Tag Archives: Missions

Could I Appeal for Your Temporary Support?

Please take a moment to read and then share the following appeal. Thanks!


Hey everybody!

First, let me just say that God is good, and I put my full faith and trust in Him to provide for me. He is the One who loves me more than the flowers He clothes in the field (Matt. 6:30; Luke 12:28), so why be anxious? He owns the cattle on a thousand hills, including the hills; He will take care of my family and me.

However, one of the ways God takes care of His children is through the other children in His family. We don’t have to read very far into the book of Acts and the Apostle Paul’s writings to see where it was the churches (including individuals) who sent gifts to keep the first missionaries in the field and to relieve the burdens of hurting congregations. It is not beyond the ability of God to make manna fall from heaven, but more often I’ve seen Him use the abilities and gifts of His children to sustain those traveling through a modern wilderness.

On this December 19th (Tuesday) I will be having rotator cuff surgery on my right shoulder. A couple of years ago I fell on the side of a hill while mowing a friend’s grass, and now the problem has grown to the point where surgery is the only option. I have two partial tears and one full through-and-through tear of tendons in my shoulder. I am also being advised to have a release of the bicep tendon which is tracking wrong and causing damage to another tendon. This surgery will result in many weeks (up to 4 to 6 months) of recovery.

Now, if you didn’t know already, my main source of income is driving a school bus and training new drivers. I put in up to 10 hours a day either driving or instructing. My only other income is a small housing allowance from the little church I pastor ($150 a week). Having this surgery will mean that I will not be able to drive at all for a good while, and neither will I be able to instruct (I have to be back to full capability before returning to drive or work – there is no office work available). Therefore, I will have no income coming in for possibly up to 6 months!

What I am asking is simple: Would you consider supporting my family and me as temporary “Pastoral Missionaries”? Yeah, I sorta made up that title, but it fits the bill, don’t you think?

You see, South Soddy Baptist is a small church, but it cannot afford a full-time (fully funded) pastor. I believe this church has potential and value in this community, but what it really needs is to be worked in a full-time-pastor fashion. Being gone so much during the weekdays prohibits me from doing a lot of visitation (especially in these darker winter months), and doing personal outreach is critical to growing a new church, but especially in a context of revitalization. Believe it or not, I can see this surgery becoming a blessing this church needs. However, my family still needs to have electricity, gas money, and food, of course.

Oh, but why doesn’t my wife work? In case you didn’t know, my wife would work if she could. However, my wife became disabled a couple of years ago, so now the only money she can bring in is from her disability and what little she is allowed to make for doing taxes and books. Both of our younger two daughters still live at home, but one is in college and the other is duel-enrolled; they can’t work enough to pay our bills.

So, what I’m praying for is enough people to take us on as temporary “missionaries” and therefore provide tax-deductible support on a weekly or monthly basis. If enough of you could give $10, $20, or $50 monthly or weekly, my bus-driving income could be replaced while I recover, and in the meantime more ministry could take place here at South Soddy Baptist.

It this something you could do? Would you pray about it?

IF you would like to help, then you could contact either myself or our Director of Missions for the Hamilton County Baptist Association, Dr. Dennis Culbreth.

IF you would like to donate with a credit card, you could simply click on the “Donate” tab in the sidebar on this blog.

Thank you so much for giving this some thought and a lot of prayer. Please pray that the surgery will be a success and that full recovery will be quick. But remember, those of you who pray and give will not just be helping my family for a short time, you will be contributing toward the ministry of a small, local church as it seeks to minister to the people in this community.

God bless you,

Anthony Baker (The Recovering Legalist)

Contact Information:

Dr. Dennis Culbreth,  c/o Hamilton County Baptist Association, 6625 Lee Hwy, Chattanooga, TN 37421 (423-267-3794) Website: www.BaptistAssociation.com/contact-us/

Anthony C. Baker, c/o South Soddy Baptist Church, 11055 Dayton Pike, Soddy Daisy, TN 37379 (423-645-8884) PastorACBaker@yahoo.com

http://southsoddybaptist.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/SouthSoddyBaptist.mp4?_=1

 

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Filed under baptist, Christian Unity, Church, community, ministry, Struggles and Trials

Thinking Out of the Box? Or Out of My Mind?

The Facts

It should be common knowledge for most of you, at least those of you who regularly read my blog – because you are the more intelligent of all readers – that not all pastors are “fully funded.” In other words, over half of church pastors are what we call bi-vocational (i.e., they work at least a second job).

Well, it might come as a surprise to learn that many pastors, such as myself, receive no compensation from a denomination, either. At best, most bi-vocational pastors receive a small or modest salary and possibly an expense account, even more rare a parsonage (house). In other words, we are not getting wealthy from what we are called to do.

You see, the fact is that mega-churches make up only a small percentage of all churches. The vast majority of congregations in America have regular attendances of less than 400, and a good 30+% have less than 100 regular members. Why, then, would one choose to enter the ministry (accept the call), spend tens of thousands of dollars on years of education (4-10), only to expect a career that pays, on average, less than a 1st-year school teacher? Believe me, it’s not about the money.

We do it because we are called. We go because we are sent. And, in whatever way we can, if we have to, we will make tents (Acts 18:3). That’s why we work more than one job, if we have to, so that we can do what pastors do – shepherd the flock of God.

The Thought

But here is where I feel I was thinking out of the box yesterday afternoon: What if bi-vocational pastors could be supported like missionaries?

Stop and think about it. There are some areas where churches are few, and the ones that are there cannot afford to pay a pastor any kind of living wage (and, by the way, it’s biblical to pay a pastor). These little churches would love to have a seminary-educated minister teach and preach the Word of God, but most of the time end up searching for years until they wind up accepting whomever they can get. Not a good situation.

What if pastors of smaller congregations could raise support, much like what many missionaries do before going into the field? You do realize that the small, bible-teaching church down the road – the one which still serves a purpose and meets a specific demographic need – is still as important to the Body as the large church on the hill, don’t you? Whenever a small church closes its doors because of a lack of available leadership, the whole Kingdom suffers. Would it not be reasonable, therefore, to suggest supporting at least in some small ways, the pastors of these churches? Granted, there must be some considerations, but is it not a reasonable thought?

Pastoring a church takes time, and there are only so many hours in the day. When one has a family (if only a wife), puts 20-30 hours a week into church-related work and activity, and then has to maintain a “secular” career on top of that, something will suffer. When you add to the mix a pastor who is primarily trained and educated in ministry, not a technical skill-related field, the types of employment available – including the hours and days one must work – become more and more limited.

Am I thinking out of the box, or am I out of my mind? Are there ways this could be developed? Would it be something you would consider? Are there other options worth exploring?

What are your thoughts? 

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Filed under Christian Unity, Church, Preaching

Getting Out the Message

There is a message in my little book, and there’s a group of people who need to read it. 

Watch my video, then pray about the need. 

Thanks!

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Filed under Witnessing, writing

Going to Africa!

Thanks!

zimbabwe mapI give praise to the Lord for all of your prayers and financial support! As of last week all the needed funds for my mission trip to Zimbabwe had come in. What a blessing! What an answer to prayer!

Yes, I needed between $2,500-$2,700 in a relatively short amount of time – right during the time when I my income was greatly reduced  – and you folks stepped up to the bat and hit a home run!

I can’t wait to send out “thank you” notes to all that I can.

Stress

Now, I have to admit that all is not fun and games, however. Even though I have received all the need funds to make the trip, I am still having to pinch pennies as I purchase the necessary items to take with me – and the luggage in which to carry it.

It has been a long time since I’ve flown, and back then things weren’t so strict. Also, back then I didn’t worry about taking all the stuff I’m having to take this time. Even more stressful has been the challenge of determining what size of suitcase and carry-on to buy. Believe it or not, I had to borrow a measuring tape from a store clerk so that I could make sure what I bought was under 62 inches, and still I was so confused I didn’t even get anything.

Buying luggage is worse than shoe shopping!

And there’s more… It’s less than a week from my departure and I’ve still got to find enough clothes, change the starter on my daughter’s car, paint, clean house (and garage), try to get registered for my next round of seminary (pursuing an M.Div.), prepare for Sunday’s sermons, do some visiting, drive a bus for a field trip, schedule guest posts on this blog, and do a LOT of praying!

It’ll Be OK

You know, the Lord has brought me thus far, why should I worry? I could really use a few more dollars to finish up getting a few supplies, but God will provide. I don’t yet understand all the luggage stuff, but I’ll get it sooner or later. Somehow I’ll get a good portion of my to-do list done before I leave – I hope.

I believe God has something great in store for me. I don’t know what it is, but it will be what’s needed and what’s best. My prayer is that it will include a safe trip to Zimbabwe and back to the States, back home. I also pray it will include personal revival, along with stories of many in Chinhoyi coming to Christ.

But whatever happens, God is in control, and it’ll be OK. Just keep praying for me, would you? And prayers for my family would be appreciated, too!

Thanks!

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Filed under ministry, places, Thanksgiving

There’s a Need! You Can Help

Getting Revived

Most of you are probably aware of calls for revival in our churches and our nation. God knows we need it. However, when have you last heard of a pastor needing revival?

Believe it or not, preachers and pastors need to be revived and recharged from time to time. Doing the same thing over and over, week after week, with all the regular issues that are never-ending, will wear a rut in the road of life. That is why I decided to accept an open door to preach in Zimbabwe – to get off the well-rutted path.

I need revival.

Back Story

A couple of months ago I impulsively, in a tongue-in-cheek way, posted a statement on my wall which read something like, “Now accepting speaking engagements around the world. Call now before my schedule is full.”  Almost immediately Dr. Eddie Rushing, the Associational Missionary (Director of Missions) with the Northwest Georgia Baptist Association messaged me. He wrote, “Do you want to go to Zimbabwe?” “Are you serious,” was my response. He then asked, “Are you?”

zimbabwe mapGood question. And yes, I was. I just really didn’t think I’d get a response…at least not that quickly.

I considered it a God thing.

The Current Story

Chinhoyi, Zimbabwe is a small city in the central, northwest area of the country. The local association of churches in that area have scheduled revival meetings in six different churches and want American pastors to come preach. I am one of those pastors! The meetings will be conducted simultaneously across the city in the evenings.

During the daytime, we will be going door-to-door and speaking with people in the streets. Unlike here in America, people there are very open to having people visit. However, I am not so naïve to believe there will be no opposition, so your prayers will be very welcome.

This is something I’ve been desperately in need of. I need to be refreshed and reignited…revived. Stepping out of one’s comfort zone, going to a totally different environment, and witnessing many things now alien to Christianity in this country. If nothing else, I will be able to preach longer without people getting upset 😉

The Need

Here’s the deal, and I’m going to lay it out for you as honestly as possible. I don’t have the money for this trip, so I need help.

I mean, seriously, committing to go on this trip could not have happened at a worse time, financially speaking. Among other things, this is the summer and I am not driving a school bus. That means a large portion of my income is gone for three (3) months. The summer months are very, very tight.

So, as you will see in the attached letter below – one that some of you may have received in the mail – the need is great, and there’s not a lot of time to spare. If you can help in any way, your gift to help fund this trip will be tax-deductible (if that matters to you) and will help make a huge difference in this preacher and the church I pastor.

We all need revival.

Below is a copy of the text from a support letter sent out by the Northwest Georgia and Lookout Valley Baptist Associations on my behalf.

Dear Friends,

I am writing to you on behalf of Anthony Baker. Anthony has signed up to go on a mission trip to Chinhoyi, Zimbabwe, August 8 – 19. This will be a life changing experience for him. Our association takes trips somewhere in the world every year. Many people have been saved as a result of these trips and all who have gone have come back fired up about supporting missions around the world.

This trip will cost somewhere around $2500. Anthony has some of his support but needs to raise a good part of it. Will you please consider sending a donation to help pay for the cost of this trip? If you are unable to help financially, we understand; but, we ask that you pray for him related to this. If you can help, please make you check payable to the Northwest Georgia Baptist Association and send it to us at the above address. Please mark your check designated for Anthony Baker’s mission trip. All contributions are tax deductible.

While there, Anthony will be speaking in churches and doing door-to-door and street evangelism. Our work will be among a people that are very open to the gospel and who desperately need someone to come and share the good news.

Thanks for your consideration of this and may God richly bless you.

In His Service,

Eddy Rushing

Associational Missionary

P S: The deadline for this need is July 15, 2016.

Contact Information

Northwest Georgia and Lookout Valley Baptist Associations

63 Pin Oak Drive, Rock Spring, Georgia 30739

Phone: 706-764-1941

Fax: 706-764-1959

Now, would you please pray for this need? Even if you can’t afford to help financially, would you at least pray? I want to see great things happen not only in Zimbabwe, but in my own spiritual life. You can help by praying for me.

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Filed under Christianity, Countries, ministry, places, Preaching

The IMB: How Did We Get Here?

The following was written and posted today (March 9) by Dr. Randy Davis, Executive Director of the Tennessee Baptist Convention. It was so heartbreaking that I not only had to share it here, but I will be sharing it in our prayer meeting tonight.

It was a dark day two weeks ago when International Mission Board President David Platt stepped to the microphone to inform Southern Baptists that 983 missionaries and 149 IMB staffers were stepping…

Source: The IMB: How Did We Get Here?

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Filed under baptist, Church, current events, ministry, Witnessing

The Doctrine of Separation Examined

There are so many destructive teachings that are simply corruptions of actual truth.  One of those is the doctrine of separation.  Practiced within the more independent and fundamental sects of Christianity, this doctrine is mainly derived from 2 Corinthians 6:17, ” Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you…” The idea is that if one group does not agree with another in all areas, then association is considered sinful, or at least liberal.

I personally believe that this has been taken way too far within the body of Christ.

A few Sundays ago I was at a church where a missionary was speaking.  I really enjoyed hearing what he had to say.  What disappointed me was what was on his prayer card.  Listed on the back, in his statement of beliefs, was the “doctrine of separation.”  However, during the message that he preached, he spoke of how it was good to be able to talk to a Charistmatic believer in Mongolia.  He spoke of how it was good, in a land that so few missionaries frequented, to find anyone to talk to that was a Christian.  But when it came to working together, that was a different story.

Years ago, in 1992, I was given the opportunity to travel to Romania for a month.  Long story short, in order to do some first-time evangelical work in a small village, two other young guys and myself were priviledged to hire a young interpreter to help us.  Actually, he was helping a Pentecostal church group rebuilding grain silos during the day.  Because he was free in the evening, he helped us.  He even helped us make friends with the Pentecostal group.  We didn’t have services together, but we did get to have friendly contact.  Ultimately, because of this unplanned cooperation (the Church of God folk paid the interpreter for us) around 80 souls came to accept Christ as their Saviour in one week.

When I got back to the U.S., thoughts crossed my mind about how Baptist missionaries could develope ways to work together with other Christian missionaries in third-world countries, especially where the work was great.  Pooling local resources and manpower for mutual benefit seemed something totally logical to me; but not to BIMI, the mission agency with which I had traveled.  Unlike Southern Baptist missionaries, independent Baptist missionaries have to raise their own funds to reach the field and to stay there.  To me it seemed that being able to work with other Christians to accomplish like goals was a no-brainer, but not according to the doctrine of separation which BIMI held true to, as do most independent Baptists with which I have been aquainted.

The belief that Christians cannot work together, worship together, or evangelize together to reach a common desired goal is crazy.  There are areas that make Baptists (of which I am) different from other denominations, and rightfully so.  These differences, however, are more often than not of little eternal significance.  Baptists believe in baptism by submersion, for instance, while Presbyterians normally do not.  Is that worth saying that when it comes to winning the lost for Christ that we must remain separate in all things?  Even if a friend of mine is a five-point Calvinist, does that mean that I can’t walk down a street with him as we both preach salvation through Jesus alone?  I like what article XIV of the 2000 edition of theBaptist Faith and Message has to say on the subject:

Members of New Testament churches should cooperate with one another in carrying forward the missionary, educational, and benevolent ministries for the extention of Christ’s Kingdom.  Christian unity in the New Testament sense is spiritual harmony and voluntary cooperation for common ends by various groups of Christ’s people.  Cooperation is desirable between the various Christian denominations, when the end to be attained is itself justified, and when such cooperation involves no violation of conscience or compromise of loyalty to Christ and His Word as revealed in the New Testament.”

When it comes to the legalists and the Pharisaical crowd that promotes separation to the extent of mutual exclusion, finger pointing and self-glorification (i.e., “I am right with God and you are not, because you don’t believe the same as me.”), maybe isolation isn’t that bad.  More people than not, I truly believe, think that working together for the greater good of the Kingdom is biblical.  Only a small minority of so-called “fundamentalists” within the Christian faith feel otherwise.  However, the problem is not so much that we believe that working together is good as long as there is no compromise, it’s getting us to actually DO it.  Let the “separatists” stay separate if they wish, but let the rest of us unite where possible to form a true Nation of Christians, the body of Christ.

Say what you will about the “herd mentality,” but it is the loners that the lions and wolves look for first.  There truly is strength in unity.

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Filed under baptist, Christian Living, Christian Unity, Independent Baptist, legalism, Southern Baptist, Uncategorized