by Kaebra LaGrange, LAUNCH GO Intern
Finding your purpose, or calling, in life is a difficult task. Many of us go through life searching for it. What is our purpose, and how are we as individuals best able to serve God? That was a question I had been dealing with until recently. It was not until I went on a life-changing trip that I truly found my calling and what I wanted to do with my life. I went to Saipan on a missionary internship opportunity and left changed.
For most of my life I had sort of just glided through. I went to school and decided to settle with an easy major. I felt no calling toward the degree I was pursuing. I was simply doing it to finish school and to be done. I knew it was a fast track way to a decent and easy life. I wouldn’t venture out of my comfort zone. I had everything planned out. That was until God threw me a curveball and my plan crumbled. It felt as though my whole life had crumbled. I now had no idea what I wanted to do with my life or how I was going to do it. I was searching for God, for answers, and for my purpose.
God then proceeded to open doors for me and He led me to General Baptist International Ministries. I applied for a missions internship and was thrilled when I got accepted. I was going to go overseas and serve somewhere. It was scary. I had no idea what to expect. I was sent to a school in Saipan. I had no idea where Saipan even was, but I was excited to go. I knew this was God’s plan for me and I was eager to go where He led me.
God orchestrates trials and tribulations in life to grow us, deepen our faith, and to push us where He wants us to be. If it wasn’t for my trials I wouldn’t have ended up in Saipan and I wouldn’t have found my calling and love for teaching. In Saipan I felt God truly speaking to me and showing me what He wants for my life. Continue reading
A Five-Year Plan Helping Every General Baptist Church Reach Its Full Redemptive Potential
Beginning in the summer of 2016 General Baptist Ministries will begin a five-year initiative leading up to the year 2020. Turnaround 2020 intends to capture a renewed emphasis on evangelism and church growth so that every General Baptist church may reach its full redemptive potential. Because General Baptists believe in a general atonement—that Christ tasted death for all so that whosoever will may be saved—no General Baptist church reaches its full redemptive potential until everyone in its sphere of influence has heard, understood and responded to the gospel message.
Our strategy will be to produce and distribute turnaround resources for all, to present coaching opportunities to those groups who commit to in-person and/or video venue sessions, and to help mentoring for one-on-one intensive connections.
A Program and A Process
Turnaround 2020 will offer programming content readily adaptable in a variety of local church settings. At the same time Turnaround 2020 will start a process that, over time, will assist participating churches in their turnaround.
Church growth experts continue to remind us that approximately 80% of local churches in the United States are either plateauing or declining in their attendance. A church plateaus when there is no change in the overall participation in its ministries. Plateau sometimes occurs when a group becomes closed to new members much like a private membership club that blackballs all new applicants. Plateau most often occurs when a church only reaches enough new members to replace those lost to death, drop-out or relocation.
If plateau continues for any appreciable length of time, decline becomes inevitable. A declining church counts fewer participants in the current year than were present in the prior year.
Plateau and decline are sometimes rationalized as the result of strict faithfulness to the gospel that discourages half-hearted followers. In many churches plateau or decline have become the new normal. No one seems to remember anything else!
Plateau and decline, however, most often results from the loss of connection to the community and the failure to communicate the Good News in understandable, meaningful ways.
Beginning in 2016 the annual Mission & Ministry Summit will provide a platform for the distribution of Turnaround 2020 materials. Annually a planning notebook will be released at the Summit for free download or for hard copy purchase. Continue reading
By Joyce Porcadillia, President of General Baptist Bible College, The Philippines
This post was originally published in the 2016 Spring issue of the GB Messenger. Don’t receive the Messenger? You can always catch the latest digital issue on the Messenger website, www.gbMessenger.org
The General Baptist Bible College, Inc. (GBBC) over the years has evolved from a small Bible school of 18 students to a multi-level educational institution. The dream to have a training school has been fulfilled. Through dedication, commitment and hard work this institution was built. We thank our leaders who have gone before us for their leadership, foresight, careful planning, and generosity. If not for their leadership and vision in the past, GBBC wouldn’t even be here today.
Most of us were not around when GBBC started, but we all know that moving towards where GBBC is now has been challenging as well as inspiring. The current reality is that in order for GBBC to be distinct in its offerings, we need to adapt to the fast changing landscape of basic education, theological education, and ministerial training. We need to be proactive in responding to the demands and needs of our stakeholders and the different fields of missions and ministries. Therefore, we need to maximize our physical, human and financial resources and adopt new initiatives to achieve the vision of becoming a premier institution for leadership development in Christian ministries and missions in the Philippines and around the world. Continue reading
In 2007 leaders of the General Baptist denomination took intentional steps to re-engineer the denomination’s annual meeting. The meeting originated in 1870 when a General Association of General Baptists was organized in Junction, Illinois.
For many years this General Association functioned as a convention of sorts where various independent General Baptist agencies made their annual reports to the assembled delegates. With the creation of the General Baptist Council of Associations in 1996 the business portion of the annual meeting was, for the most part, unnecessary for the denomination to function since the operational detail of denominational life was assigned to the Council of Associations and the executive staff that comprised the Leadership Team.
A new format that utilized powerful worship, practical training and intentional missionary contact caused the attendance at the annual meeting to double in just two years!
Now in its 10th year of operation the Mission & Ministry Summit continues to provide missionary connections and to offer powerful worship in large group settings while also providing practical training in workshop environments grouped into workshop tracks. Continue reading
The 2016 Mission & Ministry Summit is July 18-20 in Bowling Green, KY at the Holiday Inn University Plaza and the Sloan Convention Center.
Be sure to make your hotel reservations as soon as possible, we have almost filled our hotel room block at the Holiday Inn and have set up a second block at the Hilton Garden Inn. The Hilton Garden Inn is located less than a block from the Holiday Inn and the Sloan Convention Center – just across the street. Our rate at the Hilton Garden Inn is the same as the Holiday Inn, $107 for single or double occupancy.
The New summit website is up and running and has all the hotel and registration information. www.gbsummit.org
Summit Registration Information
We have a new style registration form geared towards young families and makes registration much more convenient and less costly.
By Dr. Franklin R. Dumond – Director of Congregational Ministries
Six generations of people now live in the United States. They range in age from those who are centenarians to those still in their formative years. The labels given them and the chronology of their generations are:
GI Generation—born 1901-1926, now age 90+ years of age
Silent Generation—born 1927-1945, now 70-88 years old
Baby Boom Generation—born 1946-1964, now 51-69 years old
Generation X—born 1965-1980, now 35-50 years old
Generation Y (Millennials)—born 1981-2000, now 15—34 years old
Generation Z—born after 2001 and now in their formative years.
While lengthy descriptions abound to label and define each generation here are six observations about these six generations. For further discussion of generational characteristics see this interesting article.
Generational labels are cultural, not necessarily chronological.
Just because an individual is of a certain age doesn’t necessarily mean that he/she holds the same worldview, preferences and habits as everyone else in that generation. People come in all shapes and sizes. Habits and lifestyles are learned and chosen not imposed and required.
Each generation enjoys unique experiences and thus has its own language and style of communication.
Typically those unique experiences are little known or recognized at the time and are understood by the participants in hindsight. My great-grandmother was born in the 19th century. Her generation experienced the innovations of electricity and DDT. Electricity provided lights and power. The insecticide DDT provided respite from the plague of insects so prevalent during the growing season.
Cross generational networks are important to aid mutual understanding of and appreciation for the similarities and differences between the generations.
The most natural mechanism for cross generational networks is the family of origin since it has always been the case that one generation gives birth to, nurtures and then releases the next generation. Cross generational networks often form in the workplace, in the neighborhood and in faith communities.
Intergenerational networks are vital to form identity, share values and develop the new alliances that characterize adulthood.
Without peers we can never realize our own full potential for no one is an island.
Authenticity and mutual respect are essential within and across each generation.
With six active generations present at the same time, each influenced by unique circumstances, life-events and preferences, niche marketing is essential.
This principle has been expressed by a businessman who became a public relations spokesman. He advocates that one must become all things to all people to convince a few of the truth being shared. This businessman was originally a tent manufacturer who later became a primary spokesman for Christianity. He also reminds us that unless we speak their language they will never hear our message. Logically he also concludes that unless someone tells them they will never know what we know.
To further explore these notions see the New Testament writings of Paul as found in “I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some.” I Corinthians 9:22 and “Unless you speak intelligible words with your tongue, how will anyone know what you are saying?” I Corinthians 14:9 and “How can they hear unless someone tells them?” Romans 10:14
Pete Leija was installed as Special Projects Coordinator during the recent rededication of the Willingham Center at Faith Home in Honduras.
Pete serves as a deacon at the Morehouse General Baptist Church in Morehouse, Missouri. He has made many Mission One MVP (M1) trips to Honduras and is well-regarded by the pastor’s and leaders in Honduras. Pete spent 40 years connected with the US Army dating back to the Vietnam Conflict and also serves as mayor of Morehouse, Missouri and as a general contractor.
The Special Projects Coordinator is a volunteer position responsible to coordinate capital improvement projects of Faith Home and the Honduran Churches with the Mission One Coordinator, Dr. James Pratt, and Mission One team leaders.
In a very short time, Pete has already been able to complete several projects from money that had been donated by various teams over the last couple of years.
Raised in a migrant workers home in Texas, Pete’s father spoke English and Spanish but his mother spoke only Spanish. From that background he made his way through the ranks of the Army National Guard, married, and made his way to Morehouse, Missouri. There he became connected with the local General Baptist Church and started a contracting business. He even became mayor.
Pete has a huge heart for Honduras and loves Faith Home and the ministry of our General Baptist Churches in Honduras. He will not only serve the churches in Honduras, but will host most of the Mission One teams coming to Honduras. Pete will be a great asset to our Faith Home Director, Christina Massey.