Downtown BBQ Ministry in Flint By Mary Lou Hall

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1 February 2011 Vol. 55 No. 2 Downtown BBQ Ministry in Flint By Mary Lou Hall The first of the year brought a new Executive Director (or Lead State Missionary) to the helm of Michigan s Southern Baptist Convention. Bobby Gilstrap did not waste any time digging in. No, it was not in the warm comfortable offices of the convention office building in Fenton, but rather, along with convention staff, it was in the cold streets of downtown Flint. The entire staff worked alongside Matt Leon, Pastor of The Tree campus church located on the U of M Flint campus. The only warmth was next to the BBQ grill with the sweet smelling aroma of the pizza and meat cooking to feed the people in the area. Pastor Matt explained that a young woman in their church really felt burdened for homeless people in general and wanted to do something about it. Matt agreed and thus the Downtown BBQ ministry began. Once a month Matt and his volunteer team of college students from The Tree, and partners from other churches come to a little park in downtown Flint. Tables are set up, food is cooked on the grill and the team feed the people. But they not only feed them, many of whom are homeless, they love on them. He passionately states, Jesus certainly makes a big deal about ministering unto the least of these and so that is what we want to do. Contents Bobby s Bits Happenings Around Our State Churches Encouraged To Partner Evangelism Conference Disaster Relief Roundtable Disaster Relief Training Opportunities Youth & Kids Summer Camps Tentmakers Today BSCM Ministry Project Photos President Appoints Restructure Team Church Planting Rally State VBS Institutes 2011 Bible Drill & Speakers Tournament As far as the BSCM helping today, it is just getting more people involved with people and developing loving relationships. Pastor Matt commented. The first thing we did when the van of volunteers was unloaded was to send them out into the neighborhood to introduce themselves, meet the people and say, Hey, we are having a cook-out today and we would like you to come. That is just what we do, just love on people, hang out and be friendly. Pastor Matt got excited to tell how this particular BBQ came together with the convention staff. He said, Oh, yeah, it was a total God send as the university is closed for the holidays and most of the normal volunteers are away over the hills and through the snow to grandmother s house we go. It is wonderful! He was excited that volunteers from Westside Baptist were also assisting and commented that Faith Tabernacle comes every month as well as Jeff Grille and his team. What a partnership in ministry! Let us not become weary in doing good for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we don t give up. (Galatians 6:9) More on The Tree Church The Tree Church is a campus church that began in 2009 by a Christ-led young man named Matt Leon. Its location is on the campus of the University of Michigan-Flint and is registered as a student-led organization. Because of that, Pastor Leon cannot receive any salary support from his campus church, so he is basically a salary-less pastor with no paid staff support. Can you hear Help, we need PARTNERS? On January 3, Lead State Missionary/Executive Director Bobby Gilstrap and the Baptist State Convention of Michigan (BSCM) staff partnered with The Tree Church to assist in a feeding ministry they do every month in downtown Flint, the winter months no exception. That is taking God s Word at its best... I was hungry and you fed me. Here is a list of things that churches or individuals could do to help The Tree Church with this ministry. for more information. Downtown BBQ stuff needed: 3 charcoal grills (smaller, more portable, and much cheaper than one of the huge ones like we ve been able to borrow) 1 can opener 1 full stainless steel grilling kit or other utensils 2 stainless steel spatulas 2 5 gallon water coolers 2 large metal pots 2 large non-stick griddles 6-pack of big plastic storage bins a few aluminium food warming trays 2 portable fire pits money (or gift cards) for food, plasticware, trash bags, plates, etc. Continued on page 7

2 Bobby's Bits Impressions THE BAPTIST BEACON Official Publication of the Baptist State Convention of Michigan During my first week as your Lead State Missionary (Executive Director), I decided to rearrange the furniture in my new office. Several of our staff members joined me in discussing where things should go and helping me move things to new places. After moving the desk, someone noticed the impression left in the carpet. Even weeks later, the impression is still in the carpet from where the furniture once sat. As I noticed the carpet impressions again today, it caused me to reflect on our convention of churches. We have had a long history where God has done some incredible things to transform lives. There has been a significant impression made from the ministry of the past. Those carpet impressions also reminded me that we sometime find ourselves in ruts that remain for a long time and we cannot live in the impressions of the past. As I have often said, We must harness our history while not failing to forge into the future. As a convention, we are beginning that process. Our objective is to make good decisions about small things first as we move forward toward what God desires for our group of cooperative churches. If you d like to see some of the things we are doing, see my first report to the Executive Board on January 25 th found at I am excited to be serving you as we build on our history and forge into the future to make a difference for the Kingdom of God here in Michigan. Thank you for allowing me to serve you. Affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention Bobby Gilstrap, Editor Published Monthly Subscription: Free to all members of Southern Baptist churches in Michigan. Others: $2.50 a year in advance. Advertising: Rates and conditions supplied upon request. Change of Address: Send old label with new address to the editor. POSTMASTER: Send form 3579 to The Baptist Beacon 8420 Runyan Lake Road Fenton, Michigan (810) Fax: (810) Michigan Baptist Resources Sign up for our E-Newsletter at 2 Rev. Del Granger at the Deaf Ministry Fellowship and Mini-Workshop teaching us how to sign the books of the Bible on January 15, 2011 at Crossroads Community Baptist Church. Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Coleman about to cut their congratulatory cake at their "40 Years of Faithful Service" celebration at Lighthouse Baptist Church on Sunday, January 16, About 100 people joined them on this happy occasion.

3 Churches encouraged to partner with the BSCM and other churches BSCM and Westside members work side-by-side Baptist State Convention Offers Human Resources for a Ministry Project with Westside Baptist Church, Flushing, MI Westside ministers to the hungry and needy by partnering with the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan. This ministry began many years ago. Several times a year members go to the warehouse and help organize donated food. It is then distributed to the different agencies such as our church, reported Pastor Ed Emmerling. With 27 BSCM staff and Westside people helping, 540 lbs. of free food was given to Westside to distribute in Genesee County. Westside operates a food pantry, hosts several food giveaways throughout the year at the church, and provides support to administer the Angel Tree Food Ministries through the church. FENTON, MI - On January 3, 2011 Bobby Gilstrap, Lead State Missionary / Executive Director of the Baptist State Convention of Michigan (BSCM), and the convention staff partnered with Westside Baptist Church to help carry out their local ministry at the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan. The BSCM staff rolled up their sleeves (well maybe not because after all it was January and the work location was a warehouse), and worked alongside Pastor Ed Emmerling and members from Westside Baptist at the Food Bank. Photos posted at In response to the BSCM s assistance, Pastor Ed Emmerling said, I think it is important for our church to see our convention out in the field serving alongside us and I think it says a lot to our church. I think it will build our church s desire to partner with the convention on other projects. Our biblical mandate is to go. How can the BSCM or other churches partner with you as you go? As Pastor Ed said, I think things like this can really help to build up what the true heart attitude is of the convention in that you want to help churches, and want to help people, and you want to see people touched with the gospel. We can make this whole thing work! Jeremy Caudle, Westside Baptist church member, stated, If we can just learn to come alongside of one another then we can make this whole thing work! I thought it was awesome that the BSCM stepped forward to help a community in need. Jeremy can relate to this program since he, as a young man with a family, has been hit hard by unemployment in Michigan but for this day, he put that aside and thought of others in need. What does Jeremy mean by whole thing? Could it be to assist and empower the churches and people to carry out the church s vision of what God has called them to do in their own community? Interaction with Michigan Baptist Churches When asked to finish the sentence I think it is valuable for our state to assist our churches like... Jeremy connected the dots as follows: It is valuable to assist and help churches with ministries they have already started. It would be valuable for the State to influence other churches to start similar ministries in areas where it may or may not be needed. By the state offering assistance, then that just gets your whole church involved and then people from other places can go back to their church and say, Look, this is what we did here. This is how they did it and it can spread, hopefully, like wildfire. BSCM Resources the Local Church Bobby Gilstrap sees the BSCM as resourcing the vision of the local church. The church has a vision of what God has called them to do in the community. What we need to do is find every way possible to come alongside them to resource that vision not try to be the church, but help the church be the church! said Gilstrap. Jeremy Caudle continued, Any way that the people from the BSCM can get involved I think is a great thing! If your church is interested in becoming a partner with another church or if you need help in a ministry, please contact your associational office or the state convention office at or visit Together, we can share Christ and build relationships. You are not out there alone. Let us continue to network and develop partnerships to the glory of Christ. Mary Lou Hall and her husband, Bill are members of Lake St. Helen Church, St. Helen, MI Pines Association 3

4 Women s Track for the Evangelism Conference February 27, 2011 Merriman Road Baptist Church 2055 Merriman Road Garden City Dinner at 4:00 p.m. $10 per person (scholarships are available) Tracy Jones Please RSVP by February 18th Five separate tracks: Pastor, Church Leader, Youth, Prayer, and Women s (starts February 27 with 5:30 dinner) Speakers: Hope Awakens the Dawn Michigan Evangelism Conference Braxton Hunter, Evangelist and President of COSBE James Gailliard, Pastor, Word Tabernacle Church, Rocky Mount, NC Feb 28-March 1 Merriman Road Baptist Church 2055 Merriman Road, Garden City Larry Wright, Evangelist, T.I.M.E. Ministries; Pastor Tim Chappell, Baptism Leader Chris Schofield, Prayer Leader for the NC Convention & former NAMB Prayer Leader John Denson, President SBC Messianic Fellowship; Art Werry, Mapping Center Trainer 4

5 Disaster Relief Roundtable: Meeting of the States On December 13 and 14, The Winter 2010 Southern Baptist Disaster Relief (DR) Roundtable meeting of the 43 Southern Baptist State Convention DR Directors took place at the Lake Yale Conference Center of the Florida Baptist Convention. Win Williams, Michigan Baptist DR Director, and Bob Hayes, Associate Director, represented Michigan Baptist Convention DR at the Roundtable meeting. The facilities at Lake Yale were great, and the food, fellowship and networking were excellent. Florida Baptist Disaster Relief had arranged all their DR units at Lake Yale for inspection by the state directors, and they had the canopies open to show design ideas and demonstrate the space provided for the cooking units. Because Florida has many more Southern Baptist churches than Michigan, and the State of Florida is much more likely to have very large disaster events, Florida DR has many more units than Michigan. Florida has two large cooking units, each carried in its own semi-trailer (with semitractors to pull them), chain saw units, shower units, a communications unit, a command trailer, and numerous multi-use trailers, plus several electric generators, including one 20 kw unit. These units and trailers demonstrated several good ideas which Michigan DR will factor into future plans for new and revised units as funds become available. The business session began with discussion and approval of the proposed SBC DR Mission Statement and Vision. Each Director whose state DR had been called out for events gave reports on the work that God had accomplished through DR. During the meetings, strong opinions were expressed concerning action recently taken to realign DR within the North American Mission Board (NAMB). Extended discussions led to acceptance by the Directors that NAMB will be doing less in management of disaster responses than has been done in the past. The work no longer done by NAMB will be taken up by the various state DR organizations. The discussions culminated in a prayer session, during which the state directors and other representatives formed a prayer ring enclosing the NAMB representatives, in which the directors pledged prayers and support for NAMB, its DR personnel and the work of NAMB DR. During the two days following the Roundtable meeting, the Michigan DR representatives attended training sessions on the subjects of Cold Weather Operations, Conflict Management and Incident Command Systems (ICS). Because NAMB will be doing less to manage incident responses, it is imperative that Michigan DR be prepared to handle the requirements of ICS for all DR responses to incidents within the state, and also be prepared to contribute trained volunteers to rotate through ICS staffs in other states during extended or multi-state disasters. Michigan Baptist DR leadership will make plans for future training so Michigan will be capable of doing its part in this vital ministry. Prayerfully consider joining this ministry in 2011! 5

6 2011 Disaster Relief Training Opportunities Do you feel God calling you to become a Disaster Relief volunteer? Have you already been trained, yet have not been active for more than three years? Would like to become trained to work another type of unit? If you have answered yes to any of those questions, then please make plans to attend one of the Disaster Relief trainings available to you this coming year. April 15th and 16th: Full DR Training Basic Book Training, Friday night, 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Unit Training, Saturday, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. (Chaplaincy, Chainsaw, Feeding, Shower, and Water Purification Units) First Baptist South Lyon, South Lyon April 18th to 21st: Disaster Relief Spring Roundtable Virginia If interested in attending, Win at May 13th and 14th: Full DR Training Basic Book Training, Friday night, 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Unit Training, Saturday, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. (Chaplaincy, Chainsaw, Feeding, Shower, and Water Purification Units) Holland Baptist Church, Holland June 3rd and 4th: Full DR Training Basic Book Training, Friday night, 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Unit Training, Saturday, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. (Chaplaincy, Chainsaw, Feeding, Shower, and Water Purification Units) Bambi Lake, Roscommon 6 Please contact Yolanda at the State Office, , to R.S.V. P., or for more information. The cost of training for new volunteers is $25. The cost to become recertified is $10. You must be a member of a Southern Baptist Church and at least 18 years of age to become a Disaster Relief volunteer.

7 Continued from page 1 Downtown BBQ When asked, Is there anything you would like to say to the churches that might want to partner with your church plant or other church plants in Michigan? Pastor Matt responded, The two biggest things we need realistically are (1) prayer, and (2) money. He continued, We are a church that is 95% college students. There isn t a lot of money and so it does limit what we do and what we would like to do. He quickly added, God has really blessed us in the past two years yet we don t have anything resembling a full time staff, and added that would be fantastic at some point. He indicated he does have regular prayer and mentoring support from the mother church. He said, Financially, they help the church the best they can but realistically, IN THIS CLIMATE RIGHT NOW NO ONE CHURCH CAN JUST SUPPORT ONE CHURCH. Gilstrap said, It is important to find a network of support to help Pastor Matt and his church because of the uniqueness and restrictions of being a campus church. He added, What I am thinking is that we have churches not only across Michigan who may be interested in helping in some small way, but there are churches all across the country other partnerships that could partner even with simple things such as the ministry called 5/52 a pledge of $5 every week for fifty-two weeks. Pastor Matt, humbly said, That would be amazing. Churches or individuals that would want to partner with The Tree Church may contact Pastor Matt directly at In giving a final word of challenge, Pastor Matt said, A lot of times we feel unqualified, unprepared, unequipped or whatever, and that is exactly what qualifies us to be used by God. So, if something is on your heart, just do it! Don t make any excuses just know that God is huge and uses the fool to shame the wise. (I Corinthians 1:20) Youth & Kids Summer Camps At Bambi Lake Retreat & Conference Center The Quest Kid s Camp July 25-29, 2011 At The Quest Camp, older children, grades four through six, will grow in their faith and their walk with Jesus through worship, Bible study, missions, and a variety of experiences. Metamorphosis Youth Camp June 20-24, 2011 Metamorphosis Youth Camp provides six through twelfth grade student opportunities for Christian growth and fellowship. In addition to the worship time, students are divided into age-grouped teams for intensive Bible study, fun competition, and team building activities. You are Invited to Camp Now is the time to register your children and youth for camp this year. Cost for either camp is $145 per person. (There is a $5.00 late fee for registration within the last two weeks before camp.) Watch for registration information in the mail or go to We would love to see you at camp. 7

8 Volume 21 Welcome to Tentmakers Today In his book, OUTLIVE YOUR LIFE, Max Lucado entitles chapter five, TEAM UP. In this chapter he invites us to remember the great commission as Jesus assigned it to the disciples: You [all of you collectively] will be my witnesses. (Acts 1:8 NIV) He then states, Jesus didn t issue individual assignments. He didn t move one by one down the line and knight each individual. He references this passage and then points out, No I or my or you. We are in this together. We are more than followers of Christ, disciples of Christ. We are parts of his body (Eph. 5:30 NCV). He is the head of the body, which is the church (Col. 1:18 NCV). I am not his body; you are not his body. We together are his body. Acts 2: Acts 2:42 46 (HCSB) 42 And they (the believers) devoted themselves to the apostles teaching, to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread, and to the prayers. 43 Then fear (awe) came over everyone, and many wonders and signs were being performed through the apostles. 44 Now all the believers were together and held all things in common. 45 They sold their possessions and property and distributed the proceeds to all, as anyone had a need. 46 Every day they devoted themselves to meeting together in the temple complex, and broke bread from house to house. They ate their food with a joyful and humble attitude, He then writes, The cameo contains only plural nouns and pronouns. You [the sum of you] will be my witnesses Jesus works in community. He goes on to state, But his body has been known to misbehave. The brain discounts the heart. (Academics discount worshippers.) The hands criticize the knees. (People of action criticize people of prayer.) The eyes refuse to partner with the feet. (Visionary thinkers won t work with steady laborers.) A clear case of mutiny on the body. We are reminded of these biblical truths in 1 Cor. 12: We have read this passage, taught this lesson, preached this sermon and yet, I ask myself, how easily do I forget this glorious truth? Our only hope is to work together. I have a deep-seated conviction that Michigan will be reached, not through the Mega-churches (although I applaud their work and ministries) but through a countless number of small rural churches. I also believe these small, rural churches will be planted by and served by not fully funded seminary graduates (although I applaud and deeply respect these men who often times, at great sacrifice, secured their education and are faithfully serving today) but by bivocational church planters and pastors. My fear is these faithful men of God, YOU, may lose sight of what Jesus said in that great commission and forget we are in this together. While we are faithful to our immediate calling and assignment we can forget or even choose to ignore that our only hope is to work together. We pray collectively. We work collectively. We give collectively. Collectively we reach out to our communities, across our state, and around our world. Our only hope is to work together. Max Lucado closes chapter five with this story and illustration. Some years back a reporter covering the conflict in Sarajevo saw a little girl shot by a sniper. The back of her head had been torn away by the bullet. The reporter threw down his pad and pencil and stopped being a reporter for a few minutes. he rushed to the man who was holding the child and helped them both into his car. As the reporter stepped on the accelerator, racing to the hospital, the man holding the bleeding child said, Hurry, my friend. My child is still alive. A moment or two later he pleaded, Hurry, my friend. My child is still breathing. A moment later, Hurry, my friend. My child is still warm. Finally, Hurry. Oh my God, my child is getting cold. By the time they arrived at the hospital, the little girl had died. As the two men were in the lavatory, washing the blood off their hands and their clothes, the man turned to the reporter and said, This is a terrible task for me. I must go tell her father that his child is dead. He will be heartbroken. The reporter was amazed. He looked at the grieving man and said, I thought she was your child. The man looked back and sighed, No, but aren t they all our children? Indeed, those who suffer, whether in a rural location, across our state, or around our world belong to all of us. And if all of us respond, there is hope. Gratefully and Sincerely His George George B. A. Fountain Consultant, Bi-vocational Ministries 2895 Sharon Drive Monroe, MI (Home) (Cell) 8

9 Westside Baptist Church, Flushing & BSCM staff work side by side at the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan in Flint. Photos by Gary Nickel, Member Westside Baptist Church, Flushing Westside Baptist Church & BSCM staff help The Tree, Flint with feeding and having fellowship with the homeless. 9

10 President Appoints Restructure Team FENTON - BSCM president, Pastor Roscoe Belton, announces that in consultation with the convention s Executive Director, he has appointed the new System and Structure Team as approved by the Executive Board on January 25, This special team will lead the process of evaluating the present, study the future, and present a plan for the future structure of the Baptist State Convention of Michigan. The intent of this team is to build on the convention s 2009 approval of the 2010 and Beyond recommendation to design systems and structures that will make the convention the most effective at working through partner associations to resource the vision of the churches in the convention. In alphabetical order the team includes: Larry Allen, Blue Water Association, Pastor of Warren Woods Baptist, Warren Mike Durbin, Oakland Association, Associational Missionary George Fountain, Southeastern Association, Former Pastor of Raisinville Baptist, Monroe Wayne Parker, Greater Detroit Association, Pastor of Merriman Road Baptist, Garden City Bert Spann, Huron Association, Pastor of Fellowship Baptist, Saline Roscoe Belton, Ex-officio, Greater Detroit Association, Pastor of Middlebelt Baptist, Inkster Bobby Gilstrap, Ex-officio, Lead State Missionary / Executive Director Please pray for this team as they seek to undertake this tremendous task to help Michigan Baptists refocus on the future. If you have thoughts or suggestions for the team, feel free to contact any team member. Find us on Facebook! Search for Michigan Baptists 10

11 CHURCH PLANTING RALLY I Tuesday, March 22, :00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. Baptist State Convention Ministries Building 8420 Runyan Lake Road Fenton, MI Understanding and Reaching Asians For Christ Guest Speaker Jeremy Sin NAMB Urban Church Planting Consultant Please pre-register by contacting Yolanda at or by calling her at

12 2011 State VBS Institutes Vacation Bible School Institute #1, April 2 First Baptist Church of Portage 1133 East Centre Avenue, Portage Call to register by March 18. Vacation Bible School Institute #2, April 9 Merriman Road Baptist Church 2055 Merriman Road, Garden City Call to register by March 25. Vacation Bible School Institute #3, May 7 (Note the date change.) Bambi Lake Retreat & Conference Center Old Highway 76, Roscommon Call to register by April 22. Friday Night reservations may be made at Bambi Lake for an extra $20 per person. Institutes are on Saturday, 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Cost is $5.00 (lunch included) Core Conferences Offered For: Pastors VBS Directors Music and Worship Rally Leaders Preschool Leaders Children grades 1-2 Leaders Children grades 3-4 Leaders Preteen grades 5-6 Leaders Craft Rotation Leaders Missions Rotation Leaders Youth Leaders (VBSI #2 only) Go to for more information About each VBSI and a list of enrichment conferences at each one. Enrichment Conferences Will Include: Spiritual Preparation for VBS Leaders Enlisting and Appreciating Workers Decorating Out of a Box: Tips for the decorating challenged Don t Drop the Ball: Great follow-up ideas for VBS Enrichment conferences are curriculumneutral; helpful with any VBS material. Say Yes to VBS! 12

13 2011 State Children s Bible Drill & Youth Speakers Tournament Saturday, May 21, :00 a.m. - noon Oakland Woods Baptist Church 5628 Maybee Road, Clarkston. Churches with students who qualify for the state drill or speakers tournament should register their students with BSCM Church Growth Ministries by Monday, May 9. Your local church drills and associational drills should take place in April This year we will use Green Cycle materials. For more information call or go to Baptist State Convention of Michigan 8420 Runyan Lake Road Fenton MI 48430