HELP CAN HURT

By Lonnie Wilkey
Editor, Baptist and Reflector

Lonnie Wilkey

Lonnie Wilkey

I recently came across an article on the International Mission Board website (www.imb.org) by former president Jerry Rankin. The title immediately caught my attention: “Help that Hurts: Considering the Long-Term Cost of Missions Subsidy.”

Rankin observed: “We have made many mistakes over the years of missions work around the world. One of the errors has been trying to accelerate growth by an infusion of financial aid to build churches and support pastors. The result almost invariably was a welfare mentality among the recipients of the support.”

Jerry Rankin understands missions. In addition to serving as president of the IMB for 17 years, he and his wife were missionaries for 23 years prior to that. [Read more…]

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MISSIONS A WAY OF LIFE FOR FOOTBALL PLAYER

By Bill Sorrell
Contributing Writer, Baptist and Reflector

Jeffery Johnson

Jeffery Johnson

McKENZIE — A Cuban Christian gave Jeffery Johnson the shirt off his back.

While on a missions trip to Cuba last March, Johnson met Eduardo, a married man in his mid-30s with two children.

“We had a bond. We got to spend so much time together. At a going-away party I wanted to give him something,” said Johnson, a center on Bethel University’s football team. [Read more…]

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HOW NEAR ARE YOU WILLING TO GO?

By Randy C. Davis
TBMB Executive Director

Randy C. Davis

Randy C. Davis

Maybe you’ve been there, on a missions trip standing in the middle of the urban sprawl of one of the world’s great cities, cities like Buenos Aires, Guatemala City, Sao Paulo, London, Krakow, Rome, or Istanbul. There are people everywhere, bouncing off each other like pinballs. You may have even felt — like I have — very small and wondering what kind of a difference you could possibly make in such an ocean of spiritual lostness.

But we go anyway, don’t we? We have a Great Commission calling, and we know that despite the seemingly overwhelming odds, God calls us to wade into those concrete jungles to serve people and to preach the gospel. And we go knowing that He faithfully brings in the harvest.

You know what? I get a similar overwhelmed feeling when I walk through the heart of Memphis and Knoxville; Nashville and Chattanooga. The hearts of those cities are bustling with people spiritually drifting in an ocean of spiritual lostness. We are no less called to reach the spiritually lost in these Tennessee cities than we are the spiritually lost in the world’s cities.  [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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A NEW DAY IN OBEYING THE GREAT COMMISSION

By Johnnie Godwin
Contributing Columnist, B&R

Johnnie Godwin

Johnnie Godwin

I believe in the Cooperative Program established in 1925. It is our best single-shot, laser beam approach in reaching the world for Christ. I say this at a time when most of our Southern Baptists are largely ignorant of their Baptist history and heritage and the history of missiology. They know little about the Cooperative Program and are tending to retreat to the old societal system. In that system, the “wheel” that hollered the loudest or squeaked the loudest got the most grease. James L. Sullivan was president of the Baptist Sunday School Board (now LifeWay Christian Resources) He wrote a book titled Baptist Polity — As I See It. That grand book could correct our fragmentation in missions today if we would read it and learn from it and grow by it.  [Read more…]

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MISSIONARY REFLECTS ON WHAT CASTRO COULDN’T DO

Baptist Press

After returning to the U.S. following HMB missionary David Fite's Cuban imprisonment, his family visited the 1969 Woman's Missionary Union annual meeting. -SBHLA photo

After returning to the U.S. following HMB missionary David Fite’s Cuban imprisonment, his family visited the 1969 Woman’s Missionary Union annual meeting.
-SBHLA photo

HAVANA — As the world reflects on the legacy of late Cuban dictator Fidel Castro, a former Southern Baptist missionary imprisoned by the Castro regime in the 1960s is remembering what Castro could not do: kill the church.

Castro died Nov. 25 at the age of 90.

David Fite, 82, was arrested in Havana in 1965 on what he calls fabricated charges of “trafficking in foreign currency” and “ideological diversionism.” Then Home Mission Board (now the North American Mission Board) missionary and the father of three young boys, including a one-month-old, Fite was incarcerated for three and a half years before being released in November of 1968. [Read more…]

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MEMPHIS TEAM AIDS STUDENT WORK IN LONDON

Editor’s Note: In September, the International Mission Board hosted Baptist state paper editors in London to introduce  its new media network and to explore its Global Cities Initiative, a part of IMB President David Platt’s desire to introduce a “limitless” missionary force of Southern Baptists.

By Lonnie Wilkey
Editor, Baptist and Reflector

Charlotte Sheehy, right, and Katasha Ross of Kirby Woods Baptist Church in Memphis, take a break to visit some of the sites in London while serving recently on a missions trip to the city. — Photo by Todd Deaton, Western Recorder (Kentucky)

Charlotte Sheehy, right, and Katasha Ross of Kirby Woods Baptist Church in Memphis, take a break to visit some of the sites in London while serving recently on a missions trip to the city. — Photo by Todd Deaton, Western Recorder (Kentucky)

LONDON — The Southern Baptist International Mission Board’s plan to have an impact in London will require more than the missionaries who currently serve in the self-proclaimed “Capital of the World.”

London is home to about 270 nationalities with 300 spoken languages. The city is home to 66 unreached people groups (second highest in the world). In a city with an estimated population of 6.83 million (12 million in the greater London area), only 1 percent of the city is considered to be “reached” with the gospel of Jesus Christ.

It will take retirees, students, and career professionals who can plant themselves in the city. But, it also will take volunteers — a large number of them. [Read more…]

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DUNNS CONTINUE MEDICAL MISSIONS, MINISTRY

By Connie Davis Bushey
News Editor, Baptist and Reflector

Dewey and Bobbie Dunn of Nashville have a strong commitment to medical missions overseas as well as locally which they still carry out.

Dewey and Bobbie Dunn of Nashville have a strong commitment to medical missions overseas as well as locally which they still carry out.

NASHVILLE — Friends around the world think of Dewey and Bobbie Dunn and medical missions synonymously.

The Dunns have been on about 100 missions trips, most of them overseas, and most of them led by Dewey, a gastroenterologist who is still practicing medicine full-time at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Nashville though he is 80 years old.

Dunn also is known for recruiting medical professionals with Bobbie’s help to serve on those teams. Two of the teams they led numbered 150 and 175. Over the years the Dunns led missions trips to support many Tennessee Baptist Convention partnerships including Venezuela; the Philippines; Poland; and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. [Read more…]

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TENNESSEE BAPTIST STEPS OUT IN FAITH

Editor’s Note: In September, the International Mission Board hosted Baptist state paper editors in London to introduce its new media network and to explore its Global Cities Initiative, a part of IMB President David Platt’s desire to introduce a “limitless” missionary force of Southern Baptists.

By Lonnie Wilkey
Editor, Baptist and Reflector

161115londonLONDON — As soon as Amanda McCoy speaks, her new coworkers in London know that “she’s not from around here.”

“The people here love my Southern accent,” said McCoy, who hails from Knoxville. “I have an instant segue into having conversations with people,” she noted.

In August McCoy began a job in London and became the first business professional to participate in the Southern Baptist International Mission Board’s Global Cities Initiative as a “mobilized Christian.” [Read more…]

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CITY REACH MINISTRY TOUR PLANNED

Baptist and Reflector

cityreach_knoxvilleKNOXVILLE —  A City Reach Knoxville Ministry Tour is planned for Nov. 16-17.

During the annual meeting of the Tennessee Baptist Convention held during The Summit next week in Sevierville, messengers will vote on City Reach, a plan to reach the five metro associations in the state. The first effort would be in Knoxville. [Read more…]

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