 10 // Back2School Ministry Reaches More Than 2,500 Students in Southside Virginia 12 // Returning to the BGAV: How One Church Made the Choice 14 // When Storms Arise, Virginia Baptists Respond 21 // Because of You 22 // 2017â€“2018 BGAV Scholarship and Ministerial Education Funds Recipients 26 // Adrift 27 // Latest Ministry Jobs
BGAV Advancing the Kingdom Together
ISSN 2573-5101 (print) ISSN 2573-511X (online)
A publication of the Baptist General Association of Virginia Volume 2, Issue 4 Fall 2017 BGAV Express is published quarterly by the Baptist General Association of Virginia, 2828 Emerywood Parkway, Henrico, VA 23294.
Send subscription requests and address changes to: Linda Peay firstname.lastname@example.org 800.255.2428, ext. 1204 BGAV Express Baptist General Association of Virginia 2828 Emerywood Parkway Henrico, VA 23294 toll-free 800.255.2428 Or visit BGAV.org/Express.
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR: John V. Upton, Jr. CHIEF MARKETING OFFICER & BGAV EXPRESS EDITOR: Nathan White ART DIRECTOR: Meghan Wilson ASSOCIATE EDITOR: Linda Peay ASSISTANT EDITOR: Jennifer Law
BGAV Joins Rural Development Coalition in Virginia
Elijah Brown Nominated for BWA General Secretary
The Baptist General Association of Virginia (BGAV) is partnering with Bluefield College, Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of Virginia (CBFVA), and Woman’s Missionary Union of Virginia (WMUV) in a new Together for Hope (TFH) initiative in Southwest Virginia. These partners signed a formal Memorandum of Understanding, committing to collaborate with local leaders to birth and nurture a ministry presence in the southwest region of the state.
Elijah Brown, originally from Texas, has been approved to serve as the next general secretary of the Baptist World Alliance. Neville Callam of Jamaica retires from that position in December after more than 10 years of service.
“The BGAV is committed to working with partners to invest in proven, long-term, sustainable, community development ministries designed to provide a holistic, life-changing change in a community,” explained Mission Development Staff Coordinator Dean Miller. “Our recent efforts in Nickelsville with the Southwest Virginia Project proved to be a good initial investment in the region, and we are happy to continue that concept.”
Brown was formally approved by the BWA Executive Committee in Bangkok, Thailand, on July 4, and he was approved in a final vote of the General Council on July 7. Brown, 36, has served with the BWA for a decade, beginning in 2007 when he was named one of the BWA’s 35 global emerging leaders. He is currently BWA regional secretary for North America and general secretary for the North American Baptist Fellowship. He is a member of Columbia Baptist Church in Falls Church, VA.
Brig. Gen. Doyle D. Don Broome Jr., Retires as President at Hargrave Military Academy
Brent Walker Accepts Position as Interim President at The John Leland Center
Hargrave Military Academy’s Board of Trustees announced the intent to retire of its president, retired Brig. Gen. Doyle D. Don Broome Jr., in June 2017.
Rev. J. Brent Walker has accepted the position of interim president at The John Leland Center for Theological Studies in Arlington, VA. Walker recently retired as executive director of the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty, a position he held for 17 years.
Broome became president in 2011. His retirement was effective May 31. Former Hargrave president, Col. Wheeler Baker, agreed to serve as interim president for the Academy until the position is filled. A retired Marine Corps colonel, Baker served as president of Hargrave for 12 years before retiring in 2011.
Leland’s president, Dr. Mark Olson, stayed on as interim president until August 2017 after announcing his acceptance of a senior pastor position at Haymarket Baptist Church. Olson had served as president since 2007.
NEWS + NOTES
Complete list of events at BGAV.org/Events
Event Calendar Heritage Fellows Publish Keeping the Faith While Making Interfaith Relationships
The 2016–2017 class of Heritage Fellows, a program sponsored by the Center for Baptist Heritage & Studies at the University of Richmond, intentionally set out to build relationships with students of other faith.
Virginia Baptist college students Emma Tilley and Virginia Tilley (College of William & Mary), and Andrew Cook (Virginia Tech), documented their experiences in a new book entitled Keeping the Faith While Making Interfaith Relationships. It includes their analyses of Baptist principles, their own testimonies of why they chose to be “a Baptist Christian,” and the accounts of the relationships which they initiated with fellow students of other faiths.
9–12 10 10 12 13–14
The Heritage Fellows program receives each January applications from Virginia Baptist college sophomores and juniors. Full qualifications and requirements are posted on the Heritage Center’s website at BaptistHeritage.org. Each year the nature of the Heritage Fellows’ project changes so that a variety of issues of current interest to Baptists are presented.
13–15 14 16–17
Copies of Keeping the Faith can be ordered for $7 each plus $3 for shipping and handling. Send orders to Center for Baptist Heritage & Studies, P.O. Box 34, University of Richmond, VA 23173.
19 19–20 20–22 23–25 27–28 27–29 30–31
Ministry Equipping Network: Building Faith at Home (webinar) Ministry Equipping Network: Children in Worship (webinar) Mission Matters – Valley, Waynesboro, VA Ministry Equipping Network: Youth Ministry 101 (webinar) Gathering of Silence Retreat, Lowesville, VA Ministry Equipping Network: Teaching Techniques/Approaches (webinar) Creative Outreach Ideas (webinar) Ministry Equipping Network: Bible Study Basics (webinar) Ministry Equipping Network: Choosing & Evaluating Children’s Curriculum (webinar) Virginia Church Library Association Fall Conference, Mechanicsville, VA Ignite: A Retreat for Middle School Students, Lynchburg, VA Ministry Equipping Network: Youth Trips – Missions/Retreats/Fellowship (webinar) Empower Class 508 - The Coach Approach to Evangelism and Discipleship, Henrico, VA Ministry Equipping Network: Effective Use of Technology in Youth Ministry (webinar) Ministry Equipping Network: The Family of God (webinar) Reimagine Church, Midlothian, VA Special Needs Retreat 2017, Lynchburg, VA Better Than Ever: Fifty-Plus Retreat, Lynchburg, VA Preaching Camp XIII, Suffolk, VA Kairos Collegiate/Adult Fall Gathering 2017, Lynchburg, VA Empower Class 502 - Establishing a Dynamic Coaching Relationship, Henrico, VA
November 13 – 15 194th Annual Meeting of the Baptist General Association of Virginia, Hampton, VA
For more BGAV news, visit BGAV.org/News 5
Sum e m r of Service
Summertime means summer jobs and excursions for many young adults. Some are able to find opportunities to combine the two for a very worthwhile experience. The BGAV appreciates the prayers and financial support for the summer Venturers who spent time locally in Virginia, in neighboring states, and abroad. The following missionaries spent their summers sharing God’s love in various places.
by linda peay
Sara Amos poses with several students from Project Ruth in Romania. This was Phillip’s second trip to Bucharest. He enjoyed his time so much from the 10-day visit last year that he felt called to return to the children he served. He considers Romania the place that changed his life, and he worked towards returning in order to spend more time with the children there. Experiencing unconditional love from them and seeing how much joy the children have despite owning few material things was eye- opening for Phillip.
Eliza Green, Phillip Hedrick, Sara Amos Eliza, Phillip, and Sara spent seven weeks serving children at the Ruth School, which offers help to disadvantaged Romanian families. The three students were instructed to prepare for the unexpected.
Phillip spent his mornings helping children in the village. Along with his group of leaders, Phillip played games, made crafts, and taught life lessons to them. Through the interactive play time, Phillip received more hugs and smiles than he ever imagined.
Before the trip, Eliza delved into Isaiah 41, specifically verse 10, in which God’s word eased her fears for the trip: Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Phillip said, “These kids know how to make your day better if you are having a bad day, or just show you the love of God. A hug, to the children, means more than a thousand words to me. Even though there is a language barrier, I can see God working through them to work through everyone that they meet every day.”
It wasn’t until the end of her time there did she fully step out of her comfort zone. Eliza, a dance therapy student at Radford University, fully stepped out of her comfort zone during the last week of her internship. She accompanied the children to the mountains for a sleep-away camp, and danced with them.
Phillip has returned to Liberty University now with a new sense of happiness and joy and is appreciative of the opportunity to serve in Romania.
“Before this summer, I had started to doubt if this [dance therapy] was the right place for me or where God wanted me. Though I still don’t know exactly where God is calling me, these children showed me that I have a heart for dance therapy, and no matter what God has in his plans for me, I am headed in the correct direction.” She added, “I am so delighted to take all that I have learned in Romania back to my life in America.”
Like Philip, Sara, too, was returning to Romania. Sara spent 10 days in May 2015 with Kairos Mission Initiative and felt led to go back.. Sara spent her time at Project Ruth and befriended the students there. Sam, an energetic, 6-year-old boy with disfigured hands, greeted her with a hug her every day. It was through this little boy that Sara learned that God is the sole protector and provider for 6
Eliza Green spends time swinging with a Romanian child (left); Phillip Hedrick enjoys his summer months serving the students of Project Ruth in Romania (center); one of Kathryn Eckler’s completed construction projects during her time in Vienna included intricate tile work (bottom).
each of us. Despite his perceived handicap, Sam was full of joy and affection for many around him. God revealed his love for her and equipped her to love the others around her at Project Ruth. She shared meals with them and washed their feet. Sara reflected in her blog: “I had the privilege of washing the children’s feet at summer club. I learned that it is impossible to stay clean and dry in the process. In the same way, as I came close and shared life with these children, it became impossible to ignore or deny the darkness that existed in their lives. The challenges they face in their homes and relationships were abrasively present and at times revealed the brokenness within my own heart. But there was also something extraordinary that happened as I washed these children’s feet. I began to notice the details. The bumps, the bruises, the plump shape of their toes. I realized that as I bend down to serve others I will certainly get dirty, but I also possess the privilege of seeing God’s handiwork in the most personal way.”
learning about missions, praying for missions, giving to missions, doing missions, and participating in the work of the church.” She worked at church retreats, construction projects, participated in church leadership, prepared meals for more than 40 people, and engaged in conversations with many people she encountered.
Kathryn Eckler Kathryn Eckler spent her summer break working with Projekt: Gemeinde, a group of young Baptists in Vienna whose main purpose is to “live life together.” Whether it’s by having deep conversations or sharing a meal together, there is a sense of closeness and revelation in these times together.
Kathryn described in her blog: “Living a missions lifestyle is to share life with those around you with a sense of grace, compassion, and service. As I have embarked on small service tasks here, such as cleaning the church before a service, I am reminded that living as an active member of the church is to make the little things a priority. Participating in the work of the church is not just a calling, it is a way of life.”
Kathryn exemplified the Girls in Action pledge she learned years ago: “I will do my best to live a missions lifestyle that honors God by 7
Kairos Mission Initiative:
Fresh Expressions US:
Katie Barnum, Ryan Bentley, Olivia Haynes, Ashley Hellerstedt, Olivia Leatherwood, Tiffany Manning, Rachel Neller, Catherine Phillips, Taylor Tibbs, Katie Tomlin, Erin Waddell, Austin Williams. Leaders: Celia Jones and Ryan Goude
Kaya Prasad, Emily Daly, Connor Janney, and Matthew Beeler Fresh Expressions US had four student-interns this summer: Kaya Prasad, Emily Daly, Connor Janney, and Matthew Beeler. Their collective aim was to intentionally engage with one another, church leaders, and the people in their church communities. They delved into what the church’s role is today and how the meaning of church varies from place to place. In addition, they also lived together as a family—preparing and sharing meals together and spending time in God’s word. They opened their hearts to offer their testimonies and discussed how to live missionally in their daily environments. By authentically living as a family, they were able to grasp a bigger awareness of church and fresh expressions.
The Kairos Mission Initiative team traveled to Vienna in May to work with Cesar Sotomayor at Projeckt: Gemeinde. Ryan Goude, Baptist Collegiate Ministry associate at Virginia Commonwealth University, said the main focus of the trip was to engage in relational evangelism. Together, they served Syrian refugees and had meaningful conversations with them. They felt compassion as they learned how the refugees fled not only their country, but their families too. They attended worship services conducted in four languages: German, Spanish, English, and Farsi. They witnessed the refugees learning about Jesus Christ in their own language. As the stories unfolded and communion was shared together, Ryan said, “It was a blessing and joy to see the refugees genuinely worship God in spite of their hardships and being displaced from their homes and families.” The team also completed light construction projects at the church. They took time to explore the city as they went on prayer walks. They learned a lot about the culture through this experience.
Kaya, a junior at Grinnell College in Iowa studying Global and Community Development, was able to lead a discussion at her home church about how church can look differently, or take on another form to be a fresh expression. This was a highlight of her internship: to take what she learned and present the principles to see how and what God will lead the church to become. She said in her blog, “This gave me an opportunity to synthesize what I’ve learned through my reading and interviews in a way that would be beneficial to launching a ministry at my home church. The stories I’ve read and heard about successful new forms of church taught me that it’s necessary to distill the idea of ‘church’ down to its essential components.”
Kaya concluded, “The four of us have learned a lot from this internship, but the learning won’t end when the summer ends.” She added, “We look forward to applying the same lessons of honesty, vulnerability, and attentiveness to each other and to God even when we live with different people.”
Kelsey Newcomb, a student at the University of Virginia, served alongside BGAV partners in Ghana. Kesley was the only female serving alongside another church crew doing construction and yard work. Kelsey appreciates the prayers and support of the BGAV. She said, “I had an amazing experience working with the people there, and they became family to me.”
The group of Fresh Expressions US summer interns with some of the Fresh Expressions staff (left); Kelsey Newcomb helps move materials on the construction site in Ghana (above).
Clockwise from left: Disaster Response missionaries Daniel Ripley, Julianne Jones, and Tyrnan Prasad completing work on their respective job sites.
Julianne Jones, Tyrnan Prasad, and Daniel Ripley The Virginia Baptist Disaster Relief Collegiate Summer Missions Team had three Venturer missionaries join them: Julianne Jones, Tyrnan Prasad, and Daniel Ripley. These students got handson experience in all aspects of the disaster response process: preparation, relief, rebuild, and long-term development. Daniel reported that this team served in a variety of roles including providing logistical support; performing administrative tasks; overseeing training events; performing fleet maintenance; responding to a search and rescue team for a missing woman in Chesapeake; remodeling and fixing two support shower units; deploying to Windsor, NC, to assist NC Baptist Men in the rebuild efforts after Hurricane Matthew devastated the area; rebuilding a house in Appomattox alongside United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) teams; assisting Helping His Hands with constructing a new house for a disabled veteran who lost his house in the Gatlinburg fire; managing and working on a feeding unit serving Impact Mission Camps in Appomattox and Fluvanna counties, servicing and cleaning a shower unit in Appomattox; and assisting UMCOR in Virginia Beach with two rebuild projects on flooded homes.
During their week of camp, MC2 participants packed supplies for Gleaning for the World.
Daniel said, “The team learned construction and cooking skills while gaining experience in full-time Christian ministry.” He added, “We developed a sense of calling to help and aid survivors of disasters and were representatives of Jesus Christ to all they met and interacted with this summer, showing that God still loves and cares for them even though their lives were flipped upside down.”
Impact Mission Camps
preschool through 6th grade, serving meals at a local soup kitchen, painting and repairing buildings on the Eagle Eyrie Conference Center campus; landscaping and yard work at the Sedalia Center, and more.
Impact Mission Camps had the blessing of adding seven staff members to serve in its five camp locations. From BGAV churches were Elizabeth Hayes, Carley Peacock, Emily Dean, Brandon Hawley. Joining them from Norway were Madelen Ruud, Fredrik Aasen, and Marius Hetlevik. These young adults provided leadership to the teams ministering to the communities of Culpeper, Bluefield, Fluvanna, Appomattox, and Danville. They spent two weeks in preparation for the summer, planning and leading all aspects of worship. They served each day on mission sites as students from around the state worked to ensure that homeowners in need of home repairs or improvements would be safe, warm, and dry.
Nathan Wittkamp, Eagle Eyrie’s assistant director, enthusiastically reported that there was a five-percent increase of attendees this year. Randy Cooksey, minister of youth at Broadus Memorial Baptist Church in Mechanicsville, was the keynote speaker, and four missionaries helped teach the 32 classes that were offered. MC2 is an annual, intergenerational five-day event featuring missions, discipleship, worship, fellowship, and fun. All ages minister together through a variety of service projects in the Greater Lynchburg Area.
MC2 – Lynchburg, Virginia
Missions Connection Celebration (MC2) had another productive camp this year. Twenty-one churches joined together and completed two dozen projects to benefit the Lynchburg community. Teams were formed from the 331 attendees based on abilities and age-appropriate activities. Those teams served in different ways, such as sorting and packing food and medical supplies for Gleaning for the World; replacing a roof on a local home; hosting a VBS at Rivermont Avenue Baptist Church for
The BGAV thanks its churches for its support to these different areas of ministry. Each prayer lifted or dollar donated changed more lives than the ones highlighted here.
To read blogs of the Summer Venturers, visit BGAV.org/Author/Summer2017
Volunteers from Moffett Memorial Baptist Church in Danville, VA, prepare to wash children’s feet as part of the Back2School Ministry.
ugust 5, 2017, was a beautiful, sky-blue day with a wonderful breeze—a perfect day for ministry. After a time of prayer and thanksgiving for the stacks of backpacks, shoes, and socks, our volunteers were ready to be a blessing to children who were returning to school. Soon, the hallways and classrooms of Moffett Memorial Baptist Church, Danville, were filled with the laughter of excited school children, thankful parents/ guardians, and the prayerful voices of the many volunteers who took part in our first Back2School backpack and shoe giveaway event. We have given away backpacks and school supplies in the past, and we have an active clothes closet ministry, but August 5 was amazing! For the first time in anyone’s memory, feet got washed in our Baptist church—almost 300 pairs of feet— lovingly washed and tenderly dried by church people serving as the hands and feet of Christ. We also discovered the miraculous power of $20.
appropriate school supplies, a new pair of shoes and socks, and a Bible. Volunteers wash each child’s feet and help him or her put on their new shoes and socks and then has prayer with each individual based on their expressed concerns. We do all of this for $20 per child, given by donors—a modern-day miracle! Samaritan’s Feet was founded by Emmanuel “Manny” Ohonme, who was born in Nigeria over 30 years ago and who never had a pair of shoes until he was nine years old. Manny’s story inspires listeners as they learn about his mother, who was the only Christian in their village, and her struggle to raise her family of five girls and three boys. Missionary Dave came from America and changed Manny’s life by giving him a pair of basketball shoes and helping him to rededicate his life to follow God’s leadership. Manny grew to be 6-foot-5 and was a gifted basketball player. A coach helped him to get a scholarship to play basketball in the U.S. and get a college education. After earning a master’s degree in marketing, Manny was able to become a successful businessman who was able to afford a beautiful home, nice cars, and lots of shoes. He and his wife, Tracie, were blessed with four children and were living the American dream, but they felt that God wanted more from them.
The Back2School ministry began 12 years ago at Community Fellowship Church in Martinsville, VA, under the direction of Pastor Michael Harrison. During these years, in partnership with Samaritan’s Feet, the Back2School ministry has served about 10,000 children and their families in the Martinsville, Henry County, and Danville areas. Each pre-registered child hears “Manny’s Story” and receives a backpack with grade-
Reaches More Than 2,500 Students in Southside Virginia by Janet Hilliard
Upon returning home to Nigeria in 1997 to attend his father’s funeral, Manny saw that the living conditions in his village had not changed much since he was a boy. He felt God calling him to help the many hopeless, shoeless children in his country and around the world. In 2003, Samaritan’s Feet began giving away shoes, and since that time, 65 million pairs of shoes have been given to people in 88 countries and 325 U.S. cities. And even though all our shoes and backpacks have been distributed, our $20 is still working to meet the needs of people in third-world countries where contaminated soil is the cause of many parasitic diseases for people without shoes. World Shoes is another ministry of Samaritan’s Feet, and $3 of each $20 gift goes to this cause. These shoes are designed to protect against these diseases and to help infected feet to heal—the miraculous power of $20! Our church and the many other volunteers that helped us are grateful to Russell Scruggs and the members of our missions team and to our pastors, Jonathan Hilliard and Hannah Taylor, for leading us to take part in this amazing ministry. Moffett was one of nine locations in the Martinsville, Henry County, and Danville areas involved in the Back2School ministry that served more than 2,500 students and their families on August 5. We were prepared to be a blessing, but we were overwhelmed at how much we were blessed. It was such an amazing day that we are already planning for next year. The Holy Spirit breezed into Moffett Memorial Baptist Church, and used soap and water and little children in need of school supplies, backpacks, shoes, and socks to challenge and change us, and with God’s help, we will never be the same!
A church member asks a local student about the upcoming school year during their Back2School Ministry footwashing event (top); a variety of shoes and socks were given away to community children during the event (above).
Janet Hilliard serves on the BGAV Mission Council and is a member of Moffett Memorial Baptist Church in Danville, VA.
For more information, visit BGAV.org 11
Returning to the BGAV:
How One Church Made the Choice by Jennifer Law
Shortly after Rev. Rodney Barwick retired as a pastor in the Concord Baptist Association, some members of Averett Baptist Church—another church in that association—visited him and asked if he would come and lead them. They were struggling.
he had suspected, though, he found that the church as a whole was more compatible with the BGAV and other churches in the Concord Association—all of which were BGAV supporters. “It was kind of embarrassing to go to associational meetings and be the only church that didn’t support the BGAV,” Barwick stated.
“I prayed about it and told them I’d come over,” explained Barwick. “There was no vote, business meeting, or anything. They knew me because I’d been moderator of our association. I’ve been in Concord almost 30 years, so they knew me really well.” On his first Sunday as pastor on March 1, 2006, there were 21 people present in worship.
“Averett has women in various leadership positions and sometimes in the pulpit, like a lot of BGAV churches do,” described Barwick. There were a number of other reasons why Barwick felt a closer alignment between Averett and the BGAV, but primarily he knew that the church could benefit from the excellent support they would have if they changed their affiliation. “You know they [the BGAV] are always there to help you; they have great resources in things like curriculum and seminars; and it was the total support system of the Virginia Baptists that I had always enjoyed.”
At the time, Averett was an Southern Baptist Conservatives of Virginia (SBCV) congregation, but they had remained in the Concord Association after choosing to discontinue their previous support of the BGAV. “I knew before I went as pastor that they were not a BGAV church anymore, and I was hoping to be able to gently move them back toward it,” said Barwick.
Barwick recalled that Tony Brooks, BGAV field strategist for the southside region, was particularly helpful during their process of discernment. “I knew Tony from working with my other churches. He stayed in touch with us almost weekly.” Barwick and others in Averett’s leadership felt a great deal of support from the BGAV while they were considering what they might do about their affiliation. Over the next eight years, Barwick listened a lot and got to know the people in his congregation.
Up to that point, Barwick had experienced a long, positive history as a BGAV pastor. He was ordained as a Baptist minister in 1984 after serving in the Methodist denomination for many years. He learned then about the vast resources and support available through the BGAV, and he pastored several BGAV churches from the time he was ordained until he retired. So when Averett asked him about becoming their pastor, he told them that he would seek to direct them back toward an affiliation with the BGAV. He knew, though, that it would take time and patience.
During that time, the church began to grow in the number of those baptized and in worship and Bible study. “We had a lot of leadership changes, especially among the deacons,” said Barwick, “and the personality and the membership of the church changed so much that it became easier to make the adjustment.” Barwick continued to talk with the church leaders about their need for support and resources as they grew, and he gradually hinted at the opportunities they would gain by
When Barwick began his ministry at Averett, he got to know people there and realized that they’d been led by just a few church members to move away from the BGAV because of some issues that had been important to those few people. As 12
church, and then he met with all our deacons—active and inactive—and we had some great discussions. After that, we had a unanimous vote and took it back to the church with full support. There were no dissenting votes,” Barwick remembers. Averett has continued to grow, and Barwick loves being their pastor. “Now we have 125 people on Sundays, and we’re known for our choir,” he said. They now have 23 choir members, and his wife is the director. Their weekly offerings have increased nearly tenfold since 2006, and they recently built a $600,000 education building that they are scheduled to pay off this December. Barwick knows from his years of experience that change is a slow process, but it is worth the wait when the change is positive. About Baptist congregations, he comments, “You can lead them a long way, but you can’t push them anywhere. You must earn their trust and wait until the time is right.” Barwick is glad to be a part of God’s plan for Averett Baptist Church. “I love being a pastor, and I love my people.” becoming a BGAV church again. “I took it very slowly, because I wanted to be sure people supported the idea and that all the pieces were in place.” Once he sensed that the church was ready for the change, he called Brooks and asked about the next steps. “Tony came down and met with us. He talked to our whole
For more information, visit BGAV.org
Find out more:
“Jesus said, ‘Don’t be afraid; from now on you will fish for people.’ So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything, and followed him.” Luke 5:10-11 (NIV)
When Storms Arise, Virginia Baptists Respond Responding to Natural and Man-made storms with love
A BGAV Disaster Response volunteer tears out damaged sheetrock from a home in Houston, TX (left); A flood clean-up team from the Southwest region representing Clinch Valley, New Lebanon, Powell River, and Wise Associations arrived in Texas on September 6, 2017 (above).
Hurricanes Harvey and Irma: Virginia Baptist Disaster Response offers immediate and ongoing aid
Storms come in various shapes and sizes. Some form high in the air over the sea’s expanse and wreak havoc upon landfall. Some form in the hearts of men and wreak havoc on the soul. August and September brought both to the United States: two devastating hurricanes named Harvey and Irma and a man-made, rally-turned-riot called Unite the Right.
Virginia Baptist Disaster Response and BGAV leaders continue to monitor the ongoing situation in southeast Texas while beginning assessment of the damage in Florida.
Harvey and Irma were the first two Category-4 hurricanes to make landfall in the United States in the same year. Harvey is the most devastating storm to hit the U.S. since Hurricane Katrina in 2005. More than 50 inches of rain have fallen since Harvey’s initial landfall on August 25 causing an estimated $150 to $180 billion worth of damage, according to Texas Governor Greg Abbott. At press time, Harvey’s death toll stood at 60 but is expected to rise as recovery and cleanup efforts continue throughout southeast Texas.
At press time, Disaster Response Coordinator Aaron Lee reported BGAV teams were on the ground in Liberty, TX, where they are working alongside First Baptist Church, Liberty. More teams were on their way south in response to Irma, awaiting assignment as the damage is assessed. More will go over the coming weeks and months as recovery continues.
How you and your church can respond
Hurricane Irma roared through the Caribbean, killing nearly 40 people, and made landfall on the continental U.S. on September 9, driving straight up through the Florida peninsula into the southeastern states. Millions of people lost power and thousands of structures were destroyed by the wind and water. At least 11 Americans lost their lives in the storm’s wake.
PRAY. PRAY for the victims of Hurricane Harvey and Irma. PRAY for officials to make the best decisions in the coming weeks and months ahead. PRAY for those who will be responding to the disaster during the ongoing cleanup efforts. PRAY for those who strive to be the hands and feet of God as they offer comfort and relief and begin the rebuilding process. PRAY that the gospel will go forth as the church responds to not only physical needs but also critical spiritual needs.
On August 11–12 in Charlottesville, VA, just two weeks prior to Harvey’s arrival, blogger Jason Kessler’s Unite the Right rally gathered white supremacists from all over the country along with counter-protestors for a violent result—three deaths and numerous injuries. International news agencies and social media honed in on the event’s display of still-existing racism in the U.S.
GIVE. Donate at BGAVDR.org. You can make the biggest difference right now by making a financial contribution. When your gift is combined with thousands of others, you can help provide exponentially more relief. Designate donations to Hurricane Response to maximize the benefit to the individuals and families affected by the storm. One hundred percent of your
These storms have rocked the nation, bringing chaos, uncertainty, confusion, and despair. Virginia Baptists are responding in both areas of the country by being the presence of Christ—providing tangible help and hope in times of need. 15
Ministers among interfaith clergy working toward reconciliation in Charlottesville Charlottesville, VA, became the focal point of the nation on August 12, 2017, when a Unite the Right rally brought racial tension and conflict in protest of the city’s plans to remove a Confederate statue. The event was cancelled when police declared it to be an unlawful assembly. The rally attracted counter-protestors as well, and the already chaotic scene escalated to angry violence and apparent domestic terrorism upon cancellation. A man drove a car into a group of counter-protestors—injuring 19 people and killing one woman. Two Virginia State Patrol troopers died in a helicopter crash while assisting public safety resources in the area.
Franklin Baptist Church members in Franklin, VA, compiled 400 hygiene kits for hurricane victims in Texas.
Long before the events of August 11–12, however, clergy members in Charlottesville had been preparing to respond to potentially dangerous situations fueled by racist organizations and those who protest against them. One BGAV church, University Baptist, hosted a community prayer service August 8, during which several ministers prayed fervently for healing in the community, for protection, and for peace.
financial gifts help disaster response volunteers obtain materials and supplies, food and water, equipment operations, and cover on-site operation expenses. The BGAV does not retain any funds for overhead or staff administrative costs. The BGAV has received a request for flood buckets and hygiene kits, which we are collecting for distribution through a partner already in place and prepared for this operation. We have received NO other requests for material contributions and will not accept any at this time because we want to focus our relief efforts in the most beneficial manner. If we receive requests for material contributions, we will pass along that information. Financial contributions are the most effective option right now.
Another group began preparations much earlier. After the June 17, 2015, mass shooting at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, SC, in which a white supremacist murdered nine people, Rev. Dr. Alvin Edwards, pastor of Charlottesville’s Mt. Zion First African Baptist Church, doubted the city’s pastors knew and trusted each other enough to organize a quick and coordinated response if such an event took place in their city. Edwards, a BGAV pastor, organized a meeting of clergy and lay leaders serving both black and white churches. From that meeting, participants decided to meet regularly to befriend and lead their fellow churches to address systemic racial challenges in Charlottesville and Albemarle County.
GO. Trained volunteers can inform us of any availability to deploy by going online to BGAVDR.org. There will be ongoing need for teams to travel to the affected areas. Individuals interested in volunteering who have not yet been trained should attend one of the upcoming training events (BGAVDR.org/volunteer/calendar) or monitor website and Facebook pages for opportunities. There will be opportunities available for untrained volunteers for this response, particularly when the recovery phase of the operation begins.
The participants formed the Charlottesville Clergy Collective, whose mission is to establish, develop, and promote racial unity within the faith leadership of the Charlottesville-Albemarle Region through fellowship, collaborative partnership, and relationship building. They meet regularly to foster mutual trust and open communication; conduct group events to highlight issues of racial and social justice; partner with other community leaders to promote mutual cooperation between law enforcement, city government, and the faith leadership; and work together to support marginalized and historically underserved populations in their community.
“Virginia Baptists have always taken the ‘long view’ when it comes to our responses,” said Lee. “This response is no different. There will be opportunities well into 2018 for teams to go and serve.” Lee added, “As always, we will be looking to establish a long-term relationship once the initial relief phase draws to a conclusion.” The latest updates will be posted at BGAVDR.org. You can also follow Virginia Baptist Disaster Response on Facebook at Facebook.com/VB.Disaster.
Rev. Dr. Michael Cheuk, second vice president of the BGAV and former pastor of University Baptist Church in Charlottesville, is a member of the collective. In an interview with ethicsdaily.com, Cheuk explained that some 40 members of the collective met a month before the August 12 rally because they were concerned
Several BGAV ministers were present during the events of August 11–12 in Charlottesville and chose to share personal accounts and perspectives of what they witnessed. Excerpts from several of their stories here illustrate the complexity of the atmosphere and the responses of those who showed up to be the calming, loving, stable presence of Christ amidst the hatred and chaos of the situation.
Pastor of Mooreland Baptist Church, Charlottesville, VA It seems to me that we have forgotten to see each other as human. We saw this over the weekend here in Charlottesville, a town that I have come to know and love for the past six years. We have forgotten to see each other as human and neighbors. It’s easy to point fingers and say, “what a mess,” especially when it isn’t your town. It’s easy to stay above the mess and make proclamations about non-violence. But I feel like that’s the above-the-ground approach. I’m here on the ground and all I see are humans giving into their brokenness. I see humans spewing hatred that someone taught them. I see humans grabbing their proverbial pitchforks and protecting their town. I also see clergy trying to bring peace to a chaotic day. I also see faithful Christians praying, singing, and walking together. The church showed up last week and on Saturday, like we were supposed to.
Tensions between the alt-right rally participants and protestors escalated so high that police had to stand watch in riot gear during the weekend of August 11-12, 2017, in Charlottesville, VA (above). group to a Ku Klux Klan group that visited the area on July 8. The clergy members wanted to provide a safe space for other clergy and community members to gather during the rally. They chose First United Methodist Church, located directly across the street from Emancipation Park where the rally was scheduled to take place. Other faith communities such as the Quakers joined in as well. “We became a clearinghouse of sorts for the faith communities,” Cheuk explained.
There are a lot of things that need to be talked about as a result of Saturday. We need to talk about race and how awkward it is to talk about race. We need to talk about where we’ve been— slavery, Jim Crow, and recent events. We need to talk about different faith traditions, especially the Muslim tradition, so we can better understand each other.
The collective’s initial intention was to provide a safe space for everyone—members of the alt-right and protestors alike. “But after we observed what happened Friday night with the torches,” said Cheuk, “we quickly made the decision that we had to differentiate.”
There’s a lot to talk about, but we first need to see each other as human. And that might mean we need to be more understanding and more forgiving. And after the events over the weekend, the forgiving part is going to be the hardest. (continued on pg. 18)
about the impact it would have in their community. They also attended a seminar taught by Charlene Green, manager of a Charlottesville human rights organization, about the area’s ethnic and racial history.
On August 12 they held a sunrise service at First Baptist Church of West Main Street (an African-American Baptist church in town). People from all over the country were there. As early as 5:45 a.m., one of the ministers from First United Methodist was guarding their parking lot. Groups from the clergy collective marched peacefully to Jefferson School and to McGuffey Park. “There were a lot of moving pieces,” recalled Cheuk.
“We knew they were coming and that the group would be more organized and savvy,” Cheuk said, comparing the Unite the Right
First United Methodist was able to maintain a safe space even throughout the violence that erupted that day. Using metal
Senior Minister of University Baptist Church, Charlottesville, VA
Executive Director of Arrabon (an organization dedicated to the ministry of reconciliation)
Today, I was near a protest against the alt-right. My participation was minimal. I sat on my bike and watched from a distance. Or, my plan was to watch from a distance, but they kept moving and changing direction. A new group would show up. Protestors filled in. Several times, I found myself caught between the two sides.
Last night [August 11] Urban Doxology [a worship band] was singing at a prayer meeting and when evening went dark, White Nationalists surrounded the church with torches chanting Nazi chants. The police came and did not allow any person of color to leave the church without an escort.
My t-shirt said, “Keep Calm and Study.” I wanted to sing, “All we are saying is give peace a chance…” What does the alt-right really believe? What do the protestors believe? I know some of the clergy. They believe in peace and love. But, other protesters shouted profanities and were clearly looking for a confrontation with the alt-right. In a context like the rally/protest in Charlottesville, there is no space for dialogue. It is tense. People yell. They shout slogans. The other side screams back. People scuffle, bunch up, and punch and push each other.
It’s been an unbelievable 24 hours. A few weeks ago, a church in Charlottesville invited me in to preach and shepherd their congregation and community through whatever happened this weekend. Nobody expected three deaths. It’s incredibly sad. As I was preparing to preach, the Lord sent me to two texts: Eph. 6:10-13 and Acts 19. I never saw this before, but I saw the connection of how Paul was reminding the church in Ephesus of how demonic forces are a real thing. I use the word “reminded,” because when Paul came to Ephesus for the first time, he had a lot of demonic activity come under the power of the Holy Spirit and that caused a riot within Ephesus.
What did I learn? Nothing. The alt-right has a constitutional right to hold their rally. I might not agree with what they say or what they believe in. But, I hold dear the constitution that gives them a right to rally. The protesters have a right to peacefully oppose the alt-right. Unfortunately, protesting gives legitimacy to the rally. My presence contributed to their legitimacy.
I don’t think it is a coincidence that this white supremacist activity happened in Charlottesville.
The police try to keep the peace. They do not know what different people intend to do in the rally/protest. They do not know what I plan to do, even though I told each one I saw that I was there to pray for them. If no one showed up, the alt-right would have no one to yell at. No protesters would yell at them. My presence contributed to their uncertainty and probably made their job harder.
The inciting incident started with the conversation of the removal of Robert E. Lee, but the gathering was in front of Thomas Jefferson. I believe that the principalities of systemic racism are falling, but they give up a fight before they get cast out. I remind the Arrabon staff and Urban Doxology constantly that the work we are doing is spiritual. We are fighting against ancient spirits that one day will be defeated, but now they are giving a fight before they are fully cast out.
I am a proponent of dialogue—having a conversation to discuss differences. I went because I wanted to say something against the alt-right, but my presence accomplished nothing. The hate group still hates.
detectors and wands and prohibiting firearms were key practices in keeping the area secure.
Going forward, Cheuk said that there is talk about the collective becoming a non-profit so they can have more structure and be in a better position to respond when or if similar events occur in the future. “We are committed to putting everything on the table and out of that having a greater clarity about what are some specific, concrete things we can do together to promote racial justice and harmony.”
Looking back on all that transpired that day, Cheuk commented that they realize there’s a need for continuing education both for members in each faith community and the community as a whole. The collective has focused on providing resources and real help to people who were affected by the events. “We are mobilizing folks trained in mental health, ministering to people who were traumatized, recovering from injuries, and such,” Cheuk said. 18
Richmond, VA, faith leaders held a gathering at the Maggie Walker statue in honor of racial reconciliation on August 21, 2017 (Photo courtesy of WTVR-6).
Where Do We Go from Here?
to Chuck Harrison, director of missions, the dialogue has built relationships and sparked other initiatives. They were approached by the Commonwealth Attorney’s office and the City of Hampton to put on a series of ‘Community Explosions’ around the city this summer. These events brought together black and white churches co-sponsoring fun activities for the kids and practical resource displays for the parents.
Is your church committed to racial reconciliation? Do you want to bring people in your community together in unity? Consider these stories of what others have done as an inspiration for what you might do: On August 21, hundreds of faith leaders in Richmond gathered at the Maggie Walker monument—a memorial celebrating African-American contributions and accomplishments in business and education—to pray and to read aloud a statement of unity against racism and anti-Semitism signed by more than 600 faith leaders. Their hope is that Richmond will become known not as the capital of the Confederacy but as the capital of reconciliation.
Caitlin Figura, BGAV community missions coordinator, would like to talk with church members and pastors about ministry ideas related to reconciliation. Contact Caitlin at 804.255.2428, ext. 7274, or Caitlin.Figura@BGAV.org.
Chatham Baptist Church started the first Boys and Girls Club in Pittsylvania County in 2005. Rev. Dr. Charles Warnock III, pastor of Chatham Baptist, intentionally reached out to the pastor of a nearby AME church to enlist her support to encourage black students to enroll in the club. The program averaged about 65 students and in 2008 was moved to the new community center in Chatham, where church members continued to be involved as board members. Since 2007, the church has hosted the town’s Martin Luther King Jr., day service. In 2015 they added music and art camps co-sponsored by African-American churches. Additionally, they worked with the president of the Pittsylvania County NAACP to co-sponsor a dialogue about race relations called Pittsylvania Together. The group meets monthly to listen to stories of how racial issues have made an impact on their community.
For more information on BGAV Disaster Response, visit BGAVDR.org For more information on racial reconciliation, visit BGAV.org
Since 2015, the Peninsula Baptist Association has sponsored a monthly dialogue on racism, poverty, and violence—a gathering of pastors and other church leaders along with officials from local government and law enforcement. According 19
REGISTER TODAY TO JOIN US FOR THE
BGAV Annual Meeting November 13â€“15, 2017 Hampton, VA
Leith Anderson President of the National Association of Evangelicals
Monday, November 13 12:30 p.m. Pastorsâ€™ Conference 2:00 p.m. Registration open Ministry Fair open 4:00 p.m. Breakouts 7:00 p.m. Gathering I Tuesday, November 14 7:30 a.m. Registration open 8:00 a.m. Ministry Fair open 8:45 a.m. Business Session I 10:00 a.m. Gathering II 12:00 p.m. Lunch 2:00 p.m. Regional Meetings 3:45 p.m. Breakouts 7:00 p.m. Gathering III
Wednesday, November 15 7:30 a.m. Registration open 8:00 a.m. Ministry Fair open 8:45 a.m. Business Session II 10:30 a.m. Gathering IV
BGAV Advancing the Kingdom Together
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...a number of Virginia Baptists traveled to Richmond for a threeday training seminar on serving as crisis care chaplains in partnership with Virginia Baptist Disaster Response. They are charged with providing spiritual care as they comfort those who are dealing with their new realities. These chaplains will respond alongside more typical chainsaw or massfeeding volunteers; several are currently serving in the response following hurricanes Harvey and Irma. Learn more about Virginia Baptist Disaster Response at BGAVDR.org.
...more than 300 preschool teachers and directors from all across Virginia came together for the annual Church Weekday Education Conference. The conference provides opportunities for training and networking for those in charge of leading faith-based weekday preschool programs, a vital resource for many parents across the Commonwealth. More information can be found at BGAV.org/CWE.
Congrats to Our 2017â€“2018 BGAV Scholarship Recipients! Reagan Adams
Middle Cross Missionary Baptist Church Blue Ridge Baptist Association Virginia Tech Major: Visual Communication and Design with a minor in English Middle Cross Missionary Baptist Church Blue Ridge Baptist Association Virginia Tech Major: Horticulture - Landscape Contracting Summersett Baptist Church Staunton River Baptist Association University of Virginia Major: Bachelor of Science Franklin Baptist Church Blackwater Baptist Association Regent University Major: Business (General Management) Youngâ€™s Chapel Baptist Church New River Baptist Association Emory and Henry College Major: Mass Communications
Critz Baptist Church Blue Ridge Baptist Association Virginia Tech Major: Natural Resources Corinth Baptist Church Dover Baptist Association North Greenville University Major: Elementary Education Culpeper Baptist Church Shiloh Baptist Association Averett University Major: Elementary Education and History Graceland Baptist Church Middle District Baptist Association Virginia Commonwealth University Major: Nursing
Faithway Baptist Church The Bridge Network of Churches George Mason University
Cambria Baptist Church Highlands Baptist Association Shenandoah University Major: Music Performance Cambria Baptist Church Highlands Baptist Association James Madison University Major: Nursing Richmondâ€™s First Baptist Church The River City Faith Network Radford University
Mount Vernon Baptist Church Dover Baptist Association College of William & Mary Major: Business Administration
Kingâ€™s Grant Baptist Church The Bridge Network of Churches Old Dominion University Major: Nursing Kingâ€™s Grant Baptist Church The Bridge Network of Churches Virginia Wesleyan College Major: Biology Hillcrest Baptist Church New River Baptist Association Liberty University Major: Psychology Broadus Memorial Baptist Church Dover Baptist Association Averett University Major: Business Management and Theatre First Baptist Church of Collinsville Henry County Baptist Association Bluefield College Major: Exercise Science/Sports
Midway Baptist Church Staunton River Baptist Association Liberty University Major: Nursing
South Run Baptist Church NorthStar Church Network Liberty University Major: Music (Worship Studies) Grace Hills Baptist Church Appomattox Baptist Association
Blacksburg Baptist Church Western Blue Ridge Baptist Network Radford University Major: Dance and Psychology Youngâ€™s Chapel Baptist Church New River Baptist Association College of William & Mary Major: Government with minor in Religious Studies Warrenton Baptist Church NorthStar Church Network George Mason University Major: Marketing Warrenton Baptist Church NorthStar Church Network Virginia Tech Major: Bachelor of Science Gateway Community Church NorthStar Church Network Virginia Tech Major: Mechanical Engineering West End Baptist Church Blackwater Baptist Association James Madison University Major: Bachelor of Science Mathews Baptist Church Mid-Tidewater Baptist Association Virginia Tech
S M E F
Abi Urrutia Morales
Sarah Grace Lott
Jackson Memorial Baptist Church Portsmouth Baptist Association James Madison University Major: Biology
Huguenot Road Baptist Church The River City Faith Network College of William and Mary Major: Biology Huguenot Road Baptist Church The River City Faith Network College of William & Mary Major: Bachelor of Science West Lynchburg Baptist Church Lynchburg Baptist Association College of William & Mary Major: Bachelor of Science Bedford Baptist Church Strawberry Baptist Association James Madison University
First Baptist Church of South Boston Dan River Baptist Association Virginia Commonwealth University Major: English Literature
Smithfield Baptist Church Blackwater Baptist Association Liberty University Major: Environmental Biology
Broadus Memorial Baptist Church Dover Baptist Association Randolph Macon College
Broadus Memorial Baptist Church Dover Baptist Association Virginia Commonwealth University Major: Mechanical Engineering
West Main Baptist Church Pittsylvania Baptist Association Averett University Major: Criminal Justice Bon Air Baptist at the Village BGAV James Madison University
Northside Baptist Church Dover Baptist Association Virginia Tech Major: Engineering New Prospect Baptist Church Staunton River Baptist Association Virginia Tech Major: National Security and Foreign Affairs with minors in Russian and Arabic First Baptist Church of Bluefield East River Baptist Association Bluefield State College Major: Nursing
Critz Baptist Church Blue Ridge Baptist Association Virginia Tech Major: Dairy Science/Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine
Groveton Baptist Church NorthStar Church Network Liberty University Major: Elementary Education, with minors in Spanish and ASL Falling River Baptist Church Appomattox Baptist Association Liberty University Major: Business and Religion
Falling River Baptist Church Appomattox Baptist Association George Mason University Major: Global Affairs Bon Air Baptist at the Village BGAV Campbell University
Coan Baptist Church Rappahannock Baptist Association Christopher Newport University Major: Education
Beaver Dam Baptist Church Central Virginia Baptist Association University of Mary Washington Major: Historic Preservation with minors in Museum Studies and Business Spanish Warrenton Baptist Church NorthStar Church Network Liberty University Major: Computer Science
First Baptist Church of Staunton Augusta Baptist Association Gardner-Webb University Major: Biblical Studies
S M E F
2017â€“2018 Ministerial Scholarship Recipients
S M E Scott Anderson
Sarah Grace Moxley
Crossroads Church The Bridge Network of Churches Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary Calling: Collegiate Round Hill Baptist Church Fredericksburg Area Baptist Network The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary Calling: Missions Lighthouse International Church The River City Faith Network School of Theology at Virginia Union University Calling: Pastoral Korean Church on the Rock BGAV New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary Calling: Collegiate Community Heights Baptist Church New Lebanon Baptist Association Liberty University Calling: Pastoral Northstar Church BGAV Virginia Tech Calling: General Columbia Baptist Church NorthStar Church Network John Leland Center for Theological Studies Calling: Teaching and Preaching Randolph Memorial Baptist Church Lynchburg Baptist Association Gardner-Webb University Calling: Pastoral Care Calvary Baptist Church Lynchburg Baptist Association Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary Calling: Music and Discipleship Youngâ€™s Chapel Baptist Church New River Baptist Association Vanderbilt Divinity School Calling: Education Ministry
Richmondâ€™s First Baptist Church The River City Faith Network Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond Calling: Pastoral First Baptist Church of Ashland Dover Baptist Association Fuller Theological Seminary Calling: Pastoral Harrisonburg Baptist Church Augusta Baptist Association Eastern Mennonite Seminary Calling: Collegiate Blacksburg Baptist Church Highlands Baptist Association Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond Calling: Youth Ministry Columbia Baptist Church NorthStar Church Network Truett Seminary Calling: Pastoral Second Baptist Church Petersburg Baptist Association Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond Calling: Pastoral Columbia Baptist Church NorthStar Church Network John Leland Center for Theological Studies Calling: Adult Discipleship Round Hill Baptist Church Fredericksburg Area Baptist Network Regent University Calling: Missionary First Baptist Church of Bluefield East River Baptist Association Campbell University Divinity School Calling: Church Mission and Worship First Baptist Church of Bluefield East River Baptist Association Gardner-Webb University Calling: Missionary
Bonsack Baptist Church Roanoke Valley Baptist Association Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond Calling: Missions Remnant Church BGAV Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary Calling: Pastoral Columbia Baptist Church NorthStar Church Network John Leland Center for Theological Studies Calling: Youth Ministry South Run Baptist Church NorthStar Church Network Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary Calling: Pastoral Deep Run Baptist Church Dover Baptist Association Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond Calling: Pastoral Richmondâ€™s First Baptist Church The River City Faith Network Duke Divinity School Calling: Youth Ministry Randolph Memorial Baptist Church Lynchburg Baptist Association Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond Calling: Youth Ministry Mission Bautista de Rivermont Pittsylvania Baptist Association Liberty University Calling: Church Planter Bon Air Baptist Church BGAV Central Baptist Theological Seminary Calling: Denominational Ministry Olive Branch Baptist Church Portsmouth Baptist Association Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond Calling: Youth Ministry
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adrift by ed jordan
When I was a child, I liked to lie on a big, inflatable mattress and feel the waves of the swimming pool lap up against me. Sometimes I would lie on my stomach to paddle my way around the pool, and sometimes I’d like to just lie back and drift.
momentary desires, while exerting no effort to have a course or destination. People who are spiritually adrift are willing to go wherever the winds take them, often only waking up and looking around when they are in the middle of the storm.
It was a peaceful time for me, because I didn’t swim well, and couldn’t even float! So the only time that being in a pool was peaceful was when I had an air mattress large enough to keep me afloat.
The writer of the book of Hebrews warns those who have sampled the goodness of God to be alert and be powered by God, lest we drift away from so great a salvation as God has freely provided to us.
But would I lie back on an air mattress on the ocean, go to sleep, and let the ocean take me wherever it takes me? Not a chance!
What more can God do to get us home than he has already done in Jesus? He has paid for our sins, extended love and forgiveness, and given us his Spirit to empower us to live for God. Yet so many choose to not engage with God and instead to just drift away toward things that provide only momentary happiness, or things that actually work to destroy us.
Drifting is fun when you are in a contained pool, but it would be terrifying on the open ocean—even in a boat. Without power, the boat begins to drift, driven by winds, currents, and waves. I am told that being without a working motor on the open sea is a panic-causing event, especially if the sun is about to go down. It brings new awareness of the danger inherent in being at the mercy of the sea—drifting out of control—with arbitrary forces sweeping you helplessly along. There are thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of people adrift in south Texas and Florida because of the effects of hurricanes Harvey and Irma. They have lost control of their lives, homes, schedules, transportation, routines, etc. They are adrift and being carried along by forces they cannot control. We all recognize this as shocking and horrific, and we pray for them. Yet even more shocking should be that in America today, there are millions of people who are spiritually adrift. No one sounds alarms or points out the severity of their condition. Many have no awareness of God; others know God exists but have no desire to interact with him. Millions upon millions grew up in Christian churches, discovering the security and confidence found in understanding God’s love and influence in their lives. But little by little they drifted away from God, from worship and Bible study, and they ended up adrift and alone on life’s enormous sea. So let’s give some thought to what it means to be spiritually adrift. It means living with no engine to power your direction. It means being carried along with the waves of trends, fads, or 26
Here is what Hebrews 2:1 (ESV) tells us: “Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it.” Hebrews 2:1 in the (The Message) states: “It’s crucial that we keep a firm grip on what we’ve heard so that we don’t drift off.” How do we end up drifting in life? It happens little by little. We begin to close God and his love for us out of our lives. We quit listening to God. Bad habits develop out of bad choices. Sleeping in this Sunday soon becomes every Sunday. Not looking to the Bible for answers leads to seeking answers elsewhere. Choosing not to talk to God today soon leads to ignoring him. Going with the flow leads to purposeless drifting, and before we know it, we don’t even know how we got where we are. However, we find a whole new kind of life when we pay close attention to what God says, take time to hear him weekly, read his word daily, and stay alert at the wheel—keeping our minds fixed on our destinations, our lives committed to staying on course, and committing ourselves to enjoy journeying in fellowship with God. Adrift or on course? Which describes your life? If you are drifting aimlessly, what are you going to do about it? Award-winning columnist Dr. Ed Jordan is pastor of Gwynn’s Island Baptist Church, Gwynn, VA.
LATEST MINISTRY JOBS • Student Minister @ Mineral Baptist Church, Mineral, VA • Minister To Youth @ Mountain View Baptist Church, Hickory, NC • Director @ Tabernacle Baptist Church Child Care Center, Richmond, VA • Pastor @ Black Branch Baptist Church, Chase City, VA • Pastor @ First Baptist Church, Hillsville, VA • Minister of Music @ Haymarket Baptist Church, Haymarket, VA • Next Gen Coordinator @ Highlands Fellowship, Johnson City, TN • Middle School Director @ CrossBridge Community Church, San Antonio, TX
• Senior Pastor @ Little River Baptist Church, Aldie, VA
• Worship Leader @ Community Heights Church, Cedar Bluff, VA
• Associate Pastor of Families @ Tabernacle Baptist Church, Raleigh, NC
• Worship Leader @ Community Heights Church, Richlands, VA
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BGAV Annual Meeting November 13–15, 2017 Hampton, VA ANSWERING GOD’S CALL
N W WHAT?
Answering God’s Call
Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”
Answering God’sIsaiah Call 6:8 (NIV)
Leith Anderson President of the National Association of Evangelicals
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