By John Greening
A stimulating daily read for me is the business section of the Chicago Tribune. Stories about start-up companies and new product ventures fascinate me. This genre draws me into also viewing ABC network’s Shark Tank, in which entrepreneurs hawk their newly developed wares to the Shark tycoons in hopes of obtaining financial backing and business savvy.
Starting a new product venture is an enormous undertaking. Developers make multiple decisions about budgets, personnel, designs, productions, timelines, vendors, contracts, websites, marketing, sales, orders, inventories, and distribution. What an impressive feat for an entrepreneur to navigate through the business milieu, turning an idea into a viable product!
During this past year, I had the extraordinary experience of observing the launch of a new product line of Sunday School curriculum for urban ministries. A highly motivated and skilled team envisioned this resource, developed the plan, and accomplished the steps to present the new product line, expressly designed for today’s urban church. Though the idea of producing the resource seemed like a long shot initially, the idea became a reality thanks to the dream team’s efforts and the Lord’s help.
This cooperative venture began with Fundamental Baptist Fellowship Association members meeting with Regular Baptist Press staff to discuss the possibilities and challenges of designing urban-sensitive curriculum. While Biblically strong, Regular Baptist Press curriculum lacked relevance and context for the urban church audience. The art was anglicized, story settings were often suburban, and applications lacked practical connections with urban ministries.
After extensive discussion, the two organizations concluded together that a new curriculum line would be created and branded under the name Baptist Fellowship Press. Regular Baptist Press would provide initial assistance to get this venture off the ground, but Baptist Fellowship Press would belong to the Fundamental Baptist Fellowship Association.
With an aggressive timeline of November 2015 for project start and July 2016 for product launch, the team achieved each benchmark in a timely manner. On Thursday evening, July 21, of the FBFA Conference, FBFA project coordinator Bill Hayes, my colleague Michael Nolan, and I stood on the platform for the official rollout of this new curriculum line. Conferees enthusiastically welcomed the Biblically robust, doctrinally sound, and culturally relevant material. These resources will shape the hearts of a new generation of children in churches committed to God’s Word. The potential impact of this new curriculum venture is monumental.
Especially gratifying is the recognition of this venture as a positive outgrowth of a racial reconciliation between the FBFA and the GARBC, which took place in 1995. The goal of that meeting was to go beyond the public proclamation of reconciliation to form a strong working relationship for the sake of the gospel and the teaching of the Word of God in local churches.
Help the FBFA get the word out about this outstanding curriculum! If you minister in an urban setting, please try this new resource and urge others to try it. Visit www.BaptistFellowshipPress.org or call 877.241.1688. Let your urban friends know about this excellent children’s material. Please pray for the Lord’s use of its Biblical content to transform lives and influence society.
John Greening is national representative of the General Association of Regular Baptist Churches.