For Chris Simpson, helping people whose homes were caught in the path of a hurricane or other natural disasters is about far more than removing debris.
“That tree is important to get out of their yard, or that mud is important to get out of their house, but the most important thing is sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ,” said Simpson, a volunteer for North Carolina Baptist Men’s (NCBM) Disaster Relief Ministry. He and his wife, Lori, have served with Baptist Men for about nine years.
BR photo by Shawn Hendricks
Chris Simpson, a volunteer with North Carolina Baptist Men’s Disaster Relief ministry, shared his testimony during the N.C. Missions Conference April 5-6 at Calvary Baptist Church in Winston-Salem. The theme for this year’s event was “Relief & Release: The Hands of Christ.”
Simpson shared his testimony during the 39th annual N.C. Baptist Missions Conference April 5-6 at Calvary Baptist Church in Winston-Salem. The conference featured a variety of speakers, global ministry reports, breakout sessions and music from Dove Award winning artist Meredith Andrews and her band. The theme for this year’s conference was “Relief & Release: The Hands of Christ.”
“Jesus cared about hurting people and He used both hands,” said Richard Brunson, executive director of NCBM. “Think for a minute the things Jesus did: He fed the hungry. He healed the sick. He raised the dead. He offered grace and forgiveness to the woman at the well, the woman caught in adultery and the dying criminal on the cross. If we’re going to reach people today, we have to really love them and we have to also offer Jesus’ relief and release.”
Meeting physical needs can overcome many barriers, said Taylor Field, pastor and director of Graffiti Church in New York City. The church has helped start about 30 churches and more than half a dozen Graffiti ministries throughout the city. In recent months, Baptist Men has helped Graffiti with Hurricane Sandy relief efforts.
“North Carolina Baptist Men call and they say, ‘Give us your toughest assignment,’” said Field on the second day of the conference.
“That really touched me. And I said, ‘God in New York City, give me your toughest assignment. Give us the toughest neighborhoods, the most difficult places.’”
Field shared about one woman who began attending Graffiti church after N.C. Baptist Men sent teams to help her and others in need.
“Keep it up,” Field said. “People often can’t hear the gospel until they can see the gospel. … In times of crisis relationships matter.”
“No one is ever changed by a program,” he added. “It’s from relationship.”
Helen Keller, Mother Theresa, Martin Luther, William Wilberforce and Abraham Lincoln are people who are extraordinary examples of those who were used by God to help make a difference in the lives of others, said Terry Rae, director of Africa for Christ in Johannesburg, South Africa.
BSC photo by Mike Creswell
Dana Hall received the Layman of the Year Award during the April 5-6 North Carolina Baptist Men's Missions Conference.
Too many Christians don’t take a stand for Christ when they have the opportunity.
“So many of us are chameleon Christians,” he said. “When we’re with ungodly people we change color and blend in. Nobody knows that we stand for the Lord Jesus Christ. … We need to be outstanding for the Lord so that when people see us they see the hands and the love of the Lord Jesus Christ.”
Most Christians, however, keep themselves cocooned away from helping solve society’s messiest issues, said David Nasser, speaker, author and pastor of Christ City Church in Birmingham, Ala.
“I think there are some people in this room … you are so caught up with God [someone has to] … tell you how broken the world around you is,” Nasser said during the final session of the conference.
Nasser shared stories of orphans, poverty and prostitution that are all too common in the world today.
“There are 183 million [around the globe who] don’t have a place to call home,” he said. “Are you aware?”
“You know King James Version of everything, but you don’t know [anything] about what’s going on in your world,” he said. “It’s time … for us to beg God for the ability to say, ‘God let me be rooted in your Word, but let me be aware of what’s going on in my world.’”
“If less than one percent [of Christians] would own that, orphanages would be empty tomorrow,” he said. “[About] 36,000 people today will die of starvation … That ought to matter to the people of God.”
Awareness brings responsibility,” he added. “Awareness brings ownership. It’s not the government’s job. … It’s the people of God’s job. … Wrap that gospel in a sandwich.
“When your heart belongs to God you’re going to go ‘God will you break my heart for what breaks yours.’”