MISSIONS EDUCATION IS IMPERATIVE: PITTS

Editor’s note: You can listen to Martha Pitts discuss missions during Episode 7 of Radio B&R, the official news podcast of the Tennessee Baptist Mission Board.

 

By Lonnie Wilkey
Editor, Baptist and Reflector

Martha Pitts speaks during the annual WMU Missions Get-Together in Gatlinburg. She was elected to a second term as state WMU president.
— Photo by Chris Turner

GATLINBURG — Tennessee Woman’s Missionary Union President Martha Pitts is a product of missions education. And she is a huge proponent of it today.

“I started early. I grew up in Girls in Action (GAs). People invested in me and took me on missions trips and taught me early on to look around for people who were in need,” Pitts said during an interview for a Radio B&R podcast with Chris Turner.

As an adult Pitts taught GAs and later became the associational WMU director (Shelby County Baptist Association, now Mid-South Baptist Association). Though she held different positions, one thing remained the same — her love for missions. “I love getting out to people and telling them about Jesus,” said Pitts, who was elected to a second one-year term as president during the Missions Get-Together held March 31-April 2 at the Gatlinburg Convention Center. [Read more…]

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CP, GOTM GIFTS INCREASE

Baptist and Reflector

Objective_4_CP_ICON_cpBRENTWOOD — Tennessee Baptist Convention churches gave $2,870,821 through the Cooperative Program in January.

For the year-to-date, Tennessee Baptists have given $9,029,537. The amount is $69,675 or 0.8 percent over the amount given during the same time frame last year.

After the first quarter of the fiscal year, Cooperative Program gifts are $279,537 or 3.19 percent over current budget needs. [Read more…]

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NAME CHANGE, FIRES TOP STORIES IN 2016

By Lonnie Wilkey
Editor, Baptist and Reflector

View from back of Roaring Fork Baptist Church in Gatlinburg. The church and vehicle were destroyed by wildfires which swept through Sevier County on Nov. 28.

View from back of Roaring Fork Baptist Church in Gatlinburg. The church and vehicle were destroyed by wildfires which swept through Sevier County on Nov. 28.

BRENTWOOD — There was no shortage of news in the Tennessee Baptist Convention in 2016.

The story that garnered the most national attention occurred Nov. 28 when fires swept across Sevier County, primarily in Gatlinburg, leaving 14 people dead, injuring at least 160 others, and damaging or destroying 2,400 structures including three Tennessee Baptist churches in Gatlinburg — Roaring Fork Baptist Church, Banner Baptist Church, and First Baptist Church.

After the fires, hundreds of Tennessee Baptist Disaster Relief (TBDR) volunteers provided assistance. Volunteers have done everything from providing hot meals and sack lunches to clearing charred trees off property and some demolition to sifting through ashes and debris in hopes of finding a family heirloom or simply an item with only sentimental value. [Read more…]

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WHAT WE KNOW ABOUT THE GATLINBURG FIRES

By Randy C. Davis
TBC Executive Director

Randy C. Davis

Randy C. Davis

Dear Tennessee Baptists,

You no doubt know of the devastating news this week coming out of Gatlinburg and Sevier County. As someone who called that area home for 20 years, it has been especially gutting to me to hear the reports. Jeanne and I have so many friends in that area and know personally many of the families affected. Some have lost everything.

However, I want you to know I have never been prouder to be a Tennessee Baptist. Because your churches gave through the Cooperative Program and Golden Offering for Tennessee Missions, Tennessee Baptists were on the scene responding to people’s spiritual and physical needs less than 24 hours after the fires destroyed lives and property. In fact, Tennessee Baptist Mission Board missionaries were able to get to the sites of three of our Tennessee Baptists churches ministering to pastors while their destroyed buildings still smoldered. [Read more…]

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SMALL MEMPHIS CHURCH GIVES OVER AND ABOVE CP

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

Benjie Shaw

Benjie Shaw

My introduction to McLean Baptist Church in Midtown Memphis was unremarkable. McLean was one of the many churches across the state the Tennessee Baptist Convention wished to recognize for uninterrupted contributions through the Cooperative Program since its inception in 1926. As a TBC staffer in Memphis, I had several churches with whom I was to make contact and, if possible, arrange a Sunday morning presentation to thank the church for their commitment to the Cooperative Program.

Being new to my position with Baptist Collegiate Ministries in Memphis, I was eager to make new contacts in the area and to express my gratitude to churches who contribute to the Cooperative Program. You see, Baptist Collegiate Ministries across the state of Tennessee are one of the myriad of ministries that receive funding from the Cooperative Program. While the details of each BCM’s funding vary somewhat, the vast majority of BCMs across the state receive funds for staffing and facilities from the Cooperative Program and the Golden Offering for Tennessee Missions. Making contact with a church that had such a rich history of Cooperative Program giving that also called Midtown Memphis home was a tremendous opportunity. [Read more…]

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RESPONSE LEADS BEYOND CAMP

By Connie Davis Bushey
News Editor, Baptist and Reflector

Students attend Any One at South-Doyle High School, Knoxville. The rally, one of three held in East Tennessee, was a fifth quarter event held Sept. 23.

Students attend Any One at South-Doyle High School, Knoxville. The rally, one of three held in East Tennessee, was a fifth quarter event held Sept. 23.

KNOXVILLE — All they were trying to do is find a way to promote Impact youth camps of the Tennessee Baptist Convention, explained Jeff Williamson and Kevin Perrigan of the TBC staff.

So they came up with the idea of holding fifth quarter events on high school campuses to inform students about the camp. [Read more…]

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GOTM UP 5.3 PERCENT

Baptist and Reflector

160913gotmBRENTWOOD — When the books closed on Aug. 31 for the 2015-16 Golden Offering for Tennessee Missions, the final tally for the year totaled $1,713,258.

The total was a 5.3 percent increase over the amount given for the 2014-15 GOTM. In addition, 1,220 churches gave to the offering in 2015-16, a net increase of 44 over the previous year.

This year’s increase is an important step as Tennessee Baptists move forward in their GOTM goal of realizing an increase in annual giving for the Golden Offering for Tennessee Missions that reaches at least $3 million by 2024 (Objective 5). [Read more…]

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MAKING A DIFFERENCE THROUGH GOTM

By Randy C. Davis
TBC Executive Director

Randy C. Davis

Randy C. Davis

I love Tennessee.

It is my adopted home and home to all of my immediate family. I believe our state is the most beautiful and unique of the 50 states. From the Smoky Mountains to the majestic and mighty Mississippi River, I stand in awe that the providential hand of God led me here decades ago to invest the best — and rest — of my life to serve Him in saturating Tennessee with the gospel.

And it is that last statement that fuels my drive. As much as I love the geographic diversity of Tennessee, I especially love the demographic diversity. Tennessee is home to more than 145 global people groups. Those red, yellow, black, and white who are precious in Jesus’ sight, we have them by the thousands. [Read more…]

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HOPE BEYOND THE RAZOR WIRE

By Chris Turner
Director of Communications, TBC

Dale Lusk, right, baptizes Anthony (last name withheld) during a service at Swannsylvania Baptist Church, Dandridge. Volunteers from Swannsylvania and New Market Baptist Church, New Market, invest more than 180 hours per month ministering to boys detained for various crimes. More than 30 boys have been baptized in three years and more are scheduled for baptism this fall.  Assisting is prison team member Lonnie Cloninger, also from Swannsylvania Baptist.  — Photo by David LaMar

Dale Lusk, right, baptizes Anthony (last name withheld) during a service at Swannsylvania Baptist Church, Dandridge. Volunteers from Swannsylvania and New Market Baptist Church, New Market, invest more than 180 hours per month ministering to boys detained for various crimes. More than 30 boys have been baptized in three years and more are scheduled for baptism this fall. Assisting is prison team member Lonnie Cloninger, also from Swannsylvania Baptist.
— Photo by David LaMar

DANDRIDGE — It is a familiar routine. First there is the sizzling sound of an obnoxious buzzer, then the sudden firing of a heavy deadbolt that unlocks the gray steel door separating freedom from incarceration. The closing slam reverberates down the gray cinderblock hall sending an authoritative reminder that freedom is not an option. Freedom was forfeited three felonies ago.

Buzz. Fire. Open. Slam.

Buzz. Fire. Open. Slam.

All day. Buzz. Fire. Open. Slam.

The blast of the buzzer has no effect on Dale Lusk, however. He doesn’t even flinch at its sound. The process is routine after hundreds of visits. Lusk’s focus lies beyond the door. Like the certainty of God’s own mercy, he knows there is a boy waiting for him to enter a world secured by the looping coils of concertina wire. [Read more…]

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MINISTRY MEETS HUNGER NEEDS

By Lonnie Wilkey
Editor, Baptist and Reflector

Children from rural Hawkins County get in line to get a noonday meal compliments of The Lunch Box.

Children from rural Hawkins County get in line to get a noonday meal compliments of The Lunch Box.

ROGERSVILLE — Hunger is a reality across the United States and Tennessee is no different. Some people view hunger, however, as a need found only in the larger cities in the state.

That’s simply not true.

According to Feeding America, one in six people in Tennessee struggles with hunger. In the state there are 1,103,580 “food insecure” people. The food insecurity rate for Tennessee is 16.9 percent, according to 2014 statistics. Food insecurity refers to the United States Department of Agriculture’s measure of lack of access, at times, to enough food for an active, healthy lifestyle for all household members and limited or uncertain availability of nutritionally adequate foods, according to Feeding America, a network of food banks across the country that leads in the fight against hunger in communities nationwide. [Read more…]

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