MINISTRY WITH PHYLLIS

By James Porch

James Porch

James Porch

My season of ministry with Phyllis Bates (18 years) was a continued learning experience. The “classroom settings” included day-by-day office agenda and hours of preparation for annual meetings and numerous committee meetings, accompanied by her ever present wisdom during the many occasions of interruptions. I cannot overplay Phyllis’s initiative of insight with a long view of how our decisions could influence and/or affect the future of the Tennessee Baptist Convention. [Read more…]

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WELCOME, UTILIZE THE OLDER GENERATION

By Lonnie Wilkey
Editor, Baptist and Reflector singing-together-family

Johnnie Godwin has been writing a column for the Baptist and Reflector since 2003. I knew of  Johnnie long before he sent that first column to me for consideration but did not really know him. Over the course of time Johnnie has become a dear friend and mentor.

As I read through his column this week, he mentioned that he recently turned 80 years old. That triggered something in my mind and I realized that, besides Johnnie, there are at least three other people who have played a major role in my life who either have turned 80 this year or will in the next couple of months. There could be a few more that I’m not even aware of. [Read more…]

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LIFE POINTS: TRAINING WHEELS TO WHEELCHAIRS

By Johnnie Godwin
Contributing Columnist, B&R

toddler-training-wheelsI’m not easily irked, nor am I easily jerked around. Yet, there are two types of ad questions that irritate my soul. One of those questions is this: “Will you outlive your money?” The other question asks, “Will you live to be 80?” Both questions are out to get you in one way or another. One may want your money or want to tell you how to invest it. The other question may deal with your lifestyle and telling you how to live to be 80. What irks me is that both questions deal with anxieties and answers that only God knows. The Bible teaches planning ahead but not worrying ahead.

The futility of worrying about life points. Scripture repeatedly points out the futility of anxiety about what is only temporary or has to end in death on earth. Read Matthew 6:33. The verse does not guarantee a free ride on what we need in life; rather, it deals with the anxiety factor in life and how God in Christ tells us to focus on priorities. “The kingdom of God” here basically means the will of God. Your monetary plans and your longevity plans are totally up to God and His will (see James 4:13-17). However, we are accountable to God for what we do and how we live within time. Hebrews 9:27 reads, “It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.” More simply, get saved by grace through faith in Christ; or we suffer eternal punishment (John 3). Jesus underlined the importance of stewardship of our gifts in all of life. Matthew 25:14-30’s nutshell teaches that it is wickedness to do nothing with what we have. So life is God’s gift to us, and we’re responsible for what we do with it all the breathing days of life. [Read more…]

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MONEY, NOT MORALITY, RULES

By Lonnie Wilkey
Editor, Baptist and Reflector

Before it Hits the PressIf there was any doubt what’s most important to Americans, legislators in North Carolina cleared it up.

On March 30 North Carolina legislators repealed House Bill 2, a law that required individuals in state buildings to use restrooms corresponding to the gender indicated on their birth certificates. See article.

Last year at this time people were praising the legislators for their courage in standing up for morality and Christian values. What a difference a year makes.

Legislators bowed to the pressure of the NCAA which had mandated the state overturn its restroom bill or lose the opportunity to host championship events in 2018-22. [Read more…]

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PREPARING A YOUTH BIBLE STUDY THAT IMPACTS LIVES

By Bruce Edwards
Youth Ministry Specialist, TBMB

bible-study-young-peoplePreparing to teach youth Bible study is a great responsibility and privilege! I think the time we spend in preparation to teach teenagers is the most important part of any Bible study lesson. We must teach out of the overflow of what God teaches us in the preparation.

Here are five steps that will help you in preparing for your next lesson:

(1) Prepare yourself through prayer. A prepared youth Bible study leader will spend time early in the week praying for next Sunday’s lesson, praying for students, and praying for God to show you exactly how to start your lesson and end your lesson with application the next Sunday! There are no shortcuts to prayer! [Read more…]

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CHURCH INSURANCE TIPS

By Mark LeMay
Facilities/Support Services Manager, TBMB

umbrella-lightning-storm-man-suitRisk management is a crucial issue if we are to be the best stewards for the cause of Christ. Here are four tips to help you be more aware of risks and make good decisions about insurance coverage in the local church.

(1) Have a good working relationship with your agent and be sure your agent understands the exposures you have as a congregation. You should have confidence in your agent, but it is your responsibility to understand your coverage and to inform your agent of any unique liabilities you may have as a congregation. [Read more…]

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‘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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