To BE or Not to Be

BEing a witness to our community, state, nation and world is something we are, not something we do.  Being a witness is a mandate given to us by Christ himself.  Acts 1:8 tells us that after receiving power, we will BE His witnesses.  Yes, we do things to witness, but most importantly, we are to BE a witness.  You don’t have to be creative, educated, innovative or make it up as you go.  You simply tell what Christ has done for you, what you know of Him and what you have learned from Him.

Opportunities to BE a witness exist everywhere.  You can BE a witness in your “Jerusalem” as you go to the grocery, bank, school, park, work or for a walk in your neighborhood.  God has gifted and equipped you to BE His witness and very close to you are pregnancy care centers, homeless shelters, clothing and hunger relief ministries, after school programs, nursing homes, hospitals and community events.

Will you BE a witness in your Judea (Kentucky) or Samaria (North America)?  Missionaries and ministry leaders need help from people like yourself who are willing to go and meet needs related to church planting, evangelism, construction, church strengthening and community outreach.  The witness of trained Disaster Relief workers are needed following a tornado, flood, hurricane, or ice storm.  For a complete list of current opportunities, visit www.kybaptist.org/GO or www.kybaptist.org/DR.

Will you BE a witness across the pond to or to the utter most part of the world?  Missionaries in Greece and Europe are needing people to come a BE a witness by prayerwalking, evangelizing boroughs, planting churches or ministering to refugees.  Villages in sub-Saharan Africa need volunteers to BE a witness by drilling wells for drinking water, delivering hospice buckets for AIDS patients and caring for orphans.

These are only a few of the many opportunities to BE a witness that I’m aware of.  To quote William Shakespeare, “to BE or not to be”, that is the question.  If His power is upon you, it’s not a choice you make.  The command is to BE.  If we’re not BEing a witness, one must ask, “is His power upon me?”

It’s Not Too Late

As the school year comes to a close and minds are turned toward summer vacations, let me remind you that it is not too late to include missions as a part of your summer.  There are many opportunities to serve the Lord during these months ahead, and what a blessing it will be.  Whatever gift, skill, at talent you may have, there is a place for you.  Whatever your team makeup (individual, children, youth, women, men, or a family group), there is a place for you to serve.  However long you would like to serve, there are opportunities for you.

Our Kentucky Baptist Convention mission opportunities webpage has been updated and there are lots of places and ways to serve.  Go to www.kybaptist.org/go and check out the many opportunities in our state (as well as a few out of state).  You can search the projects by type of project, location, and length of assignment.  Once there, you can view some detail about each project, along with contact information for each ministry.  Feel free to contact the church, association, and/or ministry directly for additional information and/or for scheduling your mission trip.

If you have questions, or if none of these projects seem to fit your team, don’t worry.  There is still a place for you to serve.  Contact Teresa Parrett, Kentucky Missions Mobilization Coordinator, at [email protected], for assistance.

One great way to serve the Lord this summer is right in your own church through Vacation Bible School. Whether transportation, food service, decorating, craft and recreation leaders, photography, mission and Bible study leaders, or cleanup crew, there is a place for everyone.  What a joy it is to see the smiling faces of the children and they meet together to learn about Jesus.

Let me suggest also the Christmas Backpack Project as a mission project for your Vacation Bible School.  For information on this project go to www.kybaptsit.org/backpacks to learn more.  We can also suggest some  “real live” missionaries to visit your VBS to share and interact with the children.

Summer is a great time for ministry.  Don’t let yours pass without getting involved.  Contact us if we can assist.

HAPPY SUMMERING!!

Praying for a Fresh Wind in Chicago

Chicago is known for its many names: The Windy City, Second City, Chi-town, Heart of America.  Chicago is also known for many things: deep-dish pizza, hot dogs, Chicago Cubs, and Lake Michigan. The list goes on.

Amidst Chicago’s various names and iconic sites, there is something much less known about this great city.  What is less known, you ask?  Jesus.  The metro population of Chicago makes it the third largest city in the United States at 9.5 million people.  However, only 9.1% of the population is affiliated with an evangelical church.  Furthermore, there is only 1 SBC church for every 34,348 people in metro Chicago.

The KBC is entering a new partnership with NAMB in Send Chicago.  In conjunction with the lead Chicago Send City Church, Immanuel Baptist Church in Lexington, the KBC is beginning this partnership with the prayer and intention that many KBC churches will make the short trip up to the Windy City for gospel engagement.

With only about 25 church plants in metro Chicago, more work is needed to impact this great city with the gospel.  Coming alongside a church planter and new plant is a tremendous way in which KBC churches can have tangible gospel presence in a city only about 300 miles away.

While NAMB has selected Chicago among 31 other cities in North America as a strategic place for gospel advancement, the KBC is joining efforts here and praying that God will bring a fresh wind of gospel engagement to the 3rd largest city in the US.

Why is the KBC choosing to partner in Chicago?  Because we believe in cooperative missions, not just our dollars but our efforts as well.  Our mission as a convention is simple: created by churches, for churches, to help churches reach Kentucky and the world for Christ.

Created by churches

We exist as the Kentucky Baptist Convention because Baptist churches throughout Kentucky desired to cooperate for the furthering of the gospel.  The KBC owes its existence to Baptist churches.

For churches

Baptist churches created the KBC for churches.  In other words, the KBC was created not to be served by the churches, but to serve the churches.

To help churches

Thus, the KBC exists to help churches do what God has called the church to do—the Great Commission.  Because the KBC was created by churches, for churches, the convention exists to help churches.  Helping mobilize churches for the Great Commission is the mission of the KBC.

Reach Kentucky and the world for Christ

God did not give the Great Commission to a denomination or mission boards; He gave it to the church.  Denominations and mission boards are helpful insomuch as they help churches reach those across the street and across the sea with the gospel.

We desire to connect KBC churches to gospel partnerships in Kentucky, North America, and the nations.  We want to resource, train, and introduce KBC churches to missionaries, church planters, established churches, and ministries in order to develop relationships that will further the gospel around the world.

We believe one such needed place to connect KBC churches in making Jesus known in the US is Chicago.  With well over 90% of the city not connected to a gospel-centered church, Chicago needs some wind, a fresh gospel wind that blows throughout the city.  Will your church be part of seeing this wind blow?  Learn more about partnering in this city or other KBC partnerships at www.kybaptist.org/vision.

Being Prepared for a Flood

Flooding is the most frequent disaster that impacts Kentucky.  Kentucky averages about 56 flooding events a year with an average yearly loss of 30.4 million dollars.

Sometimes, floods develop slowly, and forecasters can anticipate where a flood will happen days or weeks before it occurs.  However, flash floods can occur within minutes and without any sign of rain.  Floods can happen anytime and anyplace.  Being prepared can save your life and give you peace of mind.

How can you be ready?

  • Talk to your insurance agent and make sure that you have proper coverage, particularly if you live in an area prone to flooding.
  • Copy important documents.  Keep a copy at home but store additional copies in a secure place outside the home.
  • Take photos of your possessions and store them in a secure place with documents.
  • Have an emergency plan that includes best contact phone numbers and an evacuation plan.  Have an emergency kit that includes a flashlight, matches, batteries, candles, blankets, and a three-day supply of food and water.
  • Monitor weather warnings in your area and heed official instructions.
  • Always follow evacuation orders.
  • Seek higher ground.
  • Never walk or drive through a flooded area.  Turn around; don’t drown!  Six inches of water can cause control issues and stalling.  A foot of water will cause many cars to float.
  • Stay away from downed power lines or other electrical wires.
  • After a flood, check for structural damage before entering your home.  Remove wet and damaged contents and dispose of them properly.  Sanitize affected areas to prevent mold growth and contamination.  Mud and water from flooding can contain chemicals and raw sewage.

“A shrewd person sees danger and hides himself,
but the naive keep right on going and suffer for it.” 
(Proverbs 27:12)

“Pulling Teeth” at Show and Tell

Perhaps you remember as I do, participating in “show and tell” as a child in elementary school. In case you’re not familiar with show and tell, it’s an informative presentation involving the demonstration of an object.  While the class may not always need the demonstration of the object to understand the information presented, together, they communicate much more effectively.

Jesus used show and tell as a means of sharing the gospel with those He encountered.  He demonstrated the Father’s love and preached the message of salvation.  He was always showing and telling, healing and preaching.   

1 John 3:18-19 says, “Little children, let us not love in word or talk, but in deed and in truth. By this we shall know that we are of the truth and reassure our heart before him;”

The Scriptures emphasize the importance of using actions and deeds when sharing the gospel.  It doesn’t say stop using words altogether when sharing the gospel.  But it does say stop “just” using words.  In other words, show and tell the love of God.  One of God’s frustrations with His people is that we sometimes honor Him with our lips, but our hearts are often far from Him.

I witnessed a show and tell of the gospel in an effective way on a recent Saturday in Bowling Green when Rich Pond Baptist Church assisted Christ Fellowship Church in conducting a dental clinic. The Kentucky Baptist Convention partnered to provide training, dental supplies and use of the North American Mission Board’s mobile dental unit. Brent Fields, Minister of Missions and Outreach at Rich Pond shared that “this opportunity to meet physical needs served as a bridge for sharing the gospel”.

Preparation for the clinic began months in advance with training, enlistment of professionals and canvassing of the neighborhood.  On the day of the clinic, over 35 volunteers worked together to shepherd almost 100 refugees through registration and dental screening, cleaning and pulling teeth, filling cavities and ending pain.  While waiting to be treated, patients heard volunteers share stories of salvation and life transformation.  All day long it was a show and tell of the gospel.

The churches intentionally targeted a refugee population from Africa because of their desire to develop an on-going ministry to their new to Bowling Green friends.  Brent shared that he overheard one volunteer tell a patient from the Congo, “we do this because Christ loves us … and He loves you too!”  Every person coming to the clinic was part of a show and tell as they were shown love in a practical way and told about the gospel of Christ.  Brent also commented that “the dental clinic provided professionals an opportunity to use their skills to demonstrate the love of Christ”.

Churches of any size can show and tell the gospel in their own community and a dental clinic is not the only way to do it.  Other ways to show and tell include after school ministries with children, pregnancy care, small group ministry to recovering addicts or ex-offenders, food and clothing distributing, foster parenting or adoption, rent or utility assistance, parenting courses, home repair, ESL classes, tutoring, etc.  There is no limit to the many ways we can show and tell about the love of Christ.

We must open our mouths to fully express the gospel, but using only words doesn’t fully demonstrate His love. Live the gospel and share the gospel.  Words and deeds.  Lips and life.  Walk and talk. Show and tell!

2018 Kentucky Missionary of the Year


Tim Bargo, Executive Director of First Priority Tri-County, was recognized as the 2018 Kentucky Missionary of the Year on Saturday, April 7, during the Kentucky Woman’s Missionary Union Celebration at the Buck Run Baptist Church in Frankfort.

Each year this award is presented to a missionary or missionary couple that demonstrates:

  • Commitment to and effectiveness in evangelism, church planting, or ministry.
  • Demonstration of “going the second mile.”
  • Outstanding performance in achieving assigned tasks.
  • Tenure.
  • Unusual commitment to our Lord’s service.
  • Positive representation of Kentucky Baptist Convention and the North American Mission Board.
  • True reflection of being an “On Mission Christian.”

First Priority Tri-County is part of a national organization (First Priority America) whose main goal is to encourage, equip, and empower students to share their faith in Jesus on their middle and high school campuses.  First Priority Tri-County serves Knox, Laurel, Whitley, Clay, and McCreary counties and has 27 student led evangelical First Priority clubs meeting weekly.

In June of this year (2018), First Priority will be 10 years old and Tim has been at the helm since its inception.  During that time, 1981 students have prayed to receive Christ.  Since August of this school year alone, the organization has give out 1432 Bibles, witnessed 10 students praying to receive Christ, trained 210 students to be campus missionaries, brought together 25 local churches and 1109 students for a local youth rally, and organized 2411 students for the “See You at the Pole” event.

Recently Tim has taken the lead to create a “Day of Prayer Over Students” for the state of Kentucky.  Applying to have a proclamation signed for several years, it was finally approved in 2016 and 2017. Currently it has been filed as a bill and passed the House.  Join them in praying that it passes the Senate to become law.

“Tim Bargo embodies all that for which the Kentucky Missionary of the Year Award is presented,” says Director of Missions Steven Jett.  “He directs his organization of excellent evangelism and discipleship ministry in the context of an ever-growing network of schools through his personal example, with inspiring enthusiasm and integrity, encouraging participants to reach out in Christ’s name to lost students to win them to Jesus and grow them up in the faith.  There is no more relative, fruit-bearing ministry to our society than that which Tim Bargo and all the volunteers of Tri-County First Priority flesh out in a most effective way!”

Tim is a native of Harlan County, Kentucky and currently lives in Corbin with his wife and best friend Tammy.  He has three children – Brittany, Justin and Dylan.

Tim was commissioned as a North American Mission Board MSC-funded Missionary on June 23, 2009 in his role with First Priority and, in addition, has served as a North American Mission Board Chaplain with the University of the Cumberlands Football Program for 10 years.

Tim is an active member of Immanuel Baptist Church in Corbin, where he has led several mission trips, led small groups, and served on a number of committees.

Thank you, Tim, for your love for the Lord and your faithfulness in serving Him.  CONGRATULATIONS on being chosen as the 2018 Kentucky Missionary of the Year.  You are most deserving.

How is your vision?

I have never had issues with my eyesight.  Well, until recently.  As I am now fully into my mid-40s, I am noticing that my vision is becoming a bit blurry.  Distances are not quite as clear as they once were.  I have yet to do anything about this new middle-age challenge.  Perhaps I should go to the eye doctor.  If I do, the doctor might prescribe me glasses, which would affirm my lack of clear vision.

Seeing clearly is important.  As Jesus traveled through cities and villages he saw people, and he felt compassion for them because they were distressed and dispirited like sheep without a shepherd (Matthew 9:36).  How sad it would be for us to see and yet not see the needs of people all around us. Because Jesus saw the people (Matt 9:36a), he felt compassion for them.

In other words, Jesus seeing people first led him to have compassion.  Compassion has been defined as sympathetic pity for the distress of others with the desire to alleviate it (Merriam-Webster).  Believers cannot look on the hopelessness of others and not be moved—moved not only with compassion, but with the desire to bring hope.

The Missions Mobilization Team of the Kentucky Baptist Convention exists to mobilize KBC churches for gospel impact.  We might say, to mobilize KBC churches to bring hope.  One of the ways we desire to help KBC churches see clearly is providing vision trips to various North American and international partnerships.  These vision trips are designed to expose KBC churches to the hopeless peoples and places throughout the world.

By seeing it, touching it, tasting it, hearing it and overall experiencing it, our prayer is that KBC churches will see the people, feel compassion for them, and do something gospel-centered to bring hope.  Making the most of a church’s time on a vision trip is crucial.

Be prayerful—With Paul, pray always.  Be in prayer as you travel from point A to point B. Pray as you walk and talk.  Pray as you hear from planters or missionaries. Pray as you return to your room.  The point…pray!  Ask the Lord to lead you in how He would have you partner in this place.

Be flexible—the time is short and filled with much to see and hear and experience.  Be prepared to spend long days with potentially shifting schedules.

Be attentive—take careful notes both on paper and in your head of planters/missionaries, stories, and situations that stand out to you.  What might speak to you now might be forgotten if you do not write it down and make note of why it impacted you.  Be observant of the area you are in (what is the community like, the people, the needs, etc.).  Take whatever notes necessary, so that you can make a prayerfully discerning decision about partnerships later with your leadership team.

Be interactive—this vision is meant to be an experience, not simply an informational dump load.  When able, talk with the planters/missionaries about the city, the needs, ways to be involved.  The point is to be engaged in the vision trip.

Be willing—to partner as the Lord leads you.  As David Platt suggests, bring a blank check (of your life) to the table and ask the Lord to fill in the amount.

So, do you have a clear vision for missions?  Learn more about KBC vision trips and partnerships at www.kybaptist.org/vision.

Meet Our New 2018 Kentucky Missionaries

Each year we learn of individuals and couples that sense God’s call and leading to serve in ministries across Kentucky.  On Saturday, April 7th, several of these new missionaries will be commissioned by the Kentucky Baptist Convention during the WMU annual meeting at the Buck Run Baptist Church in Frankfort.  

These missionaries range in age from 30s to 70s, and serve in a variety of ministries.  Prior to the commissioning service, the missionaries will spend Friday in orientation to learn more about the Kentucky Baptist Convention, Cooperative Program, and resources available to them.  This time of networking with each other is most valuable.

The new missionaries are:

  • Forest Aalderink, serving at The Center for Christian Work Development in Louisville
  • John Barnett, Executive Director of Refuge Louisville, Inc.
  • Nancy Brown, serving at the Kathy J. Strange Answer Center in Henderson
  • Joyce Decker, serving at Cedaridge Ministry in Williamsburg
  • Hilton & Barbara Duncan, Executive Directors of Integrated Community Ministries in Stearns
  • Chuck & Dottie Gebhart, serving with Mission Hope for Kids in Elizabethtown
  • Marvin Gore, Director of Bags of Hope Food Pantry in Hardin
  • Richard & Amy Greene, Directors of the Koinonia Mission Center in Salyersville
  • Tom Grugel, Chaplain at the Boyle County Detention Center
  • Grant & Gina Hasty, serving with Crossroads Community Baptist Church & Learning Center in Whitley City
  • Sandy Kiper, Director of Grayson County Center for Women’s Ministries in Leitchfield
  • Terry McIlvoy, Director of The Way Home Transitional Recovery Ministry in Springfield
  • Garry McKinney, Director of Morgantown Mission in Morgantown
  • Laura Roberts, Director of Starfish Orphan Ministry in Paducah
  • Lee Rust, Director of Freedom Forever Ministries in Paducah
  • Summer Watson, Director of Heart Cry for Hope in Glasgow
  • Amanda Westerfield, Director of Alpha Alternatives Pregnancy Care Center in Hopkinsville

Please join us for this special service and meet our newest Kentucky missionaries.  Perhaps you can connect with them and learn of ways to be a support to them in these ministries.

The 2018 Kentucky Missionary of the Year will also be introduced during the service.

For more information on the activities of the WMU meeting go to www.kywmu.org/annualmeeting.

Hope to see you there.

Tornado Preparedness

Tornadoes are one of nature’s most destructive and violent weather events.  A tornado is a violently rotating column of air that extends from a thunderstorm to the ground.  The whirling wind of a tornado can reach wind speeds of 300 mph.  Most tornadoes move from Southwest to Northeast but can move in any direction.  They may strike quickly with little warning, and in a matter of seconds can cause devastation.  Because wind is not visible, you cannot always see a tornado.  Every year, around 60 people are killed by tornadoes, typically from flying debris.

Kentucky lies in Hoosier Alley and averages 21 tornado events per year.  Peak tornado season for Kentucky is from April through June, but tornadoes have struck in every month of the calendar year.

Tornado Signs:

  • Dark, often greenish sky
  • Large hail
  • A large, dark, low-lying cloud (particularly if rotating)
  • Loud roaring sound, like a freight train
  • Funnel cloud

Know the Terms:

  • Severe Thunderstorm Watch – severe thunderstorms are possible in your area
  • Severe Thunderstorm Warning – severe thunderstorms are occurring in your area
  • Tornado Watch – tornadoes are possible in your area
  • Tornado Warning – a tornado has been sighted or spotted by weather radar

Be Prepared:

  1. Preparedness increases our ability to survive disaster events.
  2. Develop a family disaster plan and discuss the plan.
  3. If a tornado watch is issued, remain alert, monitor weather, and be prepared to execute disaster plan.
  4. If your area is under tornado warning, you should seek safe shelter immediately.
  5. Avoid windows.
  6. Get as low as possible.  A basement or storm shelter is the safest place to be.
  7. If your home does not have a basement, seek a small interior windowless room, like a closet or interior hallway.  Put as many walls as possible between you and the outside.
  8. Get under a sturdy table and/or cover your head and neck with your arms and cover your body as best as you can with blankets, pillows, mattress, or heavy clothing.
  9. Do not open windows.
  10. Do not stay in a mobile home during a tornado.
  11. If you are in a long-span building (shopping malls, theaters, gymnasiums, airports), stay away from windows, and seek to get to the lowest level.  If there is no time to get to a lower level, try to get under a door-frame, table, desk if possible.  Remember to protect your head and neck.
  12. The worst place to be in a tornado is in a vehicle.  Always get out of the vehicle and seek the nearest sturdy shelter.  Do not try to flee from a tornado in your car, and never get under your vehicle.
  13. If you are outdoors, try to get to a sturdy structure for shelter. If you are unable to reach a safe place to shelter, lie down in a gully, ditch or low spot on the ground.  Protect your head and neck with your arms.  Avoid areas with trees.  Never shelter under or near vehicles.  Do not shelter under overpasses or bridges.  Find something to hang onto.  Be aware that lightning, flooding, and hail can accompany tornadoes.
  14. If you are trapped, do not panic.  Seek to attract attention to your location with loud noises or by calling for help on your cell phone.

“A sensible person sees danger and takes cover, but the inexperienced keep going and are punished.”   (Proverbs 22:3)

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.