Current News – 8-5-2020

*COVID-19’s Long Term Effect on Church Attendance (pg. 1)

Tom Mitchell – I was just thinking about how COVID-19, the Coronavirus, has changed the scope of American lifestyles. Since the outbreak of the virus in the United States, over 4.5 million have been reported as contracting COVID-19. That has resulted in over 154,000 deaths. In Arkansas (as of Aug. 3), 44,597 are reported to have contracted it, with 475 deaths. Certainly, those are disheartening numbers, but the virus has had a devastating effect in many more ways than just the areas of morbidity. In our state alone, thousands have been laid off from work, with others seeing their businesses temporarily closed. Still others — businesses, restaurants, manufacturers and numerous “mom and pop” stores — have been closed permanently. COVID-19 has definitely taken its toll on our state in a matter of a few months.

*What Are We Missing? (pg. 1)

Jeff Herring – After 19 long weeks of being apart from our church family, my family recently returned to our church for an in-person worship. That is over four months that we were not physically together with our church family for our weekly worship celebration. We have been faithful to join each week via livestream, but it was so encouraging to be back with our church family. While we enjoyed being back in-person on Sunday I couldn’t help but think, “What if this was all there was?”

*Church Remains Discovered in Israel (pg. 1)

 “Remains from a 1,300-year-old church were discovered at the location believed to be where the transfiguration took place, according to an announcement by the Israeli government,” said Michael Gryboski in a July 30 Christian Post report. “The Israel Antiquities Authority reported Tuesday that a church with a detailed mosaic floor was unearthed at a village called Kfar Kama, located near Mount Tabor.” Excavation of the church was carried out by the IAA in collaboration with the Kinneret Academic College and led by archaeologist Nurit Feig.

*Crazy School Year Ahead! (pg. 2)

Dan Carson – It feels like school was just in session, but it has been five months since our students have been in their classrooms. While they were still in school, it was nothing like years past. They had to struggle through an almost immediate switch to digital learning, which wasn’t always the best solution. In just a few weeks, our students will be headed back to the classroom. I know that is going to look different in communities throughout Arkansas and beyond, but ultimately, many are having to make the decision of digital or in-person.

*Should I Stay or Should I Go? (pg. 3)

Larry Barker – The transition from one pastor to another is a very crucial and delicate time in the life of a church. This transition time has not always been handled very well. It has been said that “There is no success without succession.” Succession requires forethought, prayerful planning and thinking through agreed upon next steps for the church. The question is, “How long is too long?” Can a pastor overstay His welcome or even his effectiveness? Your effectiveness is more about calling, heart, vision and passion for the church and the community than it is your skill set.

Faculty Promotion (pg. 2)

Terry Kimbrow – I am pleased to announce the recent promotion of Traci Caldwell to chair of the Literature and Language Arts Department. She just completed her first year at Central Baptist College as an assistant professor of English/Literature and Language Arts, but her years of experience prior to CBC will be an asset as she leads this department in the future. I would like to express my thanks to Dr. Dusty Bender. Prior to the promotion of Ms. Caldwell, Dr. Bender had been serving as the chair of the Literature and Language Arts Department, in addition to his regular duties. He continues to serve as the division chair for the Division of Humanities and Arts, chair of the Social Studies Department and Professor of History. (Also see CBC Sports, pg. 2)

Spotlight on Missions (pg. 3)

Cris & Alicia Samson, Stan & Donna Scroggins, Philippines

Final Special Emphasis? (pg. 4)

Editor – This fiscal year doesn’t end until Aug. 31, and any additional Special Emphasis offerings we receive will still be counted toward this year’s goal. However, we haven’t received any SE donations in the last 2-3 weeks, so this may be our final? total. Just so you know, though, I’m a lot like the woman in II Kings 4 — I still have plenty of “pots” that are ready to be “filled with oil” if anyone is interested. I never want to limit God, that’s for sure! Just saying… Seriously, I do appreciate your wonderful support this year. You have met and exceeded our $55,000 goal, and I am forever grateful to you for every penny that was given. Thank you, and God bless you all!

Trumpet Notes (pg. 4)

COVID Outbreak Tied to Revival; Censored for Promoting “Conversion Therapy;” Drops Name, Keeps Legacy; The Baptist Record Goes Fully Digital; Safe Haven Billboards In Two New Counties; Court Breathes Life Into Adoption Provider’s Case; Catholic Hospital Sued

John Mangum, Master’s Builder, Dies (pg. 5)

John E Mangum, 82 of Ruston, La. (formerly of Hope), passed away Aug. 1. He was a BMA minister who pastored churches in Arkansas and Louisiana. His last pastorate was at Evergreen Park Baptist Church in West Monroe, La., where he retired in 2017 after 50 years in the ministry, but continued to preach. He served in the United States Air Force and worked as a carpenter and computer technician. Bro. Mangum had a heart for missions and served for several years with the Master’s Builders organization that supplies specialized workers for church building projects.

Arkansas Galileans Hold Camp (pg. 5)

Jeff Herring – The annual Arkansas Galilean Summer camp was held at Ponca Bible Camp July 31-Aug. 2. Thirty campers representing four churches attended this year’s camp. Churches represented included: Antioch, Conway; Immanuel, Greenbrier; Village Creek, Mabelvale; and Bethel, Fulton, Miss. While attendance was lower than usual, those that attended were blessed with some great messages from God’s Word.

Pre-Order Family Council Voter’s Guides (pg. 5)

Jerry Cox – We’re surveying candidates ahead of the 2020 elections this November, and we are going to publish their survey responses in print and online as part of our Arkansas Voter’s Guide. Since 1990, Family Council has produced Arkansas’ leading nonpartisan voter’s guide. Our guide looks at candidates’ positions on issues like abortion, education, taxes, hate crimes and more. Everyone who receives our monthly update letter in the mail will get a free voter’s guide when they become available this fall, but you can pre-order additional guides right now for your family, home school group or church. Just go to to pre-order free printed copies of Family Council voter’s guide today. If you have questions, you can give us a call at (501) 375-7000.

The Work Continues (pg. 5)

Nelda Malone -The Master’s Builders began work at New Beginnings Baptist Church (Mansfield) in Venus, Texas on July 6. The church needed help on their 30×60 ft. fellowship hall. Seven Builders helped in building walls and putting up sheetrock and completed the work in two days. Thank you to Pastor Brian Merchant and the church for the great food and fellowship. We recently learned of the homegoing of John Mangum of Ruston, La. He was one of four men who had a vision for a group of people who would help a church build a place of worship that they otherwise could not have afforded. This was in 1991, and The Master’s Builders were formed. Bro. Mangum was our office coordinator until January 2019. Pray for his wife, Linda and the family. He was a dear friend who will be sadly missed.

Monument Statement (pg. 5)

Secretary of State John Thurston – In recent years and in recent times, we as a nation and a state have looked inward to ourselves and to values that we hold dear. This concept of reflection is not new to us as Arkansans or Americans. Our country and state have erected many monuments throughout history to memorialize a person, place, event or sacrifice made. Our State’s Capitol was constructed during the years of 1899 to 1915. The first monument placed on State Capitol grounds, a memorial to confederate soldiers, was done so in 1905. Among the many monuments found on Capitol Grounds, is a smaller, less notable monument honoring all soldiers of the Civil War imprisoned in the State Prison that was once located on Capitol Grounds.

An Ode To My Teacher (pg. 6)

Kevin Shrum • Baptist Press – Everyone has one, and mine was Mrs. Barbara Brockett. She was my public high school history and government teacher. And though I am approaching the end of a second doctorate, Mrs. Brockett impacted my life in monumental ways like no other teacher I’ve ever had. What was it that made such a difference in my life? How does a teacher do this? It is time for us to pray for our teachers as they enter another year of trying to make a difference.

If You’ve Got Jesus In Your Profile (pg. 6)

Daniel Darling • Baptist Press – “Follower of Jesus.” A follower of Jesus myself, I normally like to see those words on someone’s Twitter profile. Lately, however, I’m reluctant to scroll down for fear that this same follower has cussed out a politician on the social media platform or tweeted nasty things at a person they disagree with. How can people who claim Jesus as Lord act so mean?

Discipleship For Our New Normal (pg. 6)

Jack Lucas • Baptist Press – My recent conversation with a student minister reminded me of a unique challenge brought on by all the virtual gatherings we’re having during the coronavirus pandemic. He had become aware of the need to plan guys-only and girls-only online meetings, so that leaders could ask students difficult accountability questions about their screen time. In other words, he wanted to make sure students were fleeing the temptations so easily available online — now that much of their day is spent using a screen to do all the things they used to do at school and at church.

One Hundred Years From Now (pg. 7)

Jeff Swart – Five thousand pastors were recently surveyed and asked, “What do you think is the greatest need in the church today?” Interest­ingly enough, 98% listed as their number one or number two response: “To get the laymen involved in doing the work of the ministry.” The results of this survey is certainly no surprise to pastors since most of them know that the Pareto Principle is true: 20% of the people do 80% of the work in the church.

Integrity and the Elected Official (pg. 8)

Chris Gonthier -We live in a society today where people no longer honor their word. There was a time when a handshake meant something, and a gentleman’s agreement could be depended on. However, the motto of people today seems to be: “Say what you want to get what you want.”Matthew 5:37 tells us: “But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.” When we say something, it should be something that can be counted on.

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