Group to Nominate NWBC’s Randy Adams as SBC President
By Cameron Crabtree
January 14, 2020
A group of Southern Baptists announced January 14 it will nominate Randy Adams, executive director of the Northwest Baptist Convention since spring 2013, as president of the Southern Baptist Convention when convention messengers convene June 9-10 in Orlando, FL.
In allowing his nomination to the one-year term, Adams, 58, cited the denomination’s need for sharper focus on Great Commission endeavors and to “rebuild trust” among SBC churches, denominational entities and regional organizations.
“I believe that we need a clear change in direction in order to fulfill our God-given mission and reverse our present course of decline in every key measurement of Great Commission advance,” said Adams. “Frankly, in my flesh, I don’t want to do this, but I’ve been more and more certain that this is what God wants me to do. The most important thing we as ministers do is seek to hear from God and then do what he says to do. That’s what I’m attempting to do in this matter.”
Dale Jenkins, senior pastor of Airway Heights (WA) Baptist Church, cited the experience Adams has had in Southern Baptist life and organizations of multiple sizes and spheres, in joining the group nominating Adams.
“He has a passion to serve God and to build the kingdom of God,” said Jenkins, a member of the SBC Executive Committee. “He has worked hand in hand with pastors of every size church and he has worked directly with many of our denominational entities. Randy is someone who would be bold and intentional to help our SBC pursue the priorities and values that make the SBC successful for the kingdom of God.”
Outdoor Experience Solidifies Critical Relationships
Adapted for the Witness
January 23, 2020
Capturing and keeping the attention of teenagers and young adults today is a challenge in any ministry setting. For Christian leaders trying to share the gospel message with them in college and university settings and involve them in new churches, it’s crucial.
“The most critical window of time during the school year is the first four weeks of fall,” noted Jacob Dahl, site pastor of Resonate Church in Ellensburg, WA.
“Many college students, especially freshmen, begin settling into their rhythms, routines, and friend groups,” he said in a recent update about the Ellensburg ministry. “It's in this window that our church always tries to design a getaway experience for college students to connect and begin forming deeper relationships.
Collegaite Groups Partner to Enhance Efforts
By Bonnie Shaw
January 22, 2020
Two Texas Baptist Student Ministry (BSM) mission groups went up to the University of Oregon last fall to bolster efforts of Northwest Collegiate Ministry on the campus. The recent efforts were part of a partnership between Texas Baptists and the Northwest Baptist Convention.
Garrett and Rachel Harmon, former Texas BSM staff members at the University of Houston, relocated to Oregon after they felt called to serve among college students in the Northwest.
Longtime ministry director Ryan Moore transitioned to an associate director role and handed the reins of leadership to the Harmons.
With a staff of four people, the prospect of reaching a school of over 19,000 students seemed daunting. The mission groups from the Texas BSM helped the Harmons and their team conduct large outreach events and connect more students with the gospel and Christian ministry.
Healthy Living Enables Continued Ministry
By Mark Bradley
January 22, 2020
“What are you doing here already? I still had years’ worth of good works planned for you to do.” I imagine this may be part of what Christ will say to some believers at his judgment seat. Sure, our days are numbered by God and his plans cannot fail, so this musing is theologically flawed. However, the judgment part isn’t.
We believers will all face a judgment of our deeds by Christ and be rewarded or suffer loss accordingly. All of us who by faith have received God’s gift of salvation through the atoning death and resurrection of Christ will be saved, but some “only as if through fire.”
So what could prompt the specific reaction I imagined above? Some of us are not taking care of our bodies as we ought and are therefore hastening our deaths. I know, we’re back into the tall weeds of God’s sovereignty versus our free will. Here’s my position: I affirm both God’s sovereignty and our free will. I am concerned that some of us shirk personal responsibility under the cover of defending God’s sovereignty: “God has ordained my days, so put another burger on the grill, pass the deep-fried Twinkies, and don’t dare scold me about my gym attendance.”
Texas River Ministry Open to NW Volunteers
By Kalie Lowry
January 22, 2020
Northwest Baptist Convention representatives, along with those from the Baptist State Convention of Michigan, travelled to south Texas last fall to learn more about ways NWBC churches can partner with Texas Baptists River Ministry,
During the three-day trip beginning in McAllen, the ministers and convention staff met with River Ministry missionaries, toured unincorporated colonias outside of Edinburg and visited the Migrant Respite Center in McAllen.
Several individuals also traveled into Reynosa, Mexico to view the ministry to migrants and refugees there. Thirteen of Texas Baptists’ River Ministry missionaries were present at the meeting and shared stories of their on-going ministries, and ways churches could join in the work in Texas and Mexico.
“It’s such a joy to have our partners from the Northwest and Michigan to come here to work with us along the River,” said Tom Howe, associate director of Missions and director of Church Starting. “This is truly a reciprocal partnership where we can each share our strengths.”
Hong Kong Church Stands Firm Amid Chaos
By Sue Sprenkle, Baptist Press
January 22, 2020
Months of unrest and protests have transformed Hong Kong from a hub of global finance to an unpredictable place of upheaval. Butch Tanner, pastor of Kowloon International Baptist Church (KIBC), sees the wear and tear from the last six months in the faces of his congregation.
Three years ago, Tanner and his wife Carole arrived from Longview, Texas, where he had served at Oakland Heights Baptist Church. There's no doubt Hong Kong life has changed since they arrived. The pastor sees his friends and neighbors struggling financially. He sees the strain between family members who pick different sides of the protested issues. Most importantly, though, he sees people searching for hope in the midst of uncertainty and crisis.
"We've been praying for years that Hong Kong would see its brokenness and boy do they ever now," Tanner says, noting that an overwhelming sense of defeatism envelops the city with every new protest.
When the protests began in June the issues were about the government's plans to allow extradition to mainland China. Under the "one country, two systems" arrangement from 1997, Hong Kong maintains some autonomy from China, and its people enjoy certain rights. The extradition bill was withdrawn in September yet protests continued. Now, protestors demand full democracy and an inquiry into actions taken by the police.
Soul Care Critical for Church Leaders
By Joe Chambers
January 22, 2020
Editors Note: A new year offers each of us an opportunity to reflect on new goal, often those associated with physical care or hopes of accomplishments in our "outer world." Matters of the heart, of the interior life are crucial, too. This reminder is written by Joe Cahmbers, pastor of Mountain Heights Baptist Church in Buena Vista, CO. He was an invited guest of the Northwest Baptist Convention lst fall to offer sessions for ministry leaders and couple to experience a taste of what he has penned here:
One significant article in 2014 noted troubling startistics: Fifty percent of the ministers starting out will not last 5 years. One out of every 10 ministers will actually retire as a minister in some form. More than 4,000 new churches begin each year, but 7,000 churches close. Over 1,700 pastors left the ministry every month the previous year. Over 1,300 pastors were terminated by the local church each month, many without cause.
If the church is going to thrive in our post-Christian age then soul care is going to be essential for the ongoing vitality of the leaders of our churches.
My specific denomination has put a great deal of emphasis on the Great Commission found in Matthew 28: 19-20. Historically, we have been all about the Word of God, evangelism, and missions. And the Great Commission has driven all of that. And, by no means, would I want to dismiss that axiom. It is our calling card as a denomination.