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An Arkansas Baptist church opted to forgive the man who caused $100,000 in damage.February 28, 2019 was one of the worst days of 23-year-old Brenton Winn’s life. But it paved the way for one of the best.Angry at God after he relapsed from an addiction to methamphetamines despite spending time at a faith-based recovery program, Winn knew nothing about Central Baptist Church of Conway, Arkansas, when he broke in that February evening.High on drugs, Winn went on a rampage and destroyed $100,000 of church property, including laptops, cameras, and other electronics. He remembers little of that night, except that he felt desperate.Six months later Winn stood in a baptismal pool at Central Baptist as Mike Lefler, the church’s associate pastor of ministries, celebrated the young man’s decision to follow Christ through baptism.“As I’m starting to understand how God works, I’ve realized I didn’t pick the church that night. God picked me,” Winn said. “If it had been any other church, I think I’d be sitting in prison right now.”Winn grew up in what he calls a “God-fearing” home. His mother and stepfather attended a Church of Christ congregation. At 14, he started experimenting with methamphetamines. By 16, he was taking drugs every day.“Before I knew it, I had a full-blown drug addiction,” Winn said. “From the time I was 16 until a few months ago, my life was nothing but chaos, suicide attempts and brokenness.”In 2016, Winn went into a two-week faith-based recovery program. For a year, he stayed off drugs and got a job at a local Lowe’s store. But in September of 2017, his cousin committed suicide. Devastated, he fell back into addiction. By last February, when he broke into the church, Winn was homeless and ...Continue reading...
Improved policies are the first step in a major cultural shift to eradicate sex abuse in kids ministry.When Jules Woodson was a teenager, she told her pastor that her youth minister had assaulted her during a ride home from a church event. The pastor told her it was a consensual act.Stories like hers—trusted youth ministry relationships twisted to abuse young female victims—appeared again and again among more than 700 cases of sexual abuse in the Southern Baptist Convention uncovered by a Houston Chronicle investigation earlier this year. The SBC’s own report on abuse opened with an account from Susan Codone, who said her youth minister “showered me with flattering attention, telling me that God had chosen me to help his ministry” before advancing to sexual abuse when she was just 14.Another theme also emerged: Many young victims told church leaders what happened but did not receive the comfort or protection they needed.Decades later, survivors, pastors, and parents want to know: Will the church be able to prevent the kind of abuse that these women suffered as teens? Will leaders be able to recognize inappropriate behavior and respond immediately to stop it?Last week, 1,600 Southern Baptists gathered at the Caring Well conference to answer this question.“Southern Baptists will not have a future if we do not confront our tendency to protect the system over survivors,” said Phillip Bethancourt, vice president of the SBC’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, which organized the event.The church’s sexual abuse crisis is not limited to the SBC—asreports show—and a third of all Protestant churchgoers “believe many more Protestant pastors have sexually abused children or teens than has been currently exposed,” according to a LifeWay Research survey. ...Continue reading...
Government status would help streamline outreach and foreign partnerships—and alleviate some outside concerns about their churches.Evangelicals in Jordan have a new leader. They just don’t have anything official for him to lead yet.Five denominations, including Baptists, Assemblies of God, Evangelical Free, Nazarene, and Christian and Missionary Alliance (CMA) churches, met a month ago to elect Habes Nimat as president of the Jordanian Evangelical Council. They comprise 57 churches total.“I would like to believe that they chose me because I am a team player,” said Nimat, who has led a CMA congregation in the capital city of Amman since 2017. “I have good relations with the evangelical society, the local society, and they know my work with Christians of all denominations.”Established in 2006, the council is the fruit of nearly 100 years of evangelical outreach in Jordan. Numbering roughly 10,000 individuals, evangelicals remain a small minority among the 2.2 percent of Christians in Jordan’s overall population of 10 million, almost exclusively Sunni Muslims.Nimat will need to rely on these good relations to achieve the most pressing evangelical concern—legal recognition of the council as an official Christian denomination.Jordan currently recognizes 11 Christian denominations: Greek Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Armenian Orthodox, Melkite Catholic, Anglican, Maronite Catholic, Lutheran, Syrian Orthodox, Seventh-day Adventist, United Pentecostal, and Coptic.They are organized into the official Council of Church Leaders (CCL), which functions as a government advisory body. The prime minister will confer with the CCL on whether or not to admit new representation.“We have been working on registration for many years as one body,” said Nimat, “but so far, we have not heard an answer from them, neither ...Continue reading...
Government status would help streamline outreach and foreign partnerships—and alleviate some outside concerns about their churches.Evangelicals in Jordan have a new leader. They just don’t have anything official for him to lead yet.Five denominations, including Baptists, Assemblies of God, Evangelical Free, Nazarene, and Christian and Missionary Alliance (CMA) churches, met a month ago to elect Habes Nimat as president of the Jordanian Evangelical Council. They comprise 57 churches total.“I would like to believe that they chose me because I am a team player,” said Nimat, who has led a CMA congregation in the capital city of Amman since 2017. “I have good relations with the evangelical society, the local society, and they know my work with Christians of all denominations.”Established in 2006, the council is the fruit of nearly 100 years of evangelical outreach in Jordan. Numbering roughly 10,000 individuals, evangelicals remain a small minority among the 2.2 percent of Christians in Jordan’s overall population of 10 million, almost exclusively Sunni Muslims.Nimat will need to rely on these good relations to achieve the most pressing evangelical concern—legal recognition of the council as an official Christian denomination.Jordan currently recognizes 11 Christian denominations: Greek Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Armenian Orthodox, Melkite Catholic, Anglican, Maronite Catholic, Lutheran, Syrian Orthodox, Seventh-day Adventist, United Pentecostal, and Coptic.They are organized into the official Council of Church Leaders (CCL), which functions as a government advisory body. The prime minister will confer with the CCL on whether or not to admit new representation.“We have been working on registration for many years as one body,” said Nimat, “but so far, we have not heard an answer from them, neither ...Continue reading...
I'm excited to share some practical tools with you on how to worship with your children. I am so encouraged when I watch families come into the sanctuary on Sunday morning ready to worship! I have observed and helped families worship together and I understand that it can be tiring, challenging, and a time where [...]The post Practical Tools to Help Children in Corporate Worship appeared first on Ashland Avenue Baptist Church.
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