MARCH 17, 2012 News Journal of North Carolina Baptists VOLUME 178 NO. 6 BRnow.org See Church planter page 4
Church planting in North Carolina
N.C. Baptists have helped start 556 churches in the past six years. In 2011, the Baptist State Convention helped start 89 churches. Research has shown that new churches reach more people than established ones. Page 6
becomes focus of church planter
By Tobin Perry Baptist Press
t's just about dusk at Heritage Glen apartments in the Cincinnati, Ohio, suburb of Fairfield. As the sun drops from sight, the lower light begins to mask some of the harsher realities of this low-income apartment complex- including the dilapidated tennis court that's populated with random cracks and missing a net, the overgrown grass, and the worn exterior paint job. A hand- ful of volunteers from the Red Door, a Southern Baptist church plant in Cincin- nati eagerly play with, laugh with and generally corral neighborhood kids. What better way to kick off the church's plans than by doing what's at the heart of what the church is all about? The apartment complex is only about 25 miles from the posh community of In- dian Hill, where Cincinnati's elite-like famous astronaut Neil Armstrong-live. Yet Heritage Glen seems like a thousand miles away. But, more to the point for church planter Joshua Lenon, it's even further away from heaven. For the past two years Cincinnati's Red Door Church, started by church planter Joshua Lenon in 2010, has pointed people in the Heritage Glen apartments to Jesus by trying to close that distance. Josh and Tiffany Lenon are among five North American Mission Board mission-
Josh Lenon preaches at Red Door Church, a one-year-old church plant that operates out of The Underground, a state-of-the-art club and concert venue in Cincin- nati. The church runs about 100 each weekend. Lenon and his wife, Tiffany, inset below, are 2012 Week of Prayer missionaries. They receive help from the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering. (Photo by Dale Stroud)
aries featured as part of the annual Week of Prayer for North American Missions, March 4-11, 2012, and Annie Armstrong Easter Offering. The offering supports Lenon and others like him who serve on behalf of Southern Baptists throughout North America. With a goal of $70 mil- lion, this year's offering theme is "What- ever It Takes." We can provide just a glimpse of heaven on earth," said Lenon. "We can paint a picture of God's future for these people." Today that means throwing a block party for neighborhood families-complete with pizza, popcorn, cotton candy and a great family-friendly movie. In the past it has meant everything from redoing the complex's playground-includ- ing buying equipment and doing the land- scaping-to providing Thanksgiving meals for its residents for the past two years. And much of that ministry is thanks to the faithful gifts of Southern Baptists. Flat out, we wouldn't be able to do what we're doing without the support of the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering and the North American Mission Board," Le- non says. "We wouldn't have the funds to do that."
The Lord's Prayer reimagined
The church's passionate commitment to bringing heaven to earth isn't just a trendy church planting strategy; instead it's borne out of a deeply held conviction about the Bible's most famous prayer- the Lord's Prayer, found in Matthew 6. Lenon came to this realization in the midst of a particularly tough time in his life. Discouraged and saddened by a bad ex- perience on staff at a large church in a neighboring state, 30-year-old Lenon and his wife, Tiffany, left the ministry and began a time of deep soul-search- ing. The Lord's Prayer became really significant for me," Lenon says. "I thought if Jesus said to pray about this then it is probably what I should be about. I prayed it repeatedly. I thought about it constantly. For me, it
By SHAWN HENDRICKS BR Managing Editor
s the May 8 vote on a proposed marriage amendment approaches, the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina's executive director-trea- surer reminded Baptists of their opportu- nity to help determine whether marriage will be defined as the union between a man and a woman in the state's constitu- tion. Milton A. Hollifield Jr. spoke on the issue during Culture Reach, the Conven- tion's evangelism conference Feb. 27 at Calvary Baptist Church in Winston-Salem. (See story, page 9. See guest column, page 12.) "Pastors, I hope that you would use the time always - but especially in these days - to preach and teach your people what the Word of God teaches about mar- riage and the value and importance of the marriage relationship between a man and woman and their children," he said.
Register to vote
Hollifield urged pastors and church leaders to encourage members to make sure they are registered to vote. The dead- line to register in N.C. is Friday, April 13. According to the N.C. Center for Voter Education at ncvotered.com/register , those who miss the deadline still have an oppor- tunity to vote during early voting. "It will not matter [that] we believe this or we believe that," Hollifield said. "What will determine what happens about this vote will be if your people go to the polls and vote. I pray that this marriage amendment will pass." In 2010 a study from the Pew Research Center reported that 39 percent of Ameri- cans believe marriage is becoming "obso- lete." "The local church must step up and lead the way," Hollifield said. "We must teach our people in our churches about God's design for marriage and family."
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