March

I recently read a book written by Robert D. Lupton called Toxic Charity: How The Church Hurts Those They Help and How To Reverse it. I have written a summary of the book which can be found at
Toxic Charity

There is much that challenges the way will help the poor. He suggests an Oath for Compassionate Service to include the following.
·         Never do for the poor what they have (or could have) the capacity to do for themselves.
·         Limit one-way giving to emergency situations.
·         Strive to empower the poor though employment, lending and investing, using grants sparingly to          reinforce achievements.
·         Subordinate self-interests to the need of those being served.
·         Listen closely to those yo week to help; especially to what is not being said-unspoken feeling may          contain essential clues to effective service.
·         Above all, do no harm.

Lupton challenges the church on how it does missions.

            “Most mission trips and service projects do not:
·         Empower those being served
·         Engender healthy cross-cultural relationship
·         Improve local quality of life
·         Relieve poverty
·         Change the lives of participants
·         Increase support for long-term mission work

…most mission trips and service projects do:
·         weaken those being served
·         foster dishonest relationships
·         erode recipients’ work ethic
·         deepen dependency”

These lists come across as highly negative; however he has positive suggestion on how we can do better in his book. I just don’t have space this month to complete the summary. My hope is you would buy the book and wrestle with these issues for your church.

 

 

OCTOBER

The 109th Annual Celebration was held on October 19th at Longbranch Community Baptist Church. It was a great night of being the church together. I appreciate Larry White and the Praise Team of Longbranch in the way they led us in worship. Pete Peterson, a special guest, sang We Cry Holy. The reception that Longbranch hosted following the Celebration was especially wonderful. Most of the messengers spent time talking with others while sharing coffee and cookies.

Jack Ables, Pastor at East Ridge, brought us an encouraging message. He encouraged every church to be the BEST church they can be. It doesn’t matter about dress, building or music. What is important is that we keep Jesus in the message.

I shared the organizational structure of EBA including Ellis Christian Women’s Job Corps, Ellis Christian Disaster Relief Team, Simple-Church.net, Lenca Missions, and Radio Rio de Dios. I talked about the formation of a Lenca non-profit corporation call Kingdom Life which will ultimately be responsible for the radio station and community development projects such as coffee processing. I also shared about are partners Texas Baptists World Hunger Offering, Texas Baptists Mary Hill Davis Offering, 61 Isaiah Ministries and Baptist Global Response. 

Most of my time was spent on the need to reach lower socio-economic persons through Simple Churches. These would be churches which would meet in homes, community rooms in apartments, or just about any where people can gather. Most of our churches do not reach many of these people, but they need the gospel. You will hear more about Simple-Church.Net as God guide us. 

SEPTEMBER

This class of Ellis CWJC already has made significant progress as two of the participants have accepted Jesus as their Savior. All of the participants are making progress in their Spiritual walk with the Lord. Bible study with Kathryne is the highlight of the day for the women. 

The new building is meeting the needs of the CWJC extremely well. It is so good that they have a permanent place with adequate room. New ministries such as GED classes, parenting, and boundaries could be held in the building. Please pray for God’s wisdom on how the building can be used to meet the needs of people in the name of Jesus.

The fund raiser for Ellis CWJC is October 14th at Park Meadows. Please call 972-937-6620 to make a reservation. You will hear testimonies from a former participant, a teacher and a mentor. Please plan on buying some of the silent action items as well. It will help CWJC give a woman a “hand up rather than a hand out.”

AUGUST

Terri Tyner

Terri Tyner

This is the last newslettter edition to be produced by Terri Tyner. She is moving back to a job she has previously held. We will miss working with her as she has done an excellent job in juggling all the things the Communication Director does. 

One of her great characteristic is her mission heart. She has willingly assisted in some of the unusual things with which the association gets involved. She has helped us increase our communications through improvements to the newsletter, starting EBA Notes (our weekly email), redesigning the newsletter, setting up and designing our new website and improving many of the other processes we use.

She has done an excellent job in serving God, family, her church (Baylor), EBA and various personal ministry projects which have come her way. 

We will soon have someone in the role of Communications Director. We will be getting them up to speed as soon as possible.

JULY

I was recently asked why we have work among the Lenca of Honduras. 

I wrote this originally in 2004 and revised it again in 2011, so this is the 2014 revision to that same question.

1. Why have we sent an International Associate to the Lenca of Honduras when we have so much need to start churches here?
Yes, we need to start new churches to reach more people in Ellis County. However, we have about 160,000 people living in Ellis County, which is a little more than the same number of Lenca in Honduras. There are about 250+evangelical churches in the county while the Lenca have 30+ Baptist churches with many villages having no evangelical work. There are an estimated 53,000 Christians in Ellis County while among the Lenca there are about 1,500. The need among the Lenca is far greater than the need in Ellis County. We have so much and the Lenca have so little. How can we not go and share the gospel with them?

2.  Why should EBA be involved in International Missions?
When we adopted the purpose statement for the Association (EBA is a partnership of autonomous churches cooperatively networking to expand God’s kingdom both locally and globally), we understood the association would reach out beyond the borders of Ellis County to fulfill the Great Commission, which everyone has been commanded to follow according to Matthew 28:19-20.

3.  Why did we pick the Lenca of Honduras? 
The Lenca was chosen in cooperation with the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention. We originally considered an unreached people group in Guatemala. The Entholinquistic Coordinator for IMB suggested the Lenca of Honduras because they spoke Spanish so our associate would not have to learn both Spanish and the heart language of a people group.

4.  Why don’t we do partnership missions rather than send an International Associate?
Partnership missions is a wonderful way to do missions, however, it is a hit and miss approach. It is a short-term kind of commitment sometimes with limited results. It was felt a strategic approach with a long-term commitment would have greater impact for God’s kingdom. In fact, sometimes partnership efforts can be harmful to the local work rather than helpful.

5.  Why don’t we send the money to mission agencies as they have needs? 
We encourage churches to continue to support the mission agencies; however we have raised more money for missions from Ellis County because we put a face (an International Associate) to missions. Additionally, we recognize the younger adults are not as loyal to supporting missions because they want to know how their money will be spent. Younger adults want more involvement than sending their money to a mission sending institution and trusting it does well. 

6.  What does the International Mission Board think about EBA sending an International Associate?
They are very supportive. In fact, we will work with them in a covenant relationship to develop the work. They recognize there are more people groups across the world that has little or no witness for Jesus. They are in the process of realigning their work to reach the most lost people groups in the world. This means they will be reducing the numbers of missionaries in Middle America (Mexico and Central America) and increasing missionaries in the Middle East and Far East. In fact IMB is looking for more churches and associations to take responsibility for a people group. 

 

JUNE

On the back page of the newsletter is an article by Enoc Alvarez. EBA provides $600 a month for Enoc to help us with Community Development among the Lenca. 

Our strategy has five components: Prayer, Church Planting/Evangelism, Gospel Saturation, Discipleship/Leadership and Meeting Human Needs.  

Prayer is our first priority. This is accomplished by keeping the prayer needs before the Association. In addition, prayer is taught to pastor and leaders. Prayer is a major part of the ministry of Radio Rio de Dios.

Church Planting/Evangelism is our second priority. Our goal is to start house churches through evangelism efforts. These efforts must ultimately be lead by the local pastors and leaders.

Gospel Saturation is the sowing the seed of the gospel broadly. Radio Rio de Dios is the primary method we use to accomplish this.

Leadership/Discipleship is using a modified T4T (Training for Trainers) process to mentor leaders to be leader of leaders.

Meeting Human Need is the final of our five strategies. Enoc is leading us to develop detailed community need reports on those villages with whom we work. The report covers the people, environment, product, market and income of the village. He will lead us in working with the community to determine the projects they will accomplish. 

As coffee is a major part of many villages, we anticipate in working on some coffee projects first. Coffee farmers will receive training on how to produce a higher grade of coffee as well as producing more coffee. We hope to help them double their income from coffee so they will be able to improve their living situation. You will hear more about this as it develops. 

MAY

Next month our Pastor’s Leadership Training group will be discussing The Leader’s Influence: How Leaders Lead from Henry and Richard Blackaby’s book on Spiritual Leadership. I have also read a business book called Influencer: The Power to Change Anything by Patterson, Grenny, Maxfield, McMillian and Switzler. 

Influencing can be both good and bad depending on how it is used. We will look at how influence can be used to bring about change. Influential leaders pray, work hard, communicate effectively, serve, maintain positive attitudes, encourage others and focus.

One statement in the Blackaby’s book stood out to me. “Ordinary leaders lead followers. Great leaders lead leaders. Extraordinary leaders lead movements.” May God call us to lead movements and not just followers? 

An example of a movement is a Church Planting Movement [CPM]. A CPM is defined as a rapid multiplication of indigenous church planting that sweeps through a people group or population segment. The Hispanic and lower socio-economic people in Ellis County need for a church planting movement to occur among them. Please pray for this.

There are six sources of influence according to the book Influencer. 

 

Personal Motivation (make the undesirable desirable) work on connecting vital behaviors to intrinsic motives.
Personal Ability (Surpass your limits) coach the specifics of each behavior through deliberate practice.
Social Motivation (Harness peer pressure) draw on the enormous power of social influence to both motivate and enable the target behavior.
Social Ability (Find strength in numbers) people in a community will have to assist each other if they hope to succeed.
Structural Motivation (Design rewards and demand accountability) attach appropriate reward structures to motivate people to pick up the vital behaviors.
Structural Ability (Change the environment) ensures that systems, processes, reporting structures, visual cues and so forth support the vital behavior.

These sources of influence sound very scientific. There has been much research into being an influencer. We can learn how to use these sources to bring about positive change for the kingdom.