CSBC Disaster Relief
By Carrie Blackaby Camp on August 29, 2016
SAN DIEGO — San Diego County officially declared Aug. 2 “California Southern Baptist Relief Day” in recognition of California Southern Baptist (Convention) Disaster Relief Ministries’ outstanding commitment to public service. As wildfires continue to sweep the state, CSBDRM has worked diligently on the front lines of relief efforts — often going above and beyond the call of duty. Kendrick Neal, associate pastor of First Baptist Church of Mira Mesa in San Diego, is a team leader or “Blue Cap” with CSBDRM. He became involved in the ministry when he moved to California three years ago.
“We go in after a fire and do what we call an ‘ash-out,’” Neal explained. “We will clean the property and give the residents a clean foundation to restart building on.”Part of CSBDRM’s procedure involves sifting damaged areas for valuables that might be salvaged.
A recent project took Neal’s team to the San Diego area to clean up seven pieces of land — a mixture of homes and farms — that had been decimated by wildfires.While speaking with one retired resident, Neal discovered that his son had been a sergeant in the army, but was killed in 2004 while serving in Iraq.“The man told me he would love to have his son’s Bronze Star and Purple Heart that were lost in the fire,” Neal said.Neal happened to have a sifter in the back of his truck, so he and the team’s chaplain, Jerry Shirley, immediately set to work searching for the lost medals.They quickly found one service medal in the ash, though it had been badly burned. The Purple Heart and Bronze Star were more difficult to locate, but Neal and his team refused to give up.Neal is a veteran, having served more than 12 years in the Marine Corps, so finding the medals was especially important to him.“There is a brotherhood there,” Neal said.Unable to initially locate the Bronze Star and Purple Heart, Neal returned to the site with another cleanup team, led by CSBDRM Blue Cap Ken Clark, to continue the search. After several hours of sifting through the ash they located the Bronze Star, but saw that it had been badly charred as well.
When Neal learned that the man’s attempts to get the medals replaced had been unsuccessful, he decided to step in.
“Being in Mira Mesa, we’re about two miles away from the Marine Corps base, and we have several people in our church who are active in the military,” Neal said. “This one Marine was able to contact the headquarters and get me the medals and award citations, as well as a flag that was flown over the base in honor of the gentleman’s son.”On their final day of work on a project, it is customary for the team to present a Bible to the homeowner.“But this day,” Neal said, “we were able to present a Bible, along with the medals and flag.”The man immediately broke down in tears of surprise and gratitude.“We were able to pray as a group over him and it was just a really neat time,” Neal said.According to Neal, moments like those are what keep him passionate about DR work.
“The biggest reward is having the opportunity to share the hope of Jesus with people who are hopeless.” Neal said. “Just being able to remove ash or get the mud out of their house, and seeing the hope that provides. It has been great.”
(Find more information about Disaster Relief at www.csbc.com/disasterrelief.)
FRESNO — Workshops to help pastors, church staff and lay leaders sharpen their skills will be featured during the California Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting in West Sacramento Oct. 25-26.
“There was such a good response to the workshops in 2015 that members of the committee on convention operations wanted to make them available at our upcoming meeting,” according to Mike McCullough, CSBC associate executive director and liaison with the committee that plans the annual event.
McCullough said workshops are scheduled for Wednesday, Oct. 26 from 7:30-8:45 a.m. at Russian Baptist Church in West Sacramento. Two of the sessions were offered last year, he noted, but the afternoon workshops didn’t garner the attendance of those prior to the final sessions.
Workshops will include:
• “Emerging Issues,” “Outdated Organizing Documents: Is Your Church on the Fast Track to Trouble?”
• “Keeping High School Students and Grads Involved in Church,”
• “Why Do Men Hate Going to Church?”
• “Reaching the Next Generation Through Social Media.”
The workshops are just one element of the two-day event with the theme, “Generations Reaching Generations.” In addition to worship and messages, messengers will consider several items of business including a 2017 budget that would allocate 34.5 percent to the Southern Baptist Convention for world missions; 59.5 percent to CSBC for California missions; 5 percent to California Baptist University; and 1 percent to California Baptist Foundation. (The full budget will be printed in the October issue.)
Other business includes electing members, trustees and directors to serve on the CSBC Executive Board, California Baptist University and California Baptist Foundation, respectively. The three entities also will present reports during the meeting. Additionally, messengers will elect Convention
The annual sermon will be delivered by Adam Groza, vice president for enrollment and student services at Gateway Seminary. Also addressing the body will be Rob Zinn, pastor of Immanuel Baptist Church in Highland, and Randy Bennett, CSBC president and director of missions for Kern County
The Tuesday evening session will feature generations reaching generations, and a celebration of the ministry of CSBC Executive Director Fermín A. Whittaker, who will retire in February after 22 years as leader.
Messengers will elect officers including president, vice president and music director. Bennett, who has served two, one-year terms is ineligible for re-election.
Preceding the annual meeting are the Pastors’ Conference, On Mission Celebration, California Women’s Meeting, Fellowship of Church Musicians and other events including various ethnic gatherings.
NORWALK — Santa Monica Church recently initiated a creative outreach project: a dog park ministry.
The church, which rents a building adjacent to a dog park, realized the best way to reach their community might be through the residents’ furry, four-legged friends.
Church members invited local veterinarians, kennel operators and dog groomers to set up kiosks in the park for a day. Throughout the event, volunteers provided information about their church as well as activities for the dog owners’ children Not only were the canines pampered, but many more residents are now aware of the congregation.
Santa Monica Church is just one in a growing number of California congregations and ministries that have launched outreach projects, thanks to one Baptist organization that exists to financially assist efforts.
SoCal Baptist Ministries is a nonprofit organization that offers those grants to California Southern Baptist churches and related groups.
Their mission is to enable California-based churches and ministries to reach their communities and share the gospel, according to Robert Langley, president of SoCal Baptist Ministries and pastor of First Baptist Church in Norwalk.
Founded in 2013, SoCal is funded by earnings from the $20 million sale of an apartment building. First Baptist was given the building in the 1970’s, which operated as Housing and Urban Development (HUD) senior housing. The church sold the property in 2013.
California Baptist Foundation manages the funds for SoCal, which has awarded nearly 150 grants to churches and organizations throughout the state.
“It has been quite a joy,” Langley said of his involvement with the effort. “We never know what we are going to get a request for next.”
Most of the grants SoCal approves range from $1 to $15,000, and are primarily used for community outreach, disaster relief and mission projects.
Help with disasters
“One of the neat things we have agreed on as a board is that if there’s a disaster, we can do a conference call and okay assistance to our (California Southern Baptist) Convention’s Disaster Relief ministry,” Langley said.
When the Butte and Valley fires swept Northern California last fall, SoCal Baptist Ministries quickly aided DR efforts.
“We were able to give a cash grant immediately,” Langley said. “People were out of their homes and needed food and clothing. Churches don’t have the resources to fund that.
“So while they were waiting for Red Cross and government agencies, we were able to give some immediate money up front to assist the churches as they helped people get back on their feet, or at least provided some temporary relief.”
Though California based, SoCal Baptist Ministries has had an impact that stretches far beyond its home state, through a variety of mission grants.
The organization has awarded grants to the New America Singers, California Southern Baptists’ student choir, to help fund their annual six-week California and international mission trip.
“The kids have to raise their own money,” Langley said. “But if you charge the kids the full cost of the trip, they couldn’t afford to go. So we are able to keep the students’ cost down.”
Not only are the students trained to sing, but they also are taught how to be leaders in their church and community, and to share Christ in diverse situations both nationally and internationally. In any given summer, the choir sees some 1,000 professions of faith, according to Ted Campbell, who has served as director of the Singers for more than 30 years.
“This has been a rewarding ministry because we’ve seen a difference in the kids’ lives since they’ve returned,” Langley said. “Their participation in church, their willingness to serve is fantastic. I’ve seen the impact it has had on (my) church when these young people come back all revved up and on fire for the Lord.”
However, Langley said the primary goal of SoCal is to help churches and organizations reach people in California through community outreach projects — and the methods of outreach are as diverse as the population.
One grant went to a church that wished to rent a traveling Bible museum exhibit for a weekend and open it to the community. Other grants have been used to fund sports camps, block parties, outreach events on an Indian reservation, food ministries, ski resort ministries and a college fair.
Langley said he is excited to see which projects SoCal will be able to support in the future.
“I am a pastor, and I know how most churches’ budget is consumed by the things they are already doing,” Langley said. “(It is incredible) to think that we have the ability to come alongside to help a church fund a project.
“The board’s goal is to help churches reach out to the community where (the Lord calls them).”
Visit www.scbministries.org for more information and guidelines about applying for grants from SoCal Baptist Ministries
Annual Meeting October 8th
First Southern Baptist Church Yreka
9:30am to 2pm
Please come and join us as we look to the future of our association.
Celebration, Fellowship, and Worship
Bringing our SBA annual sermon will be Peter Celum Chaplain of High Desert Penitentiary in Susanville
Lunch will be provided
A Message from Your Director of Missions
Our lives directly impact others around us. The question is, is it a positive impact? Or is it a negative one? This is a daily choice we must make for ourselves and our church. We must never forget that on Sundays we are the church “gathered” and when we leave, we are the church “scattered”. How do the people we are around each week see us? What they see us do and hear us say matters. It is “Christ” in us that brings hope, and light to the world. Ask God to use you each and every day as “salt” and “light”. May our churches and homes be that “Light on the Hill”, that others will be drawn to Jesus as we “gather” and “scatter” each week and moment of our lives. God bless “His” church and Shasta Baptist Association.
If you would like to put something in the SBA newsletter please email our DfOM Aaren Gushwa at firstname.lastname@example.org
Several “listening sessions” have been scheduled by the Executive Director Search Team tasked with finding the person God has in store to lead California Southern Baptist Convention into the future.
Montia Setzler, chairman of the search team and pastor of Magnolia Church in Riverside, said listening sessions have been set for “multiple locations in this great state to hear from pastors, directors of missions and church leaders.”
“We want to hear what our churches are looking for in our next leader.”
He said the team is seeking input on the following questions:
• What are the issues we face in reaching California that the next executive director needs to be prepared to address?
• What kind of leader should the committee be looking for?
Listening sessions include:
Date Location Associations/Group
August 22 Tulare
Kern County, Mid Valley and Sequoia
August 25 Gardena
Gold Coast, LAX Urban Center, Long Beach Harbor, Los Angeles, Orange County and San Fernando Valley
September 6 San Martin
September 20 San Diego
September 22 7pm Shasta Lake
Feather River, Mendo Lake, North Coast, Shasta and Sierra Butte at: First Baptist Church, Shasta Lake City
September 29 Sacramento
Central Valley, Delta Valley, Mother Lode, Sacramento and Tahoe
October 24 West Sacramento
Young Senior Pastors