Archive for the 'Going Local' Category

Published by Mark Morris on 01 Apr 2010

Cooperative Program Plus? I’m Just Asking

This post is a continuation of  an exercise in which students articulated some decisions that future leaders of the SBC might want to consider -not that seminary students know anything.   In this post, let’s look realistically at the most sacred and successful mission giving plan of the last century. A question is, why is the Cooperative Program struggling, particularly among young church leaders? Let’s speak the unspeakable and just innocently ask some questions about a tweaked version of CP.

Cooperative Program Plus – Please Don’t Kill The Messenger- I’m Just Asking Some Questions

There is a strong likelihood that even raising this subject could result in thirty lashes (to me) – so let me be very clear – I’m Just Asking Questions (have I said that enough yet?)

Could it be that for the Southern Baptist Church of Tomorrow, our insistence on Cooperative Program Giving alone and a demand for singular loyalty to the CP will accelerate a downward trend in SBC mission giving?  I’m not sure about this, but I am simply asking the question. The correct SBC position on this subject is that if we allow direct giving to specific SBC causes, we will undermine the CP which will lead us to that old, heaven-forbid, societal mission giving system that we baptists rejected years ago.  Maybe we should stop the conversation right now and agree not to discuss this further because even talking about it could erode our Cooperative Program?

Let’s just remember that most of our churches not only give to the CP but we also give to those, heaven forbid, mission societies that support some of our children and grandchildren who are serving through some of those societies.  In fact, many of our pastors have created their own 501.c3’s which are appealing directly to us and to our churches for support just like those old mission societies that we were supposed to have left behind for the Cooperative Program.  So maybe the question should stop here because any church that gives outside of the CP, Lottie, and Annie are actually undermining the Cooperative Program?

Let me raise another question, maybe the CP has already been undermined? Maybe it has already been undermined NOT by SBC churches giving directly to the IMB or NAMB or a particular SBC church plant, or a particular Missions Project?  Maybe it has been undermined rather by our giving to other well marketed NON-SBC causes, eg.:  Compassion International, Gideons, Samaritans Purse, Awanas, Child Evangelism, Pioneers, YWAM, etc?  I’m just asking the question.   Maybe we need to look at the giving habits of all of our churches and accept some realities, such as the idea that Southern Baptist churches give out of more than one mission pocket?  Maybe we should consider the unspoken reality that even our most loyal Southern Baptist churches DO NOT GIVE EXCLUSIVELY to the Cooperative Program? Don’t most of us give to Gideons once per year at least?  Maybe that’s too bold of an assertion?

It just seems to me that no matter how much we call some churches disloyal, an awful lot of First Baptist Churches and Podunk Holler Baptist Churches give to non-SBC entities.  Maybe, just maybe our own churches have already undermined CP in the dark of the night during those late budget meetings at churches throughout the country?  When Aunt Sallie’s niece is going on a mission trip with Campus Crusade, don’t we quietly donate to it even though it is not a Southern Baptist Mission Trip falling under any SBC agency.

Assuming that might be true, why do we make the multiple-channel giving reality a forbidden subject within our own house? People like to give to specific projects and to missionaries, and to causes but officially we cannot encourage churches to give to specific SBC missionaries, church plants or projects on the mission field. That highly personalized giving would undermine CP, even though it is what we do outside of our in-house SBC world. I’m confused aren’t you?

Since we tell SBC churches that there is only one way to give (CP), maybe all we have done is close the conversation?  Maybe by shutting off communication on the matter what we have actually done is to open church budgets to every other non-SBC entity which says, “You can give to us and here is why you should.”  So in essence, perhaps even our strongest SBC churches who give more than 10% to CP might also be found to be giving to Child Evangelism, or Awanas, or Campus Crusade, or some other worthy non-SBC entity?   I’m not saying they should not give to those good causes but if you think about it, that is money that could have been sent to the Cooperative Program, isn’t it? So any time a church gives outside of the “Walmart” of the SBC are they not undermining the CP?

What if we were to free churches, as the GCR Task Force suggests, by supporting the concept of churches giving directly to Southern Baptist-specific causes in addition to CP?  What if we were to tell them, give to the CP because it is the bread and butter of missions for the SBC, but also, if you see a missions need that is going unmet, by all means please fund that directly through gifts to that entity?  Instead, we tell people to give ONLY to CP, as well as to the two nice ladies (Annie and Lottie.)  But even regarding gifts to Annie and Lottie, aren’t there strong executive mandates on how often, how loudly, and under what circumstances we can promote them?  Isn’t it against the rules for IMB and NAMB to just go out and blatantly market a particular need?  Would the IMB be sending 600 missionaries home right now if they were freed to market Lottie Moon in the same manner that Compassion International markets to SBC churches and individuals?  What if every missionary were freed to raise one tenth of his or her support due to the financial shortfall?  Would such personalization enable those 600 missionaries to remain on the field? I don’t know if its true or not. I haven’t done the math. I’m just asking the question.

The view that CP, the IMB and NAMB are the greatest instruments for local and global evangelization may be true but for how long? Perhaps CP is in a losing battle for the hearts and minds of future generations of Southern Baptists?  How many young pastors struggle to passionately promote CP?  And for those who do promote it, how easy is it to communicate to your congregation, especially when you try to explain the breakdown of distribution?   Perhaps a result of our steadfastness on this matter is that we never succeed in transferring our parents’ zeal for CP mission support plan to the children and grandchildren of Southern Baptists?  If that is the case, perhaps the end result is that we lose those children to other churches which, by the way, live by that old forbidden societal mission support plan?   In my mind and heart, I don’t want to lose my children to other churches. So what can we do that will make sense to our children?

Thanks to the Lord if our children have learned from us to be people of the Bible; but does the Bible insist that our children remain Southern Baptist?  I want my three girls and their families to be Southern Baptists because I think we have such a rich biblical heritage and I believe in our missions plan and I want my children to value what I value.  Perhaps my children stumble over this CP alone concept as they search scripture for evidence?  Simply but, the Bible does not demand that churches give exclusively to the Cooperative Program?  But the fire in our eyes when we talk about this subject would indicate that someone is committing heresy. Our children just don’t get that.

Honestly, my heart is crying out for the future of the SBC but somehow CP just isn’t resonating as the thing that will get my children excited. Perhaps SBC young adults value Christian community and body life more than CP?  It seems that they value community so much that if they can’t find what they call transparent and authentic community at their parents’ First Baptist Church, they feel compelled to leave our denomination to join a small inner-city church, in spite of leaving CP behind?  Perhaps when they leave our churches the thing that bothers them most about leaving is not the fact that they are abandoning CP?  How many of us grandparents have seen our children and grandchildren go beyond our denomination in order to find something other than what we have to offer? So I’m asking the hard question even though it hurts me to do so, perhaps the hope of our denomination is not found in CP? Please future leaders, ask these hard questions.

Perhaps, our attitude toward the Cooperative Program (and everything else theologically non-essential) is worthy of examination? Maybe, just maybe, some of us died-in-the-wool Southern Baptists have stepped over the line into the veneration of the Cooperative Program and our insistence on it as the exclusive giving mechanism could contribute to our own decline?  Wouldn’t it be just like God, to take the thing that we see as the glue to all that holds us together and take it away from us?  I don’t want that to happen.  But isn’t that just the kind of thing God might do?  Then where would we be as Southern Baptists?

I’m just asking the question, because I know that when I cling too tightly to one thing, there is usually a lesson waiting for me around the corner.  I am not sure if any of this applies to our SBC attitude toward Cooperative Program, but perhaps, maybe?

Perhaps our children in great numbers are attending other congregations because they struggle to see the direct connection between:

CP and God’s Word (because as an exclusive giving method it is a stretch biblically);

CP and global missions (because the percentage that gets to the mission field is so minimal – see Rankin’s posts on this);

CP and missional living (because they perceive us to be saying, “let us do missions for you”); and

CP and winning North American lost people (because if that’s true why are the SBC and her churches in a steady decline?)

I’m convinced that the Great Commission Resurgence Task Force is not actually the force that is behind change in the SBC.  In my view, they are simply articulating the issues that are burning in the hearts of SBC adult children, our young pastors. The children and grandchildren of Southern Baptist are forcing the questions by voting with their feet and calling our hands on the true purpose of the Southern Baptist Convention. Perhaps the denomination is not only in decline for lack of evangelism, baptism, church planting, and doctrinal integrity?  Perhaps we are also in a decline because we can’t even maintain the interest, much less the passion of our own SBC children.  Maybe all of these declining markers are an indication of our spirituality?  At the same time, the decline in retention might be an indication of the the SBC’s unwillingness to adapt?

So as the new leaders of the SBC work out the new look and feel of the revised SBC, perhaps they should be encouraged, in spite of ridicule and berating from others, to be willing to speak the unspeakable and put any and all non-essential issues on the table?  Perhaps what we need is to find a way to support the Cooperative Program Plus direct giving to our own SBC causes that are suffering for lack of funds?

Perhaps it is not direct giving that will undermine the CP, especially since we’ve already undermined it by giving so generously to non-SBC causes?  Unleashing the restraints on Cooperative Program PLUS giving might enable us to fairly market our own commodities freely – not over against CP, rather in healthy apples-to-apples comparison shopping with other non-SBC service providers.

Stay tuned for the final post on this topic about the IMB and NAMB being the key to winning the hearts and maintaining the interest of the next generation of Southern Baptists.
See Dr. Rankin’s April 19 post which advocates a similar direction.

Published by Mark Morris on 28 Mar 2010

Decisions The Next SBC Leaders Should Make

I’m involved in a seminary PhD course in which students have been bouncing around ideas regarding the kind of bold leadership that our next three agency heads need to take.  It’s easy to make a disclaimer on ideas that come out of a class of a bunch of seminary students, so if these are too radical, just right them off as ideas from naive students. However, some of these PhD students have a number of years of church planting, mission administration, pastoral, and field missionary experience.

The next few blogs will present a few of my thoughts that have emerged through this exercise.

Why Is Change Needed?

Cultural Transition and Generational Transfer of Leadership – SBC churches and entities are caught in a cultural transition and a generational transfer of leadership. American culture has changed and Southern Baptists churches are in transition.  The question is whether or not the denomination will adapt.  County seat First Baptist Churches are transitioning to The Journey Church: (and in small letters “SBC.”)  A generational shift in leadership is occurring among pastors, and leaders.  We may bemoan the cultural and generational shifts but they are irreversible and require that we solidify our spiritual and theological convictions while transitioning SBC entities and ethos for the next generations. Our new presidents must hold us to solid theological foundations over and above denominational loyalty because the loyalty argument does not carry weight with young leaders. Our agencies must also be led by their new leaders to effectively serve the next generation.

Increasingly, our children don’t hold the same allegiance as we do to our denomination.  We can’t strong-arm them or guilt them into picking up this “old SBC” mantel.  Our children will decide on their own whether or not they earnestly desire to work with Southern Baptists on the mission to which God is leading our children.   The denomination must be rebuilt for the next generation, and this should be done with older and younger Southern Baptists working together.  I truly believe such is Johnny Hunt’s desire.  The GCR Task force is starting the process but the next presidents of the convention and her agencies will complete the task of forging this road together.

The future of our SBC agencies is found in connecting service-to-churches with funding, both Cooperative and direct funding. Southern Baptists are consumers. Making a single-source indirect connection from my wallet, to my church’s offering plate, to the State Convention’s Cooperative Program, to the Executive Committee, and finally to a rather confusing redistribution that eventually hits IMB and NAME, just doesn’t hold muster on its own among young Southern Baptists.   The IMB and NAMB should be service providers.  If people prefer IMB and NAMB goods and services, churches will donate to them. If not, they will find other providers. The IMB and NAMB and the Executive Committee can no longer assume the allegiance of Southern Baptist churches. “Just trust us,” doesn’t work for young people. In today’s economy and culture, Southern Baptist agencies must re-earn the hearts of Southern Baptists each year.  The hearts of young Southern Baptists will be won by proving themselves as productive, service-oriented partners to local churches this year, and the next and the next year.  Otherwise those churches will find other partners before the year is out.  Young Baptist’s allegiance to the Southern Baptist Convention, The IMB, or NAMB, even if earned this year, cannot be assumed for the next.  Sorry for the bad news, but, simply examine the non-SBC vendors and partners with whom SBC churches invest their budgets. We need to acknowledge that even our most denominationally-supportive churches work within a free marketplace which is very competitive. The concept of a dollar riding a round-about roller coaster that eventually gets reduced to less than 8% when it gets to the mission field is hard to swallow when a young Baptist can give to Compassion International and receive direct and immediate correspondence from the child who is supported by 80-90% of your dollar.  The future of the SBC agency is found in making a more direct connection between that agency’s (IMB or NAMB) service-to-churches and that church’s sense of personalized, and direct funding of that agency.

What Changes Are Needed

Strategic and Logistical Coordination Between IMB and NAMB Services – The International Mission Board must become a Global Mission Service Team. The “I”(International) in International Mission Board and “N.A.” in North American Mission Board ultimately needs to be replaced by the word “Global,” which includes local and global fields. The “B” (Board) in Mission Board needs to be overtaken by an ethos of  “S.T.” which tells Southern Baptists that We Are Your Missions Service Team. Ultimately the two boards need to coordinate their activities as a collaborative Global Mission Service Collective which incorporates entity-directed initiatives as well as local-church directed initiatives.  The IMB and NAMB can’t be solely about what they do but they must be about the mission work of churches.

NAMB and IMB Service Orientation – The blessing of the Cooperative Program is that it has maximized Southern Baptists’ impact. The challenge of the CP is that this has trained churches to rely on professional missionaries to go and do international mission work for local churches. In the same vein the CP has taught missionaries that they don’t have to serve the local church.

Likewise, the Cooperative Agreements have placed some entities in a position of Sugar Daddy when it comes to funding church planting and major initiatives.  The moving of funds from the executive to NAMB and back to the states has created a very complex system and has resulted in at least the perception of a great deal of fat.  We can argue that there is no fat, but young Southern Baptists don’t believe it. Since young Southern Baptists are our future, we better listen to them.

Stay tuned for the next post about Cooperative Program Plus.

Published by Mark Morris on 18 Mar 2010

Making a Difference: 2 Churches, Pilots, Motorcycle Club

Here’s a local news report about two churches, FedEx Pilots, and a motorcycle club who are making a difference in an under-served community in Memphis.   As Easter approaches, it is a good idea to ask if our lives reflect Christ who died and rose for us. While the following article is from a secular news source, the churches and the believers involved saw a community need and took action. Makes you ask, what am I doing to make a difference and point people to the living Lord Jesus Christ in me?

Taking Back Our Neighborhood: Manassas baseball field

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) – The baseball team at Manassas High School began play on a “field of dreams” this week.

Teamwork between some caring FedEx pilots, a motorcycle club and two Memphis churches resulted in a home run for Manassas High baseball players. “It was a great idea to be able to give something back and to give these kids a home field to play on,” said FedEx pilot Lamar Washington.

Until Monday, Manassas had no home field advantage because it had no home field. “We played all road games,” said Manassas baseball coach Dennis Paden.  “We didn’t even have a facility to practice.” The field began to take shape when FedEx pilot Eric Lampelay’s wife began clearing rocks from a field with Oasis of Hope, a ministry of Hope Presbyterian.  Lampelay told co-pilot Washington, who brought his motorcycle club to help rake up the rocks. “There’s a lot of interest and guys are always looking for an opportunity to do something good in the community,” Washington said.

Volunteers from Hope Presbyterian and Bellevue Baptist Church graded the fields.  They donated sod and clay for the infield and pitcher’s mound. On opening day, Lampelay threw out the ceremonial first pitch. At long last, the Tigers of Manassas took their home field against the Pharaohs of Raleigh-Egypt.

“It’s just a blessing that we finally got a field,” said Montrail Brown, Manassas baseball player.  “It’s going to draw a crowd, and more people are going to play.” Paden said the field was a blessing for all involved.

“It’s blessed the people who’ve built the field as much as the kids on the receiving end,” Paden said.  “It really has been something magical.” The Manassas Tigers won their first game on their home field in the bottom of the 7th inning.

Copyright 2010 WMC-TV. All rights reserved.

Published by Cindy Morris on 17 Nov 2009

Links In The Chain

A study shows that Muslims typically encounter Christian influence (a person, a Bible truth, an answered prayer, a dream, a need met) 36 or more times before choosing Christ.  Which of those encounters might you and I make?  How can we be effective “links in the chain?”

Ministry to Muslims is not new.  Recognizing the sacrificial service of generations of Christian witnesses and the great grace of God, we approach humbly.  It is always and altogether His work before it is ours.[i]

1. Nourish your own walk with God (Jeremiah 15:16).  Am I currently a student of God’s Word? Feed on a paragraph of Truth daily; the book of John offers a good starting point.
2. Do I take time to commune with my loving Father often in prayer?  Pause and Pray (Ephesians 3:14-21). Does my prayer life include worship, confession, asking God for my needs and others’? Do I pray regularly for lost people near and far,[ii] that they might find freedom from sin and new life in Jesus?
3. Am I living for things that count for eternity? Self-evaluate  (Psalm 139:23-24).  Surrender and realign your will with His (Philippians 2:1-13). “Trust God and do the next thing.”[iii]
4. Nurture your particular, God-given skills/gifts (II Tim 1:6,7).
5. Ask God to cause your life to intersect with Muslims.  Place yourself in the path of Muslims—in class, at the gym, at work, etc.  Ask the Lord for wisdom and ways to befriend and help Muslims; woman to woman, man to man.  Pray for increased compassion and courage (II Corinthians 2:14-17).
6. Learn from seasoned, humble “veterans” of Muslim evangelism and ministry (II Timothy 2:1-3).  Regularly read about Islam.
7. Be intentional about relating to your Muslim friend.  Make that call.  Write that card.  Go to that location.  Bring a few others along. Take advantage of their holidays and yours.[iv]
8. Make regular visits:

Practical Tips:
Dress modestly. Take shoes off at the door.  Bring family photos (No beach pictures!) and small gifts of food, etc.  Don’t be in a rush.  Expect to sip tea and stay an hour. Formality is key; learn greetings and appropriate gestures.  Women concentrate on women and men with men.  Find common interests, issues.  Ask questions that lend themselves to cultural and spiritual conversations; be a listening learner. Don’t be afraid of silence. Seek to understand current needs.  Find simple ways to help and be helped.  Eat the food. Have fun! Relax.

Witness: Over time, share the content of the gospel.  Be patient and sensitive to the nudging of the Spirit. Pray for spiritual hunger, along with opportunities to share Truth. Tell Bible stories.[v] Paint word pictures.[vi] Revere holy books; don’t leave the Bible or Koran on the floor.  Counter the reputation that Western Christians are immoral; become known for godliness.  Be real and give credit to God for His work in you.   Testify of answered prayer.  Don’t be shy to ask to pray out loud for the food or for spoken needs; Muslims live out faith in public.  Prayer is a teaching tool.  Pray “in Jesus, the Messiah’s name.” Ask to show Christian films together and discuss. Wait for the day when your friend(s) places allegiance in Jesus. Remember that when a Muslim chooses Christ, he/she will lose family ties.  Be family to your new sister(s)/brother(s).  You will never be the same.

[i] Adeney, Miriam. Daughters of Islam. Intervarsity:  2002, pages 9-11.
[ii] and
[iii] Chambers, Oswald.  My Utmost for His Highest.
[iv] Crawford, Trudie. Lifting the Veil. Apples of Gold:  1997, pages 25-30.
[v] Crawford, Trudie. Lifting the Veil. Apples of Gold:  1997, pages 1-25.
[vi] Adeney, Miriam. Daughters of Islam. Intervarsity:  2002, pages 150-170.

Published by Mark Morris on 20 Aug 2009

Is Social Media A Fad?

I love the commercial where the teenager tells his over-the-hill dad to lay off the updates on twitter. Of course that happens as his dad tweets…”Now I’m sitting on the couch listening…”

Yes I tweet – have a facebook page…am linkedin, etc., etc.

But isn’t this just a fad?  Won’t we all just fall back onto Email web-surfing and text messaging?

Well…take a look at the following youtube link on the dramatic impact of socialnomics!

To wet your appetite, for example, did you realize that if facebook were a country, it would be the fourth largest country in the world?!  Did you realize that one in eight  couples married last year in the US met online?

Perhaps Oklahoma’s is on to something for hiring Tony Steward as Pastor For Online Communities and establishing multiple online church opportunities?

So what does all this mean for the church?  Does the word “online” obliterate the word “community” when those two words come together?  In other words is digital relationship a reality or is it an empty shell?

Take a look at the youtube link and tell me what you think about social networks? So how does this social-media revolution impact the way churches effectively communicate the Gospel cross-culturally, shephard online communities, and stay relevant in the digital marketplace? How do we communicate Christ in a way that resonates from our hearts to our city and to the world…a world that is increasingly digital?

Published by Mark Morris on 25 Jun 2009

Generational Transfer of Leadership SBC

The Southern Baptist Convention met this week and for the first time that I can recall in a number of years closing ranks is not what will be the most reported issue that hits the media.  Someone said about our convention that its like a large family reunion where there’s always some crazy aunt or uncle or cousin that says and does something idiotic.

We certainly have lots of those crazy relatives who like to present resolutions against everyone and everything.  Honestly – I’m embarrassed and ashamed at the foolishness that has occurred over the years in some of those actions and resolutions.  Evidently, I’m not alone because increasingly, young leaders have disappeared from the halls of those frustrating meetings.  Well, this year, was markedly different.

Earlier in the year I had the privilege of participating in one of Johnny Hunt’s gatherings with young leaders. At the gathering, there were some of the “old guard” SBC leaders present.  But Johnny really wasn’t concerned with what they had to say.  He was there to listen to the 40 or so young pastors who overwhelmingly stated, “We aren’t going to fight over the Bible or Calvinism or whatever the old folks want to fight about. We would rather walk away than fight.”  Their message was, “We are busy in our local churches fighting to share Christ with the Lost and to mobilize our members to the ends of the earth. Only that is worth fighting about.” WOW!  How refreshing.

Over the year Johnny has listened long and hard to these young leaders. Here’s my paraphrase from something I heard Johnny say in one of those meetings.

One of the most significant things that happened in the US elections this past year was the generational transfer of leadership.  Black president or not, the point of no return is that a young leader has taken the helm.   The same thing must happen in the SBC or the SBC will dwindle away. Those of us who are greying aren’t going to like everything about the change in leadership.

Johnny’s goal seems to be to serve as the president who issues in that transfer of leadership from those the generation of yesteryear to the generation to come.

I have friends on every side of every aisle in this SBC world.  I’m friends with some old folks who want to keep fighting the battle for the Bible.  The young folks are saying, “Duh!”  That one is over. Let’s move on.

I have friends who lost that battle and say, it wasn’t a battle for the Bible at all – it was a battle for power and control.  Those friends are looking at this and distrusting anything  that could be coming from the SBC.

I have friends in new churches that have remained uninvolved and detached from  denominationalism because of their embarasment at the crazy aunts and uncles.  Some have been shunned or insulted because they were too calvinist, not calvinist enough, too culturally relevent in their preaching, too graphic in their language, too open to drinking and other “vices” etc, etc.

Here’s what I want to say to all of us about all of this –  Wait. Watch. Listen. Pray. Just practice what your reading in the Bible.

One of the most important statements made this week was by David Platt, “God doesn’t need the SBC.”

Another one of the most important statements made this week was by Johnny Hunt who told about a conversation he had with someone in which Johnny was rude and offensive.  God didn’t let Johnny rest until he went to that brother and confessed his rude tone.  Johnny’s statement was, “The small things are important.” We must go to our brother and be reconciled.

If the young leaders resonated with anything this week it was those two statements.  This battle is not about the SBC. It’s about living the faith that God has called his children to live.  It’s about walking in faith and obedience.  What I recall about the battle for the Bible that occured in our denomination is that there was a lot of rude and offensive behavior. I heard Johnny saying that the way and manner in which we contend among ourselves IS important.  We can’t ignore scripture to fight for a higher cause.  We have to act like the body of Christ. Both of these two statements resonate with young leaders and grow out of God’s Word.

Johnny Hunt and David Platt preached repentance this week.   They preached the Great Commission. They taught reconciliation and love. They challenged us to humility.   If there was a difference this week – it came from sincere, Godly men calling everyone to live according to God’s word, not fight about it.

Expectantly waiting.

Other blogs on this topic

Published by Mark Morris on 18 Mar 2009

2 SummerInternships in Memphis

Web/Graphics Designer Or Admin Assistant

If you are a college student and are interested in working part-time paid with the IMB’s Emerging Leaders Team (under Mark Morris’ supervision) and minister part-time unpaid in a multi-cultural church and/or innercity ministry (under Pastor Kelvin Bowen’s supervision) then jump on this opportunity. See these two different opportunities below.

1, Administrative Assistant Intern

Performs administrative and office support activities. Duties may include fielding telephone calls, receiving and directing visitors, word processing, filing, and faxing. Extensive software skills are required, as well as Internet research abilities and strong communication skills.

College junior or senior preferred. Good organizational skills, administrative, interpersonal and communication skills; detail oriented; Proficiency in Microsoft Office applications; professional in appearance and behavior.  Strong organizational skills. An intern with their own MAC is preferred.

2, Web/Graphic Designer Intern

Assist the Multi-Affinity Church Relations department with layout, visual appearance, and usability of website and print media.

Demonstrated proficiency with industry standard graphic design software and Macintosh hardware. Knowledge and use of InDesign, PhotoShop, Illustrator, Acrobat, Flash, Fireworks and Microsoft software.  College junior or senior preferred. Knowledge of Mac platforms, JavaScript, Adode Photoshop and Illustrator, & Macromedia Flash. Experience with blogging, vlogging, & podcasting. An intern with their own MAC is preferred.

PAY RATE: Stipend $272.00 net every two-week pay period

Flexible schedule: Internship is 18.75 hours/week, starting June 1, 2009 and ending August 7, 2009.  Location:  IMB’s Multi-Affinity Office in Memphis TN.
Application deadline:  Open until filled.
School Status: Internships are open to college juniors and seniors.


Published by Mark Morris on 16 Mar 2009

Black and White-one body or not?

Since December 14, 2008 Pastor Kelvin Bowen and myself have been working together as black and white pastors in a new church plant. Kelvin is the senior  pastor and I’m his associate.  Both of us came together having worked on two separate church starts, but after prayer and soul-searching, God showed us that we had the opportunity to do something unique together in the city where Dr. Martin Luther King was assassinated.  God has drawn together a core group of about a half dozen white folk and about 2 dozen black folks. Each Sunday we will have from 40 to 60 in attendance and each week is a great blessing.

Since December 14, my visual, social, and spiritual perspective has undergone a transformation.  For example:

  • I can’t figure out why there aren’t more white folks that are serious about doing church as one with African Americans.
  • Congregations and even denominations have been divided over style – yet styles of music and worship, even style of preaching and style of church administration just doesn’t seem so important any more.
  • Tradition is being redefined.  It’s hard to talk about traditional church since there are so many different definitions of ‘tradition.’ To think that people are church shopping to find their preferred tradition or style of preaching and music. So, we have each had to learn to adapt to styles of preaching, fellowship, worship, and polity that are a blend of each of our traditions.
  • Fellowship is deep.  I’m too accustomed to lots of shallow relationships in church.  Amazingly people of different cultures are growing increasingly in unity.   The bond of love is strengthening each day.
  • Vision is expanding. Surprisingly, our view of our city and the world changes when we worship and work and fellowship as a multicultural body.

Since December 14, I have grown shockingly aware of the fact that nearly all the Church Planting, or Church leadership, or Mission conferences that I frequent are dominated by one race or another. The speakers and the participants are 99% from one race with only a token representation from another culture.  It’s strange that I didn’t notice this church and conference segregation until the body of believers with whom I am one, has changed my daily perspective.

So what’s the solution?  I’m asking the Lord.  Lord what is the solution?

What’s God telling you? How can the body become one?

Published by chris on 02 Oct 2008

Mapping the Mission – Introduction

If you are still thinking about Compassion vs. Conversion then it may not make sense to talk about mapping and missions. There are many things that I have heard with regard to mapping and the Great Commission. One is, “if you define the task with great specificity, you take God out of the picture.” Another is, “If you define the greatest needs and place them on a map, you are not looking at the places where God is really working.” Yet others have articulated that the showing the work God has done through churches and mission agencies on the map give glory to God for his working in our world.

When we look to Scripture and see the story of the one lost sheep, we see Christ’s compassion for those who have no Shepherd. The willingness to go to where there has been no witness and go to where people are lost shows the compassion of Christ. At the same time, across the globe are people in various stages of growth in their relationship with God. Staying attuned to the various needs of the varied people groups allow us to tailor our ministries and trainings to share and disciple.

Mapping the Great Commission has been the heart of the World Missions Atlas Project ( Knowing where the church is and where it is not allows us to develop different strategies of ministry based on their segment of society and their exposure to the Gospel. This includes understanding the level of Bible translation, the level of literacy and prevalence of orality within the culture, which people groups have been exposed to the gospel and which ones have had no church planting. Together with all this information Churches, missionaries, and agencies are better equipped to find the areas where their gifting match needs nearby them and around the world.

Published by Mark Morris on 07 Sep 2008

Ramadan is here. What do we do?

Take a look at this letter from a friend from Perspectives regarding the Muslim holy day.  What are you doing to pray for your Muslim neighbors. Cindy and I made a visit to a Muslim home this week.  We did NOT accept their offer of tea and sweets because they were fasting and we did not want to be eating and drinking in front of them while they were fasting. There are also some prayer guides for Ramadan that churches and small groups can use.

T points us to a great site to guide our praying.


Dear Friends,

As I write this, the date is September 4, 2001 AD.  But in the Muslim world this date is also 4 Ramadan, 1429 AH.

For Muslims around the world, Ramadan is a very special month – the month of fasting.  From sunrise until sunset, devout Muslims don’t eat, drink, smoke, or engage in sexual relations.  From sunset until sunrise, Ramadan is a month of feasting.  Muslims eat MORE during Ramadan than during any other month – and they eat richer, more delectable foods during the “fast”.  Think of Thanksgiving dinner every night for an entire month.  The Islamic Center of Nashville generally posts items on their web site asking members to watch their calories during this month!

Since the Islamic calendar contains 12 lunar months, the year is about 354 days long.  This causes Ramadan to occur about 11 days earlier on the Gregorian calendar each year.  It also causes Muslims to gain an extra year in age about every 33 years.  A friend of mine is either 45 or 46 years old depending on the calendar used!

So – what is so special about Ramadan anyway.  According the the Qur’an, Mohammed had the first of the 114 revelations that would later become the Qur’an during Ramadan.  No one is quite sure on which day this occurred but the Lailatul-Qadr (Night of Power),  is the most likely candidate.  It falls on September 26 this year.  Many Muslims believe that God will do something very special that night (whichever night it is).  Many stay up all night during the latter part of the month so they won’t miss out.

For the last several years, millions of Christians have prayed that God will indeed do something special for Muslims during the month of Ramadan, specifically that he will reveal Himself to them personally.  This may be through the witness of a follower of Jesus, or it may be through a dream or vision.  Up to 80% of Muslim Background believers report having a dream or vision as part of their path to Jesus – many of them occurring during Ramadan.  Please join us in this global prayer outreach.

The web site is a great daily resource to use as you pray.

Pray for Muslim leaders to see Jesus.  Could you imagine the impact a converted, spirit filled Usama bin Laden would have on the world.  If you don’t believe that God can redeem him, remember that Saul of Tarsus was the bin Laden of his day.  If God could transform the Usama bin Laden of the first century into Paul, why can’t  we be so bold as to believe He can turn Usama bin Laden into the Paul of the 21st century.  Please join me in praying for Usama and other Islamic leaders.

Blessings in the Name of Jesus,


US Center for World Mission

« Prev - Next »