≡ Menu

New Revolving Loan Fund Manager

On March 21, 2016 the Revolving Loan Fund Trustees gave a unanimous vote of confidence in support of this Director’s selection of Bro. Vernon Newman to fill the position of Revolving Loan Fund Manager. The Manager position became vacant after the retirement of Bro. Lavell Lee in June 2015. During the regularly scheduled Revolving Loan Fund meeting, held at the Missions Office, I informed the Trustees that I had been discussing the position with Bro. Newman for the past year and that he had agreed to accept the position. I shared with them a complete Biography of Bro. Newman’s background and qualification, which is very extensive, but here is an excerpt:
Vernon L. Newman was born 23 December 1960 in Grenada, MS. He graduated from West Jones High School in Laurel, MS in 1978. He later attended Jones County Junior College, Ellisville, MS with an emphasis on business. He graduated in 1994 from William Carey University, Hattiesburg, MS with a BGS in (Business) and went on to acquire his MBA in Business in 1998 from William Carey University.
He and his wife, Tammie, married 34 years, have two grown children, Michael and Morgan.
He was saved when he was 6 years old, re-affirmed that salvation in 1981 and was baptized at Big Creek Missionary Baptist Church, Soso, MS.
He has served in various positions in his church and local and state associations including service as a Trustee and Clerk of the Revolving Loan Fund. In 2010 he was ordained as deacon at Big Creek Missionary Baptist Church and has served in an active capacity uninterrupted to the present.
Vernon Newman is presently a Lieutenant Colonel in the Mississippi National Guard with over 26 years of commissioned service. He will be retiring in August of 2016, which is when he will officially begin serving as the RLF Manager.
During his years of service, LTC Newman participated in numerous deployments including Desert Shield and Desert Storm in Saudi Arabia during the Gulf War from Nov ’90-April ‘91; and Operation Iraqi Freedom in Kuwait from Dec ’04-Jan ‘06; and again as a part of Operation Iraqi Freedom station at Taji, Iraq from May ’09-March ’10.
He was awarded with the following awards in recognition for his military service: Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal (w/ two (2) Oak Leaf Clusters), Army Commendation Medal (w/ one (1), Silver Oak Leaf Cluster & two (2) Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters), Army Achievement Medal (w/ one (1) Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster), Army Reserve Component Achievement Medal (3rd Award), National Defense Service Medal (w/ three (3) Bronze Service Stars), Southwest Asia Service Medal (w/ one (1) Bronze Service Star), Iraq Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expedition Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Korean Defense Service Medal, Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal, Armed Forces Reserve Medal (w/ Silver “X”) (w/ “M” Device) (w/ “3”) Army Service Ribbon
Overseas Service Ribbon (w/ “3”), Army Reserve Component Overseas Training Ribbon (w/ “3”)
Kuwait Liberation Medal, Mississippi Magnolia Medal (w/ three (3) Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters), Mississippi War Medal (w/ two (2) Bronze Service Stars), Mississippi Emergency Service Medal (w/one (1) Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster), Mississippi Service School Medal, Mississippi Longevity Medal (6th Award)
His background and training, as well as, his understanding of our associated work, the Revolving Loan Fund and Missions will serve to make him a tremendous asset to this department and the entire BMA of Mississippi.

{ 0 comments }

Missions Hot Spots In Mississippi

– by Larry Geraldson, Director of Missions for the BMA of Mississippi (Published in the Mississippi Baptist – March Issue)

“And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints. And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.” Rev 5:8-10
How do we define a “Hot Spot” when it comes to missions in Mississippi? Most often the determination of a good location to plant a church is not based on the propensity of people to accept the gospel, rather it is based on the percentage of unreached people in a specific area.
When referring to “people groups” missiologists differ on how they define the term. Some define “people groups” based on ethnicity, others, based on language. Still, others define them based on location. In Christendom, an unreached people group can refer to an ethnic group without an indigenous, self-propagating Christian church movement. Often we hear the term “Nations” used synonymous with “people groups,” primarily because Matt 28:19 says, “Go ye therefore and teach all nations…” You can see how we arrive at a definition of “people groups” based on ethnicity and location. But, this definition can inhibit us when setting goals for mission activity in the State of Mississippi.
A fixation on “Going…[to] all nations…” without a clear biblical understanding of the entirety of the “Great Commission” which includes our Lord’s instruction in Acts 1:8, “…and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” can result in a distorted or unbiblical view of missions, which results in poorly adapted missions goals.
A close look at Rev 5:9-10 reveals the redemptive plan upon which the commission was given, “…Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; ….” Rev 5:8-10
A measure of success in Missions cannot be based on just how many we send or how far we send them or how many we reach in far off locations, rather it must be measured on whether what we do is in accordance with the redemptive plan of our Lord and Savior, which is to redeem, by His blood, souls from every “…kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation;…” His redemptive plan is in perfect harmony with the commission that He gave us. Any view that missions done ‘near’ is proportionally less important than missions done ‘far’ is just not biblical.
Here is a variation of an illustration that I read recently that might help explain the challenges churches face in trying to maintain a balanced and biblical approach to missions. Suppose there were two ships sinking at the same time, and you were in charge of a team of ten rescuers in two large boats. You arrive on the scene of the first sinking ship and find yourself surrounded by hundreds of screaming people, some going down before your eyes, and some fighting over scraps of debris, others ready to jump into the water from the sinking ship. Several hundred yards farther away, the very same thing is happening to the people on the other ship. Your heart breaks for the dying people. You long to save as many as you can, so you cry out to your two crews to give every ounce of energy to pull as many as possible from the water. There are five rescuers in both boats and they are working with all their might. They are saving many. Then someone cries out from the other ship, “Come help us!” What would love do? Would love leave its labor and go, if, in fact, it is fully engaged saving people right where it is? Love puts no higher value on distant souls than on nearer souls. In fact, love might well reason, that in the time it would take to row across the several hundred yards, a net loss of total souls saved would result. It might also reason that the energy of the rescuers would be depleted, which would possibly result in a smaller number of individuals being saved.
It might be easy, from a human perspective, to assume that this illustration would enlighten us as to the plan of God concerning missions. It might be that it sounds reasonable that we should stay where we are and only focus on those around us. But, biblically, the work of missions demands that we divide our forces and launch out in hope of reaching those that are ‘far,’ as well as, with equal resources and energy continue to reach those that are ‘near.’ The paradox to this illustration is that missions ‘near’ has almost all but been defined out of the word “missions” and replaced with the word “ministry.”
When we see the world as proportionally a large place and the world around us, as a small place, our efforts, both financially and physically will reflect our view. But, when we remember that our God is bigger than everything; that He gave his commission to many churches, not to just one church, we remember that the world ‘near’ and ‘far’ is proportionally the same to God and His commission contains no proportional expectations. The key word used by Jesus in Matt. 28:18-20 is, “All.” He says, “All power…”; “…all nations…”; “…all things…”; “…al –way…”. The word means each and every, the whole. Obviously, our Lord’s emphasis is equally on each and every person in the whole wide world without regard to ethnicity, language, or location.
Sadly, what appears to be our view of missions ‘near,’ seems to suggest that we feel confident that those who are drowning are sufficiently capable of reaching safe haven on their own. After all, there are plenty of available ships waiting to receive them and they just need to get on board. Therefore, our interest often shifts away from these perishing souls to those who are father away. The thought is often propagated that if we just put more ships in those father away waters, the people will enthusiastically climb aboard. All of these notions shape how we define missions, were we place our emphasis, and how we allocate our energy and resources.
A view that success in missions is measured by some hypothetical formula which produces an allocation of resources into a tiered proportion that expands and grows naturally in size and significance the farther away we go from our location is erroneous. That is, unless we can support biblically that God’s expectation of missions’ activity, given in the Great Commission, implies a tiered, proportional outcome. No such evidence is found in Revelation 5:8-10.
The measure of success in missions is not how much we give and do ‘far’ vs ‘near.’ Rather, whether we have equally expended our energy and resources to reach people “…of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation;…” for this is what God has specifically instructed us to do. I know you agree with me, that a church should not boast when it is sending people and money around the world but is all but disengaged in reaching people around its own door steps. We must realize that obedience demands that every church must equally divide her resources and equally deploy her energy to do missions ‘near’ and ‘far.’
That word “kindred” in Revelation 5:9, is most often translated “tribe” and gives us the idea of a family connection or family unit.
I’ll never forget an experience I had during the Iraq war. I was traveling into an area that was very risky at best but I had a person traveling with me that told me not to worry. He told me he was the tribal leader of the town we were approaching. I must confess I was nervous because this town had a reputation of not being friendly. I expressed my concern to my friend, whose first name, by the way, just happened to be Osama but his last name was not Bin Laden. He continued to assure me that everything would be fine. Our first stop was a small store which displayed as its decor AK47’s , bandoleers of ammo, grenades and various other things one would expect to find in a small convenience store in some middle eastern towns. The look on the store owner’s face when I walked in made my stomach tighten. We stayed in the town for a few hours and just as Osama had predicted, everyone treated me with extreme, though reluctant, hospitality. He told me that His father was the former tribal leader of this town and when he died, Osama had assumed his role.
My experience taught me a tremendous lesson about relationships within a tribe. I witnessed to Osama and his brother-in-law. Just think of the impact to that entire tribe if just one of these guys came to Christ. The same is true today of each household. I may be guilty of reading into the scriptures but I can’t help but think that as it relates to this word “kindred,” our Lord intended for us to share the gospel with the hope of winning someone in every household. When Paul and Silas shared the gospel with the Philippian Jailor, it is clear they expected his conversion to influence the entire household. Acts 16: 31-33 “And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house. And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway.”
That said, I confess that it is difficult to persuade people that there are, in fact, “unreached” people in Mississippi who need to be reached with the gospel. Most Mississippians cannot fathom the thought that approximates that 1.4 million (some estimate the number to be more than 2 million) people in the State of Mississippi are unreached. It is hard to get them to wrap their minds around the fact that 67% of households in Mississippi do not have even one born again believer.
If a church is to measure her success in carrying out the Great Commission, I suggest that she measure that success on the basis of her obedience to carry out, in a balanced way the spread of the gospel and the making of disciples in every, “…kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation;…”
I would define a “Missions Hot Spot in Mississippi” as a location where a large percentage of the households are unreached. Here a few Missions “Hot Spots” in Mississippi. This is based on the high percentage of households that are unreached.
Oxford – Approximately 70.72% of households are unreached
Hattiesburg – Approximately 71.12% of households are unreached
Ridgeland – Approximately 72.14% of households are unreached
North Jackson – Approximately 71.51% of households are unreached
Edwards – Approximately 71.27% of households are unreached
Carthage – Approximately 71.15% of households are unreached
Starkville – Approximately 73.75% of households are unreached
This information is specific to individual zip codes. If you would like to know the percentage of households which are unreached in your zip code area, email me at missions@bmams.org and I will send you the information. God help us to reach all the people of Mississippi with the gospel.

{ 0 comments }

Missionary Meeting – Feb 2016

Recently, some of our church planters gathered at the Missions Office in Laurel. The meeting was opened with a wonderful devotional thought presented by Bro. Harold Floyd. Bro. Floyd also serves as one of the committeemen on the Missions Committee. His devotional was timely and encouraging to all. We enjoyed a wonderful time of sharing and fellowship, as well as, prayer and Bible study. I am so grateful to have the opportunity to work with such a fine group of men. Here are a few of the highlights of our meeting:
Clinton
Bro. Danny Bartlett shared that they received approval from the Architectural Committee on their plans. Now they move to a hearing of the Zoning Committee and then, to a vote by the Clinton City Council. Please pray that the city will approve their plans so that we can purchase the subject property and get started building. He also shared a story of a lady he led to the Lord, recently.
Caledonia
Bro. Bob Burch shared that Caledonia has welcomed 13 additions, recently. He said that Caledonia was going to have their first Vacation Bible School this year. Mrs. Vicki Bruce will be directing it. He said they will be welcoming youth groups or churches who would like to come and participate as a mission project. This would be a wonderful opportunity for a church to invest in missions and at the same time get good training for their youth. If you are interested in helping, please contact Bro. Burch at 601-323-2795.
South Forrest
On June 9-11 South Forrest Baptist Mission will host Evangelism Explosion Training taught by Dr. Phillip Attebery, Dean of the BMA of America Theological Seminary. Missionary Sidney Farmer is coordinating this training and encourages all who might be interested, to contact him for early sign up at 601-596-1004. Bro. Farmer said that they will be offering training for young people from 4th grade and up.
Batesville
Dr. Kenneth Pollock shared about the excitement of the new mission work between Oxford and Batesville. He said that last Sunday they had an attendance of 18 which was a record for this new mission which has only been officially holding services for a few weeks.
Diamondhead
Bro. Wesley Martin shared about their recent outreach event in which they passed out Bibles to parade attenders in Diamondhead. Bro. Wesley and his wife, Holley are expecting their third child and are also making plans to sale their home and purchase in the Diamondhead community. Please keep them in your prayers.
Sumrall
Bro. Phillip Burns shared a good report of progress of discipling folks. Most of the folks being discipled are new believers. In addition to this, they continue their search for land in the Sumrall area.
Burnsville
Bro. Elliott shared how some of his folks are stepping up to the challenge of soul winning, while others are eagerly asking to be trained. They are still trying to finish some work on their parking lot.

{ 0 comments }

Way, Truth and Life in Ripley called for the ordination of two men, Bro. Byron Morales and Humberto Rogalado. A presbytery was organized and these two men were ordained to the gospel ministry.  Also, Bro. Luis Huchin was licensed to the gospel ministry.  Bro. Morales will serve as the Co-Pastor of Way, Truth & Life at Ripley while Bro Rogalado will continue to serve as the Missionary Pastor at Way, Truth & Life at Tupelo.  Bro. Huchin is the Missionary Pastor at Way, Truth & Life in Oxford, MS.
The presbytery was made up of Matt Hudson, Moderator; Wexford Parmer, Clerk, and Larry Geraldson; Michel Height; Elvis Garcia; and Estuardo Marroquin.

{ 0 comments }

New Mission Launched Between Oxford and Batesfield

A new mission project has been launched under the leadership of Dr. Kenneth Pollock.  Dr. Pollock was approved by the Missionary Committee to serve as the State Missionary.  Dr. Pollock is endorsed by First Baptist Church of Mantachie, Dr. John Adams, Pastor.

{ 0 comments }

South Forrest Dedicates New Building

South Forrest has completed the construction of their new sanctuary.  As these photos indicate, they met for a special day of worship and dedication to offer the building to the Lord.

{ 0 comments }

BMA of Mississippi Partners with BMA of America

10985664_1567589803503933_4108158150134191416_nAt the Mid-year meeting of the BMA of Mississippi, the BMA of Mississippi approved a recommendation from the Missionary Committee to partner with the BMA of America in the support of Missionary Anders Lee. Bro. Lee is planting a church (Central) in Southaven, MS.

{ 0 comments }

Bro. Lavell Lee, Retires

Bro. Lavell Lee, Manager of the BMA of Mississippi Revolving Loan Fund has retired. Bro. Lee served for 7 years as the Manager of the RLF. He is still available to serve in ministry as the Lord leads.  
     

{ 0 comments }