Church Aims to Multiply by factor of 'One'

By Sheila Allen

March 23, 2022

Lead pastor Cameron Williams 9right0 discusses the success of the "who's Your One?" display with pastor of children and young families Rusty Patton (left).

With a fresh commitment to making disciples, staff at first baptist church in longview, wa, launched an evangelistic effort for the new year focused on “who’s your one?” a visual representation offers members an ongoing opportunity to participate.

 

 “This has been a two year process in how to share Jesus with people,” said FBC senior pastor Cameron Williams. “We launched the 2022 emphasis in January with four different staff members preaching on the topic after putting it on the back burner due to quarantine requirements, which caused us to turn inward for a time.

 

“We brainstormed how to get our people to turn outward again,” said Williams. “All of 2022 is about “Who’s Your One?”

 

Aaronn Nelson, connections pastor at First Baptist, first saw an idea at a sister church for engaging their people in a tactile way. He brought an idea to First Baptist staff using ping pong balls in a variety of colors that members could initial for a succession of evangelistic encounters they could employ with friends, family members and co-workers.

 

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Northwest Churches Pray for Ukraine

Compiled for the Witness

March 23, 2022

Joining Christians around the world, Northwest Baptists have been praying for peace and relief in Ukraine following an invasion from Russia’s military forces and a resulting humanitarian crisis.

 

“The best and most effective response right now for NWBC folks is prayer and contributions,” said Gary Floyd, the NWBC’s coordinator for Northwest Baptist Disaster Relief. “We are following the leads of 20+ NWBC congregations with direct ties to the affected areas and several Southern Baptist Disaster Relief partners.”

 

Northwest Baptists can make financial gifts for relief efforts through their local churches or directly to Northwest Baptist Disaster Relief. Checks can be marked for “Ukraine Relief” and mailed to 6715 NE 63rd St. Suite 103-516 Vancouver, WA 98661-1980. Online gifts can be made at nwbaptist.life/give with gifts selected for Disaster Relief and noted with Ukraine Relief in the Donation Comments section.

 

Floyd noted that the International Mission Board via Send Relief – the IMB’s compassion ministry arm -- began responding with food relief before the invasion and continues to collaborate with European partners to provide food, shelter, transportation, clothing, and ministry to those displaced and impacted by the crisis in Ukraine.

 

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NWBC Leads Key Baptism Report

By Cameron Crabtree

February 1, 2022

In figures published recently by the North American Mission Board, Northwest Baptist Convention churches topped all other state conventions in the number of baptisms per 100 people in worship attendance during 2020.

 

The 7.05 baptisms per 100 people attending services in NWBC congregations was calculated from the Annual Church Profile, a statistical record used across the Southern Baptist Convention to assess year-to-year trends among reporting churches. Figures from the 2021 report are still being collected.

 

The number of baptisms among the NWBC’s reporting churches totaled 893, down significantly from previous years, attributed mostly to the numerous weeks that churches and ministries were closed or restricted over the course of the year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

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Life Reborn in Prison Cell

By Sheila Allen

March 23, 2022

Josh Durrin (left) and Marcus Shambry

A disadvantaged childhood marred by drugs and alcohol set Josh Durrin on a path of destruction in his hometown of Vancouver, WA, leading to stints of incarceration, divorce and hopelessness. But an encounter with God in a prison cell became the catalyst for an epic life change while still in his 30s.

 

“I rebelled at a really young age and ended up following my mother’s footsteps of substance abuse,” said Durrin. “I never met my dad and her boyfriends weren’t good role models. Because the income we had was spent on drugs and alcohol, I grew up poor, wore hand-me-down clothes and caused a lot of problems because I was the kid nobody liked. This affected how I viewed life.”

 

Durrin had an older brother who was the “good kid” and a younger brother who came along when he was nine years old, who then became his “job” to care for. Skipping school became a regular habit so that he could have free time without responsibility.

 

“I first began drinking at 12 years old with older kids and I felt accepted,” Durrin stated. “I fell into that lifestyle and kept running. I then turned to drugs which led to some popularity and started to sell drugs at 16 so that I always had them for myself. People wanted to be around me.”

 

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Northwest VBS Getting Set

By Cameron Crabtree

March 23, 2022

NWBC staffer Heather Malm leads training for participants in age-graded VBS material sponsored by the Northwest Baptist Convention.

About 130 children’s ministry leaders and volunteers from more than two dozen churches across the Northwest Baptist Convention gathered in mid-March at Pathway Church in Gresham, OR, for a weekend of training for upcoming Vacation Bible School.

 

The convention-wide training event is part of strategy to further train leaders in Baptist associations in the Northwest and other local churches in coming months.

 

Throughout the summer, kids can let their imaginations and ingenuity run wild at “Spark Studios,” Lifeway Christian Resources’ 2022 VBS theme that explores the creativity of God and His image bearers.

 

At “Spark Studios” kids will learn how they were created in Christ and designed for God’s purpose. Throughout the week, kids will sample different forms of creative expression – from painting and sculpting to robotics and inventing – to explore ways they can use their own talents to bring God glory.

 

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Women to Gather for Renewal

By Sheila Allen

March 23, 2022

Women are encouraged to once again gather for this year’s Northwest Women’s Summit, an event to encourage individuals and groups, worship together and learn to live on mission. with the theme “Renew.”

 

The annual event is Slated for April 8-9, at Lake Bible Church in Lake Oswego, OR. A virtual option is available for those unable to attend in person.

 

Keynote speaker Gayla Parker will highlight for participants the need to communicate like Jesus, according to Nancy Hall, Northwest Baptist Convention women’s mission specialist.

 

“Our theme, ‘Renew,’ is based on Isaiah 40:31, ‘Those who trust in the Lord will renew their strength; they will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not become weary, they will walk and not faint,’” Hall said. “There are many people who are weary right now so this is a timely topic.” 

 

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Association Names 'Soul Care' Leader

By Sheila Allen

March 23, 2022

Jim & Charlotte Riddell

Olympic Baptist Association leaders began praying a few months ago for someone who could to develop in-person contact and relationships with pastors and church planters across the diverse urban and rural landscapes of the northwest’s Olympic Peninsula.

 

The OBA executive board recently approved the position of OBA soul care minister and was immediately able to employ the services of Jim Riddell of Port Orchard, WA. Riddell and his wife, Charlotte, relocated to the area in 2019 after a long-term career at the International Mission Board offices in Richmond, VA.

 

“Jim has good experience as a pastor and has also served as an interim pastor,” said OBA moderator Dan Panter. “He has a heart for pastors and an appreciation of their service and sacrifices and now has the freedom to travel in retirement.

 

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Sabbatical Offers Time to 'Refresh'

March 23, 2022

At the end of 2021, research from George Barna’s organization reported 38 percent of pastors had considered quitting during the past year, a 9 percent increase over those reporting the same at the beginning of 2021.

 

It’s become almost cliché at this point to say that the pandemic, political divisions, cultural upheaval, and the like have all taken their toll.

 

The good news is, according to a 2021 Lifeway Research study, the rate of those who’ve actually quit is statistically negligible from 2015 to 2021. But the increased number of those contemplating quitting—and the potentially higher rate of pastors transferring from one ministry assignment to another— doesn’t signal an optimistic forecast for the next few years of ministerial resilience. In fact, 63 percent of pastors were not the senior leaders of their church 10 years ago.

 

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Former NWBC Exec Dies

March 23, 2022

Gus Suarez

A memorial service for Gus Suárez, the Northwest Baptist Convention’s executive director from spring 2005 to spring 2007, was held March 13 at All Saints Community Church in Oklahoma City. Suárez died Feb. 22 at age 67.

 

He is survived by his wife of 42 years Diana Suárez, their two sons Phillip Suárez (Megan) and Matthew Suárez (Jacqui), and their seven grandchildren: Cooper, Camryn, Cohen, Crew, Addison, Eisley, and Lucca; as well as, his sister Marta Suarez Ferragut.

 

Born in July 1954 in Havana, Cuba and later living in Panama, Nicaragua and Chile, Suárez immigrated to the United States at age 13, eventually becoming a naturalized U.S. citizen in 1975.

 

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WA Cares Act

By Sheila Allen

March 23, 2022

A Washington state mandated long-term care insurance tax previously set to begin in January 2022 has been delayed 18 months, according to WA Cares Fund managers. This mandated tax for all employed Washingtonians, including pastors, was designed to provide long term care for those needing paid assistance for critical tasks of daily living.

Washington was the first state to attempt such an endeavor.

 

On January 27, Washington governor Jay Inslee signed a bill that delays parts of WA Cares implementation. Most immediately, premium collection for WA Cares won’t begin until July 2023. The Employment Security Department won’t accept any WA Cares premium payment for the first quarter of 2022.

 

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WMU Exec Lives, Serves 'On Mission'

By Trenes Henderson, The Baptist Paper

Sandy Wisdom-Martin

As Sandy Wisdom-Martin marks her fifth anniversary as executive director/treasurer of national Woman’s Missionary Union, she seldom experiences a “typical” day.

 

With extensive travel, speaking engagements, strategy meetings, writing projects and other responsibilities, she frequently finds herself balancing big picture goals and day-to-day details.

 

Those who work closely with Wisdom-Martin know that she takes it all in stride. How does she pull that off amid competing projects, pressures and priorities?

 

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Search Team Named for SBC Post

March 23, 2022

A six-member search team formed to help select the next president and CEO of the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee is urging Southern Baptists to pray for the candidate selection process.

 

“We want to get the message out that everyone in this convention matters,” said Mike Keahbone of Oklahoma. “Everyone has a role to play and if you aren’t involved, your [SBC] family suffers.”

 

The team held its first meeting March 3 with Keahbone sharing the news of the call to prayer. “All of us need to be in fervent prayer for our next leader.”

 

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March-April 2022 Complete Issue

March-April 2022 Complete Issue
March - April Witness.pdf
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