Headlines from First Thoughts

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Confidential Care during a time of Crisis: That's Stephen Ministry

What is Stephen Ministry? Watch this video from PBS. First Baptist Knoxville is a Stephen Ministry congregation. If you are interested in receiving care from a trained Stephen Minister, click here.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Generosity from the Bakery to the Bus Stop: the Generosity Effect

How do you celebrate generosity? With greater generosity. On Sunday, the First Baptist family committed to giving; and we shared what had been given.

Yesterday, we combined worship with our 3 services in one unified service. We committed to tithing and generosity financially. In preparation for this day, we also baked goods and delivered them to the church. Over 160 households brought breads, cookies, cakes, brownies, muffins, pies and other sweet treats to the church Sunday morning. We brought them not for ourselves, but to share. Like the widow in Zarephath (1 Kings 17), we baked a "cake of faith" to deliver to our neighbors

Following another great Herman Weaver meal, dozens fanned out all over Knox County delivering baked goods to the homebound, the women's jail, South Knoxville elementary, Next Door Ministry, and our neighbors. Some even made it to the bus stop this morning. As one child who helped bake the bread said, "I thought my bus driver needed it the most."

The stories of these deliveries are being shared via phone, email, and face-to-face. Recipients of the treats have called the church office to offer a thank-you for this simple act of sharing.

We give thanks for the many, many people that made April 25 a day to remember. Because you have been given much, you have given!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Giving to Starbucks more than to God... the Generosity Effect

What happens when you realize your Starbucks receipts total more than your offerings? Enjoy this great personal story about the Generosity Effect from Daniel Headrick.

Generosity Testimony by Daniel Headrick from First Baptist Church, Knoxville on Vimeo.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Generosity Effect

Some call it the Ripple Effect, others the Butterfly Effect. We know
it as the Generosity Effect. It's the sense that the smallest of
actions affect others. One small act of kindness leads to another.
Sometimes we have the privilege and reward of seeing how our actions
touch others. In most ways, however, we use the eyes of faith to
recognize that "we'll never know" how one gift can make a difference.

Unfortunately, the opposite is true as well. Small acts of hoarding,
greed, and fear lead to even greater challenges. Selfishness is just
as contagious as love, and we only need to read the newspaper or watch
the news to see its tangled web of suffering across the globe.

The early Christians and the 21st century church have known this to be
true. Whether a little boy with 5 loaves and two fish, or 1 child
sharing $1 from a $10 allowance, little things mean a great deal to a
very generous God. Church has always been the place where we
counteract greed, corruption, and financial hardship with generosity.
We share with the world demonstrate to one another what this obedience
to Christ looks like. In the month of April, we as a First Baptist
family chart a new course through the Generosity Effect. We will not
arrive there overnight, but it will take all of us doing our parts to
effect others.

Here is how our plan works. Over the next 10 years, we are seeking to
become a more generous congregation. By 2020, we want to be 10% more
generous than we are today by living obediently to the command of
Christ that "whomever much is given, much is required." I don't know
what your plan for generosity is for 2020, but I am asking you to
commit to taking one step this year of giving 1% more than you did
last year; in 2011, another 1%, until by 2020 all of us can claim
lifestyles of generous living.

To do this requires leaving behind a couple of other things. As a
church, we leave behind special capital campaigns for now. For the
last 10 years, we have asked you to dig deeper "over and above the
budget," to help us pay off debt, repair organs, renovate buildings,
and do ministry. These campaigns have been a financial lifeline, but a
new commitment requires new discipline. Because of your commitments
over the years, we want to honor your past gifts by not asking for
another special fund drive this year. We want to unite together around
our unified giving to the budgeted resources of the church. By doing
so, we can accomplish together what we've been doing separately for 10
years. We can complete our indebtedness, extend the ministry of the
church, maintain our staff, continue television uninterrupted, and
reach people with the good news of Jesus Christ. We can do as our
strategic plan calls us to do: to improve our church, increase our
ministries, and invite others into Christ's life.

To accomplish the generosity effect requires heart work on your part
as well. Just as the church leaves behind old practices, so each one
of us must reexamine what holds us back from generosity. Each one of
us takes inventory so we can give back to God what is already His.

Join me as we take step one. On April 25, we will have a public
display of our commitment through our combined service and our mission
trip to the border. While we worship gathered and scattered, together
we will show each other that we're in this together, no matter how
large or small our wallets and investments, For 2,000 years, Christ
has been taking our offerings and multiplying. I trust that once
again, he will be faithful to do the same for First Baptist.

William D. Shiell, Ph.D.
Senior Pastor
First Baptist Church of Knoxville
510 West Main Street
Knoxville, TN 37902

Facebook: www.facebook.com/william.shiell
Blog: www.firsthoughts.blogspot.com
Twitter: @Williamshiell
Church: www.fbcknox.org

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Resources for Loving Knoxville through our Vocations

The Bridge returns tomorrow, and I'll be referring to a number of resources. I hope you will check out some of these ways to integrate your faith into your work.

Be sure to pick a copy of the Salt and Light Guidebook from Compassion Coalition. Copies are available at First Baptist Knoxville. I will be using this book as our primary resource in the study, and the guide is full of ideas for businesses, churches, and neighborhoods to love Knoxville.

Check out these websites and other resources.

Mastering Monday
by John Beckett.

Doing God's Business
by Paul Stevens

The High Calling Blog from Howard E. Butt and Laity Lodge

Duke University's Faith and Leadership website on Vocation

Christianity Today's Faith in the Workplace Website.

Christian Reflection's series on Vocation and faith @ work.

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