Month: December 2010

They give to missions, ‘no matter what’

DENISON?Aggressive missions giving doesn’t just happen, said Chet Haney, pastor of Parkside Baptist Church.

It takes a congregation with a heart for missions and a pastor with a focus and willingness “to really challenge people to stretch their vision and their concept of what they can do,” said Haney, who has been Parkside’s pastor for 15 years.

Located in the bustling city of Denison, 75 miles north of Dallas and one of 65 congregations in the Grayson Baptist Association, Parkside has grown exponentially in its missions fervor.

In 2009, members gave $14,563 to the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering for North American Missions, or $22.61 per capita. Across the Southern Baptist Convention, the average member’s overall per capita gift to the offering is $14.78.

“It’s been a blessing over the years to see families, perhaps formerly satisfied with giving $50 or $100, now looking to do much more,” Haney said. “If you’re going to go from giving, for example, $30 to $3,000, it really affects your family budget for the year. You have to think, ‘How are we going to make this happen?’

“It is important to get people thinking in terms of giving larger amounts, in the upper hundreds or low thousands per family,” Haney said. “That has been a key part of the promotion strategy. It hasn’t caught on with everybody, but it has with most, and that’s been the difference. It’s widespread sacrifice, not the super large gifts of just a few. On the spiritual side, you have to really trust God to provide. That’s the beautiful part of this.”

Parkside’s support of missions through the North American Mission Board is because NAMB’s focus is the area of the world’s greatest need?the raising up of a missionary people who will multiply ministry as they spread out throughout the world, Haney said.

“You boil missions down to its core essence, and you’ve got a sovereign God who chooses to do what he does through people who humble themselves and obey him so they can join him?as [Henry] Blackaby taught us?in what he is doing,” the pastor said. “A truly successful mission trip will almost always leave the participants in awe. They won’t brag. They won’t show off. They won’t say, ‘Look what we did!’ They’ll say, ‘What a mighty God we served.’ They’ll say, ‘Look how God blessed me by letting me be part of his work.’

“That’s what missions really accomplishes,” Haney said. “That leads to revival. If we humble ourselves before God, then he will lift us up, and he will allow us to hear that Macedonian call that echoes from the Scriptures: ‘Come over here and help us. We need a construction team. We need an evangelism team.’ That call can only be heard by a humble heart.”

Parkside’s one-day ingathering of money for three seasonal missions offerings?international, North American and the SBTC Reach Texas Offering?takes place the first Sunday in December.

“We can raise a lot more money that way,” Haney said. “But to have a successful world missions offering you have to prepare for it well in advance, to encourage people to give sacrificially.”

Two things are essential for a successful world missions offering, the pastor said. First, members have to ask God what he wants them to give. Second, they have to commit to give that amount no matter what.

Members do not make pledges, and the church’s goal is an independent amount.

“We have found, in my experience, that after you do this a year or two, it’s hard to keep up with the enthusiasm,” Haney said. “Our goals have a tendency to swell almost to the point of ridiculous for our size congregation. This year it’s a hugely challenging $130,000.”

But when people listen to what God wants them to give and then commit to give it, “God grants miraculous provision in order to honor our commitment,” Haney said. “It takes initiative and desire and faith, and it’s a huge challenge, but when you put it out there, God blesses.”

As one example, the pastor said Parkside member Betty Cabaniss told him how God two years in a row provided a bonus check for the precise amount she and her husband Wayne had set as their family goal for Parkside’s annual world missions offering.

Parkside responds generously to missions needs for two reasons, Haney said. He takes responsibility for making missions personal, and the congregation takes mission trips.

“I’ve always liked making missions personal,” Haney said. “[Missionaries] are real people who used to sit in pews like us and God called them and they said ‘yes.'”

He tells of the first missionary he met, a former band leader who was teaching trumpet in Liberia to build relationships to help start churches. He tells of a pastor in Brazil who requested new tires for his four-wheel-drive vehicle so he could drive into the Amazon and reach people for Christ.

The same week in August that 45 Parkside teenagers and their leaders were evangelistically knocking on doors in New Orleans and helping in Southern Baptists’ continuing recovery of that city from the effects of Hurricane Katrina, 85 members of the church’s construction team were in Kansas City, Mo., helping in the construction of a new chapel for Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary?this out of a congregation where about 650 people participate in Sunday morning worship.

And for the third year in a row, in December a multifaceted missions team will journey to rural Nicaragua.

“When our people go on a missions trip, they see things God can use them to do in our own local mission field, which is right here where we live,” Haney said. “Our students were so excited about what they did in New Orleans that they said, ‘Hey, we want to do this here,’ and went out knocking on doors before prayer meeting their first Wednesday back, and led seven people to the Lord that night.

“It really affected our whole church,” the pastor said. “Thanks to our teenagers … we have a more serious and sober sense of the urgency of our own personal mission. We’re all on mission for Christ.”

That mission has to start in Denison and across the United States, Haney said.

“Our nation, which has historically been the great sending body for missions throughout the world, has gradually but steadily become a mission field. There’s no denying it,” the pastor said. “The lostness in our country, the depreciation of cultural morality?it’s heartbreaking to see what our country has become spiritually.

“We’re in great need of revival, and we don’t even know how desperate we are,” Haney added. “We are asleep, and I don’t know what it will take to awaken this nation to its spiritual despondency. For that reason, missions at home has become equally if not more urgent than missions around the world?because if we don’t have revival, then there won’t be anything left to give to the world, perhaps in a short time.

“I don’t think it’s too late,” the pastor said. “I think there’s an opportunity for us to see revival, but we’re going to have to really pray. It’s going to have to start in a church somewhere.”

A group of men at Parkside has been praying seven days a week for the past 18 months for God to send revival to America.

Even more personally, 18 months ago the church distributed pieces of chalk to members during a Sunday service?hundreds of pieces. They were asked to draw symbolic circles around themselves and “pray for God to revive what’s inside that circle to show revival has to be personal,” Haney said. “It’s not likely for revival to start in Hollywood or among politicians. God’s blueprint for revival starts in the church.”

State meetings call for revival, respond to GCR

NASHVILLE, Tenn.  Widespread calls for spiritual awakening were voiced in resolutions and sermons at many Southern Baptist state convention meetings this fall. The urgency of prayer and repentance was repeated, from a testimony by Scott Brewer, president of the Northwest Baptist Convention, to an appeal by Baptist Convention of New York Executive Director Terry Robertson for churches to set aside a specific time to pray every week for God to send revival.

Ohio and Mississippi Baptists affirmed plans in their states to focus on prayer for spiritual awakening during the month of January, while Nevada Baptists endorsed the priority as part of task force recommendations. Kentucky Baptists were called to prayer and dependence upon God for spiritual awakening, while Arkansas, New Mexico and Ohio Baptists pledged to penetrate the lostness of their states. Illinois Baptists renewed their focus on evangelism and missions.

Several annual meetings were preceded by evangelistic outreach in the host region, including Tampa, Fla., where 689 professions of faith were reported, and an outreach effort in Albany, Ga., where food and Bibles were distributed and 27 people professed faith in Christ.

Crossover Central Nebraska resulted in 38 professions of faith, and the Valley Reach campaign of the Baptist General Convention of Texas featured 48 projects and 82 congregations with 766 professions of faith reported. Crossover Corpus Christi, hosted by Southern Baptists of Texas Convention, reported 696 professions of faith at a single outreach event.

Messengers at several state convention meetings endorsed proposals to apply the concepts of the Great Commission Resurgence Task Force recommendations adopted by Southern Baptist Convention messengers in Orlando this past June. Florida, Kentucky, Nevada and Tennessee Baptists called for moving to a 50/50 distribution of Cooperative Program funds so resources for ministry could be increased worldwide.

Similar studies will get underway in Alabama, California, Minnesota-Wisconsin, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Tennessee next year as these state conventions evaluate how to prioritize their own mission strategies. Alabama Baptists will rely on their executive board to study “how to focus resources and conduct Great Commission ministries through the coming decade.” California’s 12-member Focus 21 task force will study how best to focus efforts on fulfilling the Great Commission.

Arizona, Minnesota-Wisconsin, South Carolina and New England Baptists approved the creation of task forces or committees for developing plans to respond to the SBC-endorsed Great Commission Resurgence Task Force recommendations, particularly in light of anticipated funding changes. Arizona Baptists also heard from a 10-member team that affirmed their current structure while proposing churches be “rewarded” for strategic planning. Oklahoma Baptists endorsed forming a 23-member Mission Advance Team to analyze the work of the convention and recommend strategic priorities. Tennessee Baptists approved a Vision 2021 strategic planning team to evaluate their effectiveness.

Ohio and Northwest Baptists appealed for prayer for new leaders Kevin Ezell at the North American Mission Board and Frank Page at the SBC Executive Committee at a time of change, while Ohio and New England Baptists specifically referred to the need for prayer as changes are implemented as part of the Great Commission Resurgence.

Colorado Baptists will have a chance to provide input in 2011 to a task force that has been examining the strategy and structure of their state convention during the past year. Utah-Idaho messengers affirmed that their churches are “on mission with the Great Commission.”

Nevada Southern Baptists endorsed a proposal to merge their state convention and four associations into one entity, affirmed the value of churches starting churches and encouraged new pastor/church partnerships. Baptist General Association of Virginia messengers affirmed a proposal to expand their local, national and international relationships based on a two-year review of the growing number of congregations from outside Virginia joining BGAV.

Expressions of support and encouragement of the Cooperative Program as a means of mission partnership and disciple-making were passed by Southern Baptists in New Mexico, the Northwest, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Southern Baptists Conservatives of Virginia and West Virginia, with Illinois Baptists resolving to strengthen cooperation. Illinois, Northwest, Oklahoma and South Carolina Baptists addressed the need for biblical stewardship.

As Kentucky Baptists move toward an equal division of Cooperative Program receipts for in-state and global use, churches were asked to increase their CP allocations incrementally by 3 percent over the next 12 years. Southern Baptist Conservatives of Virginia encouraged churches to give at least 10 percent to CP and further challenged them to increase giving by a quarter-percent annually until 2020.

Louisiana and Oklahoma Baptists expressed support for the institution of marriage, while Louisianans also encouraged family worship in a separate resolution. Northwest Baptists pledged prayer and ministry to orphans worldwide, while SBTC messengers encouraged pastors and church leaders to continue emphasizing God’s concern for orphans and attention to ministries that provide financial resources to families desiring to adopt. Oklahoma Baptists also affirmed the ministry of foster care and adoption.

New Mexico Baptists voiced support for legislation that would prohibit late-term abortions in the state, while West Virginia Baptists expressed concern that the newly crafted health care bill “will mandate federal funding of abortion.” SBTC messengers encouraged elected officials to promote adult stem cell research and defund embryo-destructive research.

Both Alabama and Louisiana Baptists expressed concern that proposed legislation for the “Employment Nondiscrimination Act” would add protections for sexual orientation to current anti-discrimination laws, impeding the free speech rights of pastors and ministers opposed to homosexuality. South Carolina Baptists encouraged believers to love and show compassion toward homosexuals, while advising Baptist leaders to deal honestly with the Word of God, teaching the subject of homosexuality in its intended context of sin.

SBTC messengers acknowledged the “nearly 400 ethno-linguistic groups” in the state and commended efforts to reflect diversity through leadership.

Baptist General Association of Virginia messengers urged the U.S. Congress to resolve the country’s immigration crisis while Oklahoma Baptists called for citizens and immigrants to obey the laws of the land and committed to taking the message and love of Christ to people of all races and nationalities.

Citing statistics on obesity in the state, Alabama Baptists were urged to repent of overeating and become good stewards of their bodies by practicing moderation as they eat. Both Alabama and Louisiana Baptists encouraged non-smoking policy efforts.

Baptist General Association of Virginia messengers rejected proposals by their state government to privatize its Alcohol Beverage Control commission. In North Carolina, a motion passed to study the use of alcohol in relation to funding church plants, people in leadership and hiring of personnel. Alabama Baptists condemned all forms of gambling and urged increased enforcement of gambling laws while South Carolina and Southern Baptists of Texas Convention messengers opposed the spread of gambling. New Mexico Baptists prayed for an end to gambling in the state.

Northwest and Oklahoma Baptists condemned hum

More states promise larger CP gifts

NASHVILLE, Tenn.?More state conventions are committed to sending a larger share of Cooperative Program dollars to Southern Baptist causes worldwide by reducing the portion they keep for ministry within the state.

Kentucky Baptists set the pace for next year when messengers to their annual meeting approved a 5.54 percent increase to the national Southern Baptist Convention. Sixteen of the 41 state conventions and fellowships will increase the percentage of CP dollars sent beyond their states in 2011, most of them making the change at a time when their own in-state budgets were cut.

Only eight state bodies increased their own budgets for next year, a half-dozen kept them flat, and the majority made cuts as extreme as 13.6 percent for the Baptist General Convention of Texas and nearly 10 percent for Kansas-Nebraska. Of the 24 state conventions and fellowships that passed lower budgets, seven did so while increasing the share of dollars sent to national and international causes, including Indiana, Colorado, Mississippi, Minnesota-Wisconsin, Dakotas, Southern Baptist Conservatives of Virginia, and North Carolina.

Summaries of officer elections and budgets from surrounding states and conventions follow:

ARKANSAS?Clay Hallmark, pastor of First Baptist Church in Marion, was re-elected president and Kim Bridges, pastor of First Baptist Church in Marmaduke was elected first vice president. Messengers approved a flat budget of nearly $21.5 million for 2011, with a 0.2 percent increase for SBC causes to 42.57 percent.

LOUISIANA?Rod Masteller, pastor of Summer Grove Baptist Church in Shreveport, was re-elected president, and Rick Byargeon, pastor of Temple Baptist Church in Ruston, was elected first vice president. Louisiana Baptists approved a 2011 budget of $21,284,217, down $1.2 million from the current year, while continuing to send 36.49 percent to SBC causes.

NEW MEXICO?Messengers elected R. Maurice Hollingsworth, pastor of First Baptist Church in Las Cruces, as president and Gary Wolfe, pastor of First Baptist Church in Otis, as first vice president. A 2011 Cooperative Program budget of $4.01 million was approved, representing a reduction of 10.36 percent from 2010, with the portion of CP gifts sent to SBC causes remaining at 30.5 percent.

OKLAHOMA?Douglas Melton, pastor of Southern Hills Baptist Church in Oklahoma City, was elected president, with Griff Henderson, pastor of Waterloo Road Baptist Church in Edmond, elected first vice president. Messengers approved a $24.2 million budget which represents a 7 percent decrease from the current budget, continuing to allocate 40 percent to the SBC national and international missions and ministries.

TEXAS (BGCT)?Victor Rodriguez, pastor of South San Filadelfia Baptist Church in San Antonio, was elected president, with Jerry Carlisle, pastor of First Baptist Church in Plano, elected first vice president. Messengers adopted a $38 million budget for 2011, a 13.6 percent decrease from the 2010 budget, while continuing to forward 21 percent to SBC causes in the preferred adopted budget.

A detailed report of the SBTC annual meeting is accessible at Byron McWilliams, pastor of First Baptist Church in Odessa, was re-elected president, with Loui Canchola, pastor of Cornerstone Church in McAllen, as vice president. A $25.4 million budget was approved for 2011, a 2.55 percent increase over the current year. The amount forwarded to SBC causes remains at 55 percent.

As Super Bowl approaches, different battle waged off field

ARLINGTON?In the weeks leading up to the Super Bowl in Arlington on Feb. 6, at least two organizations with north Texas ties are working to curb the demand for human trafficking and prostitution associated with such prominent events.

Traffick 911, a year-old organization begun in Fort Worth, and Love146, an international group with local support, are planning informational events at churches and theaters prior to Super Bowl week. They are enlisting churches, home groups and Sunday School classes to volunteer for such things as prayer-walking, a rescue awareness campaign, and flyer distribution in neighborhoods with sexually oriented businesses and other areas prone to prostitution.

Deena Graves, founder of Traffick 911, said, based on data gathered by victims’ advocacy groups and law enforcement at the last two Super Bowls?in Tampa, Fla., in 2009 and in Miami in 2010?prostitutes will be in high demand for the 2011 Super Bowl, which inevitably means the trafficking of minors.

“First of all, you have a large number of male tourists traveling without families. Second, there are large amounts of money at these events,” Graves said. “For example, the Super Bowl host committee estimates there will be 40,000 people coming into our area who do not even have tickets to the Super Bowl. They’re coming just for the party atmosphere. It’s kind of that mindset of ‘what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.'”

Graves said she was shocked to learn several years ago that human trafficking occurred anywhere, much less on American soil.

“I learned that not only do we do this to our children here, but we are one of the leading demand and supply countries,” with estimates of between 100,000 to 300,000 American minors being trafficked for sex each year. Advocacy groups say the typical teenage runaway will spend three days on the street before being either abducted or coerced into prostitution.

Traffick 911 has launched a nationwide “I’m Not Buying It” campaign leading up to the Super Bowl to raise awareness of the problem. The group has representatives serving on two workgroups associated with a task force commissioned by Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott to combat human trafficking in the state.

At a news conference in Arlington on Nov. 30, Abbott said the Florida Coalition Against Human Trafficking reported “tens of thousands of women and minors were trafficked in the Miami area during the last Super Bowl.”

Looking ahead to Super Bowl week, “it’s clear we are going to be defining ourselves as a state and as a people by the way in which we respond to human trafficking,” Abbott said.

Another anti-trafficking organization, Love146, has begun a similar campaign called “It’s Not My Fault,” a title alluding to the oft-cited guilt expressed by children of divorce, by sexual assault victims, and by abused children.

The name, Love146, came from a fact-finding trip to southeast Asia where the group’s founder, Rob Morris, witnessed the enslavement of pre-teen girls?held in large glass boxes with televisions playing children’s cartoons?being marketed to traffickers. Each girl was identified only by a number. The defiant look of one of the girls, number 146, haunted Morris, he recounts in a video accessible at

Among other things, Love146 will be operating a truck during Super Bowl week in areas prone to prostitution bearing an electronic panel with the message “It’s Not My Fault” and a toll-free human trafficking rescue hotline number, said Kim Jones of Colleyville, an anti-human trafficking activist and a minister’s wife.

Love146 will also be purchasing billboard space in Dallas-Fort Worth, she said.

Jones said the issue began to resonate with her after a friend called from a Nashville hotel concerned that a young woman staying at the hotel was being trafficked. The two women prayed, but Jones said that at the time she was unaware of the toll-free hotline of the Polaris Project, 1-888-373-7888, to help those caught in sex slavery.

For the past year, Jones has circulated periodic e-mails updating friends on news concerning the worldwide human trafficking epidemic. It began with a few friends and has grown “like wildfire” as she began including her research, said Jones, whose husband, Barry Jones, is the chairman of the department of spiritual formation at Dallas Theological Seminary.

In collaboration with a friend, Heather Crane, another Dallas-area resident and wife of PGA golfer Ben Crane, the two women enlisted the help of Connecticut-based Love146 in the campaign leading up to the Super Bowl. Crane serves on the Love146 governing board.

In researching human trafficking, Jones said she sensed the Holy Spirit saying to her, “This is kind of a big deal to me. It should be a big deal to you too,” she said.
Jones said young adult Sunday school classes and fellowship groups have been particularly enthusiastic about the project.

The groups are planning several events leading up to the Super Bowl:
?On Jan. 14 at The Palace Theater in Grapevine, Love146 will host a screening of the documentary “The Playground,” distributed by Nest Entertainment, a Christian company, and produced by actor George Clooney?an unusual collaboration but a very moving film, Jones said.

?On Jan. 28, a community prayer service aimed at sex trafficking during Super Bowl week will be held at a location yet to be determined. Jones said time and location of the prayer service would be posted later on the Irving Bible Church website at

?On Feb. 5, the day before the Super Bowl, Traffick 911 will host a tailgate party to raise awareness of the human trafficking problem. The event will include a concert, speakers, a prayerwalk, and a graffiti wall on which attendees can write encouraging messages for young women and children staying in the organization’s safe house.

Both organizations plan to continue their efforts after the Super Bowl leaves town, helping restore the young people they are able to rescue and continuing efforts to diminish demand for the sex trade.

Jones said local law enforcement agencies have been enthusiastic in their support and cooperation, noting especially the efforts of the Dallas and Arlington police departments.

Abbott said the AG’s office “will be putting boots on the ground in the greater Arlington area working to do all we can to try to combat against the scourge of human trafficking.”

Messengers to the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention annual meeting in November passed a resolution decrying the growing problem of sex trafficking, citing Justice Department estimates of 293,000 minors exploited annually in the U.S. The resolution encouraged churches to “support victim rescue and restoration ministries.”

For more information on Traffick 911, e-mail To be added to a monthly Traffick 911 newsletter, e-mail

For additional information on the Love146 Super Bowl effort, e-mail Kim Jones at The organization’s website is

FBC Dallas’ ‘GrinchAlert’ site garners national media attention

DALLAS?At the time of year when “Happy Holidays” supplants the traditional phrase of “Merry Christmas” for many businesses across the United States, First Baptist Church of Dallas launched a website on Dec. 6? consumers may register their compliments or complaints about which seasonal greeting they hear at stores, or read in merchants’ advertising.

On Dec. 9, Robert Jeffress, pastor of the 13,000-member church, appeared on the Fox News Channel’s “Fox and Friends” program and CNN’s “American Morning” show, touting the site. He was scheduled to appear again Dec. 12 on “Fox and Friends.”

Jeffress announced the site’s launch on KCBI FM (90.9), the church’s 100,000-watt radio station, saying that the naughty and nice lists would be broadcast every morning at 7:40 until Christmas Day.

“I wanted to do something positive to encourage businesses to acknowledge Christmas and not bow to the strident voices of a minority who object to the holiday,” Jeffress said in an FBC press release dated Dec. 6. In the release, Jeffress noted his motivation to create the site after observing that several businesses nationwide reportedly have removed Christmas trees and are avoiding the traditional Merry Christmas verbiage.

“People around the country are tired of political correctness,” Jeffress told the TEXAN in a Dec. 9 telephone interview. “The website is a positive effort to encourage businesses that it’s OK to say Merry Christmas.” features a “naughty” and a “nice” list, and allows the public to submit reports regarding businesses that apparently prefer “Happy Holidays” in consideration for the naughty list, and those that employ “Merry Christmas” for the nice list. All submissions are screened before being posted on the site.

With approximately 70 “Grinch Alert” reports already, the ratio between nice and naughty is 10/1, respectively. Businesses throughout the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex and across Texas are listed on the site, with entries also from Minnesota, Michigan, Oklahoma, and Washington, D.C.

Alaska Airlines made the nice list as one site visitor posted the following: “I flew Alaska Airlines on my way back to Dallas after Thanksgiving. When they served me my meal, I was really impressed to see a small card on my meal tray that had a Bible verse on it. Not sure if they do this just around Christmas and Thanksgiving time, but I was really impressed!”

Businesses on the site’s naughty list include Macy’s, Nordstrom’s, Target, and Barnes & Noble. The city hall of Crowley, Texas, is listed as naughty for a sign on the building that reads, “Happy Holidays.” Another site visitor reported that the city council of Tulsa, Okla., voted to substitute the word “Holiday” for “Christmas” in the title of its annual “Christmas Parade of Lights.”

“I realize we live in a pluralistic society, where everyone doesn’t recognize the spiritual value of Christmas the way Christians understand it. But the world as a whole does recognize the significance of the coming of Christ,” said Jeffress, noting that the world’s calendar is based on the birth of Christ. “That’s one reason why Christmas is a unique season and deserves everyone’s recognition.”

Citing a popular children’s book written by Dr. Seuss, Jeffress said the title “is not ‘How the Grinch stole Kwanzaa or Hanukkah,’ but ‘How the Grinch stole Christmas.'” also has a Facebook fan page.