Dear Church Family,
I am reminded today that I have much to be thankful for as I am sure you do too. First, and foremost, I am thankful for your support of CrossNet Baptist Network and to the spreading of the Gospel to the ends of the earth. At this writing, I am unpacking from the recent mission trip to Nigeria and Kenya, Africa, and repacking for the next mission trip to Istanbul, Turkey and Nepal. While in Nigeria and Kenya, our team conducted church leadership meetings and crusades. It was my privilege to be one of the guest speakers to the ministers in the leadership meeting. I ask for your continued prayers regarding both the lost peoples of these areas and for the minsters there.
As to the mission ahead in Istanbul, Turkey and Nepal, I will be traveling with four familiar brothers: Jim Gibson, J. R. Fulbright, Scott Boring (all of First Baptist Cleveland), and Mark Cameron of Samples Memorial. Remember us in your prayers that we may be highly successful on this trip. May God continue to bless the response to the Great Commission through your faithful prayers and gifts that further His Kingdom work! You are indeed a great partner in the Gospel.
At this writing, CrossNet Baptist Network has disaster relief teams in Port St. Joe, Florida, based out of their First Baptist Church. This area took a direct hit from Hurricane Michael and the result was heavily damaged homes, businesses, and churches. Our most seasoned volunteers have stated that this recovery effort is very draining as Hurricane Michael caused damaged greater than Hurricane Katrina. The buildings may be damaged, but not the Spirit of Christ among his people. For those who do not know Christ, these teams bring with them the Good News and a light that shines brightly in the ruins. As the recovery moves forward in the upcoming months, we are considering a potential long-term commitment in the panhandle of Florida to help churches there survive and revitalize post Michael.
Dear Church Family,
The annual meeting has come and gone, but the rich blessings of this year are still on our minds. Thank you to all who have stood with CrossNet Baptist Network in furthering the Gospel and Kingdom work this year. Our special speaker, Pastor Joey Hanner made a lasting impression on our pastors and congregants. His story of going from being an unsaved truck driver with a failing marriage to becoming the pastor of Union #3 Baptist Church (which has baptized 900 people in the last few years), demonstrates the power of God in a yielded life. He met Jesus and followed the path set before him. Joey’s story is not only one of personal revitalization, but one of church revitalization. Union #3 Baptist Church of Gadsden, Alabama is now a thriving rural church that reaches lost and hurting people in a very personal way. Praise be to the Lord for his mercy! Thank you Philippi Baptist Church for hosting our Harvest Celebration.
On October 18th, Joey Hanner returned to town as the special speaker of our Pastors’ Luncheon at the CrossNet office. Once again, he inspired our pastors to disciple people in their churches and lives. The reality that few people ever get discipled was heavy on his heart after attending a discipleship event in North Carolina. Upon returning home, he asked his own congregation who had been discipled? Only one or two people stood up. This lit a fire in Joey to start discipling those at Union #3 Baptist Church. Now he is on mission to tell pastors about what God is doing through discipleship, and to encourage churches in this important matter. Prior to the luncheon, Joey was a guest speaker to our Learning Community session for pastors that meets once a month on Thursdays. The Learning Community is open to our pastors for training, encouragement, and fostering as iron sharpens iron.
On October 21st, it was my pleasure to join the folks of Bellefounte Baptist Church in celebrating the 50th anniversary of Lake Walker as their pastor. I presented Lake with a plaque from CrossNet marking this major milestone with our gratitude for being a dedicated partner in the Gospel.
In 1995, Joey Hanner was a trucker who was about to give up on his marriage -- and he was one Sunday service away from giving up on church too.
"We were going to give church one more try and then we were going to end our marriage," he said.
They were so mad at each other they hadn't even realized that day was their 12th wedding anniversary, Hanner said.
And they had no idea it was about to become an even more significant date.
During the altar call, Hanner and wife Connie both separately ran down the aisle, only to look up from tearful, broken prayers and see the other one kneeling there too.
"We both got saved that day," Hanner said. "God healed me and He got me out of my truck and into ministry."
And ever since then, he's had no problems telling anybody and everybody about the hope that Jesus offers.
But when Hanner became pastor of Union No. 3 Baptist Church near Gadsden, Ala., six years ago, he knew he and his church were missing something important.
He went to an event in North Carolina where discipleship was emphasized, and with a burdened heart he came back and asked a question to the congregation of about 130 people.
"I asked them to stand if they had been discipled one on one before and only two people stood up," he said.
That lit a fire in Hanner and it kicked off a movement toward discipleship in the rural church, which sits on 82 acres "15 minutes from everything," he said.
They've seen 900 baptized in the past six years and grown from averaging 130 to 700 on a Sunday morning. And they've moved from one service to two.
Dear Church Family,
We are within a few weeks of this year’s annual meeting, Monday, October 1st at Philippi Baptist Church, and I hope to see your church represented there. As a reminder, the business session will start at 5:30 pm for pastors and messengers with meal provided (Please RSVP for the meal). Following the business session, general registration is at 6:45 pm followed by 7:00 pm Worship Celebration for all. I am sure you will be blessed by this year’s special guest speaker for the Worship Celebration, Pastor Joey Hanner of Union #3 Baptist Church, Gadsden, Alabama. In 1995, Joey was a trucker with a failing marriage. On their 12th wedding anniversary, both ended up at the alter crying out to God. They were saved that day! Joey was mentored and discipled by a pastor, and then he became a youth pastor. Eventually God moved Joey to be the pastor of a dying church of 12 people in rural Alabama. Come hear the rest of the story! God is moving in a mighty and humbling way in this church. God is not only doing a great work in Joey’s church, but through his people in our city, state, country, and foreign mission fields.
As you consider the missions impact plan for your church, I would like to highlight the Golden Offering for Tennessee Missions (GOTM) that has been reaching the needs of Tennesseans statewide which includes several ministries right here at home. This offering, sponsored by the Tennessee Baptist Mission Board, has been helping to fund CrossNet Baptist Network ministries including: Ocoee Outreach, Christian Women’s Job Corp, Bold Going Jail Ministry, Church Revitalization, Disaster Relief Missions, our local Baptist Collegiate Ministry, and more. Most recently, more than 150 CrossNet volunteers participating in the Puerto Rico Disaster Relief mission trips were benefactors of $200.00 scholarships through this Golden Offering. Please prayerfully evaluate giving to this ministry opportunity that reaches so many diverse areas and people groups in Tennessee.
Dear Church Family,
Ocoee Outreach has officially wrapped up “Project Serve” for the summer and, once again, this ministry proved to touch many lives for the Lord! We have witnessed amazing stories of hope, restoration and life-changing decisions. We had over 60 professions of faith and ten baptisms take place. Even with the immense storms, the home repair projects, block parties, and canvassing of the neighborhoods went on as scheduled each week. While teams repaired homes that house people, many lives were repaired by the Lord! Praise be to our God! Thank you for your prayers and donations. A special ‘thank you’ to all who have volunteered their time and skills this year, and to our summer missionaries.
Most of the Annual Church Profile (ACP) packets have been picked up now at the CrossNet office by the ACP contacts. If your church contact has not done so, please have your ACP contact do so at their convenience. The deadline to have these forms to our office is Friday, September 14th (noon). These packets contain a form for your VBS data which we need back at the office soon after your Vacation Bible School has concluded.
Disaster Relief work via Send Relief Puerto Rico is ongoing. God is using many volunteers of all ages to minister to the people of Puerto Rico both physically and spiritually. You do not need to be DR certified to participate although that will be a plus. If you are interest in going on a Puerto Rico mission trip, email Randy at email@example.com or call the CrossNet Baptist Network Office at 423-476-5493.
Please make note of the August 20th educational opportunity, “Reaching the Generations,” where you can receive practical helps for your leaders and teachers with plenary sessions and breakouts on GenZ, Millennials, Busters and Boomers. This Tennessee Baptist Mission Board conference requires no registration for participation, and will be held from 6:30 pm to 9:00 pm at Oakwood Baptist Church, 4501 Bonny Oaks Drive, Chattanooga, Tennessee 37411. For more information, please contact Mark Miller at (615) 476-5564.