Many churches will easily spend $10,000-$20,000 to put together a mission trip to some distant location, be it foreign or domestic, that generally lasts for a week once a year with fewer than a dozen folks actively involved. After the team has returned home, missionary effort will by and large become dormant until preparations get under way for the next year's mission trip, again to a distant place.
Mission work on the local field is commonly ignored with very little involvement by the congregation in the lives of those who live in their own neighborhoods. In fact, in 2006 twenty of our churches baptized no more than five new believers with nine of those reporting zero baptisms. Only six churches baptized more than ten, and the average for all our churches combined was only 5 baptisms per church. Many of these conversions were by those coming of age having "grown up in the church." In a nutshell, very little investment or involvement is being done in our own neighborhoods in Bedford County leaving our communities untouched.
I do not believe that any of us is consciously excluding the people around us, but rather we are doing things the way we have learned over many years and with which we have become comfortable. Missions has come to be understood as far away. For the most part, local ministry is understood as that which takes place within our church building for benefit of the membership. We have classes, Bible studies, youth and children's programs, senior ministries, fellowships, dinners, music specials, and a revival or two each year, but almost 100% of these are designed for and attended by church folk. Rarely is a stranger or a lost soul personally invited to come as our guest. Rarely do we make an effort to touch those whom many have come to view as untouchable. Could it be that our religion is more like that of the Pharisees and our faith but a faint shadow of Jesus, His rag-tag disciples, and the New Testament church?
If we will prayerfully consider Christ's example and what he has called us to, I believe we can turn things around and become relevant to neighbors who truly are in need. If we choose to make no changes, then we will continue to see baptisms decline to less than five per year per church while the County grows by 800 to 1000 new neighbors each year.
SBA is sponsoring Treasurer's Workshops on Thursday, March 22, at Trinity Baptist Church. One session will be from 1:00-2:30 in the afternoon, with a repeat session from 7:00-8:30 that evening. Led by Wanda DeLong and Esther Woodford, areas to be covered include: church and minister tax reporting and record-keeping requirements, withholding and depositing procedures, tax and Social Security status of ministers, rules for substantiation of charitable contributions, salary reduction agreements, sales and use tax exemption, and receiving/dispersing/accounting for money received by churches. Packets of pertinent materials will be prepared for each church.
Lee Kidd, DOM in Wise Association, is available to facilitate a 2-hour workshop on Parliamentary Procedure. Lee has a brief true/false test that describes situations that often arise in churches and discusses how those issues can be handled. Then, he entertains specific questions from the group. Some interest has been shown in this free workshop, but we need to hear from others by Monday, March 26, in order to determine if there is enough interest to schedule one for Strawberry.
The Huddleston Volunteer Fire Department and Rescue Squad will host a Benefit Supper on March 31, 2007, beginning at 5 p.m., to help Roger Cheek with medical expenses.
to be picked up from the office.
Mrs. Mary Thompson has agreed to serve as VBS resource consultant for Strawberry for 2007. Please contact her at 540.586.8212 as soon as your church has decided on VBS dates and curriculum.
Big Island is seeking a part-time Youth Minister. Ministerial training/experience desired. Send resume to Youth Committee, Big Island Baptist Church, P.O. Box 348, Big Island, VA 24526.
Mentow will have revival services May 20-23.
Mount Hermon is seeking a part-time children's minister that can also work with a small group of youth. Interested persons may contact Mark Flores at 434.841.7022 and firstname.lastname@example.org.
North Bedford is looking for a part time Youth Pastor. Mail resumes to P O Box 153, Forest, VA 24551, or email email@example.com. For additional information, telephone 434.525.7442.
Pecks will have revival services May 20-23, with guest preacher Rev. Jim Moon. The Sunday morning service is at 11:00, and evening services are at 7:00.
Some of the best Sunday School training anywhere is available to you free of charge!
The Southwest Sunday School Summit will be held on Saturday, March 17, 9:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., at Glade Spring Baptist Church in Glade Spring, Virginia. The theme for the Summit will be "How to Grow MY Sunday School" and will feature David Francis, director of Sunday School at LifeWay. Virginia Baptist Mission Board leaders will facilitate breakout dialogues for adult, youth, children, and preschool leaders as well as pastors and Sunday School directors. For more info, contact Gary Chapman by phone (540.777.3014 or toll-free 866.223.9344) or e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org). No pre-registration is required.
April 9 Jackie Carver (Palestine)
April 13 Gary Fowler (Flint Hill)
April 29 Elmer & Tiena Sellers (60 yrs.) (Retired)
Mrs. Lois Stevens, WMU Director
1118 Roundtree Dr., Bedford 24523
Women on Mission: Radford is leading devotionals at Oakwood Manor for January, February, and March. Thaxton will lead them in April. Diamond Hill will host the March birthday party for residents of Bedford County Nursing Home; Palestine will host it in April.
Thursday evening, April 26, 2007
Thaxton Baptist Church
A snack supper ($5 per person) will be served beginning around 5:15. (As a matter of courtesy, please call a meal count in to the church office, 540.586.8348, no later than Wednesday, April 18.) The meeting will begin at 6:00 and conclude by 8:00. Karen Hughes, Volunteer Services Coordinator for the Bedford Community Resource Center, will be guest speaker. The mission project will be to collect items for the Bedford Community Christmas Station. The following NEW items are needed: clothing for infants/girls/boys/teens, gifts, toys, household items, and food.
If you are making cross stitch gifts for the Albania House in Athens, Greece, you need to get them to the SBA office by March 26, to be mailed with gifts from other churches in the association.
Roanoke Regional YEC
The theme is "yoU-turn" and is based on Romans 12:1-2. Seeking to challenge students to reach their non-Christian friends, the event will include a challenge rally on Wednesday, special evangelism training for students on Thursday, and conclude with a "harvest rally" on Friday. Justin Lookadoo from McKinney, Texas, will be the featured speaker. Worship leader will be Phil Baquie of Nashville, Tennessee. The conference is FREE to all students and leaders. For additional info, contact Bob Hetherington at the Roanoke Valley Baptist Association, 540.366.7631, or Ken Dibble, Youth Ministry Strategist, at 800.255.2428, ext. 2255. Web address is www.yec.org.
Bedford Community Christmas Station (BCCS) was formed in 2006 by citizens who sought to combine the many separate Christmas Assistance programs in the area into one centrally located program that can serve all eligible families. The BCCS is a community wide effort to assist needy families at Christmas in a sensitive, dignified manner. Needy families who apply to the BCCS are screened for eligibility based on (1) living in Bedford City/County, (2) having a low income, and (3) having an eligible family member who is either under the age of 18, elderly, or disabled.
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