‘GO AND DO’ EVANGELISM NEEDED FOR MILLENNIALS

Editor’s note: You can listen to Benjie Shaw discuss ministry to millennials during Episode 6 of Radio B&R, the official news podcast of the Tennessee Baptist Mission Board.

By Benjie Shaw,
BCM Director, University Of Tennessee Health Science Center

Benjie Shaw

Benjie Shaw

I couldn’t help but fake a smile and cringe. After spending two Wednesday nights sharing about millennials with a local church, a lay leader approached me with a great idea for reaching out to millennials in the church’s neighborhood. Somehow, after listening to me share that millennials were disinterested in “churchy” things, that they probably won’t walk in to a church sponsored event, especially one located in a church, and that relationships with them generally must begin on their turf, his great idea was to show a Christian movie in the church’s coffee shop and put up invitation flyers in the neighborhood to attract young adults. [Read more…]

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GOD DOESN’T SETTLE FOR THE STATUS QUO

By Kevin Ezell
President, North American Mission Board, Alpharetta, Ga.

Kevin Ezell

Kevin Ezell

Have you noticed that God does not settle for the status quo? There is no place in the Bible where He says, “There, that’s good enough. You can take a break now.” Even nature, which He created, is constantly shifting, changing, and moving in order to keep the balance He intended. 

God is always pushing us forward. He calls us closer in our walk with Him. He sends us out to tell people about Him. This is His nature.

I love to hear about our missionaries who are always pushing forward as well. They are starting new churches, connecting with new people, and finding ways to meet needs so that in the process a conversation can turn toward the gospel. [Read more…]

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IT’S OKAY TO ADMIT MISTAKES; THEN MOVE ON

By Lonnie Wilkey
Editor, Baptist and Reflector

basketball-referee-sportsI have been officiating sports for more than 35 years.

I probably couldn’t have chosen a more difficult hobby or side job than umpiring baseball or refereeing basketball. Officiating is the only profession where you are expected to be perfect when the game begins and get better as it moves on. It’s especially hard when you know about 50 percent of the people aren’t going to like whatever call you make. But that’s part of it. You accept it or you find another hobby or side job. [Read more…]

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THE REFORMATION AND BAPTISTS TODAY

By Ray Van Nest
Dir., Ryan Center for Biblical Studies, Union University

martin-luther-statueAround the world this year, multiple celebrations and events are marking the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. Germany’s tourism board is working overtime, advertising the land of Martin Luther and anticipating a flood of pilgrims. Union University is hosting the largest celebration in the mid-South on March 9-11. Throughout West Tennessee, from radio interviews and Rotary Club meetings, I’ve seen significant interest in this anniversary. As Baptists we may wonder if the Reformation has anything to do with us. Why should we celebrate something that happened 500 years ago? [Read more…]

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DEAR ABSENT CHURCH MEMBER

By Daryl Cornett
Pastor, First Baptist Church, Hazard, Ky.

bible-open-empty-churchToday I saw your empty seat as I stood to welcome the people to worship. I wondered to myself what it was this week that had kept you away once again from gathering with other believers on the Lord’s Day.

I love being your pastor, but I must admit that I experience sadness every time I see your empty seat. I visit the older members of our church in their homes because age and sickness has taken from them their independence and mobility. They long to be able to do what you so easily seem to give up most Sundays. [Read more…]

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TENNESSEE BCMS REACH INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS

By Thom Thorton
Campus Ministry Specialist, Vanderbilt University, Nashville

Thom Thornton

Thom Thornton

The final words from Jesus to us before the ascension, as recorded in Acts 1:8 commands us, “you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (HCSB) For centuries, our primary missions initiative has been to go and to take the message of Christ to the ends of the earth. While this is a beautiful calling, what if we could also take the gospel to the ends of the earth without ever leaving our own community?

College campuses across our state have seen a rapid increase in the number of international students enrolled in both undergraduate and graduate programs. At Vanderbilt, the international student population has grown by almost 25 percent in the last 10 years. Currently, we have 1,810 international students at Vanderbilt University from 117 countries. This represents almost 15 percent of the total student enrollment at Vanderbilt University. [Read more…]

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THE KEY TO REACHING INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS

By Stefani Varner
Church Initiatives Team, International Mission Board

students-international-ethnicDuring my senior year of college, I was invited to join more than 500 Chinese students and their families to celebrate Chinese New Year. I spent several hours eating authentic food, watching talent shows and videos from celebrations around the world, and learning about various customs and traditions.

The time came for the door prize drawing, and suddenly, I heard my name called. I realized that most of the students in the room were cheering for me and encouraging me to go on stage to claim my prize. I had won a gift certificate for a Peking duck at the local Chinese restaurant.  [Read more…]

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THE SHAKINESS OF ‘THE SHACK’

By Todd Brady
Vice President for University Ministries, Union University

Todd Brady

Todd Brady

Based on the wildly popular best-selling book, The Shack, the movie by the same title hits theaters March 3.  While all that glitters is not gold, The Shack proves that all that is spiritual is not trustworthy.

Pastor Eugene Peterson outrageously claimed that the book “has the potential to do for our generation what John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress did for his.”  Wynonna Judd said that the “story has blown the door wide open to my soul.” [Read more…]

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WHY DAVID PLATT’S APOLOGY IS SO IMPORTANT

By Chris Turner
Director of Communications, TBMB

David Platt

David Platt

“I’m sorry.”

Two words that carry profound meaning and trigger acts of reconciliation. They admit a wrong, communicate humility, express a desire for forgiveness, and move people toward a unified future.

And that’s precisely why David Platt, president of the International Mission Board, needed to say he was sorry to Southern Baptists for the amicus brief the IMB offered last summer in support of the building of a New Jersey mosque. [Read more…]

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ONE OF GOD’S HUMBLE SERVANTS STEPS DOWN

By Lonnie Wilkey
Editor, Baptist and Reflector

Phyllis Bates, who has served as executive assistant to four executive directors of the Tennessee Baptist Mission Board, retired Feb. 28 after 43-and-a-half years on the staff of the TBMB. She stands outside the Phyllis S. Bates Executive Leadership Suite which was named in her honor on her 40th anniversary with the staff. — Photo by Corinne Williams

Phyllis Bates, who has served as executive assistant to four executive directors of the Tennessee Baptist Mission Board, retired Feb. 28 after 43-and-a-half years on the staff of the TBMB. She stands outside the Phyllis S. Bates Executive Leadership Suite which was named in her honor on her 40th anniversary with the staff.
— Photo by Corinne Williams

Talk about the best-laid plans of mice and men going awry (to paraphrase poet Robert Burns).

Phyllis Bates, a 43-plus year member of the staff of the Tennessee Baptist Mission Board (formerly Executive Board) retired on Feb. 28. My plan was to write an extensive feature story and a column.

My feature story idea disappeared quickly after a short interview with Phyllis. It would be easier pulling a tooth from a grizzly bear than it is getting Phyllis to talk about herself.  [Read more…]

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