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Your Voice: Country churches and knowing your ‘part’

I was reared in a good ol’ country church called Six Mile Baptist. You have seen churches just like it: gravel driveway and parking lot, white wooden frame building, cemetery out back and a preacher who uses farming lingo to explain the Bible.

Our church was so small that there was no such thing as a “secret” sin. The call to worship each Sunday was “Y’all come in,” and the benediction was “Y’all come back, y’hear.”

I enjoy preaching at churches like this. They have the best carry-in suppers you have ever tasted. Nothing on the table comes out of a can or a box.

You know you belong to a country church when:

  1. They have a special fundraiser for a new church septic tank.
  2. The discussion about Jesus feeding the 5,000 turns into a debate over whether the two fish were bass or catfish.
  3. The choir is known as the OK Chorale.
  4. Finding lost sheep is not just a parable.
  5. The entire church directory contains only three last names.
  6. People think “rapture” is what you get when you lift something too heavy.
  7. The pastor says, “I would like to ask Bubba to close in prayer,” and five men stand up.
  8. People only lock their cars during the summer — to make sure their neighbors can’t leave them a bag of squash.
  9. Opening day of deer season is an official church holiday.
  10. People grumble about Noah letting coyotes on the ark.

At Six Mile Baptist Church, we only had one paid staff member — the preacher — and I would hardly call what he got “pay.”

Frequently, farmers would bring crop offerings to supplement his salary. I remember one time when a deacon brought him a gunnysack of popcorn kernels.

The possibility of a lifetime supply of snack food like this might be the one thing God used to bring me into the ministry.

In our church, one person held many responsibilities. My dad was a deacon, a Sunday School teacher and a mission group leader. My mother filled the rest of the jobs.

Sometimes my brother or I played piano for the service, and we always had to clean the church on Saturdays.

But what taught me the most was something my church called “parts.”

Every Sunday night each of the youth was assigned a part — a section of the lesson we had to study, then stand and teach to our peers.

Churches have come a long way since those days, but along that way we seem to have lost our “parts.”

Maybe one reason our children drop out of church at such an early age today is because they do not have a part.

God bless country churches and parts!

By Walker Moore
Oklahoma Baptist Messenger

EDITOR’S NOTE — This story was originally published by Baptist Messenger.

Be part of missions story

From planting churches to meeting needs through compassion ministries, the calling missionaries have given their lives to is not easy, but it’s worth it as they get to share the hope of the gospel and see lives forever changed by Jesus.

Did you know we can be part of the story?

By giving to the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering, we have the privilege of stepping into the story of thousands of missionaries who plant churches, meet needs and engage in evangelism so that the gospel permeates North America.

It’s challenging. It’s exciting. It’s humbling.

When we support our missionaries through the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering, we get to come alongside them and hold up their hands as they serve where God has called them.

What an encouragement to them and a privilege for us.

Our team at the North American Mission Board thanks you for your investment in the lives of our missionaries.

We encourage you to continue praying, serving and giving.

Together we can reach more people with the hope of the gospel!

Catherine Renfro
Evangelism director
North American Mission Board

Thoughts from the-scroll.com

Life is about growth and change, but growth can’t happen if we’re allowing things in our past to hold us back.

No matter our past, we can begin again — and a new year is a great time to start. “Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert” (Isa. 43:18–19).

Amy Hacker
“A new thing”

A glorious aspect of God is that He not only reveals Himself to us, but also grants us a  community in Him that points us back to Him. Intergenerational relationships are a way we can continuously be drawn back to the splendor of God.

Selah Vetter
“The necessity of intergenerational relationships”

Their lives are a testament to God’s mercy and redemption, and a foreshadowing of the value Jesus Himself placed on women.

Addie Lee Frierson
“5 women of Matthew 1: Introduction”

Qualities of a godly person

In the midst of warning God’s people about the coming day of His anger, wrath and judgment, God gives pointers in Zephaniah 2:1–3 about the kind of life He looks for in a godly person.

Godliness involves a particular fellowship. The first step in avoiding God’s judgment is pulling together with the people of God.

God’s followers cannot attain or sustain godliness alone. God grants us, through one another, a fellowship of love, help and encouragement along the way.

Godliness requires particular activities. God refers to the people who escape His wrath as people “who have carried out His ordinances.” They obeyed God, and obedience is essential to godliness.

Godliness includes a particular relationship. In addition to claiming Yahweh as their God, God wants His people to seek Him and to pursue Him. Those who seek Him demonstrate a desire to know and fellowship with Him. They value Him. God wants that relationship.

Godliness requires a particular character. God instructs His faithful ones to “seek righteousness.” Righteousness transcends keeping rules. It reflects a changed heart.

Godliness requires a particular perspective. God instructs His faithful ones to “seek humility.” Humility describes seeing one’s self from particular perspectives: grace and unworthiness. One could easily become prideful and boastful about one’s relationship with God, one’s obedience and one’s righteousness. Humility avoids that trap.

Godliness is humanity’s only chance, its only hope of moving from religion to a relationship with God.

Kevin Parker
Director of media services
Baptist Convention of New Mexico

Anxiety does not come from God. The Holy Spirit convicts; He does not worry.

Pastor Zach Richards
Pine Grove Baptist Church, Centre

Be intentional in your parenting. Study your children. Get to know each of your children’s God-given temperaments precisely and ask God to teach you how to work creatively within each child’s temperament rather than against it when helping him or her develop.

Jill Freeze
Entrusted Hope Ministries

“I might not be able to share the gospel in far-off places, but I can make sure someone else can through my Lottie Moon offering,” said Dave Joslin, who has been recycling for cash to give to the international missions offering for years.

“We knew we wanted to actually like each other, be friends and still know each other,” said Dawn Leopard, who along with her husband, Eddie, launched a ministry devoted to helping couples keep their marriages strong. “So we just poured ourselves into doing a lot of things with one another and keeping our relationship primary.”

A song’s source “does not taint whether or not truth is expressed in the song,” said Kenny Lamm, worship ministries strategist for the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina. “If a song is biblical, singing the song would not harm the theology of your church members nor would it infuse them with heresy.”

“There are women who walk out of our doors, and we think they’ve decided to have abortions, but they come back in later with the baby in the stroller,” said Claudia Niebanck, executive director for the Care Center in Southaven, Mississippi, one of more than 2,500 pro-life pregnancy resource centers across the U.S.

“When someone entrusts us with their story, I hope we are equipped to be the refuge God has called His church to be,” said Brad Hambrick, general editor of the Southern Baptist curriculum “Becoming a Church that Cares Well for the Abused.”

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