MAP

MapRecently, I was driving in eastern Kentucky to speak at a church about missions. I use my GPS regularly as I travel all across the state. On this particular trip in eastern Kentucky, my GPS all of a sudden went crazy. The road unexpectedly disappeared on the GPS and the car seemingly was floating on air and going in circles. Eventually, the GPS re-calculated and was back on track.

As I thought about my GPS glitch, I realized that many churches are like my GPS at times. We can easily lose track of our direction and continue driving in circles. We lose sight of our mandate to make disciples of all nations (Matt 28:19-20; Acts 1:8). Sometimes we simply need to re-calculate, to re-adjust where we are going as a church.

The Missions Mobilization Team has adapted an assessment tool to help churches do just that, to re-calculate. The tool is called Missions Assessment Profile (MAP). MAP is designed to help church leaders assess their progress in mobilizing their church for missions involvement. It serves to help churches reflect on where they are in comparison to what a truly missions-mobilized church could look like. No church scores perfectly in all areas. Ideally all churches are in a growth process. This tool will help churches assess where they are strong and where they are weak, so that they can strengthen their missions effectiveness and commitment.

Four broad categories are assessed: leading, equipping, supporting, and sending. Each of these areas explores ways that churches can build upon their current missions involvement. Upon taking the assessment, church leaders are encouraged to view the process for missions growth as “baby steps.” Approaching missions with specific goals and action steps allows churches to make manageable progress without becoming overwhelmed at the prospect of making disciples of all nations (all at once).

If you feel as if your church is going in circles, maybe taking the MAP is just what you need to help re-calculate where you are going. Let me know if your church is interested in taking the MAP ([email protected]). We can meet with leadership teams and work on a plan based on the MAP that will help your church focus its sights on making disciples of all nations.

Safe Church

safe-church-home-main

Once upon a time, churches were considered safe havens that were untouched by the
violence of our world.  The recent mass shooting at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in downtown Charleston, South Carolina has again reminded us of the need to be prepared for the unthinkable.  First Thessalonians 5:3 cautions us about the false thought that violence or hate will never come to our church, “When they say, ‘Peace and Security,’ then sudden destruction comes on them, like labor pains come on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.”  No one can completely protect themselves from senseless violence, but the church that seeks to be proactive with preventative care can greatly reduce their risk.

While deadly shootings in churches has increased in the last decade, there are many other types of threats that are more likely and often much more preventable.  Physical or sexual abuse, theft of property, and vandalism are realities that the church cannot ignore.

Bob Perkins, a twenty-three year law enforcement veteran and disaster relief leader, identifies 10 facts every church should know:

  1. It can happen to your church or school.
  2. Crime is increasing across America.
  3. The church is no longer immune.
  4. Every church should identify their most likely risks and vulnerable points.
  5. Churches should develop good relationships with local law enforcement.
  6. Every church, regardless of size, should develop a security plan.
  7. Churches should conduct background checks on staff and volunteers, especially those working with children and youth.
  8. Churches do have increased liability when they have not conducted due diligence.
  9. Security plans should include written policies and procedures.
  10. The church must never compromise ministry with undo security measures.  We must maintain an “open door” for ministry and outreach, as we seek to lessen our vulnerability.  Security must always be carefully balanced with ministry,and should never interfere with our ability to reach people for Christ.

With these key facts in mind, let me share six vital areas of security for every church to consider:

  • Background Checks
  • Check-in System for Children
  • Friendly Awareness
  • Trained Safety and Security Team
  • Emergency Response Kit that Includes Reflective Vests, Flashlights, Emergency Radios, Building Maps, and A Good First Aid KIt
  • Facility and Ministry Risk Assessment

The Kentucky Baptist Convention stands ready to assist churches in this process.  For more information, go to:

http://www.kybaptist.org/homepage/church- revitalization/safe-church-initiative/

Go Tell it On the Mountain… and Everywhere!

DaveWe buried my father just two weeks ago after battling lung cancer, dementia, and finally, pnemonia. He had battled alcoholism in early adulthood, but experienced life transformation after accepting Christ as his Savior and Lord. Following his conversion, my father (who I affectionately called Dave) lived his life on mission, declaring to everyone he met the change Christ had made in him. He told neighbors, family members, prisoners, co-workers and people in the mall.  He was not confrontational or aggressive in his approach to telling others. He was however, conversational, unapologetic, genuine and bold when it came to telling his story and sharing scripture with those he encountered.  I don’t think there was anyone who met my father that didn’t know he was a Christian. He wanted everyone to know that without Christ, we are destined for eternity in hell.

My father use to spend his weekends leading lay revivals throughout the region, telling his story and leading others to faith in Christ. One experience he had on a lay revival explains why “Go Tell it On the Mountain” was his favorite song. Not just at Christmas, but all year long! He and a couple of others had spent Saturday morning visiting people in the mountains of east Tennessee. Upon request, Dave climbed up a holler to witness to a man who had heard the gospel many times before, but remained lost and unchanged. My father shared his story with the man and with permission, read scripture and explained the plan of salvation. It was on that day that the Lord chose to save the man my father had climbed the mountain to visit. Dave came down off the mountain that day repeating the words to the hymn, “Go tell it on the mountain, over the hills and everywhere. Go tell it on the mountain, that Jesus Christ is born!” From that day forward , it became his favorite song. He wasn’t a singer and I don’t recall ever hearing him sing. But everyone knew that “Go Tell It On the Mountain” was his favorite song, and why.

Hours before his death, my father was heard singing and humming the tune to “Go Tell It On the Mountain”. Even one of his nurses asked if that was “Go Tell It On the Mountain” that he was singing. My father told everyone that Christ was born, lived, died and rose again. He lived his life on mission with a passion for telling others the good news of Jesus Christ. There will be many people in heaven because he faithfully lived his life on mission, sharing Christ with everyone.

Dave left a legacy and challenge – to tell everyone I meet what Christ has done for me … and for them. That’s what it means to live our life on mission.

A Time of Rest and Renewal

2015 Missionary Retreat PicRecently we had our annual Kentucky Missionary Retreat at Cumberland Falls State Resort Park in Corbin, KY.  My, what a beautiful place to “retreat.”  It kind of reminds me of Jesus going away to the mountain to be alone with the Father.  Cumberland Falls was such a special place to walk (or sit) and pray; to spend some “alone” time with the Father.  The beauty of this place made you feel so near to God and His creation.

There were many great presenters that both equipped and challenged the missionaries in their diverse areas of service.  Each one seemed to really connect with the missionaries’ needs.  Workshops such as spiritual vitality and the missionary, strategic planning in ministry, time management, taxes and budgets for non-profits, and how missionaries can most effectively minister during crises, were offered.   Dr. Paul Chitwood brought greetings from the KBC, Joy Bolton shared about WMU partnerships and ministry grants, and Paul Badgett brought a very powerful and encouraging message.

The missionaries also enjoyed some free time, a riverboat cruise on Lake Cumberland, and an evening of entertainment by motivational speaker and mentalist Keith Matheny of Huntington, WV.

After a hard summer of ministry, hosting mission teams and outreach events, the missionaries need a time to get away and relax for a few days before the busy holiday activities begin.  For many of them this is their vacation.  They look forward to the retreat and many only see each other this one time a year.  There were hugs and smiles, stories to share, and questions about how each other’s ministries were going.  After being at the retreat for only a few minutes, one of the new missionaries said, “This is like a reunion, isn’t it?  She quickly realized how the missionaries from all parts of Kentucky feel like family.

Thank you for your support to the Cooperative Program and the Eliza Broadus State Missions Offering, which help to make this time of rest and renewal for the missionaries possible.

For information on how to adopt a Kentucky missionary contact us at [email protected].org or go to http://www.kybaptist.org/homepage/missions-mobilization/missions-kentucky/adopt-a-missionary/.