IL Ministry Collects Used SS Material And More
BUTLER, Ill. | Steve Schmidt waived his arms over the dozens of pallets of Christian reading material. “All of this used to be recycled into cardboard,” he said. “Now, it’s stopping someone from going to Hell.”
Schmidt is the founder of Love Packages, which sends Christian reading materials to foreign countries.Dozens of Illinois Baptist churches participate in this ministry by donating excess (new and used) Sunday School literature, Bibles and other Christian materials to Love Packages to be sorted, packed and shipped in 20-foot containers across the oceans to countries where very little Christian literature is available.
Pastors and missionaries use the material to share Christ and disciple Christians in many African and Asian countries where English is not the native language but is often taught in schools. Love Packages also accepts Spanish language materials which it ships to Spanish-speaking countries.
The Southern Baptist Convention’s LifeWay Christian Resources and Billy Graham Ministries are among the many organizations that donate their overruns and slightly damaged materials to the ministry.
Eastview Baptist Church in Springfield serves as a collection site for the ministry, and its members volunteer there. Pastor Bennie Fisher said, “It’s the greatest recylcing ministry ever. Love Packages allows thousands around the world to hear the Gospel and to grow in their faith – that’s evangelism and discipleship.”
Love Packages began in 1975 in the basement of Schmidt’s home when he says God showed him the huge amount of literature that was being wasted. The first year, he and His wife shipped 60 boxes of literature overseas to four missionaries. As word spread about the ministry, donations grew and two warehouses were constructed in the tiny town of Butler, Ill., which has a population of 197 and is located 40 miles south of Springfield.
According to Schmidt, “Over the last five years we’ve shipped right at 1,000 tons each year, enough materials for 50 million people to read.”
He estimates “for every piece of literature we send to the third world, it may be read by 20 people.”
In June, Schmidt said, “We have 200 tons of literature on the water now. We ship 20 tons of literature each week.”
Love Packages has a staff of three, including Schmidt. He says, “We are always looking for volunteers.” Volunteers look through the donated items and sort out any non-Christian and cult materials. They sort the literature into six categories: Bibles, reference material, Sunday School literature, books and paperbacks, magazines and daily devotionals, and cassettes, tracts, and miscellaneous.The materials are then placed in color coded boxes for shipping.
Rick Stayton, a member of Emmanuel Baptist Church in Carlinville, Has been one of those volunteers for the last ten years. “I heard about Love Packages from the WMU ladies at our church and have been volunteering here since then.” Stayton has even brought groups of men from his church to the site for a Baptist Men’s Day mission project and he participated in the Missions Spectacular project at Love Packages last month.
Alice Thomas, a member of Lincoln Avenue Baptist Church in Jacksonville, was also volunteering as a part of Missions Spectacular. “Our church began sending materials to Love Packages after Steve shared about the need at our church’s missions fair.”
Thomas was among several of the Mission Spectacular participants who chose to volunteer because their churches have been shipping materials to the ministry for many years. Looking at the dozens of pallets and shelves stacked with materials she said, “I didn’t realize how much they collect.”
The ministry also fosters a healthy sense of stewardship, Fisher said.
“It encourages our people to take care of the materials we’ve been entrusted and blessed with so they can be passed on to others.”
Churches with materials to donate can take them to Love Packages or ship them to 220 Union St., Butler, IL 62015. The least expensive postal rates are 4th class. To find out more, visit www.lovepackages.org or call (217) 532-6701.
Southern Illinois Churches Drive Rebuilding Process With Help From IBSA
MILLER CITY, Ill. | The Illinois Baptist State Association has provided financial assistance to churches damaged by spring flooding in Southern Illinois. The aid, made possible in large part by a designated fund at the Baptist Foundation of Illinois (BFI), has already helped several churches facing thousands of dollars in repairs.
“I’m so grateful for the faithfulness and foresight of the Illinois Baptists who established this fund to help churches after natural disasters,” said IBSA Executive Director Nate Adams. “Without their generosity we wouldn’t have been able to help these flooded churches nearly as much.”
Lake Milligan Baptist Church, located a half mile from the Mississippi River, is no stranger to floods. The church in tiny Miller City in extreme southwestern Illinois has moved four times since its establishment in 1844.Three of those moves were due to flooding.
“Fortunately, the people have a good attitude; they’re simply taking this in stride,” said Pastor Verlee Eaker, whose church once again is experiencing the effects of their location. In late April and early May, water rushed into the church’s basement and eventually reached the sanctuary. Over the past several weeks, volunteers have been working to replace ruined flooring and plaster board.
Along with damage in the sanctuary, Lake Milligan’s basement flooded with five feet of water. The wall paneling and ceiling will need to be replaced, and Eaker said the water also destroyed tables, chairs and a piano.
In early July, IBSA’s Jerry Day presented Eaker and his church a check to assist with repairs. “I’m deeply appreciative and I know they [the congregation] are of the financial aid we’ve received from IBSA,” Eaker said, also noting that his church needs prayers and support from Illinois Baptists around the state.
In Elizabethtown, located 80 miles northeast of Miller City on the Ohio River, Pastor Ed Lafferty leads a group of volunteers working to repair heavy damage at First Baptist Church. The church saw nearly one foot of water in its 134- year-old sanctuary, and more in adjacent office space.
“We have replaced all the floors, gutted the office area, we’ve put in new walls, new studding. Where the floors had buckled, we’ve replaced all the floors. Basically we just gutted it and started over,” Lafferty said. Adams recently presented a check to FBC Elizabethtown that will help cover the costs of new drywall, paint and carpeting.
Lafferty thinks the repairs will take at least another six weeks; then, he plans to move worship services back into the sanctuary.They’re currently meeting in a multi-purpose building that wasn’t damaged by the flooding.
Day said IBSA’s Missions Team is working with several other churches to assess damage and determine how resources from the BFI fund can help with repairs.
“We have received word that seven IBSA member churches in Southern Illinois were damaged in the recent flood,” Day said. “We’re also still in the process of receiving information from several others that may receive assistance from this special fund.”
So far, IBSA has given $22,000 for flood relief to member churches and partner associations. For more information, call (217) 391-3103 or e-mail JerryDay@IBSA.org.
Combining IBSA Summer Youth Camps Pays Off For Camps & Students
GREENVILLE, Ill. | IBSA’s Steve Hamrick and Grant Medford knew they were taking a chance when they decided to combine Summer Worship University (SWU) and Super Summer. After all, they were throwing together students who, in previous years, had to choose between the state’s youth music camp and Super Summer, a week of intense spiritual training and Bible study.
This year, Hamrick and Medford invited students to experience both in one week at Greenville College.
The SWU participants, many who are members of IBSA’s All State Youth Choir, attended music breakout sessions each morning, and then joined Super Summer students for afternoon electives, including Bible 101, Creative Worship and Heroes of the Faith. The students also were together for afternoon recreation and evening worship.
“It was so great to see how two different groups came together to worship, serve, learn and play together,” Medford said. “As with any new venture, there are adjustments and changes that need to occur, but it was all worth it when we got to see these students come together for worship.”
Megan Donnelley, a high school senior from First Baptist Church, Altamont, agreed that corporate worship services were a highlight of combining the two groups.
“It’s amazing to see all those people in there giving their all – that’s one of the pluses,” said Donnelley, a four-time SWU participant attending her first Super Summer. She added that learning alongside other Christians is another important part of both experiences. “I come here, and everybody’s so on fire. That’s why I come back, because it helps me grow in my faith.”
At the end of the week, Donnelley joined 50 other singers in IBSA’s All State Youth Choir on a music and ministry tour through North Carolina, Georgia and Florida. They performed several times, including a homecoming concert at First Baptist Church, Pinckneyville, when they returned to Illinois, but Hamrick said the focus was more on ministering together as they traveled.
“During the past several years, the focus of the All State Choir has evolved from a choir tour to a mission trip,” Hamrick said. “Instead of riding many miles in a bus, setting up and presenting a concert, packing up and traveling to the next venue, our strategy is to use music as a tool to share the gospel.”
This year’s choir presented several public concerts for Florida tourists and residents and also distributed information about their host church, Amelia Baptist.
For more information about IBSA’s All State Youth Choir or Summer Worship University, call (217) 391-3126 or e-mail DebbieMuller@IBSA.org. To learn more about Super Summer, call (217) 391-3127 or e-mail BarbaraHalleman@IBSA.org.
“So what are you reading these days?” My friend’s question caught me off guard, so my response was a little flippant.
“Oh, you know, the same as usual,” I grinned. “Reports, proposals, letters, e-mails, financial statements, invoices, associational newsletters, and of course, the Illinois Baptist.” I was only partly kidding. A significant portion of my average day is spent reading just those kinds of things, but they weren’t the kinds of reading my friend was talking about.
And he wasn’t going to let me off the hook that easily.“Right. But I mean, have you read anything lately that is really stretching you?”
In the past his question might have made me feel neglectful, less than studious, and perhaps a little un-stretched.
But the truth is that it’s been several years now since that inquiry actually embarrassed me. For one thing, it’s the type of question that thoughtful, growing leaders ask one another. I saw in my friend’s eyes a sincere interest in me, and a sincere desire to be stretched himself.
But also, I’ve now developed the habit of always having one or two, sometimes three, different types of books “in progress,” so that I’m always reading something, however Gradually. This summer I’m finishing up a small book about the curiosities of the Grand Canyon, having just climbed in and out of it last month, as well as Timothy Keller’s book, “The Reason for God,” which is proving to be a great help in my conversations with young skeptics.
Next on my list are books that have been recommended to me by two friends and fellow leaders here in Illinois. One is “Clergy Killers,” by G. Lloyd Reiger, about sources and suggested remedies of church conflict. Another is “Axiom,” a leadership book by Bill Hybels. And by the end of the summer I hope to read Robert Hastings’ classic little book “Tinyburg Tales,” which I’ve known about for years but not had opportunity to read all the way through.
If you believe the old adage that “leaders are readers,” as I do, then you’ll agree that we as church leaders should continue stretching one another with this question, “What are you reading these days?” And I would suggest a similar, but slightly more profound question as well. It’s one that IBSA’s Executive Director Search Committee asked me over five years ago on their in-depth questionnaire: “What books have had a significant impact on your life?”
I’m not sure my list today would be identical to the one I gave the committee five years ago. But today it would include both old classics, like “My Utmost for His Highest” by Oswald Chambers, and new classics like the Scripture-laden “The Purpose Driven Life” by Rick Warren. It would include business books like “Good to Great,” by Jim Collins and “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team” by Patrick Lencioni. As the father of three boys, now young men, “Raising a Modern- Day Knight” by Robert Lewis helped me immensely. And Philip Yancey’s painfully honest book “Prayer, Does It Make Any Difference?” continues to challenge me spiritually.
Perhaps the “sleeper” on my list would be a powerful little book by Gene Edwards titled “A Tale of Three Kings,” which helped me through a couple of very difficult periods when I found myself asking the question the book poses on page 90: “Is there no hope, then, for those who must follow unworthy men?” It’s a tale based on the biblical figures of David, Saul and Absalom. I’ve recommended it over the years to both leaders and frustrated followers of poor or selfish leaders. It will be worth your time this summer, if you’ve not yet read it.
Of course the Bible should lead all our lists all the time, but that simple answer can also become cliché.Which version or edition of the Bible has been most helpful to you? For me, Thomas Nelson’s The Open Bible and Zondervan’s The Quest Bible have become the ones I recommend most often.
So that’s my list of books, past and present, and my answer to the questions that I now pose to you. What are you reading that is stretching you?And, what books have had a significant impact on your life? These are questions that thoughtful friends, and church leaders like us, should lovingly ask one another, for the sake of the churches we serve.
Nate Adams is executive director of the Illinois Baptist State Association and can be reached at (217) 391-3108 or NateAdams@IBSA.org.
Illinois Baptist Voices: IBSA churches can invest in other IBSA churches
Investment rates of return are terrible. But you knew that already didn't you?
In fact, regardless of your approach, it seems like investing and receiving a solid return is increasingly more of a challenge. While equities (stocks) have recovered a large amount of their losses from the crash of 2008, they have a good ways to go. And, of course, despite good income numbers posted by numerous corporations, 2011 has been less than stellar with lower than expected growth, and few churches would tolerate the risk that is inherent in stocks at any rate.
And then there are bonds. Beginning with U.S. Treasuries. Not good. Maybe enough said about the bond market.
For our Baptist churches and institutions there is an alternative.
In 2008, the Baptist Foundation of Illinois forged a partnership with the Baptist Foundation of Oklahoma that gave us access to their Church Building Loan Pool. This pool has been remarkably stable since its inception (it’s now 30 years old) and investments in the pool help build Baptist churches throughout the Midwest. Already, this year, BFI has partnered with this fund to make two loans to Illinois Baptist churches – one in the northern part of the state and one in Southern Illinois.
This stable stream of payments from church loans (made at competitive market rates – and most churches pay off their debt in five years, even though the loans are amortized at 20) provides for a solid return on investments. Churches that invest in the pool receive a guaranteed fixed rate for specific terms, very much like a Certificate of Deposit operates. And the rates of return for this low risk investment are exceptional: currently, a two-year investment yields 3.84 percent; one year is 2.95 percent; six months is 2.34 percent; and one month is 1.77 percent.
This increased return helps supply ministry funds to the church via interest payments AND the money is put to use helping other Baptist churches. In a word, we hope to provide an opportunity for great cooperation among our churches, helping them advance the Kingdom, while using best business practices.
Many churches have reserve funds or are themselves trying to save money for an anticipated project (i.e. building fund). In most cases, these funds could be earning more (a solid stewardship decision) and could be helping other churches to grow (a spirit of cooperation).
In an economy returning poor market rates and with the need for us to help each other more than ever as we “press on” for the sake of the Gospel. Perhaps such an investment is designed for just such a time as this.
Contact me to learn more or for a no-obligation proposal for your church.
Doug Morrow is executive director of the Baptist Foundation of Illinois and can be reached at (217) 391-3102 or DougMorrow@IBSA.org.
Congratulations BFI Scholarship Recipients!
SPRINGFIELD | The Baptist Foundation of Illinois Scholarship Selection Committee has awarded almost $50,000 in scholarships to students attending undergraduate and graduate institutions this fall. A complete list of the recipients follows:
Nichole Beckman, First Baptist Church, Harrisburg.Attending Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, Ill. Received Waud Scholarship and Peterson Scholarship.
Jessica Behrends, First Baptist Church, Brownstown. Attending Southwest Baptist University, Bolivar, Mo. Received Voight-Fossieck Scholarship.
Geary Davis, Crossroads Southern Baptist Church, Grayslake. Attending Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, Wake Forest,N. C. Received Drury/Vernon Scholarship.
Jonathan Davis, Lakeland Baptist Church, Carbondale. Attending Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, Ky. Received Cameron Scholarship and Drury/Vernon Scholarship.
Justin Faulkner, First Baptist Church, Mascoutah. Attending Southwestern Illinois College, Belleville, Ill. Received BFI Educational Endowment Scholarship and Taylor Scholarship.
Jared Galloway, First Baptist Church, Metropolis, Ill. Attending Collin College, Plano, Texas. Received Grammar Scholarship.
Jonathan Gwaltney, First Baptist Church, Carmi. Attending Union University, Jackson, Tenn. Received Union University Scholarship.
Zachary Holliday, First Baptist Church, Petersburg.Attending Western Illinois University, Macomb, Ill. Received Petersburg FBC Dammon Scholarship.
Morgan Jackson, Western Oaks Baptist Church, Springfield. Attending Illinois State University, Normal, Ill. Received BFI Educational Endowment Scholarship.
Rosemary Jackson, Bethel Baptist Church, Troy. Attending Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville, Ill. Received Bowren Scholarship and Jameson Scholarship
Colin Keith, Nine Mile Baptist Church, Tamaroa. Attending John A. Logan College, Carterville, Ill. Received Taylor Scholarship.
Cristi Killingsworth, College Avenue Baptist Church, Normal. Attending Illinois State University, Normal, Ill. Received BFI Educational Endowment Scholarship.
Ben Kinsey, First Baptist Church, Albion. Attending Greenville College, Greenville, Ill. Received Millick Scholarship and Gingrich Scholarship.
Lauren Little, First Baptist Church, Fairview Heights. Attending Oklahoma Baptist University, Shawnee, Okla. Received Baldwin Scholarship and Thurman Scholarship.
Cora Looney, Brainard Avenue Baptist Church, Countryside. Attending Trinity International University, Deerfield, Ill. Received Gibson Scholarship and Doom/Wager Scholarship.
Suzanne Maloney, Scott Street Baptist Church, Eldorado. Attending the University of Southern Indiana, Evansville, Ind. Received BFI Educational Endowment Scholarship.
Matthew Marshall, First Baptist Church, O’Fallon. Attending Missouri Baptist University, St. Louis, Mo. Received Drury/Vernon Scholarship.
Daniel Messina, First Baptist Church, Litchfield.Attending Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, Wake Forest, N.C. Received Jones/Russell Scholarship.
Whitney Miller, Freedom Missionary Baptist Church, McLeansboro. Attending McKendree University, Lebanon, Ill. Received BFI Educational Endowment Scholarship.
April Najpaver, Liberty Baptist Church, Pekin.Attending Maryville University, St. Louis, Mo. Received BFI Educational Endowment Scholarship.
Cassandra Owen, Sycamore Baptist Church.Attending Kishwaukee College, Malta, Ill. Received Waud Scholarship.
Ashton Plummer, Third Baptist Church, Marion.Attending Southwest Baptist University, Bolivar, Mo. Received Drury/Vernon Scholarship and Hall Scholarship.
Maggie Rosentreter, Cross Church, Carlinville.Attending Oklahoma Baptist University, Shawnee, Okla. Received Drury/Vernon Scholarship.
Kristen Rowe, First Baptist Church, Albion. Attending Georgetown College, Georgetown, Ky. Received Voight/Fossieck Scholarship.
Julie Smith, Calvary Baptist Church, Alton. Attending Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Fort Worth, Texas. Received Drury/Vernon Scholarship.
Emma Stokes, Bethel Baptist Church, Troy.Attending Missouri Baptist University, St. Louis, Mo. Received BFI Educational Endowment Scholarship.
Rachel Stokes, Bethel Baptist Church, Troy.Attending Baker College, Flint, Mich. Received Bowren Scholarship and Smith Scholarship.
Joylynn Strobel, First Baptist Church, Brownstown.Attending Oklahoma Baptist University, Shawnee, Okla. Received Drury/Vernon Scholarship.
Julie Strubinger, Chatham Baptist Church. Attending Southwest Baptist University, Bolivar, Mo. Received Doom/Wager Scholarship.
Millie Thomas, First Baptist Church, Carterville. Attending University of Southern Indiana, Evansville, Ind. Received Waud Scholarship and Atterberry/Heironimus Scholarship.
Hannah Toler, First Baptist Church, Harrisburg. Attending Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, Ill. Received Mathias Scholarship.
Jordan Troeger, Living Faith Baptist Church, Sherman. Attending Hannibal-LaGrange University, Hannibal, Mo. Received Swinford Scholarship.
Caleb Wheeler, New Hope Baptist Church, Tower Hill. Attending Taylor University, Upland, Ind. Received Voight-Fossieck Scholarship and Rehoboth Scholarship.
DeAndre Williams, Eternity Baptist Church, Centralia. Attending Kaskaskia College, Centralia, Ill. Received Drury/Vernon Scholarship and Brown/Baldwin Scholarship.
Illinois Baptist Mark Shipley Named To WMU Foundation Board
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. | WMU Foundation welcomes Mark Shipley, a member of Roland Manor Baptist Church in Washington, to its board of trustees. His term began in late 2010 and will continue until 2015; he currently serves on the investment committee of the Foundation.
"I have huge respect for WMU," Shipley said, "and I am honored to contribute to the work of WMU by serving on the Foundation board. In my opinion, no other group in Southern Baptist life does more to support missions and the sending of missionaries than WMU."
The WMU Foundation was established in 1995 as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation to provide services to donors who desire to fund missions through WMU. The Foundation is governed by a self-perpetuating board of trustees, which also includes Janet Craynon, a member of Springfield Southern Baptist Church.
To learn more about the WMU Foundation, visit www.wmufoundation.com.