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The Open Door


In a recent staff meeting, I asked our staff to report on their summer activities. They brought outstanding reports of strong growth among the various ministries of our convention. I am going to share some of the remarks with you because I think you will find these reports very encouraging.

Glen McCall, Men’s Ministries, thanked the staff for their prayers for the Mighty Men of God conference where seven men made professions of faith. He also reported that on June 25, 2011, in Perry, Georgia, there will be a “Hank Parker and Friends Outdoor Spectacular”, and on August 13, 2011, a “Great Passion for Godly Men” conference at North Metro First Baptist Church.

Marc Merritt, Evangelism, gave a report on ministry at the Sturgis Biker Rally this summer. Marc trained the volunteers for this huge event where the Gospel was shared over 7,000 times, and 1,147 people made professions of faith in Christ.

Doug Couch, Youth Ministries, reported that Impact was sold out with 1,100 people. There were 33 professions of faith. Overall, there were more than 5,000 involved in their summer ministries and many decisions were made at the SuperWow events.

Mike Flowers, Camp Kaleo, reported that they had 883 campers and no trips to the hospital!

Brian Blackburn, Norman Park Conference Center, reported that attendance was up this summer at Norman Park. For all of you campers out there, Brian also mentioned that they are adding an RV park to their campus.

Bill Wheeler, Toccoa Conference Center, reported having a very successful summer at the conference center in Toccoa. They added a 150-foot water slide at the lake and found it to be a huge success. A couple of weeks ago they held a new event, a Back-to-School Bash with twenty-five churches participating and four recorded professions of faith.

Jon Duncan, Music and Worship Ministries, reported an outstanding summer of music camps with 350 attendees and 10 professions of faith, 15 commitments to full-time ministry, and 25 rededications.

Benny Pate, Leadership Ministries, reported a very successful ministry this summer through five summer youth workers who received training and ministry assignments through Leadership Ministries.

Patrick Thompson, Sunday School/Open Group Ministries, told of the incredible results in training events for Vacation Bible School with a 40 percent increase in attendance. Many have reported their appreciation for the VBS materials that were especially effective in presenting the Gospel. He reported having gone to New York this summer with one of our churches to do VBS where they saw 12 professions of faith. He reminded all of us that approximately 20 percent of all Southern Baptist baptisms come from VBS. Last year approximately one million prospects were discovered through Vacation Bible School.

Dennis Rivera, Hispanic-South Georgia, reported a high attendance of 86 at the Hispanic Youth Camp with 13 professions of faith.

An Van Pham, Asian–Statewide, reported that they had eight professions of faith at the International Youth Camp.

Moses Valdes, Hispanic-North Georgia, told of an outstanding week at SuperWow for 62 Hispanic youth with several professions of faith.

Joe Graham, Collegiate Ministries, reported that we had 248 summer missionaries which was the largest number ever.

Mary Cox, Minister’s Wives Ministry, reported an active summer of ministry among our pastor’s wives and plans are underway for the Pastor’s Wives Retreat at Toccoa in January.

Jerry Baker, Intercultural Church Planting and Missions Ministry, spoke of the Conference of the Deaf to be held at Camp Tugalo at Toccoa Conference Center in September. He is also in the midst of making plans for a mission trip to do various ministries for the deaf in Moscow.

Mike Gravette, Mission Volunteers Ministries, reported on a very active summer at the Georgia Baptist Bible Institute in Mexico. The Institute has been active now for ten years and has grown in attendance from 20 to well over 100 students. The first ever graduation of students took place this summer. It was my privilege to be a part of that graduation ceremony and also to teach several sessions for the Bible Institute this summer.

Ricky Thrasher, Associational Missions, shared that through distribution of food provided by World Hunger Funds, there were 17,932 evangelistic contacts, 331 saved, and 51,723 people received food. All gifts received through this fund are used for food, 10 percent remains in GA, and the remainder goes to SBC who divides 80 percent to IMB and 20 percent to NAMB.

God is blessing the efforts of Georgia Baptists in many remarkable ways. Thank you for your prayers and for your involvement this summer as so many lives were touched. None of these ministries could have taken place without your faithful gifts through the Cooperative Program.