Archive for December, 2007

Give light where there is little

December 25, 2007

My father-in-law gave me a really cool gift for Christmas, a BOGO solar flash light from SunNight Solar. He actually gave two gifts as someone in a part of the world with little or no electricity will receive one as well.

I think this is a terrific gift anytime but especially at Christmas.  Arise, shine; for your light has come! And the glory of the Lord is risen upon you.

Daehnert elected interim executive director

December 21, 2007

The Executive Board has elected William Jan Daehnert to serve as interim executive director.

Here’s the release, including a bit of information about what Daehnert would like to accomplish during his tenure:

DALLAS – The Baptist General Convention of Texas Executive Board elected William Jan Daehnert as BGCT interim executive director Dec. 21.

Daehnert – who worked on the BGCT staff from 1967-1993 and again from 1995-2006 – will assume the post Jan. 14 and serve through the initial weeks of service of the next BGCT executive director, a period that may last several months.

The interim executive director-elect said he has three goals for his tenure – affirm the convention’s staff, assess the BGCT’s financial efficiency and stability and serve as a conduit of information for the next executive director. To accomplish the last goal, he intends to meet with a variety of Texas Baptist leaders from around the state.

“I need to take a lot of notes and prepare everything I can for the new executive director,” he said. “That is find out what groups, what age groups don’t feel connected to the convention. I want to meet people, hear them, know where they’re at. I want to give the next executive director as much information as possible.”

Daehnert has served the convention in a variety of roles. He began by directing the work of Baptist Student Ministries at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor and the University of North Texas before becoming associate state director of BGCT’s collegiate ministries.

He started the convention’s Human resources office and served there for 10 years. Upon his return to the convention staff, he led the BGCT’s bivocational ministries, directed the convention’s office of church-minister relations and was interim team lead of the BGCT Congregational Leadership Team.

After retiring from the convention in 2006, Daehnert has been assisting in the promotion of WorldconneX, a missions network supported by the BGCT, and helping ministers develop leadership skills.

During his ministry, Daehnert has served as interim pastor at more than 50 churches.

Daehnert holds a bachelor’s degree from Howard Payne University, a master’s degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and a doctorate from Fuller Theological Seminary.

The BGCT Executive Director Search Committee is wrapping up the first round of candidate interviews and has started the second. Ken Hugghins, chairman of the committee, said it is unlikely an executive director nominee will be presented to the board before Jan. 1.

The BGCT Executive Board is charged with hiring the convention’s executive director.

Daehnert nominated as interim executive director

December 20, 2007

William Jan Daehnert has been nominated to serve as the BGCT’s interim executive director.

Here’s the release:

DALLAS – The Baptist General Convention of Texas Executive Board will vote whether to approve William Jan Daehnert as BGCT interim executive director.

If approved, Daehnert – who worked on the BGCT staff from 1967-1993 and again from 1995-2006 – will assume the post Jan. 14 and serve through the initial weeks of service of the next BGCT executive director, a tenure that may last several months.

The board was informed of Daehnert’s nomination and began voting Dec. 20 via e-mail.

BGCT Executive Board Chairman John Petty praised Daehnert’s experience, which includes years of experience in bringing groups of people together. Daehnert is not a candidate to serve as the next permanent executive director.

“He knows and loves the BGCT and is willing to take on this assignment,” Petty said. “Jan is well known for his ability to relate well to a wide variety of groups and personalities. He is respected both in and out of ‘the building.’”

Daehnert has served the convention in a variety of roles. He began by directing the work of Baptist Student Ministries at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor and then the University of North Texas before becoming associate state director of BGCT’s collegiate ministries.

He started the convention’s human resources office and served there for 10 years. Upon his return to the convention’s staff, he led the BGCT’s bivocational ministries, directed the convention’s office of church-minister relations and was interim team lead for the BGCT Congregational Leadership Team.

After retiring from the convention in 2006, Daehnert has been assisting in the promotion of WorldconneX, a missions network supported by the BGCT, and helping ministers develop leadership skills.

During his ministry, Daehnert has served as interim pastor at more than 50 churches.

Daehnert holds a bachelor’s degree from Howard Payne University, a master’s degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and a doctorate from Fuller Theological Seminary.

The BGCT Executive Director Search Committee is wrapping up the first round of candidate interviews and has started the second. Ken Hugghins, chairman of the committee, said it is unlikely an executive director nominee will be presented to the board before Jan. 1.

The BGCT Executive Board is charged with hiring the convention’s executive director. Current BGCT Executive Director Charles Wade is set to retire Jan. 31.

Social justice

December 19, 2007

When I started writing the piece on Africa, I intended to write a sidebar on social justice. Well, it turned into a little more than that. There’s no doubt in my mind that a growing number of churches are interested in social causes. Ministry to orphans with AIDS in Africa seems to be particularly popular among Texas Baptists.

But there also are a number of interesting angles to churches delving into social justice issues, as was noted by some commenters in an earlier post about the next generation of Baptists. I’d like to intersperse a series of questions that stem from the social justice article. If the first couple spark a conversation, I’ll keep going. Otherwise I’ll chalk it up to a lesson learned.

Here’s the first part I’d like some feedback on:

Having an impact on such large issues is difficult, but possible if a church is focused for a long-term effort. Steve Seaberry, Baptist General Convention of Texas director of Texas Partnerships, encourages a church to have at least a three-year partnership in an area when working with social causes. Bob Roberts, pastor of Northwood Church, has routinely said it will take at least 30 years to any significant impact in a situation that needs to be drastically changed. 

A commitment of that length requires the cause remain in front of the congregation. Members must remain connected to the cause and inspired to continue serving. The congregation must provide a way for all of its members to participate in the partnership, whether that be through missions education, trips, giving money or donating items.

“But even for a progressive congregation like ours, there’s a lot of education yet to be done about social justice,” said Mark Wingfield, associate pastor of Wilshire Baptist Church in Dallas. “We have not arrived. Many of the people from Wilshire who have traveled to Kenya will tell you that trip changed their perspective of the world.”

Even if a congregation remains behind the effort, some members of the congregations are going to be called to service in other places or ministries, noted Jeff Raines, associate pastor of First Baptist Church in Amarillo. Churches have to balance focused mission efforts with the freedom to allow church members to respond to God’s calling upon their respective lives.

“I think it’s hard,” Raines said. “It’s a constant tension. I listed Brazil, Mexico, Kenya [as missions emphases]. We’ve had some people connected with a missionary in Slovakia. It’s not really staff-driven, but we’ll certainly promote this group is going to Slovakia, if you want to go contact them at this number. We don’t want to squelch that.”

Sellers believes the tension between a focused effort and allowing individuals to follow God’s calling is a healthy one. The key is involving as many people as possible in the mission work God wants them to do.

“I think that working in multiple places around the globe doing multiple kinds of ministries will engage more people than focusing on one location, which may tend primarily to be one kind of ministry,” he said.

Assuming you agree churches can have an impact on the world around them, what’s the best way to approach large issues? Is it better for churches to focus on one area — a specific community, area or issue — or is Sellers correct that working in multiple places actually engages more people and therefore has a larger impact? Should churches focus on specific efforts? Should they use a scattershot approach? What seems to work best? Is there a middle ground, and if so is that the best route to go?

TBM looking to send coats to North Korea

December 19, 2007

The Baptist Standard is reporting Texas Baptist Men is collecting coats to send to North Korea. They hope to send 10,000 total coats to 10 different hospitals in the country. Coats or checks can be sent to Texas Baptist Men at 5351 Catron, Dallas 75227.

Here’s some more info from the Standard:

Global Resource Services will send 10 containers filled with medical supplies to 10 rural hospitals in North Korea soon, in celebration of the 10th anniversary of its humanitarian work there. And Texas Baptist Men wants to include 10,000 winter coats for children with the shipments.

John LaNoue of Lindale, whose initial work in North Korea gave birth to Texas Baptist Men’s partnership with Global Resource Services there 10 years ago, recently returned from another trip to North Korea with TBM volunteer Jim Pinkston of Edgewood.

LaNoue and Pinkston worked with Global Resource Services to complete the installation of a soybean processing plant that provides oil, tofu and soymilk for children in the Haepo Ri area.

Texas Baptist Men and Global Resource Services began its partnership in North Korea in 1998 by distributing 100,000 coats. The Southern Baptist Convention’s International Mission Board collected the coats at LaNoue’s request after he spent three months in North Korea delivering and monitoring the distribution of food provided by American humanitarian aid organizations.

During that time—when he monitored the distribution of 60,000 metric tons of corn from the United States—he saw the needs in North Korea’s rural areas, where children went without coats in unheated school rooms during freezing winter months.

“It seems fitting for the 10th anniversary shipment of medical supplies to include a shipment of children’s winter coats,” LaNoue said. “TBM would like to put 1,000 coats in each container. Each container will be sent to a different rural hospital. The coats can then be distributed to the neediest children in that area.”

Executive Board to vote on interim executive director nominee

December 18, 2007

The Executive Board will vote on a nominee to serve as the interim BGCT executive director later this week. The nominee’s name will be released later this week.

Here’s the official release:

DALLAS – The Baptist General Convention Executive Board will vote later this week on a nominee to serve as interim executive director for the convention.

BGCT Executive Board members received a note Dec. 17 indicating they would receive background on a candidate to serve as interim executive director as well as information about how the e-mail vote will work “no earlier than December 20.”

Voting will begin Dec. 20 and continue until a decision is made.

The nominee will serve until the next executive assumes the post. In an interview, BGCT Executive Board Chairman John Petty called the candidate a “worthy choice.”

“The Executive Committee is unanimous in its recommendation of this candidate,” he said.

Ken Hugghins, chairman of the Executive Director Search Committee, said it is unlikely an executive director nominee will be presented to the Executive Board before Jan. 1. The committee is finishing the first round of interviews and has begun the second.

In the event a nominee is brought forward and approved in January, it is unlikely that person would assume the position before current BGCT Executive Director Charles Wade retires Jan. 31. The person would most likely need to give his or her current employer several weeks notice and take a couple weeks to relocate.

Witnesses feel compelled to tell others

December 18, 2007

After talking about it for some time, I finally wrapped my article on Texas Baptist ministry ties to Africa, which can be seen in its entirety here. At least five BGCT-affiliated institutions are serving in Africa, as well as numerous churches and several associations. They’re working with orphans, digging wells, building schools and even looking at ways of providing renewable energy to people who spend a significant amount of their income on kerosene for lamps.

A slideshow of photos of Texas Baptists serving in Africa can be seen here or by clicking on the Flickr stream on the right side of this blog. To browse through the selection, click here.

As I talk to more and more with people who are serving in Africa, I find it interesting how quickly the conversation begins to include terms of faith. They use words that are typically associated with evangelism — witness, testify, compelled to tell others, etc. Many times it reminds me of Jesus’ words to John’s disciples in Luke “Go back, and tell John what you have seen and heard: Blind people see again, lame people are walking, those with skin diseases are made clean, deaf people hear again, dead people are brought back to life, and poor people hear the Good News.” When people see events or the effects of events that touch them at the core of who they are, they feel compelled to share that news. That’s why we share the gospel, and that’s why these people talk about Africa.

Here’s an excerpt from the story, a quote from Laura Seay, a doctoral student at UT, that hopefully illustrates what I mean.

“I don’t believe that God calls God’s people to be comfortable,” she said. “I have been in some danger in the Congo, and I have seen horrible, unspeakable atrocities, suffering, and poverty that’s 10 times worse than what you witness elsewhere in the developing world. It’s impossible to come away from encounters with 6-year-old victims of gang rape or mothers who are starving to death and not be affected by the situation. The pain of what people endure is unbearable sometimes, and I’m only a witness to it. The temptation is always to turn away, say a prayer of thanksgiving that it’s not me, and move on with life.

“But it wouldn’t be right to turn away from these realities. All those scriptures about taking up our crosses and going out of our way to help those in need point to the idea that the life of a disciple of Christ isn’t always going to be easy. The paradox, of course, is that by taking up these burdens, we’re set free to love without condition and to sacrifice everything, maybe even our own comfort and safety – and maybe our lives – to follow God’s call.”

A heaping helping of Christmas spirit

December 17, 2007

This time of year, Baptist churches across the state are giving to others in significant ways. They are making Christmas a bit brighter one person at a time. Many of churches are doing this by hosting Christmas stores where less fortunate families can select presents for their children.

Cornerstone Baptist Church in Dallas and Valley Ranch Baptist Church in Coppell have been partnering in one such effort for years. It’s simply amazing to see the number of gifts that are brought in for this effort and what the churches’ caring spirit means to each family. Here’s a glimpse of this year’s Christmas store:

Buckner blogs from Mexico

December 14, 2007

Some folks at Buckner are taking a vision trip to Mexico to explore missions possibilities there. You can follow the adventures of Dexton, Analiz, Russ and Brad via blog at http://www.itsmymission4kids.blogspot.com/.

Update on Weslaco audit

December 14, 2007

I was informed Thursday evening that our internal auditors, Weaver & Tidwell, have now received a response from First Baptist Church in Weslaco regarding questions asked by the auditors. Jill Larsen, our controller, said the auditors are now working on the report but are not sure they will have it to us prior to the holiday.


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