25 April 2017

Quiver Method and Stump Speech

Each time we have returned to the US for what used to be called Off Field Assignment (OFA), currently referred to as Partnership Development Activities (PDA), but still called Furlough by most people we encounter, we find that we end up speaking around a common theme at each stop.  This does not mean that we have only one thing to say.  However, without a specific request for a topic which we are always glad to oblige, we go in knowing more or less what we will say.
Sharing stories at Howard Payne University, Brownwood, TX
When short-term mission teams are preparing to come to us, we emphasize the Quiver Method of preparation.  This has nothing to do with the number of children you have - that's called Quiverfull.  What we encourage is that groups prepare a variety of instant-ready activities, stories, games, lessons that can be pulled out of the quiver and done.  Even if not used, the preparation is a team-building exercise and the lesson can be used in the future by the team as well.  Similarly, we approach sharing in churches and with mission groups in the same way.  With a quiver filled with stories, Scriptural lessons, and illustrations from ministry we hope to be able to share something appropriate in any setting.

Below is a link to the text from Shane's sermon at Pulaski Heights Baptist Church in Little Rock, AR delivered last fall.  It's a bit too long to post the full text in a blog entry.  In many ways, it reflects the quiver method of incorporating stories into the larger theme of the lesson.  It is also highly contextual to the time it was delivered.  I post it with many thanks to Joy McClellan from Pulaski Heights for transcribing the extemporaneous message.

Nazis in Government

21 April 2017

Along the Way

Being in the United States and sharing with folks about what God has taught us and is doing in and through our ministry was a joy.  It was tiring, but a joy!  Below is an entirely too-long list of the places we shared.  If we missed you while we were in the US, it was not because we were sitting in an office . . . we were out looking for you!    

10 October 2016   Arrived in Dallas, TX
13/14 October 2016   PM/AM - CBF of Alabama Fall Gathering, Riverchase Baptist, Birmingham, AL
15/16 October 2016   Vestavia Hills Baptist Church, Birmingham, AL (Missions committee meeting on 15th, Adult Sunday School, Mission Moment in worship, lunch with group coming to SK in 2017)
16 October 2016   PM – Cole’s House Church, Bessemer, AL
19 October 2016   PM - Mt Roberts Baptist Church, Campbellsville, KY
21 October 2016    PM – CBF Heartland Phillips Roast, Langford installation, Breakout Session During Meeting, FBC-Jefferson City, MO
23 October 2016   AM – Holmeswood Baptist Church (Mission Moment in worship, Sunday School)
23 October 2016   PM – Dinner meeting with Roma Road Mission Trip alumni, Liberty, MO
30 October 2016   AM – Second Baptist Church, Little Rock, AR (2 Sunday School Classes, Mission Moment in Worship)
2 November 2016   PM – Highland Hills Baptist Church, Macon, GA
6 November 2016   AM – North Broad Baptist Church, Rome, GA (Sunday School, Mission Moment in Worship)
9 November 2016   PM – Central Baptist Church, Newnan, GA (Shane only)
12/13 November 2016   FBC-Warm Springs, GA (Shane only. Youth event on Saturday evening, 2 services plus children’s Sunday School on Sunday)
20 November 2016   AM – Pulaski Heights Baptist Church (Sunday School, Worship)
27 November 2016   PM – First Christian Church, Nashville, AR
30 November 2016   PM – First Baptist Church, Jonesboro – presentation along with Ray Higgins and Pat Griffen (CBF of AR)
2 December 2016    PM – Missions Dinner sponsored by CBF of Arkansas at Pulaski Heights Baptist, Little Rock, AR
4 December 2016   AM & PM – University Heights Baptist Church, Springfield, MO – Lighting Advent Candle/Children’s Sermon, Annual Mission Banquet Speakers
11 December 2016   AM – Rena Road Baptist Church, Van Burren, AR (Dianne only)
18 December 2016   AM – Third Baptist Church, St Louis, MO (Mission Moment in worship, Mission Banquet speakers after church)
3 January 2017   AM – senior adult group’s speakers, Trinity Baptist Church, Benton, AR
8 January 2017   PM – Trinity Baptist Church, Benton, AR
15 January 2017   AM – Faith Sunday School Class, Pulaski Heights Baptist, Little Rock, AR (Di only)
15 January 2017   PM – FSBC-Magnet Cove, Malvern, AR
22 January 2017   AM/PM – FBC-Athens, GA (events all weekend, included AM service)
25 January 2017   PM – FBC-Summerton, SC
29 January 2017   AM – Plum Bayou Baptist Church, Wright, AR
8 February 2017   AM – Women on Mission’s group, FBC-Baytown, TX
10 February 2017   PM – CBF of AR Coordinating Council Meeting, Second Baptist, Little Rock, AR
12 February 2017   AM – New Millennium Church, Little Rock, AR (Di preaching)
19 February 2017   PM – St Martin Baptist Fellowship, Gulfport, MS
1 March 2017   PM - Providence Baptist Church, Cookeville, TN
4 March 2017   AM - MACBF Meeting at Heritage Baptist Church, Annapolis, MD
5 March 2017   AM -  Kensington Baptist Church, Kensington, MD
8 March 2017   BWA UN Reps meeting, Falls Church, VA
12 March 2017   AM - Fairfax Baptist Church, Fairfax, VA
26 March 2017   AM - First Baptist Church – Brownwood, TX
26 March  2017  PM - FBC-Mullin, TX
27 March 2017   HPU Human Rights Class with Professor Lorianna Kelly, HPU International Missions Practicum with Dr. Melody Maxwell, HPU Baptist Student Ministry drop-in
28 March 2017   Adult on Mission Group (met at Southside Baptist Church, Brownwood, TX)
29 March 2017   HPU Models for Cross Cultural Missions class with Dr Melody Maxwell, HPU Chapel Speaker, two children’s classes and youth group, First Baptist Church-Brownwood, TX
31 March 2017  CBF of Arkansas Annual Meeting (just had to show up, stand up), Second Baptist Church, Little Rock, AR
2 April 2017   AM - Calvary Baptist Church – Lexington, KY, sermon time during early worship service, spoke with children during part of Sunday School time, shared greetings and read Scripture during 11:00 AM worship
3 April 2017   Contextual Ministry class and then Spiritual Formations class with Dr Rick Landon, Baptist Seminary of Kentucky
4 April 2017  morning and evening Women on Mission Groups at Central Baptist Church, Lexington, KY
9 April 2017 Shared in Sunday School class at Calvary Baptist Church, Little Rock, AR while Dianne shared in Sunday School class at Pulaski Heights Baptist Church, Little Rock, AR
16 April 2017 - We were back in Slovakia and attended Easter services at Baptist Church in Presov, Slovakia!

06 April 2017

Go Zones

Recently I (Shane) had the opportunity to speak to Senator Boozman, from Arkansas, when he took time to meet with me when I was in Washington, DC.  I am thankful to the Senator for meeting me.  The experience confirmed for me simple truths about community, about the responsibility we all have to be involved in the political process, and about how, even with the immense power that governments wield, authentic transformation is made possible through love.
U.S. Capitol Building
"How did you arrange that meeting?" The short answer, I went to Sunday School.  The Beloved Community we are fortunate enough to associate with while in Arkansas is called Pulaski Heights Baptist Church.  We really enjoy the sweet fellowship found in Sunday School, Wednesday church dinners, and gathered worship.  When Harriett sat next to me in Sunday School the week before we were to travel to DC, I told her that I would love to be able to arrange a meeting with one of Arkansas' Senators to discuss freedom of religion or belief for all.  Harriett, connected to more people than I will ever know, pulled out her phone and shot off an email.  "I'll let you know what I find out."  The next day I had an email address to someone in Boozman's office.  By the end of the next day, our meeting was set.  When I was telling pastor Pulaski Height's pastor, Randy Hyde, about the meeting I said, "The moral of this story is that things happen when you go to Sunday School!"  We really are more connected than we realize through the relationships we have as part of a community of faith.
FBC-Washington, DC

"The world is now one big neighborhood. There are no longer any hermit nations. National isolation is no longer possible in the earth. The markets of the world instantly register every commercial change. An earthquake in Asia is at once registered in Washington City. The people on one side of the world may not dare to be indifferent to the people on the other side. Every man of us is called to be a world citizen, and to think and act in world terms."  Those words, delivered by George W. Truett in an address made almost 100 years ago from the East Steps of the US Capitol building in Washington, DC are as relevant today as they were in 1920.  We are world citizens and neighbors.  For those of us who are citizens of democracies where we have the freedom to speak truth to power, such as in the United States of America, it is our Christian responsibility to be engaged in the political process in order to ensure that fairness and justice guide the laws and law-makers of our land.

Fairfax Baptist Church, VA
As we have spoken in churches from Maryland to Texas, Missouri to Georgia over the past six months, we have been reminded about how diverse Fellowship churches are and how committed each of them are to being the presence of Christ in their neighborhood.  The act of being involved in your community is inescapably a political act.  Calls for justice are made from the pews and reverberate throughout city halls, state capitols and all the way to the U.S. capitol.  This is our birthright as Baptists who are also American.  It is also our responsibility to ensure that whoever temporarily fills the permanent position of President is reminded that Baptists have never been and will not be silent in calls for justice and freedom, particularly freedom of religion or belief, for all.  When national policies that are motivated by short-term political goals endanger the long-term moral authority of the United States to speak to other nations about freedom of religion or belief for all, then we as faithful Baptists must learn from our heritage and lean into the task of ensuring these first freedoms are preserved.

When Christians generally but Baptists specifically, motivated by the transformative power of God's love for all, live up to our own heritage then we truly are co-laborers with God in creating a better world for all who bear the Image of God.  In a world-wide neighborhood, filled with other bearers of the Image, "No Go Zones" do not exist.  There is no place where God's love cannot reach.  When a nation's laws, extremists' hate, or a church's indifference lead us to wonder if there is any word of hope we have to offer, we need to remember the One who sends us out with a good word of love and justice and hope has promised to go before us and to be with us as we go.

25 February 2017

Mailing List Sign Up

Of the several things I am crossing off my To Do List is to make it possible for people to sign up for our newsletter mailing list.  The process seems simple enough.  If you would like to sign up, enter your email below, check the box marked "newsletter" and then Subscribe.

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