Pastor of Student MinistriesCovenant Church, in Shepherdstown, West Virginia is seeking a pastor of student ministries who will be responsible for the church’s comprehensive ministry to students (Junior/Senior High) and their parents. This pastor will provide oversight to the planning and execution of the church’s ministry plan which emphasizes the Gospel’s connection to lost students, the spiritual growth of those reached and the shepherding required in caring and protecting them in partnership with their parents. More specifically, the position requires the recruiting, training and supervising of effective lay leadership teams in addition to being the primary face of the ministry to the students.

Send resumes to David W Lyle, Executive Pastor, Covenant Church, 7485 Shepherdstown Pike, Shepherdstown, WV. 25443. For more information call him — 304.876.2212, ext. 111.

Senior PastorTrinity Baptist Church (TBC) in Waldorf, Maryland, seeks a senior pastor. TBC is a multi-ethnic, multi-generational, and mission-focused small church in Waldorf, Maryland with 75-85 average worship attendance.

Leaders share, “We exist to LOVE like the Greatest Commandment, SERVE out the Great Commission and LIVE for the Greatest Kingdom. We are located in southern Maryland, just outside of Washington, D.C. in a diverse, growing, and evolving community. We call ourselves the church “with a heart for people.” Our latest demographic study showed that 67% of the surrounding community is un-churched. We are in search of a senior pastor who can help lead us to fulfill God’s purpose for this church in this community. Full time or Part-Time/ Bi Vocational candidates will be considered.”

Detailed information including submission instructions may be found here.

Senior PastorColesville Baptist Church in Silver Spring, Maryland, seeks a senior pastor who is faithful in preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ in accordance with the Baptist Faith and Message, preferably a Southern Baptist Seminary graduate with at least five years of senior pastoral experience. The church desires a servant of God who practices compassionate pastoral care in coordination with membership and who will lead by the direction of the Holy Spirit and prayer to equip and empower the church to fulfill the Great Commission.

Please send resumes to Colesville Baptist Church, P.O. Box 10462, Silver Spring, MD 20914-0462 or email saltandlight4cbc@hotmail.com. The deadline for application receipt is September 30, 2019. Please do not call the church office.

Facilities Manager — Redland Baptist Church in Derwood, Maryland, is currently accepting resumes for a full-time facilities manager. View the job description and qualifications here. Send resumes and cover letters to personnel@redlandbaptist.org.

Free church pewsFreedom Church Baltimore has 30 free church pews available. Contact joseph@freedomchurchbaltimore.org.

Senior PastorFirst Baptist Church of Eastport located at 208 Chesapeake Avenue Annapolis, Maryland, 21403, is in search of a full-time senior pastor to lead their Southern Baptist congregation. Worship services are on Sunday mornings at 11 a.m. to noon and consist of traditional/contemporary hymns, preaching and praying. Please send resumes to the church address.

Senior PastorSouth County Community Church seeks a full-time lead/senior pastor. The church is a small congregation of 50 people growing and worshiping together in a rural, waterfront area in Southern Anne Arundel County, thirty minutes south of Annapolis.

It is an elder-driven church with congregational oversight and vote. The pastor will be the leading elder and, along with the elder board, oversee the vision, mission, and ministries the Lord has given the church. For a complete job description email the Pastor Search Committee.

Please note that job ads will continue on a weekly basis for one month unless notified otherwise.

“You will seek me and find me when you search for me with all your heart,” Jeremiah 29:13

Arkansas mission team serves Georgia Avenue Baptist Church

A mission team of 28 volunteers, with over 20 high school students from Unity Baptist Church in Hope, Arkansas, has been serving the incredibly diverse Georgia Avenue Baptist Church in Silver Spring, Maryland., July 7-14. The team, after riding on a bus for over 14 hours, led a Bible camp for kids, did a variety of cleaning, painting and yard work around the church, shared during the worship services as well as with the church’s senior’s group, and also handed out 1,000 flyers for GABC’s upcoming VBS.

Youth from Unity Baptist Church in Hope, Arkansas served seniors at Georgia Avenue Baptist Church.

GABC Senior Pastor Tim Bonner was overwhelmingly grateful and pleased with the team. At least three children committed their lives to Jesus, and others came forward for prayer.

“A few parents also made professions of faith,” Bonner said. The parents of the younger kids stayed with their children during the kid’s camp, and they too heard the Gospel. “All the youth are trained for follow up and salvation counseling. We, as the host church, are reaping the benefits.” Bonner said the congregation has been encouraged through the team’s ministry.

During a senior’s lunch, a large group of teens not only sang, led hymns, shared a devotional and a few object lessons, but they also sat with and conversed with the seniors, swapping stories, and chatting about the differences in Arkansas and Maryland. Many youth discussed their plans for the future.

Several of the teens said that the trip has cemented their relationships with each other.

“It’s a good bonding experience,” said Annabeth Martin, who reiterated what several youths were quick to point out – “We don’t have our phones.” They sang and played games together on the bus.

Members of the mission team led a time of singing hymns.

Martin said one of the trip highlights for her has been working with the children. “I really like interacting with kids, talking to them and getting to know them,” she said.

“It’s really about people,” Ashton Kenzel added

Above all, serving Christ motivates the team. “We really like ministry,” Annabeth said. It’s never about going to see things. It’s not about the fun parts, it’s about ministry. “

Tim Rowe, a youth who serves with recreation, puppets, and music, said he especially enjoys the bonding experience and also the diversity at GABC.

Other teens agreed that meeting people from over 30 countries at the church has been a unique and positive experience.

Brady Whatley, one of the young team members said above all, “We like to serve and see people filled with joy,

They ministered at the church several years ago and contacted Bonner about returning. Unity Baptist Church Youth Pastor Jay Pollen, who leads the group, said the team enjoys visiting the area and fellowshipping with the folks from GABC. They will be with the church for worship on July 14, and then they’ll return to Arkansas.

Church plans ahead for Operation Christmas Child

Faith Baptist Fellowship Church (FBFC) in Cambridge, Maryland, prepares for Operation Christmas Child (OCC) throughout the year. Each month, the church has specific items to collect for the shoeboxes that will be sent around the world. July’s items are soap and lip balms. Other specific items are requested monthly, said Chris Harrison, who coordinates OCC for FBFC.

The church also raises funds to send the boxes. Harrison said the shipping price has risen to $9 per box and that can be costly, especially for a small church. FBFC is hosting a yard sale on August 24 to offset the charge. Half of the proceeds from the yard sale will be used for a future mission trip, and the remainder for OCC shoebox shipping costs. If there are leftover funds, Harrison said the church will send the money to OCC to help offset other church’s shipping costs.

Night of Praise

The Arundel Baptist Network will host a “Night of Praise,” from 6-8 p.m. on July 28 at Severna Park Baptist Church (SPBC) in Maryland. Lake Shore Baptist Church in Pasadena, Maryland; Uplift Through the Word Ministries in Severn, Maryland; SPBC and Life Connection Church in Severn, Maryland, will share music. A catered dinner will be provided prior to the event from 5-6 p.m. For more information email arundelbaptistnetwork@gmail.com.

International Day

Colonial Baptist Church in Randallstown, Maryland, will have an “International Day” on July 14. Following the worship service at 10:30 a.m., with an international theme, the church will have a multiculutral dinner with music provided by a steel drum band.

 

by Brandon Elrod & Baptist Message Staff

NEW ORLEANS (BP) — Southern Baptist Disaster Relief is preparing an initial response if the tropical system currently in the Gulf of Mexico develops into Hurricane Barry overnight on Friday (July 12), but floodwaters already have started to rise in New Orleans.

Photo courtesy of Unsplash

“The water is almost as high as it can get within its banks at various points along the Mississippi River, and now they’re waiting to get 15 more inches of rain,” said Sam Porter, national SBDR director at the North American Mission Board.

Over the last several months, SBDR teams have been responding to flooding in the Midwest and the South. Much of that water has flowed south along the Mississippi River, causing the river to be above flood stage ahead of the incoming storm.

Meteorologists warn that the danger will be the potential of rain and storm surge combining to cause the river to hit maximum flood stage, which would overwhelm levees protecting New Orleans and lower Louisiana.

“It’s like the perfect storm that’s about to have its crescendo moment this weekend,” Porter said. “With the intense flooding north of Louisiana, we’ve had our eyes on how that flooding would eventually affect the state and New Orleans in particular.”

The storm has been slowly creeping toward land in recent days and is expected to make landfall Saturday on the Louisiana coastline, causing flooding into Mississippi as the storm drops rain on its journey inland.

SBDR leadership has begun putting together an initial response plan in case the worst-case scenario plays out, and Porter expects volunteers to step up despite a busy year in disaster relief.

“Even though they have been stretched up to exhaustion,” Porter said of SBDR volunteers, “God always seems to make a way to rally this amazing volunteer organization to become the hands and feet of our Lord to assist others who cannot help themselves.”

Alerts issued to volunteers

John Hebert, missions and ministry director for the Louisiana Baptist Convention who oversees disaster relief operations, said DR leaders have “assessed our resources and issued alerts to our trained personnel to prepare themselves and their mobile units.”

“In addition, we are ready to establish command centers, and our folks are maintaining a constant state of readiness — literally watching and praying.”

If the storm hits Louisiana, disaster relief volunteers will respond immediately, Hebert said. If it shifts course, he said “we are ready” to respond to requests for help from neighboring states.

Gibbie McMillan, Louisiana Baptist Disaster Relief coordinator, noted, “If they need food, the Red Cross calls and we respond. If flooding takes place, we wait till the water goes down and we help people get the debris out and dry out and rebuild. If there is a need for a shower unit or a generator, we can help. If a tree falls on a building, we can help remove it. We cannot do it all, but we respond as we’re able.”

The National Hurricane Center said at noon today (July 11) that Tropical Storm Barry was located about 100 miles south-southeast of the mouth of the Mississippi River. Landfall as a hurricane is projected by early Saturday along the Louisiana coast but may shift to the east over Mississippi.

Gov. John Bel Edwards declared a state of emergency Wednesday for Barry, the second named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season.

Rain accumulations of 10-15 inches are predicted for the central Gulf Coast region from Friday through early next week. However, portions of eastern Louisiana and southern Mississippi may experience isolated maximum rainfall of up to 20 inches.

In New Orleans a number of cars were submerged on city streets and some businesses experienced first floor flooding after up to 8 inches of rain fell in some areas Wednesday morning.

The city is closing all 244 floodgates to hold back the anticipated storm surge.

Evacuations were issued Thursday morning for all of the New Orleans-area Plaquemines Parish (mandatory for the entire East Bank and Oakville and Venice on the West Bank; voluntary for the rest of the West Bank) and parts of Jefferson Parish — Barataria, Crown Point, Jean Lafitte, Lafitte and Grand Isle.

Southern Baptist Disaster Relief is among the three largest providers of disaster relief assistance in the United States. Southern Baptist churches, associations and state conventions all partner to mobilize volunteers, resources and equipment to provide services. The North American Mission Board provides national coordination and assistance in larger multi-state responses.

Reprinted from Baptist Press (www.baptistpress.com), news service of the Southern Baptist Convention.

by Madeline Arthington

EUROPE (BP) — Brahim*, now living in a European refugee camp, left his North African country in search of a better life far from the war and desperation of his home.

Brahim* and Yoseph* pray for boldness to share the Gospel with North African and Middle Eastern men and women who have never heard about God’s love for them.
Unsplash

Only 22 years old, Brahim doesn’t own much. But he does have a phone, and that is how he first encountered the Gospel.

Through a Gospel-themed page on social media, Brahim began messaging with Yoseph*, an Arab evangelist with a heart for ministry to other Arabic speakers. Through these exchanges, Brahim heard the Gospel and made a profession of faith in Christ.

Yoseph and his ministry partner drove to the refugee camp to visit Brahim. He was tentative in his faith and felt isolated. They studied Scripture and prayed that Brahim would be bold to share with others.

A few weeks later, Yoseph met with a large group of believers gathered in his city — Arabs, Europeans and Americans — and together they prayed that God would work among North African and Middle Eastern men and women.

The next day, Yoseph and his ministry partner heard from Brahim. He had shared the Gospel with his roommate, who believed.

When Yoseph and his partner visited them, Brahim was changed. He was excited, confident and sure about his faith. They ended the visit by celebrating the Lord’s Supper and praying for more people to know the joy of a relationship with God through Jesus Christ.

Pray that God would strengthen Brahim and his roommate in their faith and use them as laborers in the harvest fields.

Gifts through the Cooperative Program and the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering support Southern Baptists who work among refugees such as Brahim from North Africa and the Middle East, helping new believers grow in their faith and share the Good News of God’s Word.

To learn more about North African and Middle Eastern people, click here.

*Names changed.

Reprinted from Baptist Press (www.baptistpress.com), news service of the Southern Baptist Convention.

Senior PastorColesville Baptist Church in Silver Spring, Maryland, seeks a senior pastor who is faithful in preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ in accordance with the Baptist Faith and Message, preferably a Southern Baptist Seminary graduate with at least five years of senior pastoral experience. The church desires a servant of God who practices compassionate pastoral care in coordination with membership and who will lead by the direction of the Holy Spirit and prayer to equip and empower the church to fulfill the Great Commission.

Please send resumes to Colesville Baptist Church, P.O. Box 10462, Silver Spring, MD 20914-0462 or email saltandlight4cbc@hotmail.com. The deadline for application receipt is September 30, 2019. Please do not call the church office.

Facilities Manager — Redland Baptist Church in Derwood, Maryland, is currently accepting resumes for a full-time facilities manager. View the job description and qualifications here.  Send resumes and cover letters to personnel@redlandbaptist.org.

Free church pewsFreedom Church Baltimore has 30 free church pews available. Contact joseph@freedomchurchbaltimore.org for current availability and more information.

Senior PastorFirst Baptist Church of Eastport located at 208 Chesapeake Avenue Annapolis, Maryland, 21403, is in search of a full-time senior pastor to lead their Southern Baptist congregation. Worship services are on Sunday mornings at 11 a.m. to noon and consist of traditional/contemporary hymns, preaching and praying. Please send resumes to the church address.

Senior PastorSouth County Community Church seeks a full-time lead/senior pastor. The church is a small congregation of 50 people growing and worshiping together in a rural, waterfront area in Southern Anne Arundel County, thirty minutes south of Annapolis.

It is an elder-driven church with congregational oversight and vote. The pastor will be the leading elder and, along with the elder board, oversee the vision, mission, and ministries the Lord has given the church. For a complete job description email the Pastor Search Committee.

Please note that job ads will continue on a weekly basis for one month unless notified otherwise. 

“Therefore, fear the Lord and worship Him in sincerity and truth. Get rid of the gods your fathers worshiped beyond the Euphrates River and in Egypt, and worship Yahweh. But if it doesn’t please you to worship Yahweh, choose for yourselves today the one you will worship: the gods your fathers worshiped beyond the Euphrates River or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living. As for me and my family, we will worship Yahweh.” Joshua 24:14-15

Dr. Ron Blankenship receives recognition

Dr. Ray Gentry presents plaque to Dr. Ron Blankenship (r) acknowledging Blankenship’s 20 years of associational ministry.

Ron Blankenship, Montgomery Baptist Association director of missions,  is the recipient of the Teaching Excellence Award at Washington University of Virginia, where he serves as a professor of practical theology at the Neal T. Jones Seminary.

The college established the award for two selected professors each year, honoring each of them for their commitment to excellence in teaching and caring for students.

Blankenship will be honored at the college’s faculty forum for the Fall 2019 semester on August 8.

In addition to the award, he was also recognized at the Southern Baptist Conference of Associational Leaders (SBCAL) for his 20 years of associational ministry. Dr. Ray Gentry, president/CEO of the SBCAL, presented a plaque to Blankenship in honor of his achievement.

Puppet Ministry

The puppet ministry team of Pleasant View Baptist Church in Port Deposit, Maryland, will march in the Havre de Grace Independence Day parade, from 2 to 4 p.m. on Union Avenue, on July 6. A team of six, including adults and teens, will perform with the puppets all along the parade route.

Pleasant View Baptist Church’s puppet team will participate in the Havre de Grace Independence Parade on July 6.

This year’s theme is Noah’s Ark. Team leader Mike Gentry says the work for the new float starts at the beginning of each year. Church member Bobbi Sanchez painted the animals, then added painted styrofoam “splashes of water.”

The team is active in the community, marching in other parades including little league baseball season openings and Halloween and Christmas events, traveling to various locations in the tri-state area.

Emmanuel Church, Huntingtown, Maryland, is now accepting registration for their fifth annual Car/Truck/Bike show from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on September 14. The free event includes music, games, food, and prizes.

Medical and Dental Volunteers Needed

The Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware (BCM/D) will host the North American Mission Board (NAMB) SEND Relief Mobile Medical Clinic from September 7-15, 2019. Various churches are hosting the clinic.

There is still a need for dentists, dental assistants, general medical practitioners, nurses and/or physician assistants for this event. Read more here.

 

 

by Baptist Press Staff

NASHVILLE (BP) — Contributions to Southern Baptist Convention national and international missions and ministries received by the SBC Executive Committee in June were 2.80 percent above the projected budget through nine months of the current fiscal year and 0.13 percent above the amount received during the same period last year, according to a news release from SBC Executive Committee President Ronnie Floyd.

As of June 30, gifts received by the Executive Committee for distribution through the Cooperative Program Allocation Budget totaled $149,580,020.95, or $189,882.46 above the $149,390,138.49 received through the first nine months of the 2017–2018 fiscal year. The fiscal year begins on Oct. 1. The June YTD total is $4,080,020.95 above the $145,500,000 YTD allocation budget projection to support Southern Baptist ministries globally and across North America.

“I rejoice at this report of support for what we as Southern Baptists are doing together — statewide, nationally and internationally,” Floyd said. “The SBC exists to help churches leverage our Acts 1:8 mandate to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with every person in the world and make disciples of all nations.

“In these summer months, we are praying for all Southern Baptists to practice generosity faithfully so our churches can maximize their evangelistic opportunities through ministries like Vacation Bible School, student and children Camps, as well as local, national and global mission experiences. Our world desperately needs each of us to live and breathe Gospel urgency every single day,” he said.

Year-to-date designated giving of $170,633,259.53 was 2.97 percent, or $5,217,045.83, below gifts of $175,850,305.36 received in the first nine months of last year’s fiscal year. Designated contributions include the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions, the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering for North American Missions, Southern Baptist Global Hunger Relief, Disaster Relief and other special gifts. This total includes only those gifts received and distributed by the Executive Committee and does not reflect designated gifts contributed directly to SBC entities.

Meanwhile, CP allocation receipts for SBC work for the month of June totaled $15,754,420.34. Designated gifts received in May amounted to $23,528,476.07.

The CP is Southern Baptists channel of giving, begun in 1925, through which a local church can contribute to the ministries of its state convention and the missions and ministries of the SBC through a unified giving plan to support both sets of ministries. Monies include receipts from individuals, churches and state conventions for distribution according to the 2018-2019 Cooperative Program Allocation Budget.

State and regional conventions retain a portion of church contributions to Southern Baptists’ Cooperative Program to support work in their respective areas and forward a percentage to SBC national and international causes. The percentage of distribution is at the discretion of each state or regional convention.

The Convention-adopted budget for 2018-2019 is $194 million and is disbursed as follows: 50.41 percent to international missions through the International Mission Board, 22.79 percent to North American missions through the North American Mission Board, 22.16 percent to theological education through the six SBC seminaries and the Southern Baptist Historical Library and Archives, 2.99 percent to the SBC operating budget and 1.65 percent to the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission. The SBC Executive Committee distributes all CP and designated gifts it receives on a weekly basis to the SBC ministry entities.

Month-to-month swings reflect a number of factors, including the timing of when the cooperating state Baptist conventions forward the national portion of Cooperative Program contributions to the Executive Committee, the day of the month churches forward their CP contributions to their state conventions, the number of Sundays in a given month, and the percentage of CP contributions forwarded to the SBC by the state conventions after shared ministry expenses are deducted.

CP allocation budget gifts received by the Executive Committee are reported monthly to the executives of the entities of the convention, to the state convention offices, to the state Baptist papers and are posted online at cpmissions.net/CPReports.

Reprinted from Baptist Press (www.baptistpress.com), news service of the Southern Baptist Convention.

by Caroline Anderson

SOUTHEAST ASIA (BP) — They love hearing about baptisms of people they don’t know. News of strangers being baptized means there has been generational growth of Christians in their area, say William and Nancy Potter,* International Mission Board workers who serve in Southeast Asia.

A new believer in Southeast Asia celebrates as she is baptized. IMB workers had the opportunity to witness baptisms of third-generation believers in the Southeast Asian church they’ve been a part of for many years. IMB photo

The “generational growth” — people who lead people, who then lead other people, to Christ — first began 18 years ago when they met Ary Keo* and her husband Chann.* As the Potters discipled them and cast a vision for church planting, the Lord gave Ary and Chann a heart to take the Gospel to an area eight hours away.

The Keos’ ministry was slow at first, Nancy reported. It took eight years to see the first church start, then another few years to start a second church.

Now the Keos are discipling and baptizing believers who do the same with other believers. Approximately 60 Christians recently were baptized in one part of the country.

The Potters are witnessing a discipling domino effect. They discipled the Keos, and members of their community have gone on to disciple other communities. Now church growth is expanding far beyond their reach. Their vision is to see churches start in 10,000 unreached villages across the nation.

Generational growth of Christians in Southeast Asia results in dozens of people lined up to be baptized. IMB photo

The Potters also recently witnessed a third generation of believers being baptized in a church where they’ve been connected for many years.

The Potters are praying for more stories of believers they haven’t personally met because this means the Gospel is spreading throughout their country. They hope soon there will be a day when everyone in their Southeast Asian nation has heard the name of Jesus.

Gifts through the Cooperative Program and the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering support Southern Baptists living alongside Southeast Asian Christians to help them learn how to plant healthy churches and expand their gospel witness.

Read this story and more at imb.org. Learn more about Southeast Asian peoples here.

*Names changed.

Reprinted from Baptist Press (www.baptistpress.com), news service of the Southern Baptist Convention.

by Joy Allmond

SUTHERLAND SPRINGS, Texas (BP) — When First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs kicked off their annual Vacation Bible School the week of June 3, it looked profoundly different from two years ago.

.

On Nov. 5, 2017, a gunman entered their sanctuary, opened fire, and took the lives of 26 people. Several of those who lost their lives were instrumental in the VBS ministry of the church in Sutherland Springs, Texas.

“VBS takes up a large portion of our year, because we do VBS big,” said Sherri Pomeroy, wife of Sutherland Springs pastor Frank Pomeroy.

“Everybody around here knows this church produces an amazing VBS event every year and all the kids want to go to it.”

Among those killed was the Pomeroys’ 14-year-old daughter Annabelle.

“VBS was her favorite event of the year,” Sherri said. “She loved having the DVD after VBS was over and being able to do the moves along with it. She loved playing with the other children and was excited about being a helper for the first time [the following summer].”

As the early months of 2018 rolled around, the leadership of Sutherland Springs had to make a tough but necessary — decision: They would once again host VBS, despite the painfully obvious voids.

“We didn’t want their work in the years past to be in vain,” Sherri said. “But it was tough. We had all new teachers — people who stepped up to stand in the gap. We knew we had to do it not only for the Lord, but to honor the memories of those who were gone.”

Jennifer Holcombe is one of the Sutherland Springs members who stepped up. She lost her husband, her 18-month-old daughter and several other family members in the attack.

“I knew we had to keep going and not stop doing these things to be able to heal,” Holcombe said. “Some of what we do is to keep it going for them. For me, if I could do it, I wasn’t going to say ‘no.’ I had to do it to keep myself going.”

Karla Holcombe, Jennifer’s mother-in-law — described by Sherri as the “creative genius” behind the VBS décor year after year — was among those lost during the 2018 attack.

Karla’s daughter, Sarah Slavin, recalls a pivotal moment of healing during the 2018 VBS week — an event that seemed impossible to carry out, given the searing loss of her mother, father and brother who all died in the shooting.

“My mom was very involved in Vacation Bible School when she was alive,” Slavin said. “And my dad (Bryan) would always make lots of props, and my brother (Danny) always made props. I couldn’t imagine VBS without them. But I realized the Holy Spirit was the one doing all this that I gave them credit for.”

Pastor Frank Pomeroy noted the Holy Spirit has not only been working in the church and the surrounding community to heal them, but He’s also been working through VBS to bring healing — and maybe a little joy.

Between 40 and 50 children attended VBS at Sutherland Springs last summer — the same number that had attended in years past, Sherri said.

This year attendance doubled — they ran out of 100 nametags.

“VBS — at least in our church — has been an outreach to the community,” Frank said. “Not only have we reached children, parents and grandparents — and had parents come to know Christ through VBS — but people came together [to pull it off].

“You could be in here every morning during the worship rally,” he said. “You could feel the Spirit moving in these kids. But I would even venture to say [the 2018] VBS was more for the adults of Sutherland Springs than for the kids.”

And while the VBS leaders, volunteers and kids of FBC Sutherland Springs were in a new facility this year (see related story), Pomeroy noted it’s the same Holy Spirit who will continue to heal hearts.

“It lets us see … we can hold to the hem of His garment and still move forward,” he said.

“The tragedy that inflicted so much heartache can still be healed if we hold on to the Lord and look at [our situation] through the laughter of these children.”

Used with permission from LifeWay Christian Resources 

By Tom Stolle

Imagine this family: A child with nonverbal autism and other associated disabilities. The child begins violently assaulting mom and dad when he hits puberty, but cannot grasp the consequences of this, or even discern that his actions could be wrong. Both parents in this family have stable jobs, a nice home,
excellent medical insurance, help from others, a job that allows telecommunication from home, support from community services, and an extensive prayer network. That’s my family. My son’s name is Jimmy. Most people can’t fathom my journey, and it feels like my wife and I have been to hell and back.

Now instead, imagine the depths of suffering for a family that has a child like my son, but they don’t have the same advantages. They don’t have good jobs, don’t have both parents at home, marginal or no insurance, and almost no help from others.

Genesis 1:27 teaches that all human beings are created in the image of God.  Individuals affected by disabilities need to be loved, but they also need resources and opportunity. Having a disability does not make a person somehow less human, less worthy of assistance, or less worthy of respect. Too many, however, maintain attitudes of superiority and judgment — attitudes which effectively open the door to oppression.

Oppressed people are frequently denied opportunities, causing them to be economically and relationally disabled in addition to the challenges they already face. They are often treated as subhuman. Our society engages in the active disabling of millions of people, viewing them as worthless, a waste of time and resources, and unworthy of assistance. Note that when people are “economically disabled,” that treatment sometimes leads to a physical disability. If you have fewer resources, you receive less care.

In Isaiah 1:17, the Lord says, “Learn to do good. Seek justice. Help the oppressed. Defend the cause of orphans. Fight for the rights of widows.” (NLT)

The issue of loving and caring for individuals must be comprehensive. That is, we must love every single individual human being, regardless of age, race, gender, or ability. Due to the ignorance and neglect of this issue, there is an incredible need among Americans affected by disability, which is a reality for almost 58 million Americans. That’s 19 percent of the population. Many of these individuals, regardless of age, race, or gender, live at or below the poverty line.

In an article written by Michael Morris, the executive director of the National Disability Institute, titled “Poverty and Disability in America Matter,” the author points out that poverty and disability are related. His work, originally written in March 2016, reports the following:

 

 

 

Among people ages, 15 to 64, note that10.8 percent of individuals with severe disabilities experienced persistent poverty compared to 4.9 percent of individuals with a non-severe disability and 3.8 percent of individuals with no disability. The U.S. Census Bureau reports that only 41 percent of individuals ages 21 to 64 with any disability were employed, compared with 79 percent of those with no disability.

The takeaway from this is clear: disability often results in or is connected to poverty.

Mother Teresa said, “Being unwanted, unloved, uncared for, forgotten by everybody, I think, is as much greater hunger, a much greater poverty than a person who has nothing to eat.”

Note that according to a 2007 study conducted by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania, among children who would eventually be diagnosed with autism, African American children had 2.6 times the odds of receiving some other diagnosis [than autism] compared with white children. Additionally, of those children who were misdiagnosed, African-American children were also 2.4 times more likely to be incorrectly diagnosed with a conduct disorder than white children. These statistics are appalling and sickening.

God help us, if we do not see ALL people as created in the image and likeness of God, this kind of misdiagnosis, not just of developmental disabilities, but of a person’s character and intentions can and does occur. I wish I could say that this type of data did not apply or was somewhat different within the Church.

Ed Stetzer, a religious leader in America, was quoted in Christianity Today magazine in 2013 as saying, “I was not able to find any substantial research on how churches are ministering to persons with disabilities … In other words, other than word-of-mouth and such connections, I cannot definitively say what is and what is not happening, and what we can learn from it…”

Consider that for a moment. A significant voice in national Christian leadership acknowledges that we don’t know how our churches are reaching individuals and families affected by disabilities. Often, the Church, through its inaction, is demonstrating a lack of care and concern for these special individuals and families.

We, as the Church, must do better. We have no excuse.

Many in society today believe that the Church is irrelevant. In many cases, they are right. I think that an irrelevant church is a sinful church. Why? It would be difficult to say that any organization that actively assists the poor, sick, elderly, and disabled is irrelevant (think James 2 or 1 John 1-3). However, are we doing this?

Concerning importance, programs for church members should not be placed ahead of ministry to those in need. Too many times, these programs are given a higher priority than obedience to the Great Commandment to love God and love his children.

Jesus ministered to individuals affected by sickness, disease, poverty, and disability. His focus was not on putting on a flashy show during a weekend service or building the next “big program.” His focus was on demonstrating His love for them by treating them with compassion and dignity. The Church, as well as those in the communities we serve, would benefit from imitating what Jesus modeled while walking the earth.

Likewise, Christ viewed the rich and the poverty-stricken with the same loving attitude. We shouldn’t fall into the trap of believing that individuals who possess material wealth have been rewarded by God for working harder or rising above obstacles, while a poorer person must be lazy because they are reliant on charity and handouts. Such an attitude is sinful, unbiblical, and a stain on true Christianity. Both the wealthy and the poor are in need of God’s love and redeeming grace, and we, as a Church, need to demonstrate this.

The Bible says in James 2:1-4 (The Message), “My dear friends, don’t let public opinion influence how you live out our glorious, Christ-originated faith. If a man enters your Church wearing an expensive suit, and a street person wearing rags comes in right after him, and you say to the man in the suit, ‘Sit here, sir; this is the best seat in the house!’ and either ignore the street person or say, ‘Better sit here in the back row,’ haven’t you segregated God’s children and proved that you are judges who can’t be trusted?”

These facts, along with the truths perpetuated by our Lord in Scripture, should shake us. They should make us angry. They should move us to action. We see time and again, when individuals are solely focused on themselves and their needs, the legitimate needs of others become less important. It’s possible that you may not want to be bothered by them either. You may ignore it, or even get irritated by the pleas and desires of others for justice and mercy.

The bottom line is simple: We are called as the Church to stand up for ALL people, even those who cannot stand up for themselves. God takes this issue seriously.

“Don’t walk on the poor just because they’re poor, and don’t use your position to crush the weak, Because God will come to their defense; the life you took, he’ll take from you and give back to them.” Proverbs 22:22-23 (The Message)

We can do better. We must do better.

We want to invite you all to our annual Special Needs Conference on July 20. Our Associate Executive Director Tom Stolle will be our keynote speaker. Visit our website to register for the event today! https://bit.ly/2IcpTcd

Posted by Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware on Thursday, May 30, 2019

 

Tom Stolle will be leading the Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware’s Annual Special Needs Conference on July 20, at Cresthill Church in Bowie, MD. You can find additional details here.

Jackie Hill Perry, a hip-hop artist and poet and now author, from St. Louis, recently opened her heart, sharing some of her deepest secrets in her book, “Gay Girl, Good God: The Story of Who I Was, and Who God Has Always Been.” Freelance writer Maina Mwaura had the opportunity recently to sit down and talk to Jackie. Here is the video of that candid interview, followed by the transcript.

Maina:  I’m here with author Jackie Hill Perry. How are you doing?

Jackie: I’m good.

Maina: I got to tell you, it’s good to be here with you.

Jackie: Yeah. Thank you.

Maina: We’ve talked before, but I enjoyed the book.

Jackie: I’m glad.

Maina: A lot. I’ve marked it up here, as you can tell.

Jackie: That’s great. With some really, really bright Post-it notes.

Maina: Yeah, I’m sorry, but that’s all I had near me.

Jackie: I mean, I’m not mad at you.

Maina: Jackie, go ahead and call it out. It goes with the title, though, too.

Jackie: That’s true.

Maina: I see that there.

Jackie: It’s kind of in the same scheme.

Maina: Where did the title come from, Gay Girl, Good God?

Jackie: Well, when we were in the titling meeting, they preface it by saying that there is no such thing as a bad title, but there were a lot of bad titles being-

Maina: There are some bad titles, yes.

Jackie: … being thrown out, and a lot of them were very devotional-like, which I think is typical of Christian books. I think for me, I just thought … It was like someone said, “A lot of these titles don’t seem to match Jackie’s personality. She’s very bold. Very honest. Very edgy at times.” And I was like, “Oh, so I can just say what I want.” And they said, “Yeah. I said, “Oh. What about Gay Girl, Good God?” I just said it, you know? Of course, they had to go back to the powers that be, to see if that was all right.

Maina: I was wondering. I was like, “How did they get this one approved?”

Jackie: Yeah. But, but I feel like the world is so honest and abrasive in their beliefs. So to me, it was like, “Why not make this title as bold as it can possibly be to show that I’m not trying to be vague about what I think God has done, or what I Know God has done.”

Maina: Why’d you feel the need to be so open about your life in this book?

Jackie: Yeah. I always have been. I mean, I was like that before I had the Holy Spirit. I was just one of those people where it’s like, if your breath stink, I’m going to let you know, you know? What the Holy Spirit has done is reigned that in, but at the same time, if I believe that being honest or authentic is beneficial for another person, I’m willing to do that.

Maina: Why the title? And, can you tell us a little bit about your life before you found Christ?

Jackie: Yeah. Before Jesus, I just was, I think, the typical human. Just thinking that my own perceptions of goodness and that being autonomous was a joyful thing to do. I knew about Jesus just because my aunt, who was a believer, took me to church all the time. I saw how Jesus, you know, I guess governed how she lived her life, and how she thought, and the music she listened to, and the way she dressed, but to me it didn’t seem attractive. It was just kind of like, “You could love Jesus. That’s cool, but I don’t think He should be my Lord because he just changes too much. He has too much control.” I’m just-

Maina: You didn’t want any part of that, yeah. Yeah.

Jackie: … Yeah, I’m good. I want to be able to do me. So, if I could take Jesus and, I would’ve, but I knew, just from spending time in Sunday school, and from reading the scriptures, that Jesus would not be all right with that. And so, that was just kind of me. You know? It’s just Jesus is cool, but I’m going to do what I want to do.

Maina: Putting your life out there, especially if it comes to sexuality, where did that come from? Why did you decide to do that, when a lot of people would have maybe wrote a chapter on it? And said, “Hey, this is me.” Maybe a page or two. You decided to write a book on it, though?

Jackie: Right.

Maina: Why?

Jackie: One, I don’t think our testimonies are our own. I really think that God in His providence allows us to go through things, in that when He snatches us out, I’m able to point to people, point to Him and say, “Hey, look at what he did for me. I’m sure that He could do the same for you.” Even the woman at the well. So many people were converted to Jesus by her simply telling them what Jesus did for her. You know? She left the little thing of water and went back, and was like, “Hey, this man’s just talking about my business.”

Maina: Everything about me. Yeah.

Jackie: Yeah, and they started believing because of him, so I feel the same way. I feel compelled to talk about it, but also it’s what we talk about in the culture all the time. We’re always talking about gender identity or sexuality in the church and outside of the church. If I can add to the narrative, I feel like I have to do that. Yeah.

Maina: So in the book, where you talk about some pretty hard stuff. On page 29, you talk about, “My father loved me sometimes.” Can you explain that?

Jackie: Yeah. It literally is literal.

Maina: Very much so.

Jackie: Yeah. He would be in my life for maybe four months. Be active, be present, answer my phone calls, et cetera, and then it would disappear for a year or two years, where I wouldn’t hear from him, wouldn’t see him at birthday parties, he wouldn’t answer my calls. Stuff like that, and so it was just an inconsistent kind of love that I didn’t know what to do with.

Maina: Then on page 36, you go, and I’m going to read some of it here because I thought it was one of those kind of moments where I had to put the book down a little bit. Not a little bit, a lot. Skips my wife to go, “Can you explain this to me?” Because you’re pretty open about what happened in the basement. You go on to say, “To me, it was only something that happened to which I was too embarrassed to tell.” What you’re obviously talking about, and that’s what I was talking about, is you were sexually abused?

Jackie: Right.

Maina: Why put that in the book?

Jackie: Because most women were. Most boys are. Statistically-

Maina: And we don’t talk about it a lot.

Jackie: … we don’t talk about it. So, it’s damaged me. It’s damaged how I see men. It’s damaged how I see sex. It’s damaged how I see intimacy. So, I think that’s a part of my story, and that’s a part of the reason why I think I lived a life the way that I did. And, I think when you go to the latter chapters about my relationship with my husband, I have to talk about the molestation for you to have context for why it was so hard for me to receive his love because I had never received love from a man before in my life. You know?

Jackie: If my dad was inconsistent, and so it’s like, “Oh, you say you love me, but you don’t actively love me. That’s confusing.” And then the other man, where the only intimacy I received from a man was me being the object of his lust. So, my whole context for men, and intimacy, and sex was just damaged from the jump, and so I had to communicate that for you to really understand how powerful it is now for me to be able to walk free from that by the power of the Gospel.

Maina: Now, for a lot of people, they may say, “Okay, your father wasn’t there. You’ve been sexually abused, so that means that’s why you would be-

Jackie: Gay.

Maina: … gay?”

Jackie: Right.

Maina: And you’re quick to point out in the book, that is not-

Jackie: Exactly.

Maina: … the reason why.

Jackie: Because, one, I remember experiencing same-sex affections before all of that. I remember in kindergarten being attracted to little girls on the playground. That was before I was molested, and I think that was before I was cognizant of my father’s absence. But two, I don’t see scripture blaming trauma for our decisions. Do they affect our decisions? Sure. But I think the reason why I ultimately became a gay woman was because I’m a sinner, and I was acting out on a nature that I’ve inherited from Adam, not just because of my trauma. I think the trauma just allowed it to make more sense for me to choose the sins that I chose.

Maina: What a very interesting world. I was with some group of Generation Zers recently.

Jackie: Interesting.

Maina: It was very interesting on how they saw homosexuality. It seems like we’re in this, either it’s all or nothing almost. For a lot of believers they would say, “Man, I’m against it.” They see it as a sin. Then these Generation Zers who are just all accepting of it, in fact. How does someone handle if they want to minister in that culture, or they want to love their family member? Love their friends, but at the same time, they believe it’s a sin. How did they deal with that?

Jackie: Yeah. I think it’s a tension that Jesus did so well.

Maina: Very well.

Jackie: When, with the adulterous woman, or the woman caught in adultery when they brought her to him and said, “Hey. The law says that this woman should be stoned,” which was actually theologically correct. The wages of sin is death.

Maina: That’s what was going on.

Jackie: Yeah, He did two things. He says, “Hey, I don’t condemn you.” That’s grace, but he also says, “Go and sin no more.” And so, I think many of us are on one side where it’s like-

Maina: All of nothing, almost.

Jackie: … Yeah. It’s just go and sin no more. Just law. Or, “I don’t condemn you.” Where it’s just this fake grace. I think Jesus, you see him doing both, and so I think that’s really what we got to do. I think we’ve over-complicated how to love people while at the same time holding true to our convictions. I think it’s simply do what Jesus did. I think the same spirit that Jesus had is the same spirit that is in us, and so you simply ask Him to help you, and you follow in His footsteps as written about in the scriptures.

Maina: Yeah. You talk about a number of people who I would say loved you into Christ, basically. Your cousin was one of them.

Jackie: For sure.

Maina: What was that like? And, because you were very much an adult involved with-

Jackie: Sort of.

Maina: … sort of an adult maybe, but you were in a relationship?

Jackie: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Maina: A same-sex relationship. What was that like when, “Okay. I’ve got to deal with Jesus?”

Jackie: Yeah. Terrifying. I feel like that’s the best adjective.

Maina: Really?

Jackie: Yeah, because …

Maina: Because you have lived a life, for the most part, yeah.

Jackie: Yeah. When sin is all you know, and just doing you is all you know how to do, and Jesus is telling you to relinquish all of that to follow Him, that’s scary.

Maina: It’s very scary.

Jackie: It’s, “What will it be like on the other side of this? Will I actually be happy? Will I have joy?”

Maina: Because you don’t know.

Jackie: I have no idea. Even the Christians, I knew maybe two Christians that seemed happy, but most of them seemed like to obey God was such begrudging work. It was like they just-

Maina: Why are you doing this?

Jackie: Yeah. They just didn’t want to go to Hell, but it was like, “Is there no pleasure in knowing Him? Why do I seem happier than you do when I’m the one that’s an idolater?” So, I think I was just confused, and I was afraid, but I think that that’s what the Holy Spirit does, is that He allows us to have faith. I had the faith to believe that even if I’m not happier on the other side, even if it’s harder to do it, I’m willing to do it, because I believe that Jesus has to be a better alternative than what I’ve been doing before.

Maina: When you look at your life now, you’re a mom.

Jackie: Yes.

Maina: Mother of two. Not getting a lot of sleep.

Jackie: Right.

Maina: Married, speaker, author. A lot has changed.

Jackie: Yeah. Completely.

Maina: Yeah. Does it amaze you?

Jackie: Yeah. This word is so played out, but it is surreal, I think, when I consider who I used to be. I was talking to my husband. We had dinner the other night. He was like, “I forget that you used to be gay.” I was like, “You know I have a whole book about it, right?”

Maina: You have a whole book written about this, yeah.

Jackie: “You’re in it, by the way.” But as I told him, I was a completely different person.

Maina: Wow.

Jackie: A completely different person. The way I spoke was different. The way I walked was different. The way my face felt was different. How I interacted with people was different. But, that literally is conversion. How is it possible that a person could be filled with the spirit of the living God and remain the same? It’s not possible.

Maina: But what’s interesting, you talked about in the book the sense of like even your clothing. You talk about that. What do you say to someone who is struggling, wondering? They’re in the same sex lifestyle, and then one of them may be thinking, “Okay, I know I need to make a change,” but at the same time, that’s all they may know?”

Jackie: Well, I think the way change has been discussed historically hasn’t been clear enough.

Maina: Wow.

Jackie: Where I think change has been communicated is like you’re coming to Jesus to be straight. You’re coming to Jesus for Him to help you with your sexual lusts. That’s not Jesus’ aim. Jesus’ aim is for you to come to Him so that you can be made right with the Father. And, being made right with the Father doesn’t mean that you won’t ever experience same-sex temptations ever again, but it does mean that through the power of the spirit, with community, with prayer, you will be able to resist them. I think God cares about having all of you. I think that’s what’s honestly kept many people from coming to the faith, is that they think only one aspect of them needs to be repented of.

Maina: And he wants all.

Jackie: He wants all of it. Your whole heart is jacked up.

Maina: Yeah, everything.

Jackie: All of us is messed up. And so, I think that humbles the sinner to know, no, there’s not one part of you that Jesus wants to fix or stuff like that. It’s like, no, God wants the entire heart and then having the entire heart, you’re able to bear fruits of the spirit in more ways than one.

Maina: Two more questions. Page 72. I want to tell you, I’ve marked this book up a little too much, probably, because you were pointing out the highlighted marks here. You go on to say this. “Allowing my sexuality to rule me was a death sentence, but so was everything else.” Unpack that for a little bit.

Jackie: Yeah. I was holistically a sinner.

Maina: Say that one more time. Like we say in the black church. Say that one more time.

Jackie: I was holistically a sinner.

Maina: That’s everything.

Jackie: Yeah. The way I thought, the way I spoke, the way I communicated with people, it was all governed by my sin nature. I didn’t like authority. I was lustful. I watched pornography. I used to curse people out. Vengeance was mine, and not the Lord’s. It’s everything, and I think I had to realize that. Yeah, let’s say, hypothetically, I just put my homosexuality on the shelf. Is God still pleased with me?

Maina: No.

Jackie: Absolutely not.

Maina: There are other areas also.

Jackie: Absolutely not. I am still a wreck, and I am still in need of redemption and to be made new, and so yeah. There was a lot of me that needed to be made new. Yeah. There was a lot of me that needed to die. I think a lot of that kind of thinking has come out of how people have engaged with those in the gay community. We’ve only centered our evangelism around their sexuality, and not around their person. When we deal with the person, and the holistic nature of how sin spreads throughout our lives and our characters-

Maina: You’re more than just that one area?

Jackie: … Yeah. Then someone is able to actually see themselves rightly in light of the Gospel, and not just, “Oh, 80% of me is great. Just, that’s that 20% that God don’t have.”

Maina: Which we do very well within the American church.

Jackie: Yeah.

Maina: When God wants all?

Jackie: Yeah. All of it.

Maina: Did you say everything you want to say in the book?

Jackie: When I finished it, I did.

Maina: What was the process like? Because, I mean, I’ve read a lot of books obviously, but you lay out everything in here. There’s nothing in here that is unturned. What was that process like, laying it all out?”

Jackie: Normal. I’ve been doing that for a long time now, and so it was everything that I’ve been saying for the last decade, I’m just writing it on the page.

Maina: Wow.

Jackie: But I think if I were to add anything, I think I would’ve spent more time on the concept of orientation because it is a fairly new theory that I think it holds way too much weight in how we see people, how we [crosstalk 00:16:04].

Maina: Can you unpack that for me a little bit for me, because I want to make sure that we get that?

Jackie: Yeah.

Maina: The concept of orientation, explain that just a little bit.

Jackie: I’m still learning, but when you look at the scriptures, for example, you don’t see the term heterosexual. You see natural or unnatural. Even homosexuality in some cases is not a noun but a verb. But we’ve made it a noun. We’ve made it, “Oh, because you experience these affections, that’s who you are.” That might be why it’s so hard for people to understand conversion, and temptation, and sanctification.

Maina: I think it is, yeah.

Jackie: Because we’ve put our personhood in our affections instead of basing it on the fact that we are just image bearers of the living God, and how should that govern how we see everything. And so, I don’t know, I think we just have to change the way we view ourselves and view people, where there’s this hierarchy, I’m heterosexual, she’s homosexual. It’s like, no, all of our sexuality is messed up, if we want to be honest.

Maina: Be honest about it, yeah.

Jackie: Because me lusting after someone that’s not my spouse is just as perverted, and just as anti-the design of God as it is for someone who is same-sex attracted to lust after the same sex. So, I don’t know. I’m trying to figure it out, but I think it’d be helpful for the church, and how we counsel people, to stop seeing people or labeling people, according to who they love and who they like, instead of seeing them as God has intended for them to be seen. Does that make sense?

Maina: It makes a lot of sense. That means there’s another book, then?

Jackie: One day. I have a lot of research, but one day.

Maina: I hope so. You did well in this.

Jackie: Thank you.

Maina: I got to tell you, I’ve read it a lot, from cover to cover, and I couldn’t put it down.

Jackie: Amen.

Maina: At times I had to put it down, I was still going, “I need to get back to this.” It’s a good book. Thank you. Good job.

Jackie: Thank you.

Maina Mwaura resides in Atlanta, Georgia, with his wife, Tiffany, and daughter, Zyan. He is a graduate of Liberty University and New Orleans Theological Seminary and has served on staff at several churches. You can find Maina‘s written work at mainaspeaks.com.

By Sharon Mager

COLUMBIA, Md. — Demetra Bennett serves as an assistant to the church services support team, ensuring initiatives and events effectively meet the needs of BCM/D churches.

(l-r) Luke, Martin, Rachel, and Demetra Bennett

A native of Illinois, Bennett grew up in a Christian home and went to church regularly. With four children in her family, getting some alone time with her mom was special, and it was during one of those times that God spoke to Bennett’s heart.

“My mother led me to the Lord while out walking one summer night to get an Italian Ice. I was about 6 or 7 at the time,” she said. It was a process though. Her mother, on their fun outing, began sharing about what it would be like if we all knew Jesus and would be saved from sin and one day go to heaven. Demetra had heard the Scriptures throughout her life but thought the message was for adults. Later she prayed, telling God she wanted to be saved and to go to heaven one day. She followed it up by walking down an aisle during a Sunday service to make a public profession, and she was baptized a few years later.

After high school, Bennett earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics from Illinois State University and then a Master of Business Administration from the University of Illinois. In the past, she has worked in insurance, automotive, and financial fields. Most recently she worked in a staff support position with Anne Arundel County Public Schools, and she served as a church bookkeeper for more than 17 years.

In addition to her current professional role, Bennett ministers as a pastor’s wife. Her husband, Marty Bennett, is the senior pastor of Life Connection Church in Severn, Maryland. She also works at Life Connection as a bookkeeper, and she serves on the church’s hospitality team, praise teams, and children’s ministry.

She enjoys her new position with the BCM/D and is excited to be part of the Lord’s ongoing work by serving Maryland/Delaware churches.

“It gives me joy to have the opportunity to serve in an organization that was so instrumental in helping our church become rooted and established,” she said. “I know first-hand the valuable church support provided by the BCM/D, and I can attest to the consistent wisdom, encouragement, and accountability that is so generously given to those churches within the organization.”

At home, she and Marty enjoy their family. They have three children — an adult son, Meric, and two teenagers, Luke, 17, and Rachel, 15.

Email Bennett at dbennett@bcmd.org, or call her, 1-800-466-5290 ext. 218.

In her spare time, Demetra enjoys music. “I love to sing and have been a part of Christian choirs and praise teams since I was a very young girl. I also love to spend time traveling with my immediate and extended family.”