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 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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
by Jamie Buckingham
Well, it finally happened. I was on the platform during the early service that Sunday morning. Although I was not scheduled to preach, I was directing the service, Jimmy Smith, our soloist, was singing from the piano. It was powerful, moving.
"I will pour water on him that is thirsty...." As he finished, I turned to the guest preacher who was seated beside me. "I'm going to minister to the people before you preach," I whispered.
He nodded. I picked up the wireless microphone and walked to the pulpit just as the music finished. "Please bow your heads and close your eyes," I said.
Jimmy caught the mood of the moment and continued to play softly. I talked for a few seconds about the water of the Holy Spirit, which softens the parched earth of our lives. I asked the people to let Him come into their lives. Jimmy sang another stanza. Some of the people slipped to their knees.
I closed by asking them to receive the seed of the Word, which the preacher was about to sow in their lives. After the service, the guest preacher commented, "That was great. I wish you could repeat it just the same way at the second service."
I swelled a little, It was a good word. Fresh. Spontaneous. I nodded. If a thing is good for one group, why not for all?
In the second service, before a much larger crowd, Jimmy sang the same song. But something was different. The people were not responding as the first group had. But my course was set.
Once again I picked up the microphone and stepped to the pulpit. With solemn drama I called the people to prayer. My own eyes were closed. My head bowed. I waited, piously, through the dramatic pause.