Month: July 2009

SBTC affiliated partners address Educational and family ministries

Southern Baptists of Texas Convention Executive Board members listen as Criswell College Interim President Lamar E. Cooper, Sr., give his report from the school.

Four affiliated ministries that partner with SBTC reported to the Executive Board on their efforts to provide educational ministries as well as avenues for adoption, foster care and assistance to troubled families.

East Texas Baptist Family Ministries (ETBFM) was organized in 2003, partnering with SBTC to provide children’s homes, maternity homes, ministers’ retirement homes and recreational, educational and retreat events, as well as housing equipment for Disaster Relief, volunteer builders and crusade evangelism.

ETBFM President Gerald Edwards encouraged SBTC-affiliated churches to take advantage of free housing available at the Timpson site for up to 50 volunteers for various work projects. Individuals and churches may contact Edwards at 903-822-3474 or visit www.etbfm.org.

“We do a lot of work out here with a very short stick,” Edwards remarked. “I’m thankful for the way this business is going and what’s happening here,” he said, alluding to a devotional offered to Board members on the priority Jesus gave to being about his father’s business.

Texas Baptist Homes President Eddie Marsh reported that the number of children in the care of TBH ranges from 97 to 120 as they attempt to move them from foster care to finding permanent homes through adoption programs. Of the more than 15,000 children in foster care in the state, 6,077 are legally free and awaiting adoption, Marsh shared.

A new office will be opened in the Mid-Cities area of the Dallas-Fort Worth region to recruit foster families. Families and churches in the area are encouraged to contact TBH at 972-937-1321 or visit www.tbhc.org. At their home office in Waxahachie, TBH also provides maternity care and training for families in crisis.

Both Criswell College in Dallas and Jacksonville (Tx.) College are looking ahead to site visits from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools as part of the process of reaffirming accreditation. Classes begin at Criswell College on Aug. 17 and at Jacksonville College on Aug. 28.

Criswell College celebrates its 40th anniversary in the coming year with five major events planned. Interim president Lamar E. Cooper, Sr. told of an expository preaching conference Oct. 5-6 to launch the emphasis, followed by the Criswell Lectures Jan. 19-21, a missions conference in March featuring alumni serving around the world, an anniversary dinner during the annual meeting of the SBC and a reunion in the fall of 2010 to reinstitute the School of the Prophets.

Cooper said students continued to join with SBTC in sharing the gospel, participating in annual SBC and SBTC pre-convention evangelistic outreach efforts, as well as student workshops in music and student ministry.

First Baptist Church of Dallas has accepted the terms of separation from the school, Cooper reported, with the process to be finalized early next year. SBTC Executive Director Jim Richards serves on the transition team that will assist in the process of independence. More information on the school is available by calling 800-899-0012 or online at criswell.edu.

Jacksonville College President Edwin Crank spoke of the school’s mission to train students who are called to preach as well as educating future laymen who can give wise counsel as church leaders.

Founded by Baptists in 1899, the school’s charter was amended in 1923 to allow the Baptist Missionary Association of Texas to become the owner. In 2002 the college affiliated with the SBCT and the two entities formend a partnership as part of the Hispanic “Education Superhighway” Agreement to provide accredited higher education of Hispanics. Manuel Giron completed the 24 hours required for the basic certificate in that program last May.

“I encourage you as somebody on the outside looking in, don’t let the Cooperative Program slip away from you,” Crank told board members. “It is a good method for giving.” For more information call 903-586-2518 or visit jacksonville-college.edu.

Tom Campbell directs facilitating ministries for the SBTC, including fraternally-related partnerships with Houston Baptist University and Baptist Credit Union, and ministry partnerships with Korean Baptist Fellowship of Texas, Nehemiah’s Vision, Texas Baptist Men and Texas Life Connections. Contact Campbell at tcampbell@sbtexas.com or call 877-953-SBTC.

SBTC Executive Board approves 2010 budget; hires field ministry strategist

The Executive Board of the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention hired a new field ministry strategist, finalized proposals for the upcoming state convention meeting in Lubbock and affirmed the participation of SBTC Executive Director Jim Richards on the 23-member Great Commission Task Force appointed by SBC President Johnny Hunt.

Gordon Knight leads SBTC’s Southeast Texas Rebuild Ministry, working with over 10,000 mission volunteers through Nehemiah’s Vision to help victims of disasters in Texas. As field ministry strategist he will be responsible for a portion of southeast Texas in which 272 SBTC-affiliated churches are located between College Station and Alto and Houston.

Knight pastored First Baptist Church of Pineland, Pine Burr Baptist Church in Beaumont, and Rogansville Baptist Church, as well as congregations in Louisiana and West Virginia. He attended Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and earned a B.S. from Texas A&M University. He also has experience as a licensed social worker, human resources director and as partner in a construction company.

The Board unanimously approved a 2010 budget proposal of $24,837,098, representing an increase of 1.18% over the current year’s budget. A 55/45 division of CP receipts from local churches will be maintained with 55% forwarded to SBC mission causes and the remaining 45% funding in-state ministry. Messengers to the 2009 annual meeting will consider the recommendation Oct. 26-27 in Lubbock.

Missions remains the largest funded item in the budget at 24.48%; followed by church ministries receiving 12.72%, evangelism at 12.16%;facilitating ministries at 10.04% (benefitting educational institutions, family care ministries and other ministry organizations who partner with the SBTC); communications at 9’62%; and minister/church relations at 8.4%. Operational costs amount to 10.7% of the budget with no salary increases for employees in the coming year.

Asked about that joint recommendation from staff and the administration committee regarding salaries, Chief Financial Officer Joe Davis said, “We don’t want to be having raises when our churches are experiencing in many cases difficulty. We felt it was appropriate in this economic climate with what’s going on across the state and country.”

Messengers to last year’s convention approved a 2009 SBTC budget of $23.9 million, which reflected a 14 percent increase over the prior year. CP receipts through June are $2,552 under budget, however prudent spending has allowed the convention to operate at a surplus for the year to date.

“While we are not exceeding the budget, not one ministry has gone unfunded, no event has been cancelled and no staff has been laid off,” Richards reported, anticipating the convention will meet its budget for the year due to the faithfulness of churches.

“The Cooperative Program is the best missions/ministry investment of any partnership giving plan in the evangelical world,” he added, encouraging board members to prayerfully consider proposing some increase at their churches in the upcoming year.

BYLAW CHANGES
Other proposals approved for consideration at the state convention address a Certificate of Formation to replace the Articles of Incorporation and bylaw changes in keeping with a new Business Organization Code affecting nonprofit corporations in Texas. The proposed changes were published in the July 28 issue of the TEXAN.

Bylaw changes provide specific authority for the Executive Board to enter into, modify or terminate affiliation agreements, as well as the ability to reduce, eliminate or re-direct budget funds approved for third parties (entities outside SBTC approved for budget funding), addressing a concern raised by a messenger to last year’s convention.

The proposals also remove indemnity language which is included in the new code, explain the term “affiliate” to confirm church autonomy and include messenger voting and meeting notice provisions. A bylaw amendment for the SBTC Foundation stipulates semi-annual instead of annual meetings of its board of directors.

The board unanimously approved a cash pledge in the amount of $200,000 to Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary to be used in the construction of a new chapel.

The board approved the recommendation of Credentials Committee Chairman Jimmy Pritchard of Forney regarding new church affiliations, bringing the total to 2,150 congregations. New church starts and existing Baptist churches are affiliating at a rate of one every other day, Richards added.

“SBTC churches are growing spiritually, too,” he said. “More of our affiliated churches are seeking ways to become Great Commission congregations, missional, Acts 1:8—whatever you want to call it, they’re getting in business with God and in the Father’s things,” Richards said, repeating the devotional emphasis of board member Glenn Perce of Iowa Park on the kingdom priority described in the first recorded words of Jesus.

GCR TASK FORCE
The board encouraged Richards’ participation in the Great Commission Resurgence Task Force assigned to study how Southern Baptists can work more faithfully and effectively together in serving Christ through the Great Commission. The resolution stated, “The work of the task force will have a substantial impact on Baptist cooperative work around the world for years to come,” pledging continued prayer support for their effort.

Criswell College Interim President Lamar E. Cooper Sr. was endorsed as the next recipient of the Paul Pressler Distinguished Service Award and will be honored at the annual meeting in Lubbock.

Outgoing board members honored for their service included Paul Anderson of Borger, Roy Ford of Hooks, Kim Lawson of Sherman, George Levant of Laredo and Carmel Melton of Andrews. Ron Garcia of Pecos and Andy Jackson of Malakoff will be honored at a later time due to their inability to attend the July 21 meeting.

Facilitating ministries reports were offered from Criswell College, Jacksonville College, East Texas Baptist Family Ministries and Texas Baptist Children’s Home. The renewal of affiliation agreements with the two schools will be considered at the next board meeting.

The board also approved reallocation of previously allocated funds designated for technology and a statewide Sunday school emphasis, allowing broader use within department budgets.

SBTC pledges $200,000 toward Midwestern Seminary chapel






Southern Baptists of Texas Convention Executive Board members listen as Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary President R. Philip Roberts describes the growth of the Kansas City campus that prompted the needs for a new chapel and expanded library. SBTC pledged $200,000 to be used for the construction of the pulpit and choir loft areas of the new chapel that Midwestern hopes to begin constructing next spring.

GRAPEVINE, Tx.–After the findings of a task force charged with the study of the SBC’s total program of theological, religious, and missionary education led to launching Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in a central location near new work areas, Texas Baptists volunteered to assist in the construction of the chapel, library, classroom and administration building., as well as transporting stones from quarries in the Lone Star State.

Fifty years after the first chapel was constructed with stone quarried in Texas, the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention has pledged $200,000 from surplus funds to construct the pulpit and choir loft area of the school’s new chapel.

“We took the lead to do what no other state convention probably can do at this time because of the prudence with which we’ve dealt financially [with our budget],” explained Mark Howell, chairman of the administrative committee of the SBTC executive board, in making the recommendation at the July 21 board meeting. “This is an exciting opportunity and we can be a part of it.” Howell pastors Houston Northwest Baptist Church.

Midwestern Seminary hopes to begin construction next spring for the 650-seat chapel to provide a place for corporate worship, special events and graduation ceremonies on campus. Seven consecutive years of FTE (full-time equivalents) growth and three years of total enrollment exceeding 1,000 students has rendered current facilities inadequate to meet demands.

Nearly half a million dollars has been raised thus far with additional funding from SBTC expected to help attract the interest of foundations providing matching funds to go toward the $4.05 million chapel project. The multi-use facility will also provide classroom and office space and free up the current chapel area for library expansion.

Noting the “sacrificial support and vital partnership in ministry” with SBTC, Midwestern Seminary President R. Philip Roberts thanked the board for past support in the form of chapel seating, guest room furnishings and a room in the Koehn & Myers Center for World Evangelism. “Our most carefully chosen words cannot fully express our deep gratitude for SBTC’s support and encouragement,” he said. “This will be an investment in the lives and ministries of those called of God to be and make disciples of Jesus Christ.”

In order for the pledge to be funded, construction of the chapel must begin within 36 months. Several years ago SBTC funded $300,000 to assist with chapel construction at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth. A 2001 gift to New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary funded an apartment construction project with a $150,000 grant, later cleaning and repainting the units affected by Hurricane Katrina. A $200,000 grant funded the printing of Chinese Bibles through a LifeWay Christian Resources ministry known as “A Defining Moment” campaign last year.

In June board members approved a recommendation to give a $100,000 surplus funding grant to the International Mission Board to be used in connection with the deployment of IMB missionaries sidelined due to inadequate Lottie Moon Christmas Offering receipts. In their July 21 meeting members discussed revisiting the matter in November to determine whether additional funds might be granted for that purpose. The IMB is the largest beneficiary of Cooperative Program funds, regularly receiving more than a fourth of CP gifts received from SBTC churches, noted one board member.

Dangerous ‘literalism’

Who should be allowed to read the Bible? No really, when the “science is settled” and still the religious ignorant among us insist on dragging our feet as our masters try to pull our children toward enlightenment, is it in the public interest to allow untrained and unsophisticated people to read God’s Word for themselves?

President Obama’s designee to head the National Institutes of Health, Francis Collins, seems to think that it is not. Collins has been the poster boy for acceptable evangelicals since he began his campaign for theistic evolution a few years back. Dr. Collins is the founder of the BioLogos Foundation which, in its effort to find harmony between science and faith, handles non-evolutionists with contempt. Collin’s co-founder at BioLogos is Karl Giberson. Giberson recently conducted an interview (friendly chat, in reality) with Collins for Books & Culture. One reason Giberson gave for the presence of evolution deniers among his fellow evangelicals is that, “We encourage people to read the Bible on their own, but certain misunderstandings are bound to emerge with that approach. Young people are going to read Genesis and think of Adam and Eve as real biological parents of the human race.” Collins responded that we should put “God’s other book,” the book of Nature, in a place of authority more comparable to that of the Bible?to not so quickly assume that the Bible is correct when there is an apparent contradiction with the conclusions of (selected) scientists.

Substitute “conciliar law” for “the book of Nature” and “priests” for “scientists” in BioLogos’ scheme and you’ve reverted to 1516, before the Protestant Reformation restored biblical authority to its preeminent role. It was more convenient for the priesthood of that day that the untrained take their word for religious matters, just as it is for the secular priesthood of our day. We might glean two parallel warnings in Giberson’s and Collins’ fairly mainstream opinion.

First, it’s important that everyday folks (such as the human writers of the biblical books) read the Scriptures without self-exalted human guides. Jesus preached the deep matters of the kingdom in language intentionally accessible to the poor and uneducated. Faith, the simple belief in what God says, has proved to be a more critical element in understanding the Bible than has sophistication or higher education. To this sort of person, Jesus told parables of farmers sowing seed, a woman losing a valuable coin, a father losing and finding a wayward son. Heads surely nodded in understanding as the Lord used these common experiences to explain the gospel.

I believe this understanding was behind Martin Luther’s determination to translate the Bible into vernacular German. This was a very controversial action on his part; his opponents considered the untrained and uninitiated to be incapable of understanding what the Bible said. Luther’s own testimony proves this, actually. His personal study of Romans is what set the whole Reformation ball rolling. Luther believed that the lowest stable boy should be able to read the Bible in his own heart language.

How would stable boys, farmers, housewives, and mortgage brokers read Genesis then? I know that some sophisticates are convinced that even Jesus was not saying what he seemed to be saying, what his hearers understood him to be saying, but discard that rubbish for a minute. Did Jesus’ disciples, non-professionals like Peter and John, understand Genesis 3 to be about the real biological parents of the human race? Did they read Genesis 8 to be about a worldwide flood and a real guy named Noah that God saved out of the flood? Unless you believe that Jesus secretly confessed intentional deception to the 12, you have to say “yes, they did understand these passages pretty literally.” Perhaps Dr. Collins believes we should think of ourselves as better than these simple folks.

Second, this discussion indicates that it is very important that we, who have the Bible in several versions of our native tongue, read it. We should read it, read it aloud, pore over it, meditate on it, treat it as the very Word of God, and believe the God who speaks through it. If it leads us to think something that is out of step with the majority view in our culture or our profession, read it again, but don’t finally place the opinions of men on equal or superior footing with the teachings of the God of all truth.

As fine and important as the professions are, we should not all become physicists or biologists or chemists. We are all theologians and philosophers, though. Few of us will ever endanger our amateur status in these foundational disciplines but we do expound on the nature of truth and other ultimate matters more often than we realize.

I say this to point out another fallacy of the “how dare you amateurs speak on my subject” attitude of Darwinists within and without the body of Christ. As philosophers, we all have a view of the world that makes sense to ourselves. We all evaluate the validity of claims and offers that come our way a thousand times a day.

As theologians, we worship a god or the God. We form convictions regarding our source, purpose, and final destination. We have opinions regarding how the theology of others stacks up to our own. The fact that many Americans do not consider <st1:place w:st="on

SEC ’09: Ziafat, Sanctus Real, Dutton

This year’s SBTC Student Evangelism Conference (SEC) at the Dallas Convention Center Aug. 7-8 will feature speakers Afshin Ziafat and Ed Newton and music from Sanctus Real, Brandon Heath and Dutton.

“The theme ‘Message Received, Message Sent’ illustrates what we hope to achieve with the Student Evangelism Conference this year,” said SBTC Student Evangelism Associate Jared McIntire. “We hope students will receive the message and in turn send out the gospel with their lives and witness.”

Ziafat and Newton are the right speakers to communicate that vision, McIntire said.

“Both of these guys have incredible life stories of God’s grace and serve as some of the best student communicators in the United States. They will challenge the lost to be saved and the believer to share his or her faith. On top of having musical artists Brandon Heath and Sanctus Real, we are fortunate to have one of the next up and coming worship bands, Dutton. These guys are talented, humble, and love students.”

Raised as a Muslim in Houston by immigrants from Iran, Ziafat came to Christ through the witness of friends in high school and a Bible given him when he was a boy by a Christian tutor. He dug the Bible out of a closet when he was challenged to read it by some high school friends.

Newton was raised as the only child of deaf parents, and became a Christian in high school after a series of hardships. A former church student minister and outreach pastor, Newton serves as staff evangelist at Faith Baptist Church in Bartlett, Tenn.

For those unfamiliar with the annual SEC, McIntire said the event is one where students, student ministers, and student volunteers can find spiritual refreshment and revitalization to be “effective witnesses in the spheres of influence where God has placed them.”

Conference registration begins at 2 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 7, with doors opening at 5:45 p.m. and session one beginning at 6 p.m. and ending at 10 p.m.

Doors open on Sat., Aug. 8 at 8:15 a.m. with the session beginning at 9 a.m. and running until noon.

Registration as a group is encouraged by visiting planetstudents.org, where additional information on area hotels and restaurants is available. Conference cost is $30 per person or $35 at the door.

The Dallas Convention Center is at 650 S. Griffin St., Dallas (75202-5098).

As usual, there is a Six Flags special rate available for conference attendees. Park tickets are available at the discounted rate of $25.50 per person (plus fees and tax) online at sixflags.com/overtexas. Enter the promo code SBTC09. There will also be a Six Flags booth with tickets for sale at the SEC.

McIntire added: “Through the music and speakers I hope unbelieving students will experience the grace of God and trust Christ as their Savior and Lord. I pray teenagers who have made mistakes and feel unworthy hear that God does love them despite their faults. I hope the stubborn and rebellious students will be humbled and broken by the cross of Jesus. I look forward to seeing and hearing how God shows up.”

Church Leadership Conference bringing ‘brightest and best’

The annual SBTC Church Leadership Conference, Aug. 14-15 at First Baptist Church of Forney, will offer more than 60 topical sessions with “the brightest and best” thinkers in church ministry today, said Church Ministries Associate Kenneth Priest.

The conference will feature keynote speaker Chuck Kelley, president of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, on Aug. 15. Also included this year are pre-conference sessions on Friday, Aug. 14 featuring roundtable discussions and a session called “Spiritual Conversations with the Unchurched” with Mike Glenn, pastor of Brentwood Baptist Church in suburban Nashville, Tenn., and author of “In Real Time: Authentic Young Adult Ministry As It Happens.”

“The main emphasis of the Church Leadership Conference is comprehensive leadership training,” Priest said. “From a pastor’s perspective, this conference is designed for them to bring their key lay leaders and there is a track of study that will help that lay leader in service to the church. We have tried to focus on the hot topics in the church today.

“In today’s economic climate, most churches are not going to be able to do all the training they would want to do at the church. We have made available at a minimal cost top-level leaders. Overall, I think we’re bringing in the brightest and best.”

Priest said examples of such leaders are Alan Chambers, executive director of Exodus International, in response to what Priest said was a growing number of inquiries from churches, especially small- and medium-size churches in metropolitan areas, about ministry to people with homosexual attraction, and church staff members such as David Lorenz, college and singles pastor at First Baptist Church of Orlando.

Chambers will lead discussions on “Leaving Homosexuality” and “Practical Tips on Ministering to Children Whose Parents are in the Gay Community.”

Tracks include collegiate ministry, missions, family ministry, evangelism, preschool and preteen ministry, student ministry, technology, pastoral ministry, publicity and many others.

Other breakout sessions include such topics as “Spiritual Practices of Small Group Leaders,” “Equipping Parents to be the Primary Disciplers,” “Effective Church Websites,” “Developing a Church Evangelism Team,” and “iPod Children in Sunday School.”

The theme verse for the conference is Philippians 4:9: “Do what you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you.”

A Spanish-language session will also be offered at the conference featuring Mike Gonzales, director of the Hispanic Initiative and SBTC Ethnic Ministries, along with his wife, Dalia; SBTC ministry associate Bruno Molina and his wife, Clara; and Sergio Arce of LifeWay Christian Resources.

Registration through Aug. 7 is $15 per person or $20 at the door. To register or for more information, visit sbtexas.com/clc. First Baptist Forney is about 15 minutes east of Dallas at 1003 College St. (FM 741) in Forney (75126).

Pastor: 2008 outdoor expo still reaping results

CORPUS CHRISTI—Heath Peloquin, pastor of Brighton Park Baptist Church in Corpus Christi, desired to see the Holy Spirit move among his congregation and community. To that end, he prayed the Lord would lead him in a mission that would change his life and the lives of thousands of others.

The result: “Life on the Bay Expo,” an evangelistic outreach that involved over 3,500 people and led to 136 souls finding the saving grace of Jesus Christ during a men’s dinner, outdoor games, hunting and fishing attractions, food, and entertainment.

Jay Lowder of Harvest Ministries was the evangelist at the event in spring 2008 that is still reaping results, Peloquin said.
With hundreds of men who had never stepped inside a church building, the men’s dinner, Peloquin said, was one of the most powerful moments he had ever experienced.

“I was overwhelmed as God visited us in a new and life-changing way. He did that and our church has never been the same. The real story lies in the lives that were changed that weekend.”

One of the many outstanding evidences of this was when a tug-boat captain who had been raised in a Mormon home came forward to profess Jesus as Savior. Men who came in to eat steak and shrimp left with a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Also in the morning service a single mother who was raising three children was saved.

“I heard Jay Lowder preach at the State Evangelism Conference in Euless and prayed about inviting him to come and preach a revival,” Peloquin said. “Jay asked me if I was open to an outdoor-type event that would reach lost people on four levels–men, women, students and children.”

After many conversations with Joe Simmons, the crusade/event evangelism consultant for the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention, and much prayer, Brighton Park Baptist decided to take part in an effort to reach their city for Christ.

It was a revival unlike any that Peloquin had seen with Lowder’s comprehensive approach. It captured citywide attention, with the church being on the Corpus Christi Bay near Oso Bay in South Corpus Christi.

“We were able to secure an outdoor tent big enough to hold the attendance because our worship center would not be able to hold the services,” Peloquin said. “We were able to locate exhibitors, and even people in our community willing to come help with sponsorships or give-a-ways.”

There were activities for children and families such as inflatables, food, and exhibitions from all across the state for hunters of deer, gorilla, monkeys, elk, hog and bobcats. A big thrill for children of all ages was the touch tanks with stingrays and marine life of all sorts. Hank Hough’s dog hunting demonstration drew hundreds as he shared about training a world champion dog, and then how to be a champion through Jesus Christ.

Although the expo sought to reach all people, it is designed to attract men.

“We felt we already had a pretty solid grip on how to reach students but after years of evangelistic outreaches we began to see that students were getting saved in mass, only to go home to unbelieving, resistant parents,” Lowder said, “Furthermore, I became convinced that if you could reach the man at the home then you could impact the whole family. This is seen in the Phillipian jailer, once his heart was high-jacked by Christ his whole family followed suit.”
Lowder’s involvement in outdoor expo events was birthed through a conversation with Jerry Falwell before his death in 2007, Lowder explained.

“We are still engaged in extremely effective four-day crusades, but we wanted to provide a high-octane event that would only be held on weekends,” Lowder said. “Some pastors were reluctant to pursue extended events and we knew that a 48-hour outreach would remove some of their hesitancy.”
Lowder said men are often uneasy in what they consider to be a touchy-feely and non-masculine setting. Many churches have their worship, stage appearance and temperature of the services set in a way that often leave men with a disconnected feeling. The outdoor expos are set up in a way where these men can feel more comfortable.

“I have hunted my whole life and know from experience that men who feel at home outdoors are a different breed of people; most are tough, rugged, and a man’s kind of man,” Lowder said. “Some people don’t understand that the hunting community is not just a bunch of hillbillies and rednecks but also of doctors, lawyers and businessmen of all types.”

Lowder, who said he can relate to such men, said he wants to follow Jesus’ model of ministry by “not waiting for them to come to the gospel but rather take the gospel to them.”

Peloquin said, “We had over 400 men at the event with 50 men trusting in Jesus, just that evening.”

Lowder spoke during the men’s dinner about hunting and was able to tie it to the conversation between Jesus and Nicodemus.

“After that he launched right into John 3 and you could’ve heard a pin drop,” Peloquin said. “He had the attention of every man in the room.”

“We have seen as many as 100 men accept Christ in one service,” Lowder said, “The same men who never grabbed the handle on a church door have shot into our events like a bullet and left penetrated by Christ. Jesus was a carpenter and everything in Scripture leads me to believe that he men of his day were drawn to his presence.”

Lowder added: “Jesus engaged fishermen, Roman gladiators, and even mountain men who ate locusts and wild honey. Shouldn’t we be doing the same?”

To learn more about the SBTC’s outdoor expo events, contact the SBTC Evangelism Team toll-free at 877-953-7282 (SBTC).

Odessa pastor to be nominated for president

ROCKWALL?Steve Swofford, pastor of First Baptist Church of Rockwall, said he plans to nominate First Baptist Church of Odessa pastor Byron McWilliams as president of the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention during the SBTC annual meeting Oct. 26-27 in Lubbock.

Swofford, a former SBTC president, said McWilliams provides “first of all a role model for what a biblical home and family” should be and is someone with “integrity and authenticity.” Married 27 years to Andi, the native Texas couple has three teenagers.

“Byron is a faithful and trustworthy Great Commission pastor who is deeply committed to personal evangelism and text-driven preaching” as well as international missions. McWilliams serves as an International Mission Board trustee who has led his church to give sacrificially through the Lottie Moon Offering for International Missions.

Swofford praised McWilliams for leading FBC Odessa to affiliate with the SBTC during his five years as pastor there.

“Although very involved in the SBTC through his faithful attendance at the annual meetings and SBTC-sponsored speaking engagements, Byron has never served as an officer of the convention or on the executive board and so his election would not only give us a president from West Texas, but would also continue the SBTC precedent of electing fresh leadership to the SBTC,” Swofford said.

SBC EC officers approved Chapman’s call for resignation of business and finance VP

R. Clark Logan Jr., with his wife Helen and three sons behind him, addresses the SBC Executive Committee after his election as vice president for business and financeOct. 15, 2007. At left is EC President Morris H. Chapman; at right, Georgia pastor and EC chairman Bill Harrell. Photo by Morris Abernathy.

NASHVILLE, Tenn.–Clark Logan resigned abruptly July 1 from the staff of the Executive Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention where he has served as vice president for business and finance since Oct. 15, 2007. The TEXAN broke the story July 2, reporting that Logan told friends he had been fired.

When asked for a statement as to whether he had sought Logan’s resignation, EC President Morris Chapman stood by his account that Logan had resigned, adding, “It is not the practice of the Executive Committee to respond to rumors.”

EC officers are responsible for approving termination of executive staff, a requirement Chapman fulfilled during a June 30 conference call that chairman Randall James of Orlando, Fla., described as lasting about five minutes, according to a report in the Florida Baptist Witness.

Until then, none of the officers expressed a willingness to speak on the record about the event that has since dominated posts to online networking sites used by many Southern Baptists to update one another on developing news.

James, who serves as president of the First Orlando Foundation and assistant pastor of First Baptist Church of Orlando, broke the silence of EC officers by communicating his thoughts in a July 16 e-mail to state Baptist newspaper editor James A. Smith Sr., who released the account of their participation in Chapman’s decision. After sending the e-mail, the 62-year-old EC chairman left for a two-week vacation encouraged by his oncologist as he continues his recovery from cancer treatment.

“I considered this a courtesy call from Dr. Chapman to inform EC officers of an administrative matter he was going to undertake shortly,” James said. He told the Witness that Chapman “had been praying for six months about the matter” due to problems he had experienced with Logan. “He told the officers a change was imminent and asked us to approve his authority to make the change,” James said, acknowledging that he was not certain Chapman was required to seek their approval.

Unanimous consent was granted by five of the six officers, including James, newly named vice chairman Roger L. Spradlin of Bakersfield, Calif., secretary Martha Lawley of Worland, Wyo., business and finance committee chairman David R. Mitchell of Monticello, Ark., and Cooperative Program committee chairman Doug Melton of Oklahoma City. Administrative committee chairman Rick Lineberger of Bradenton, Fla., was not available to participate in the conference call.

Spradlin has not responded to e-mail inquiries. When contacted by the TEXAN, Lawley declined further comment on the officers’ response to information provided by Chapman. Noting they agreed to let James serve as their spokesman, she encouraged Southern Baptists to pray for peace and patience.

Logan told the TEXAN that he felt it best not to comment the day after being asked to resign, but issued this statement to the Witness the following week:

“On Wednesday, July 1, 2009, I was asked to submit my resignation before the end of the day, which I did. I do not have any comment to make regarding my separation, except to make clear that I have not been involved in, nor have I been accused of being involved in, any immoral or unethical action.”

Chapman later confirmed Logan’s assertion, while noting the EC “follows established policy” for personnel matters, which must remain “private,” according to the Witness update.

Logan added, “I have enjoyed the past 21 months of service to the people of the SBC through the VP role and that of Convention Manager. I am grateful to God, my staff, and countless volunteers for a successful Annual Meeting just two weeks ago.” He expressed confidence in the staff with whom he worked and desire for God’s blessings on the entire Executive Committee.

Chapman assessed Logan’s tenure for the TEXAN via e-mail, writing on July 2: “Clark Logan resigned yesterday from his position as Vice President for Business and Finance of the Executive Committee. Clark is a fine young man and his gifts and skills uniquely equip him for many positions of service among Southern Baptists. I am grateful for the contributions he made to the work of the Executive Committee, and I wish the best for him and his family as Clark pursues othr opportunities for ministry.”

Logan came to Nashville from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., where he had first served as assistant director of admissions, then director of development, and finally as vice president for administration. He was a computer analyst with State Farm Insurance in Bloomington, Ill., and later served churches in Owenton and Louisville. He earned undergraduate and graduate degrees in business aadministration as well as a master of divinity from Southern.

GCR task force to meet twice in August; listening session to precede Ark. meeting

ROGERS, Ark.?The Southern Baptist Convention’s newly minted Great Commission Task Force will meet twice next month, once in Atlanta, Ga. and once in Rogers, Ark.

SBC President Johnny Hunt confirmed for The Illinois Baptist on July 15 that the task force will meet Aug. 11-12 at the Renaissance Hotel near the Atlanta Airport, and again Aug. 26-27 at the Embassy Suites Northwest Arkansas in Rogers. Hunt is pastor of First Baptist Church, Woodstock, Ga., north of the metro Atlanta area, and task force chairman Ronnie Floyd is pastor of First Baptist Church, Springdale, Ark. and the Church at Pinnacle Hills in Rogers.

The Arkansas meeting will be preceded, according to Floyd, by a luncheon for area pastors and staff, laypersons serving on SBC entities and “anyone who wants to come.”

“I have asked Dr. Hunt to come in early (for the meeting), and he and I will address these leaders about the GCR and the future of the SBC,” Floyd wrote in an e-mail to the Illinois Baptist. “We will open it up for questions and try to provide an entrée for them to interact with us ? I want this to be one of our listening sessions and an opportunity to speak to the people about the SBC.”

Floyd said invitations to the luncheon, which will be held at The Church At Pinnacle Hills’ campus, will be mailed in early August to SBC leaders within a two-hour driving radius of Rogers, including eastern Oklahoma and southern Missouri, but offered to all. “If anyone wants to come, just call our office at 479-751-4523 and RSVP to Debby Swart,” he said.

Hunt appointed the 19-member task force during the SBC annual meeting in Louisville, Ky. last month, then added four members in early July to broaden its representation. The vote authorizing the task force charges it with studying how Southern Baptists can work “more faithfully and effectively together in serving Christ through the Great Commission.”

Floyd also reminded Southern Baptists that “in early August we are going to launch a major prayer website where we enlist people to pray for the GCR and all involved in it.”