TAKING IT TO THE STREETS!!!

We have had a great Spring in 2015. Our people have been inviting their “OIKOS”, as a result we have engaged many visitors through the year. It’s time, however, to shift gears with our outreach. We won’t be leaving the OIKOS method, but bringing along side of it a new Summer strategy.

Central is gearing up to get outside the walls and engage the culture this Summer. We’re “Taking it to the Streets!” We will be ministering to all kinds of different people of various ages.

Our people will be going on Sunday mornings before worship to Baptist Desoto Hospital to love and minister to those going through trials in the IC Unit. The plan is to provide breakfast to those who have been camped out there for days caring for their loved ones, give them a roll of quarters for vending machines, and of course pray with them and for the patient involved…just take time to love people. The church will be doing this five times during the ten weeks of summer – “taking it to the streets”!

Many of you know I have had a mowing business for three years. I love mowing, it relaxes me. So, we are using mowing to love people. Some of our people will be helping us mow yards of the elderly or those who have physical difficulties. This is another way we will be “taking it to the streets”!

Teams of members will be going into Memphis to serve at the Calvary Rescue Mission. This is a ministry that feeds and houses the homeless and suffering men of Memphis. Yes, some of them have addictions. Each night they are there, they get to hear the Gospel. Our people are going to raise money for these guys to stay in this facility during the hottest days of the summer. They are also going to go to the site and serve by feeding them and cleaning up the facility, just showing the love of Christ and “taking it to the streets” so these men do not have to be on the streets.

We are also doing VBS in city parks. We have selected two parks in the county to use. At each park we will be doing VBS twice. So, there will be a total of four events. All the homes around them will get invites to the event. Games, Snacks, Fun Bounces & Bible stories – sharing the gospel will be the agenda. Who says you need a big building to do VBS. We are just “taking it to the streets! We pray that kids will be saved and their families connected to Central through this effort!

In late Summer, we will be connecting with people by providing school supplies to those who need help obtaining them. Our people will be purchasing pencils, paper, notebooks, glue, tissue paper, hand sanitizer… you know – all the stuff kids and parents need to get school rolling!

It’s all about loving people, meeting needs, being the church… “Taking it to the Streets!” Pray for these efforts that they bear fruit for the Kingdom!

TIME TO TOIL!!!
Colossians 1: 28, 29

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A New Partnership!

In the last two months some new developments have been taking place behind the scenes. We are now able to share them publicly. All the leadership at Central is very pleased to announce that we are about to benefit from a partnership between the BMA of Mississippi Missions Department and the BMA of America Missions Department.

As you know Central began as a church plant out of Charity Baptist Church in Ward, AR. Charity has supported us through prayer and financial means. They are an incredible Mother Church! The Mt. Calvary Association came by the side of Charity to help us financially on a monthly basis. For the most part, the two have been the sole support of the plant for the last two years. That is the way we all felt led to proceed with this plant and it has been in that capacity that the plant has progressed.

Over the last year, Central’s ministry has grown. With the growth more time must be invested into its people, and more funds are needed. This is where the additional help comes in from both missions departments.

Bro. Larry Barker, Director of North American Church Planting, has offered to provide a stipend to me to enable me to invest more time on the field. I will remain bi-vocational keeping my job with the Desoto County School system driving buses. However, I will be laying aside my work with Lee Boys Lawns in order to devote more time to Central. This stipend will replace funds that my lawn company provided freeing me from the obligations of that work load.

My schedule is so very crazy when I am mowing, driving buses, and trying to do ministry. From March 15th thru May 27th, and August 1 thru October 31, I would normally, drive, mow, shower, drive again, and come home to put in two to three hours for Central each week day. The weeks seem like days when that schedule is in full swing. My family and I have spent the last three years in lawn mowing, so this will be a change for our lives. I’m so glad that God gave us that avenue to serve our community while making a living as well. This stipend will make our families life less hectic, and give me more quality time for my family and Central.

Bro Larry Geraldson, Director of Missions in Mississippi, was contacted by Bro John David Smith from the national office and ask to give consideration to being in a partnership with them that would help Central. Larry Geraldson and I have had conversations about church panting as far back as December of 2011. We have all had conversations about this partnership and meetings over the last few months. Last Thursday I meet with the Missions Committee of the BMA of MS and Bro Geraldson sharing the vision of Central and our short history. Those men received me so graciously, heard our story and then unanimously approved a recommendation for Central to receive $1000 in supplemental support as ministry funds on a monthly basis for a year. This will help us in all our overall efforts in this church plant.

I am so grateful that this door has opened to me from the national work and that Mississippi has recommended these funds to benefit Central in particular. Neither steps have been finalized. Each must be approved by the respective associations. The national association will vote on this matter when it meets in April, and the Mississippi association will vote on this matter when it meets in May.

An on looker may think “This is really abnormal!” “Why would a church in northwest Mississippi, have a mother church in central Arkansas, a local association in northeast Arkansas, the state association of Mississippi, and the national work all helping them?” It’s simply. Everyone involved has followed the leadership of the Holy Spirit and have not been territorial, but rather kingdom minded. It is an awesome step that Central gets to be involved in as we are one of the first plants to benefit from such a unique partnership.

We have also just received news that Bethel Baptist in Fulton, MS will be supporting us $395 monthly thru the end of the year. We are so grateful for their help and contribution to this ministry as well! They recently made a visit to Central, and we were so blessed by their doing so!

The work continues with help from others…

TIME TO TOIL
Colossians 1: 28, 29

Great Things Happening – More Help For Central!

This past Sunday at Central, I preached from Luke 12. In verse 32, of that chapter Jesus tells His followers that they will be given the Kingdom by the Father. In verses 13- 31 leading up to that statement He addresses the mindset of the world verses believers mindset when it comes to Kingdom mentality. The world wants their money and possessions, they want only to build their own Kingdom (verses 13-21). Believers seek to fulfill the wishes of the King – Jesus – and focus on building His Kingdom. They trust God who will provide for them as they work diligently for Him. Jesus said, “seek his Kingdom” and all the things you need “will be added to you”! That’s an awesome promise!

Since the beginning of Central, God has been faithful to supply all the needs of the church plant. From sound equipment, chairs, nursery items, and even the building… the list of things He has given us is too long actually. I just praise Him when I think about it all!

Our Mother Church, Charity, as young as they are in existence, yet working to establish all that they need, has aggressively supported us! I am humbled by all they have done to help! They are to be commended for being a church that has embraced the great commission in planting churches.

Shortly after Charity voted to be our Mother Church, Mt Calvary Association in Arkansas voted to be the first associational support to the plant. They have been helping monthly since later in 2013. Their support has been so critical to all that has taken place. I am so thankful for their help throughout this process.

Many BMA churches in Mississippi and Arkansas has lent their aid by one time offerings that have assisted us in launching. Two churches have supported us monthly, Garrett Memorial in Hope, AR and Worden Baptist in Bald Knob, AR. To all these churches we are grateful!

We have seen God provide for us as we have sought to do His Kingdom work! We are always amazed!

We recently made a trip to a BMA church in Mississippi who has pledged to get involved and help us! We were so excited with that news, as it is a critical time financially for us!

At this time, more financial aid for the plant here in Southaven, MS is in the works. A partnership between the National Missions Office and the Missions Office in the BMA of MS is being proposed and worked on behind the scenes. Once this has taken place, it will enable me to put more time into Central while remaining bi-vocational, and give us more ministry funds to reach more people and do more things.

I will be able to say more about this in days to come. It is unfolding as we speak. My whole point in this brief blog report is simply… God does what He says! When He said He would give us all the things we need when we seek His kingdom…. He meant it! PRAISE HIS NAME!

TIME TO TOIL
Colossians 1: 28, 29

Easter Offering Named “Bjorklund Celebration Offering”

In the very early stages of Central’s existence, the first three families met in May of 2013 and decided to follow the example of our Mother Church, Charity Baptist. Charity began giving to missions from the beginning. Keith Lewis, pastor, led them to give 10% of all funds taken in to BMA Missions to teach them the importance of doing so. Central has been doing exactly that. 10% of what our people give goes straight to two BMA missionaries Johnmichael Poulin (Peru) and Tommy Rose (Mexico).

We have also added two opportunities for our people to give directly to missions outside of our budgeted amount of 10%. In 2014, we created the “Don York Gift for Christ” that is taken at Christmastime each year.
It is a joy to announce that we will be taking an annual offering for BMA missions every Easter that is now named the “Bjorklund Celebration Offering”. This year’s Bjorklund Celebration Offering will benefit the work fund of Tommy Rose, missionary to Mexico.

Where did this name come from? Anders Bjorklund is the church planting missionary that reach my family for Christ. In 1962, he was the man who came knocking on my parent’s door inviting them to come to church. It was West Gate Baptist Church in Kenner, LA. The church was small and struggled to have many on Sundays. My Dad was discipled personally by Bro. Anders and my Mom was saved during the time they were attending West Gate.

The church plant, West Gate, never made it to the point of organizing. Some said of Bro. Anders, well “he failed”. I beg to differ. He reached and disciple my parents, and as a result they have served the Lord in ministry now for over 50 years. Under my Dad’s ministry many have been saved and some young men (including myself) surrendered to ministry. What some classified as failure looks to me like success! Bro. Bjorklund went on to plant another church in Terrytown, LA. that was successful by church planting standards. But I am most thankful for what he did in Kenner, LA. with my parents.

It’s obvious now where I got my name. My parents named me in honor of him for the impact he made on their lives. I am so thankful for him. I only got to meet him very briefly before he died. I wish I could have the opportunity to know him better. It would have been pretty cool to have had lunch a few times.

Since I didn’t get to do that, I want to honor him by naming our Easter offering after him. I celebrate what God did in and through his life. I include “Celebration” in this name for that reason but also simply to say that we are celebrating what Christ has done. No better time to celebrate than on Easter Sunday.

So join me in giving to the Bjorklund Celebration Offering. This year the offering will begin on March 15 and will be taken each Sunday ending on Easter Sunday, April 5th. Our goal is $2000! Let’s give to missions in Mexico and help equip Tommy Rose to do the work there!

TIME TO TOIL…

Colossians 1: 28, 29

OIKOS Outreach!!!!!

In 2015, Central will be doing four major outreach events in an effort to connect us to new families. We call these OIKOS connection events.
OIKOS is simply the Greek word for “house” or “household”. In Bible times it referred to one’s family unit. Their family unit was more than just immediate family but it included extended family. There are many examples of it in scripture. Perhaps the best is in reference to Cornelius in Acts 10. Acts 10:24 mentions the fact that he invited his family and friends to come to his house. Peter came and shared Christ, and many were saved in his circle of influence. He impacted his OIKOS for Christ and was saved himself.
In the same way, at Central, we ask our people to reach out to and impact their OIKOS as he did. We ask them to think about everyone… family, friends, neighbors, classmates, coworkers, anyone who is not in church or lost. A lot of people will not simply come to a church, but they will come to an event. Central’s staff plans and hosts these events. Our people invite them to come to the events. It is there, not at the “church building” where we make our connection… in a relaxed atmosphere. We build rapport, let down our hair, eat, hang out, get to know them…. you get the point.
I think Jesus did this sort of thing. In Luke 7:34 it says “The Son of Man has come eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Look at him! A glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’” He reached out to the common man by breaking down the walls that were between them and God (Mark 2:13-17). Walls that the religious Pharisees of the day had erected. He was real, He interacted, He loved them, He saved them! That’s what we want to do… reach and love people and point them to a Savior who can transform their life!

On February 20th, we are having our first such event! Our people are praying about who to invite as we speak. Would you pray with us as we make our first effort in 2015 to reach new people who do not know Christ! Thanks in advance!

TIME TO TOIL
Colossians 1: 28, 29

Central’s 2015 Goals

As the year begins we know that there is a lot of Kingdom work to do in Desoto County! We had a wonderful year in 2014, but that is behind us and it’s time to press on to what God wants us to do in 2015. Pray for us that we can labor for Him in love, and reach people more effectively in this year.

Goals 2015

There are over 170,000 people in our county and it’s growing every day. In the north central part of our county, at any location, there are approximately 14,000 living within a mile! Like I said, there is a lot of work to be done. 52% of our county is in-between the ages of 25 and 45. Include their kids in that, and it jumps even more. We have a very young county. So we are attempting to reach that culture with a contemporary approach to ministry.

We have 7 main goals in ministry that we are seeking to accomplish in 2015! Pray with us as we serve and toil through the year. Here they are…

1. To Complete “The Loft” for our student ministry by the end of February. We are currently raising money to do this addition for our teens and hope to start in a couple of weeks on the project.

2. Completing and implementing Tracks 1-6 of our discipleship engine. Currently we have three completed and implemented in our midst. Discipleship is one of my passions in this plant and it will be a key part of the ministry in 2015!

3. Having 4 major OIKOS connection events. These events are designed for our families to invite people who are not in church or who are lost to Central. They are simply an entry point into Central. We will be investing into each of these events and praying that God will add families and save lives as a result of them!

4. Add 15 Families in 2015! Last year we had the same goal and we added more than that, but after prayer this has become the clear objective for our plant this year again.

5. For our members to give 95,000 to our Operating Fund by themselves. Stewardship is a must for our ministry to thrive and move forward. Central gives 10% of it’s funds to missions, so if this goal is met, then we will give $9500 to BMAA Mission work around the world!

6. Raise $2000 for the Bjorkland Easter Offering and the Don York Gift for Christ! We currently support two BMAA missionaries. Tommy Rose in Mexico and Johnmichael Poulin in Peru. Each of these offerings will benefit their work funds and enable them in their ministries on these fields!

7. Start a Vision Fund for Future Building Needs. As we grow numerically, it is evident that we will be needing a larger auditorium area. We are able to seat 120, 130 tops. We are currently averaging a lil over 100 in worship. We feel that by the end of the year we will be relocating or expanding services.

We are excited about what lies ahead! Pray for us. Obviously this is not all the scoop… but a good reflection of what’s happening at Central! Thank you all for your love and support!

TIME TO TOIL…
Colossians 1: 28, 29

“THE LOFT!!!!!”

LOFT

As many of you already know, just a year ago we literally only had 4 teenagers. We began praying that God would put together a youth group! Well… He sure answered that prayer! We now have 28 of them, if they are all here at once! Praise the Lord… that’s pretty cool!

GROUP PHOTO CAMP 2014

When we first got in our building we were able to include a children’s room and nursery area. That was a blessing because there are nearly 30 kids and around 12 -14 little ones! We are definitely a YOUNG church.

It became painfully obvious that the kids and lil ones had a place to gather but not the teens. So we set out to change that.

The building we are in has a third floor. The teens and our Student Pastor began referring to it as “THE LOFT”. The Loft is an area that is finished out to some extent. It is floored out, studded out, has lights. Sheet rock was put up there when the building was built with the intent of insulating and walling it out. It just never happened.

Since it has just been sitting there, in 2014 we approached the owner about using it. We asked him if we could finish it out and use it. He has agreed!!! It will give us the needed room for our youth. It is a little over 700 square feet finished. Which, funny enough, is bigger than the den at my house where the whole church gathered for over a year! I feel like singing George Jefferson’s theme song… we are “Moving on Up!” Ha!

We are going to have to insulate it, drop in some electrical lines for outlets, add some additional lighting, build a serving area for food, and frame out some storage at the owners request.

While we are doing “ok” financially, as a mission we are paying our bills on time… whaaaa hoooo! But money is not abundant. It will take us around $3800 to complete this project. We will do all we can internally. However, we need some help!

I know at times we church planters seem to ask for a lot. Yet, if you have a heart for teens… youth ministry… and you have some money laying around in your “mad money” box, pray about being part of a door God has opened for this ministry at Central! We sure would appreciate it, and I know God would bless you for helping. You would definitely be investing in young lives!

If you feel led to help, you may send your offering in the following ways:

For churches and individuals who send offerings through the National BMAA office. The address is BMAA MISSIONS DEPARTMENT P.O. Box 878 Conway, AR 72033. When you send offerings to the Missions office put “Central Church Plant– Youth Room” in the memo line.

Offerings can be sent to our Sponsoring Church, Charity Baptist in Ward, AR. Their address is: P.O. Box 286 Ward, AR. 72176

You can send it directly to Central at our mailing address which is: P.O. Box 344 Southaven, MS. 38671.

Thank you in advance for your generosity and love for Central and church planting! Keep praying for us as we move forward here in Southaven!

Time to Toil
Colossians 1: 28, 29

2014 WAS FILLED WITH BLESSINGS!!!

As I look back on this past year I can be nothing but thankful! God worked in hearts and moved in ways that were simply amazing. Now the Devil… that ole boy… he got his cracks in too… but that’s to be expected. We all know how the story ends!

Here are a few of the highlights from 2014…

We began the year at Central with 8 families. As we turn the page to 2015 we have 27 families!

We began the year with 26 members and we now are rejoicing in 104 members.

We began the year averaging 30 in worship and ended averaging 111!

We have around 30 other people attending services other than our members as the year closes.

Easter was a big highlight of the year. Our people worked hard and planned well. It was a true blessing seeing it all happen. The first public preview worship service brought 153 people through the doors. That service eventually was the entry point for 5 families!

Worship 4

Camp/SOAR was BIG in that it brought our youth group together. God had blessed us with a bunch of kids and teens. At Stoneridge He created a bond in them that hasn’t faded! Seven teens/kids were saved and two surrendered to ministry… and as of last night… another from that group has stepped forward to say he is being called into ministry. My heart rejoices in this each time I think about it!

GROUP PHOTO CAMP 2014

We held our first baptismal service at a public pool house. It was awesome… 154 people packed into a room with 140 chairs in it. We saw 11 follow the Lord in baptism that day and it was an event I will never forget!

Baptism

God literally gave us the building we are in at the last minute… we were about to sign on a place close to where we are now… but Carl Sookraj got a call that opened the door for our current building. It has been working beautifully for us. Just this past month, God opened the door for us to use the loft in that building as well! The loft will serve primarily as our youth room but can be utilized for other things too. It’s about 750 square feet extra space that we especially needed on Wednesday nights. We will be sheet rocking that area soon to be able to utilize the space.

Front Pic

On our opening day in the building, we saw 154 people come total, with 41 of those being visitors. Since that day we have enjoyed seeing many of those visitors returning and taking part, and in the last two weeks evening joining!
Our discipleship tracks have got rolling. We have seen many of our people go through the first two Tracks. I am excited to see this in development and taking off. More of this will start to function in 2015.

There is so much more I could tell. Bottom line God has been good in 2014 and I Praise Him for all He has done! I also want to thank you all again for praying for us and supporting us! It means a lot! A huge thank you to Charity and to Keith Lewis for their faithful support and encouragement!

Pray for us in 2015 to honor Him and reach people for Christ!

Time To Toil….
Colossians 1: 28, 29

Christmas Offering

AAA GIFT

It’s officially December and the Christmas season is in full swing already. People have been shopping and decorating and as the saying goes; “It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas!”

Whose birthday is it? We all know it’s the Lord’s, not ours! “Christ was born on Christmas day!” Yet, everyone else receives gifts. It’s kind of backwards isn’t it? We really should be giving the Lord a gift!

During this Christmas, we can give the Lord a gift. Mission work abounds in the BMA. Pray it through and consider giving to a missionary family somewhere around the world. You could raise money for one of our missionaries work funds, or give to a church plant here in the States. It’s the perfect way to give to the Lord in this season. Christ came as a missionary when He came! Why not support one to honor His continuing mission on earth now!

At Central, as a church plant, we do have some needs heading into 2015. Currently we are attempting to raise an additional $5,000 to aid us in our outreach events and to complete purchasing the things we need to function in the new building. Pray about supporting what the Lord is doing here. If you would like to give, it can be sent to us directly, through our Mother Church, or through the National Missions office. Simply indicate on your check that it is for this Christmas fund raiser at Central.

Thanks in advance for your support and for your gifts to missionaries all around the BMAA this Christmas season!

Here are the addresses to send gifts to:
BMAA MISSIONS DEPARTMENT P.O. Box 878 Conway, AR 72033.
Charity Baptist Church Ward, AR. P.O. Box 286 Ward, AR. 72176.
Central Church A Family of Baptist Believers P.O. Box 344 Southaven, MS. 38671.

Merry Christmas
Time To Toil
Colossians 1: 28, 29

Fund Raiser for Existing Needs

Christmas_Offering

We are so grateful for all of the funds that have been raised and given towards the plant thus far. What a blessing! It all has been critical to the function and life of Central, especially during the launch recently.

This year we attempted to raise $18,000 to be used for the time frame of our launch. A good amount was given and we have been utilizing it through the fall. However, we fell short of the goal. We had set it to be reached by October 1, 2014.
In lieu of this we are attempting to raise $5,000 that would make up for the shortfall on the previous goal. We would like to see this reached by December 31, 2014.

We used in house funds to complete renovation of the building when we assumed the property. There was simply no way that we could foresee what it would take to get into this particular building when we rented. We had to add two bathrooms, which involved extensive plumbing work that was costly. We also had to completely paint in and add a stage. With those costs, along with the purchase of everything that is in, any normal functioning building, we ended up funding more than expected. Our Sponsoring church Charity in Ward, AR, took up a very generous offering to help us with these matter. Between their offering and what our people gave, we had the money needed to get by on a very major project for a young plant!

Those unexpected costs did however take away from the complete launch plan. So we want to regain funds for that purpose. What will it be used for specifically? The funds we raise in this goal will help pay for final sound and media needs in the building. More importantly, it will also fund two major outreach efforts in December and January.

We know that churches, ministries and individuals are planning and organizing how they may give to mission efforts in this time of year. Please pray about presenting this to your church if you are a Pastor. A one-time special offering for this need would be a huge blessing. You may be a businessman or individual that loves to invest in church planting efforts. Consider what the Lord may have you to do towards this as a year-end gift.

Thank you for your consideration of this matter. Join us in praying that these funds can be raised.

Churches and Individuals can send offerings through the National BMAA office. The address is BMAA MISSIONS DEPARTMENT P.O. Box 878 Conway, AR 72033. When you send offerings to the Missions office put “Central Church Plant– Desoto County, MS” in the memo line.

You may also send offerings to our Sponsoring Church, Charity Baptist in Ward, AR. Their address is: P.O. Box 286 Ward, AR. 72176

You can send it directly to Central at our mailing address which is: P.O. Box 344 Southaven, MS. 38671.

Thank you in advance for your generosity and love for Central and church planting! Keep praying for us as we move forward here in Southaven!

TIME TO TOIL
Colossians 1:28, 29