FROM THE STATES: Colo., N.C., Texas evangelism/missions news
EDITOR'S NOTE: From the States, published each Tuesday by Baptist Press, relays news and feature stories from state Baptist papers and other publications on initiatives by Baptist churches, associations and state conventions in evangelism, church planting and Great Commission outreach, including partnership missions. Reports about churches, associations and state conventions responding to the International Mission Board's call to embrace the world's 3,800 unengaged, unreached people groups also are included in From the States, along with reports about church, associational and state convention initiatives in conjunction with the North American Mission Board's call to Southern Baptist churches to broaden their efforts in starting new churches and satellite campuses. The items appear in Baptist Press as originally published.
Today's From the States features items from:
The Baptist Messenger (Oklahoma)
Biblical Recorder (North Carolina)
Texas Baptist Communications
Colorado woman responds to Gospel
By Byron Vinson
WILBURTON, Okla. (The Baptist Messenger) -- Members of Center Point Baptist Church in Wilburton, Okla., distributed 500 "Find It Here" response cards as door hangers in Crowley County, Colo., and the town of La Junta on March 19 during a spring break mission trip.
After a team of volunteers prayed while walking through Crowley, Colo., handing out the cards, one woman responded to the Gospel. The woman's card, mailed to the Colorado Baptist General Convention, indicated that she "needs to make her faith public to other believers" and "wants more information about how to grow as a believer in Jesus Christ."
Team members from Oklahoma were Nathan Cook, Mitchell Cook, Ashton Forwoodson, Cord Forwoodson, Tracey Howk, Ginny Justice, Jeff and Eva Pate, Tony and Dale Randol, John Savage and Bud Vinson.
Through church prayer support and a church commissioning service, the Colorado team was prepared to serve the people of the community and the members in two church plants -- one in Sugar City and the other in La Junta. We expected to demonstrate love through working side-by-side in their ongoing food ministry. What we did not expect was the response of big hugs, smiles and friendships. The common bond in Christ, working with each other in the food distribution and participating in Sunday services together has served to establish continuing relationships supported by "friending" one another on Facebook.
Crowley County, in the southeastern part of the state, has the highest poverty rate in Colorado. Residents come once a month to the food distribution where they are given groceries and a Gospel presentation by church planter Eddie Nicandro.
One hundred, fifty-four families received the food through an old store front next to the town's post office. On Sunday, the storefront was transformed into a worship area where their weekly services are held.
Nicandro serves as pastor of a church in Colorado Springs as well as the church plants in Sugar City and La Junta. On Sundays, he leads worship in Colorado Springs at 11 a.m., travels one and a half hours to Sugar City to preach at 2:30 p.m. and then to La Junta to lead in their 5 p.m service.
I hope that you will prayerfully consider going on mission in Colorado. The state is very different than Oklahoma, which is 42 percent evangelical with 787 people per church, while Colorado is only 11 percent evangelical with 2,573 people per church.
To learn more about how you can get involved, go to www.bgco.org, click the ministries tab, select Partnership Missions and choose Colorado on the left side of the page.
Byron Vinson is pastor of Center Point Baptist Church in Wilberton, Okla.
Camp celebrates 50 years, challenges
churches to 'Send 1 for Him'
By Biblical Recorder & Camp Caraway staff
SOPHIA, N.C. (Biblical Recorder) -- Walking the trails and hills around Camp Caraway in Sophia, N.C., isn't as easy as it once was 40 years ago for C.J. Bordeaux.
"When did you all move Mountain View so far back up in the woods?" Bordeaux joked during a more recent visit to the camp.
Those trails bring back a flood of memories from when he led young boys as a camp counselor. It's Bordeaux's experiences at the camp that he believes helped fuel his calling to the ministry.
"Many of those [counselors] … now serve in the pulpits and positions of leadership in our N.C. State Baptist Convention," said Bordeaux, who now is pastor of Gorman Baptist Church in Durham and first vice president of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina. "I am proud to say that I am one of them."
This summer the camp program, which is led by N.C. Baptist Men, will celebrate 50 years of ministry among boys ages 9 to 17. Caraway will celebrate this milestone through various events from June of 2012 until June of 2013.
Located on nearly 1,100 acres, Camp Caraway began as a camping ministry for RAs (Royal Ambassadors) in the summer of 1963. Since then, more than 67,000 boys have spent a week at the summer camp. About 7,000 of the campers made a decision to follow Christ.
Though the camp has helped change lives through the years, the number of boys who attend has slowly dwindled over time. Some speculate the economy is a factor to a lower turn out.
This summer, in conjunction with the 50-year celebration, Caraway and N.C. Baptist Men are sponsoring a special emphasis entitled "Send 1 for Him."
The emphasis focuses on challenging every Baptist church in the state to send at least one boy to camp.
Bordeaux said he hopes churches will respond to the challenge and find at least one boy in their congregation who could go.
"I know the economy is tough, but pastors, parents and churches … will get more bang for [their] buck at Camp Caraway than any place I know in this state," he said. "[They] will not find a better place to send your boys this summer."
On July 21, Caraway will host a reunion of summer camp staff and also a ceremony commemorating the anniversary.
A commemorative wall will be dedicated in honor of all the summer camp directors who have served through the years. This summer the camp dining hall will be named after Clyde L. Davis Sr., who died in 2003. Davis was known for his help with founding the camp and his involvement in Southern Baptist life. Each year, Caraway Conference Center and Camp hosts more than 8,000 guests through camps, retreats and environmental education programs.
Caraway is in the middle of raising support for a $7.5 million campaign to build a new three-story facility in its conference center area that will be used to accommodate more guests.
In September of 2011, Caraway also dedicated the Powell/Warren Mountain House that serves as a minister's retreat.
"[Caraway] is becoming even more of a place where we need to invest our dollars and in the lives of those who will lead this great convention and our churches of tomorrow," Bordeaux said.
"[Camp Caraway] is where they will get camping skills, swimming, fun and games, but more than that they will hear that Jesus Christ loves them."
Cowboy churches fan flame of evangelism
By John Hall, Texas Baptist Communications
MESQUITE, Texas (Texas Baptist Communications)--Cowboy congregations can share the gospel throughout the state if they will "pull the wagon" of evangelism together, speakers told the inaugural Cowboy Church Evangelism Conference of the Baptist General Convention of Texas.
More than 400 people from about 40 cowboy churches gathered at the Mesquite Rodeo and Arena for western-themed worship, inspiration and evangelism ideas during the conference, made possible by gifts to missions through the BGCT Cooperative Program. At least 10 people made first-time professions of faith during the event.
Charles Higgs, director of BGCT Western Heritage ministries, said the conference provided a unique spotlight to encourage cowboy congregations to focus on reaching nonbelievers.
"It really brought the cowboy churches together," he said. "It was really a family atmosphere. It was a great time together. We really have outstanding preachers. This was an opportunity for all of them to come together."
Jason Norton, pastor of King's Trail Cowboy Church in Van Alstyne, reminded conference participants God is molding their lives for his use. Although people may not understand why they are going a difficult time, Norton noted, God knows what he's doing. Like a master potter shaping clay, God is working in the lives of his people for his purpose.
That purpose is sharing the gospel around the world, Norton continued, adding he is amazed to see how God has used him to share the hope of Christ. Recently, he discovered people in Norway were downloading his sermons. If God can use a cowboy church pastor's messages to grow God's kingdom in Norway through the Internet, surely he has plans for each of his followers, Norton said.
"When you give all your trust, all your life, I promise he will grow you to be in front of thousands of people to share the gospel," he said.
Dan Murray, interim pastor of Cowboy Heritage Church of Clyde, said faith in Christ should affect everything a person says or does. A person who is close to God will want to share the gospel with other people.
"Belief is the most powerful thing in the world," he said. "What you believe will determine everything about you."
In the wake of the response to the conference, Higgs already has set March 23 in Mesquite as the date for the 2013 conference.
"All of us need to be challenged to go one more step for Jesus, to go to the next level," Higgs said. "I believe this conference will help you go to that next level in your life."