Current News – 5-6-2020

*BMAA Voting Results (pg. 1)

Jeff Swart -As president of the BMA of America, I thank the officers of our association, the department directors and especially John Merriweather and his BMA of America Service Team for their cooperation in providing the opportunity for our churches to vote on several issues that simply needed to be decided this spring. I also thank the churches and pastors of our association for graciously cooperating with us as we navigated through this unprecedented national emergency.The following results express the will of the churches concerning the issues that were placed before them to consider:

*BMA Salary and Benefits Survey (pg. 1)

Ministers Resource Services and BMA America Information Services are partnering on the first BMA Salary and Benefits Survey. The purpose of the survey is to provide churches with benchmark data to inform and assist in the establishment and maintenance of viable compensation packages for their pastor and staff… For questions about the survey contact: John Meriweather (BMA Information Services) at john@bmaamerica.org or (50) 499-6810; or Steve Crawley (MRS executive director) at steve@bmaamerica.org or (501) 472-0517.

*Guidelines for Arkansas Churches (pg. 1)

The following “guidelines” were announced by Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson at a May 4 news conference and were effective immediately: Online platforms are strongly encouraged. Signs should be posted, advising that there will be no entry if the person has had a recent fever or symptoms or has had contact with a person who tested positive for the virus. 6-foot physical distancing except for family groups…

*Questions Your Church Must Answer Before Welcoming People Back (pg. 1)

Ken Braddy • Baptist Press – Last week we all received good news: The country is going to slowly reopen, and that includes houses of worship. But if you think we’ll all rush back to church and pick up where we left off, don’t kid yourself — it’s not going to happen. Or at least it shouldn’t happen. We need to think and plan carefully so we don’t endanger people simply because we let our guard down and believed that the coronavirus crisis had passed.

*Unofficial “Back to Church” Poll (pg. 6)

Following Governor Hutchinson’s announcement Monday, May 4, regarding Phase 1 of the “reopening” of places of worship in Arkansas, the Trumpet did a quick Facebook poll of BMA of Arkansas churches. “Pastors only” were asked to respond to this question: “How will Governor Hutchinson’s new guidelines for churches affect next Sunday’s services at your church?” Due to our deadline for publication, the comments were cut off at 8 a.m. Tuesday morning, but we will post other relevant comments in next week’s issue.

*Bad News… Good News (pg. 4)

The bad news is that a huge sweet gum tree fell on the west side of the BMA of Arkansas Building April 29 during a thunderstorm. The good news is that the angle of tree kept it from damaging the air conditioner and electrical connections to the building and allowed us to continue working. The bad news is that it has already cost $5,500 just to remove the tree, and while we still haven’t received the second bid, according to the first bid, it will cost at least $9,000 to make the needed repairs. The good news is that we have excellent insurance through Brotherhood Mutual. The bad news is that we have a $2,400 deductible that will have to be split between the Trumpet and BMA of Arkansas Missions since we both work out of this office. The final (and most important) good news is that nobody was hurt, and God is still in control.

CBC Participated in #GivingTuesdayNow (pg. 2)

Terry Kimbrow – Central Baptist College joined non-profit organizations all over the world and participated in the #GivingTuesdayNow global day of giving on Tuesday, May 5. Most of you will read this after May 5, but that is okay. You can still learn about #GivingTuesdayNow and learn how you can support CBC.Colleges across the country are in a time of emergency, and CBC is no exception! In this time of great uncertainty, students and families will face even greater hurdles. In my 26 years at CBC, I have seen a lot of challenges, but none as great as the ones created by COVID-19. Days like #GivingTuesdayNow are so important to CBC, and other non-profit organizations, because they allow for public awareness and allow individuals to offer their support in a virtual setting. (Also see CBC Sports, pg. 2)

Looking Ahead at Reopening (pg. 2)

Dan Carson – For the last few weeks, many of us have been focusing on what will come next for our churches and student ministries in light of COVID-19. We have been trying to make determinations without all of the facts because there are so many uncertainties right now. What is our summer, and even the fall, going to look like as we go forward? I can’t say that this is something Bible college or seminary really prepared me for. While the logistics are uncertain and there may be disagreement on how quickly we step back into “normal” life, I think there are some principles we can apply to our student ministries and churches. Our focus needs to be on our attitude as we approach the uncertain future. If we make these traits a part of our approach, I believe we will successfully navigate the questions that lie in front of us:

The Value of Community (pg. 3)

Larry Barker – “I miss you!”That is a statement being made and heard quite often right now. The value of community is something the church has been built upon and is stressed in the Scriptures. The early church was devoted to fellowship and meeting together on a daily basis. In a Zoom meeting with some national church planting leaders, Gary Rohrmayer with Converge shared, “No one should travel alone. We need each other!” That is so true, and never truer than right now. You can continue to stay connected and walk with others through this challenging time.

C.O. Strong – Another Trailblazer (pg. 3)

Tom Mitchell – I have missed writing an article the past two weeks. In that time things have begun to change for our state regarding the re-opening of businesses, hospital operating rooms, and yes, houses of worship. Monday, Governor Asa Hutchinson announced that worshipers may return to houses of worship this Sunday. There are criteria that still need to be followed, but this is great news to those who have so greatly missed gathering in worship. But I now return our attention to another trailblazer of the BMA of Arkansas (and America), one who impacted the lives of so many. I was just thinking about Dr. Charles Olin Strong.

Sharing Her Talents (pg. 4)

Editor – My wonderful friend, Pam Wright Burke, crocheted this beautiful throw for me, and I couldn’t help but cry when she gave it to me last week. In addition to the Baptist Trumpet logo, it has my years of service (1980-2020) and my two favorite words in the Bible – But God. It took hours upon hours to complete, and it is absolutely beautiful. I will treasure it as long as I live. “Thank you so very, very much” just didn’t seem to be enough, so for the first time in weeks, I just had to hug somebody other than my husband. Pam is the wife of Don Burke, pastor of Breton Creek Baptist Church in Potosi and long time and valued member of the Trumpet Photography Club. Thank you, Pam and Bro. Don, for sharing your talents with, and being a blessing to, the Baptist Trumpet and its editor! God bless you both!

Trumpet Notes (pg. 4)

ACLU, Abortionists Back in Court; NYC and Samaritan’s Purse; Justice: Abortion on Demand Was an “Incorrect Decision”; Netherlands: Doctors Can Euthanize Dementia Patients

Kidd, Minister’s Son, Dies (pg. 5)

Jason Douglas “Jay” Kidd, 52 of Holiday, Fla., passed away April 8, 2020. He was the son of BMA of America Missionary Care Director Jerry and Sue (Hudson) Kidd of Bryant… A family graveside service was held April 25 at Anderson Cemetery near Springhill, Ark., with Drew Cline officiating. A celebration of life service will be held in Little Rock when the COVID-19 pandemic has ended. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be sent to BMA of America, Attention: Missionary Care, PO Box 1188, Conway, Ark. 72033.

Pastor’s Mother Dies (pg. 5)

Judy Elaine Harris, 73, passed away April 22. Survivors include a son, Michael Battenfield, pastor of First Baptist Church at Cave Springs. She was a member of Stoney Creek Church in Utica, Mich., but had recently moved to Gentry, Ark… A memorial service will be held May 9 at 1 p.m. at First Baptist Church in Cave Springs, and a second memorial service and internment will be held in Michigan as soon as the governor allows. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to any of the following: First Baptist Church, PO Box 175, Cave Springs, Ark. 72718; Stoney Creek Church, 45835 Van Dyke Ave. Utica, Mich. 48317; BMA Seminary, PO Box 670, Jacksonville, Texas 75766; or Big Fluffy Dog Rescue, PO Box 332161, Nashville, Tenn. 37203.

Shady Grove, Piggott Damaged by Storm (pg. 5)

Editor -Monday, May 4, strong storms hit northern Arkansas, and Shady Grove Baptist Church in Piggott sustained downed power lines and damage to the sign, roof, porch and other areas. Although Pastor Robert Gunnels said they didn’t need any help right now, I know they’d appreciate your prayers as they assess and repair the damages.  According to the Clay County Times-Democrat, “For the second afternoon in a row, strong storms blew through the area on Monday leaving a path of destruction in their wake. Striking during the four o’clock hour, strong winds downed trees and limbs, destroyed out buildings and severely damaged several homes and businesses. Authorities also reported a train was blown over north of St. Francis… Among the worst damage initially reported was on the east side of Piggott, and in the St. Francis area. There have been no reports of injuries.”

What Is God Up To? (pg. 6)

Jeff Swart -Most of us would admit that we are living in times that are distinct from anything we have ever known. So different, in fact, that we are ready for this time of quarantine to be over and for things to get back to “normal.” However, it is possible that we are living in a watershed moment in world history and that things will be much different after the coronavirus than the way they were before coronavirus. Some have called this approaching time the “new abnormal.”  After talking to many pastors and reading many postings on social media, I have discovered that many believers feel like God is doing something now. I could not agree more! God is never still!

Part 1: Fight the Good Fight (pg. 7)

Paul White – “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you (James 4:7). That is better than an aspirin a day, for Satan will begin to turn up the heat because of the break from the norm. He does not like what is going to be happening in the next few weeks (churches opening back up) and believe me, it will take your best to keep him at bay.  No wonder Paul said, Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord (I Cor. 15:58). We are told there is no lack of work that needs to be done because the fields are “white already to harvest.” It behooves us to heed Paul’s exhortation. This is a command, not a suggestion. He is saying “it will take all of you guarding this body (the church)” to keep him out.

Spotlight on Missions (pg. 8)

Jesse & Rebecca Hales, BMA Church Planter at Anchor Austin

From a Distance (pg. 8)

Valarie Fish – I am an extrovert. My husband is an introvert. We know this about each other, and we make the appropriate accommodations. While I have always had a rather simple definition of extrovert and introvert, I learned recently that there is more to the label than being outgoing or shy. The description has to do with how interactions with people around you affect your personal energy levels. Someone can be outgoing and still be an introvert. An introvert deals with people and that interaction drains energy from them. To get recharged, an introvert needs to get alone, quiet and away from people. That is my husband. He is a pastor, and he works daily out in the public; but to get recharged, he comes home and just wants to have some solitude.

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