Month: March 2005

Student ministers to be challenged to ‘Raise the Bar’ in April regional seminars

Student ministers across Texas will be challenged to raise the bar of expectations for teenagers during regional youth leader training events in April featuring author and youth ministry specialist Alvin Reid.

Reid, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary evangelism professor, teams up with Brad Bunting, SBTC student evangelism associate, and Ken Lasater, Church Ministry Support associate, to offer one-day presentations based on Reid’s book, “Raising the Bar: Ministry to Youth in the New Millennium.”

For $12, participants get lunch and a copy of Reid’s book. Sessions are scheduled for:

4April 4?SBTC Building, Grapevine, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

4April 5?Houston’s First Baptist Church, a.m. to 2 p.m.

4April 6?Castle Hills First Baptist Church, San Antonio, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

4April 7?Crescent Park Baptist Church, Odessa, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Reid contends that teenagers should be treated as young adults, preparing them to minister as opposed to offering a fun-and-games scenario. He offers three proposals to raise the bar in youth ministry:

4recovering the biblical place of parents by strengthening Christian families in the church and evangelizing lost families of youth who attend;

4building a ministry to youth around biblical truth, intentional evangelism, worship and prayer; and

4addressing the issue of rites of passage.

“In terms of strengthening Christian families, I am not advocating the position that a 23-year-old youth pastor should teach parents how to raise their teens,” Reid stated. “That youth pastor has no clue! But he can show youth how to walk with God, he can teach the word, and he can provide resources, such as strong Christian families as examples, to aid other families.”

Prior to his arrival at Southeastern Reid was the founding John R. Bisagno Chair of Evangelism and assistant professor of Christianity at Houston Baptist University. He also served as director of evangelism-stewardship for the State Convention of Baptists in Indiana.

Reid holds the Ph.D with a major in evangelism from Southwestern Seminary, where he also received the M.Div. He graduated from Samford University with the B.A. in 1981. He has served previously as a pastor or staff member of churches in Texas and Alabama, and has spoken at a variety of conferences in over 40 states and several nations, and in hundreds of churches across the United States.

In an interview with Baptist Press last year, Reid said those who study today’s generations have observed a shift among teens and pre-teens toward “real, honest biblical substance.”

“Millennials,” or people born since 1982, have many distinct, positive characteristics, Reid told BP.

Call 817-552-2500 to make a reservation with the student evangelism office.

SBTC partners with ‘Go Tell’ camps for summer student event in Nacogdoches

The Southern Baptists of Texas Convention is partnering for the first time with Rick Gage Ministries to offer an SBTC “Go Tell” Student Camp June 27-July 1 at Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches.

More than 50,000 students have attended “Go Tell” Student Camps since the camps began in 1989.

Last year, Go Tell Student Camps were held in Georgia, Virginia and at West Texas A&M University in Canyon, drawing a total of 4,000 students from 20 states. More than 600 of those students participated in community outreach during the camp, leading more than 100 people to Christ.

It’s that kind of experience Brad Bunting, SBTC youth evangelism associate, hopes to offer as well for SBTC students this summer.

“We were attracted to Rick Gages’ Go Tell camps because of their strong evangelistic emphasis. Every student that goes through that camp will hear the gospel repeatedly and will be given an opportunity to respond. And everyone will leave motivated and equipped to share their faith. I’m also very excited about the fact that the camp not only teaches students how to share their faith and why they need to share their faith, but also gives them opportunities to actually begin to do it.”

The Texas camp will include First Baptist Colleyville Pastor Frank Harber, Olympic swimming gold medalist Josh Davis, evangelists Ronnie Hill, and Gage, Austin pastor Kie Bowman and Liberty University professor Ergun Caner. The camp will also feature the Commonground Band plus Christian pop musician Tait of dc Talk.

The camp will include campus-wide services in the mornings and evenings, with breakout groups for both students and adults, Gage said.

During the week, students also participate in regional outreach, performing public services such as free car washes and other projects for a springboard to share the gospel.

“They get a taste of it at Go Tell, and then they get home to their towns and they want to continue it,” Gage remarked.

Go Tell Student Camps have hosted speakers such as Christian apologist Josh McDowell and Georgia pastor Johnny Hunt.

In a camp video on the ministry’s website, McDowell endorses the camp for its clear gospel presentation, “in-depth discipleship” and its vision for preparing students to reach their friends when they return home.

“I believe the youth of America need to hear from godly men, preachers, who are committed to reaching the younger generation,” Gage said in an interview with the TEXAN during the Empower Evangelism Conference in February. “We create an environment where adult leaders who come will be challenged, equipped and inspired as well. ? We hear of complacent churches where students and adults have returned to share their testimonies on Sunday night and revival breaks out.”

Each SBTC church should have received in February a camp information packet that included one adult and one student scholarship.

Registration is limited, Bunting said. For camp costs and registration information, visit

Taking every thought into captivity

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Captive Thoughts series

“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ,” (2 Corinthians 10:3-5)

“The most serious divide at Baylor is not about buildings, debt, tuition, or even presidential style. It’s about the relationship between faith and learning.” In this month’s Christianity Today, Wheaton College President Duane Litfin thus summed up the battle at Baylor which resulted in the resignation of Baylor President Robert Sloan. In support of his appraisal, Dr. Litfin offers contrasting quotes: one from a former Baylor president saying that the “Faculty are not here to engage in religiosity,” and one from Dr. Sloan saying that the “all-inclusive claims of the lordship of Jesus Christ” must be integrated into the full range of educational disciplines.

I’m not writing so much about Baylor as about the apparent battle between our minds and souls. “Knowledge puffs up,” Paul says, and we have experienced the arrogance that follows a little knowledge. In stereotype, evangelical Christians retreat into Bible colleges and reject the arts and sciences as worthy of godly pursuit. We’d rather risk being proud of our biblical knowledge than about knowing geology, it seems. In stereotype, respected research universities become fortresses of humanistic pride. They’d rather be dogmatic about secular faith than religious faith, it seems. The stereotypes are not unfair. Insofar as they contain truth, both responses are unbiblical.

In 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 Paul speaks of waging spiritual warfare on behalf of that church. In the first century, Judaizers (who would force gentile Christians to convert to Judaism), Gnostics (who denied the dual nature of Christ), as well as the merely worldly and selfish all occupied their respective strongholds against the lordship of Christ. Instead of retreat Paul promises engagement. While he determined to pull down imaginings and strongholds set up against the knowledge of God, he set out to capture (not destroy) the ideas that occupy the wrecked defenses.

What are the fortified places of our enemy today? What thoughts or speculations defend those strongholds? It’s intriguing to imagine what it would look like to bring those defenders into captivity to the obedience of Christ. Take it a step further; can those belligerents be cleaned up, turned around, rearmed, and added to the army of light as we have been?

In his rejection of fleshly weapons such as intimidation and deceit, there is no sense that Paul is setting down effective weapons for the sake of nicer ones. He is using divinely powerful weapons to attack spiritual strongholds. What seemed to the Corinthians to be a contest of will and sophistication was in reality a spiritual fight.

The most important battles are spiritual, after all. A physical fight or an intellectual argument will have winners and losers, but it’s never as simple as that. A loser who is battered into submission will change his tactics instead of his mind. A changed heart is forever; he’s not a loser but rather a convert.

Maybe today we can see the strongholds as fields into which we have divided God’s truth. It seems that everything we learn can tempt us to be proud within ourselves. Fields of knowledge become strongholds, then, when we have a, “Since I know this, God is not necessary,” moment. We might think of biology and Darwinism as an example of this. I think we’ll find the tendency present in every type of human endeavor.

I read once of the 17th-century discovery of calculus. The ability to mathematically describe how factors affect one another and discern patterns (maybe to predict outcomes) led some to think we might discover a God-like foreknowledge in the numbers. Foreknowledge implies control of the future, again similar to God. It’s human to, in the excitement of discovery, imagine the impossible and that we can build a tower into the heavens?a stronghold. It is not the discovery or pursuit of truth that stands against the lordship of Christ. Our problem comes in imagining that we are the master and our command of ultimate truth will fortify us against the rightful King.

When you look at a college catalog you see schools, degree programs, and areas of specialization that suggest the whole gamut of human endeavor. For example the road being built in front of my office suggests the accumulated knowledge of engineers, architects, chemists, financiers, politicians, educators, and communications specialists at least. Many of the workers may not have advanced degrees but they are still the sharp end of well-planned intent on the part of a highl