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Learning About Pacing

by Jamie Buckingham

When I was a child, our family made an annual pilgrimage to visit our "kissin' cousins" in the Bluegrass state of Kentucky. I loved the beaten biscuits and fried chicken for breakfast.

Most of all, I loved to watch the race horses training. Sometimes, early in the morning, we would drive out from where we were staying in Mount Sterling to a nearby farm. Sitting on the top rail of a white-washed fence, I could watch the high-stepping pacers prance around the harness-racing track.

They looked like they could run forever—their heads high, moving two legs on the same side of their bodies together in a two-beat gait. I was bothered when the jockey, sitting low between the wheels of the sulky, would reach out and flick his whip against the horse's flank.

One of my cousins told me it was not to inflict pain, but to give a signal to the horse. "The horse runs the race," she said, "but the jockey sets the pace. The horse just obeys."

Race horses—the kind that gallop—can run only short stretches. If they push beyond that, they die. Trotters and pacers, however, can keep going for long stretches.

Recently someone sent me a newspaper column written by an old acquaintance, the pastor of a huge Baptist church in Atlanta. He was resigning his church after 26 years—quitting the ministry publicly.

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Converged 21 Features 'Ministry Today' Guest Editor Bishop Harry Jackson

I just returned from attending Converge 21 USA conference at Regent University in Virginia Beach, Va. It was tremendously inspiring, and there were many powerful speakers there, including Bishop R. Jackson Jr., recent guest editor of Ministry Today.

I will write more soon about this important meeting, but click here to read more about Bishop Jackson and the social transformation issue of Ministry Today. 

I also encourage you to read the digital issue by clicking here to enjoy the very important articles in the social transformation edition. We are leading the way, in many ways, on the digital front, and I'm eager to get your feedback on the digital issue. Can you please write down your comments below?

 

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More Readers Pay Tribute to Jamie Buckingham

We continue to honor author/pastor Jamie Buckingham with a month-long tribute on the Ministry Today website. Before his untimely death in February 1992, Jamie served as editor of the magazine for several years.

If you missed it, we invite you to visit the special section by clicking here. There you can read some of Jamie's best "Last Word" columns for Charisma that were chosen by his family and the magazine's article on Jamie's passing.

Additionally, you can also check out the Jamie Buckingham Photo Gallery and the Jamie Buckingham Video Montage.

You can also read the comments below from more readers who pay tribute to Jamie with their own reflections about him.

Ray Pile, a pastor for 35 years in Fredonia, Kan., knew Jamie from reading his columns and books.

"I remember as a young pastor reading Daughter of Destiny," he recalled. "It really impacted my life. What Jamie wrote did not so much elevate and glorify Kathryn Kuhlman as much as it highlighted what God can do thorough a flawed but yielded vessel. I grew in my appreciation of God because of Jamie's book."

Steve Bowen, community outreach pastor for the Dayton Vineyard in Dayton, Ohio, also knew Jamie from reading his columns. "To me, one of the most impactful stories Jamie penned was when he went to a retreat with a group of guys," Bowen said. "He was wanting to show the model of servanthood, so decided to go and clean the toilet. While cleaning, he then decided to let the guys know about his humble act of service.

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Free Webinars For Churches

Brotherhood Mutual Insurance Company is offering two free webinars for churches later this month.

Set for March 19 from 4-5 p.m. EST, "Sexual Harassment Prevention for Ministry Staff" is designed to create policies in place to better equip ministry leaders to deal with situations and protect ministry employees. Kathleen Turpin, vice president of human resources for Brotherhood Mutual, will lead the webinar. She will discuss growing concerns, guidelines for prevention, policies and procedures, and how to handle an investigation if an incident occurs.

You can register for the "Sexual Harassment Prevention for Ministry Staff" webinar by clicking here.

Scheduled for March 22 from 4-5 p.m. EST, "Preventing Child Abuse in Your Ministry" will be led

by Turpin and John Hein, corporate counsel for Brotherhood Mutual. Hein has handled the legal aspects of a number of child abuse cases and regularly provides liability risk management consultations for ministries across the country.

Turpin and Hein will discuss awareness of increasing concerns of child abuse in ministries, developing child protection policies, employee and volunteer screening procedures, communicating with the congregation, and dealing with sex offenders in church.

You can register for the "Preventing Child Abuse in Your Ministry" webinar by clicking here.

Both webinars will not feature a phone line for participants to call in. Brotherhood Mutual Insurance Company recently formed a partnership to provide property and liability insurance services to Southern Baptist churches and affiliated ministries.

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Giving Thanks

by Jamie Buckingham

I stood in my den last August, stunned, watching my TV. There was Jim Bakker being half-dragged, half-led from his lawyer's office in Charlotte, N.C. His hair disheveled, his shirt pulled out at the waist. His face anguished in fear. His wrists in handcuffs. His ankles in leg irons. Federal marshalls put him into the backseat of a car where he collapsed.

He was later driven to a federal prison in Butner, N.C., and committed to the psychiatric wing for evaluation.

"What's your response?" the newspaper reporter wanted to know when she called me several hours later.

"A mixture of sadness and thanksgiving," I said. "I don't understand."

"I mean, there, but for the grace of God, go I."

I was sad for what Jim Bakker was going through, No Christian, regardless of our opinion of the PTL fiasco, has the right to feel smug about the Jim Bakker disaster.

Who among us can stand under the searchlight of scrutiny if it were turned on our hearts? Like Bakker's associate, Richard Dortch, we have no choice but to plead guilty.

The only difference between Jim Bakker and me is degrees. He got caught. So far, I haven't. No, I haven't done anything illegal. (Of course he didn't think he had either.) But I am immoral. If not in deed, certainly in thought.

Only by the grace of God have I not been hung up to dry in public—my sins exposed for the world to see. So I was sad. But also thankful. Deeply thankful I have been spared what Bakker and others have had to experience. The evening after the national news ran all those clips showing Jim Bakker's breakdown a local man called me on the phone. "Boy, what an act. They ought to give him an Oscar."

All I could say was, "Lord, be merciful to me, a sinner." I wrote Bakker a note that week. "Thank you for your years of faithful service. I thank God for people who found Christ through your ministry."

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