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175 Years of Being Missional by Jeff Buscher

As we continue in this celebration of 175 years of being Second Baptist church in Liberty, I can’t help but pause to consider the ways this church, from the very start, has very intentionally been a church on mission, being the “hands and feet” of Jesus for others over all of these years. It is also remarkable to note the transition in practices and culture of  “Missions” over the history of the church. Here are a just a few highlights of the mission work that has been the hallmark of Second Baptist throughout its history:

  • 1909 — Held “Tent Revival Meetings” on the campus of William Jewell College
  • 1916 — Raised and donated over $150 (3.5K today) to the Zion Baptist Church Building initiative. (The only African American Church in Liberty at that time)
  • 1930’s — Held regular “Missions Schools” Training events hosted and led by missionaries currently serving abroad.
  • 1931— Church operating budget $9.9K; and a separate stand-alone Missions   Budget for the year was $6.6K
  • Local Church starts included: Winnwood, Pleasant Valley, and South Liberty.
  • Sent several members to serve on Short-Term Missions experiences, 6 -24 months, in places such as Jordan, Nigeria, China, and Korea.
  • Ministered to Jewell students since the college began in 1849
  • 1966 — established a “Mission House” for Missionaries to occupy while they were on furlough from their field of service.
  • 1980’s — began to conduct Mission trips with youth and adults.
  • 1990’s — began partnership with Native Americans in Bridger, South Dakota
  • 2010 — responded to the Earthquake in Haiti
  • 2014 — established the SEND Initiative to promote members continued participation in Mission work locally and globally

As I reflect on what I call the “Mission Heart” of Second Baptist Church, I am encouraged and I can only imagine what the next 175 years hold for this community of faithful Christ followers. Just a few weeks ago I attended an interfaith dinner with several other 2BC members. Together we shared tables with Muslims, Sikhs, Atheists, and Baha’i followers, and in those moments I saw a glimpse of a new dimension of being “Missional” at Second Baptist Church. After all, through the years, we have always been sent to build relationships with people, not places. 

at Wednesday, June 13, 2018
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Sunday Greeting at Second by Sue Wright

What does it take to be a greeter at Second? A badge and a smile. And if you’re like me and leave your badge at home half the time, you find out, it’s only your smile that’s absolutely necessary. Put it in place, along with your best, “Hello!” and you’re in business.

I, for one, came to the job of greeter reluctantly. I was asked off and on through the years, would I take a month of Sundays and be a greeter at the Franklin Doors. These doors used to be the main entrance into Second Baptist. They are the doors I walked through to attend church my first Sunday of college at William Jewell back in 1962. No surprise, in the last few years, the Welcome Center doors on the Kansas side of our building have become the most popular entrance. And why not? The fragrant smell of fresh coffee brewing in the coffee bar permeates the room. Folks gather there in comfortable chairs to chitchat between the 8:30 and 11:00 services. I call the doors on Kansas Street, the FUN DOORS!

I always found a reason to say no when asked officially to greet. But after Irene Thomas, a fellow balcony congregant begged me to fill in “just once, Sue,” I was hooked. About the same time, she eased Phyllis Chatlos into joining us. There were three double-doors fronting Franklin and now all were covered on a permanent basis. Yes, we three became Franklin’s regular greeters for many years.

Greeting didn’t come naturally to someone as shy as I. But long ago, I found the most comfortable way to turn up at a social event is to have a specific job waiting for me. You forget your personal insecurities and do the work instead. Irene, our experienced Greeting Instructor, made it very clear what the job entailed and that made fulfilling it easy. 

After we stationed ourselves at our assigned doors, Phyllis and I were to watch for folks climbing the stairs and open the appropriate door for them to enter. If weather permitted, we were taught to hold the door open from the outside, keeping it open with one hand while we passed a program to each person with the other. Mind you, I’m saying programs here, not worship guide. Part of my education was learning this more up-to-date term for the order of worship and other information we pass to members and guests on Sundays.

Once we got folks in the door, we were encouraged to engage them in a little conversation, answer questions, give directions to another part of the church if required, or introduce them if they were new, to someone on staff wandering about the sanctuary. Hospitality was the byword. It still is. And such a Biblical concept!

Romans 15:7 says, “Therefore, welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.”  That’s the Greeter’s Commission. Come and greet with me and feel the joy!  

at Monday, June 11, 2018
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Attending to Art by Kim Kankiewicz

When is the last time you were moved to tears? For me, it was at a concert I attended during a Memorial Day visit to the World War I Museum in Kansas City. I was unfamiliar with the performers, baritone John Brancy and pianist Peter Dugan. I hadn’t heard of George Butterworth, the composer of the song that brought tears to my eyes. I didn’t recognize the song lyrics, from a poem called “Is My Team Ploughing?” by A.E. Housman. I was there because it was a free concert. I didn’t expect to cry.

“Is My Team Ploughing?” is a conversation between a fallen soldier and his friend, who is still living. Butterworth set the poem to music two years before he himself was killed in WWI. Brancy and Dugan recorded the song for their album A Silent Night: A WWI Memorial in Song. You can hear the recording online. Everything about the piece is poignant, but I’m not sure the recording would have moved me the way the performance did. It was the gift of the moment that made me cry: the fact that two young musicians recognize their commonality with men who died a century ago; that they cared enough about these men’s stories to memorialize them with their music; that they traveled to Kansas City for the sole purpose of sharing their music with a small audience that included me.

There’s something about the live experience of art that stirs my soul. At a concert or a play, I come face to face with other humans, created in God’s image, expressing some part of what it means to be alive. In a museum or gallery, I encounter people’s ideas and emotions through the work of their hands. This doesn’t require a professional performance or flawless execution. I often sense something sacred in amateur or local art. Our world is busy, commerce-driven, image-focused, and competitive. It’s a kind of miracle when people dedicate time and attention to art and have the courage to share what they’ve created. Making art, despite all that seems urgent, can be an act of worship, a recognition of something greater that connects us, an expression of humility and gratitude. Witnessing art can draw us into that worship.

I thought about this a few days after Memorial Day when I read the story of renowned violinist Joshua Bell playing his Stradivarius in a D.C. Metro station, where hundreds of people rushed past him without noticing. (When my kids ignore me, I like to say, “What am I? Joshua Bell in a Metro station?”) While I remember the video that made the news in 2007, I hadn’t read the full story of Bell’s Metro performance until last week. Here’s a passage from the story in the Washington Post:

In the three-quarters of an hour that Joshua Bell played, seven people stopped what they were doing to hang around and take in the performance, at least for a minute. Twenty-seven gave money, most of them on the run—for a total of $32 and change. That leaves the 1,070 people who hurried by, oblivious, many only 3 feet away, few even turning to look…

It was all videotaped by a hidden camera. You can play the recording once or fifteen times, and it never gets any easier to watch. Try speeding it up, and it becomes one of those herky-jerky World War I-era silent newsreels. The people scurry by in comical little hops and starts, cups of coffee in their hands, cell phones at their ears, ID tags slapping at their bellies, a grim danse macabre to indifference, inertia, and the dingy, gray rush of modernity. Even at this accelerated pace, though, the fiddler’s movements remain fluid and graceful; he seems so apart from his audience—unseen, unheard, otherworldly—that you find yourself thinking that he’s not really there. A ghost.

Only then do you see it: He is the one who is real. They are the ghosts.

Couldn’t this be a metaphor for our failure to notice God? God gets our attention through nature and Scripture, through life-changing circumstances and uncommon gestures of grace. Maybe God also invites us to attend when a humble mortal reflects the Creator by participating in the creative arts. Will we pause to see, hear, and reflect?

Is My Team Ploughing,” recorded by John Brancy and Peter Dugan

Joshua Bell’s incognito performance at a D.C. Metro station

“Pearls Before Breakfast,” Gene Weingarten’s article about Joshua Bell for The Washington Post Magazine

at Friday, June 8, 2018
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