A Clarion Call and Not Just a Theme

In 1873, a young Dwight L. Moody stood in the vestry of a Baptist church in Dublin, Ireland, talking with Henry Varley, an influential British revivalist preacher. During the course of that conversation, Varley uttered words that rocketed through Moody’s soul and altered the course of Moody’s future ministry.

“Moody,” he said, “The world has yet to see what God will do with a man fully consecrated to him.” Continue reading “A Clarion Call and Not Just a Theme”

Seven Things that the Rise in Cooperative Program Giving says about TN Pastors & Churches

The ovation lasted longer than most at a monthly staff meeting as Dr. Randy Davis shared the news that churches gave 2.2% more through the Cooperative Program than they did last year.  Tennessee Baptists are the heroes in the narrative of Cooperative Program giving. While many state conventions struggle to fund ministries and missions, we’re experiencing growth.  This increase appears to be nothing short of miraculous. We spent time together, thanking God for Tennessee Baptists and their pastors. Our churches said many things through their giving. Here are seven:

1. Momentum grows when UNITY drives the bus.
Tennessee Baptists have enjoyed unity for a number of years. Today we celebrate what happens when a network of believers locks arms to accomplish what they could never do alone. We all agree that Tennessee is a mission field. In other words, the turf war is over. There’s plenty of turf to go around. The network of cooperation boggles the mind. Just consider how the Cooperative Program works when we are united:  A new church plant in Inner City Memphis needs the help of a Brentwood church. Disaster Relief needs the help of a small church in Shelbyville. A church in Brownville funds the BCM at UT Knoxville. A church of 50 members in Sullivan Association assures that an unnamed missionary in Central Asia continues to plant churches. There’s no end to the elaborate connecting points between churches and mission strategies. How is this possible? To a man, almost every Tennessee Baptist pastor knows the answer: The Cooperative Program. Continue reading “Seven Things that the Rise in Cooperative Program Giving says about TN Pastors & Churches”

Why I Am Thankful for Steve Gaines

Steve Gaines
-Photo by Morris Abernathy

Messengers to the 2018 Southern Baptist Convention stand at the threshold of two watershed days in our denomination’s history this week as the annual meeting convenes in Dallas. More importantly, these representatives from our network of churches play a central role in the outcomes that lie ahead.

There has been much in the news about Southern Baptists coming into this convention, and unfortunately little of it has been positive. Messengers have many decisions to make, and in my opinion one of the most important responsibilities is to prayerfully elect our next SBC president. But as we look beyond this convention, I want to look backward and express sincere gratitude to God and to the messengers who twice elected Tennessee’s own Dr. Steve Gaines as president of the SBC. Continue reading “Why I Am Thankful for Steve Gaines”

Living in Your Sweet Spot

If you have ever played sports, you are probably familiar with the term “sweet spot.” The “Sweet Spot” is the point or area on a bat, club, or racket at which it makes most effective contact with the ball (I am told that my golf clubs have a “sweet spot” but I have never actually found it!). In non-sports terms, the “sweet spot” is an optimum point or combination of factors or qualities.

I bring this up because it seems that church revitalization is often measured solely in terms of numbers – attendance, budget, etc. While these measurements can be an indicator of church revitalization, other factors need to be considered when determining the overall health of a church in the revitalization process. Some of the “health factors” can be more difficult to measure, but it is important to pay attention to the “sweet spot” on the church revitalization journey.

As we look at the pictured diagram, the place where all three circles come together would be the “Sweet Spot.” Let’s break it down to some practical steps in nurturing revitalization in the church. Continue reading “Living in Your Sweet Spot”

Reasons to Celebrate the Cooperative Program

I’m amazed at what God is doing across Tennessee through His people and through the Tennessee Baptist Mission Board.

In Dandridge, 15 more boys were recently saved, baptized, and set on the road to discipleship at a detention facility. These precious younger brothers in Christ add to the harvest of more than 100 new believers who have come to Jesus over the past three years at the facility through the ministry of Swannsylvania Baptist Church.

Just last year we saw 95 college students come to faith in Christ through our Baptist Collegiate Ministries on university campuses across our state. More than 4,700 students are involved in BCM and 152 of them are preparing for church-related vocations. Continue reading “Reasons to Celebrate the Cooperative Program”

Does Prayer Still Change Things?

By Randy C. Davis
TBMB President & Executive Director

“… That their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, and attaining to all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the knowledge of the mystery of God, both of the Father and of Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. Now this I say lest anyone should deceive you with persuasive words” (Colossians 2:2-4).

London was overrun with orphaned children in the 1830s. Children lived on the streets and those that found shelter often found themselves in squalid conditions subject to harsh treatment by adults who viewed the children as slave labor. It was an abusive, graceless, and dangerous environment. Continue reading “Does Prayer Still Change Things?”

This Could Be Our Finest Hour

On Feb. 18, 1952, the S.S. Pendleton was caught in a brutal winter storm generating 60-foot waves that slammed into the 500-foot tanker. The seas became so intense that it split the ship in two. The captain and six others were in the forward part of the ship; the other 32 in the aft as the two sections began drifting apart.

When the distress call came into the Coast Guard station, the station’s commander turned to a 24-year-old Bernie Webber and told him to take a boat out and attempt a rescue. Webber asked for volunteers who would go. Three other men, all younger than Webber, quickly stepped forward. Continue reading “This Could Be Our Finest Hour”

Church, Fall and Evangelism

Fall is upon us. The smell in the air and the cool breeze mark a new season for us all. What a great time to make the most important thing … the most important thing.  How do we sew into the fabric of our ministry/church the earnest desire to be more evangelistic?  Here are a few opportunities:

1. Football is in the air.  Nothing excites a community like their local football team. Did you know that the football team is often operated with less funds and assistance that they actually need? Here is how you can help ... (a) pray for the coaches and players (b) call the coaching staff to see if your church can cook for the team or at least the coaching staff (c) create a “fan item” (with church info) to be handed out at the game. Continue reading “Church, Fall and Evangelism”

The Evangelistic Metric and Measurement Assessment Scale

How to Measure an Evangelistic Disciple-Making Program/Process

When considering an evangelism method, a measuring tool will add objectivity.  Whether you are considering a new or repeated method, a measuring tool is necessary.  The Evangelistic Metric and Measurement Assessment Scale (EMMA) Scale is a value rubric for prediscipleship programs. The rubric measures the value of considered evangelistic programs and processes.  The purpose of the measuring value is to assess if the necessary evangelistic elements are present in the program. The rubric consists of two processes: (1) a pre-program measurement, (2) and a post-program measurement. Continue reading “The Evangelistic Metric and Measurement Assessment Scale”

Pausing for Poignant Moments

There are moments in life that are so obviously important that they need not scream to be recognized. The magnitude of their presence halts the daily hustle and quietly demands that we notice, and reflect, and determine that the nostalgic moment becomes a prelude to something greater.

I believe God has granted to Tennessee Baptists such a poignant moment and we must pause to understand its significance to our past, but more importantly, to our future.

Last Monday (May 22) the staff of your Tennessee Baptist Mission Board walked into the new Church Support Center, marking the end of what amounted to a 10-year pilgrimage. Relocation was an arduous process, but one in which God graciously led us to build a beautiful building in a strategic location in Franklin, repeating the grace we believe He extended to our Tennessee Baptist predecessors when He led them to building in Brentwood in the 1960s. The 45-year increase in the value of that property provided the possibility of Monday’s moment. Continue reading “Pausing for Poignant Moments”