Down Home in Mississippi

Another Annual SBC

Posted on June 17, 2013 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

Non-Southern Baptists have trouble understanding that the Southern Baptist Convention only exists once a year when messengers representing member churches gather for its annual meeting. Boards and various entities carry on the work of what more than 45,000 rather independent and autonomous churches do together cooperatively. Another annual meeting has come and gone, this year in Houston, Texas, with attendance in radical decline.

Barely 5,000 messengers registered this year, a few more than the lowest attendance in modern times in Phoenix in 2011. That’s doesn’t even measure up to attendance at a single mega-church on any given Sunday morning and represents less than 5% of member churches. Though benign business went on as usual and administrators of various agencies droned …

Read the rest of this entry »

Blessings and Honors

Posted on June 10, 2013 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

We are on the road again after a delightful two weeks at home getting our yard and garden at a maintenance level before the extreme summer heat sets in. We are enjoying strolling the corridors at the Southern Baptist Convention in Houston, seeing friends and former colleagues without any platform responsibilities. Later in the week we are looking forward to a missionary reunion of those who served in Indonesia at Shocco Springs in Alabama.

Meanwhile, we continue to be blessed with health, a full social calendar and ministry opportunities. It was a privilege to be the commencement speaker at Columbia International University in South Carolina and to be awarded an honorary doctorate degree. I have been on the board of …

Read the rest of this entry »

Time with Grandkids!

Posted on May 20, 2013 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

We rarely see our overseas grandkids on the mission field, but we anticipated retirement would bring frequent occasions to be with those stateside. However, as they have grown older and have lives filled with school, work and social commitments, occasions to be together have not been as often as we anticipated. Of course, our own commitments and travel have contributed to that.

We have been delighted that two separate travel itineraries in the last few weeks have allowed us to spend a few days with our son’s family in the Nashville area where Russell works in corporate media at Lifeway Christian Resources. They live south of Franklin in the Thompson Station and Springhill area. It was a special blessing to …

Read the rest of this entry »

April Showers… May Flowers

Posted on May 14, 2013 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

We are having a delightful spring of weekend travel mixed with beautiful spring days at home. Last weekend included a visit with friends in Memphis, dinner with my sister-in-law in Tupelo and a missions day in in Okolona, MS. The previous weeks included board meetings at CIU in Columbia, SC and William Carey University in Hattiesburg, and mission weekends at churches in Alabama and Fort Worth, TX.

We have had three round trips to Northeast Mississippi on the beautiful Natchez Trace, a leisure traffic-free parkway by-passing nearby communities through fields and woods. This photo was taken of a old rail fence and colorful field near French Camp Academy where we took a diversion on rural roads looking for abandoned home …

Read the rest of this entry »

Mentoring and Discipling

Posted on April 29, 2013 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

We have had no lack of ministry opportunities since retiring. We have no obligation to fill the calendar with engagements but find it difficult to decline an opportunity in which someone has felt led to invite us. I enjoy an occasional Sunday and being nurtured by someone else’s sermon, but given an opportunity to proclaim the word, present a missions challenge, lead a seminar on leadership, strategy or spiritual warfare…the calendar fills up.

We enjoy the travel, dropping in on old friends and expanding our network of new acquaintances but live with a tension between local ministry and the more expansive opportunities our former role and influence provides. It would be gratifying to become involved in many programs of local …

Read the rest of this entry »

Staying Connected

Posted on April 22, 2013 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

It was difficult for us to stay connected with friends and family over the years. Being overseas for 23 years made contacts infrequent occasions when we came home only every three or four years for furlough. Travel and administrative responsibilities in leading the IMB later diminished the opportunities to participate in family gatherings or schedule casual visits with former colleagues. One of the joys of retirement is having flexibility in our schedule and margin in our travel to connect with family and friends.

We occasionally stopover in Mobile for a visit with my twin sister, Jean, and have attached ourselves to gatherings of Bobbye’s sister’s family in Brookhaven and Jackson. A recent weekend engagement in North Mississippi allowed us to …

Read the rest of this entry »

Photo Out-Takes from Indonesia

Posted on April 16, 2013 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

We are enjoying being down home in Mississippi, spending beautiful spring days working in the yard and driving to nearby weekend engagements. A Sunday missions emphasis in Aberdeen allowed us to visit my sister-in-law, Rosamond, in Tupelo and my nephew Randy and his family. Rather than indulging in proud pictures of my azaleas and cherry blossoms, we wanted to share more photos from our Indonesia trip.

One of the highlights was a picnic to Rembangan, a beautiful park and swimming pool high in the mountains above Jember. Our children cherish the almost weekly family-day outings to this location when they were small. It was one of the highlights for the return of Lori and her family. They discovered the friendliness …

Read the rest of this entry »

Spring, Easter and Renewal

Posted on April 4, 2013 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

It’s wonderful to be home! After traveling for most of the last three months it is nice to do something other than picking up our mail and doing the laundry on brief stopovers in Mississippi. The trips, fellowship with new and old friends and ministry opportunities have been fantastic, but isn’t retirement supposed to be about chilling out now and then?

It is nice to have weekend engagements in Mississippi and just a relatively short drive away. I will have led three seminars on spiritual warfare by the end of this month. I am hoping folks from the churches in Copiah County will join us at New Zion Baptist Church near Crystal Springs for the seminar Friday night and Saturday …

Read the rest of this entry »

Venture to New England

Posted on March 25, 2013 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

Following our three weeks in Indonesia and a week in Florida, we embarked on a two-week excursion of multiple engagements up the east coast from South Carolina to Boston, traveling 4,335 miles through 20 states! That included one segment of our journey in four states in a mere 20-minutes, leaving Pennsylvania and driving across narrow arms of Maryland and West Virginia before entering into Virginia. The destination and objective of the trip was a mission conference in Easton, MA and fellowship with church planters in Boston with Antioch Ministries.

Although we had a couple of days of inclement weather and adjusted to continuing winter cold, it was a beautiful trip touring the New England states, especially the snow-covered mountains …

Read the rest of this entry »

Winter Escape to Florida

Posted on March 19, 2013 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

While traveling to engagements up the east coast, we quietly allowed my 71st birthday to pass unnoticed on Saturday, which is preferable at this age. I expect a lot of attention on the decade milestones, but too many are accumulating too fast to make a big deal of all of them. I’m thankful for continued health, strength, vision and an abundance of opportunities to fulfill our calling. That trip will have to await next week’s post as I am still catching up from reporting on our travels to Indonesia.

The winter temperature was shocking to the system after three weeks in the tropics, but we had only one day of turn-around at home following our 24-hours of travel from Bali …

Read the rest of this entry »

More News