Students Target Gospel Message

By Sheila Allen

September 19, 2017

An archery ministry at Hillcrest Baptist Church in Kennewick, WA is a natural draw for men to engage with children in discipleship.

Scott Gentry moved to the Tri-Cities region of central Washington looking for a large church where he could just remain uninvolved in the background.

Instead, he found Hillview Baptist Church in Kennewick, a smaller congregation that allowed his leadership skills to flourish.

 

A skilled hunter, fisherman and bow hunter, Gentry heard about an archery program called Centershot Ministries (CsM), an outreach program aimed at sharing the gospel message using the life-skill of archery with children and teenagers. It piqued his interest.

 

After researching the non-denominational program, Gentry first believed the $3,000 set-up costs for all the equipment would be prohibitive for a small church. But former pastor Ron Stricklan urged Gentry to stay open and they agreed to pray without letting fear hesitation about the cost control them. Unexpectedly, Stricklan received a call from a donor in Texas that was seeking ways he might fund youth outreach. The new ministry was on.

 

“This is not our doing,” Gentry said. “When I saw that God’s hand was in fully funding this, I had to get involved. The Centershot motto is ‘Make Christ the target of their lives,’ and that is our goal.”

 

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Children "Starstruck" Through VBS

By Sheila Allen

September 19, 2017

Months of planning preceded Vacation Bible School in Northwest Baptist churches, which then deployed scores of volunteers who shared evangelistic messages with children in attendance, according the Leigh Ann Stark, NWBC childhood ministry specialist.

 

“A great strength of Vacation Bible School is that from top to bottom, it equips people to minister more effectively to kids,” Stark said. “We began by sending a team of Northwest trainers or ‘ministry multipliers,’ to a national training event.

 

That team received training not only for VBS, but also children’s ministry in total.”

 

When those ministry multipliers returned home, they replicated the process by training regional leaders, who then took the information to local churches at training events held in cities throughout the Northwest.

 

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Teens Serve, Learn, Grow

By Sheila Allen

September 19, 2017

Two locations in Oregon played host this summer to ministry efforts aimed at shaping the lives of Northwest teenagers.

Nearly 300 teens and adult leaders gathered in western Oregon for the annual Centrifuge camp, a five-day experience aimed at sharing God’s love with teens and shaping their lives for his mission.

 

As in recent years, the camp – sponsored by the Northwest Baptist Convention and held at the Aldersgate Camp and Retreat Center near Turner, OR – was staffed by leaders of Resonate Church, a network of churches seeking to reach young adults on college and university campuses.

 

“They do an awesome job every summer making the ‘Fuge experience the best ever,” said Danny Kuykendall, the convention’s student ministry specialist for the past 17 years.

 

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Blessing: 2017 NW Baptist Convention Annual Meeting

By Cameron Crabtree

September 19, 2017

When Northwest Baptists organized formally in 1948, they embraced as part of their mission: “blessing of the world.” As messengers to the Northwest Baptist Convention’s annual meeting convene in Eugene, OR, this fall, the theme of “blessing” will once again play a prominent role.

 

“The theme Blessing reflects the promise God made to Abraham in Genesis 12 that ‘all the people on earth will be blessed through you,’ said Randy Adams, NWBC executive director. “God’s promise to Abraham is imbedded in the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Jesus and his redemptive work is the ultimate fulfillment of God’s promise. 

 

“God’s people, the church, are a means God uses to bless all peoples,” he added. “As we live the gospel in righteousness and truth, as we walk in the way of the Lord, the gospel message that we speak becomes clear and powerful to the watching world. Northwest Baptists were placed by God in our communities as a blessing to the peoples where we live.”

 

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Sacrificial Church Blesses Others

By Sheila Allen

September 19, 2017

Dreams of owning a church building was a driving force for members of Grace Baptist Church since the congregation’s formation ten years ago, but economic and physical realities have led the church down a different path for making a difference in the Northwest.

 

The small congregation in McMinnville, OR, has consistently met at a retirement community that does not charge the church for the use of its building, so expenses are minimal.

 

“We have been able to minister to the residents of the retirement community,” said Pastor Rich Bryson. “We were an aging church in the beginning and still are. A couple of our members have moved and a few passed away, but members have been faithful to give significantly to a building fund.”

 

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Northwest Teens Minister in Cuba

By Sheila Allen

Septemer 19, 2017

As the door to Cuba slowly opens to American visitors following thawing relations with the communist country, a Northwest Baptist team of students and adults seized an opportunity to support a vibrant, growing spiritual climate in Eastern Cuba.

 

Led by Danny Kuykendall, NWBC church health catalyst, and his wife Laurie, a team of 27 people flew to Hoquin, Cuba, then traveled to Bayamo for 10 days of intense ministry among a flourishing Baptist presence of 600 churches.

 

“We connected with Lester Acosta of the Eastern Baptist Convention of Cuba, as there are no International Mission Board personnel on the ground there,” Kuykendall said. “This is an agricultural based region that is very much a third world country in regards to their economic status, as the average salary in Eastern Cuba is $25 per month.”

 

The team ministered in an intensely hot, humid climate, the most demanding physically of the eight international trips Kuykendall has led in his 19 years of ministry at the NWBC.

 

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Ministry Opportunity Shines

By Sheila Allen

Septemer 19, 2017

While throngs of people descended upon Madras, OR, seeking a glimpse of a rare solar eclipse, members of the town’s First Baptist Church sought to draw visitors’ attention to a longer lasting celestial happening. With a reported influx of more than 100,000 people, the small town of 6,000 was in the national spotlight August 21.

 

Pastor Steve Heinze led an effort to engage visitors and locals alike.

 

“We are a small congregation made of up of roughly equal numbers of Native Americans, Caucasians and Hispanics,” Heinze said. “Our numbers have trended younger since I came here over six years ago, and God is uniquely providing for us in different ways, even though our community has the highest unemployment rate in all of Jefferson County and maybe even the state of Oregon.”

 

The church campus is located in the center of town, which has transitioned into a low income zone with transients inhabiting the area.

 

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Trained to Shepherd Change

By Sheila Allen

September 19, 2017

Even after five decades of ministry, Adrian Hall continues to learn the best ways to help churches make differences in their communities. The longtime pastor and evangelism specialist, recently attended a conference sponsored by the Northwest Baptist Convention for “transitional pastors,” those assigned the task of helping churches prepare for a new pastor and new seasons of ministry.

 

Hall currently serves at Grace Baptist Church in Hermiston, OR, and has given leadership as a transitional pastor to 12 congregations in the Northwest and Nevada. He previously served the NWBC as evangelism director for over 20 years.

 

There are several types of transitional pastors, according to Brian Thorstad, a “redevelopment transitional pastor” who led the conference for over 40 ministry couples and individuals throughout the Northwest. Some, such as Hall, have served in this role for extended periods, while others are exploring the possibility of using years of experience and wisdom to shepherd a church through the challenging phase of a pastor leaving and readying the congregation for a new future.

 

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