Remembering Ms. Pauline


This past week I attended the funeral for 87-year-old Mission Service Corps Missionary Pauline White.  Ms. Pauline left her home in Sebring, Florida on March 1, 2003 and came to “feed the sheep” as she called it, in the mountains of eastern Kentucky.  Her ministry to families in Harlan County, Kentucky lasted nearly 15 years.

In 2002, while listening to a sermon at the First Baptist Church of Sebring, Ms. Pauline heard about an 86-year-old woman who was still serving God.  “See, you still have at least 14 years to go,” the Holy Spirit seemed to whisper.  “Yes, Lord, send me!” Pauline answered.

Later, she read an article in a North American Mission Board publication about the needs of a ministry in Cumberland, Kentucky.  So moved by the article, Ms. Pauline sold her house, moved to Kentucky, and began her own 14+ year ministry.  And, just as God had spoken, she served until she was 86 years old, just a few days shy of her 87th birthday.

Ms. Pauline directed Shepherd’s Pantry, a ministry that provided food to 500+ low income families each month.  In addition to food boxes, the families were also given personal hygiene items, snack food, and treats for the kids.  Gospel tracts were placed in each food box and Ms. Pauline was very intentional to share the Gospel message with those she served.

Many local volunteers worked alongside Ms. Pauline at the Pantry, and mission teams from other areas of Kentucky and other states came, many times bringing truck loads of food and hygiene items for distribution.  Ms. Pauline’s home church in Sebring, Florida and volunteers from London, Kentucky were also big supporters and volunteers at the ministry.

Pastor Dennis Williams of Cumberland Missionary Baptist Church very fittingly shared from Matthew 25:34-40 at the funeral service.

 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:
For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:
Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.
Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?
When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?
Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?
And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”

Ms. Pauline, you committed your life to the Lord, remained faithful to the end, and have now “inherited the kingdom prepared for you.”  Thank you for coming to Kentucky.  Many children and families were changed physically and spiritually by your faithful service.  You were loved and will be missed.

“Hey, Come Over Here!”

As the Apostle Paul began his second missionary journey strengthening previously planted churches, he planned to travel northeast, toward modern day northern Turkey.  However, the Holy Spirit forbid him to speak the word in Asia (Acts 16:6).  In fact, the “Spirit of Jesus did not permit them” to go there (Acts 16:7).  Instead, they traveled west toward Europe under the Lord’s leading.  Why? Because Paul had a vision during the night of a man in Macedonia (present day Greece), saying, “Come over to Macedonia and help us” (Acts 16:9).

So, immediately they concluded that the Lord was calling them to preach the gospel to them, and they went.  The first city they came to was Philippi.  Paul and his traveling companions went to the riverside outside of the city to find people who would be gathered there for prayer.  Women were there, and as Paul shared about Jesus, God opened the heart of an influential business woman named Lydia and she believed (Acts 16:14).  Paul and his team then shared with her whole family and they all believed and were baptized (Acts 16:15).

What an incredible start for this mission team as they were sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit.  The gospel is shared for the first time on European soil and a house church is birthed.  Lest one think that things always go this well, the following events take a different turn for Paul and Silas.  As they continued to stay in Philippi for many more days a slave girl with a spirit of divination began following them.  She continually said, “These men are bond-servants of the Most High God, who are proclaiming to you the way of salvation” (Acts 16:17).

Paul finally has enough and casts the spirit out of this girl.  Her master sees that his form of profit is now gone and drags Paul and Silas before the authorities, accusing them of throwing the city into confusion by proclaiming unlawful customs (Acts 16:19-21).  The authorities beat them with rods and throw them into jail.  Things definitely have turned downward…or have they?

While in jail Paul and Silas sit shackled singing praises to God.  Around midnight an earthquake rocks the jail and all the prison doors and shackles are unfastened (Acts 16:25-26).  Fearing that the prisoners had escaped, the jailor intends to kill himself, but Paul cries out to him, saying, “Do not harm yourself, for we are all here” (Acts 16:28).  The jailor then asks the question of all questions—“Sirs, what must I do to be saved” (Acts 16:29)?  “Believe in the Lord Jesus,” Paul and Silas reply, “and you will be saved, you and your household” (Acts 16:30).

Here are a several take-aways from this visit to Philippi.  First, gospel advancement relies upon the leading of the Holy Spirit.  Where do we go?  Just be faithful to go and trust God to lead you in where to go.  Second, gospel advancement involves engaging people where they are.  Go where people are gathered and engage them with the gospel.  Third, share the gospel and trust God to open hearts.  Ours is not the responsibility for results, but for faithfulness to share.  Fourth, gospel advancement often involves opposition.  Here is the bottom line, the devil does not like for us to advance the gospel.  Therefore, don’t be surprised when opposition arises; in fact, expect it.  Last, gospel advancement, amidst opposition, often leads to opportunities for God to do the unimaginable.  God can use demon possessed girls, earthquakes, and jail cells to change sinners’ lives.  If we will simply listen, we might hear the faint cry of someone “over there” saying, “Hey, come over here.  We need your help!”

What the 2017 Hurricane Season Taught Us

The year 2017 will be remembered as one of the worst hurricane seasons in U.S. history. Three major hurricanes (Harvey, Irma, and Maria) caused almost 370 billion dollars in damage, and it was only the second time in history for two Category-5 storms to make landfall at that intensity.  Two areas received over 60 inches of rain, one island was left almost uninhabitable, and September 2017 became the most active Atlantic hurricane season on record.

This hyperactive hurricane season left thousands trying to recover, and stretched the capacities of every major disaster response entity.  What are the lessons to be learned from this active response season?

    • Disasters create opportunities for the church to demonstrate the love of God and to share the hope of Christ.  Closed doors open when we show up to offer His love in deed and in truth.
    • Partnerships are vital to effective response efforts.  Working in partnership increases effectiveness and broadens our ability to help more hurting people.  We can do more together than any of us can do alone.
    • Trained volunteers have the greatest impact in disaster response, and greatly increase response effectiveness.  The best way to help in times of disaster is to be trained and connected with a reputable disaster relief organization.  You can get connected and sign up for a 2018 Kentucky Baptist Disaster Relief training by going to .
    • Untrained volunteers create challenges for effective response, but spontaneous volunteers are always going to show up in disaster events with extensive media coverage.  Though untrained volunteers often create response issues, they can fill a needed gap when channeled in a right direction.  God used Southern Baptist untrained volunteers from our churches in amazing ways in the midst of the suffering and devastation, but they were most effective when paired with trained Southern Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers.  Send Relief through the North American Mission Board gives us a vehicle to effectively utilize untrained volunteers effectively, if we develop a strategy from our lessons learned this hurricane season.
    • Disaster sites were overwhelmed with spontaneous loads of collected resources, such as used clothing, bottled water, and other resources.  Before collecting items for disaster victims, we should make sure items are needed and wanted.  We were reminded in 2017 that the best way to help those affected is by giving monetary donations, which enables those affected to both maintain their dignity and to purchase what they really need.
    • Recovery takes time for those affected.  Recovery often takes years for those affected from the loss of disasters.

    • Southern Baptist Disaster Relief and Kentucky Baptist Disaster Relief is one of the best ways to donate to those affected by disaster.  100% of every dollar given goes directly to meet the needs of those affected.
    • Southern Baptist Disaster Relief remains as one of the most effective disaster relief entities in the world.  Southern Baptist volunteers prepared more than 3 million meals, served over 90,000 days and witnessed more than 700 people profess faith in Christ as they ministered to hurricane survivors in 2017.  Kentucky Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers brought help, healing, and hope to thousands of people affected by this extremely active hurricane season in Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands.

“And our people must also learn to devote themselves to good works for cases of urgent need, so that we may not be unfruitful.”  (Titus 3:14)

Why Should My Church Partner in the Baptist Association?

Association is a term that defines how Baptist churches work together in partnership. Churches choose to be part of the local Baptist association and each determines how much participation and financial support they will invest. Many of today’s associations have stepped up to provide value and are leading member churches in revitalization, church planting, leadership development and missions. 

Churches partnering through the local association is sometimes overlooked. Yet, we know that partnership between churches is an important aspect of New Testament Christianity.  The apostle Paul and other New Testament leaders modeled partnership between churches.  While their context may have been different from ours today, the pattern of partnership is repeatable. God still provides uniquely gifted people to lead partnerships today.

In the past, churches partnered together – helping each other with doctrine and practice (Acts 8:14-25; Gal. 3), relocating leaders to strengthen other situations (Acts 11:19-23, 25-26, 12:25, 16:1-3), sending individuals and teams on short-term visits (Acts 11:27, 19:21-22; 1 Cor. 4:15-17; Phil. 2:19-29; 2 Tim. 1:18), sending money to help each other (Acts 11:28-30), and together advancing the gospel and church plants (Rom. 15:24; 2 Cor. 10:15-16).

Here are 5 reasons why your church should partner in the local association –


  1. Partnership Contributes to the Mission –

Our mission from Jesus is to take the gospel to our neighborhoods and the nations, from Jerusalem to the ends of the earth (Matt. 28:19; Acts 1:8). How could any local church do that alone? But if we partner with the association, every church can participate in local and world missions. Every church can pray for, give to and participate through the association towards church planting and missions. Together, our mission can be healthier, stronger, longer, and more sustainable.

2. Partnership encourages Maturity

No matter how educated or experienced your church leadership is, the local church will mature and strengthen when it receives challenge and encouragement from other church leaders, like those in the association. Churches working together in an association hold each other accountable to doctrine, practices, and outreach efforts.

3.  Partnership Is an Expression of Humility –

It honors Christ when we consider others better than ourselves (Phil 2:3) and seek ways to work together for the sake of the gospel.  A church is sadly mistaken if they pridefully believe they don’t need to partner with other churches involved in the same mission.

4.  Partnership Provides Synergy –

An association can help strengthen member churches and prop up weaknesses that may be slowing the work. Associations help maximize a church’s potential influence, providing a network through which the churches can influence more broadly than they could individually.

5. Partnership Provides Support –

Sometimes churches go through immensely challenging seasons. If a church loses a leader to burn out, sickness, or failure, she will find support and encouragement from other member churches because of their partnership in the association.

It is Not Too Late to Plan a 2018 Mission Experience

Well, supposedly Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow on Ground Hog’s Day, so guess we are in the middle of six more weeks of winter.  At any rate, Spring is coming (Lord willing), with the official first day set for March 20th, and most all of us can’t wait for it to get here.  Daylight Savings Time begins on March 11th and we will once again enjoy the longer days, more sunlight, and hopefully warmer temperatures.  It will be here before we know it, as the time just seems to fly by.

Have you planned your 2018 mission experience yet?  If not, there is still time.  Not only do you have time to plan something for Summer and Fall 2018, but it is still not too late to plan something for Spring break.

There are lots of opportunities to serve.  Projects have been updated on the KBC website and new projects are being added almost weekly.  To see a list of the opportunities, go to  Once there, you can search by type of project you would like to do, location of the project, and length of assignment.

Most projects are for one week or less, however there are some summer-intern type opportunities, as well as some full-time (2 years or more) opportunities.  If available, and you feel the Lord leading you to do so, consider serving for an extended period of time.  You will be blessed.

Whether one person or a larger team, there is a place for you.  Whether a men’s group, women’s group, youth group, children’s group, mixed group, or a family team, there is a place for you.  Whether in Kentucky, the United States, or around the world, there is a place for you.

Let us help connect you with a place to serve in missions in 2018.  Not only will you make a difference, it will make a difference in you.

For more information contact us at [email protected].

Light at the End of the Tunnel

Faithful gospel ministry is hard.  It is often filled with deep valleys.  Just a simple scan of Jesus’s earthly ministry reveals the challenges of gospel work.  In fact, Jesus tells his band of novice followers, “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. . . . You will be hated by all because of my name” (Matt 10:16, 22).  So, as Jesus tells it, gospel ministry will be filled with people who want to attach us as a wolf attacks sheep because of their hatred of us for preaching Jesus.  How is a gospel servant able to endure such hardship?

A quick glance of Paul’s journeys in Acts demonstrates the same challenges of faithful gospel ministry that Jesus spoke of with His early followers.  On his first journey taking the gospel to new places, Paul finds himself in the city of Lystra.  Jews from neighboring cities follow him there in order to stir the crowds up against him for preaching Jesus.  Winning the crowds over, the people stone Paul and drag him out of the city, supposing him to be dead (Acts 14:19).

When Paul’s companions surround him, he gets up and goes to the next city and preaches Jesus there as well (Acts 14:20-21).  After many disciples are made, Paul returns to Lystra and previous cities “strengthening the disciples and encouraging them to continue in the faith” (Acts 14:21-22).  Imagine Paul blooded and bruised from the previous day.  He was one beaten mess, and here he is encouraging these new-found believers to continue in the grace of God.  How can gospel ministers continue in such overwhelming situations?

Encouragement.  Paul understood the absolute necessity of gospel encouragement in the face of crushing obstacles.  Encouragement is that component of the Great Commission that is often overlooked but is no less invaluable. Yes, we must pray, evangelize, plant churches, and disciple for Great Commission faithfulness, but if we want to see longevity in ministry we must be intentional about encouragement.

Here is Paul, the recipient of being beaten nearly to death with stones, as the giver of encouragement.  Let’s think of missionaries serving the gospel overseas, much like Paul in his day.  One vital piece to their longevity in gospel service is the proportion to which they receive encouragement from believers back home.

Missionaries often find themselves in a tunnel of darkness because of the demands and challenges of serving the gospel cross-culturally.  Your church, your ministry group, or your Sunday School class can be the light at the end of the tunnel for those laboring tirelessly day after day for the gospel. A text, an email, a skype call, a special package, a team visit, are all ways that you might be a light at the end of their dark tunnel, and thus provide longevity for gospel impact in places that desperately need the gospel.



When Our World Is Shattered

Last week a quiet rural community was jolted awake by a school shooting that left scores of young people, adults, and families reeling.  Marshall County, Kentucky continues to grieve as they seek to recover from an almost unspeakable act of violence, that left two precious young people dead and eighteen others wounded or injured.  This was a tragic and horrible day for this community and for every family involved.

As the community tries to recover, things will normalize but will be forever different from how things were before.  “Different” in these type of tragedies is an understatement.  According to the National Center for PTSD, 77% or more who witness a school shooting may develop post-traumatic stress disorder.   PTSD is triggered by frightening or life-threatening events.  Symptoms include pervasive and disruptive anxiety, nightmares, sleep difficulties, flashbacks, aggression, emotional detachment, social withdrawal,  on-going emotional distress, and even physical pain symptoms.

These responses are often temporary and ease with time.  However some individuals may need psychological and spiritual counseling to be able recover and cope with PTSD.

What can we do to help those who have gone through and survived such a terror-filled event?

  1. Observe behavior of those affected.   Are they demonstrating symptoms of PTSD?  Are they demonstrating behavior that demonstrates they need help or support?
  2. Be there.  People often do not need wisdom or advice, they just need to know that they are not alone and someone cares.
  3. Acknowledge their pain and confusion.  Let them know that you understand that this is a painful, overwhelming, or hurtful time.  Assure them that they are having a normal reaction to an abnormal event.
  4. Intentionally listen.  Focus on the person.  Follow what the person is saying.  Be conscious of body language.  Maintain eye contact.  Be comfortable with periods of silence.  Fixate on what you can do, not what you cannot help with.   Listen more than you talk.
  5.  Actively offer comfort.  Be with them.  Listen to them.  Walk alongside them.  Shield them from further harm.  Help them discover resources to help.
  6. Promote calming.  It is OK to weep with those who are grieving, but remember that you are there for them and seek to focus on their needs not your own.  Seek to help them reestablish normal activities and routines, such as eating, sleeping, exercise, etc.
  7. Allow them to grieve and express their grief.  Grief takes time and most people pass through several stages of grief before ready to move on from the grief event.  Everyone grieves differently and will pass through grief on their own timetable.
  8. Hugs and appropriate physical touches can offer healing and comfort.
  9. Pray with those hurting.  Prayer connects people with God, who is the ultimate source of hope.  Do not underestimate the healing that God often gives through prayer.
  10. Do not try to answer the why questions or offer theology lessons on how God acts in certain events.  In the crisis, people need to know you care, not what you may or may not know.  Let God speak for Himself to the person.
  11. Offer spiritual help when appropriate.  Those with spiritual foundations recover from disaster events in more healthy and positive ways than those without spiritual roots.   Remember to share how God has helped you in crisis times, not seek to force your faith on those affected.  Be cautious in seeking to share Christ to those who have experienced emotional trauma, as we never want to wrongly manipulate vulnerable people.

“Lord, be merciful to us! We wait for you.
Give us strength each morning!
                         Deliver us when distress comes.”  (Isaiah 33:2)

The Command to GO “Trumps” the Need

I am so thankful for the literally thousands of missionaries who serve the Lord in Kentucky each year through a variety of ministries.  Whether one serves as a long term career missionary or a short term volunteer, you are considered a missionary, “if in response to God’s call and gifting, you leave your comfort zone and cross cultural, geographic or other barriers to proclaim the Gospel and live out a Christian witness in obedience to the Great Commission” (North American Mission Board of the SBC).

Missionaries have met many of the physical, emotional and spiritual needs in Kentucky.  Through personal sacrifice and service you have fed hungry children, provided shelter for homeless families, offered accountability for a recovering addict, discipled prisoners in the jail, provided job training for the unemployed, built a wheelchair ramp for the physically handicapped, and cooked meals for the hungry following a disaster.

Why did you go on that mission trip?  What prompted you to leave your job and move your family in order to serve?  What motivates you as a missionary?  Perhaps it is your compassion for the outcast, sympathy for the poor, or simply an overwhelming desire to help those in need. Our primary motivation for serving as a missionary should be the command of Jesus to “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations…” (Matthew 28:19).  Our obedience to His call should trump any and every need that exist.

We must be aware of the needs around us and always looking for ways to meet them in the name of Jesus.  There’s nothing wrong with feeling compassion for the lost and hurting.  But His command to “go” should be our driving force, not the hungry faces, homeless families or children in need.

Faithful Servants

God is “no respector of persons” when it comes to calling out people to serve Him.  In the Bible we see Him calling Moses at age 80, and Samuel and David as young boys.

Currently there are 98 missionaries serving in various ministries across Kentucky.  In looking over this list of missionaries, it was interesting to note that they range in age from 23 to 90.  Four of them are in their 80s and, yes, one is still serving in his 90s.

Jack Simmons, along with wife Wilma (who is in her 80s), heard God’s call to missions more than 26 years ago when they met a Director of Missions who told them about needs in Indiana.  After looking over the area and trying to get something started, they just could not seem to get anything done.  Eventually they realized that God was calling them back to Wilma’s home of West Point, Kentucky, where they began meeting with children in one of the trailer parks each week.

Today, Jack and Wilma minister in two trailer parks.  The children’s program includes Bible stories, crafts, play time, and refreshments.  This ministry has also opened the door to minister by providing food, performing weddings and funerals, and making hospital visits and, at Christmas, they distribute gifts to the children.

In addition to the trailer park ministry, Jack pastors a small rural church and Wilma serves as secretary for the Salem Baptist Association.

Other Kentucky missionaries serving into their 80s are Pauline White, Shirley Barlow, and Pat Howard.

Pauline White heard God’s call to leave her home in Florida and move to eastern Kentucky nearly 15 year ago.  She served people in Harlan County as director of Shepherd’s Food Pantry, faithfully giving out boxes of food, and always sharing the Gospel message with them.  Many were fed both physically and spiritually by her service.  Pauline concluded her ministry with Shepherd’s Pantry at the end of 2017.

Shirley Barlow felt God’s call in the early 50s to be more involved in missions.  Today she directs River City Mission, a homeless shelter in Paducah.  The shelter works with individuals to overcome addictions, secure work, get back on their feet so they can go back into society and resurrect their family situation, and commit or recommit their lives to Christ.  Shirley works in all aspects of the ministry and her love for those she serves shines so brightly.

Pat Howard has followed God’s call into a number of ministries during her lifetime.  Pat’s heart has been in ethnic work for many, many years, and she has shared the hope of Christ with many through this work.  Currently Pat serves as a regional mobilization consultant with the Kentucky Baptist Convention, where she helps to enlist and encourage missionaries in her region around Bowling Green, KY.

It has been such a privilege to know and work alongside these missionaries.  They have been, and continue to be, such a blessing to me and those they serve.  Thank you, Jack, Wilma, Pauline, Shirley, and Pat, for giving to the Lord.  Many lives have been changed s a result of your dedication to His work.

Disciple-Making in 2018

As 2018 is here, let me encourage us to think about how we might use our lives for impacting others with the gospel.  As I look at churches in general, I am encouraged that many have seen the paramount necessity to take a bold stand upon biblical truth.  We stand upon the Word of God (the B-I-B-L-E, I know you remember that song!) as our sole source of authority for belief and practice.  For this bold stand and action, those churches are to be commended. Yet, there remains an urgent need.

One area of our Lord’s Church still seems to be deficient—disciple-making. The command of the Great Commission in Matthew 28:16-20 is a call to action. It is a command to “make disciples of all nations.” The issue at hand, then, is what is a disciple? Disciple means a learner or follower. Jesus says in Luke 9:23, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me.” According to this passage, a disciple is a self-denying, daily cross-carrying, follower of Jesus Christ. We could say, therefore, that a disciple is a life-long, radical, reproducing follower of Jesus.

The question now arises as to how Jesus made disciples and whether He passed on a particular pattern for disciple-making? Jesus taught the masses, but He invested in just a few. Jesus ultimately passed on the enormous responsibility of global impact to eleven men. How were eleven men to reach the world with the good news of Jesus Christ? The answer is one person at a time. Jesus discipled twelve men (one was not a true disciple) and within the twelve he had three and even within the three he had one.

We can see three aspects of Jesus’ disciple-making process: mentor, model and multiply. Jesus would mentor or teach the disciples about Himself and God’s Word. Jesus would also model what He taught. In other words, He showed the disciples how to live what He taught. This is much like Ezra 7:10, “For Ezra had set his heart to study the law of the LORD and to practice it, and to teach His statutes and ordinances in Israel.” After teaching and showing, Jesus would multiply Himself by sending His disciples to put into practice the things that they had heard and seen from Him. For example, in Matthew 5- 7, Jesus spent much time teaching the disciples. In chapters 8-9, He showed them how to minister.  In chapter 10, He sends them out to do what they have heard and seen. Throughout the gospels we see Jesus mentor, model and multiply.

As we think about making disciples in 2018, who might the Lord place in your path that you can point to Jesus and help them grow in Him?  The pattern for Jesus’s disciple-making is reproducible.  In fact, it’s simple.  It’s relationships.  Mentor, model, and multiply.  In doing so, we reach Louisville and the world one person at a time.