Michigan Church Raising Funds for BVTC Kitchen-Dining Hall
The Ghana Mission Team of First Baptist Church of Midland, Michigan, is well on its way to raising sufficient funds to complete the kitchen-dining facility at the Baptist Vocational Training Centre at Frankadua. The Rev. Grace Akunor, director of BVTC, will be in Midland, following several weeks of special training at SIFAT in Alabama, from November 6 to 11. She will speak at a special "Build a Kitchen, Build a Future" fundraising event Saturday evening, November 6, and preach at Sunday worship the next day. She will also meet with other church and community groups, including local Ghanaians.
Kim Bruce, leader of the Ghana Mission Team, reports that more than half of the needed funds for the project have already been given or pledged. She is confident that prayer will be answered and the $35,000 goal achieved during Rev. Akunor's visit.
Completion of the kitchen and dining facility will allow BVTC to make full use of the dormitory completed and dedicated early in 2010.
The First Baptist Ghana Mission Team of twelve spent two weeks in Ghana this past summer primarily in support of BVTC. Team members are Kim and Gerald Bruce, Allen Ross, Sharon Houghton-Ross, Roger, Louise, and Stephanie Bergman, Debbie and Hillary Hitt, Janis Smith, Victor Atiemo-Obeng, and the Rev. Dr. Joe Mortensen.
In addition to the time spent at BVTC the Team also visited the Rev. Eddie Emin and Cape Coast Ministries, Cape Coast Castle, and other tourist sites. Atiemo-Obeng and Mortensen also preached in Ghana Baptist Convention churches.
BVTC Dormitory Project Commissioned
A $162,000, two-block dormitory project for the Baptist Vocational Training Centre, funded by The American Baptist Churches of Massachusetts (TABCOM) has been commissioned at Fintey Dorfor, near Frankadua.
Rev. Dr. Stephen Asante, President of the Ghana Baptist Convention (GBC) dedicated the facility on Friday, 19th February 2010. He was assisted by Rev. Dr. Howard McLendon, Ghana Mission Team Leader of TABCOM. Other members of the TABCOM team at the ceremony were Gloria Lee, Juanita Hope, Mildred Jones, Esi Rhett and Amandi Rhett.
The facility has the capacity to accommodate 120 girls. Each block has two dormitories, a supervisor's room, a box room, and toilet facilities. The project also covered 120 bunk beds, mattresses and pillows, borehole and two overhead tanks, as well as a cesspool.
Addressing the joyous students of the Centre, dignitaries and other invited guests at the ceremony, Rev. Dr. Asante thanked TABCOM for assisting the Convention in its quest to make life more meaningful for released slaves of the Trokosi system through vocational training. He entreated the girls to use the facility, which provides a more conducive training environment, to acquire the necessary skills for their future endeavours. He further encouraged the girls to strive for excellence and attain higher qualifications beyond what they are pursuing now.
He expressed the hope that the Centre managers will strive to get more released slaves for training, and also attract other students to the Centre to make full use of the facility.
TABCOM was presented with a citation by Rev. Kojo Amo, the General Secretary of GBC, which recounted their contribution to the Ghana Baptist Convention's effort to rehabilitate the ex-Trokosi slaves through skills acquisition at the Centre.
In his response, Rev. Dr. Howard McLendon was grateful to God for his provisions and for making it possible for TABCOM to raise the amount for the project in the midst of the financial turmoil the US has been through in the past year. He said TABCOM was happy for the partnership with the Convention which seeks to bring hope in Christ to the less privileged of the society.
The Guest of Honour was Mr. Baffour-Awuah the Executive Director of the National Council for Vocational and Technical Education Training. Other guests included the Asuogyaman District Chief Executive, Hon. Amenohu; The Chief of Frankadua, Nana Akrobotu IV; The South-East Sector Head, Rev. Kofi Annan, and a delegation from the Women's Missionary Union of the Tema-Dangbe Baptist Association of the Ghana Baptist Convention, led by Mrs. Irene Donkor.
Two plaques were unveiled at the ceremony.
BECOMING A PART OF THE AREA ASSOCIATION AND THE CONVENTION
The local church is independent and autonomous, yet it is universal in scope, cooperative and interdependent in obligation and relationship.when a church is duly constituted and organized, an application should be made to the area Association for membership.
When the Association is satisfied with the church as constituted, a membership will be issued to the new church. Upon the issuance of the Convention to consider the acceptance of the new Church into the Convention.
Upon acceptance of the new church into the membership of the Convention, a certificate of membership will be issued.
Any new church seeking membership into the Assiciation and the Convention should be made to understand and be commited to the balance between the local church autonomy and voluntary association with other Baptist churches; independence and interdependence.The autonomy of the local church is a precious heritage and must be guarded. Yet its interdependence is equally precious and should be upheld.
The church seeking entry into the association and the Convention should also be made to commit itself to the area Association, Sector and the Conven- tion. These regulatory measures for the member churches are put in place to ensure order in co-operative effort aimed at achieving their goals in the gen- eral missions of God.
Where the church seeking acceptance into the area Association is not a daughter church or sponsored by any of the existing member churches, the applicant church may be granted "observer" status for one year. This period will afford the Church and Association/Convention an opportunity to study each other at close range before a final decision to associate.
Any other cases should be handled on their peculiar merit depending on the circumstances of each case.
SPECIFIC GUIDELINES FOR THE OPERATION OF LOCAL ASSOCIATIONS
GUIDELINES PREAMBLE: For effective administration of the Convention, the structure which have been pur in place, should operate within guidelines set up by the Convention. in light of this, local Associations should foster the goodwill, trust and co-operative spirit among the local churches within their area of jurisdiction.
EVANGELISM: The primary responsibility of every local Association should be the promotion and enhancement of evangelism/mission within their area of jurisdiction. Thus each Association should utilize 60% of her income in promoting evangelism,that is:
- Supporting local churches to plant new churches. This includes surveying the area, supplying basic worship items such as benches, etc. and providing personnel.
- Suppoting mission fields.
- Promoting and supporting leadership training.
- Giving subsidy to member churches who are not able to give realistic remuneration to their ministers.
- Employ Association Evangelist or Director to co-ordinate the activities of the Association's evangelism and mission.
RELATIONSHIPS: In order to promote and preserve the spirit of co-operation, the Association should relate to the under bldies in a manner that will promote peace, unity and growth.
The Association and Convention Relationship: All Associations should co-operate fully with the Convention:
- Adhering strictly to the Convention's constitution as well as Convention's policies and guidelines.
- Promoting the programmes and activities of the Convention.
- Promoting Baptist Policy and Practices in our churches.
- Encouraging member churches to honour their financial to the Convention.
- Disseminating information from the Convention Secretariat to the local churches and vice versa.
The Association and the Local Sector: The Association should co-operate fully with the Sector Commitee/Sector Head to enable them to perform their duties effectively as assigned by the Convention. Furthermore the Association should carry the needs and concerns of the local churches to the Sector Executives.
The Association and the Local Church: The Association is to foster healthy relationship among member churches and promote fellowship through Association meetings, joint services, etc.
The Association and Convention Ministers: The Association should ensure that:
- Ministers engaged in local churches are recognized Ministers of the Convention.
- Ministers engaged in churches under their area of jurisdiction are well cared for.
- Ministers have cordial relations with their churches and church leaders.
- Ministers within their Associations participate fullly in the programmes and activities of the Convention, Sector, Association, Local Minister's Fellowship, and the National Ministers Conference.
The Association and Other Bodies: The Association should promote the programmes and activities of;
- The auxiliaries (Men's Ministry, W.M.U, Youth Fellowship).
- Other bodies such as ABBEX, NUBS, Children's Ministry, etc.
- Convention affiliated bodies such as the Christian Council, Bible Society, Ghana Evangelism Commitee, etc.
Resource for Ministers
1. CRITERIA FOR EVALUATION, PROMOTION AND DEMOTION
The criteria for evaluation, promotion and demotion, based on Ezra 7:10 and 2 Timothy 2:2, shall be as follows:
- Educational Qualification: This relates to cognition/knowledge/the ability "to know"/educating the mind/academic formation.
- Ministry Experience: This relates to competence/skills/the ability "to be"/educating the hands/ministry formation.
- Christian Commitment: This relates to character/attitude/the ability "to be"/educating the heart/spiritual formation.
The above can be summarized into two criteria.
A. EDUCATIONAL REQUIREMENT
Two tracks are available for theological eucation in the Ghana Baptist Convention:
- ACADEMIC TRACK:. this is theological education acquired from a formal theological institution recognized by the Ghana Baptist Convention. This track produces professional ministers.
- DENOMINATIONAL TRACK MINISTRY (DTM):. this is a theological education at an informal level for bi-vocational ministers from the Ghana Baptist Convention's recognized DTM Centres. This track produces bi-vocational ministers.
B. MINISTRY REQUIREMENTS
The following factors will be used as indicators of faithful (the heart) and fruitful (the hands) ministry experience.
- CALLING: a clear objective and subjective affirmation of a call to the Christian Ministry.
- CHARACTER/FRUITING: a positive testimony in the home, the church and the community of a maturing Christian character demonstrated by the cultivation of the fruit of the Holy Spirit.
- CHARISMA/GIFTING: a demonstration of the gifts of the Holy Spirit which are related to one's area of ministry, e.g, as an Evangelist or Pastor or Bible Teacher or Ministry Administrator or Minister of Music.
- COMPETENCE: having the capacity to function efficiently and effectively as a Minister of the Gospel in the Lord's vineyard.
- PRODUCTIVITY: yieelding qualitative and quantitative fruit/results from one's ministry.
- LENGTH OF SERVICE: the number of years of ministry experience.
- PROFESSIONAL BODY INVOLVEMENT: evidence of active participation in the Baptist National Ministers' Conference, the Baptist Association Ministers' Fellowship, Associational Meetings and Convention Annual Sessions.
- POSITIONS OF SERVICE: the positions held at Baptist Associational, Sector and Conventional levels, as well as in other organizations.
- CONTINUING THEOLOGICAL EDUCATION (CTE): evidence of continuing theological education through participation in Theological Educations Board's (TEB) CTE programmes as well as in other theological or ministryseminars, workshops, conferences and personal theological studies. Continuing Theological Education (CTE) credits will be awarded by the TEB's Informal Theological Education (ITE) council in the above programmes.
- MULTI-MINISTRY SUPERVISION: evidence of the successful supervision of several growing churches or the successful supervision of several ministry departments within a growing church or ministry organization.
2. IMPLEMENTATION BODY (WHO GRADES?)
The Ministerial Recognition Committee will grade Ministers with inputs from the local Baptist Church or ministry organization, Association, Sector Executive Committee, Baptist ministers Conference, Local Baptist Ministers' fellowship and any other relevant body.
Caution: care must be taken to ensure that the Implementation Body does not abuse or misuse the power through "grading politics".
This grading scheme is a national grading scheme. Each local church may have its own grading scheme.
3. BASIS FOR MINISTRY REQUIREMENT
Promotion to a higher grade my take place through one or two pathways:
1. Through the acquisition of a higher educational qualification.
2. Through the acquisition of more years of faithful and fruitful ministry experience. This gives an opportunity for EVERY MINISTER to climb up the promotion ladder. However, candidated with higher educational qualifications move up faster since their higher qualification provides them with more knowledge and skills for ministry.
The possession of a bachelors degree or masters degree or doctorate degree automatically places a candidate in the next grading category. This is because the candidate has now gained more knowledge and skills for ministry.
Since we are living in the twentieth century, an age of information technology, the Diploma in Theology or its equivalent is used as the basic educational qualification. All other qualifications above and below the Diploma in Theology have a FOUR YEAR gap in between them.
For each educational qualification, promotion to the next grade may take place after every FOUR YEARS of faithful and fruitful ministry. This is to ensure that ministers are challenged to be faithful and fruitful in ministry.