CHURCHES URGED TO TALK TO MILLENNIALS AND NONES, NOT JUST READ ABOUT THEM

By Jeff Brumley
Associated Baptist Press

160928-millennialsThe news just never seems to get better for American churches.

A poll released this month confirms statistically what clergy and congregations are hearing anecdotally and through the media practically all the time: the percentage of U.S. adults who are religiously unaffiliated is increasing.

“The share of Americans who do not identify with a religious group is surely growing,” the Pew Research Center said in a Sept. 14 report. [Read more…]

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PRAY FOR AND LOVE STUDENTS: SRO OFFICER

By Connie Davis Bushey
News Editor, Baptist and Reflector

Officer Joseph Rigsby, left, school resource officer for the Rutherford County Sheriff’s Department, based in Murfreesboro, stands with Matt Harris, pastor, Holly Grove Baptist Church, Lascassas. Harris is a bivocational pastor who works at a middle school as an educational assistant with Rigsby.

Officer Joseph Rigsby, left, school resource officer for the Rutherford County Sheriff’s Department, based in Murfreesboro, stands with Matt Harris, pastor, Holly Grove Baptist Church, Lascassas. Harris is a bivocational pastor who works at a middle school as an educational assistant with Rigsby.

LASCASSAS — School Resource Officer Joseph Rigsby of the Rutherford County Sheriff’s Department asked members of Holly Grove Baptist Church here to pray for and show love to students — at his middle school and in all schools and communities.

Rigsby, who works at a middle school, spoke during the church’s morning worship service Sept. 11.

He sees many children in dire circumstances and the society “in tough times,” he explained.

He told of being approached by a student at his middle school, which is for students in grades 6-8. The boy told Rigsby some information about his family. As a result, that same day the child was removed from his family, said the SRO. [Read more…]

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ENGAGE POKÉMON GO PLAYERS: MINISTERS

By Connie Davis Bushey
News Editor, Baptist and Reflector

Cody Clark, student minister, Living Hope Baptist Church, Clarksville, checks out the Poké Stop of the Pokémon Go game which is located in the front of the church’s fitness center as students play the game outside the church.

Cody Clark, student minister, Living Hope Baptist Church, Clarksville, checks out the Poké Stop of the Pokémon Go game which is located in the front of the church’s fitness center as students play the game outside the church.

BRENTWOOD — Jay Barbier, minister of high school students, First Baptist Church, Millington, is from South Louisiana, so when one of his students offered to “drop a lure” his first thought was fishing. Then the young man and Joseph Brasher, minister of education at the church, said they needed some bottled water to give away to Pokémon Go players.

Barbier admitted he doesn’t play the game for mobile devices so he was out of the loop. But he quickly got involved when he learned about the opportunity, he said.

About a month ago on a Tuesday evening a Pokémon Go “lure” was dropped at First Baptist, Millington. Then about 20 Pokémon Go players arrived over the next hour. Students, Brasher, and Barbier were there to meet them. The church facility already was open for visitation activities. [Read more…]

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BALANCING YOUTH SPORTS AND CHURCH

By Mark Moore
Associate Pastor, Worship, Third Baptist Church, Murfreesboro

Mark Moore

Mark Moore

A few summers ago, my son attended a baseball showcase in Lebanon. The stated goal of the showcase was to be chosen for a larger event in Atlanta — one that would be attended by college coaches and professional scouts.

The cost was minimal and only involved about two hours of our time. It was more evaluation than anything, and since my son would need to do these kinds of events in the years ahead for college exposure, he participated.

The following week I was contacted by a representative from the sponsoring organization who was impressed with my son’s skills and wanted him to play on an age 16 and under team that would play tournaments in Arizona the following month. The cost? $3,500. I politely refused his offer and told him it was way too early and way too expensive for us to participate. [Read more…]

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YEC TEAM SERVES IN GUATEMALA

By Connie Davis Bushey
News Editor, Baptist and Reflector

Jania Howe, left, of First Baptist Church, Manchester, leads some public school students in an activity in Guatemala.

Jania Howe, left, of First Baptist Church, Manchester, leads some public school students in an activity in Guatemala.

BRENTWOOD — “We went to Guatemala to change people there and show them Jesus, but we came back with changed hearts and opened eyes,” said Jania Howe, 17, who ministered recently in Guatemala.

Howe and 77 other teens and adults served in Guatemala as a part of the Youth Evangelism Conference missions team. They went to support the Tennessee/Guatemala Baptist Partnership. The team served June 3-11. Offerings given at the 2015 and 2016 YEC helped fund the trip.

The team was made up of students from 11 churches, reported Bruce Edwards, youth specialist, Tennessee Baptist Convention, and team leader. “It was an incredible experience for all of us. We left a part of our hearts in Guatemala!

“Seeing these students boldly share their testimonies and the gospel through interpreters was amazing and we saw many Guatemalans, especially youth, accept Jesus Christ and make professions of faith,” he added. Assisting Edwards was Wes Jones of Tennessee Baptist Disaster Relief and his wife Pam, who are former Southern Baptist International Mission Board missionaries to Guatemala. [Read more…]

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ATTENTION … PRESENT BIBLES … START

Start now preparing for 2017 Youth & High School Bible Drills — Edwards

By Connie Davis Bushey
News Editor, Baptist and Reflector

State Youth Bible Drillers were, front row: Andrea Horst, First Baptist Church, Clarkrange; Jason Se­pulveda, Tulip Grove Baptist Church, Old Hickory; Anna Thompson, First Baptist Church, Morristown; Ellis Kim, Korean Baptist Church of Memphis; back row: Caitlin Kreuziger, First Baptist Church, Huntingdon; Elijah Parris, Hopewell Baptist Church, Savannah; Jun Lee, Korean Baptist Church of Memphis; Joel Irwin, Thompson Station Church, Thompson’s Station. Not pictured is Jaclyn Taylor, Brookhill Baptist Church, Etowah. The winner was Ellis Kim and the runner-up was Elijah Parris.

State Youth Bible Drillers were, front row: Andrea Horst, First Baptist Church, Clarkrange; Jason Se­pulveda, Tulip Grove Baptist Church, Old Hickory; Anna Thompson, First Baptist Church, Morristown; Ellis Kim, Korean Baptist Church of Memphis; back row: Caitlin Kreuziger, First Baptist Church, Huntingdon; Elijah Parris, Hopewell Baptist Church, Savannah; Jun Lee, Korean Baptist Church of Memphis; Joel Irwin, Thompson Station Church, Thompson’s Station. Not pictured is Jaclyn Taylor, Brookhill Baptist Church, Etowah. The winner was Ellis Kim and the runner-up was Elijah Parris.

OLD HICKORY — Recently some youth enjoyed the culmination of months of work — by competing in the 2016 State Youth and High School Bible Drills of the Tennessee Baptist Convention. The competitions were held at Tulip Grove Baptist Church.

A few days prior many more students competed in Regional Youth and High School Bible Drills.

State Bible drill time is one of Bruce Edwards’ favorite times of year.  It also is “a significant youth discipleship ministry experience for youth,” said the youth specialist, TBC.

Youth Bible Drill is for youth in grades 7-9 and youth who are in 6th grade and already in their church youth group. [Read more…]

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YEC 2016 DRAWS 8,330

320 students make spiritual commitments

By Connie Davis Bushey
News Editor, Baptist and Reflector

160325yecNASHVILLE — The Youth Evangelism Conference 2016 drew about 8,330 teens and their sponsors here March 11-12 to worship, laugh at The Skit Guys, and hear challenges.

The YEC is the largest event held by the Tennessee Baptist Convention. The attendance was up about 300 from last year.

A total of 278 students made professions of faith while 42 made other commitments.

For the first time, using the YEC app, many of the students recorded their spiritual commitments on hand-held devices or smart phones. Also with the app, teens and sponsors gave funds to the missions offering. [Read more…]

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YOUTH CURRICULUM DEBUTS: 6-YEAR FREE RESOURCE

Baptist Press

Richard Ross

Richard Ross

FORT WORTH, Texas (BP) — Richard Ross has spent most of his life leading youth to a deeper relationship with Christ, so he didn’t hesitate when he felt God’s call to develop a small group curriculum for teens and young adults.

But even Ross, a former Tennessee Baptist youth minister at Tulip Grove Baptist Church, Old Hickory, was surprised at the result: a six-year free curriculum for grades 7-12 encompassing a multi-year journey to learn everything from apologetics and ethics to evangelism and missions.

The online “Disciple6” curriculum, written by 60-plus faculty and students at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, includes learner and leader guides spanning core doctrines of the faith to train disciples for Christ. [Read more…]

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PORN USE INCREASING AMONG TEENS

Tennessee Baptist youth ministers offer pointers on how to combat problem

By Chris Turner
Director of Communications, TBC

160210infographicBRENTWOOD — The number of searches for Internet pornography exponentially increases every second. If the rapidly changing online “porn ticker” represented increasing stock value, there would be thousands — possibly millions — of overnight millionaires. Instead, the ticker reveals an insatiable appetite for sexually explicit content, and a high percentage of those searching are teenagers.

There have been nearly 2.5 billion searches for pornography since the beginning of 2015, according to CovenantEyes, a company that specializes in Internet accountability and filtering software. The real-time counter can be found at covenanteyes.com/pornstats. The counter is part of the organization’s report titled, “Pornography Statistics: 250+ Facts, Quotes and Statistics About Pornography Use (2015 Edition).” The full report is available for free download from the site. [Read more…]

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ASSOCIATION’S TEENAGERS SERVE ON SCHOOL BREAK

By Connie Davis Bushey
News Editor, Baptist and Reflector

Rhett Heinemeyer, left, of Mount Vernon Baptist Church, Halls, uses a post hole digger with direction from Harold McDonald of the church. They are helping build a ramp onto the house of a church member despite frigid temperatures Jan. 18 as part of the Jerusalem Project of Dyer Baptist Association, based in Dyersburg. — Photo by Connie Davis Bushey

Rhett Heinemeyer, left, of Mount Vernon Baptist Church, Halls, uses a post hole digger with direction from Harold McDonald of the church. They are helping build a ramp onto the house of a church member despite frigid temperatures Jan. 18 as part of the Jerusalem Project of Dyer Baptist Association, based in Dyersburg. — Photo by Connie Davis Bushey

DYER COUNTY — Instead of resting, catching up on their homework, or working some extra hours at their part-time jobs on their day off from school last week for Martin Luther King Day, about 220 teens here conducted service projects and considered God. They were participating in the 12th annual Jerusalem Project of Dyer Baptist Association.

“I see a sea of students who gave up a day off from school to worship God and serve others,” said Alisha Moody, youth leader of the association, at the launch activities of Jerusalem Project which were held on Sunday, Jan. 17. Moody also is Baptist Collegiate Ministries director of Dyersburg State Community College, based in Dyersburg.

One result of the event was that seven youth made professions of faith after hearing Chuck Johnson speak. Sunday afternoon and evening sessions were held at Hillcrest Baptist Church, Dyersburg. Johnson is associate minister to youth, First Baptist Church, Martin. Also leading a session was John Yates, a ventriloquist who is a minister at First Baptist Church, Yazoo City, Miss. Thirteen churches participated. [Read more…]

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