Thursday, May 31, 2012

New Partnership with LOGOS

In an effort to provide local churches with organizational software that will help them manage membership, financial contributions, and accounting practices, Churchnet has partnered with LOGOS Management Software, Inc., a leading church management software company based out of Ann Arbor, MI.

The partnership was formed in response to the need to provide streamlined, affordable church management for the back-office operations of the church. LOGOS' robust reporting capabilities offer direct, tangible benefits to ministry, which are attractive to convention and church leaders. Churches associated with Churchnet (the doing-business name of the Baptist General Convention of Missouri) can find more information about LOGOS by clicking on the "LOGOS - Database Software" tab on Churchnet's website (www.thechurchnet.org). Special pricing is available to churches as a result of this partnership.

"We seek to provide valuable resources to the local churches," said Jim Hill, Churchnet's Executive Director. "We needed a top-notch solution from a leading management software provider we knew would help our local church staff to lead well with easily accessible information."

LOGOS exists to streamline the processes of the church by providing an intuitive system to store the congregation's information. That information becomes useful through reports, searches, a customizable quick access toolbar providing shortcuts for commonly used routines, and more.

"We are very excited about the newly formed partnership," said Janie Watanabe, director of Protestant sales for LOGOS. "This partnership allows us to deliver the best possible technological ministry management and accounting software to every ministry the Baptist General Convention of Missouri serves."

LOGOS Management Software, LLC began in 1980 and has proven its commitment to meet the changing needs of churches with great service, reliable and easy-to-use products, and regular enhancements that empower ministries with current technology. Logos presently serves over 12,000 churches with products that track membership, attendance, volunteers, scheduling, pledges, online giving, small groups, child check-in, fund accounting, and more.

Churchnet is excited to partner with LOGOS to offer this service to churches as they seek to share hope with their communities.

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MO Pastor has Hand in Award-Winning Documentaries

Keith Herron, pastor of Holmeswood Baptist Church in Kansas City, sits on the board of directors of the Nashville-based Baptist Center for Ethics whose division, EthicsDaily.com, was recently honored with two Telly Awards for its religious documentaries. "Gospel Without Borders" and "Sacred Texts, Social Duty," earned a Silver and Bronze Telly, respectively.

"Gospel Without Borders" focuses on faith and immigration and highlights stories in Arizona, Arkansas, North Carolina, Alabama and Iowa. It has been screened across the country and distributed in bulk by Catholic and Methodist bishops.

"Sacred Texts, Social Duty" is an hour-long documentary that explores how Jewish, Christian and Muslim people of faith read their sacred texts and what they say morally about taxation.

"There's a great need for goodwill Christians to offer a serious response to the world informed by the traditions of their faith," said Herron, who has been pastor at Holmeswood since 2001. "The documentaries produced by EthicsDaily.com tackle some of the thorniest issues of our day."

"These resources are valuable for anyone who lives at the intersection of public policy and the needs of the community," he added.

The Telly Awards were founded in 1978 by David E. Carter, a Clio and Emmy winner with a career spanning TV production, advertising, and book publishing. Telly Awards honor film and video productions, web commercials, and TV programs.

Churchnet has partnered with EthicsDaily.com in several ways, including helping to underwrite the documentaries "Always ... Therefore: The Church's Challenge of Global Poverty" and "Beneath the Skin: Baptists and Racism" (which won the Best Documentary award at the International Black Film Festival of Nashville in 2008).

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Thursday, May 17, 2012

Share Hope is Our Mission!

by Jim Hill

We live in the world where it is hard to have hope! Much of the world today has given up hope. Many people live with a type of cynicism, discouragement, and hopelessness that robs them the joys of life. Many have never really known hope. For some all they have known is poverty, war, racism, and disease. Where is their hope? Others have lost or given up the hope they once knew because of frustration, failures, and their seeming inability to change their world. They no longer believe things can change.

Even much of the church today struggles to live with the passion and vitality of the Christian Hope. Years of conflict and decline on the part of many of our churches have robbed many of their passion and hope. We find ourselves struggling so hard to encourage believers that we find no energy to share our hope with a hopeless world. Churchnet is beginning the third year of a five-year emphasis called Share Hope. The goal of the Share Hope five-year emphasis is to encourage, equip and assist churches as they mobilize their members to share the hope they have found in Christ. Our goal is help churches share hope through three specific strategies.

The first strategy is Relational Evangelism. Relational evangelism focuses on equipping and encouraging Christians to share their faith with friends and neighbors. It is simply the process of building genuine friendships with people who do not know Christ and sharing how Christ has changed our lives. The problem for many Christians is the longer they are members of our churches the fewer significant relationships they have with people who are not Christians. People accused Jesus of being a friend of sinners. What a wonderful thing it would be to say of a congregation today… these people are friends of sinners.

The second strategy is Congregational Ministry. Congregational ministry is defined as serving and meeting the needs of individuals and families in their communities. If your community is like the one where I live, the needs probably seem overwhelming. The economic conditions of the past few years have left many individuals and families struggling. Our church's benevolence ministry never seems to have the resources to respond to the needs. There are people who need help with the basic life necessities of food, shelter, transportation, and medical care. Sometimes the needs go well beyond these basics to emotional and relational problems. I am reminded of the often quoted phrase, people will not care about our message unless they know we care about them. Our challenge today is to involve our entire congregations in ministry that will touch lives.

The third strategy is Community Advocacy. Community advocacy is speaking and acting on behalf of the poor and marginalized in their communities. My experience of our Baptist tradition is that we are much better ministering to those in need than we are in working on the systemic problems in our communities. We may respond to the hungry by feeding the poor, but we seldom get involved in working on the systems that keep people trapped in poverty. Maybe we could accept the prophetic role which calls us to speak and act for justice in our communities.

The Christian life is all about "hope." One of the definitions of "hope" is a person or thing in which expectations are centered. Jesus Christ is our Hope! Peter wrote in 1 Peter 1:3: Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead… If we show up to share the gospel, minister to hurting people, and speak for those who have no voice, God will use us to give hope, save lives and change our world. We would love to partner with your church as you seek to share hope in your community. Sharing hope is our mission!


You can contact Jim Hill, Churchnet Executive Director, at (888) 420-2426, ext. 705 or jimhill@thechurchnet.org

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Thursday, May 3, 2012

A Great Weekend

by Gary Snowden

I had the enjoyable experience last month of traveling to St. Louis to participate in Churchnet’s annual meeting, held at Fee Fee Baptist Church. Fee Fee has the distinction of being the oldest Protestant church west of the Mississippi River, having originally been founded in 1807. We didn’t have huge crowds present but the sessions were all great, beginning with the missions banquet on Friday evening. Three members of a team from Parkade Baptist Church in Columbia, and my colleague, Verlyn Bergen, shared about their recent experiences of traveling to Quetzaltenango, Guatemala to conduct dental clinics and a variety of other outreach efforts with two different congregations. They also had a chance to visit the Tabitha Ministry in Guatemala City.

Later that evening we were blessed with some great music by the Missouri Baptist University Chorale and a bell choir from MBU as well. John Upton, president of the Baptist World Alliance, brought an outstanding message on the theme of this year’s gathering: “Share Hope: The Journey Continues.”

Saturday morning we attended to some brief business before moving to a time of breakout sessions. I had the privilege of facilitating a couple of sessions on Cowboy Churches. Those leading the session were Tommy Goode, pastor of the I-70 Cowboy Church in Sweet Springs, and Steve Reed, a friend who has been engaged in cowboy church ministry for a number of years in Guatemala and more recently in the adjoining countries of Honduras and El Salvador as well. When Steve isn’t leading teams to Central America, he’s engaged in planting churches in the Kansas City metro area. He also leads a ministry in the jungle areas of Guatemala among the Kekchi. He jokes that he’s still playing cowboys and Indians. Both Tommy and Steve did a great job of sharing stories and strategies about their ministries among cowboys.

It was great to get to fellowship with many friends engaged in ministry across Missouri during the weekend.


This piece is adapted from Gary’s blog: www.RadReformFan.blogspot.com. You can contact Gary Snowden, Churchnet Missions Mobilizaiton Team Leader, at (888) 420-2426, ext. 709 or gsnowden@thechurchnet.org

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