In Ephesians, Paul writes
that some Christians are called to be apostles, others to be prophets,
evangelists, pastors and teachers.
Today, still others are
called to be pilots.
Members of the North
Carolina Baptist Men’s Aviation ministry have combined their passions for
flying and Christ to touch countless lives in countless ways. There really
doesn’t seem to be a job description as such … if someone needs help, the group
will do everything in its power to help out. That’s borne out in what could
best be described as a rather eclectic resume.
Partnering with the Angel
Flight organization, fliers of the North Carolina Baptist Men’s Aviation Ministry
have flown people in a number of different emergency situations. There have
been trips to Haiti and areas ravaged by Hurricane Katrina. Patients and their
families have been flown to and from Randleman, N.C.’s Victory Junction Gang
Camp, a sprawling complex for chronically and terminally ill children.
Prayers have been prayed
over – quite literally – the North and South Carolina state capitol buildings.
Youngsters receive plane rides to help foster a love for aviation. At the heart
of a long list of services, the N.C. Baptist Men’s Aviation ministry is a group
based on passion for what it does.
Bob Joyner has long loved
aviation. A member of a Mooresville-based flying club that owns two four-seat,
single-engine Cessna 172s, Joyner first began using his talent and interest in
flying to serve others about 10 years ago. Now, he is the state coordinator for
the North Carolina Baptist Men’s Aviation
“I really couldn’t see
myself involved in anything that I really couldn’t use to serve the Lord and
serve others,” Joyner says. “Anything that I did like that, I would want to
ensure that I was able to do that, to use it in some way to serve. It’s just a
way to use my talents, skills and gifts that God gave me to serve others.”
Obviously, flying isn’t for
everyone. For Joyner, however, it’s a great way to get away from it all.
“To me, flying is exciting,”
Joyner says. “It’s not something that everybody does. It’s a little bit
different. When I’m by myself, when I go up, I just feel a sense of freedom. On
a Friday evening, if I want to go up to just knock around and leave the work
week behind, I’ll shoot an e-mail to a couple of buddies and they’ll want to go
up, too. The people that are involved in the ministry, everybody has the same
Another rather unique
ministry opportunity for the group amounts to a “church of the week” program.
“We fly over, maybe take a
picture, get it developed and (put it in the mail) with a note on the back,
‘Prayed for you today.’”
Imagine the impact that kind
of contact could make on a congregation. The wide range of ministry
opportunities that it takes on is quite humbling, from fun days at a local
airport with a group of children to somber trips transporting family members in
the midst of crisis.
Here’s how different the
missions of the North Carolina Baptist Men’s Aviation Ministry can be. A few
years back, members flew local Royal Ambassador and Girls In Actions groups out
of an airport in Elkin.
“We took the kids up and
most of them, their churches were close enough to where we could just fly over
and let them say a prayer over their church,” Joyner says. “We had real good
participation that day. We spent most of the day at the airport … it was a good
On the other hand, however,
Joyner recalls this sad mission as one of his most memorable.
“On Labor Day (2009), I had
someone who had a relative who had passed away up in Manassas, Va.,” Joyner
concludes. “His son had been killed in a traffic accident, and that was his
sister I was flying (home from the funeral). He was telling me how much it
meant to have her there. Every (mission) is different and has different
meaning, but that kind of touched me, just knowing that we helped facilitate
having her there in his time of need.”