Pausing for Poignant Moments

RISEThere 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”

Pastor: Nine Steps To Recovering Your Joy

man silhouetteIt’s right there in the red letters:  “That my joy may be in you …”

This is a statement of fact made by Jesus Himself, and yet I’ve encountered so many pastors who haven’t experienced joy in a long time. The man behind the pulpit carries both pastoral and personal burdens, and it can be overwhelming. What once was a thrill becomes drudgery, and one day, pastor, you realize you’ve lost your joy. I know the feeling. Been there.

While I was a pastor, I signed articles and letters with the salutation, “It is a joy to be your pastor.” Once, however, the slightest typo slipped through — a single letter — and communicated something completely different: “It is a job to be your pastor.” Continue reading “Pastor: Nine Steps To Recovering Your Joy”

Eight Factors in a Successful Youth Small Group Ministry

170301student-meeting-library-teamSmall groups and youth ministry are subjects of lively debate these days. Is a youth Sunday school class a real small group experience? Should they meet on the church campus or in homes? Should they be co-ed or same sex? Should they all study the same curriculum or be allowed to pick their own? Should they meet all year round or take the summer off?

While these are all good questions worth thinking about, the truth is that none of these are the factors that most contribute to a successful youth small group ministry. Continue reading “Eight Factors in a Successful Youth Small Group Ministry”

A Plea for Unity and Cooperation

CooperationThere is a fog of divisiveness settling across the Southern Baptist Convention and it is spreading like a poisonous gas, and we must address it rather than allow it to linger and destroy our Great Commission calling.

There is a litany of issues causing the increasing tension that seemingly permeates every conversation taking place across our denomination and we no longer have the luxury of pretending there isn’t a problem. There is tension between national entities and state conventions, between Calvinists and non-Calvinists, between entity leaders and Southern Baptists, and the list goes on. It seems there is division almost anywhere two or more are gathered with differing opinions. If you doubt the veracity of my comments, check the news. Southern Baptists are making more headlines these days for our in fighting than for being known as a people of grace and peace sharing the gospel with a dying world. Continue reading “A Plea for Unity and Cooperation”

Keep Your Eye on the Ball

By Randy C. Davis
TBMB Executive Director

baseball-and-batIt’s been said the hardest thing to do in sports is to hit a baseball. It’s a tough point to argue. Take a guy like Nolan Ryan, one of the greatest fastball pitchers to ever play the game. Ryan unbelievably had a 27-year career and was still throwing the ball 95 mph-plus when he finally retired; ever the “Ryan Express” to the end.

Now, imagine standing in a batter’s box waiting to hit his fastball. Don’t wait too long; you only have four tenths of a second to make contact — that’s less than half a second. It takes a significant amount of focus and “keeping your eye on the ball” if you have the remotest chance of getting a hit. Allow distraction and you’ll strike out. Continue reading “Keep Your Eye on the Ball”

Churches and Tax Exemption – Part 3 of 3

170111tax-exempt-torn-paperIn two previous articles (Pt. I | Pt. II), we examined churches and their exemption status under federal and Tennessee laws. Now, we look at the third level of church tax exemption – local property tax.

In Tennessee, property tax is actually a joint state and county matter. The state Board of Equalization ensures that property tax matters are handled consistently and based on state law. However, since the majority of the work on property matters is handled in county offices, most people consider property tax a local matter. Continue reading “Churches and Tax Exemption – Part 3 of 3”

Churches and Tax Exemption – Part 2 of 3

170111tax-exempt-torn-paperIn our last blog post, we identified three levels of tax authority: federal, state and local. In this article we will look at the state of Tennessee and their taxing authority.

Tennessee is a “no income tax” state, which applies to individuals, corporations and non-profit organizations. However, Tennessee does raise revenue through a state sales tax. By law, churches are exempt from paying sales tax on items intended for “use, consumption or give away” by the church. Churches must apply for an exemption certificate from the Tennessee Department of Revenue to take advantage of the exemption. Continue reading “Churches and Tax Exemption – Part 2 of 3”

Five DOM Lessons About Bivocational Pastors and Churches

bible-tools-bivoThe 18 years I served as a director of mission (DOM) were in an association that had a greater percentage of bivocational pastors and churches than full-time pastors and churches. Obviously I needed to learn quickly how to encourage, support and communicate with those in bivocational ministry.

Here are five lessons I had to learn if I wanted to be effective in working with bivocational pastors and churches: Continue reading “Five DOM Lessons About Bivocational Pastors and Churches”

Seven Steps to Enlisting Sunday School Leaders

161116light-bulb-hand-select-choose-new-ideaThe 2016 U.S. presidential election was quite a spectacle! During the primaries, the Republicans seemed to get a new candidate every day. Then there was the general election campaign to elect the new President!

You don’t want your process of selecting Sunday school leaders to look like that!

Sunday school leaders should be enlisted not elected. Nominating committees work diligently to enlist volunteers for various positions of leadership in the church. A few Sunday school classes actually elect their teacher. The teacher of these classes often accept the task of teaching, but will they cooperate with church leaders to understand Sunday school as a strategy for growing the church? Continue reading “Seven Steps to Enlisting Sunday School Leaders”

Four Foundations to Grow a Great Sunday School

161102girl-hand-reading-open-bibleTony Evans told a story about lying in bed and noticing a crack in the ceiling. He calls a painter and the painter repairs the crack and repaints. A few months later, Tony looks up and notices the crack had reappeared. A little annoyed, he calls the painter and he once again repairs the crack and repaints. A few more months go by and the crack again reappears. This time Tony calls a different painter. The painter observes the damaged ceiling and says he can’t help. Tony asks him, “What do you mean? You’re a painter!” The painter replies that, of course, he could repair the crack and repaint, but that isn’t the problem. The problem is that the house’s foundations are shifting. Continue reading “Four Foundations to Grow a Great Sunday School”