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My Boy Sure Loves His Church

My Boy Sure Loves His Church

by Jess Tankersley   

When Tyler and I decided to get married, I did not think that I was marrying a pastor.  Sure, he worked at a church at the time, but we had big plans for Tyler to pursue his dream of becoming an anthropology professor who would gallivant around the world studying unique people and culture.  Here we are, nearly six years later, and I am most decidedly a pastor’s wife.  For someone who tends to meet gender and “churchy” stereotypes with an eye roll, I am surprisingly content with this fact.  For that, I owe a big thank you to the fine folks of Second Baptist.   

Tyler’s position as one of the Associate Pastors also means that our son, Henry, is a pastor’s kid.  Not having grown up in church, I only recently became aware of the stereotypes that this label conjures up.  On the one side, there’s the quirky, over-the-top, Bible-lovin’ pastor’s kid.  The other involves a rebellious type that completely rejects faith in every form.   

Even at not-quite-two-years-old, I have a feeling that Henry will be falling into the former category.  This kid LOVES his church.  If you are a parent or have ever been around any young child, then you are aware of Parenting Law #5746: “Don’t tell your kid you are going to get ice cream until you pull in to the ice cream shop’s parking lot.” That is how I have to handle Sunday mornings and Wednesday nights at our house.  Henry has literally tried to open the front door while still in his dinosaur jammies at the mere mention of church.  A favorite pastime?  Looking at the church directory and naming people, even people he has never met (in particular, Bill Stilfield, a veritable celebrity in Henry’s eyes).  If you stick around long enough on Wednesday nights, you might even catch Henry playing with the other young pastors’ kids.  Their game of choice?  “In the Tomb” where whoever is playing Jesus (sometimes Peter is thrown in the mix, too) is put under a church-table-turned-ancient-near-Eastern-burial-tomb, only later to be released and rise from the dead.     

Do I write about these things that Henry does in order to show how sweet and lovable and smart he is?  Well, maybe a little.  I mean, he is so sweet and loveable and smart (I’m not biased, am I?).  In all honesty, this just shows that even the smallest members of Second can sense that they are a part of this community.  As they should be.  And not just as little cuties running around and eating all of the leftover desserts at Wednesday night dinner, but as real members, each child’s unique contributions being appreciated by all.  Henry contributes his fair share of making others feel like a part of our community.  It’s hard to miss the smile on someone’s face when Henry calls out his or her name, clearly excited.  The idea that life is better when a part of community is a bedrock belief of Second Baptist Church.  We do well when we embrace this idea for all stages of life and appreciate what each individual has to offer.     

My hope is that Henry is off to a good start in his journey to belong, believe, and become.  So often, we focus on teaching children Bible stories and verses, but perhaps the thing for which they are really longing is the thing that most adults are: a sense of community and belonging.  Henry, well before he knows what either of those things actually means, has found it.    


P.S.   A note to future Henry:   If you find any of these stories that I have shared even remotely embarrassing, I apologize.  Of the million and one things that I find endearing about you, your sweetness and love of people rank among the top.  The way that you love our church is a perfect example of that.    

Love you forever, Mommy.    

Posted by Kelsey Adams at Wednesday, May 21, 2014
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Strategic, innovative leader named CBF Global Missions Coordinator

Steven Porter, William Jewell Graduate

DECATUR, Ga. – A strategic and innovative former field personnel and former director of one the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship’s flagship urban ministries was named CBF’s new Coordinator of Global Missions at a press conference today.

Steven Porter, who served as the executive director of Touching Miami with Love from 2001 to 2005, will lead CBF’s 125 field personnel in the United States and around the world, as well as the organization’s Decatur, Ga., -based Global Missions staff. Touching Miami with Love was founded in 1995 and aims to share the love of Christ by providing hope, opportunities and resources with the city’s Overtown community.

Porter holds ordination in the National Baptist Convention (USA) and currently teaches courses on the history and theology of Christian mission, including one titled Evangelism: A Contextual Approach, at one of CBF’s partner schools, George W. Truett Theological Seminary at Baylor University. His academic pursuits have provided connections to other CBF partner schools as well. He earned an M.Div. at Candler School of Theology and is pursuing a Th.D. from Duke University Divinity School, where he has been involved in the Baptist House of Studies. He has also taught courses in evangelism at William Jewel College, in Liberty, Mo., and served as a teaching assistant at Duke Divinity.


Taken from

Posted by Kelsey Adams at Wednesday, May 14, 2014
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Update from India : Sunday, May 4–Monday, May 5

Yesterday, May 4, I preached at two services and Steve preached at one.  My morning was at the Guwahati Baptist Church, an Assamese congregation of about 300, adjacent to the Council of Baptist Churches compound.  It was the first Sunday of the month and thus baptism Sunday.  13 adult candidates were immersed--5 women and 8 men.  The baptistry was under the platform and reminded me of the stories of old in the US.  The afternoon service was wiith a Naga speaking congregation of about 80.  They were mainly students and hill people who had migrated to the city.  You will have to ask Steve about his short, two point sermon. 

Today, Monday, May 5, we leave Guwahati to come home.  Kolkatta, Mumbai, Brussels, Newark, KCI.  We may be in bed in Clay County by about midnight on Tuesday.  A quick summary of the last 17 days would read: Preached 11 times.  Presented Challenges and Opportunities in Christian Higher Education 5 times to 11 different schools/institutions.  Ate lots of rice, curry, steamed and boiled veggies.  No ice cream.  Lots of stories. 

Thanks to Second Baptist Church for their financial help and to all the rest for prayers and encouragement.  We are eager to report and be accountable for your support. 

Jerry and Steve

Posted by Kelsey Adams at Friday, May 9, 2014
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