Thursday, March 29, 2007

Responding to Needs in Nairobi

I hadn't actually intended to participate in a blogging fast, but it just turned out that I managed to go almost a month without posting anything. I did want to share an update on our church's involvement with the KidsHeart Africa project in the Korogocho slum of Nairobi. I had mentioned previously that our pastor and children's minister were traveling there to do an assessment of the needs and the possibilities of our church's involvement in helping to meet those. They had an outstanding experience and came back excited about some ways we could make a significant difference in the lives of the children through providing them with expanded, more permanent school facilities.

Word & Way ran an article about our churches involvement in their most recent issue, written by Janis Mansker, our children's minister. I'd encourage you to take a few minutes to look at it.

Pastor Euticals who heads up the school was won to Christ through the efforts of some FMB missionaries when he was a teenager. He felt called into the ministry and has chosen to continue ministering to the children of this slum area, many of whom are AIDS orphans. Our church has responded with overwhelming generosity to this project. We had been challenged to give at least $10,000 by the end of the summer to receive a matching gift in that amount from an anonymous donor in our congregation. On the first Sunday of the offering for the project, we received more than $33,000 with pledges over a 3 year period of more than $165,000. God has blessed our congregation with folks who respond generously to needs as they are shared.

We're also gearing up for a Summer of Service where we are planning to engage in all kinds of different service projects in the greater Kansas City area. We've been busily compiling and fine tuning a list of 208 ideas that were generated in a church-wide listening session we held on a Sunday evening about 3 weeks ago. It's exciting to see the enthusiasm that is growing among our members as we step out of our comfort zone a bit and seek to meet the needs of others around us.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Hinkle's Defense of Moran

I submitted the gist of the following post as a comment on Marty Duren's SBC Outpost blog and it might appear later, as he has enabled comment moderation at this time. I was checking out the latest issue of The Pathway online (I wouldn't pay for the print issue) and found a couple of very interesting articles.

The Pathway (Missouri Baptist Convention state paper) has weighed in on Roger Moran’s comments at the Executive Committee regarding the Emerging Church. Don Hinkle’s editorial is an impassioned defense of Moran and includes the statement that Hinkle has examined Moran’s research and finds it compelling.

Staff writer Allen Palmeri also comes to the defense of Moran’s position and approvingly reproduces the full text of Moran’s comments.

Hinkle in particular berates the bloggers who have dared to criticize his buddy Moran in such an unchristian manner. I almost gagged when I read the following quote by him: “It is the most shocking public display of personal attacks that I have ever witnessed in SBC life (though I have read how some leaders in the conservative resurgence have been subjected to similar treatment by moderates since 1979).” Hinkle has consistently attacked moderates in Missouri from the time he assumed his role as editor of the Pathway and has done so with what can only be described as yellow journalism. It is not surprising therefore that he totally ignores Moran's history of attacking all moderates with his guilt-by-association tactics. The fact of the matter is that both of these guys appear to feed off of and encourage one another in these kind of attacks. Thus Hinkle finds Moran's "research" compelling. If you haven't read the comments on Marty Duren's blog regarding Moran's presentation, it would be well worth you time.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Youth Mission Trip fundraiser

I had the privilege this past Friday and Saturday evening of being the emcee for our church's annual dinner theater that raises money for our youth group's summer mission trip. The group that puts it on is a talented collection of young adults called Sonlight. The last couple of years they've done a program around the theme of Uncle Phil's diner with a 1950s setting and lots of humor and songs from that era. This year they took a different approach and did a Tribute to the Oscars. They sang many of the songs that won Academy Awards for best song, as well as acting out scenes from three different movies--The Wizard of Oz, Steel Magnolias, and A Few Good Men (with the language cleaned up of course). We had a great crowd in our fellowship hall each night (about 260 each evening) with a delicious meal prepared by a young fellow in our church who is a chef and a young mother who bakes and caters for a living. The show also included door prizes donated by area businesses, and a contest to correctly identify the character, actor/actress, movie name, and year of some famous movie scenes as re-enacted and videoed by the Sonlight players. It was a thoroughly entertaining evening, and the best part of all was that $7800 was raised to help cover the cost of the youth group's summer mission trip. If your church has some creative and talented folks who like to sing and act, perhaps a similar event might be a good means for you to raise money for missions as well.