Today's BP Ledger includes items from:
SBC of Virginia
Kentucky Baptist Convention
SBC's 2nd VP sees bright future
By Brandon Pickett and Amanda Sullivan
NORFOLK, Va (SBC of Virginia) -- The nomination came as a surprise; the responsibility and vision were clear. Eric Thomas, pastor of First Baptist Church of Norfolk, was recently named second vice president of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) in June 2011.
"I was extremely surprised. It was not one of those things that I had thought about being at all," said Thomas, whose church is part of the Southern Baptist Conservatives of Virginia (SBC of Virginia). "Denominational offices like that just not my sweet spot," shared Thomas, who accepted the nomination and role because "I was approached and out of respect for the guys that approached me and really out of a love for Bryant Wright."
Thomas's vision for SBC includes uniting the generations in a more cohesive manner -- to update the current model.
"There's always been some level of divide within the convention from my perspective," Thomas said. "But our passion for the cause of Christ remains the same, and if we can ever bring those two things together -- if we can continue to work and navigate and evaluate and be honest with each other -- I think we can accomplish together and move beyond the divide that we see."
Thomas explained that, in conjunction with the generational divide, some pastors believe that the SBC has too many layers.
"The challenge with the layers," shared Thomas, is that, " our church being 200 years old -- it has layers, and the longer an organization exists, the deeper those layers can become. The challenge with that is that sometimes you feed the bureaucracy rather than accomplish the mission, and new generations come along and don't see the connection between the bureaucracy that we have and the fulfillment of the mission."
Thomas recognizes that one of the goals of the SBC's Great Commission Resurgence is to "look underneath the layers of our organizational structure." He believes that reformulating the organizational structure will allow the SBC to "fulfill the mission"—the Great Commission.
"The SBC of Virginia is really a model for me in how we can strip away a lot of the layers and really focus in on certain key things as a state convention and accomplish what we want to accomplish."
Other issues on Thomas' mind are tithing, baptisms, and big church budgets -- concepts that Thomas believes tend to further the divide between generations.
"We're not trying to get 10 percent; we're trying to see 100,000 more baptized," Thomas said. "We've got to talk about changed and transformed lives. Until we do that, we're just talking about numbers and money, and that's just not going to inspire."
"Especially, one of the things I notice in the generation coming up behind me -- they're not inspired by big budgets," Thomas said. "They're inspired by changed lives.... They want to hear the story."
According to Thomas, although the convention has some obstacles to overcome, it also possesses great potential in opportunities.
"I think the biggest opportunity we have is continuing the pursuit of planting more churches and really make inroads into this millennial generation that is coming up. The millennial generation is that future that we have and, if we give ourselves passionately to reach that generation, I think we'll see a bright future for the Southern Baptist Convention."
Brandon Pickett is director of media services for the SBC of Virginia. Amanda Sullivan is a writer for Innovative Faith Resources.
Judson Founder, Gen. Edwin D. King, Honored at College
By Michael J. Brooks
MARION, Ala. (Judson College)--Descendents of Gen. Edwin Davis King met on the campus of Judson College on April 4 to witness the unveiling of the college's newly-restored portrait of King.
King was one of three primary founders of Judson, along with Dr. Milo P. Jewett and Julia Tarrant Barron, according to Frances Dew Hamilton and Elizabeth Crabtree Wells, authors of the 1988 college history, "Daughters of the Dream."
Judy Martin, assistant to the college president, noted that the painting was made by King's daughter, Margaret Eliza, and was finished in 1876, 14 years after King's death.
"The painting had deteriorated over the years," Martin said.
"We took it to a restorer in Nashville who immediately saw the value of the work. She told us it was obvious this wasn't Margaret's first work, and that the painting was 'excellent' and 'worthy of restoration.'"
The restoration coincides with the college's 175th anniversary next year.
King, a Georgia native, served in the Georgia Militia and was wounded in a battle with Creek Indians in 1813. He attained the rank of major and fought with Gen. Andrew Jackson at the Battle of New Orleans in 1815. King later received the rank of major general in the Alabama Militia.
King moved to Perry County in Alabama in 1816. He became a Marion businessman, plantation owner, trustee at the University of Alabama and, as a Baptist layman, an early supporter of a Baptist school for women in the city. UA president Basil Manly and Tuscaloosa pastor James H. DeVotie introduced educator Milo Jewett to King and this partnership brought about the founding of the Judson Female Institute in 1838.
King served as trustee chair for the new school. The first class of nine students included two of King's daughters, Margaret and Maria Louisa, his granddaughter and a niece.
King also assisted in the 1841 founding of Howard College in Marion, now known as Samford University and located in Birmingham.
King offered his financial interest in Judson to the Alabama Baptist Convention in 1842 and the college began its long association with Alabama Baptists in 1844.
King also loaned his office for the printing and distribution "The Alabama Baptist" newspaper that was published in Marin from 1843-1852. Jewett served as the first editor. The original office building, adjacent to Marion Presbyterian Church, was moved to the Judson campus in 1997.
King died in 1862. He and his son, Porter who had been a local judge and Judson trustee, are buried in the Marion City Cemetery.
An early Baptist history by B.H. Riley noted, "It is not too much to say that the denomination of the state is more indebted to Gen. E.D. King for the successful establishment and maintenance of its two schools than to any other. It is gravely doubted that they could ever have been successfully organized and maintained, through their shifting fortunes, but for the clear judgment and liberal purse of General King."
Members of the King family who attended the unveiling toured the Judson campus, the King home on Clay Street in Marion and the burial site before having lunch with Judson president Dr. David Potts.
"No single family in the history of the college has had more to do with the founding and keeping of Judson as Gen. King and his descendants," Potts said at the portrait's unveiling.
Michael J. Brooks is Professor of Communications and assistant to the President for Public Relations at Judson College.
KBC Strategist Co-Authors Church Growth Book
By Dannah Prather
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Kentucky Baptist Convention) -- Kentucky Baptist Convention Church Development Strategist Mike James has co-authored a book with Southern Baptist leader Ken Hemphill on how congregations can better serve new members.
"V.E.L.C.R.O. Church," published by Auxano Press, is a Bible study that guides church leaders and members as they welcome guests, build relationships with them and help them become, and remain, active members of the congregation.
Using the name of the popular product as an acrostic, V.E.L.C.R.O. Church explores how congregations can value every person, engage them in genuine friendship, lead them to Christ by sharing the gospel message, connect them to the church family, recognize the importance of deep, caring relationships among believers, and organize a small-group network in the church to continue to minister to each person's individual needs.
"We want people to be 'velcroed,' glued in, to the church in a meaningful way," James said, noting that too many new church members fail to "plug in" to the congregational family and eventually drift away.
The church "is more like (non-stick) Teflon than Velcro," he said.
Hemphill is former national strategist for the Empowering Kingdom Growth initiative for the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee. He is founding director of the Center for Church Planting and Revitalization at North Greenville University in Tigerville, S.C.
This is the second book on which James and Hemphill have collaborated. The first was an apologetics study, "Life Answers," which is expected to have a second printing sometime this year.
James served on the staff of First Baptist Church of Norfolk, Va., for eight years when Hemphill was pastor.
"Ken is one of my mentors," James said.
A native of Stanford, James is a KBC church development strategist, helping congregations specifically in the South Central region of the commonwealth find new ways to share Christ in their communities and disciple new believers.
James also coordinates KBC's discipleship ministries with an emphasis on equipping churches to better inspire new members, and new Christians, to become involved in the life of the local church.
He also is a regular contributor to the KBC discipleship blog, www.28nineteen.com.
Several state/regional Baptist conventions have purchased V.E.L.C.R.O. Church and James has been invited to help train Baptist leaders in California and Montana on the study.
"I hope God will use (the book) as a tool so churches can help new believers develop a meaningful, lifelong, growing relationship with Christ and His people," he said.
V.E.L.C.R.O. Church is available for purchase at www.auxanopress.com and LifeWay Christian Resources. Free teaching resources for the study are available for download from the Auxano Press site.
The Kentucky Baptist Convention is a cooperative missions and ministry organization made up of nearly 2,400 autonomous Baptist churches in Kentucky. A variety of state and worldwide ministries are coordinated through its administrative offices in Louisville, including: missions work, disaster relief, ministry training and support, church development, evangelism and more.
For more information, visit the KBC website at www.kybaptist.org become a fan of "Kentucky Baptist Convention" on Facebook or follow "kentuckybaptist" on Twitter.
Dannah Prather is a marketing and media relations associate for the Kentucky Baptist Convention News.
Campbellsville University Christian Coaching class hosts Lincoln Village for basketball clinic
By Sarah Ames
CAMPBELLSVILLE, Ky. (Campbellsville University)--Twelve young men from the Lincoln Village Detention Center visited Campbellsville University for a basketball clinic on Wednesday, April 10.
Dr. G. Ted Taylor's Christian Coaching class hosted a Gospel-driven basketball clinic for the 12 juveniles in the Powell Athletic Center. The clinic included skill stations and team building activities, as well as lunch and a devotion.
Mike Smith, recreational director at Lincoln Village and a CU student, said, "We had these 12 young men who had to be on good behavior all week in order to come." Because of their good behavior, the young men were allowed the outing to CU.
"We were pleased to once again host these young men and their supervisors from Lincoln Village," said John Chowning, vice president for church and external relations and executive assistant to the president. "The class, taught by Dr. Ted Taylor and assisted by Logan Hazelwood, initiated this partnership once again, and it afforded all involved with a good opportunity for ministry, fellowship, and sports involvement. This was a positive experience for all involved."
Taylor's class hosts Lincoln Village once per semester.
The Lincoln Village men played a double-elimination tournament after being divided into four teams. Individuals who won the titles of Most Valuable Player, Champion of Character and Mr. Hustle received signed basketballs from the CU Tiger basketball team, presented by assistant basketball coach, Justin Watson. Team champions were also given championship T-shirts, and all participants were presented with a Bible signed by the students of the Christian Coaching class.
Sharing the Gospel was central to all activities. On center court, CU graduate assistant Logan Hazelwood spoke with the young men, and reminded them that Jesus is a life-changer, and the greatest reward. "I was so encouraged by our class and their initiative to build relationships with the Lincoln Village guys. If it was this encouraging to me, I can't imagine what it was like for Lincoln Village," said Hazelwood.
"I think it really touched these young men because it showed them someone cares about them," Smith said. "When you have young men committed to the state, they feel like no one cares about them, that they're put on the shelf. But you have these CU students, who don't even know them, spending time with them and sharing with them. I think it made a big impact. I want to thank the school and the students for this opportunity."
Hazelwood said, "I think we will hear soon that many of these Lincoln Village men have earned their way out of the program vastly due to the influence our guys and God's Gospel had on them."
Campbellsville University is a widely acclaimed Kentucky-based Christian university with more than 3,500 students offering 63 undergraduate options, 17 master's degrees, five postgraduate areas and eight pre-professional programs. The website for complete information is campbellsville.edu.
Sarah Ames is a student newswriter at Campbellsville University.
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