Churches enlisting volunteers to serve East Asia IMB workers

By Sheila Allen

February 8, 2016

Some of the Northwest longtime missions leaders – representing churches across the convention – are slated to lead a team of 200 volunteers who will serve International Mission Board’s east Asia personnel at a retreat in Pattaya, Thailand in late summer.

 

Once held annually, but cut back in recent years due to financial restrictions, the retreat will return after a seven-year absence. A partnership formed between the East Asia affinity group and the Northwest Baptist Convention was solidified in November 2014 and churches will assist IMB workers in reaching unengaged and unreached people groups.

 

Because of that partnership, NWBC leaders were asked to staff the conference with volunteers and will lead daily programming for preschoolers, children and youth, as well as service related amenities for IMB personnel, including hair stylists, medical professionals, IT support and more. Up to 1,500 missionaries and their families will attend the conference.

 

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Campus ministry reaches students in Tri-Cities area

By Sheila Allen

February 8, 2016

Adam Diaz (third from left) leads a vibrant group of students at Columbia Basin College in central Washington's Tri-Cities area.

PASCO, WA -- An excitement for evangelism is spreading on the campus of Columbia Basin College in Tri-Cities, WA, according to Adam Diaz.

 

Diaz participated in Northwest Collegiate Ministry (NCM) himself while attending CBC several years ago and now serves as a staff advisor for the club, the only Christian organization on campus. He is currently an adjunct professor of accounting at the college and runs a small accounting business in town.

While attending a collegiate conference with other NCM leaders in Glorieta, NM, last summer, Diaz heard of Campus E, a non-threatening method for sharing the gospel, and it captured his imagination.

 

“We are called to make disciples and the church is good at building relationships and serving through helping others,” Diaz said. “But that can make a hard platform for evangelism. With Campus E, we go out once a week for spontaneous evangelism and share the gospel. It is good to get lots of experience so people are less nervous. We simply tell people we are out asking their thoughts about Jesus and ask permission to ask them some questions.”

 

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Washington church initiaing steps for leadership transition

By Sheila Allen

February 8, 2016

Every pastor is an interim pastor according to a saying in ministry circles. Since it is inevitable for changes in church leadership to occur at some point, some are becoming intentional to help ensure such transitions are positive.

 

Pastor Steve Brewer of Eastmont Baptist Church in East Wenatchee, WA, is one such leader. After receiving his degree in forestry, he came to Roseburg, OR, with the Bureau of Land Management and eventually surrendered to the ministry there. He served as pastor at three churches in southern Oregon before accepting a pastorate in the Puget Sound for a time.

 

“I realized I was more out of place in Seattle,” Brewer said. “God called me to Eastmont Baptist in 2002, and it has been a good fit for me.”

 

Already serving at the church was Don Azevedo, who filled the roles of minister of education and pastor of youth and counseling. The two have ministered side by side capably as the church has grown and gone through a relocation project.

 

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NWBC renews effort to help churches with pastoral search

By Sheila Allen

February 8, 2016

 

Leaders of the Northwest Baptist Convention have developed a new resource and outlined steps to renewed efforts for helping churches in finding a pastor when vacancies occur.

 

“The biggest difference we can make in helping a church is in working together to ensure it makes good decisions in selecting a new pastor,” said Randy Adams, NWBC executive director.

 

Adams collaborated with Joe Flegal, NWBC director of church health and evangelism, and Clint Ashley, to produce a short manual that helps churches address the most critical issues in a pastoral search.

 

“There’s a lot of good material out there, but some of it is cumbersome and too lengthy to help many search teams,” noted Adams. “This is a shorter, streamlined version of some of the more helpful items.”

 

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Evangelism effort puts focus on less talking, more listening

By Sheila Allen

February 8, 2016

Northwest Baptists have opportunity his year to learn an approach to evangelism that involves less talking and more listening, according to Randy Adams, executive director of the Northwest Baptist Convention.

 

In March, a series of one-day “story witnessing” workshops have been slated for eight locations across the convention. These will be followed up by a three-day workshop in September to help leaders learn how to train others in the method.

 

Margaret Slusher of Lead Plus, a coaching and training organization, will lead the workshops. Prior to leading the organization, she served with Leadership Network and was the director of equipping for the North American Mission Board.

 

Joe Flegal, the NWBC’s director of church health and evangelism, suggested the story witnessing approach helps people learn to share their faith “in a more natural way” and “helps you connect people’s stories to God’s story.”

 

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Church shares space as refuge from cold

By Sheila Allen

February 8, 2016

Nathan McGown has never slept out in the cold one night, but that hasn’t kept him from seeing the need or feeling compassion for those that do in snowy, windswept Ellensburg, WA.

 

Landing in Ellensburg while attending Central Washington University, McGown now works as a permanent substitute teacher in classes from kindergarten through high school.

 

“I feel like this is right because if you take even a quick perusal of the Bible, you will see that we should love the poor and hear Christ’s words about loving the least of these,” McGown said. “I see that it’s what God is all about.”

 

McGown first felt convicted about the lack of housing for the needy in his town several years ago and attended city council meetings and other civic organizations to ascertain what could be done. He eventually heard from Frank Johnson, his pastor at Chestnut Street Baptist Church, that three churches in town were starting a rotating winter shelter five nights a week, so McGown volunteered his time.

 

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Landing in Seattle changed pastor

By Sheila Allen

February 8, 2016

SEATTLE -- The invitation to officiate at the wedding of a college friend in Seattle was the catalyst for changing the course of Andy Brown’s life.

 

“I was the pastor of a growing church in Arkansas and was not looking to leave and even fought to stay, because good things were happening,” Brown said. “I knew nothing about church planting or lostness in North America, but God broke my heart for how unreached this city was on that vacation.”

 

Brown presented the gospel several times during his time in Seattle when people would question his choice to refrain from alcohol -- due to an alcoholic past -- at several social gatherings and people were impacted.

 

“I saw no churches in town while on that trip but several people told me they would come if I had a church here,” Brown stated. “I flew out and saw the skyline of Seattle and started crying uncontrollably.”

 

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Rural church seeing growth, mission engagement

By Karen Willoughby

February 8, 2016

Ione Baptist Church, in a rural town within minutes of both Canada and Idaho, dwindled to perhaps 20 members during the two years it was without a pastor.

Membership at Ione Baptist Church in Ione, WA, had dwindled to 20 before its new pastor, Mike Smith, transformed the congregation through discipleship, missions and giving to the Cooperative Program

 

Though the church had been organized by Southern Baptists in 1961, there was no organized Bible study program, no hands-on missions activity and no connection with the Inland Empire Baptist Association that serves the area when he accepted the church's call, said Smith, pastor at Ione since July 2013.

 

"One of the first things we had to address was that [Ione Baptist Church] had no idea of Southern Baptist work and they were not giving to missions through the Cooperative Program," Smith said. "The first thing we had to do was to educate them on what it meant to be Southern Baptist. We had several Sunday nights' training on the Cooperative Program and what made us Southern Baptist: understanding the autonomy of the local church, missionary zeal and cooperative spirit."

 

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NWBC giving showed strong improvement signs for 2015

By Cameron Crabtree

February 8, 2016

Preliminary financial records for 2015 show contributions from Northwest Baptist Convention-affiliated churches through the Cooperative Program, the denomination’s primary channel for ministry support, were up from the previous year.

 

Of the convention’s 480-plus churches, just fewer than 400 of them provided over $2,710,000 for NWBC mission causes by the end of 2015 -- about $9,400 under the budget goal – but up from the previous year’s actual giving by almost $42,000, according to Pamela Brock, NWBC business manager.

 

The convention’s 2015 annual budget anticipated $2,720,000 in CP gifts.

 

“This makes 2015 our best year since the 1990s for giving in relation to the budget,” said Randy Adams, NWBC executive director. “We praise God for this, understanding that it reflects the missionary heart of God’s people and our churches.”

 

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