Church Aims for Epic Effect on Seattle Street

By Sheila Allen

July 30, 2019

Epic Life worship leader Justin Shaheen is also founding partner of Pilgrim Coffeehouse.

Born in a small north Idaho mountain town, it came as a shock when a gritty urban Seattle street eventually captured the heart of Pastor Keith Carpenter, who has spent the past 11 years reclaiming Aurora Avenue in Seattle, WA, for the cause of Christ.


“My folks moved to Grangeville, ID, and it was there I was born and gave my life to Christ,” Carpenter said. “I felt a spark for ministry at 10 years old, but didn’t know what to do with it. After meeting my wife in Finland, we got married and moved to her home state of Minnesota.”


Carpenter gained degrees in computer science and business and he and Kristine began to grow their family with four sons. While returning late from a mission trip, his employer fired him. He also realized he was “dying” in the business world.


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Go Church Gaining Ground in Growing City

By Cameron Crabtree

July 30, 2019

In Washington’s fastest-growing city of Ridgefield, Go Church is gaining ground in reaching new believers and developing a congregation to influence the community.

Started with about two dozen people, Pastor Mark Ford and his wife, Kristy, have led the church in various outreach efforts since launching with public services last fall. That initial public service drew more than 160 people.


The church also recently drew about 160 people to local park for its first baptism celebration. Following a catered barbecue dinner and time for multi-generational activities and conversations, the church baptized 10 people.


“It was simply beautiful,” Ford commented after the service. “Ten stories, ten changed lives. Words fail.”


Standing waist-deep in Southwest Washington’s Gee Creek, Ford talked about the importance of baptism’s public profession of faith and making a personal commitment to Jesus as Lord as church attenders gathered around the candidates.


Ford stood with each of the baptism candidates and shared briefly about how they came to the point of professing their spiritual commitment and getting baptized.


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Block Party, Family Day Bring a Community Together

(Adapted for Witness)

July 30, 2019

In the small, struggling town of Wapato, located on the Yakama Indian Reservation in Central Washington, Pastor Richard Burson and members of First Baptist Church continue efforts to make an eternal difference in the lives of local residents.

“It seems Wapato is a forgotten City except for those who work and live here,” Burson observed. “People have moved out of the community and few new businesses have moved in over the last few years.”

He noted the town of mixed demographics – 80 percent Hispanic, 10 percent Native American and the remaining 10 percent comprising mostly people from the Philippines and Caucasian – is beset by drugs, violence, other crimes and political wrangling.

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Pastor, Church Foster Culture of Leadership

By Sheila Allen

July 30, 2019

Brian Bernard and Don Reeves

Since becoming pastor at Grant Avenue Baptist Church, Don Reeves has fostered a culture of leadership development to prepare young men and women for ministry. Now, after serving his Corvallis, OR, church as senior pastor for 25 years, Reeves is taking it one step further -- shifting to the primary leadership to the church’s associate pastor, Brian Bernard, while he assume the duties of administrative pastor.


Nestled into the college town that is home to Oregon State University, Grant Avenue Baptist is within commuting distance of the Pacific Northwest Campus of Gateway Seminary in Vancouver, and several staff members have availed themselves of the opportunity to advance their education while serving at the church


“We have had 20 students from our church attending seminary, with one there now and two planning to attend in the fall,” Reeves said. “I have intentionally brought people on to develop them and their skills.”


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SBC Takes Stand Against Abuse

By Erin Roach, Baptist Press

July 30, 2019

Southern Baptists acted in support of sexual abuse survivors, embraced ethnic and gender diversity and rallied around the Great Commission at their annual meeting June 11-12 in Alabama.


Messengers strengthened their stance against sexual abuse and racism by overwhelmingly approving two amendments to the SBC Constitution specifically stating that sexual abuse and discrimination based on ethnicity are grounds for a church to be deemed "not in friendly cooperation" with the convention.


Also approved was an amendment to the SBC's Bylaws to repurpose the convention's Credentials Committee into a standing committee to make inquiries and recommendations for action regarding instances of sexual abuse, racism or other issues that call a church's relationship with the SBC into question.


The constitutional amendments will require a second two-thirds messenger vote at next year's SBC annual meeting in Orlando, FL. The repurposing of the Credentials Committee required only a two-thirds vote this year as an amendment to the convention's Bylaws.


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SBC Affirms Call to Action'

By Diana Chandler, Baptist Press

July 30, 2019

SBC President J>D> Greear presents the 52-page Southern Baptist Sexual Abuse Advisory Study Report. (Photo by Van Payne)

Resolutions and “sweeping statements are not sufficient" to tackle the crisis of sex abuse, Southern Baptist Convention President J.D. Greear declared June 12 at the 2019 SBC annual meeting in Alabama.


"Victims have told us, words without follow-up actions are worse than no words at all," Greear said in an update on the Sexual Abuse Advisory Study he and the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission formed in 2018. Victims "want to see ... that we care enough about this issue to do whatever it takes to make our churches safe for survivors and safe from abuse."


Greear offered eight “action steps” for churches after messengers approved an SBC bylaw amendment and a constitutional amendment addressing sexual abuse, although the constitutional amendment can only become effective if two-thirds of messengers in 2020 also approve it. Greear's recommendations also follow 10 “calls to action against sex abuse” he issued back in February during an SBC Executive Committee meeting in Nashville.


In a press conference at the close of the annual meeting, Greear affirmed progress made at the annual meeting.


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Complete July-August 2019 issue

2019 July-August.pdf
Adobe Acrobat document [37.1 MB]