Conference Offers Encouragement O Magnify the Lord with Me IBC

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Conference Offers Encouragement O Magnify the Lord with Me IBC Powered By Docstoc
Volume 47, Issue 1     Published by the International Baptist Convention         April 2009

 Ministry Leadership      Interlaken 2009                              MOPS
 Conference Offers        O Magnify                                    IBC Churches
 Encouragement            the Lord with Me                             Help Moms
                                              Worshipping in a foreign land:

                                              International, English-language
      Volume 47, Issue 1                                         International Baptist Convention churches are part of a worldwide movement
                                                                 of English-speaking people around the world. For this edition of Highlights, I
                                                                 have used an article by journalist Kenneth D. MacHarg, who speaks about in-
Interlaken Summer                                                ternational churches around the world. I think members of IBC churches will
Experience 2009 .................... 4                           resonate with the experiences of other expats. I appreciate our unique sense of
                                                                 connection and partnership as a fellowship of churches.
Praise With a Purpose:
Interlaken 2009 .................... 5
                                                                 Blessings along the Way,
Ministry Leadership Conference
Encouraging Pastors in their
Ministry ................................ 6

Men Challenged to “Go the                     they’re called expatriates – expats for short
Distance” at Lenk 2009 ......... 8

Executive Council Plans
                                              n An unusual breed of people, they live out-           nominationally related, many of them Baptist,
Ministries .............................. 9   side of their home country for a variety of rea-       Presbyterian, Lutheran, Assemblies of God, or
                                              sons – including professional, business, diplo-        Anglican. The others are intentionally multi-
MOPS – IBC Churches Are                       matic, educational, and religious. With these          denominational representing a broad diver-
Giving Moms What They                         are an increasing number of retirees who seek          sity of worship style and programmatic ap-
Need .................................. 10    a less-expensive way of life in a tropical cli-        proach.
                                              mate.                                                     “Our church provides a place for spiritual
IBCM Supports International
Churches’ Work .................. 11             Several million U.S. citizens call Mexico,          growth as well as social and emotional sup-
                                              South Africa, Thailand, France, and a host of          port,” said L’Anni Hill who just completed a
Love Dare Bible Study Helps                   other foreign locations home. Some estimate            several-year term as pastor of the American
Marriages ........................... 12      that more than 10 million Americans will take          Protestant Church of the Hague in the Neth-
                                              up residence in Central or South America or            erlands. “Expats bring a broad perspective
In Memorium: Gary Lee ...... 12
                                              the Caribbean in the next decade.                      of the world which is stimulating,” she said.
From the Editor’s Pen .......... 12
                                                 While abroad, many seek institutions and            “They bond more closely and quickly because
                                              activities as well as spiritual comfort that were      friends and family aren’t around. Because spir-
News from the Churches .... 13                familiar back home.                                    itual needs may be greater, they invest more
                                                 Enter the nearly 1,000 international, Eng-          [in the church] here than at home.”
                                              lish-language churches that have sprung up                Hill, who comes from a Reformed Church
                                              around the world in countries where English            in America and Presbyterian background and
                                              is not the primary language.                           grew up in the Philippines, said that her con-
                                                 Situated in capital cities, business centers, oil   gregation is made of people from a variety of
                                              fields, retirement communities, and anywhere           church traditions including Baptist, Presbyte-
                                              that expats live, the international churches of-       rian, Methodist, Episcopalian, Pentecostal, Ro-
                                              fer a much-needed outreach to Christians and           man Catholic, Lutheran, and some who have
                                              non-Christians alike who find themselves liv-          no previous church experience.
                                              ing in a foreign land.                                    Diversity is seen as the unique strength
                                                 “International churches have given me the           of international congregations, whether they
                                              opportunity to worship in my first language            represent one denominational tradition or are
                                              and to meet other believers,” said Michelle            multi-denominational. “We celebrate diversity
                                              Reibling of St. Louis, Missouri, who attends           much better than typical national churches,”
                                              the multi-denominational Compass Interna-              said Jimmy Martin, the general secretary of the
                                              tional Fellowship in Krakow, Poland, where she         International Baptist Convention whose head-
                                              works for the U.S. State Department. “These            quarters are located in Frankfurt am Main,
                                              types of churches provide a wonderful com-             Germany. “That is a positive witness to the
HigHligHts                                    munity.”                                               Gospel which is for every race and culture.”
                                                 Many expats say that they feel more at                 “International congregations are able to im-
Published by the International                home in international churches than in local           pact the world in a very significant way be-
Baptist Convention                            congregations of the host country. “I tried at-        cause people from around the world are com-
Am Dachsberg 98,
                                              tending national churches here,” said retiree          ing to them,” he said. “Many people who
60435 Frankfurt/Main,
Germany, Phone: +49
                                              Ron Tucker, a native of Toronto, Ontario, Can-         come from countries that suppress or oppress
(0) 69 9540 8505, Email:                      ada, who now attends International Baptist             the Christian Gospel are more open outside                        Church in San José, Costa Rica. “But, I could          their own country.”                          not be comfortable with the worship style.”               Most of these English-speaking churches,
Jimmy Martin, General                         Today, Tucker leads committees for the sever-          even those with denominational ties in the
Secretary                                     al-hundred member congregation and teach-              U.S. or Great Britain, tend to be very inter-
Judith Lynn Maxwell, Editor
Cover photo by Stewart
                                              es two Bible studies each week.                        national. Some churches report up to 40 dif-
Maxwell                                          About one-half of these churches are de-            ferent nationalities among their membership.

        2   |   Highlights 4/2009
Churches Serve Expats around the World
     While that diversity is celebrated, it can    to a broadly based congregation where            Martin, who served for 10 years as the
  also bring stresses. “Many of these church-      today, easily 60% of those who attend are     pastor of one such church in Germany
  es tend to be more ‘American’ than in-           Ecuadorians.”                                 says that his convention, which is related
  ternational,” Reibling said. In fact, some          Kinzel, who is from Saskatoon, Sas-        to the U.S.-based Southern Baptist Con-
  of the churches, such as the American            katchewan, Canada, said that the focus is     vention, is committed to planting Eng-
  Church in Paris, were founded as a bas-          less on the two hours spent in church each    lish-language international churches and
  tion of the American religious experience        Sunday morning as “what people do with        to strengthening existing churches.
  abroad.                                          their lives the other 166 hours a week.”         Those who work with the overseas in-
     Tucker agreed. “We attract a lot of stu-                                                    ternational churches see them as mod-
  dents from the United World College and                                                        els for congregations back home. “They
  the (United Nations sponsored) Universi-                                                       show how to serve a denominationally
  ty for Peace, many of whom are Africans.                                                       and ethnically diverse population,” said
  They are the most welcome guests in our                                                        Karl Reko, Director of the Chicago-based
  family but they are guests and not direc-                                                      Network of International Congregations.
  tors. Too often we cater to them to the                                                        “They can also teach sensitivity to global
  discomfort and displacement of our solid                                                       issues and develop a concern for the glob-
  permanent membership.”                                                                         al church.”
     The international churches range from                                                          Operating an expat church involves
  several dozen members to more than                                                             some challenges not common to U.S. con-
  1,000. Many meet in their own building;                                                        gregations.
  others rent space from local churches, ho-                                                        According to David Pederson, who
  tels, or international schools; or meet in                                                     turned his Ph.D. thesis on these congrega-
  member’s homes.                                                                                tions into a book while pastoring church-
     Some of them hire pastors, bringing                                                         es in Athens, Greece; Seoul, South Korea;
  them from the U.S. or other countries.                                                         and Manila, Philippines; these include: a
  Others, such as the 100-member Interna-                                                        tension between whether such churches
  tional Christian Fellowship that meets in a                                                    are an oasis in the midst of a foreign cul-
  hotel ballroom in San Pedro Sula, Hondu-                                                       ture or a bridge to cooperation and un-
  ras, call on a local missionary to provide                                                     derstanding the culture; a general distrust
  pastoral services on a part-time basis.                                                        among many expatriates of the local peo-
     “We are involved in other ministries in                                                     ple and local churches; and the need to
  Honduras,” said Pastor Bill Hoff, a native                                                     provide connections abroad, especially for
  of Las Vegas, Nevada, who also operates a        IBC, San Jose is an example of an expat       expat wives who are often more isolated.
  Bible institute to train local pastors. “I was   congregation.                                    “Transience is a given in the interna-
  asked to start this group 10 years ago and                                                     tional congregations,” said Martin. “Along
  have been the pastor ever since.”                   Several umbrella organizations help to     with mobility comes a constant change
     And, they vary in their ministries and        facilitate publicity about these churches     which means that the most effective and
  theology. Most of them are evangelical           for people and also provide a major role in   experienced leaders are constantly leaving
  while others represent a more liberal de-        matching interested pastors with churches     the church as they are reassigned.”
  nominational style. Most offer worship           abroad seeking pastoral leadership.              Regular attendance is often difficult
  and study opportunities as well as fellow-          The Network of International Congre-       even for those who are faithful members.
  ship programs, counseling services, youth        gations, funded by Protestant denom-          “Many of our members are regional repre-
  ministries, and mission service.                 inations in the U.S., Canada, Scotland,       sentatives for their businesses,” said Stew-
     Judith Hamje, who has attended inter-         Australia and New Zealand, maintains an       art Perry, a native of Greenville, South Car-
  national churches while living in Peru and       extensive list of international churches at   olina, who served a church in Washington
  Egypt and now is a member of Escazú              its web site: (www.internationalcongrega      D.C. before assuming the pastorate of the
  Christian Fellowship in San José, Costa Ri-                International Church of Bangkok in Thai-
  ca, said that in addition to providing tra-         The International Baptist Conven-          land. “That means a huge amount of trav-
  ditional services, her church serves as a        tion provides a similar listing of churches   el, up to two to three weeks a month. It’s
  way to reach out and meet needs. “We say         (         hard to build a community or ministry in
  our mission is to be the heart, hands and        churchlocator.htm), facilitates the match-    that context.”
  voice of Jesus Christ in the English-speak-      ing of churches and pastors, and works to        Even with their struggles these church-
  ing community,” she said.                        establish new congregations in Europe, Af-    es are warmly received and appreciated by
     While many of these congregations be-         rica, the Middle East, and South and Cen-     members and pastors alike.
  gan or continue to serve as a chaplain-          tral America.                                    “I love the expat community so much
  cy for expats, some have become more                “My role is to give vision and direction   that while my contract as pastor here has
  what Len Kinzel, pastor of the 400-mem-          to our family of churches, provide pastoral   ended, I have used my counseling de-
  ber English Fellowship Church in Quito,          care to the pastors and leaders, help with    gree to establish an independent coun-
  Ecuador, calls “missional.” “We have tran-       staffing, and give overall oversight to the   seling ministry for English-speaking expats
  sitioned from being a church where we            work,” explained the convention’s Gener-      here,” Hill said.                          n
  provided triage services for missionaries        al Secretary Jimmy Martin.                                            Kenneth D. MacHarg

                                                                                                                       3   |   Highlights 4/2009
                            Interlaken Summer Experience 2009

                            O Magnify the Lord with Me
                            n “o Magnify the Lord with Me, and Let Us Ex-           tor at Skillman Bible Church in Dallas, Texas. In
                            alt His Name Together (Psalm 34:3)” is the theme        2001, Boyle and his wife Rose Ann were asked by
                            for the International Baptist Convention’s annu-        “Insight for Living” to move back to the U.K. to
                            al Interlaken Summer Experience in Switzerland,         serve as the field pastor for the ministry. “Insight
                            4-9 July. The Interlaken Summer Experience is a         for Living” is the Bible-teaching ministry of Chuck
                            popular event offering daily Bible studies, worship     Swindoll and is committed to communicating the
                            times, seminars, and activities for all age groups in   truths of Scripture and the person of Jesus Christ
    Briscoe                 one of the most beautiful areas in Switzerland.         in a clear and practical way.
                               “Our platform speakers will be speaking to our          The worship leaders will be some of the IBC’s
                            theme,” said Eric Nielsen, coordinator for this         own pastors and worship leaders. They will lead
                            year’s event, “of magnifying and exalting the Lord      the group in a worshipful response to God’s rev-
                            by explaining His character, His purposes, His will     elation of His character, His purposes, His will,
                            and His ways as He has revealed Himself in the Bi-      and His ways.
                            ble. Both of our speakers are skilled Bible exposi-        The conference offers three separate tracks for
                            tors with international experience and ministries       adults, youth, and children. The conference be-
                            that reach a worldwide audience.                        gins with registration on Saturday afternoon with
                               “While the adults are in worship times and sem-      the opening session beginning at 7 p.m. The con-
                            inars, the children will be taught and loved by a       ference concludes on Thursday at noon.
                            team from Virginia. The youth will have a packed           Each morning at 9 a.m., adults will begin with
                            week of fun and learning ‘up the hill’ in Grindel-      a seminar period. This is followed by worship and
                            wald.”                                                  Bible study. Participants may choose two semi-
    Boyle                      Stuart Briscoe will be the morning speaker. Bris-    nars, led by committed Christians from around
                            coe served as senior pastor of Elmsbrook Church         the world.
                            in Brookfield, Wisconsin, for 30 years. During this        Planned seminars include “Marriage Enrich-
                            time the weekly attendance grew from 300 to             ment,” “Discipleship,” “Women’s Ministry,”
                            7,000 and numerous sister churches were plant-          “Reaching Muslims,” “Hebrew Poetry,” “Church
                            ed. Since 2000, he and his wife Jill have served as     Planting,” and “Encouragement.”
                            Elmbrook’s ministers-at-large, going where they            Singles attending the conference will find a
                            are most needed to support under-resourced              number of special activities planned during the af-
                            churches and missionaries.                              ternoon and evening times. A block of rooms has
                               While at Elmbrook, they also began “Telling the      been reserved for singles at a hotel near down-
                            Truth” ministry. It has grown into an internation-      town Interlaken, a short walk from the conference
                            al broadcast and Internet ministry that is heard        center. This option also includes a daily break-
                            around the world. The continue to add new Bible         fast along with four hot meals (Sunday through
                            teaching resources to the ministry.                     Wednesday). Singles who wish to stay with this
                               Terry Boyle will be the evening speaker. Origi-      group must register early to ensure their accom-
                            nally from Windsor, England, Boyle spent 20 years       modations are confirmed. The deadline for regis-
                            in the U.S. studying and serving as senior pas-         tration with accommodations is June 1.
                                                                                       Euroventure attracts a large number of youth
                                                                                    each year and provides the youth with a time
                                                                                    packed with Bible study, worship, small group
                                                                                    sharing, recreation, and much more. Conference
                                                                                    fee, lodging, and meals are included in the reg-
                                                                                    istration fee. Space is limited so please sign up
                                                                                       Euroventure is for youth ages 12-19 and is a
                                                                                    great place for students to grow in their relation-
                                                                                    ship with Christ. This year’s speakers will be Matt
                                                                                    Kearns and Tom Hufty.
                                                                                       Kearns has served in local church youth min-
                                                                                    istry for 14 years and worked with the student
                                                                                    evangelism team of the North American Mission
                                                                                    Board. Currently, he serves as the Student Minis-
                                                                                    try Director for the Missouri Baptist Convention.
                                                                                    In addition to his passion to see students come
                                                                                    Christ, he is an avid sports enthusiast.
                                                                                       Hufty returns with a group of students from
                                                                                    Hannabel LaGrange College. He has been speak-
                                                                                    ing to students and families for more than 30
    Worship Team                                                                    years. The biblical truths he shares, balanced with

4   |   Highlights 4/2009
                                                                                         The Interlaken Summer Experience
                                                                                                 International Baptist Convention

humor, effectively communicates his         Registration fees for the week are         For more information or to regis-
passion to see students become all          • €195 Family ‘Early Bird’ /               ter for these events, log onto www.
God wants them to be. He challeng-            €215 Family                     or see information
es his audiences to live their lives with   • €100 Individual ‘Early Bird’ /           packets mailed to IBC churches.
purpose, making Jesus look good ev-           €120 Individual                             For more information on the ac-
eryday.                                     • €175 Single ‘Early Bird’ with            commodations available in Inter-
   There is something for the chil-           meals (4 evening meals)                  laken, please refer to the brochures
dren as well. During all the sched-           €195 Single with meals                   mailed to the churches from the local
uled meetings, children of all ages         • €300 Single ‘Early Bird’ meals &         tourist bureaus or contact the Tourist
will enjoy a biblically based program         accommodation / €320 Single              Office Interlaken at Hoehenweg 37,
designed just for Interlaken. Led by a        meals & accommodation                    CH-3800 Interlaken.
team of trained volunteers, the chil-       • €240 Euroventure ‘Early Bird’ /          Telephone: +41.33.826.5300
dren’s program provides Bible learn-          €260 Euroventure (Two or more            Email:
ing, music, recreation, and activities        family members attending will            Website: www.interlakentourism.chn
for all ages.                                 save €20 each)
                                            Early Bird rates are available before
                                            June 1.

Praise With a Purpose: Interlaken 2009
n these four beautiful verses of            ing our Wonderful Lord must have           we hear being spoken all over that
Scripture from the psalmist fill our        a definite purpose: “to make known         area. It is our hope and prayer that
hearts with joy, gratitude, and a nice,     to the sons of men His mighty acts,        you will become a part of “Team In-
warm feeling of comfort: “The LORD          and the glorious majesty of His king-      terlaken Evangelism” (TIE) as we at-
is gracious and full of compassion, slow    dom” (145:12). Does that make the          tempt to make known to the sons of
to anger and great in mercy. The LORD       comfort zone cease to be so cozy?          men the greatness, the compassion,
is good to all, and His tender mer-         The Bible is telling us that our acts of   the goodness, and the mercy of our
cies are over all His works. All Your       praise and worship are supposed to         Lord and Savior.
works shall praise You, O LORD, and         serve the purpose of informing “the            If you speak an Asian or Europe-
Your saints shall bless You. They shall     sons of men” about the greatness of        an language and would like to ei-
speak of the glory of Your kingdom,         our God.                                   ther witness to people in their native
and talk of Your power” (Psalm 145:8-          “The sons of men” surround us at        tongue or to interpret for others who
11). Verses eight and nine tell us in as    Interlaken each year as we go to cel-      are witnessing to them, please e-mail
lovely a manner as we can imagine           ebrate the relationship that we en-        your name, language, and contact
about the attributes of Almighty God        joy with God through the Lord Jesus        information to Sam Owens, pastor of
that we seem to appreciate most,            Christ. As a major Swiss tourist at-       Aviano Baptist Church, Aviano, Italy.
and rightly so. Where would any of          traction, that beautiful little town at-   Sam’s e-mail address is samnade2@
us be if those verses were not true?        tracts people from all over the globe.
We would have no reason to go to            In the past IBC believers have met             As Christians, most of us often say
the IBC Summer Conference in Inter-         in the Aula and praised and wor-           that we want to be in the center of
laken if we did not know that those         shipped the God who created and            God’s perfect will. One way to en-
words describe both the attitude and        saved us, largely ignoring the many        sure that we will be right where we
the action of God in our lives since        unsaved people with whom we share          say we want to be is to get involved
the day we were saved.                      the splendor of Interlaken. This year      in personal evangelism. As we take
   Then when we come to verses              at Interlaken 2009 you have the op-        to the streets of Interlaken and the
10 and 11, we find the reason for           portunity to become part of this           areas surrounding it with our Gospel
which we do come to Interlaken – to         generation of IBC members who will         literature in our hands we will be in
praise Him and bless Him and to talk        change all that.                           the center of God’s will. Join us this
of His glory and power. Those four             We are planning to dedicate at          year as we TIE our praise and wor-
verses taken together define a com-         least one afternoon this year to the       ship to the divine purpose of mak-
fort zone for believers where no one        distribution of Gospel tracts and oth-     ing “known to the sons of men His
would decline to go. But, alas, along       er literature to tourists on the streets   mighty acts, and the glorious majes-
comes verse 12, and it tells us that        of Interlaken. We will procure these       ty of His kingdom.”                   n
our praising, blessing, and discuss-        items in many of the languages that                                   Sam Owens

                                                                                                                                    5   |   Highlights 4/2009
                      Ministry Leadership Conference En
                      n the International Baptist Convention’s Ministry               Walker’s theme for Sunday evening was “There’s
                      Leadership Conference was held 13-17 March, in Car-          somebody else in the room.” This reminder, Walker
                      voeiro, Algarve, Portugal. The weekend conference pro-       said, is an essential for walking in victory and recovering
                      vided pastors and leaders in the IBC church’s to enjoy       from a bruised heart. Jesus, in his model prayer, teach-
                      fellowship, relaxation, encouragement, teaching, and         es us to pray “Come, thy kingdom.” The essence of a
                      the beautiful weather and scenery of southern Portu-         kingdom is the presence of the king. When the king is
                      gal. Sunday night included a joint worship service with      not in the house, nothing is going to happen. For us,
                      all the churches in the area.                                the presence of the king is the Holy Spirit. Paul, in Phil
                         Keynote speaker for the weekend was David Walk-           3:10, Walker said, was “hooked on” knowing the mani-
                      er, pastor of the Alamo City Christian Fellowship in         festation of Jesus – “to know the power of the risen Lord
                      San Antonio, Texas. Musical worship times were led by        and the fellowship of His sufferings.”
                      Sean and Shelly Blacksten and their children Shalyn and         “Come in Low” was Walker’s theme for Monday eve-
                      Shaphan. The Blackstens serve as missionaries with the       ning, based on Rom 4:4. When a man works for what
                      International Mission Board in Seville, Spain. Their mis-    he receives, Walker said, then it is what is his due; it is
                      sionary service in Europe began at IBC Stuttgart.            not a gift. Somehow we think, Walker said, that based
                         Other speakers and seminar leaders for the weekend        on what we have been through, we deserve what God
                      included Shirley Walker, Aaron Johnson, Matt Burns, Ed-      gives us. When the Lord does not “pay” us what we be-
                      die Fernandes, and IBC General Secretary Jimmy Mar-          lieve we deserve, then we are disappointed. When we
                      tin.                                                         “come in high” we back God into a corner, Walker said,
                                                                                   but when we “come in low” we approach Him with hu-
                      David Walker, in his three evening messages, gave the        mility and receive the blessings of God’s inheritance to
                      group a catch phrase for each of his messages. Friday’s      a son or daughter. Faith does not rest on the wisdom
                      night theme was “You aren’t crazy and it ain’t over yet.”    of man but on the power of God.
                      The Enemy, Walker said, wants you to believe other-
                      wise. “We are in a fight, and you are on the front line,”    Fernandes spoke on the need for more Christ-like lead-
                      he said. The Kingdom of God will only truly advance at       ers in the world today. He outlined seven steps to be-
                      the expense of the Kingdom of Darkness. If that hap-         ing a transformed and transformational leader. These
                      pens, the Enemy will not be happy, and he will try to        steps form a metaphor for the river of life, Fernandes
                      whittle away at our hearts. Discouragement is one of         said.
                      the ways the Enemy works. In 2 Cor 1:8, Paul says that          Step 1. Chaos or the source of the river – we are trust-
                      all hope is gone. This is the same Paul who wrote “I can     ing in ourselves.
                      do all things in Christ” and in me is Christ, my hope and       Step 2. Confusion or where the rivers hits the rocks
                      glory. But at this point in his writing to Corinthians, he   – something inside us does not resonate. People are
                      is low. But, by the grace of God, Walker said, he con-       in total confusion and asking “What to think? What to
                      tinued and finished strong.                                  believe?”

David Walker                                     Sean and Shelly Blacksten

6   |   Highlights 4/2009
courages Pastors in their Ministry
     Step 3. Community or the tributaries                                         are already grumbling. There is conflict         has placed us, Martin said, we need to be
  of the river – we want to find people like                                      within and conflict without. But God pro-        faithful. God is preparing us for the next
  us; to find a place to belong. God is rela-                                     vides protection. “Who is it that holds up       task. We never really master leadership,
  tionship.                                                                       your hands?” Ex 17:8 is a picture of how         Martin said. We learn from our mistakes
     Step 4. Conformity or the river will work                                    we can help each other by holding each           but we don’t master it. We always can
  and work into a canyon – we want people                                         other’s hands up.                                learn; God is moving us along.
  to do as we do or live as we live. We work                                         There are lessons we can learn from              The final lesson from this chapter is to
  until they fit (become like us).                                                these verses, Martin said. First, we must        celebrate the victory. Remember the vic-
     Step 5. Conflict or the sudden waterfall                                     be change agents. We cannot follow Jesus         tories, Martin said. Mark them, celebrate
  in the river – all the leaders that Fernandes                                   and stay in the same place. God is always        them, and give credit to the people who
  interviewed faced conflict.                                                     calling us to move ahead. Second, the            have helped along the way.                n
     Step 6. Crossroad or the fork in the riv-                                    greatest leadership challenge is ourselves.
  er – decision time. After conflict, you have                                    We are bent on changing others because
  a choice – Will you choose the billabong                                        we don’t want to change ourselves. Every
  (Australian term for a stagnant lake) or will                                   challenge has to be filtered by God’s sov-
  you choose the path of the flowing river?                                       ereign will.
  After conflict some revert all the way back                                        Some challenges, Martin said, are spe-
  to chaos; others go back to community                                           cifically set up by the Lord. God gives Mo-
  where they just keep it going.                                                  ses a challenge that is bigger than he is.
     Step 7. Christlikeness or the journey to                                     Yet, Martin said, this prompts the next
  the ocean. We have arrived but not at per-                                      lesson which is God provides for every             29-31 May
  fection.                                                                        challenge. God’s provision is often other
                                                                                  leaders, Martin said, as was the case with
                                                                                                                                     IBC singles’ Conference
  Martin in his message encouraged those                                          Moses. One of the reasons we exist as a            Berlin, Germany
  attending to come to a new understand-                                          convention, he said, is to help one anoth-
  ing of the challenge of Jesus to “make dis-                                     er. God’s work is always more than one
  ciples of all nations.” The nations are com-                                    person can handle. We can do more to-              theme:
  ing to our doors and our churches, Martin                                       gether than we can do separately.                  “I Will Not Leave You or Forsake You”
  said, and we have the privilege to make                                            Another lesson is that God’s preparation
  disciples of them. It is an opportunity but                                     for us in smaller tasks leads to larger tasks.     speaker: Brad Ellgen
  also a challenge.                                                               Joshua in Exodus 17 is mentioned for the
     We are together in the struggle, Martin                                      first time as a leader of a small group pre-       Cost: E 110
  said. Exodus 17 provides a good exam-                                           paring for battle. This experience was pre-
  ple of this. Moses was a reluctant leader.                                      paring him for 40 years later when he
  Three days after leaving Egypt the people                                       would lead all the Israelites. Wherever God
                                                  Photos by Judith Lynn Maxwell

  Eddie Hernandes                                                                 Supporting leaders: Who is holding up your hands as in Exodus 17?

                                                                                                                                                        7   |   Highlights 4/2009
                      Men Challenged to “Go the Distance”
                      “Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land;
                      for I will not leave you until I have done what I have spoken to you” (Gen. 28:15).

                      n With these words from God I had started the jour-         makes us realize the pain that we cause to God when
                      ney to the IBC Men’ Conference in Switzerland. And as       we sin and leads us to the place where we don’t give
                      so often it happens, when we start on the road that God     in to our fleshly desires but come to a position where
                      has assigned for us, temptation is not far away. So on      we hate the sin. For observe this very thing, that you sor-
                      Friday morning as we were ready to depart small hin-        rowed in a godly manner: What diligence it produced in
                      drances occurred. As I went to rent the car for our jour-   you, what clearing of yourselves, what indignation, what
                      ney the cash card was not functioning and we couldn’t       fear, what vehement desire, what zeal, what vindication
                      get the car. But God said “Behold, I am with you and        (2 Cor. 7:11). Therefore, when we struggle with sin, we
                      will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back      should ask ourselves, for instance, if we might have lost
                      to this land,” so we had to trust Him on this one. After    our fear of God and if we really have that zeal and ve-
                      waiting a few hours for the bank to open, the problem       hement desire for God.
                      was solved, and we were finally on our way to Lenk.            The fellowship and the group discussions that fol-
                         After a 10-hour drive we arrived at our destination      lowed every evening session gave the opportunity for
                      and joined the men from the other IBC sister churches       confession and prayer. It was an encouraging time to
                      for a weekend of fellowship, Bible study, and enjoying      see how God changed lives even in the few days and
                      God’s creation.                                             to see Christian men setting an example through their
                         The theme of the conference: The Quest: Going the        behaviour.
                      Distance Phil. 3:14 wasn’t only about getting from             The desire to know Christ and “forgetting those
                      northern Germany to Switzerland, but mainly about our       things which are behind” as stated in Philippians 3 were
                      journey to our final destination with God. As we had ex-    the next milestones on our quest: “That I may know Him
                      perienced already in the beginning of our trip, we of-      and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His
                      ten meet hindrances in our spiritual journey with God       sufferings, being conformed to His death” (Phil. 3:7,10).
                      -- being it doubting or sins that we repeatedly commit      Who is the God that we are serving? How powerful is
                      – whatever is diverting our focus from our destination      He? Maybe it is an easy question but do we really be-
                      and damaging our relationship with God.                     lieve the answer that we give? When we deal with
                         The conference started with addressing the prob-         struggles, do we really believe that God can change us
                      lem of repeated sinning and of Godly sorrow which           completely? Do we really know the power of His res-
                      leads to true repentance as it is described in 2 Corin-     urrection? We know many things about God and the
                      thians 7:9-11. When we have sin in our lives which we       things that He has done and can do but we don’t tru-
                      struggle with and commit it over and over again, it         ly believe.
                      means that we haven’t truly repented of that sin. We           Our walk with God is not always easy, and there are
                      may have asked for forgiveness before God, but when         going to come times when we need to suffer for Christ
                      the temptation is there, we still give in. Godly sorrow     and we should be ready for it. We need to stay focused

       Men enjoy
     teaching and
    worship times
          at Lenk.

8   |   Highlights 4/2009
at Lenk 2009
 on Him and trust in His power and know           ing and to be desperate for His blessing,
 that He is all we need. Don’t give up when       for His fellowship alone.
 it’s hard but press on just as Paul encour-         God desires our sanctification; He ex-
 ages us: “I press toward the goal for the        pects from us that we mature in our re-
 prize of the upward call of God in Christ Je-    lationship with Him and know His word
 sus” (Phil. 3:14).                               better: Sanctify them by Your truth. Your
     As we set off to return to Bremen, God       word is truth (John 17:17). We receive
 had another word of encouragement:               encouragement and come to experience
 Then Jacob was left alone; and a Man wres-       God through weekends like this, but we
 tled with him until the breaking of day. Now     shouldn’t be dependent on conferences
 when He saw that He did not prevail against      to get a kick in our spiritual life. It is nei-
 him, He touched the socket of his hip; and       ther the conference nor the location, but
 the socket of Jacob’s hip was out of joint as    God who is our source and He is every-
 He wrestled with him. And He said, “Let Me       where. Let us be an example for one an-
 go, for the day breaks. But he said, “I will     other in showing our fire for God as we
 not let You go unless You bless me!” (Gen.       press on.                                    n
 32:24-26). When we return from confer-                                            Paul Prodan
 ences we come back to our regular life,                                           IBC, Bremen
 maybe to the same struggles, but God ex-
 pects from us that we don’t give up even
 if it’s hard. He expects us to keep on fight-

 Executive Council Plans Ministries
 n the executive Council of the Interna-          tinued to grow, membership in the orga-              Jeff Bloomer, president of the Baptist
 tional Baptist Convention met 14 March           nization is declining. The IBCM board of          General Association of Virginia, also attend-
 as part of the Ministry Leadership Confer-       directors is looking for people interested in     ed the meeting, representing the partner-
 ence in the Algarve, Portugal. The council       joining the corporation and assisting with        ship. He encouraged IBCers to attend Vir-
 heard reports from General Secretary Jim-        its ministries.                                   ginia's annual meeting, 17-18 November,
 my Martin and from the ministry team co-            The council also brainstormed ways to          in Fredericksburg, Virginia. He also en-
 ordinators and regional coordinators who         incorporate the IBC Summary of Basic Be-          couraged the convention to look for op-
 make up the council.                             liefs in the churches. Ideas included adop-       portunities to assist Virginia. One such op-
    Martin reported on the renovation work        tion into church constitutions, basis for         portunity is to help Virginia in providing
 that has been completed in the basement          teaching for new believers, and a small-          volunteers to assist with the Baptist World
 of the IBC Office. The kitchen area has          group study. Education Ministry Team Co-          Alliance Congress in Hawaii in 2010. Vir-
 been renovated which allows for a small          ordinator David Packer volunteered for            ginia is co-hosting the event and has
 apartment in the basement. Robbie Hott,          the EMT to take the lead on writing a short       agreed to provide 150 volunteers.
 a volunteer from Virginia, is the first to use   study on the basic beliefs that can be used          Bill Lauchlin, coordinator for the Church
 this area. Having this apartment available       in small groups. They plan to have a draft        Development Ministry Team, said the team
 saves the IBC approximately 1000 Euro            ready by Interlaken.                              has been working closely with the Baptist
 per month in rent for a volunteer apart-            The council also discussed the new elec-       General Convention/Converge Worldwide
 ment.                                            tion process for officers that will take ef-      (CW) in support of church planting within
    Martin also reported on recent church         fect in 2009. Beginning with the election         the convention. CW Church Planters Bob
 visits he has made including to the build-       in 2009, the person elected as vice presi-        and Carol Marsh visited Germany in Feb-
 ing dedication at IBC Bucharest which            dent will serve one year as vice president,       ruary to assess potential sites for a plant.
 was the recipient of the 2008 Missions En-       one year as president, and one year as past       The CDMT will invite the Marshes to come
 dowment Fund (MEF) grant and to Trin-            president. This will allow for more conti-        as the church planters for the convention
 ity, Bitburg. Bitburg was the recipient of       nuity within the leadership of the exec-          and bring them to Interlaken to introduce
 the 2006 MEF grant to purchase its par-          utive council and the convention. Thus,           them to the convention. The Marshes will
 sonage. The International Baptist Church         the person elected as vice president will         then stay an additional week to do further
 Ministries (IBCM) continues to support the       be making a three-year commitment to              assessment in the chosen city. The IBC will
 IBC, Martin said, and this year provided         serving. The person elected as president          provide seed money for the church plant
 grants for the New Testament distribution        in 2009 will serve one year as president          while the Marshes will raise their own sup-
 at Interlaken and to assist pastors in com-      and one year as past president. There will        port. Bob Marsh is already providing some
 ing to IBC events. Martin reported that          be no past president in 2009.                     mentoring to Victor Odadah who is lead-
 while giving through the IBCM has con-                                                             ing the church plant in Nürnburg.          n

                                                                                                                          9   |   Highlights 4/2009

IBC Churches Are Giving Moms What They
n Motherhood is one of God’s great-             than 30 different countries. IBC churches      it in action,” said Frederiksen. “I was so
est gifts and one of the most challeng-         in Brussels, Belgium; Stuttgart, Germany;      touched, I became convinced it could real-
ing. Along with the joys come long days,        and Leidschendam, the Netherlands; are         ly minister to moms.” It became her vision
mountains of laundry, and sleep depriva-        among those with local MOPS chartered          to have monthly meetings “to demon-
tion. Taking care of a young child is ex-       groups in Europe. Other groups are lo-         strate God's love to all, to help moms (like
tremely demanding and leaves little or no       cated in the United Kingdom; Toulouse,         myself) recognize that being a mom real-
time for a mom to take care of her own          France; Heidelberg, Germany; and Nyon,         ly IS an important job, and to renew and
needs. This is especially true for women        Switzerland. There are native language         equip moms to become the best moth-
living in a foreign country, far from home      groups in the Czech Republic, Poland,          er, wife, and woman that God created us
and their families. Connecting with other       Russia and Romania and several Military        to be!”
mothers facing the same situations who          MOPS groups that meet on U.S. mili-               Robyn Langford, a current MOPS Steer-
also speak the same language can be a           tary installations and bases in Germany,       ing Team leader at IBC Brussels said, “We're
lifesaver.                                      the U.K., Portugal, and Turkey. The mili-      all trying to be the best moms we can be,
    This principle of giving support and        tary groups are geared toward meeting          and there's so much I can learn from oth-
validation to mothers of small children         the needs of mothers experiencing tough        ers. Just being with other moms, sharing
that they so desperately need is the cor-       times while their husbands are deployed        and learning from one another, helps me
nerstone of the MOPS (Mothers Of Pre-           overseas.                                      be a better mom.”
                                                                                                  MOPS is unique because “it is designed
                                                                                               to be a support to Christian mothers and
                                                                                               also an outreach to non-Christian moth-
                                                                                               ers in the community,” said Frederiksen.
                                                                                               “It gave me an opportunity to meet MY
                                                                                               spiritual needs through the speaker topics,
                                                                                               have fun with the craft, and also practice
                                                                                               my outreach to the community. I also real-
                                                                                               ly liked the MOPPETS program,” she said,
                                                                                               which teaches biblical principles to chil-
                                                                                               dren while their mothers attend MOPS.
                                                                                               Knowing their children are being cared for
                                                                                               in a loving environment helps moms relax
                                                                                               so they can enjoy the meeting.
                                                                                                  While the faces at the MOPS group at
                                                                                               IBC Brussels have changed, the basic pro-
                                                                                               gram remains the same. Each monthly
                                                                                               meeting includes a video session, group
                                                                                               discussion, craft project, and time “just to
                                                                                               chat,” said Marilou Dupagne, part of the
                                                                                               MOPS Steering Team leadership. Mem-
                                                                                               bers are mostly expatriates and represent
                                                                                               a number of countries, including the U.S.,
                                                                                               Ecuador, Moldova, Georgia, France, South
                                                                                               Africa, and Belgium. IBC Brussels also has
schoolers) ministry. More than a hundred           The group at IBC Brussels was started       a MOPPETS class, which started as just
thousand moms around the world are cur-         by Melissa Frederiksen, a former IBC mem-      childcare, but is now a Bible-based pro-
rently enjoying a special kind of encour-       ber who now lives in the U.S. “I started       gram that includes a Bible story and mu-
agement at MOPS: a Christian organiza-          the MOPS group because I saw a need for        sic.
tion geared towards women with children         mothers of young children to have their           MOPS meetings have a structure that
ages 0 to 5 and first-time pregnant moth-       spiritual, emotional, and social needs met     can vary slightly among groups, but all
ers. Its mission statement, “MOPS Interna-      (mine included),” said Frederiksen. Her        are consistent with the MOPS mission of
tional exists to encourage, equip and devel-    vision for the ministry started long before    encouraging, equipping, and developing
op every mother of preschoolers to realize      the first meeting in September 2003. “I        mothers to be the best they can be.
her potential as a woman, mother and lead-      felt God called me to that assignment. I          “Starting a MOPS group in your church
er in the name of Jesus Christ,” boldly rein-   prayed about it for at least a year before I   is simple,” said MOPS International Euro-
forces the idea that better mothers make        actually did anything about it. I had heard    pean Area Coordinator Cheryl Koevoet.
a better world.                                 of MOPS but never attended a meeting. It       “All you need is a church that understands
   MOPS began in 1973 as a small group          seemed too intimidating to me but God          the MOPS vision to reach out to mothers
with just eight women in Wheat Ridge,           just kept bringing it back to my heart.”       of preschoolers, to bring them in, and to
Colorado. It has grown to be an inter-             At the time there wasn’t a MOPS group       minister to them and their families with
national ministry with more than 4,000          in Belgium, the closest being several hours    the love of Christ.” MOPS is one of the few
groups in the United States and 123             away at IBC Trinity Church in the Neth-        outreach ministries available where non-
groups meeting around the world in more         erlands. “I eventually drove there to see      Christians actually approach the church

10   |   Highlights 4/2009
 and ask to be a part of this ministry, Koevoet says. “If I   come to Christ through the MOPS ministry become
 told you I knew of a place where you could come to re-       leaders on MOPS Steering Team and even go on to lead
 lax, relinquish the parental duties for a couple of hours,   other ministries in the church,” Cheryl said. “Not only
 and just enjoy an enriching and meaningful time with         does MOPS equip moms, it also equips, trains, and de-
 your peers with no strings attached, you would want          velops its leaders with principles for successful leader-
 to come, wouldn’t you?”                                      ship in all stages of life.”
     There are different kinds of MOPS groups to suit dif-       When a church charters a MOPS group, they receive
 ferent kinds of needs. If you have a smaller church with     a broad range of handbooks, materials, DVDs and re-
 just a few mothers, starting a MOPS@ group would be          sources including the support and guidance of a local
 best because this is an “abbreviated” version of MOPS        Council Coordinator which is a member of MOPS Inter-
 which can meet anywhere – in a home, restaurant,             national Field Leader Staff. MOPS in Europe has three
 workplace, and of course, a church. In this small group      or four council meetings a year in different locations
 format, only one or two group leaders are needed as          throughout Europe specifically for the training of local
 opposed to four or five for a Classic MOPS group. No         MOPS group leaders. To view the resources that are in-
 matter which kind of group you charter, each group           cluded with each charter box and for the costs of char-
 practices the MOPS brand of “lifestyle evangelism” or        tering a group, please visit For more in-
 “relational evangelism,” said Koevoet. Using MOPS            formation about getting a MOPS group started in your
 lifestyle evangelism, mothers come to Christ because         church, please contact MOPS European Area Coordina-
 of what they have seen and witnessed through MOPS,           tor Cheryl Koevoet at or
 and through them, quite often their children and hus-        visit to find a complete listing
 bands also come to Christ, she added.                        of MOPS groups meeting in Europe.                      n
     “In the seven years I have been a volunteer in the                                                Nancy Blancato
 MOPS ministry, there is absolutely nothing more satisfy-                                                 IBC, Brussels
 ing than seeing a mom come to Christ through MOPS.
 But the story doesn’t stop there. These moms that have

 IBCM Supports International Churches’ Work

 by Larry J. Jones
 President, International Baptist Church Ministries
 Former Pastor, IBC Stuttgart, 1979-1993

 n As the newly elected president of             annual meeting, which was held at the
 the International Baptist Church Minis-         North Fort Worth Baptist Church, Fort
 tries, Inc. (IBCM), my desire is to focus on    Worth, Texas, on 6-7 February. Approxi-
 the needs of English-speaking churches          mately 50 IBCMers and their guests at-
 which are affiliated with the International     tended the celebration. Many of those
 Baptist Convention. IBCM members pray           in attendance have served in IBC church-
 regularly for IBC churches.                     es and/or the IBC Office. Jimmy Martin,
    The mission of IBCM is to present the        IBC general secretary, and his wife Laurie
 Gospel to all persons with the goal of          were also present. The honored speaker
 bringing them to a saving knowledge of          was Jim Denison, who is the theologian-
 Jesus Christ and to form local congrega-        in-residence for the Baptist General Con-
 tions for the Christian nurture of those        vention of Texas. Denison spoke of the
 who respond. One way we fulfill our mis-        importance of English-speaking interna-
 sion is to assist U.S. citizens in supporting   tional churches.
 the baptistic work of their English-speak-         Please visit our web site (www.ibc-             Larry J. Jones
 ing international church.              to learn how your church
    IBCM was founded in 1999 and cel-            can benefit from involvement with the
 ebrated its 10th anniversary during its         IBCM.                                   n

                                                                                                                     11   |   Highlights 4/2009
Love Dare Bible Study Helps Marriages
                                              n every so often something unexplain-            ditional journals ($9.99 each) are needed
                                              able happens at LifeWay. When LifeWay            for each person's personal task of taking
                                              first joined with the makers of the Fireproof    the “love dares.” Each person also needs
                                              movie to produce the Love Dare journal           the Love Dare Bible study member book
                                              and then the Love Dare Bible Study, they         ($6.95) for the accountability of a small
                                              never knew that people were going to be          group.
                                              so drawn to the material. The movie has             “I believe [the study] can be a very pow-
                                              done remarkably well in the theaters and         erful process for an entire church to par-
                                              on DVD around the world – in many dif-           ticipate in,” Cretin said. “The investment
                                              ferent cultures and countries.                   for a couple could be less than a night out
                                                 But according to Ann Cretin, regional         for dinner. Could this begin to change our
                                              manager for Lifeway International, Life-         culture in our world today if Christ truly
                                              way cannot keep the journal and the Bi-          became the center of our marriages?”
                                              ble study kit in the warehouse. “I think            More details about the kit can be found
                                              that this tells us that marriages are in great   on the Lifeway website:
                                              need of help,” Cretin said, “but yet, peo-       e2/shop/?R=826658
                                              ple are willing and want to do something            The International Baptist Convention
                                              about their own marriages and the mar-           receives a 50 % discount on this kit (plus
                                              riages in their church.”                         postage and, in some cases, customs).
                                                 The kit contains the entire movie on          Churches will receive this discount by
                                              DVD, another DVD to be used in a small           sending their order to the IBC Office (ad
                                              group setting with discussion starters  The order will be
                                              pulled from the movie, one Love Dare             sent directly to the church and you will
                                              journal, one Love Dare Bible study, one          be billed by the IBC Office (not by Life-
                                              CDRom to help leaders, and sermon ti-            way).                                     n
                                              tles and content for the pastors on this
                                              subject. The entire kit costs $49.95. Ad-

                                                         From the Editor’s Pen
                     In Memorium:
                     Gary Lee                            n My sister has a fascination for
                                                         lighthouses, and I guess some of it
                                                                                                                                   ing others to stumble on the rocks
                                                                                                                                   around us?
                                                         has rubbed off on me. While we were                                         “Let your light shine before men,
     n Gary Lee, pastor of First Baptist                 in Portugal for the Ministry Leader-                                      that they may see your good deeds
     Church, Rota, Spain, died unexpectedly              ship Conference we saw on the maps                                        and praise your Father in heaven”
     on 9 April 2009. Lee had served as pastor           that there were some lighthouses in                                       (Matt 5:16).                     n
     in Rota since November 2008.                        the area and so we set off to see                                                          Judith Lynn Maxwell
        He is survived by his wife Deborah               them. One of my thoughts was “Cer-
                                                                                                    Photo by Judith Lynn Maxwell

     and their three sons James, Joshua, and             tainly we can find a cover photo for
     Jeremiah.                                           Highlights.”
        Lee was born in Atlanta, Georgia on 12              But why do we often use light-
     December 1951. He and Deborah were                  houses in a Christian setting? There
     married in 1974. Lee served in the U.S.             are lots of possibilities – light in the
     Air Force for 21 years before retiring. He          darkness, hope, guidance, security.
     earned a Doctor of Ministry Studies in              Yet, if we take the symbol too far,
     Missions and Evangelism and a Doctor of             we can get into trouble. Besides rep-
     Practical Theology in Biblical Teaching.            resenting light, hope, and security,
        Many at Rota remember him for his                lighthouses warn of danger. If we get
     passion for the Beatitudes and for reach-           too close, we get caught on the rocks
     ing the lost. On the church’s web page              – and we are not necessarily talking
     was the Scripture passage: “He must in-             about “The Solid Rock.”
     crease, but I must decrease,” (John 3:30).             So are we being lights in the dark-
     A memorial service was held for Lee at              ness to those around us? Are we,
     Rota on 13 April 2009.                   n          like a lighthouse, reflecting the inner
                                                         light we have to those around us?
                                                         Or are we not functioning and caus-

12   |   Highlights 4/2009
                                                                                      neWs froM tHe CHurCHes

Frankfurt, Germany
n Bethel International Baptist Church          for part of that time. BIBC Deacon Chair-
Pastor Doyle Searcy will be taking fur-        man Fred Wallstead will be taking care of
lough from May through July this year.         all matters of business for BIBC in the pas-
He has completed 12½ years as pastor of        tor’s absence.                            n
BIBC and is taking some time off to rest,                                     Doyle Searcy
visit family, and take care of some busi-
ness matters. Supplying at BIBC in his ab-
sence is Pastor Dave Stemmett, the pastor
of one of our newest IBC churches in Cape
Town, South Africa, who is also on sabbat-
ical from his church. His wife and two uni-
versity student children will be joining him

                                                                Dave Stemmett and family

Cologne, Germany
                                               n on sunday morning, 1 March, the              sharing in renewed fellowship between
                                               International Baptist Church in Cologne,       the two congregations.
                                               Germany, joined our brothers and sisters          IBC Cologne has also called Ordi Hos-
                                               in Christ at the Friedenskirche Baptisten      su as youth pastor. Hossu will lead a new
                                               Gemeinde in downtown Cologne for a             youth ministry focused on high school
                                               joint worship service. The IBC church bap-     and university students from the Bonn/
                                               tized four individuals originally from Sri     Cologne area. The church also adopted
                                               Lanka, Switzerland, Germany, and Cali-         a detailed plan for structuring the youth
                                               fornia. After the baptismal service, the two   ministry. We thank God for this major step
                                               congregations shared in a Lord’s Supper        forward in reaching people for Christ, and
                                               observance with Pastors Wolfram Krebs          we are looking forward to God’s blessings
                                               and Lorin Cranford presiding. The service      on this new ministry in our church.      n
                                               was simultaneously translated into both                                     Lorin Cranford
                                               English and German so that all of the more
                                               than 375 people could enjoy a glorious
                                               time worshipping our God together and

 Ordi Hossu

San José, Costa Rica
n We are grateful to the Lord for his             March also had some exciting occur-
continued hand of blessing on the IBC,         rences. We ordained four men as deacons.
San José, Costa Rica. Recently we baptized     Then the following Sunday we celebrated
seven people, and they were a great re-        all the different nations God has brought
flection of our church. This group includ-     to our church by having our annual Inter-
ed a young professional from Mexico, a         national Day. During this service we had a
college student from Japan, two Costa Ri-      presentations of the flags of different na-
can youth from our neighborhood, a Cos-        tions as well as a Scripture reading in var-
ta Rican woman, and two young people           ious languages. It was, as always, a won-
from our church. We have had 58 wom-           derful worship experience.                n
en participating in the Beth Moore Bi-                                       Paul Dreessen
ble study on Esther. We had our stron-
gest attendance in Sunday School ever
for the month of February, averaging 177.
Though this is still only approximately half
of our current worship attendance, it is a                   Pastor Paul Dreessen baptizes
big leap from the 71 people we averaged                    a university student from Japan.
in Sunday School five years ago.

                                                                                                                 13   |   Highlights 4/2009
neWs froM tHe CHurCHes

                     Bremen, Germany
                     Carol Singing                                              delicacies from our home countries. It was a great de-
                     n on saturday, 6 December, approximately 35 peo-           light to see how many dishes were presented in our
                     ple from the International Baptist Church, Bremen,         unique congregation. Apart from the family spirit that
                     gathered in front of the Hauptbhanhof (main train sta-     was experienced in our church kitchen, it was also very
                     tion) to sing Christmas carols. The group attracted a      interesting to witness the rather interesting looks of
                     nice size crowd. We handed out candy and leaflets that     members as they combined and tasted the different
                     told about our 2008 Advent and Christmas activities.       dishes.
                     Some had the opportunity to mingle with those who
                     passed by. The gifts of the Body were evident that day.
                     Several people played instruments and led the singing.
                     A number welcomed the strangers that lingered. And,
                     others remained at the church to prepare a warm, in-
                     viting atmosphere in which to visit with new-found
                                                               Robie Carnes

                     New Year’s Eve Celebration – IBC Bremen Way
                         New Year’s Eve marks a special time for all people
                     around the globe. Not only does it bring flashbacks of
                     both happy and sad moments, but it also ushers in a ray
                     of hope and possibly new beginnings, change, or con-
                     tinuity. International news commentaries depict how
                     varied the New Year’s Eve celebrations are in different
                     countries. As such, organizing an event that would suit
                     the needs of a dynamic church with many different na-      Carol singing attracts a crowd in Bremen.
                     tionalities such as IBC Bremen brought about a lot of
                     excitement and opened doors for creativity in our con-        The meal was followed by fun activities for young and
                     gregation.                                                 old. As part of our fun section, we decided to kill two
                         For IBC Bremen, past year’s New Year’s Eve celebra-    birds with one stone. Some of our members wanted to
                     tions had been rather subtle with get-togethers and pri-   rid their homes of items they could not use anymore,
                     vate fireworks organized in the homes of some of our       but could still be of use to other members. On the oth-
                     members. However, for the 2008 New Year’s Eve Cel-         er hand, our Children’s Ministry also sought to raise
                     ebration, we decided to create an opportunity to cel-      funds for their upcoming Vacation Bible School sched-
                     ebrate the new beginning with the entire church fam-       uled for June 2009. As such we decided to organize an
                     ily.                                                       auction. In order to include all ages in the fun, we felt
                                                                                that a Chinese auction would be appropriate as people
                                                                                only have to pay the difference between the amount
                                                                                proposed by the last bidder and the amount they pro-
                                                                                posed. This was a huge success and more than 100 €
                                                                                was raised for the Vacation Bible School. The auction
                                                                                was followed by a short re-inventive play of the all-time
                                                                                favorite fairytale Cinderella. All members of our congre-
                                                                                gation had a good laugh watching our deacons play the
                                                                                step sisters of Cinderella with our female church secre-
                                                                                tary playing the role of the arrogant prince.
                                                                                   The event was crowned with a short service to ush-
                                                                                er us into the New Year. It was truly an atmosphere of
                                                                                togetherness as we shared the Lord’s Supper with fel-
                                                                                low members and listened to an inspiring message
                                                                                from Pastor Neville Johannie about God’s ability to
                                                                                change any situation and hope for the coming year.
                     IBC, Bremen celebrates the New Year in its own way.        Our church family closed this remarkable event with a
                                                                                firework display.
                        With members and friends from all over the world,          The year 2009 already seems very bright, and we cer-
                     we decided to combine some New Year’s Eve traditions       tainly know that God plans to do even greater things
                     from our respective countries and organize an evening      for us.
                     that would not only seek to foster closer relationships                                        Abena Asante-Bläschke
                     within the church family but also enter the New Year
                     under the leadership of God’s mighty hand. The idea        Joint Service
                     couldn’t have been better! It took more than a month          There was a real sense of excitement in the air as the
                     to organize and advertise the event. All members of the    seats of the Kreuzgemeinde sanctuary began to fill on
                     community were very excited and ideas began to pour        the morning of Sunday, 25 January. It was that time of
                     in. Finally, a program for the event was drawn up.         year again, when all the various language groups meet-
                        The evening began with an international dinner with     ing in the same church building at various times and

14   |   Highlights 4/2009
                                                                                        neWs froM tHe CHurCHes

days of the week, met together for a joint service.       that we should offer some training and equipping
Looking around the room and up into the balcony,          geared to assisting us to discover, develop, and de-
there were faces to be seen from the Spanish group,       ploy our giftings.
the Chinese group, the Arab group, the Internation-          Several workshops have been held, with further
al Baptist Church, Bremen, and, not forgetting our        workshops planned. Each of these times has been
host church, the German Baptist Church.                   a real blessing to our people, and also of great
   As we listened to each other’s testimonies, sang       practical benefit, as some have been able to find
and praised in song, and shared the Lord’s Supper         their niche. We committed ourselves to prayer and
together, the presence of our Lord and Savior Jesus       to waiting on the Lord to see how He would lead
Christ was truly felt in our midst. IBC Pastor Neville    us, and we have been excited to see how God has
Johannie brought God’s Word to us (with transla-          been birthing vision and initiatives from within the
tion) which was a challenge to us all to become a         Body.
part of the “Joshua generation” – a people wholly            One of these has been an initiative to re-connect
ready and available to the Lord for His purpose here      with the English-speaking, international Jacobs Uni-
on this earth. The sermon was closed with a call to       versity (formerly, the International University of Bre-
respond and many of the hundred of God’s people           men). An ad-hoc team of interested persons began
meeting in that place, felt the need to stand to their    to dream and plan together and an initial, informal
feet as a sign of recommitment to Him.                    Coffee & Cake gathering was held on the univer-
   The sweet fellowship among us continued over           sity campus on 1 March. The group representing
a buffet lunch together, and once again we had            our church was able to introduce themselves to the
a foretaste of that great day that’s still to come –      students who attended, and they were able to re-
when a “great multitude, from every nation, tribe,        ciprocate. An informative presentation introduced
people and language will stand before the throne          those present to IBC Bremen, which was well-re-
of the Lamb” (Rev. 7:9).                                  ceived. A buzzing time of fellowship ensued, during
                                       Nicola Münster     which we were also able to connect with the Chris-
                                                          tian fellowship on the campus. On the very next
Outreach to Jacobs University                             Sunday, we were delighted to welcome a small
   One of the things that we have been doing at           group of Jacobs University students to our service
IBC Bremen, is to equip our people to serve God by        at IBC Bremen!
using the giftings that He has graciously bestowed           A worship service on the campus was planned for
upon them. Following our Church Retreat in Au-            29 March. We sense that God has His hand upon
gust 2008, where our Pastor ministered on “Who            this venture, and we are looking forward to seeing
is the Holy Spirit?,” ''What does the Holy Spirit         how He will grow and direct it. To Him be all the
do?,” and “How should I respond to the Holy Spir-         glory and praise!                                    n
it?,” requests were received from our congregation                                              Neville Johannie

Kiev, Ukraine

Special events like this baptism make for a busy spring at Living Vine Baptist Church in Kiev, Ukraine. Worship times are a regular part of
their ministry as well.

                                                                                                                      15   |   Highlights 4/2009
neWs froM tHe CHurCHes

Sofia, Bulgaria
n Although the International Bap-
tist Church Sofia does not have a church
building, we rent an auditorium in the
World Trade Center (called INTERPRED by
Bulgarians) for our Sunday morning wor-
ship services. A great advantage is visitors
to the city can easily find us for worship.
A great disadvantage is we do not have
a place for prayer meetings, Bible stud-
ies, choir practice, and socials. Please pray
with us that God will provide in His time.
    We also enjoy many opportunities for
serving the Lord. The Paul and Judy Ridg-
way family operate a ministry to the or-
phans of Bulgaria called Bulgarian Child
(see Faithful believ-
ers, as well as generous companies donate
clothes, shoes, medical equipment, and          IBC, Sofia works with orphans in the area surrounding the city.
other articles. Our church members assist
by unloading containers, sorting and pre-       tant contribution is the interaction with         with English-speaking believers from 35
paring the items for use, and fitting the       each child. They cherish a smile, a hug, a        nations. Included along with God’s bless-
children. We traveled with the Ridgway          handshake, and some kind words perhaps            ings are opportunities of experiencing cul-
family and George and Dorothy Hayner,           more than the food and clothes. “The King         tures from around the world. Our congre-
fitting more than 750 pairs of shoes on         will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you   gation has thrilled to the food, music, and
children across Bulgaria.                       did for one of the least of these brothers of     dances of India, Indonesia, and many oth-
    We discovered that on these mission         mine, you did for Me.” (Matthew 25:40)            er places.                                n
trips of mercy perhaps the most impor-             During the past year, we worshiped                                               Ray Smith

Cape Town, South Africa
n God has opened the way for the Bell-          in our city. It was our desire to start a new     Protea Hotel, the general manager of the
ville Baptist Church to start a new con-        congregation along the lines of our cur-          hotel has asked us to invite his entire staff
gregation in the most cosmopolitan part         rent international congregation in Bell-          to join our Sunday worship services.
of the city of Cape Town – Sea Point. Ac-       ville. God has been blessing the church              Please pray for Cape Town International
cording to Statistics SA, Cape Town had         in Bellville and over the past few years we       Baptist Church.                            n
a population of 2.9 million in 2001. That       have seen large numbers of foreign na-                                        Dave Stemmett
had grown to approximately 3.5 million          tionals not only join the congregation,
in 2007. The area of Sea Point is a high-       but come to faith, get baptized, and be-
density residential, commercial, and rec-       come active members. The senior pastor
reational part of the city, fairly close to     has over the years instituted a church lead-
the main CBD. It is also the site of the        ership internship to equip emerging lead-
2010 World Cup Soccer Stadium in Cape
                                                ers from different nationalities, and be-
                                                cause we now have a surplus of trained
                                                                                                     Naples, Italy
   The leaders of Bellville Baptist Church      leaders, we felt it was time to start a new          n the International Baptist
have been praying earnestly about plant-        congregation.                                        Church, Naples, Italy, continues to
ing a new congregation somewhere else              In early February 2009, the Lord sent             grow and expand its ministry. We
                                                a former Baptist pastor, who lives and               recently baptized three new be-
                                                works in Sea Point to our congregation.              lievers and added two elders – Kes
                                                From that meeting, the strategy to plant             Townsend and Tyson Miller – to the
                                                the new church developed. We have been               elder board.
                                                able to hire the conference center of the               The spring promises to be busy
                                                Protea Hotel in Sea Point each Sunday for            when we will be teaching a course on
                                                three months at the low cost of R 1000               Greek to Italian leaders. Five young
                                                (80 €) per Sunday. We will be using a                women from Word of Life are com-
                                                boardroom in another hotel, The Presi-               ing to minister during their Easter
                                                dent, as the venue for one of our home               break.                             n
                                                cell groups – at no cost at all. God has                                    Tim Monahan
                                                made it possible for us to use these stun-
                                                ning, central venues. In the case of the

                                                BBC leaders plan a new church start.

16   |   Highlights 4/2009

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