Thursday, September 22, 2016

The Great Adkins Clan Thanksgiving Week Anniversary Cruise

In two months I hope to be wearing this T-Shirt (or one like it).

If the good Lord is willing, and all works out as planned, two months from today we should be in the middle of a family adventure that we have never all experienced before.  I'm calling it  "The Great Adkins Clan Thanksgiving Week Anniversary Cruise".

2016 has been a special year in our family for Wedding Anniversaries.

Linda and I observed our 45th Anniversary on June 19th.  Just a month before that, our older son, Jay and his wife, Michelle celebrated their 20th Anniversary on May 18th.  This coming November 16th, younger son, Benji, and his wife, Leigh Anne will also observe their 20th.  It is a milestone year for sure.

Our family, although not as large and scattered as some, rarely all get to be together at the same time. There are only 11 of us in total, but geography, occupational duties, and school activities make it nearly impossible for all of our "planets to align".  In fact, the last time ALL of us were in the same place at the same time, was Thanksgiving of 2011, when Nathan was only 3 months old.  There have been several times that most of us have been together, but in each of those cases one or the other of the spouses, or one of the kids were not present.  That's frustrating for an old guy (and his wife) whose lives have been centered around God (first) and then family.

Jay is Pastor of First Baptist Church of Westwego in suburban New Orleans, and Michelle teaches in Marrero Academy.  Quint and Canon attend Patrick Taylor Academy (a science and technology magnet school), also located in Jefferson Parish. Quint, who is a Junior this year, attends Pat Taylor in the mornings and then drives to the New Orleans Center for Cultural Arts (NOCCA) for afternoon classes in advanced musical studies.  The boys in New Orleans stay busy with their various band and other music activities, as well as being heavily involved in their church youth group.

Nearly a thousand miles away, Benji and Nathan travel to Fallsburg, KY each day where Benji teaches Middle School English in the Lawernce County, Kentucky school system, and Nathan is doing his preschool work.   The two older boys, Will and Asher, attend High School and Middle School in Ashland, KY.  Both of the Kentucky boys also stay very involved in school sports and in activities at their church.  Leigh Anne is a Mary Kay Sales Director.

Of course I serve Westmoreland Baptist Church as Senior Pastor and have some other outside ministry related activities.  Linda just retired this year, so her schedule is a little more pliable, but she does still serve as legal guardian of her 95 year old father who is in a local assisted living community.  Even though he no longer lives in our home, Linda makes regular visits to see him, and is still responsible for all of his affairs.  So it's easy to see that there are often scheduling difficulties for individual family activities, much less getting the whole clan together.

A few months ago a couple of our New Orleans friends, Vinnie and Sue Verdin, made us aware of an excellent deal on aWestern Caribbean cruise aboard the Carnival Dream, scheduled for the week of Thanksgiving.  Linda and I had been on two cruises in the past, and as I told someone after the first one, "She loved it, and I didn't hate it."  Actually, both of us enjoyed it enough to plan another, longer one, and we always felt like we would enjoy a third cruise, if the opportunity ever arose.

I began thinking, "Wouldn't it be great if the whole family could go along on this cruise?  We could have the joy of having the whole clan together, and celebrate our triple special anniversaries together."  Michelle was the only member of the family, besides Linda and I, who had ever been on a cruise, and she was all for it.  It seemed strange to me that we would possibly be having Thanksgiving Dinner on the high seas and strolling the streets of Cozumel instead of watching football in the family room in our house on 49th Street, but the thought was intriguing.

Well, to make a long story shorter, the planets did align.  By being on the week of Thanksgiving, The boys were out of school, Michelle was out as well, and Benji would only have to use a couple of personal days.  Leigh Anne, Jay and I were able to work our schedules to make it possible, and Linda was chomping at the bit to go!  So, passage was booked, and it was a done deal.

I am truly looking forward to the trip.  Linda and I will probably head down to NOLA a couple of days earlier that Benji and his crew who will join us all there on Saturday, November 19th.  Our ship departs the Port of New Orleans on Sunday afternoon, November 20th and after stops in Cozumel, Jamaica and the Cayman Islands, we'll arrive back in the Big Easy a week later, on Sunday, November 27th.

I'm thankful for Sue and Vinnie (who will also be on the ship) for making us aware of the opportunity, and for the Lord allowing us to work out the schedules and the finances to do this thing. So, come November, this old Papaw is looking forward to sailing off with my bride, to all of us being together, celebrating our three Anniversaries, enjoying the tropical climate and beautiful scenery, and observing Thanksgiving aboard a beautiful cruise ship.  As they say down there in New Orleans, "Laissez les bon temps rouler!"

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Greater Huntington Baptist Association Welcomes Interim Associational Missionary

The Greater Huntington Baptist Association’s Executive Committee is happy to announce the calling of Rev. Gregory J. Page,  of Huntington as our Interim Associational Missionary.  This is a Bi-vocational position, as Bro. Greg will continue in his vocational position as a Science Teacher at Spring Valley High School.

There has been a void in the leadership of our Association for several years, since the North American Mission Board withdrew it’s funding of local association missionaries in West Virginia.  We were unable to fund our former full time position, and as a temporary fix, we hired a part time secretary and commissioned our association’s Moderator to take on the Associational Missionary duties.  This was only a "partial fix", as the men who have served as Moderator during that time were full time local church pastors, and while able to take care of some of the paperwork and administrative duties, they were unable to get out to visit the various churches of our association, and we have missed that personal touch.

Brother Greg will be assuming the AM duties immediately, although he will be somewhat time constrained until the close of Football season, as he is an assistant coach at SVHS, and is completing his commitment to that program.  From the close of the season, he will be devoting 20 hours per week to this ministry, (and more time during the Summer months, when school is out).

Brother Greg is a 1989 Graduate of Buffalo High School and graduated Marshall University in 1993 with a BA from the College of Education in General Science and earned his Master’s Degree in Health and Physical Education from Marshall in 2005.  Greg’s teaching career has seen him teaching at Rose Hill Christian School (1993-1998); Grace Christian High School (1998-2004); Wayne Middle School (2004-05 school year) and Spring Valley High School 2005 – Present). While at Spring Valley, he has been very actively involved in ministry to those who are involved in the athletic teams, serving as assistant football coach and assistant basketball coach, and serving as the sponsor for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes from 2005 to the present; SVHS Prayer Group (2007 – present); and Timberwolves 4 Christ  (2014-present).

Greg was licensed to preach in 2006 and ordained in 2007 by Locust Grove Baptist Church.  He has served as Associate Pastor of Locust Grove since 2008.  He is the author of “Tale of Two Champions” in 2014 and “The Grand Lesson of King Gregory” (a children’s book) in 2015.

Greg and his wife, Kimberly have four children, ranging in age from Middle School to College.

He can be reached by mail at the GHBA Association Office, 3401 Hughes Street, Huntington, WV 25704, and by pone at 304-417-3483.  Until a new Association  email address can be set up, Greg may temporarily be reached via email at .

We welcome Greg to this challenging position and look forward to introducing him to the entire Association at the GHBA Annual Meeting at 6:00 PM on Thursday, October 13th at Calvary Baptist Church in Chapmanville, WV.  Please keep Greg and his family in your prayers as he familiarizes himself with this position, and in his new relationship with our churches and the State Convention.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Thinking Outside the Ministry Box

Like many of our aging churches, Central Baptist Church in Ashland has had a bright and storied past.  Once a vibrant congregation in a working middle class neighborhood, Central Baptist has found itself in a community that has changed drastically.
While not what might be thought of as a typical "inner city" type church in some larger cities, Central is probably the closest thing to one in our neighboring town of Ashland, Kentucky (which is where I have lived for the past 36 years).  For eight years I served as pastor of Ashland Baptist Church, just a few blocks from Central.  I am very familiar with that community.  Over the past 40 years, the area from Greenup Avenue stretching south down 29th Street has changed from the working middle class neighborhood it was, to more of a transient neighborhood.  Houses  that were once neat, tidy, well kept family homes have given way to blighted, poverty ridden, and drug and related crime problem area.
Like many of our urban churches, CBC had to come to grips with the fact that the changing demographics of the community, often aren't recognized until the situation is somewhat critical.  Congregations age.  Attendance wanes.  Volunteer workers grow fewer, and if we are not careful, the once vibrant church becomes irrelevant in the community.  Now, don;t get me wrong.  Central has not become irrelevant.  But it has had to come to grips with the fact that, like Dorothy discovered in OZ,  "We're not in Kansas anymore".  Our own church here is increasingly finding ourselves in a similar set of circumstances.
We can debate and argue about worship styles, programs, dress codes, and benevolent works, but we must not lose sight of the fact that we are called here to "Magnify God, Make Disciples, and Minister to People".  That is our purpose.  We must learn how to do all three in an increasingly post christian culture.  It may involve "thinking outside the ministry box" and finding other ways to impact our communities for Christ.
That is what we want to do here. Perhaps we can gain some insight and pick up an idea or two from our sister church about 9 miles down the road in a neighboring town.
Below is a story about Central Baptist Church and what they are doing to try to impact their community for Christ.  The story first appeared in "The Western Recorder" and was written by Myriah Snyder.  Check it out.
ASHLAND, Ky. (Western Recorder) -- Central Baptist Church's new ministry center, Hope Central, has begun ministering to those in need in its surrounding community in a unique way.
The church looked at the neighborhood and wanted to do something more, something different than they have done in the past. They saw that by-and-large their community had needs, and they wanted to do more than meet "immediate needs," said children's minister and pastor's wife Renee Parsons.
"Everybody is meeting the immediate needs, but they are not really 'long-terming' it. It has created a society of dependency," Parsons commented. "We said, 'Okay, how do we stop doing that and start doing something much more productive?'"
Drawing from the cliché, "Stop giving them fish; start giving them poles," the church stopped giving out money, clothes and, largely, food. Instead, they pointed people to other ministries and resources throughout the area, and they began focusing on a new approach, Hope Central, located in a house next door to the church, Parsons shared.
Two of the main ministries the center will offer will be tutoring and an urban garden.
In cooperation with the public school system in Ashland, Hope Central will use volunteers to offer tutoring services and homework help. Teachers will choose children who need help after the first nine weeks. From 4-5 p.m. four days a week, up to 20 children will meet with tutors in reading and math. From 5-6 p.m., more tutors will be available for homework help.
The urban garden was birthed out of this ministry and is a project for youth at Central. They will apply scriptural truths to gardening, as well as use it for outreach, John Clark, Central's youth pastor, said.
In addition to growing a garden on the church grounds, they are starting a "pallet ministry," Clark said. Each pallet will contain a small garden.
Instead of giving people boxes of food, they will give them a pallet garden. The pallets will open doors for evangelism as volunteers develop relationships with the community.
"We're using our outreach to not just share the Gospel, but also help these people find what they need and get them the assistance they need to help better their lives and show them the love of Christ. It's just a blessing all round," Clark said.
The ministry center will be a hub for many things, including a place for the community to connect with other ministries that they may not have access to, otherwise. Central's VBS ministry will operate out of the center, as well as other services offering job placement or pregnancy crisis help.
The center, which has been in the works for a year and a half, will be fully functioning by October.
"This will be an awesome way to get these people some help, some love, and just give them Jesus," Clark added.
"The kids we are dealing with now are a generation of an already lost generation," he added. "If we don't make some drastic steps to go towards these children and make a difference in their lives, then what are we here for?"

This article appeared in the Western Recorder (, newsjournal of the Kentucky Baptist Convention. Myriah Snyder is a news writer for the Western Recorder.