Arizona Southern Baptists’ giving through the Cooperative Program in 2017 increased for the fourth straight year and was the highest since 2009. Also, for the second year in a row, the Arizona Mission Offering goal was surpassed.
“2017 was a banner year for Arizona Southern Baptists’ giving to mission causes through the Cooperative Program!” said David Johnson, Arizona Southern Baptist Convention executive director.
“We had the largest single gift on record by Love Baptist Church from the Iolita Simpson estate. Even without including that gift, our churches gave over $24,000 more to the Cooperative Program than the year before,” he said. “And that was while giving $170,000 to the Arizona Mission Offering and over $200,000 to Disaster Relief. What an amazing display of generous and compassionate giving to help hurting people and reach people with the good news of Jesus Christ.”
Planning is underway for a return engagement by Living Proof Live with Beth Moore for Native American women. The event will be held Oct. 6 in Chinle.
In 2016, Native American women representing 20 tribes from 18 states converged on northeastern Arizona and the Navajo Nation for Living Proof Live in Chinle.
In January, around a crowded table at Memorial Baptist Church in Chinle, Paula Hoyt, women’s ministry coordinator for Fourcorners Association and Living Proof Live Chinle 2018 event facilitator, and 23 other women shared team reports from their different — and distant — areas. The women represented eight teams from the Navajo, Apache, Hopi and Tohono O’odham nations — as far south as Sells, as far west as Tuba City, and as far east as Gallup, N.M.
New Life Pregnancy Center (NLPC), a ministry of Arizona Baptist Children’s Services & Family Ministries, partnered with Southern Baptist churches to highlight the sanctity of human life in January.
NLPC was one of many sponsors of the Arizona for Life March and Rally on Saturday, Jan. 20, and reached out to churches via social media, live videos and personal connection to encourage them to participate. Pregnancy center directors and other leadership staff spoke at churches across the state the following day for Sanctity of Human Life Sunday on Jan. 21.
The Arizona for Life March and Rally had 4,500 attendees from all nationalities and faith backgrounds celebrating and advocating for the beauty and dignity of every human life.
Speakers included Arizona Governor Doug Ducey and Pam Tebow, mother of former NFL player Tim Tebow. The governor announced that Arizona was recently named the “most pro-life state in the nation” by Americans United for Life. Mrs. Tebow shared her personal testimony and how it has impacted so many lives.
Teenagers from 15 Arizona churches converged on Calvary Community Church in Phoenix the last weekend of January as part of The Lift Tour, a two-day conference intended to raise up student leaders.
Organized by Orlando-based Student Leadership University, The Lift Tour is making stops at more than a dozen cities around the country — mostly in the South. This was their first time in Phoenix.
The tour’s venture west came at the request of Arizona Southern Baptists’ student ministries team.
“We were looking for something that was an environment not just for hyping up but for empowering and equipping students to live out their faith,” said Curt Blocker, student ministries team leader. “That goal was reached.”
Seventeen Arizona Southern Baptist churches are currently sending teams through multi-level training with Auxano, a nonprofit church consulting firm that focuses on vision clarity and visionary planning. (Auxano is a Greek word meaning “to grow.”)
The element that makes these two training opportunities unique, according to AZSBC Church Life Facilitator Keith Henry, is that they are co::labs.
“Co::labs are a great training tool because they facilitate teams from the churches — usually made up of the pastor and up to three other staff or lay leaders — that work through the training process in a way that is unique to their churches,” said Henry. “And then they take what they’ve learned back to their churches and either facilitate more discussion or implement it in a way that is tailored to their churches’ dynamics.”
Arizona women will have an opportunity to experience Priscilla Shirer Live, presented by LifeWay Women, Oct. 13 at Grand Canyon University Arena.
Priscilla Shirer is Bible teacher, conference speaker and author of best-selling books and Bible studies, including The Armor of God, Discerning the Voice of God, Gideon and Fervent. She starred in the film War Room.
Keith Durham, Arizona Southern Baptist Convention church revitalization specialist and pastor of First Baptist Church, Arizona City, received the Doctor of Ministry degree with a specialization in church revitalization at the commencement exercises of Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Kansas City, Mo., Dec. 8.
His doctoral project, conducted with his church, focused on building a spiritual community within the context of a transient church congregation. With a high proportion of winter visitors and people coming and going, the Arizona City church is always changing.
WorldCrafts, the global fair trade division of Woman’s Missionary Union (WMU), has launched an initiative to support the work of the Baptist Coalition for Children and Families, encompassing Baptist children’s ministries in 19 states.
Initially, WorldCrafts is launching the initiative in conjunction with Arizona Baptist Children’s Services & Family Ministries and Alabama Baptist Children’s Homes & Family Ministries.
Through the initiative, churches or individuals can support at-risk children in foster care while also providing life-sustaining work for overseas artisans and their families affiliated with WorldCrafts in 24 countries.
Black Mountain Baptist Church, Cave Creek, exceeded its goal at its annual 2017 Operation Christmas Child Shoebox packing party by filling 3,164 boxes in four-and-a-half hours.
Church members and guests from kindergarten to 80+ stuffed shoeboxes with hygiene and school supplies, toys and clothing items for distribution by Samaritan’s Purse to children affected by war, natural disasters and displacement in more than 100 countries. The purpose of these gifts is to let the children know that someone cares for them and point them to Jesus.
Led by Mary Jane Spear, OCC East Phoenix Team church relations coordinator and OCC project coordinator at Black Mountain Baptist Church, a group of dedicated workers collect, create and assemble gifts year round.
As one of the drop-off locations for the East Phoenix Team, the church delivered to the Phoenix Collection Center almost 7,500 of the 14,143 boxes collected by the team. The church was recently awarded a plaque from Samaritan’s Purse commemorating 10 years of participation in the Shoebox Ministry.