Hello North Roanoke,
I have some important updates about this Sunday as well as some other upcoming events.
First, this Sunday at 9:15AM, the Long Range Planning committee will provide a Big Reveal of the proposed master plan from Visioneering Studios. We will have refreshments available before we begin, so come a little early and enjoy some fellowship. *Kids will not need to come to the gym during this time. Babies through 5th graders will go to their normal locations for 3D groups.*
Second, on Sunday at 5PM, we will gather in the sanctuary for a special business meeting to vote on this recommendation: “The Long Range Planning committee recommends that North Roanoke Baptist Church adopt the master plan from Visioneering Studios as the primary guidance document for future facility improvements.”
If we affirm this motion, we will be committing ourselves to pray, plan, share, make disciples, and, over time, pursue this vision together for the glory of God and the good of our church and the community we desire to reach.
I hope that people from all generations in our church will come and participate on both Sunday morning and Sunday evening. The master plan addresses not only important improvements for preschool and kids areas but many other important improvements as well. Because we want everyone to be able to participate in the meeting, we ask, if possible, that you simply bring your children with you to the meeting. If they need to have an iPad and headphones, an activity, or an old-fashion coloring book, that is perfectly acceptable. If, however, you have a young child (baby - 2 years old) and require child care for them during the meeting, please let Lynn Wampler (email@example.com; 540.314.8083) know by tomorrow (Thursday, 6/2) at 5PM.
Third, we have an opportunity to support our students who are going to student camp by purchasing tickets to their fundraiser (breakfast for dinner) on Sunday, June 12 from 6-8PM. Please see a student for a ticket. Tickets are $8. If you wish to leave a nice tip at the dinner, you may do so. Or, if you cannot attend but want to help our students get to camp, you may make a special gift and put “student camp” in the memo line of your check.
Finally, WinShape camp is just around the corner! On Sunday, June 19, the WinShape team will worship with us and then begin setting up for camp that starts first thing Monday morning. WinShape is an incredible, day-camp experience with a Scriptural theme and a clear presentation of the gospel. I would like to see as many kids (K-8th grade) from our community as possible to enjoy the fun and have an opportunity to hear the gospel. If you have a friend, colleague, relative, or neighbor with kids, you may give them the code friends22. Every kid who is registered with this code will receive *$75 off* the price of camp. To register, just go to our website under “events” and follow the links from there.
Thank you for your time and attentiveness to this update. I look forward to being with you Sunday!
In Christ’s love,
Earlier this week, I learned that the findings of an independent investigation of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Executive Committee had been released. The NC Baptist convention summarized the history of the investigation in this way: “The investigation was initiated by messengers at the 2021 SBC annual meeting in Nashville, Tenn. The motion, which was nearly unanimously approved, came in response to public allegations that committee members and staff defamed sex abuse survivors, bullied advocates, and resisted reforms.”
The motion required the SBC president to form a nine-member task force to hire a third-party to conduct the investigation and release a report of their findings and any attending recommendations. The task force selected Guidepost Solutions. Their full report is available here.
To understand this report, it is helpful to understand the Executive Committee. The Executive Committee is governed by Trustees approved by messengers to the SBC. The EC acts on behalf of the messengers to the Convention between convention meetings — receiving agency reports, identifying convention host cities, managing logistics for the convention meeting, and distributing funds received from the churches to the seminaries and mission agencies. When you look up the SBC online, the posted contact information leads you to people employed by the Executive Committee. One of the problems identified in this report is that some long-term EC staff kept their Trustees in the dark on some key issues.
The report confirms a pattern, on the part of key Executive Committee staff, of putting liability and public-relations concerns ahead of the well-being of survivors of sexual abuse. I am appalled and angered to learn that sex abuse survivors were ignored, dismissed, and, at times, even belittled by Executive Committee leaders. As a long-time Southern Baptist, this report has been difficult to process. For a season of my life, I worked closely with one pastor named in this report. Reading those details and realizing now what I did not know then has been absolutely gut-wrenching. It is a vivid and painful reminder to me of how vital it is to remain above reproach.
While there is much in this report that is deeply disturbing, I do find some reasons for hope. The Executive Committee has been called out by the nearly 15,000 messengers who voted to investigate it. I expect some of Guidestone’s recommendations for reform will be adopted as early as the upcoming meeting of the SBC in June. I also anticipate that longer-term structural and policy adjustments to ensure the Executive Committee does not act contrary to the expressed will of the Convention will be forthcoming.
I do not believe it is time to abandon the SBC, but we must take abuse seriously. At North Roanoke, we will continue requiring background checks for all volunteers who work with children, and we will continue requiring at least two adults in rooms with children and/or teens. Last year, we were able to install cameras in our high-traffic areas. In the future, we will add cameras to individual rooms — especially those rooms where we have children and students. As a staff, we will also continue to fulfill our moral and legal responsibility to report to the appropriate authorities any abuse that we observe, suspect, or which is shared with us. Finally, and most importantly, we will continue to guard our hearts and our actions for the good of all the people we are blessed to serve and for the sake of the gospel.
For as long as I have been a member of a local church, I have been a part of a church that voluntarily cooperates with other churches through the SBC to train pastors, teachers, counselors, and missionaries and to get the gospel of Jesus Christ to people with little to no access to it. The value of the training I received at a discounted rate at an SBC seminary is something I could never repay. The opportunity to be on the front lines of advancing the gospel all over the world through the missionaries we send out through the International Mission Board is not a privilege we should casually discard. I am hopeful that the messengers of the SBC will chart a path of hope and healing for abuse survivors and that we will maintain our commitment to be a convention of Christ-exalting churches standing on the truths of God’s Word as expressed in our statement of faith. The next convention meeting is in Anaheim, CA on June 13 –15. Please join me in praying that God would bring healing to those who have been hurt and that He would lead the messengers to the convention to honor and glorify Him in their actions.
In Christ’s abounding love,
In just 40 short days from now, we will gather to celebrate our Risen King. I want to encourage you to be thinking about who you will invite, and I want to encourage us to pray. Ethan has graciously prepared a 40-day prayer guide beginning today, March 9. Each day has a verse or a few verses along with some prayer prompts. We can do nothing of eternal value apart from God. We desperately need Him. Our Valley desperately needs Him. Let's come together in prayer over these next 40 days, trusting God to work mightily in us and through us now and in the days to come.
Praying with you,
P.S. The prayer guide is available by downloading the .pdf file below.
Hello North Roanoke,
I want to remind you that we will pray for the unborn tomorrow approximately 15 minutes after the conclusion of the worship service. This will allow time for parents to retrieve their children as we put up the chairs. As we pray, we will stand together and intercede on behalf of the unborn and those who are in positions of authority and service who God can use to make a difference. We will pray together using the prayer guide that I have included below. I look forward to gathering with you soon!
In Christ's love,
Hello North Roanoke,
I spent some time today reflecting on this past year that the Lord has given to us. The letter is available by clicking on the link to the .pdf file below. I hope you find it informative, encouraging, and perhaps a bit challenging too. I love you all. Happy New Year!
In Christ's love,
P.S. You may read the letter by clicking here.
Good afternoon North Roanoke,
As you may know, I went with our students to Student Life Camp last week (which was amazing!), and I developed flu-like symptoms very late on Monday (which was not so amazing). As it turns out, some of our students have had similar symptoms. A few have tested positive for COVID. We need to pray for a full and speedy recovery for everyone. Based on what I have heard, their symptoms are mostly mild, and they are already feeling much better. Let’s pray this continues!
Because we had many students just back from camp worshiping with us this past Sunday, and because several of them serve in various volunteer roles (as well as their parents who serve as teachers/etc.), and because it can take up to 14 days for an exposure to turn into a symptomatic case of COVID, we are erring on the side of caution and will *not* gather together this Sunday (August 1).
I do plan to share a message on our YouTube channel at 10:30AM this Sunday.
We will resume 3D groups and worship on Sunday, August 8. Our students will resume their meeting schedule on Sunday evening, August 8. This means they will not meet this Sunday evening (8/1) or next Wednesday evening (8/4).
This also means our business meeting will not be held Sunday. It has been rescheduled for Sunday, August 15. Also, the outdoor worship service planned for (8/7) is cancelled. We will plan for one later in the year.
The church building will have a deep clean performed early next week.
As my family and I quarantine, I am praying for our entire church family, that any existing cases would be mild, and any exposures that may have occurred will not become additional cases.
In times such as these, a natural response is to ask, “What can I do?” Many of you have kindly reached out to me and Stacie offering your assistance. While I’m feeling pretty weak and tired, I am, thus far, by God’s grace, doing okay.
While we (the Palmers) are doing alright, there are four specific ways I want to ask you to respond in this moment for the overall health (physical and spiritual) of our church family and our overall growth in Christ.
Thank you for reading through this notice. If you have any questions, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I look forward to “seeing” you Sunday over the stream.
In Christ’s love,
Good morning North Roanoke,
I have some exciting news! As you may know, the mask requirement in Virginia has been lifted. As such, masks are no longer required during our times of corporate worship and other gatherings (e.g prayer meeting, 3D Group, student ministry, kids ministry, etc).
A mask is recommended for those who are not vaccinated. If you choose to wear a mask, that is certainly okay! Our volunteers are no longer required to wear masks, but some may still choose to do so. Until we are able to move to the gym (hopefully late June) and enjoy more space, we will continue to have the pews marked for distancing.
As we move forward together, if you have symptoms of sickness and/or a fever, please continue the practice of staying home and joining us for worship by way of the livestream. I think this one simple practice has helped minimize not only the spread of COVID but also of the common cold and flu as well.
Of course, when you recover, please return! The Lord is pleased when we gather together, in person, to worship Him and encourage each other (Heb 10:25).
I look forward to worshiping with you at 6:30PM today (Saturday) or tomorrow (Sunday) at 10:30AM as we witness two more who are following King Jesus in baptism.
In Christ’s love,
P.S. If you do not have a 3D group, please email me, and I will help you find a group. Small groups are such a vital part of finding community and encouragement, and I will be happy to help you!
The lecture notes for Taking God seriously may be accessed here. If you would like a printed copy (these are large files), please print and bring with you. Thank you!
Dear brothers and sisters,
As you may know, I experienced a bit of a scare this past Sunday. I am scheduled for a doctor's visit and think I am going to be just fine. Thank you for you encouraging notes and prayers! While I cannot be certain of why I nearly passed out, it has certainly grabbed my attention. For several weeks now, the Spirit has been impressing upon me very heavily that He is giving us a special opportunity to return stronger, united, and devoted to doing whatever it takes to magnify King Jesus and make disciples by prioritizing His Word in our church and in our daily lives. So, I decided to write down everything that the Lord and I have been discussing in the form of a letter to you. To read the letter, please click the file below. Thank you so much, and I look forward to worshiping with you this weekend!
In Christ's love,
Coming up just a few weeks from now, churches across our country will remember the sanctity of life from the womb to the tomb on Sunday, January 17. At North Roanoke, we have been blessed in the past to collect donations for the Blue Ridge Women's Center, to do some work at their facilities, and to pray for our community to see that life is a gift from God -- expectant mothers, reluctant fathers, governing officials at every level -- and to also pray the church would be a place of refuge for those plagued by guilt from their past and a place where the most vulnerable would encounter the love of God.
On Sunday, January 17, I plan to preach on the sanctity of human life, and, immediately following the service, we will have an opportunity to pray silently for our community and our country. We will assemble along Peters Creek Road in front of our church building. When I last checked the statistics, I learned there are close to 1,000 abortions in Roanoke every year -- approximately 75 babies whose lives are taken every month. Imagine if God moved in the hearts of those who offer the abortions to stop their work. Imagine if those who are feeling pressured to abort their child found hope and help in local churches throughout our Valley. Imagine if the people of God would adopt and foster at a much greater rate than we presently do. Imagine if those all around us who do not know the gift of life and life everlasting would encounter the love of God in Christ in 2021 -- imagine... and then join us on Sunday, January 17 to pray accordingly.
This initiative is being coordinated by Tony and Becky Clark.