Montana Baptist E-News

The Montana Baptist E-News | May 2016

Church of the Rockies

My family moved to Montana in May of 2009. We believed God was calling us here to help start churches, and we have had the privilege of working with some fantastic people to help start three different churches over the seven years since our arrival. One church was started in Missoula, one in Stevensville, and one in Hamilton. But the story I would like to share with you today is very different from any church story I have ever been a part of.


In the fall of 2014, while happily pastoring our church plant on the south side of Hamilton, I received a phone call asking me if I would fill the pulpit at First Baptist Church of Hamilton for a few weeks. They were without a pastor, and we were worshipping on Sunday nights leaving me available for pulpit supply on Sunday mornings. I agreed to pitch in without hesitation. First Baptist Church had been our sponsoring church and a financial partner to help our church plant. I was grateful for the opportunity to give something back to them. I had no idea what God was about to do! More...

After spending some very intimate and prayerful time with the leadership at First Baptist Church, the suggestion was made that we should consider merging the two churches together. To be honest, my first response was an emphatic “No Thank You”. I think I even laughed the first time it was mentioned. I have had a lot of years of working with existing churches in the south, and I have repeatedly said I had absolutely no desire to try and revitalize an existing church ever again. I would rather plant a new work and deal with new believers than deal with professional church attenders and experienced position holders any day of the week and twice on Sunday! What I didn’t realize was that God was about to break my heart in a way that I never saw coming.


We finally agreed to have a temporary merger for a period of six months to test the waters. I know some would say that we weren’t showing much faith, but I was very concerned about the new believers that we were working with at our church plant. I didn’t want a negative experience with a traditionally minded religious institution to stifle their growth and distort their understanding of what the church was supposed to be and do. We had worked hard to emphasize fundamentals such as discipleship, personal evangelism, relational ministry, and genuine community. Throwing them into the mix with a church that was unhealthy threatened the simplistic idea of the church we were striving for. Thankfully, after the interim merger was completed the two congregations voted overwhelmingly to move forward with a permanent merging of the churches.


There were a lot of detractors when the news got out about the merger. A lot of people within our community said we were crazy for hooking up with First Baptist. The reputation in some circles was not favorable. There were also a lot of pastors who very willingly offered their opinions about how hard this journey would be, and how unlikely success was. Even some of our state leadership expressed opposition.


I am thankful to report to everyone that the merger has been an amazing adventure. We have had a tidal wave of enthusiasm from both congregations. Sure, we’ve had challenges, but all indications are that God is doing something extraordinary! We have seen many come to faith in Christ. One on one discipleship is taking root. We currently have three generations of disciples that are reproducing. Our children’s ministries have nearly tripled. We have begun a youth ministry with about a dozen students engaged. Women’s studies, men’s studies, fellowship events, community outreach; the list goes on and on. This summer, we are planning five weeks of VBS style children’s outreach in communities throughout western Montana. We are even looking for a youth pastor and worship pastor to join our team.


I’m not sure where this is all headed, but I sure am enjoying the ride!

MTSBC

Get Real East 2016 Recap

Adam Burt, Next-Gen Director, MTSBC

Get Real East Get Real East 2016 was held at Emmanuel Baptist Church in Billings.

“We had students saved at Get Real East and baptized the very next week!”


“This year’s speaker was the best we’ve ever had.”


“I got to watch my friend commit his life to God.”


These are just a few of the praise reports still coming in from Get Real East. With over 300 students from 30 different churches across Montana it’s clear that God is at work in our youth. Students were encouraged and challenged by session topics including “Commitment,” “Urgent Bold Witness” and “Lifeline” while youth workers examined how to “Overcome Fears in Leadership” and how to “Connect with Students.” More...

Church of the Rockies

Church of the Rockies

Check out the Get Real East recap video here.


You can also watch each session and the training here.


Make plans now to attend Get Real West on November 11-12 in Missoula. Stay tuned to www.mtsbc.org and our Facebook page for more details and promotional materials.


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Get Real East

Next-Gen Ministries Page

Kalispell – Easthaven Baptist Church has long been involved in helping establish and helping support churches in western Montana. Sending teams of workers, sending pastors and teachers, even seeking to start new churches in the area were all examples of the commitment of Easthaven and its long-time Pastor Daniel Lambert.


A new trend has emerged. Men from outside the area have been prompted by God to begin the work of starting churches in the Flathead area. They have approached Easthaven asking for partnership, sponsorship, and support. More...

Retiring to Church Plant

A few years ago a “retired” education administrator and minister from Arizona built a summer home in the community of Big Arm. Lee Engbretson realized that the Lord was burdening him and calling him to start a church where there was none. He was being prompted with his wife Sonya to sand-bird (opposite of snow-bird?). Lee knew that he needed a “sponsor” or sending church. [A sending church is an established church, which agrees to do whatever they can to help a church plant be successful.]


Engbretson and Frank Shelt, another semi-retired minister in the area, approached Pastor Daniel Lambert and asked for assistance. Engbretson said he just needed Easthaven’s blessing and covering so that they could get started. Easthaven agreed and West Shore Community Church was born in Big Arm.


Churches Start Churches

In Baptist life churches start churches. When a man believes that God is calling him to start a church, he needs to have a “sponsor” or “sending” church. That is a church that will pray for the new start, vouch for them, oversee their work, hold them accountable doctrinally and fiscally, and generally act like a mother church for the new congregation.


From LA (Lower Alabama) to Montana

In 2015 the trend continued when Chris Baker, his wife Kim, and sons Andrew and Samuel, who after serving several months with Church of the Rockies in Red Lodge, began touring areas in Montana where there was a known need for a new church. They found the town of Whitefish in the fall of 2014 and strongly sensed the call of God.


The native Alabama family of four moved in the winter of 2014-15 to Whitefish and promptly encountered more snow in their first month than they had experienced in their entire lives. Chris approached Daniel Lambert that winter about the possibility of Easthaven serving as a sending church for the new work in Whitefish. After several months of relationship building and discussing what that might look like, Easthaven has agreed to support what is now being referred to as the future Summit Life Church of Whitefish (www.summitlifewf.org).


From Joking Challenge to Serious Burden

Bruce Crockett from Mississippi and Kyle Rosas from Tennessee were longtime friends and partners in ministry. Bruce met representatives from Montana at an annual meeting of the Tennessee Baptist Convention where he was asked if he had ever considered church planting. He jokingly sent a text with a picture of a Montana church-planting flyer to his friend Kyle. Before they knew it, God was stirring them and burdening them for Montana.


Kyle’s Tennessee church actually had a mission trip planned to assist Lakeside Baptist with summer ministry in July, so Bruce and his wife Jessica flew to Montana to scout out Montana opportunities with Kyle and his wife Marisa. They met with Daniel Lambert during their visit to the area and shared their vision and burdens. They agreed to continue to pray and be in touch.


Fast forward to 2016. Bruce Crockett has been approved through the North American Mission Board to serve as a Church Planting Apprentice in the Kalispell area and Kyle Rosas has been approved to serve as a Church Planting Intern both beginning in September. They are actively building a partnership network that includes Easthaven Baptist as their sending church. You can keep up with their progress and plans through their website (planting-montana.com).


Kingdom Investment in the Flathead

Pastor Daniel Lambert has long been burdened with church starting in northwestern Montana. He even completed his doctoral project several years ago on church planting in the Flathead. Easthaven has significantly supported new works in the area in years past, but they weren’t necessarily planning to help start two churches in two years.


Sometimes the Lord’s timing takes us by surprise. Easthaven is committed to Kingdom growth in the Flathead and they know that they can’t reach everyone on their own. Supporting others, encouraging others, and developing young leaders are all efforts supporting Kingdom growth!


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Easthaven Baptist Church

West Shore Community Church

Summit Life Church

Planting Montana

Church Starting Team Page

NAMB

Labeling Porn 'Public Health Hazard' May Bring Change

Tom Strode, Baptist Press

Baptist Press Porn Article

WASHINGTON (BP) -- Labeling pornography a "public health hazard" may prove to be a game-changer.


That is the hope of the National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE) and its allies in the attempt to prevent exposure and addiction to pornography and to help those impacted by its use.


The effort to reverse the spread of sexually explicit material and its effects received a boost March 29, when Utah Gov. Gary Herbert signed a resolution saying pornography is establishing "a public health crisis." The first-of-its-kind resolution, which NCOSE helped craft and the state legislature approved unanimously, recognizes "the need for education, prevention, research, and policy change" to confront "the pornography epidemic." More...

See related story.


Utah was "exactly right" to say pornography is creating a "public health crisis," a crisis that exists inside, as well as outside, the church, said Southern Baptist ethicist Russell Moore.


"It's an epidemic not just in American culture but in evangelical churches too," said Moore, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission.


"Porn lies to men and women about love, sex and what it means to be a person," he told Baptist Press in written comments. "The consequences of this cultural epidemic are grievous, and the church should be on the forefront of proclaiming the grace and freedom found in the Gospel."


Evangelicals commonly consider porn usage sinful, but the latest effort to address the widespread phenomenon is focused on its effect on public well-being.


"What we hope to accomplish is to change the conversation regarding pornography," said Dani Bianculli, executive director of NCOSE's Law Center. She called adoption of the resolution "a really big step in that direction."


The porn epidemic requires a cooperative effort, she told Baptist Press.


Porn has become "ubiquitous and caused so much harm that it's really beyond the individual or the individual family to tackle alone," Bianculli said. "So we really want to hold broader influences accountable.


"We can draw attention to this problem, and hopefully we can get multiple people involved."


With the barely one-page resolution, the NCOSE provides six pages of footnotes to support its assertions about the harmfulness of porn. Among the effects cited in the resolution are:


-- Normalization of violence against women and children;

-- Contributing to the hyper-sexualization of teenagers and even preteens;

-- Potential biological addiction that leads to the viewing of "more shocking material;"

-- Reduced desire for marriage in young males and increased dissatisfaction in marriage.


While some skeptics of such assertions criticized Utah's action, a Boston-based sociologist defended the measure, saying the science supports the resolution.


"After 40 years of peer-reviewed research, scholars can say with confidence that porn is an industrial product that shapes how we think about gender, sexuality, relationships, intimacy, sexual violence and gender equality -- for the worse," said Gail Dines, professor of sociology at Wheelock College and author of "Pornland: How Porn Has Hijacked Our Sexuality," in an April 8 column for The Washington Post.


"By taking a health-focused view of porn and recognizing its radiating impact not only on consumers but also on society at large, Utah's resolution simply reflects the latest research."


Porn, Dines wrote, "is a threat to our public health."


A new survey shows smartphones and high-speed Internet have steered porn "into the cultural mainstream where it enjoys increasingly widespread acceptance," according to the Barna Group, which released the results of its polling April 6.


Among findings in the Barna survey:


-- 33 to 52 percent of Americans 13 and older view porn intentionally at least once a month.

-- 57 percent of 18 to 24 year olds use porn daily, weekly or monthly.

-- 47 percent of males 25 and older view porn intentionally, contrasted with 12 percent of females in that age range.


Passage of the non-binding resolution in Utah could help hold the representatives who voted for it accountable in the future, Bianculli said.


"Now they've signed on and say they do recognize this as a problem, so they should support legislation that would restrict it or maybe provide services for those who have been harmed by it," she told BP.


Though NCOSE has not drafted specific pieces of legislation in such an effort, Bianculli cited some possible proposals:


-- Effective Internet filters at libraries that receive state funds;

-- Curricula for schools to follow, as well as filters, for school-issued Internet devices;

-- Renewed enforcement of obscenity laws.


Five or six other states have contacted NCOSE to express in interest in adopting a resolution like the one approved by Utah, Bianculli said.


Tom Strode is the Washington bureau chief for Baptist Press, news service of the Southern Baptist Convention. View the original article here.


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Baptist Press

NAMB

End Times, Rapture and Antichrist Focus of New Study

Bob Smietana, Baptist Press

NASHVILLE (BP) -- Most Protestant pastors believe Jesus will return in the future. But few agree about the details of the apocalypse, a new study shows.


A third of America's Protestant pastors expect Christians to be raptured -- or taken up in the sky to meet Jesus -- as the end times begin. About half think a false messiah known as the Antichrist will appear sometime in the future. A surprising number think the Antichrist has already been here or isn't on his way at all.


Those are among the findings of a new telephone survey of 1,000 Protestant senior pastors and their views on end-times theology from Nashville-based LifeWay Research, sponsored by Charisma House Book Group. More...

End Times Survey 1 CLICK TO ENLARGE. Graphic by LifeWayResearch.com

End Times Survey 2 CLICK TO ENLARGE. Graphic by LifeWayResearch.com

End-times theology remains popular with churchgoers, says Scott McConnell, vice president of LifeWay Research. But it's not an easy topic to preach about. "Most people want their pastor to preach about the Book of Revelation and the end of the world," he said. "But that's a complicated task. Pastors and the scholars they cite often disagree about how the end times will unfold."


No consensus about the rapture

Researchers found widely varying views about three aspects of end-times theology:


-- The timing of the rapture (see 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 and Matthew 24)

-- The nature of the Antichrist (found in 1 John and 2 John and other texts)

-- The millennial kingdom, when Jesus reigns for 1,000 years (Revelation 20:1-10)


About a third (36 percent) of Protestant senior pastors believe in the kind of pre-tribulation rapture familiar to pop culture. In that scenario, Christians disappear at the start of the apocalypse. Those left behind suffer great trouble or tribulation.


One in 4 pastors say the rapture is not literal. Nearly 1 in 5 thinks the rapture happens after the tribulation (18 percent). A few believe the rapture already happened (1 percent) or that it will occur during the tribulation (4 percent) or before the wrath of God is poured out on the earth (4 percent). Others don't agree with any of these views (8 percent) or aren't sure what will happen (4 percent).


Mainline Protestant pastors (36 percent) are more likely to say the rapture isn't literal. Pastors who hold this view include about half of Lutherans (60 percent), Methodists (48 percent) and Presbyterian/Reformed pastors (49 percent). Few Baptist (6 percent) or Pentecostal pastors (less than 1 percent) hold that view.


Evangelicals overall (43 percent) are more likely to believe in a pre-tribulation rapture.


Education and age also play a role in how pastors view the rapture. Pastors with a master's degree (33 percent) or a doctorate (29 percent) are more likely to say the rapture isn't literal than those with no degree (6 percent) or a bachelor's (16 percent).


Sixty percent of pastors with no college degree believe in a pre-tribulation rapture. By contrast, 26 percent of pastors with a master's hold that view.


Pastors under 45 are least likely to believe in a pre-tribulation rapture (28 percent), compared to their older cohorts. They're also most likely (23 percent) to believe in a post-tribulation rapture.


Most expect the Antichrist, disagree on timing

LifeWay Research also found diverse views about the Antichrist.


About half (49 percent) say the Antichrist is a figure who will arise in the future. Others say there is no individual Antichrist (12 percent); that, he is a personification of evil (14 percent) or an institution (7 percent). Six percent say the Antichrist has already been here.


Baptists (75 percent) and Pentecostals (83 percent) are most likely to see a future Antichrist. Lutherans (29 percent), Methodists (28 percent) and Presbyterian/Reformed pastors (31 percent) are more likely to see the Antichrist as a personification of evil.


Education also played a role in how pastors see the Antichrist. Two-thirds of those with no college degree (68 percent) or a bachelor's (63 percent) believe in a future Antichrist figure. Fewer than half of those with a master's (39 percent) or a doctorate (49 percent) hold that view.


Premillennialism is commonplace

Pastors also disagree about the details of the millennial kingdom. About half (48 percent) believe in premillennialism, the view that the 1,000-year reign of Christ happens in the future. A third (31 percent) believe in amillennialism, the view that there's no 1,000-year reign -- instead Jesus already rules the hearts and minds of Christians.


One in 10 (11 percent) believe in postmillennialism -- the idea that the world will gradually become more Christian until Jesus returns.


Most pastors were split by denomination:


-- Baptists (75 percent) and Pentecostals (84 percent) are most likely to choose premillennialism.

-- Lutherans (71 percent) were most likely to choose amillennialism, followed by Presbyterian/Reformed pastors (52 percent) and Methodists (37 percent).

-- Methodists (27 percent) were more likely than other denominations to choose postmillennialism.


Education also played a role. Premillennialism is popular with those with no college (71 percent) or a bachelor's degree (63 percent).


Amillennialism is favored by those with a master's degree (41 percent). Billy Hallowell, author of the upcoming book "The Armageddon Code: One Journalist's Quest for End-Times Answers," said the research quantifies the prevalence of different end-times theories.


"I'm hoping the data opens a discussion about preachers' eschatological beliefs, why they hold those ideas, and how congregants and faith leaders can better understand the biblical texts," he said.


McConnell said it's not a bad thing that pastors disagree on the details of the apocalypse. Most agree on the main teachings about the second coming. The rest of the details, he noted, don't affect the day-to-day life of most Christians.


"The big picture of Revelation is clear -- Jesus returns, people must be ready, evil is defeated," he said. "With the rest of the details, there is room for disagreement."


Methodology: The phone survey of Protestant pastors was conducted Jan. 8-22, 2016. These questions were sponsored by Charisma House Book Group. The calling list was a random sample stratified by church size drawn from a list of all Protestant churches. Each interview was conducted with the senior pastor, minister or priest of the church called. Responses were weighted by region to more accurately reflect the population. The completed sample is 1,000 surveys. The sample provides 95 percent confidence that the sampling error does not exceed plus or minus 3.1 percent. Margins of error are higher in sub-groups. The full survey report is available at LifeWayResearch.com.


LifeWay Research is a Nashville-based, evangelical research firm that specializes in surveys about faith in culture and matters that affect the church.


Bob Smietana is senior writer for Facts & Trends magazine. See the original article here.


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Baptist Press