IBSA Missions Camps Bring Together Campers And Leaders
LAKE SALLATEESKA | IBSA summer camps started strong with nearly 200 campers and leaders attending Boys’ and Girls’ Missions Camps at Lake Sallateeska Baptist Camp in June. Campers gathered to celebrate the theme “Beyond Survivors,” which focused on Hebrews 12:1-2 and enduring in Christ.
International Mission Board missionaries to Chile, Dick and Trisha Price, illustrated the theme to campers and leaders by sharing how missionaries and Chilean Baptists ministered to their communities in the wake of the 8.8 earthquake that devastated towns along the country’s coast in February of last year. The missionaries also spoke about spiritual endurance through accounts of the 33 Chilean miners who were trapped underground for 69 days after a cave-in last August.
The Prices also shared photos and information about missionary kids (MKs) in Chile. Both boys and girls participated in the encouragement side of missions as they wrote letters to the Mks which the Prices will hand-deliver to them after they have returned to Chile.
Missons Camps began with a Father/ Son Overnight Camp held over Father’s Day weekend June 17-18. Mark Emerson, IBSA director of Missions Involvement and Boys’ Camps coordinator, challenged the 50 boys and their fathers to get involved in missions, giving them baseball cards featuring unreached people groups. The fathers and sons also fished together, did crafts and participated in recreation games.
Boys’ and Guys’ Missons Camps
Boys’ and Guys’ Missions Camps June 20-23 gave 30 boys and their leaders the opportunity to learn about missions, study the Bible and grow in their walk with Christ. They also saw one of their fellow campers accept Christ.
The boys and guys, ranging from grades 4-12, also enjoyed outdoor activities such as swimming, canoeing, mini golf, archery, bike riding and camp-wide games.
Emerson said, “Offering the opportunity of connecting boys with godly men, amazing activities and a missions Challenge continues to be one of the best events we have for boys. I continue to have numerous pastors and leaders here in Illinois share with me how their lives were changed at camp.”
Boys and guys who didn’t attend the missions camp at Lake Sallateeska still Have an opportunity to participate in the camp experience. A Boys’ and Guys’ Missions Camp for those who have completed grades 3-12 will be held at Streator Baptist Camp July 25-29.
For more information about Boy’s Mission Camp at Streator, contact Barb Troeger at (217) 391-3138 or BarbTroeger@IBSA.org.
Girls’ Missions Camps
Recreation, crafts, missionary testimonies and Bible study were high on the agenda for IBSA Girls’ Missions Camps June 23-25.
Junior and senior high school girls arrived first for Big Mac Camp June 23. After a mini camp, they prepared for the younger campers’ (grades 4-6) arrival the next morning when they would be paired up to build mentoring relationships. The younger campers came to participate in Girls’ Missions Camp or the Mother/Daughter Camp June 24-25 while others enjoyed a one-day camp experience June 25. A total of 85 girls and their leaders participated in the missions camps.
Julia Jones, a senior from Westview Baptist Church in Swansea and A National Acteens Panelist, has been coming to Girls’ Missions Camps for the last six years. Jones said, “When I was a GA, I would come to worship. As an Acteen, I also come to lead the younger girls.”
The girls also heard from Amanda, a recent college graduate, who is leaving to serve as a journeyman missionary for the IMB in Sub- Saharan Africa. Amanda shared about her experiences on mission trips and as a summer missionary while in high school and college. She encouraged the campers to become involved in missions too.
Looking ahead to next year, IBSA Mission Awareness Director and Girls’ Camp coordinator Serena Butler hopes to incorporate more handson mission experiences into the camp schedule. She also wants churches to be aware that mission camps are open to any girl, including those that do not have an active GA or Acteens group. Butler said, “As more and more girls and leaders come to camp and learn about missions, we hope they will take that excitement back to their church and home and want to be involved in mission activities the rest of their lives.”
Clay City Resident Clebrates 75 Years Perfect Sunday School Attendance
CLAY CITY, Ill. | Seventy-five years ago, June Harrison missed a Sunday at church. Her mother had taken her to a gathering of her extended family, but she immediately regretted the decision.
“She said I cried all day because I had to miss Sunday School,” said Harrison, who was three years old at the time. “After that Sunday, she told herself she would never take me out of Sunday School again.”
Now 80, Harrison, a member of Community Southern Baptist Church in Clay City, marked 75 years of perfect Sunday School attendance this year. On the last Sunday in June, her church held a celebration in her honor, but for Harrison, it was “just another Sunday.”
“It was never a question in my family or with me, even after I grew up, whether or not I’d go.” She likens deciding not to go to church on a Sunday to waking up on Monday morning and deciding not to go to work. As impressive as her record is, Harrison doesn’t take credit for it.
“God has been so good. I have been blessed so much with good health all my life,” Harrison said, noting that she managed to avoid the chicken pox and measles that her five brothers and sisters contracted. “I don’t want any glory for myself, it’s God’s blessing to me.”
Her faithfulness extended to weeks she was away from her home church,too.
“When we were on vacation, we would find a church on Saturday night and then find a motel nearby, so we’d know what time to get up and go to Sunday School the next morning,” Harrison said of she and her husband Russell, who passed away in 2001.
The most difficult times to keep her commitment, Harrison said, have been when she’s lost family members. Her mother passed away on a Saturday evening, but not before making Harrison promise she’d go to church the next day.
“She said, ‘You’re going to Sunday School in the morning, aren’t you?’ I think she knew she wouldn’t live through the night…she started to cry and she said, ‘You go to Sunday School no matter what happens.’”
Harrison’s dedication to her local church began at First Baptist Church in Thompsonville, where she became a Christian during a revival service at the age of 13. After 75 years of Sunday School, she still remembers songs and verses she learned as a child, and the encouragement of one of her earliest Sunday School teachers to stay faithful in attending church. In particular, Harrison values the dynamic nature of the Bible to reveal new things to her even after so many years of study.
“Through the years, of course I’ve had repetition on lessons, and it seems like each time, something different is brought out in the Scriptures that maybe I didn’t catch the other time we had that lesson.”
IBSA Executive Director Nate Adams helped Harrison and FBC Clay City celebrate the milestone by presenting her with a plaque from LifeWay Christian Resources.
“Mrs. Harrison's faithful commitment to Sunday School over the years, and to the life-changing dynamic of group Bible study, is an inspiration to all of us. Her love for God’s Word is evident in her sweet spirit and fruitful life, and her testimony reminds me that effective Bible teaching is one of the most important ministries a church can provide.”
Along with the plaque, Harrison added a new pin to a ribbon that holds an anniversary award for each year of perfect attendance. The ribbon has grown to more than three feet in length, but recognition isn’t her main motivator, Harrison said.
“I stop and think what He did for me, what He did for us, dying on the cross, and it seems like such a small thing to attend services for Him, to worship Him,” she said. “I’ve just been so blessed through the years.”
100 World Changers Volunteers Impact Springfield
SPRINGFIELD | One hundred students and their leaders served in Springfield June 20-25 as part of World Changers, a Southern Baptist initiative that provides free home improvements in communities across North America and several international locations.
Marcy Aldridge, a member of Eastview Baptist Church in Springfield, was familiar with World Changers because her church had helped host the group in previous years. This summer, Aldridge got a much closer look as 11 World Changers replaced the roof on her home.
“These kids are giving up their time,” Aldridge said of the World Changers. “They could be home in a swimming pool; these kids are special.
“I’ve been so excited; I couldn’t wait until they got here this morning.”
The World Changers served at 12 work sites around the city, painting and repairing, replacing old roofs, and installing new windows. They also prayer walked their neighborhoods and partnered with Springfield churches to host community block parties, where they interacted with residents and sought to share the gospel.
Jesse White, a World Changer from First Baptist Church, Casey, served as the crew chief for the group working on Aldridge’s home. White was one of 22 Casey volunteers who traveled two-and-a-half hours to Sleep on the floor of a Springfield high school and work on homes around the city. White said the ways God has worked in the small town of Casey through his church is evidence that engaging in missions close to home is important.
“It’s doesn’t matter where you go, as long as you’re spreading the Word and helping others; across the road, 3,000 miles away, across the ocean.”
Hope Mclain, a high school junior from Nacogdoches, Texas, was part of White’s crew. As she stood at the bottom of a ladder waiting for the next coworker who would need her help descending from the roof, Mclain spoke about her personal call to missions, and how World Changers in Springfield illuminated that calling.
“I’ve never done a real hands on, meet people kind of mission trip like this, and it’s opened my eyes to the fact that people really do need other people to tell them about Jesus.”
Nearly 300 World Changers volunteers will serve in Chicago July 11-16. For more information about World Changers or PowerPlant, a Southern Baptist missions experience focused on church planting, go to www.namb.net/volunteer-groups.
Embracing The Unengaged
Unengaged. It’s a word that can make me smile. My wife Beth and I dated for more than six years before I asked her to marry me. We were sort of the poster couple for being unengaged. Almost everyone around us knew we should be married before I did. But now that we’ve been married 26 years, and love each other more deeply than ever, I sometimes wonder what took me so long.
But the context in which I’ve been hearing the word “unengaged” recently has not made me smile. At this year’s Southern Baptist Convention, International Mission Board President Tom Elliff informed messengers that there are approximately 3,800 unengaged people groups in the world.
What does “unengaged” mean in missions terminology? Well, it doesn’t just mean “un-Christian.” Obviously the gospel message has reached many millions that have rejected it. But at least they’ve had an opportunity.
And it doesn’t just mean “unreached.” The IMB describes as unreached those people groups where less than 2 percent of the population are evangelical Christians. Those groups have a very small Christian witness, but at least they have been engaged.
An unengaged people group has no known missionaries sent to them,And no current strategy in place for reaching them with the gospel. And there are 3,800 of them.
For some time now, most of our efforts as Southern Baptists (and we have been the largest missionary group in the world) have been either evangelizing already engaged groups, or seeking to establish an evangelical witness among the unreached groups. And there is still a lot of Great Commission work to be done among those groups, many of them right here in Illinois.
But at the current pace, IMB missionaries are engaging a few more than 100 new people groups each year. Are we really willing to wait 30 years or more to reach these unengaged people groups? Are we willing for millions of them to die without hearing the name of Jesus?
That was exactly Dr. Elliff’s point at the close of last month’s Southern Baptist Convention. After commissioning 40 new international missionaries, he challenged messengers to return home and lead their churches to embrace at least one of the 3,800 unengaged people groups of the world, as the primary missionary strategist for that group. He said he believed that by next year’s SBC, we could have a church committed to every one of those currently unengaged people groups.
I was one of hundreds who flooded the altar in response to that challenge, and my pastor and I are already praying About how our church might embrace a people group. I saw several other Illinois Baptists at that altar, and as our eyes met we exchanged serious smiles.
It’s not a responsibility to be taken lightly; it’s not just filling out a card with good intentions. The IMB is essentially saying, “We can’t get to these people soon enough. We can’t even think strategically about most of them right now. Will you help? Will you at least get started toward reaching that people group? We’ll help you with training and whatever else we can, but these people just can’t wait for the gospel. Will you be their first missionary?”
You can learn more about what it Means to embrace an unengaged people group at the IMB website (imb.org). There you can view the commissioning service and hear Dr. Elliff’s challenge, and others. You can even go to a map that shows and describes the unengaged people groups, and click on each one for more information. And you can read the clear next steps to your church entering a long-term relationship with one of these precious unengaged people groups.
In the days ahead our IBSA staff will also be available, along with IMB staff, to assist your church in discovering and following through with the people group to whom God may be calling you. By this time next year it will be exciting to hear how many SBC churches have stepped up to embrace one or more of these 3,800 “nations” of the world. After all, Jesus promised in Matthew 24:14, “This good news of the kingdom will be proclaimed in all the world, as a testimony to the nations. And then the end will come.”
Unengaged. It’s a word that’s starting to make me smile again, in the same way that I did just before I became engaged to my wife. And I have a feeling we may all soon be wondering what took us so long.
Nate Adams is executive director of the Illinois Baptist State Association and may be reached at NateAdams@IBSA.org or (217) 391-3108.
Waterloo Church 'Gets Back To Its Roots' Through Community Garden
WATERLOO, Ill. | Ask any gardener, and they’ll tell you this Illinois growing season hasn’t been easy. Torrential rains, high winds and even tornadoes menaced many parts of the state throughout the spring and early summer.
Waterloo, Ill., didn’t escape without damage, but the weather hasn’t stopped a small group of gardeners intent on cultivating vegetables, fruit, flowers and herbs. Since 2009, First Baptist Church, Waterloo has hosted a community garden on its property. They cordon off part of the farmland surrounding the church into 10-foot-square plots and offer them to individuals and families who want to grow a garden but may not have space of their own.
“We want to provide a service to people who are not necessarily part of our church family,” said Pastor Steve Neill. “We provide the space, there’s no charge. They can come at their leisure, work when they want.”
Two years ago, the church was looking for ways to reach out to residents in a community of duplexes near the church. Understanding that the families who lived in the duplexes didn’t have the space to plant a garden, deacon Montey Johnson suggested using part of the church’s 16 acres to start a community gardening project. Through their county extension office, they met Lisa Dean, a state-certified master gardener.
Dean and her husband had moved to Illinois from Missouri but were still attending church on the Missouri side. They felt called to join a church in Illinois, and soon found a home at FBC Waterloo. Lisa was a perfect fit to take the reins as the garden’s main caretaker.
Dean used her training and experience to create the best set-up for the garden, which included twenty 10-foot by 10-foot plots. That first year, 13 families adopted garden space, including several who weren’t attending FBC Waterloo.
“Everybody has to eat, and right now, in this economic time, there’s a great resurgence in home gardening and cooperative food programs,” Dean said. “We’re getting back to our roots, literally.”
In the garden’s second year, FBC Waterloo doubled the available space and Dean also planted potatoes, sweet corn and a variety of herbs to be picked by anyone in the community. Gardeners ranged from young parents who wanted to teach their children the value of growing things to an older Woman who used time in the garden to connect with her husband, who is suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.
This season, Dean and her team moved the garden to a new location to accommodate the church’s building program. The new site, combined with the challenging weather, has created an abbreviated season, but there are still 10 families ready to adopt garden plots.
Through its three years, the garden has taught participants of all ages about responsibility, sharing and taking care of others Dean said. She encourages the gardeners to “tithe” their produce, setting up a table some Sunday mornings where people can bring in excess food that is donated to senior citizens or local food pantries.
The gardeners also look out for one another, tending to plants when someone is out of town or unable to work in the garden for a while. That shared responsibility is one of the garden’s strongest testimonies to the community, Neill said.
“As they see how we take care of each other, that then brings the questions about, ‘why would you do this kind of thing?’ We’re able to share because of our love for Christ and our desire to be of service.
“They watch how we live, they see our focus in loving God, and they begin to get the bigger picture of who we are.”
For more information about FBC Waterloo’s community garden project, contact Lisa Dean at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cremeens Named Franklin Assn. DOM
WEST FRANKFORT, Ill. | A familiar face has taken the helm as Franklin Baptist Association director of missions (DOM). Ron Cremeens, a longtime Southern Illinois pastor, started in the position on June 1.
Cremeens has pastored Faith Missionary Baptist Church, Christopher; Elkville First Baptist Church; Third Baptist Church, Marion; and Immanuel Baptist Church, Benton. He has also served as a chaplain at Saint Mary’s/Good Samaritan Hospital.
The DOM has been involved in local associations, serving as moderator for Franklin and Williamson Baptist Associations and as Discipleship Training and Extension Ministry Leader at Nine Mile Baptist Association. He is also active in missions and has led revivals in South Africa and Romania.
Cremeens holds a Doctor of Theology from Carolina University of Theology, a Master of Divinity from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, and a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale. He and his wife Linda have been married 49 years and have two daughters, Kristy and Stacy. Both are married and have given the couple three grandchildren.
IL Baptists Invited To Recommend IBSA Board And Committe Members
SPRINGFIELD | The Illinois Baptist State Association’s Nominating Committee and the Committee on Committees are seeking recommendations of Illinois Baptists to serve as members of its three boards and six standing committees. The Nominating Committee will meet on August 18 and the Committee on Committees will meet on August 19 in Springfield to consider names of those willing to serve and who meet the constitutional requirements. Nominees will be voted on at the Association’s Annual Meeting November 2-3.
The Nominating Committee, chaired by Phil Nelson, pastor of Lakeland Baptist Church in Carbondale, nominates pastors and laypersons from IBSA member churches to serve as members of the Association’s three governing boards. The IBSA board of directors has 33 members, while the Baptist Foundation of Illinois (BFI) and the Baptist Children’s Home and Family Services (BCHFS) boards of trustees have 21 members each. Members of all boards are elected to serve three-year terms or finish out an unexpired term.
The IBSA Board of Directors meets twice a year in Springfield, with committees meeting another Two times a year. Nominees should come from various regions of the state as specified in the IBSA Constitution.
The BFI board meets twice a year in Springfield and BCHFS trustees meet four times a year in either Mt. Vernon or Carmi.
The Committee on Committees, chaired by Bob Dickerson, pastor of First Baptist Church, Marion, nominates persons for membership on the state Association’s six standing committees: order of business, nominating, credentials, constitution, resolutions and historical.
Each of the Association’s committees has 12 members, all serving a three-year term, and meets at least once during the year in Springfield. (The committees that meet twice are credentials, order of business and resolutions. The constitution, historical, and nominating committees are scheduled to meet once.)
People who want to nominate an individual for any of the boards or an Association committee need to complete the appropriate recommendation form, which is available online at www.IBSA.org or by calling (217) 391-3107. Completed forms should be returned to IBSA by July 21.
Illinois Baptists Named To SBC's Committee On Nominations
PHOENIX (BP) | Two Illinois Baptists were named to the 2011-12 SBC Committee on Nominations, which will nominate people to serve on the SBC's boards, commissions and committees.
Mark Shipley, a layman from Roland Manor Baptist, Washington, and Adron Robinson, pastor of Hillcrest Baptist Church in Country Club Hills, will join 68 other representatives From 35 state conventions on the committee, which will present its report to the 2012 SBC annual meeting in New Orleans.
The committee, announced during the June 14-15 SBC annual meeting in Phoenix, is made up of two people from each state convention, with at least one layperson.