If children who attend VBS have half the fun and learn half as much as the trainees did during the state’s two equipping events, VBS will be a resounding success.
On April 1, more than 100 men, women and young people met at First Southern Baptist Church, Tucson, for in-depth training. On April 8, another 200 did the same at Northern Hills Community Church, Phoenix.
In addition to learning how to connect with and minister to children from preschoolers through sixth grade, they learned to transform an ordinary room into outer space, make galactic treats and extraterrestrial crafts, and mastered the five steps to lead a child to Christ.
Keith Durham, pastor of First Baptist Church, Arizona City, joined the Arizona Southern Baptist Convention staff in a newly created, part-time position as church revitalization specialist, effective May 1.
“In the past three years, we have lost almost as many churches as we have planted,” said David Johnson, AZSBC executive director. “We will not reach our goal of 1,000 churches by 2028 unless we change the trend of churches that are dying.”
“Pray! For Such a Time as This” is the theme for the 2017 Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting June 13-14 at the Phoenix Convention Center, SBC President Steve Gaines has announced. The theme is based on Esther 4:14 and Luke 11:1.
“The Southern Baptist Convention needs to be a people of prayer,” Gaines said. “Only then will God send the power we need to fulfill the Great Commission.”
Gaines has urged Southern Baptists to attend the annual meeting.<p>
“Just like we want people to attend our church meetings, we should want to attend the gathering of the SBC,” Gaines said. “We come together to learn what God is doing through the various SBC entities, but we also gather to pray for our nation and be encouraged.”
The goal of this year’s Crossover is to “Engage Phoenix with the gospel” through a partnership with Harvest America.
North American Mission Board and Arizona Southern Baptist Convention leaders are praying for more than 5,000 salvation decisions through this summer’s Crossover activities prior to the 2017 SBC annual meeting in Phoenix.
But for that to happen, they need Southern Baptists to serve as volunteers, according to Eddy Pearson, evangelism/discipleship facilitator for the Arizona Southern Baptist Convention.
This year’s Crossover efforts will center on a June 11 Harvest Crusade at University of Phoenix Stadium. Prior to that, organizers need volunteers to help local churches conduct door-to-door visitation across Phoenix, engaging residents in gospel conversations and extending personal invitations to attend the crusade.
Shower, mud out, chainsaw, feeding and driver may seem like distantly related words, but these were all names of classes offered at the Arizona Southern Baptist Disaster Relief training. Every other year, a large disaster relief training is held in greater Phoenix.
The most-recent disaster relief training was held at Gateway Fellowship, Feb. 24-25. A total of 72 people attended, and one-third were new to disaster relief work. Currently, Arizona Southern Baptists have 300 active volunteers.
Patty Kirchner, Arizona Southern Baptist Disaster Relief feeding unit manager, emphasized the power of reaching out to the less fortunate in times of crisis.
The 2017 annual retreat for the Arizona Volunteer Missions was held Feb. 6-7 at First Pima Baptist Church, Sacaton. Each year a different location for the retreat is selected and this was the year God directed us to First Pima.
The facilities at the church were fresh and new with a newly remodeled sanctuary, new fellowship hall, and nearly completed major addition to the pastor’s house. Pastor Eric Gibbs and his wife, Brittany, were instrumental in providing the excellent facility for our use.
The Arizona Baptist Historical Society presented awards and heard reports on the history of Hispanic work in the Arizona Southern Baptist Convention and the history of Central Association of Southern Baptists at their 29th annual meeting. The meeting was hosted by First Southern Baptist Church, Phoenix, April 1.
Fernando Amaro, North American Mission Board church planting catalyst in Arizona, presented the history of Southern Baptist Hispanic work in the state.
The North American Mission Board recently added Send Relief to its cadre of ministries focused on engaging churches and church planting. As in the Old and New Testaments, Send Relief calls for believers to seek out individuals in need.
“God cares about human suffering and calls His people to do the same,” said Monty Patton, NAMB Send Network missionary in Arizona. “We are called to care for the weak and vulnerable around us, so Send Relief is part of NAMB’s strategy to help engage churches to minister to the ‘least of these.'”