Today's From the States features items from:
Baptist Courier (South Carolina) -- two items
Baptist New Mexican
New church multiplication process
generates enthusiasm, partnership
WARRENVILLE, S.C. (Baptist Courier)--Howlandville Church, located in Warrenville in the Aiken Association, had dwindled to eight members by the summer of 2010.
The church's transitional pastor, Joe Youngblood, approached Daryl Price, director of the church multiplication group of the South Carolina Baptist Convention. "We're ready to do whatever it takes," he told Price. "We don't want to disband."
Price and Youngblood began developing a year-long process that could be used as a pilot project to help churches multiply at every level. They called it the "Intentional Church Multiplication Process."
"We really took a lot of training materials, including the SCBC's Church Health Assessment and Mobilization Planning Strategy, and we added to it," Price said. "We felt like we had a pilot project that could help churches multiply at every level, create mission outposts with community groups, and potentially lead to new church plants."
Price said the Intentional Church Multiplication Process is not just about starting new churches. It's also about: committed pastors intentionally leading churches to multiply at every level; mentor churches that equip and encourage other churches toward health; instruction from qualified SCBC leaders on all aspects of church life; and coaches and consultants assisting pastors and churches as they move ideas into action.
The process involves 11 monthly equipping sessions in an eight-hour format, with monthly coaching/consulting sessions.
Churches also participate in the CHAMPS process (http://www.scbaptist.org/revitalization), Basic Training Journey for Church Planting workshop (http://www.scbaptist.org/churchmultiplication), and Immersion Training for small group development and discipleship (http://www.scbaptist.org/link/article151139.htm).
Price and Youngblood picked a group of smaller- and medium-membership churches in the Aiken Association to join Howlandville Church for the one-year journey. Those churches included, from Aiken Association: Redd's Branch, Foreman Memorial, Bel-Ridge, Couchton, Montmorenci First Church, Calvary, Memorial, Beech Island Second Church; and Rocky Spring Church from Edisto Association.
The churches started the pilot process in August 2010 and graduated on June 20. A special celebratory service was held at Millbrook Church, Aiken.
The partnering churches have envisioned several new projects.
Redd's Branch Church plans to partner with Belvedere First Church's chapter of Carolina Faith Riders to minister to the motorcycle community of Aiken County, believing non-traditional church settings are the best way to reach what constitutes 3 percent of the Aiken County population.
Foreman Memorial Church has a vision of "reaching our community in New Ellenton through sports," said minister of music and youth Daniel Braswell. "We are doing a sports camp this summer that will include football, basketball, soccer and cheerleading. We also want to reach across racial and cultural barriers in our community and want to provide Bible classes for the local middle school."
Montmorenci First Church has a vision for churches targeted to fishermen in the same way that cowboy churches focus on a specific group. "I know there are fishing ministries, but there is no one ministry that goes right to where the fishermen are," said pastor Tommy Richardson. Montmorenci also has a vision to create a mission outpost in mobile home parks.
Calvary Church has identified several potential mission outposts, including senior adults, low-income rental properties, retirement complexes, and a mobile home park with a large Hispanic population. The church's strategic plan calls for starting a small-group Bible study in a new housing development. Partnership possibilities exist to reach a low-income neighborhood known for a significant criminal element.
Bel-Ridge Church has a vision for a mission outpost to connect with a large Hispanic community, an African-American community, Belvedere Elementary School, and home groups that instill the idea that each home is a community outpost.
Beech Island Second Church and pastor David Lester have created plans for Upward Soccer this fall, ministries for a mobile home park, a nearby subdivision and a local elementary school, and a ministry targeted to single mothers.
And what about Howlandville, which had only eight members a year ago? It is now considering an Upward Soccer program to reach Hispanic families, an after-school evangelism program, a senior adult ministry in a senior adult housing complex, and several neighborhood outreach ministries.
"Intentional Church Multiplication Process is bringing church pastors and staff leaders together in prayer and worship so that we are strengthened and greater equipped for ministry," said Glenn Craig, director of discipleship and missions at Howlandville Church. "This process is teaching me and our church to be intentional about church growth."
Helping the churches was Millbrook Church, Aiken, which Price recruited as the mentor church for the Intentional Church Multiplication Process. "We wanted a local church, a supporter of the Cooperative Program and the SCBC, to help as a mentor church," said Price. "Millbrook was eager to get involved."
David Revelle, administrative pastor for education and missions at Millbrook, said, "We heard a statement that the convention would lose a number of its churches if churches didn't change how they approached ministry. As a church, we had a burden to help other churches.
"Many of these churches are not multi-staff churches, and so we were able to work with them and make our staff available for training and encouragement. Great relationships have been built between churches in our association. Many of the barriers have come down. The rural churches often have poor perceptions of larger-membership churches, but through Intentional Church Multiplication Process, they've seen our willingness to reach out and provide support.
"Within our church, it's helped us see a need and understand that we are not alone in reaching our community. Even though we're a larger church, there are people we can't reach the smaller-membership churches can reach. It takes all of us, and all of us need to be strong churches."
Jim Diehl, director of missions for Aiken Association, praised the process. "The pastors involved with this have said it is giving new birth to their churches," he said. "We are looking forward to positive, lasting results." Diehl said he is meeting with Youngblood about "getting other churches in a revitalization mindset."
Pastor James Young, Calvary Church, said, "I wish I had received this kind of training when I became a pastor 30 years ago."
"This process has challenged me," said Adam Hensley, pastor of Rocky Spring Church, Wagener. "It has forced me out of my comfort zone and stirred my spirit to be intentional once again about winning and discipling the lost."
Price said all of the churches are at the "same place," never having planted a church or been a part of a mission outpost. "What makes this so exciting is that we are seeing churches … joining hands and working together," he said. "They are taking the church to the people rather than bringing people to a church building. As many as five of the churches are planning to plant a church to reach people groups who might never come to a traditional church building."
Now that the one-year process has ended, Price said the Aiken churches will be partnered with an SCBC staff member who will serve as an ombudsman. The assigned staff member will help each church connect with other convention staff and resources regarding assistance and encouragement.
For more information on Intentional Church Multiplication Process: 803-227-6183 or email@example.com.
This article first appeared in The Baptist Courier (baptistcourier.com), newsjournal of the South Carolina Baptist Convention.
Aiken Association 'just the beginning'
for church multiplication process
GREENVILLE, S.C. (Baptist Courier)--Daryl Price, director of the church multiplication group of the South Carolina Baptist Convention, is calling the Intentional Church Multiplication Process a success after one Edisto Association church and 10 Aiken churches completed the inaugural one-year process in June.
"What's happening in and near the Aiken Association is a great ministry story," Price said. "But for the Intentional Church Multiplication Process, the story is really just beginning."
In Aiken, a new cluster of churches will begin the process in September. Millbrook Church, which served as the mentor church for the first cluster, will continue in that role for a new group of churches. Also, a cluster of seven churches has formed in Allendale-Hampton Association, and 14 churches have formed a cluster in Screven Association.
"Rock Hill Association and Spartanburg County Network are recruiting churches for clusters in those areas," Price said. "In every cluster, even in the inaugural one, the state convention was invited to join them by a pastor or the local director of missions."
"It's not just a few pastors coming together in an area for training," Price said. "It is the beginning of a transformational multiplication movement."
This article first appeared in The Baptist Courier (baptistcourier.com), newsjournal of the South Carolina Baptist Convention.
94 N.M. Baptists
packing for Belize
By John Loudat
Baptist New Mexican
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.--Ninety-four New Mexico Baptists have been trained and are packing for the ambitions effort to train the nation of Belize's 5,000 schoolteachers to share chronological Bible stories with their students.
The final training session was held at Del Norte Baptist Church in Albuquerque on Saturday, June 4, in preparation for the mission trip, which is scheduled for Aug. 1-6.
Last fall, the Baptist Convention of New Mexico's executive director, Joseph Bunce, challenged the state's Baptists to consider being one of 100 or so volunteers who would be trained by Central Baptist Church, Clovis, to go to the Central American country to train the teachers.
Central, which first trained some teachers in Belize to use the story cloths in 2009, offered five training opportunities this year for the volunteers across the state to learn how they could teach other teachers to use HIStory, which is the name of the series of 42 chronological Bible stories that begin with the story of creation and end with the ascension of Christ, which have been printed on "story cloths."
The volunteers were required to attend three of the training times and do a "mock presentation" of the story cloth to become accredited, which was required for each volunteer who will go to Belize.
Present on June 4 to help lead the training was Tim Tam of "The Word at Work," with which the BCNM is working in the mission effort.
This article first appeared in the Baptist New Mexican (bcnm.com), newsjournal of the Baptist Convention of New Mexico. John Loudat is editor of the Baptist New Mexican.
Ill. Ministry Collects Used
SS Material And More
By Lisa Sergent
BUTLER, Ill.--Steve Schmidt waived his arms over the dozens of pallets of Christian reading material. "All of this used to be recycled into cardboard," he said. "Now, it's stopping someone from going to Hell."
Schmidt is the founder of Love Packages, which sends Christian reading materials to foreign countries. Dozens of Illinois Baptist churches participate in this ministry by donating excess (new and used) Sunday School literature, Bibles and other Christian materials to Love Packages to be sorted, packed and shipped in 20-foot containers across the oceans to countries where very little Christian literature is available.
Pastors and missionaries use the material to share Christ and disciple Christians in many African and Asian countries where English is not the native language but is often taught in schools. Love Packages also accepts Spanish-language materials, which it ships to Spanish-speaking countries.
The Southern Baptist Convention's LifeWay Christian Resources and Billy Graham Ministries are among the many organizations that donate their overruns and slightly damaged materials to the ministry.
Eastview Baptist Church in Springfield, Ill., serves as a collection site for the ministry, and its members volunteer there. Pastor Bennie Fisher said, "It's the greatest recylcing ministry ever. Love Packages allows thousands around the world to hear the Gospel and to grow in their faith - that's evangelism and discipleship."
Love Packages began in 1975 in the basement of Schmidt's home when he says God showed him the huge amount of literature that was being wasted. The first year, he and His wife shipped 60 boxes of literature overseas to four missionaries. As word spread about the ministry, donations grew and two warehouses were constructed in the tiny town of Butler, Ill., which has a population of 197 and is located 40 miles south of Springfield.
According to Schmidt, "Over the last five years we've shipped right at 1,000 tons each year, enough materials for 50 million people to read."
He estimates "for every piece of literature we send to the third world, it may be read by 20 people."
In June, Schmidt said, "We have 200 tons of literature on the water now. We ship 20 tons of literature each week."
Love Packages has a staff of three, including Schmidt. He says, "We are always looking for volunteers." Volunteers look through the donated items and sort out any non-Christian and cult materials. They sort the literature into six categories: Bibles, reference material, Sunday School literature, books and paperbacks, magazines and daily devotionals, and cassettes, tracts, and miscellaneous. The materials are then placed in color coded boxes for shipping.
Rick Stayton, a member of Emmanuel Baptist Church in Carlinville, Ill., has been one of those volunteers for the last ten years. "I heard about Love Packages from the WMU ladies at our church and have been volunteering here since then." Stayton has even brought groups of men from his church to the site for a Baptist Men's Day mission project and he participated in the Illinois Baptist State Association's statewide Missions Spectacular project at Love Packages in June.
Alice Thomas, a member of Lincoln Avenue Baptist Church in Jacksonville, was also volunteering as a part of Missions Spectacular. "Our church began sending materials to Love Packages after Steve shared about the need at our church's missions fair."
Thomas was among several of the Mission Spectacular participants who chose to volunteer because their churches have been shipping materials to the ministry for many years. Looking at the dozens of pallets and shelves stacked with materials she said, "I didn't realize how much they collect."
The ministry also fosters a healthy sense of stewardship, Fisher said.
"It encourages our people to take care of the materials we've been entrusted and blessed with so they can be passed on to others."
Churches with materials to donate can take them to Love Packages or ship them to 220 Union St., Butler, IL 62015. The least expensive postal rates are 4th class. To find out more, visit lovepackages.org or call (217) 532-6701.
This article first appeared in the Illinois Baptist (ibsa.org/illinoisbaptist), newsjournal of the Illinois Baptist State Association. Lisa Sergent is director of communications for the Illinois Baptist State Association.
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