NBTS Lecture: Rev. Dr. Katie Day

New Brunswick Theological Seminary announces the upcoming Warren Dennis Lecture on Saturday, May 6 (10:00 am - 2:00 pm), which will focus on ministry in the metro-urban context. The keynote speaker is Rev. Dr. Katie Day, sociologist of religion at Lutheran Theological Seminary in Philadelphia.  She will be discussing the issues that clergy are presented with as they seek to engage in ministry in this context. In addition, we will have representatives to appear on a panel discussion addressing issues of healthcare access, hunger, poverty, record expungement, etc. They will also have tables to share information with clergy about their agencies.

Scandalous Love

A LENTEN MEDITATION

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The notion of royalty these days no longer just means monarchy. They also refer to celebrities of our day who get the "royal" treatment. We have celebrities in the secular world. We also have celebrities in the religious world. In whatever stripe they come, the usual signs of power and influence in the world unmistakably accompany them - pomp, pageantry, wealth, fame, luxury, and the adulation of many.

But nowhere else do the ways of the world and ways of Jesus diverge than on the issue of power.

Lent has essentially disciplined us to follow the gospel story of Jesus' ministry and teachings that all lead to his entry into Jerusalem  - his confrontation with the religious powers who were  in cahoots with imperial Rome, the Last Supper, the lonely agony in the garden of Gethsemane, the betrayal by Judas, the denial of Peter, the humiliation before Herod and Pilate, and the shouts of the crowds for his death, "crucify him!"

"I am among you as one who serves", Jesus said to his disciples during the last Passover meal they were to share together on earth. These words remain to be antithetical to the world's understanding of power, and continue to be the most challenging gospel imperative that even the church finds difficult to appropriate. Jesus' final entry into Jerusalem before his crucifixion and death was to proclaim the scandalous love of God, a scandalous kind of power - one made perfect in weakness.

What are the implications of this scandalous love for us today? God's love in Christ is not passive love. It is active, irrepressible love because it always seeks the other. Its cause is to bring back the alienated and the estranged. This is why that the public face of love is always justice, because its very nature rights every wrong. And herein lies the power of love - in its radical other-centredness.

What are the implications of this scandalous love to the church today? What did Jesus confront and resist?

“QUALITY OVER QUANTITY”

An invitation from the Men of ABCOPAD to the Men of ABCNJ

We are so glad that 161 registered participants came to our 62nd Annual Retreat of the American Baptist Men of PA and DE in 2016, one of the longest on-going Baptist events in our country. We also had many new men and young men to our retreat this year. It was great to see new churches from all across our region, like the Philadelphia area and the western side of PA.

Our organization has been going through a refocusing, a remolding, and a refining process as we truly seek “QUALITY OVER QUANTITY”! We believe so strongly that, with God's help, we are forging servants for Christ's Kingdom as we grow in our relationship with Him and each other to reach out to change lives for Jesus' sake. Yes, we would love to have many more men come to our retreat. 

But, most of all, our desire is to have the best quality conference that meets and challenges the needs of men in this 21st Century. 

We would love to see our brothers and Pastors in the American Baptist Churches of New Jersey take advantage of this great opportunity as we host retreat number 63 for men and young men at Shippensburg University, July 28 - 30, 2017. Please read the attached information and prayerfully consider coming this year. 

 

Raising Up The Next Generation

Raising Up The Next Generation

A friend recently asked us: “What do you do as missionaries?” Great question! Since you may be wondering the same thing, here’s our quick answer: Right now, you are partners with us in equipping young Bible school students at a refugee camp, providing more accessible theological education to oral learners through brand new initiatives in two countries, helping Christian workers use business tools to develop innovative and sustainable solutions to pressing social problems, and mentoring the next generation of cross-cultural mission workers. 

Church Officers and Leaders Training (COAL)

We had an outstanding COAL (Church Officer and Leaders) training in the North! Excellent preaching and presentation on Millennials in Ministry by our plenary speaker Rev. Dr. Brianna Parker. Dr. Parker gave us some powerful, challenging, and on target insights and teaching about Millennials.

Participants were also challenged by the excellent presentations from all our five focus training sessions. Our Focus Training Leaders prepared our participants to strengthen their leadership capacities in order to serve with excellence in their churches and their local communities.

But if you missed COAL North, you still have another opportunity to be prepared and strengthen to serve!  COAL South will be held this coming Saturday, March 11 at First Baptist Church of Hightstown. Our speaker will be Mr. Ngwedla Paul Msiza, President of the Baptist World Alliance, who will be speaking and teaching on Justice and the Gospel!

Our focus training opportunities will include three new ones: Church Budgeting, Becoming a Station of Hope, and Cross-cultural Leadership.  Plus an encore presentation from three of our workshops held at COAL North: Creative Bible Studies and New Church Development Panels: When the New is Not So New and A Welcoming Space.

Go to our link https://www.abcnj.net/coal-2017/introduction/ and register today!  We can’t wait to see you!

What's On Your Lent Menu?

A few days ago three of us in the region office staff went to get a sandwich for lunch at the neighboring Primo's Hoagie Shop. Placed prominently up front next to cashier's box was this  "Lent Menu", obviously made with non-meat products - hearkening to the popular tradition of fasting during Lent which has evolved to simply mean "depriving" one's self of certain enjoyable food - in this case, meat products. And to a certain degree, Lent in America has taken on a cartoonish visage. This morning the news showed a clip of Alec Baldwin who was a guest of Jimmy Kimmel the night before, having a jovial conversation about Lent. It turns out that both are Catholics. Asked what he is giving up for Lent, Baldwin responded, to the laughter of the audience, that he once tried to give up cursing, being the foul-mouthed person that he claims to be.

What does Lent mean to you? Is it fasting from your favorite food? Is it giving up momentarily and lightheartedly a peculiar habit?

The gospel writers made a theological connection between the wilderness wandering of the Hebrew slaves, and Jesus' sojourn in the wilderness following his baptism. Whether the number 40 is an actual mathematical number is not the main point of the assertion. Rather, the salient theological basis of the connection is that as God's incarnate Son, Jesus is the "New Israel", God's final covenant, and the inner unity of the Old Testament and the New Testament is celebrated. 

We are once again in the season of Lent, the 40-day period (Quadragesima in Latin; and Cuaresma in Spanish) in the Christian liturgical calendar which began on Ash Wednesday and ends the day before Easter Sunday. Yet this very sacred season in Christianity has almost been subsumed in our predominantly consumerist, individualistic and secularized religion of American popular culture. 

The sanctuary of The Riverside Church in New York City

The sanctuary of The Riverside Church in New York City

The Lenten season is a period when the Christian believer is invited back to enter the "sanctuary" of God's presence, the pathway of Jesus - to once again walk in his footsteps, that in so doing we are renewed and reanchored in this lifetime journey of being formed ever closer into the image of Christ. Lent is a time of disciplined spiritual reflection, spiritual self-emptying, repentance and atonement as preparation to commemorate the sacrificial and loving self-giving of God through Jesus and his cross. It is a time to rededicate ourselves to the never-ending ethical imperative of the disciple to be a living and faithful example of whom we follow. 

These words from the prophet Amos instruct us:

"I hate, I despise your festivals, and I take no delight in your solemn assemblies. Even though you offer me your burnt offerings, I will not accept them; and the offerings of well-being of your fatted animals I will not look upon. Take away from me the noise of your songs; I will not listen to the melody of your harps. But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an everflowing stream." Amos 5: 21-24 (NRSV) 

New Hope East Orange is Seeking for a Senior Pastor

New Hope Baptist Church, located in a predominately African American neighborhood, is prayerfully seeking to fulfill the position of our beloved retiring Senior Pastor, after 23 years of dedicated service.  Our church has grown tremendously with three Sunday services, 7 associate ministers and numerous ministries to serve the needs of our 1500+ members and the surrounding community.  We are affiliated with the American Baptist Churches of New Jersey, a missional region serving Jesus throughout our state and beyond.  It is expected that our ideal, spirit-filled and visionary Senior Pastor will have the enthusiasm required to maintain and/or exceed our momentum in the church’s spiritual growth. The most basic expectation is that a pastor is a spiritual person with a strong commitment to Jesus Christ.  From which all ministry flows. 

Minimum requirements for all candidates

o   Must be an ordained and licensed minister with at least 5 years of Baptist Church ministerial experiences of serving a church of 1000 members or more.  The candidate must have documented supporting credentials.

o   The ideal candidate must have a Bachelor’s from an accredited college or university with documented study in a theological seminary at a minimum.  A theological level Master’s Degree or Higher is preferred.

Personal Spirituality

o   An intentional, daily devotional experience.

o   Demonstrate an intentional plan for spiritual growth.

o   Must be a humble, visionary leader who embraces change that supports the church’smission and goals

o   Be totally committed to uplifting humanity through the proclamation of the glorious gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. Be above reproach in personal character and financial standards both inside and outside the church

Family Life

o   Recognize the influence of a supportive family as a significant impact in the success of ministry.

 Preaching/Worship

o   The proclamation of God’s Word, centered in Jesus Christ, should be the main focus.

o   Maintain doctrinal soundness in all sermons.

o   Prepare and preach biblically based inspirational sermons, provide biblically based teaching during mid-weekly bible study.

o   Deliver sermons in an interesting, creative and motivating manner.

o   Spend adequate study and preparation time each week to ensure an appropriate worship experience.

 Pastoral Services

o   Maintain a regular and systematic program of member visitation both by the pastor and through people who care and have skills to visit in homes.

o   Maintain scheduled and published office hours.

o   Provide spiritual counseling and/or referral for members’ crisis situations.

o   Be available for crisis situations as needed.

o   Develop a plan, in consultation with the church leadership, for reclaiming inactive members.

o   Process redemptive discipline following Church Manual guidelines.

o   Nurture youth involvement and assimilation in the church.

o   Maintain sensitivity to groups with special needs, e.g. elderly, disabled, single parents.

o   Develop, organize and equip members to make visitations and evangelize to the unsaved.

o   Must encourage stewardship, missions support and tithing.

Church Growth

A personal involvement in soul winning will model a passion for people, not because of being paid for a job, but out of love for Christ.

o   Provide leadership toward church growth.

o   Involve members in spiritual gifts identification, equipping, training, organizing, and discipline, including an on-going program of personal Bible studies.

o   Keep in touch with the congregation, watching the trends and understanding the reasons for significant changes.

o   Maintain a current, active interest list.

o   Work collaboratively with the deacons, trustees, deaconess, ministry chairs and congregation.  Plan, design and organize ongoing leadership training opportunities.

o   Must aspire to establish, foster and maintain a strong sense of community.

o   Oversee the development of new and maintenance of existing community outreach programs as prescribed in Matthew 25:35-36.

Administration

o   Lead the church in establishing short term and long-range objectives.

o   Plan a yearly calendar including boards, programs and other important events.

o   Work in harmony with the actions of the Joint board.

o   Must possess effective leadership, administrative, organizational and general/financial managerial skills.

·      Submission Requirements

Prospective, interested and qualified candidates must submit the following by May 1, 2017.

o   Updated detailed résumé that includes a summary of relevant ministry, professional and educational experiences with cover letter.

o   Completion of attached New Hope Baptist Church questionnaire.

o   DVD of service in which you have preached.

o   Affiliated with one of the following The North Jersey Missionary Baptist Association; General Baptist Association; The American Baptist Church, USA or a similar organization.

Upon receipt and review of the complete requested information, the Pastoral Search Committee will review submissions and notify candidates of the next steps.

Please submit require materials to:    

Sister Michelle Softley, Chairman, Pastoral Search Committee

P. O. Box 528, Bloomfield, NJ 07003

Senior Pastor Vacancy Questionnaire

All interested individuals MUST complete this questionnaire in order to be considered for the position of Senior Pastor of New Hope Baptist Church of East Orange.  The Questionnaire must be mailed with the résumé and other supporting documentation to the address provided by May 1, 2017.

Your detailed and concise responses will introduce you to the Pastoral Search Committee. Clarity is extremely important. 

1.     Explain when and how you were called to the ministry.

2.     Describe your style and philosophy of preaching.

3.     Why are you considering a call to a new church?

4.     How will you enhance the church membership, finances and Christian Education?

How will you enhance the community as Senior Pastor of New Hope?

You Can Make a Difference! Be a Foster or Adoptive Parent

You Can Make a Difference! Be a Foster or Adoptive Parent

Right now, there are thousands of New Jersey Adolescents and children with medical needs who need the love, warmth, and guidance of a family. Many families are welcoming these children into their homes and hearts to provide safety, stability and love. These wonderful people are just like YOU!

The thumbnail photo is used under the Creative Common Attribution License – https://www.flickr.com/photos/skyseeker/1345190119/

An Afternoon of Friendship – Jews, Baptists, and the Holocaust

An Afternoon of Friendship – Jews, Baptists, and the Holocaust

On Sunday, February 12, Temple Beth Or with Rabbi Robert Rubin, and Osbornville Baptist Church with pastor Fred Daugherty hosted Dr. Lee Spitzer as he made a presentation of his research on Baptists response to Hitler, the Holocaust and the Jews titled “Baptists, Jews and the Holocaust….The Hand of Sincere Friendship”.