1. Learning about stewardship principles and governmental compliance for churches keeps the church operational to minister to its community, as Ronald Vides, pastor of Betesda Church in Orange, discovered.

    Vides attended a training event where the “Church Financial Guidebook,” which had been translated into Spanish using California Mission Offering gifts, was being taught. Vides discovered the book and seminar contained “very important information” concerning “guidelines for laws and government and taxes.”

    Rod Wiltrout, church finance specialist for California Southern Baptist Convention, noted the book was first published for English-speaking congregations. He said, “Even though the Guidebook is not a direct ministry tool to reach people, it helps church leaders understand what is necessary to function so it can fulfill its mission and set a solid foundation to do ministry and evangelism.”

    Wiltrout explained, “When the church handles its money properly, it is both effective and efficient in sharing the gospel.”

    Vides said it is important and a blessing to have the book in Spanish because “a lot of Hispanic pastors don’t understand English” and if not in their language they are “disconnected with the laws and don’t know how to fill out forms.”

    Pray that the translated guidebook would be beneficial to churches as they operate in communities where the gospel needs to be proclaimed.

    For more information on how to be a part of the California Mission Offering please visit: calmissions.com.

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  2. A Vacation Bible School training clinic, funded in part by gifts to the California Mission Offering, made an impact locally and globally for a group from Sequoia Baptist Association.

    In need of training for the 2015 LifeWay VBS curriculum, the group that attended one of the California Southern Baptist Convention-sponsored clinics was composed of members from Sierra and Woodland Drive Baptist churches in Visalia.

    The team had a twofold purpose – to lead VBS for children of International Mission Board missionaries attending a conference in South Africa and to lead a VBS clinic for the local association.

    Mark Wilson, pastor of Sierra Baptist Church, said the clinic was vital for Sequoia Association since there hadn’t been a training event in many years. The team also led a training clinic for High Desert Baptist Association.

    He noted VBS is important to his church and others because “it is a great outreach opportunity to children and families.”

    Tom Belew, CSBC childhood specialist, echoed Wilson, saying, “VBS is possibly the greatest evangelistic outreach opportunity a church has each year.”

    Belew noted that “since VBS is important to the life of a church” CSBC will continue supporting training clinics Until It’s Finished.

    Pray for Sierra Baptist Church and other Sequoia Association churches in their VBS outreach efforts. Also pray that more associations and churches would be trained for effective evangelism through VBS.

    For more information on how to be a part of the California Mission Offering please visit: calmissions.com.

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  3. The oldest congregation in California Southern Baptist Convention, First Southern Baptist Church in Shafter, intends to minister Until It’s Finished.

    In 1940, members of 13 California churches met at First Southern, where they formed The Southern Baptist General Convention of California (now CSBC).

    Hitting its peak in the 1960s, First Southern has experienced increasing challenges keeping pace with their community’s changing demographics.

    In January the congregation reached out to the healthy church group when Pastor Jim Neal realized they were headed for extinction if left on their existing trajectory. “We needed a boost and a new set of eyes.”

    For more than a decade the healthy church group has offered free, third-party consultations for any church in the Convention that gives to the Cooperative Program. Gifts to the California Mission Offering also are utilized in the consultation process.

    “We look at every possible way we can engage with churches and help them do some things that will make them healthier,” said Mike McGuffee, CSBC’s ministerial leadership specialist, who is working with the Shafter congregation.

    “If they are healthy, the results will be larger attendance, more baptisms and more financial resources.”

    Pray for First Southern Baptist Church in Shafter to build community relevance to reach people for Christ. Pray for CSBC healthy church consultants and their efforts to strengthen churches.

    For More Information on how to be a part of the California Mission Offering please visit: calmissions.com.

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  4. From fires in Colorado to floods in the Philippines, California Disaster Relief volunteers serve victims of a variety of disasters.

    Don Hargis, CSBC’s director of Disaster Relief, explained, “We don’t just train in how to clean up after a flood or after a fire – we want them to know how to share their story with people who are hurting.”

    The California Mission Offering is one source of funding that makes California Disaster Relief ministries possible.

    “When we responded to fires in Colorado there was a gentleman who said, ‘I don’t want to hear about this church stuff or Jesus stuff,’ so the team just went on working.” But later the man said, “I noticed how you guys are always so happy – you’re working so hard, there are no complaints – you seem to like one another. Why?”

    Eventually he started going to church with the team!

    People in the Philippines were “devastated” after a typhoon struck their island. Hargis said, “We got to see so many people come to Christ. Churches that were running 10 or 11 are now running 60.”

    Residents said it was “because of the witness of the Yellow Shirts” (worn by Southern Baptist DR workers).

    “We don’t leave Until It’s Finished!” Hargis declared.

    Pray for Don Hargis and others who lead DR ministries in California. Pray for God to give trained volunteers the words and actions to lead people to Christ when ministering during times of crisis.

    For more information on how to be a part of the California Mission Offering please visit: calmissions.com.

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  5. A new series of evangelism helps called MY316, based on John 3:16, already has made a difference in reaching souls for Jesus in Concord.

    With part of its funding through the California Mission Offering, CSBC’s evangelism director Randy McWhorter said the materials were developed to help people use John 3:16 and their personal testimony to lead others to faith in Jesus Christ.

    “Even though most people don’t know what to say during a witnessing interaction, most know enough gospel in John 3:16 to save the world,” he declared.

    Steve Willhite, pastor of Parkhaven Baptist Church in Concord, said there regularly is a group of 12 that meets at his church to learn about MY316, then goes out to witness.

    “One particular night we had 33 people show up! We knew God was at work.”

    He noted the congregation had been praying for a family for months, and after they attended one of the MY316 visitation nights, the entire family professed faith in Christ.

    McWhorter added that he believes every person in North America can hear the gospel, but also believes every believer must take the responsibility of sharing the gospel, Until It’s Finished.

    Pray for Steve Wilhite as he uses MY316 as a witness training tool to reach people in CostaMeda Association. Also pray for the more than 2,200 CSBC congregations to be effective sharing Jesus in California.

    For more information on how to be a part of the California Mission Offering please visit: calmissions.com.

    # vimeo.com/131476504 Uploaded 80 Plays 0 Comments

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