June 2010

NAMB avoids biggest news, claims bright future

June 17 2010 by Jennifer Davis Rash, The Alabama Baptist

ORLANDO, Fla. — Southern Baptists’ North American Mission Board (NAMB) report was silent on the biggest news event coming out of the Alpharetta, Ga., office during the past year — the forced departure of President Geoff Hammond in August 2009.

Hammond resigned Aug. 11 after enduring charges of leadership issues that undermined the morale and effectiveness of NAMB.

The resignation came during a special called meeting of the board of trustees to deal with the problems.

One veiled mention of this came when messenger Larry Thomas of Southside Baptist Church in Heber Springs, Ark., asked why NAMB hired outside experts to deal with “the August meeting.”

Thomas also wanted to know how much money was spent and from where it came. NAMB board of trustees Chair Tim Dowdy, pastor of First Baptist Church in Eagle’s Landing, Ga., noted that while he was not chair last August, he did know that no money from the agency’s Annie Armstrong Easter Offering was used for the expert.

Dowdy does believe that expert, outside guidance was necessary to help trustees through the sensitive and difficult issue.

BP photo by Matt Miller

Tim Dowdy, newly elected chairman of the North American Mission Board’s (NAMB) trustee board and pastor of Eagle's Landing First Baptist Church of McDonough, Ga., speaks during the NAMB report and pre


Hammond’s name never was mentioned. What was mentioned during the report was that NAMB trustees are searching for a new leader and that a transition is taking place.

The report also highlighted “God’s Plan for Sharing,” or GPS, NAMB’s decade-long evangelism strategy unveiled by Hammond at last year’s annual SBC meeting. Another emphasis woven throughout NAMB’s report and the presentation which followed it was the Great Commission Resurgence, “penetrating the lostness” and reaching North America with the gospel.

“One thing I ask is that you pray for us in the next few months,” Dowdy said. “We are under one of the crucial (times) for us as we search for a new leader of the North American Mission Board.

“In the meantime, we have been blessed to have Richard Harris, vice president (of missions advancement), as interim. He has provided rock-solid, stable leadership for NAMB in this time.” “Your North American Mission Board is moving forward,” Harris said. “It has a bright future. We have focused on starting churches, sharing Christ and sending missionaries.

“We’ve been attempting to move forward to fulfill the Great Commission. At the forefront is GPS,” he said, noting 10,000 churches are participating and 24,000 TV ads and 7,000 radio ads have aired. “We are leading Southern Baptists to reach the 258 million lost people in North America.” 

Harris said NAMB is ready to lead Southern Baptists to “penetrate the lostness” and will be focused on church planting, evangelism discipleship, leadership development and metropolitan missions.

The NAMB presentation featured three of these focus areas by highlighting the work done by a diverse group of NAMB representatives. Each segment began with a video story of a NAMB representative and lives that are being changed. Following the video, the representative and one or more of those featured in the video were interviewed live by Harris.

Those featured included NAMB missionary Jalil Dawood, who works with the Iraqi population in Dallas; Andrew Mann, NAMB missionary in Bronx, N.Y.; and Sammy Gilbreath, director of evangelism for the Alabama Baptist State Convention, who said he has seen tremendous success with GPS. An Iraqi Christian convert featured from Dallas told messengers that immigrants from the Middle East would “be blessed to meet someone like (Dawood).”

“I pray to the Lord that every (person coming) to America, especially from Arabic countries and especially if he’s a Muslim, I wish for him to meet someone like Pastor Jalil and (for that person) to work with him like Pastor Jalil worked with me.”

Mann said the Bronx neighborhood where he lives and works is rough, “but God is here.”

Two brothers who accepted Christ and are spreading the gospel in their family and among their friends said it was Mann’s help and attention to them that made the difference.

“This man is the best man I know right now. He helped me get back to my school. He helped me look for jobs and programs to keep my life together,” the older brother said of Mann. “I just appreciate that and … (am) trying to learn more about Christ and giving my life to the Lord.” Gilbreath noted that the GPS emphasis in Alabama “is probably the largest organized outreach ministry attempted by Alabama Baptists.”

In the recent GPS Easter effort, evangelistic material was hung on nearly 1 million doors in Alabama.

“We didn’t have a lack of passion” for evangelism, Gilbreath said. “But we didn’t have a strategy. … Now we have a way to carry this out.” Noting the contagiousness of Gilbreath’s excitement about sharing the gospel, Harris asked him, “Will you help us in pioneer areas?” “Absolutely,” Gilbreath said. “Alabama stands ready not only to penetrate lostness in Alabama but in all of North America.” 
6/17/2010 8:53:00 AM by Jennifer Davis Rash, The Alabama Baptist | with 2 comments



NAMB avoids biggest news, claims bright future

June 17 2010 by Jennifer Davis Rash, The Alabama Baptist

ORLANDO, Fla. — Southern Baptists’ North American Mission Board (NAMB) report was silent on the biggest news event coming out of the Alpharetta, Ga., office during the past year — the forced departure of President Geoff Hammond in August 2009.

Hammond resigned Aug. 11 after enduring charges of leadership issues that undermined the morale and effectiveness of NAMB.

The resignation came during a special called meeting of the board of trustees to deal with the problems.

One veiled mention of this came when messenger Larry Thomas of Southside Baptist Church in Heber Springs, Ark., asked why NAMB hired outside experts to deal with “the August meeting.”

Thomas also wanted to know how much money was spent and from where it came. NAMB board of trustees Chair Tim Dowdy, pastor of First Baptist Church in Eagle’s Landing, Ga., noted that while he was not chair last August, he did know that no money from the agency’s Annie Armstrong Easter Offering was used for the expert.

Dowdy does believe that expert, outside guidance was necessary to help trustees through the sensitive and difficult issue.

BP photo by Matt Miller

Tim Dowdy, newly elected chairman of the North American Mission Board’s (NAMB) trustee board and pastor of Eagle's Landing First Baptist Church of McDonough, Ga., speaks during the NAMB report and pre


Hammond’s name never was mentioned. What was mentioned during the report was that NAMB trustees are searching for a new leader and that a transition is taking place.

The report also highlighted “God’s Plan for Sharing,” or GPS, NAMB’s decade-long evangelism strategy unveiled by Hammond at last year’s annual SBC meeting. Another emphasis woven throughout NAMB’s report and the presentation which followed it was the Great Commission Resurgence, “penetrating the lostness” and reaching North America with the gospel.

“One thing I ask is that you pray for us in the next few months,” Dowdy said. “We are under one of the crucial (times) for us as we search for a new leader of the North American Mission Board.

“In the meantime, we have been blessed to have Richard Harris, vice president (of missions advancement), as interim. He has provided rock-solid, stable leadership for NAMB in this time.” “Your North American Mission Board is moving forward,” Harris said. “It has a bright future. We have focused on starting churches, sharing Christ and sending missionaries.

“We’ve been attempting to move forward to fulfill the Great Commission. At the forefront is GPS,” he said, noting 10,000 churches are participating and 24,000 TV ads and 7,000 radio ads have aired. “We are leading Southern Baptists to reach the 258 million lost people in North America.” 

Harris said NAMB is ready to lead Southern Baptists to “penetrate the lostness” and will be focused on church planting, evangelism discipleship, leadership development and metropolitan missions.

The NAMB presentation featured three of these focus areas by highlighting the work done by a diverse group of NAMB representatives. Each segment began with a video story of a NAMB representative and lives that are being changed. Following the video, the representative and one or more of those featured in the video were interviewed live by Harris.

Those featured included NAMB missionary Jalil Dawood, who works with the Iraqi population in Dallas; Andrew Mann, NAMB missionary in Bronx, N.Y.; and Sammy Gilbreath, director of evangelism for the Alabama Baptist State Convention, who said he has seen tremendous success with GPS. An Iraqi Christian convert featured from Dallas told messengers that immigrants from the Middle East would “be blessed to meet someone like (Dawood).”

“I pray to the Lord that every (person coming) to America, especially from Arabic countries and especially if he’s a Muslim, I wish for him to meet someone like Pastor Jalil and (for that person) to work with him like Pastor Jalil worked with me.”

Mann said the Bronx neighborhood where he lives and works is rough, “but God is here.”

Two brothers who accepted Christ and are spreading the gospel in their family and among their friends said it was Mann’s help and attention to them that made the difference.

“This man is the best man I know right now. He helped me get back to my school. He helped me look for jobs and programs to keep my life together,” the older brother said of Mann. “I just appreciate that and … (am) trying to learn more about Christ and giving my life to the Lord.” Gilbreath noted that the GPS emphasis in Alabama “is probably the largest organized outreach ministry attempted by Alabama Baptists.”

In the recent GPS Easter effort, evangelistic material was hung on nearly 1 million doors in Alabama.

“We didn’t have a lack of passion” for evangelism, Gilbreath said. “But we didn’t have a strategy. … Now we have a way to carry this out.” Noting the contagiousness of Gilbreath’s excitement about sharing the gospel, Harris asked him, “Will you help us in pioneer areas?” “Absolutely,” Gilbreath said. “Alabama stands ready not only to penetrate lostness in Alabama but in all of North America.” 
6/17/2010 8:53:00 AM by Jennifer Davis Rash, The Alabama Baptist | with 2 comments



Refocus on preeminence of Christ, Brunson urges

June 17 2010 by Todd Deaton, Western Recorder

ORLANDO, Fla. — Florida pastor Mac Brunson urged Southern Baptists to refocus on the preeminence of Jesus Christ.

“I’m afraid that in our convention and across the ministry today, we are far better preachers at battling one another, than we are at battling our enemy,” Satan, Mac Brunson, pastor of First Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Fla., said in the annual convention sermon, delivered to the Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting in Orlando, Fla.

Basing his message on John 3, Brunson exhorted Southern Baptist ministers to proclaim the preeminence of Jesus Christ in their lives and preaching and in relying on God’s resources. Observing that Jesus’ disciples had become jealous and agitated with John the Baptist, who was also baptizing in the Jordon River, Brunson asserted that it was “all because they had begun to focus on themselves, instead of the preeminence of Jesus Christ.”

Brunson noted a study conducted years ago by former seminary professor Ken Chafin found a high rate of bitterness and resentment among pastors then. “That’s what was happening with the disciples,” Brunson explained, noting that Chafin’s survey found three common attitudes: they tended toward being negative, were highly competitive and didn’t like other preachers.

Recalling a recent conversation with a leading evangelist, Brunson said that the preacher charged that on Monday mornings at associational offices, the average pastor would rather hear that a fellow pastor had to resign than to hear that the Spirit of God had fallen upon his congregation and many were being saved.

BP photo by Bill Bangham

Mac Brunson, pastor of First Baptist Church in Jacksonville,, Fla., gives the convention message during the morning session June 16 of the annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention in Orlando, Fla.


“There is something happening among pastors today that absolutely has the watching world astounded, the devil laughing, and our Almighty God grieving,” he asserted.

To rectify this condition, Brunson emphasized a need for preachers to recognize that any success they have in the ministry is because God gave it.

“I am saved solely because of God’s grace. I have received his salvation,” he said, reminding preachers that “any church growth you have is an act of the sovereign God. You receive it!” Calling the people of his congregation “a gift from God” that he has received only because of God’s goodness, he asked, “Do you realize, pastor, you are a gift to that congregation … (and) that congregation is a gift to you?

“Now, some may want to exchange gifts,” he quipped. “But that’s a different sermon for another time.”

He reminded pastors they are first servants, referring to 1 Corinthians 3. “If you have been ordained to the gospel ministry, let me let you in on something, you’re just a preacher,” he said.

“You may be a denominational official, …  but you’re just a preacher. You may have degrees hanging down your walls like curtains in a mansion, but you’re just a preacher. And, there’s nothing better in all the world than that.”

Brunson also underscored a need for ministers to have a proper perspective of their position, pointing out John the Baptist understood that Jesus was the bridegroom, and he was “just the best man, a friend of the bridegroom.”

Drawing out the comparison, Brunson observed that the best man customarily brings the bride down the aisle and places her hand in the groom’s hand. Like John, he explained, ministers must realize that all they are called to do is “put their hands in the nail-scared hands.”

“That’s what will bring joy in your ministry,” he said.

Finally, in emphasizing the preeminence of God’s resources, Brunson observed that the passage speaks of “an actual hell where people are going to go,” but it also declares: “We have a Savior who has everything necessary in those nail-scared hands to save this world. That must be our focus.”

Do Southern Baptists ever stop and hear the cries of those who are lost and “on a fast train to an eternal hell?” he wondered. 

Retelling a story about a church near Dachau, a concentration camp in Germany, which decided to sing louder to drown out the whistles of passing trains and cries of thousands of Jews heading for death camps, Brunson lamented, “Sometimes we get so religious, we shut out the voice of not only the Holy Spirit, but also the cries of lost.

“We don’t need just a resurgence or a revival. We have got to get back and refocus on preeminence of Jesus Christ,” Brunson concluded. 
6/17/2010 8:46:00 AM by Todd Deaton, Western Recorder | with 0 comments



Refocus on preeminence of Christ, Brunson urges

June 17 2010 by Todd Deaton, Western Recorder

ORLANDO, Fla. — Florida pastor Mac Brunson urged Southern Baptists to refocus on the preeminence of Jesus Christ.

“I’m afraid that in our convention and across the ministry today, we are far better preachers at battling one another, than we are at battling our enemy,” Satan, Mac Brunson, pastor of First Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Fla., said in the annual convention sermon, delivered to the Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting in Orlando, Fla.

Basing his message on John 3, Brunson exhorted Southern Baptist ministers to proclaim the preeminence of Jesus Christ in their lives and preaching and in relying on God’s resources. Observing that Jesus’ disciples had become jealous and agitated with John the Baptist, who was also baptizing in the Jordon River, Brunson asserted that it was “all because they had begun to focus on themselves, instead of the preeminence of Jesus Christ.”

Brunson noted a study conducted years ago by former seminary professor Ken Chafin found a high rate of bitterness and resentment among pastors then. “That’s what was happening with the disciples,” Brunson explained, noting that Chafin’s survey found three common attitudes: they tended toward being negative, were highly competitive and didn’t like other preachers.

Recalling a recent conversation with a leading evangelist, Brunson said that the preacher charged that on Monday mornings at associational offices, the average pastor would rather hear that a fellow pastor had to resign than to hear that the Spirit of God had fallen upon his congregation and many were being saved.

BP photo by Bill Bangham

Mac Brunson, pastor of First Baptist Church in Jacksonville,, Fla., gives the convention message during the morning session June 16 of the annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention in Orlando, Fla.


“There is something happening among pastors today that absolutely has the watching world astounded, the devil laughing, and our Almighty God grieving,” he asserted.

To rectify this condition, Brunson emphasized a need for preachers to recognize that any success they have in the ministry is because God gave it.

“I am saved solely because of God’s grace. I have received his salvation,” he said, reminding preachers that “any church growth you have is an act of the sovereign God. You receive it!” Calling the people of his congregation “a gift from God” that he has received only because of God’s goodness, he asked, “Do you realize, pastor, you are a gift to that congregation … (and) that congregation is a gift to you?

“Now, some may want to exchange gifts,” he quipped. “But that’s a different sermon for another time.”

He reminded pastors they are first servants, referring to 1 Corinthians 3. “If you have been ordained to the gospel ministry, let me let you in on something, you’re just a preacher,” he said.

“You may be a denominational official, …  but you’re just a preacher. You may have degrees hanging down your walls like curtains in a mansion, but you’re just a preacher. And, there’s nothing better in all the world than that.”

Brunson also underscored a need for ministers to have a proper perspective of their position, pointing out John the Baptist understood that Jesus was the bridegroom, and he was “just the best man, a friend of the bridegroom.”

Drawing out the comparison, Brunson observed that the best man customarily brings the bride down the aisle and places her hand in the groom’s hand. Like John, he explained, ministers must realize that all they are called to do is “put their hands in the nail-scared hands.”

“That’s what will bring joy in your ministry,” he said.

Finally, in emphasizing the preeminence of God’s resources, Brunson observed that the passage speaks of “an actual hell where people are going to go,” but it also declares: “We have a Savior who has everything necessary in those nail-scared hands to save this world. That must be our focus.”

Do Southern Baptists ever stop and hear the cries of those who are lost and “on a fast train to an eternal hell?” he wondered. 

Retelling a story about a church near Dachau, a concentration camp in Germany, which decided to sing louder to drown out the whistles of passing trains and cries of thousands of Jews heading for death camps, Brunson lamented, “Sometimes we get so religious, we shut out the voice of not only the Holy Spirit, but also the cries of lost.

“We don’t need just a resurgence or a revival. We have got to get back and refocus on preeminence of Jesus Christ,” Brunson concluded. 
6/17/2010 8:46:00 AM by Todd Deaton, Western Recorder | with 0 comments



Hunt: Recommendations will take ‘yawn’ out of SBC

June 16 2010 by Drew Nichter, Western Recorder

ORLANDO, Fla. — Just as Caleb and Joshua delivered a “bold report” to the Israelites about the Promised Land, so has the Great Commission Resurgence task force relayed a “compelling vision” to the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), President Johnny Hunt told messengers.

Delivering his final address to the convention as its president, Hunt said this year’s annual meeting in Orlando, Fla., finds the SBC at a crossroads.

“Many are saying this could be a history-making convention,” the pastor of First Baptist Church of Woodstock, Ga., told messengers. “God could use some of the things we do here … to embolden Southern Baptists to their greatest days.”

BP photo by Matt Miller

Johnny Hunt, president of the Southern Baptist Convention, gives the president’s address June 15 during the opening session of the annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention June 15-16 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Fla.


Referring to Joshua 14, Hunt compared the report of the Great Commission Resurgence task force, which later was adopted by messengers, to the “bold report” Caleb and Joshua brought back to the Israelites after spying out the land of Canaan.

Twelve spies were sent to assess the land promised to them by the Lord; 10 of them brought back “bad reports,” Hunt said. Joshua and Caleb saw things differently. 

“Ten of the spies magnified the problems, spent lots of time reviewing the past and, in the process, missed God,” he said.

Caleb and Joshua, however, “magnified the power of God, made so much of the promises of God and desired to lead the people to a brighter future,” Hunt added.

After the Israelites rebelled against Joshua and Caleb’s report, the tribe would not inherit the land the Lord had promised them for another 45 years, Hunt reminded messengers.

Saying the spirit of the task force report mirrors that of Caleb’s, Hunt called the group’s “Penetrating the Lostness” document a “compelling vision” for the denomination — “something that will take the yawn out of Southern Baptist rhetoric.”

“I’m tired of yawning. I’m tired of having my membership in a convention that’s declining,” Hunt declared.

And decline is the No. 1 concern. According to the SBC’s Annual Church Profile report released last month, Southern Baptist church membership dipped 0.42 percent in 2009. Most SBC leaders agree the primary reason is the aging of the denomination, and only an infusion of young leadership will stave off a continued slide.

“Look around,” he said. “We’re aging. We’re balding. We don’t have 45 years. … We’re here to make decisions that will affect what type of convention we offer to the young ones that are coming behind us.”

Hunt, well known for his mentorship of young evangelical leaders through his Timothy + Barnabas Ministry, said he is being challenged by the up-and-coming generation of church leaders.

But they will not lead the convention into the future without the help of those who have come before them, Hunt stressed.

“I’d like to be a blessing to the ones that went before me that made such an investment in me,” he said. “But I want to grab the young group behind me … and rally them to our greatest days in Southern Baptist life.”

Pointing out Joshua was 100 years old and Caleb was 85 when he took the land of Hebron from the Anakites, Hunt said older pastors should not yet concede their ministries. “If you’re still breathing, it is still your day,” he noted.

“Caleb and Joshua were senior-adult saints that left spiritual wealth to those behind them,” Hunt pointed out.

While many details still are to be ironed out now that the Great Commission Resurgence report is approved, Hunt said he is convinced it will renew Southern Baptists’ hearts for fulfilling God’s utmost commandment.

“The future of the Southern Baptist Convention will not rest on a single vote alone,” he said. “But who can calculate what it will mean as a waiting world and a rising generation watch to see if we’re serious about emboldened Great Commission faithfulness in the future.”
6/16/2010 10:23:00 AM by Drew Nichter, Western Recorder | with 0 comments



Hunt: Recommendations will take ‘yawn’ out of SBC

June 16 2010 by Drew Nichter, Western Recorder

ORLANDO, Fla. — Just as Caleb and Joshua delivered a “bold report” to the Israelites about the Promised Land, so has the Great Commission Resurgence task force relayed a “compelling vision” to the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), President Johnny Hunt told messengers.

Delivering his final address to the convention as its president, Hunt said this year’s annual meeting in Orlando, Fla., finds the SBC at a crossroads.

“Many are saying this could be a history-making convention,” the pastor of First Baptist Church of Woodstock, Ga., told messengers. “God could use some of the things we do here … to embolden Southern Baptists to their greatest days.”

BP photo by Matt Miller

Johnny Hunt, president of the Southern Baptist Convention, gives the president’s address June 15 during the opening session of the annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention June 15-16 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Fla.


Referring to Joshua 14, Hunt compared the report of the Great Commission Resurgence task force, which later was adopted by messengers, to the “bold report” Caleb and Joshua brought back to the Israelites after spying out the land of Canaan.

Twelve spies were sent to assess the land promised to them by the Lord; 10 of them brought back “bad reports,” Hunt said. Joshua and Caleb saw things differently. 

“Ten of the spies magnified the problems, spent lots of time reviewing the past and, in the process, missed God,” he said.

Caleb and Joshua, however, “magnified the power of God, made so much of the promises of God and desired to lead the people to a brighter future,” Hunt added.

After the Israelites rebelled against Joshua and Caleb’s report, the tribe would not inherit the land the Lord had promised them for another 45 years, Hunt reminded messengers.

Saying the spirit of the task force report mirrors that of Caleb’s, Hunt called the group’s “Penetrating the Lostness” document a “compelling vision” for the denomination — “something that will take the yawn out of Southern Baptist rhetoric.”

“I’m tired of yawning. I’m tired of having my membership in a convention that’s declining,” Hunt declared.

And decline is the No. 1 concern. According to the SBC’s Annual Church Profile report released last month, Southern Baptist church membership dipped 0.42 percent in 2009. Most SBC leaders agree the primary reason is the aging of the denomination, and only an infusion of young leadership will stave off a continued slide.

“Look around,” he said. “We’re aging. We’re balding. We don’t have 45 years. … We’re here to make decisions that will affect what type of convention we offer to the young ones that are coming behind us.”

Hunt, well known for his mentorship of young evangelical leaders through his Timothy + Barnabas Ministry, said he is being challenged by the up-and-coming generation of church leaders.

But they will not lead the convention into the future without the help of those who have come before them, Hunt stressed.

“I’d like to be a blessing to the ones that went before me that made such an investment in me,” he said. “But I want to grab the young group behind me … and rally them to our greatest days in Southern Baptist life.”

Pointing out Joshua was 100 years old and Caleb was 85 when he took the land of Hebron from the Anakites, Hunt said older pastors should not yet concede their ministries. “If you’re still breathing, it is still your day,” he noted.

“Caleb and Joshua were senior-adult saints that left spiritual wealth to those behind them,” Hunt pointed out.

While many details still are to be ironed out now that the Great Commission Resurgence report is approved, Hunt said he is convinced it will renew Southern Baptists’ hearts for fulfilling God’s utmost commandment.

“The future of the Southern Baptist Convention will not rest on a single vote alone,” he said. “But who can calculate what it will mean as a waiting world and a rising generation watch to see if we’re serious about emboldened Great Commission faithfulness in the future.”
6/16/2010 10:23:00 AM by Drew Nichter, Western Recorder | with 0 comments



SBC OKs reduced budget, recognizes retirees

June 16 2010 by Todd Deaton, Western Recorder

ORLANDO, Fla. — Messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) in Orlando, Fla., approved a pared down budget for 2010-2011 and honored two agency presidents who retire this year.

They approved a $199,822,090 Cooperative Program allocation budget recommended by the SBC Executive Committee — down 1.21 percent from the previous year’s budget — with 50 percent directed to the International Mission Board and 22.79 percent to the North American Mission Board.

It earmarks $44,280,576, or 22.16 percent, for the SBC’s six seminaries and its historical archives, while setting aside $3,397,064, or 1.65 percent, for the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission.

Messengers also adopted an SBC Operating Budget of $8,643,951, a decrease of approximately 5.5 percent from last year’s budget. The operating budget includes the SBC Executive Committee, the SBC annual meeting and committees, special programs such as Empowering Kingdom Growth, building maintenance and administration.

Frank Page, who was elected as president and chief executive officer of the Executive Committee during its June 14 meeting in Orlando, Fla., was introduced to convention messengers during the committee’s report to the convention.

In presenting Page, Executive Committee Chairman Randall James of Orlando said, “We didn’t want to pick who we wanted, but who the Lord Jesus Christ had already chosen before the foundation of the world.”

Page, a former South Carolina pastor who currently serves as vice president of evangelization at the North American Mission Board, succeeds Morris Chapman, who is retiring after 18 years of service. He will assume his new duties Oct. 1.  

Expressing appreciation
Messengers adopted resolutions of appreciation for Morris Chapman, who will retire Sept. 30 as president and chief executive officer of the Executive Committee, and for Jerry Rankin, who retires July 31 as president of International Mission Board.

Praising his contributions to Southern Baptist life as “enduring, extensive and extraordinary” in helping to change and shape the course of Southern Baptist life, the resolution for Chapman noted that he “has distinguished himself as a consummate statesman.”

Under Chapman’s leadership, the Executive Committee and the SBC adopted the Covenant for a New Century, calling for a restructuring of the SBC’s entities, reducing them from 19 to 12 and redirecting significant funds into “frontline ministry.” The Executive Committee also approved establishment of the Council on Family Life, and the SBC adopted “Empowering Kingdom Growth,” a vision calling churches and member to pursue the Kingdom of God.

Prior to his appointment, Chapman served as pastor of four churches over a span of 25 years — three in Texas and one in New Mexico. A former SBC president, he also has held various appointed and elected positions in three Baptist state conventions.

In expressing the gratitude of Southern Baptists, a resolution honoring Rankin pointed not only to his 17-year tenure as IMB president, but also to his 23 years of service with the former Foreign Mission Board, starting with his appointment as a missionary in 1970.

“Under his leadership,” the resolution stated, “the International Mission Board saw an increase in its missionary force from 4,000 missionaries in 142 countries in 1993, to more than 5,500 missionaries working with 1,190 people groups.”

IMB missionaries and their national Baptist partners have seen church starts increase from 2,000 to about 27,000 and baptisms increase from more than 260,000 to more 565,000 during his tenure, the resolution noted.

“As you leave this position,” Chapman told Rankin, “we know that your passion for missions will continue through the lives of thousands of individuals you have touched as both a personal evangelist of the gospel of our Lord Jesus and as a leader of God’s people on mission to the farthest reaches of our world.”

Joined on stage by his wife, Bobbye, Rankin remarked: “We would have never dreamed many years ago when we responded in obedience to God’s call to missionary service that he would call us and entrust us with this level of leadership responsibility. As we look back on these 17 years, it is evident that God simply allowed us to be in this position when he chose to work in our world and among Southern Baptists in unprecedented ways.

“How grateful we are that we have been able to serve you and facilitate your involvement, your partnership and your obedience to our Great Commission task,” he said.  

Other SBC action
In other business, Darrell Orman, chairman of the Executive Committee’s communications subcommittee and a pastor from Stuart, Fla., requested an extension of one year for a study of greater SBC involvement for ethnic churches and leaders in order to provide “a fuller, more meaningful report.”

“We desire to research and give as much thought to this report as we possibly can, believing that this could be a great part of us fulfilling the Great Commission, especially here in our own country,” Orman explained to Executive Committee members. The study will develop guide points to help the SBC “throw a blanket of love over this nation” and involve more ethnic people in the SBC’s ministries and leadership, he said.

In the past decade, the number of ethnic congregations have grown in the SBC by more than five percent — from 13.5 percent in 1998 to 18.7 percent in 2008 — with the largest representations being African-Americans, with  3,277 congregations; Hispanics, with 3,182; and  Asians, with 1,652.

A resolution approved as recently as the 2008 SBC Annual Meeting in Indianapolis encouraged all SBC entities to strive to reflect a balanced representation of ethnic diversity on boards, committees and programs.

Convention messengers also:
  • Changed their 2013 meeting site from Nashville, Tenn., to Houston.
  • Approved holding their 2015 meeting in Columbus, Ohio.
  • Revised the ministry statement of the Southern Baptist Foundation, broadening its scope to serving all Baptist bodies and entities.  
M.E. Dodd award
The M.E. Dodd Cooperative Program Award was presented to First Baptist Church of Sparkman, Ark., a 103-member congregation that averages 60 to 75 in Sunday worship, but has contributed an average of 32.8 percent in CP giving over the past 30 years, with a high of 43.4 percent.

BP photo by Van Payne

Morris Chapman, retiring president of the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee, awards Eric Moffett, right, pastor of First Baptist Church of Sparkman, Ark., and his wife, Sherrill, the M.E. Dodd Cooperative Program Award. Don White, and his wife, Martha, center, have been members of the church since 1946.


The award is presented annually to the person, congregation or organization which has demonstrated continuous long-term excellence in supporting the principles, practice and spirit of the Cooperative Program, Chapman noted.

In 1936, the Sparkman congregation increased its CP giving to 10 percent of undesignated receipts, and by the 1960s had increased that amount to 30 percent, where it remains today. “Since the start of the Cooperative Program, the church has given sacrificially because of a deep desire to tell the good news of Jesus Christ all over the world,” Chapman said. “Each time they give, they feel they are serving alongside their state missionaries, college ministers, North American Mission Board missionaries and International Mission Board missionaries.”

In accepting the award for the church, Pastor Eric Moffett said: “We give at Sparkman because we believe we can do more together as Southern Baptists than we can do apart. We believe that even though we are a small church from a tiny community, with every dollar that we give we are able to partner with missionaries, denominational servants, all over the world. To us, that’s a joy and an investment. Our church would have it no other way.”  

New officers
During the Executive Committee meeting, Roger Spradlin, pastor of Valley Baptist Church in Bakersville, Calif., who served as vice chairman this past year, was elected chairman for 2010-2011. Spradlin received 40 votes of 71 cast, while Doug Melton of Oklahoma City, Okla., garnered 31.

Earnest Easley, pastor of Roswell Street Baptist Church in Marietta, Ga., was elected vice chairman on a second ballot after tying with Jack Shaw, a layman from Greenville, S.C., on the first; and Joe Wright, director of missions for Dyer Baptist Association in Tennessee, was chosen as secretary, defeating Carol Yarber of Athens, Texas.
6/16/2010 6:56:00 AM by Todd Deaton, Western Recorder | with 0 comments



SBC OKs reduced budget, recognizes retirees

June 16 2010 by Todd Deaton, Western Recorder

ORLANDO, Fla. — Messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) in Orlando, Fla., approved a pared down budget for 2010-2011 and honored two agency presidents who retire this year.

They approved a $199,822,090 Cooperative Program allocation budget recommended by the SBC Executive Committee — down 1.21 percent from the previous year’s budget — with 50 percent directed to the International Mission Board and 22.79 percent to the North American Mission Board.

It earmarks $44,280,576, or 22.16 percent, for the SBC’s six seminaries and its historical archives, while setting aside $3,397,064, or 1.65 percent, for the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission.

Messengers also adopted an SBC Operating Budget of $8,643,951, a decrease of approximately 5.5 percent from last year’s budget. The operating budget includes the SBC Executive Committee, the SBC annual meeting and committees, special programs such as Empowering Kingdom Growth, building maintenance and administration.

Frank Page, who was elected as president and chief executive officer of the Executive Committee during its June 14 meeting in Orlando, Fla., was introduced to convention messengers during the committee’s report to the convention.

In presenting Page, Executive Committee Chairman Randall James of Orlando said, “We didn’t want to pick who we wanted, but who the Lord Jesus Christ had already chosen before the foundation of the world.”

Page, a former South Carolina pastor who currently serves as vice president of evangelization at the North American Mission Board, succeeds Morris Chapman, who is retiring after 18 years of service. He will assume his new duties Oct. 1.  

Expressing appreciation
Messengers adopted resolutions of appreciation for Morris Chapman, who will retire Sept. 30 as president and chief executive officer of the Executive Committee, and for Jerry Rankin, who retires July 31 as president of International Mission Board.

Praising his contributions to Southern Baptist life as “enduring, extensive and extraordinary” in helping to change and shape the course of Southern Baptist life, the resolution for Chapman noted that he “has distinguished himself as a consummate statesman.”

Under Chapman’s leadership, the Executive Committee and the SBC adopted the Covenant for a New Century, calling for a restructuring of the SBC’s entities, reducing them from 19 to 12 and redirecting significant funds into “frontline ministry.” The Executive Committee also approved establishment of the Council on Family Life, and the SBC adopted “Empowering Kingdom Growth,” a vision calling churches and member to pursue the Kingdom of God.

Prior to his appointment, Chapman served as pastor of four churches over a span of 25 years — three in Texas and one in New Mexico. A former SBC president, he also has held various appointed and elected positions in three Baptist state conventions.

In expressing the gratitude of Southern Baptists, a resolution honoring Rankin pointed not only to his 17-year tenure as IMB president, but also to his 23 years of service with the former Foreign Mission Board, starting with his appointment as a missionary in 1970.

“Under his leadership,” the resolution stated, “the International Mission Board saw an increase in its missionary force from 4,000 missionaries in 142 countries in 1993, to more than 5,500 missionaries working with 1,190 people groups.”

IMB missionaries and their national Baptist partners have seen church starts increase from 2,000 to about 27,000 and baptisms increase from more than 260,000 to more 565,000 during his tenure, the resolution noted.

“As you leave this position,” Chapman told Rankin, “we know that your passion for missions will continue through the lives of thousands of individuals you have touched as both a personal evangelist of the gospel of our Lord Jesus and as a leader of God’s people on mission to the farthest reaches of our world.”

Joined on stage by his wife, Bobbye, Rankin remarked: “We would have never dreamed many years ago when we responded in obedience to God’s call to missionary service that he would call us and entrust us with this level of leadership responsibility. As we look back on these 17 years, it is evident that God simply allowed us to be in this position when he chose to work in our world and among Southern Baptists in unprecedented ways.

“How grateful we are that we have been able to serve you and facilitate your involvement, your partnership and your obedience to our Great Commission task,” he said.  

Other SBC action
In other business, Darrell Orman, chairman of the Executive Committee’s communications subcommittee and a pastor from Stuart, Fla., requested an extension of one year for a study of greater SBC involvement for ethnic churches and leaders in order to provide “a fuller, more meaningful report.”

“We desire to research and give as much thought to this report as we possibly can, believing that this could be a great part of us fulfilling the Great Commission, especially here in our own country,” Orman explained to Executive Committee members. The study will develop guide points to help the SBC “throw a blanket of love over this nation” and involve more ethnic people in the SBC’s ministries and leadership, he said.

In the past decade, the number of ethnic congregations have grown in the SBC by more than five percent — from 13.5 percent in 1998 to 18.7 percent in 2008 — with the largest representations being African-Americans, with  3,277 congregations; Hispanics, with 3,182; and  Asians, with 1,652.

A resolution approved as recently as the 2008 SBC Annual Meeting in Indianapolis encouraged all SBC entities to strive to reflect a balanced representation of ethnic diversity on boards, committees and programs.

Convention messengers also:
  • Changed their 2013 meeting site from Nashville, Tenn., to Houston.
  • Approved holding their 2015 meeting in Columbus, Ohio.
  • Revised the ministry statement of the Southern Baptist Foundation, broadening its scope to serving all Baptist bodies and entities.  
M.E. Dodd award
The M.E. Dodd Cooperative Program Award was presented to First Baptist Church of Sparkman, Ark., a 103-member congregation that averages 60 to 75 in Sunday worship, but has contributed an average of 32.8 percent in CP giving over the past 30 years, with a high of 43.4 percent.

BP photo by Van Payne

Morris Chapman, retiring president of the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee, awards Eric Moffett, right, pastor of First Baptist Church of Sparkman, Ark., and his wife, Sherrill, the M.E. Dodd Cooperative Program Award. Don White, and his wife, Martha, center, have been members of the church since 1946.


The award is presented annually to the person, congregation or organization which has demonstrated continuous long-term excellence in supporting the principles, practice and spirit of the Cooperative Program, Chapman noted.

In 1936, the Sparkman congregation increased its CP giving to 10 percent of undesignated receipts, and by the 1960s had increased that amount to 30 percent, where it remains today. “Since the start of the Cooperative Program, the church has given sacrificially because of a deep desire to tell the good news of Jesus Christ all over the world,” Chapman said. “Each time they give, they feel they are serving alongside their state missionaries, college ministers, North American Mission Board missionaries and International Mission Board missionaries.”

In accepting the award for the church, Pastor Eric Moffett said: “We give at Sparkman because we believe we can do more together as Southern Baptists than we can do apart. We believe that even though we are a small church from a tiny community, with every dollar that we give we are able to partner with missionaries, denominational servants, all over the world. To us, that’s a joy and an investment. Our church would have it no other way.”  

New officers
During the Executive Committee meeting, Roger Spradlin, pastor of Valley Baptist Church in Bakersville, Calif., who served as vice chairman this past year, was elected chairman for 2010-2011. Spradlin received 40 votes of 71 cast, while Doug Melton of Oklahoma City, Okla., garnered 31.

Earnest Easley, pastor of Roswell Street Baptist Church in Marietta, Ga., was elected vice chairman on a second ballot after tying with Jack Shaw, a layman from Greenville, S.C., on the first; and Joe Wright, director of missions for Dyer Baptist Association in Tennessee, was chosen as secretary, defeating Carol Yarber of Athens, Texas.
6/16/2010 6:56:00 AM by Todd Deaton, Western Recorder | with 0 comments



Georgia church planter elected SBC president

June 16 2010 by Jennifer Davis Rash, The Alabama Baptist

ORLANDO, Fla. — In a surprise move, Southern Baptists said no to two well-known presidential candidates and elected a church planter from Marietta, Ga., to lead them in the coming year.

Bryant Wright, senior pastor of Johnson Ferry Baptist Church in Marietta, Ga., beat Ted Traylor, pastor of Olive Baptist Church in Pensacola, Fla., in a run-off ballot 4,225 to 3,371. Bryant’s votes represented 55.11 percent of the 7,667 votes casts, while Traylor’s represented 43.97 percent.

BP photo by Bill Bangham

Bryant Wright


Seventy-one votes, or .93 percent, were disallowed. Traylor and Jimmy Jackson, senior pastor, Whitesburg Baptist Church, Huntsville, Ala., entered the race as the frontrunners, particularly in what many labeled a pro/con Great Commission Resurgence report presidential race.

Traylor served on the task force. Jackson was outspoken against the task force’s report that was approved by convention messengers just minutes before the presidential election results were announced.

Wright and Traylor garnered a combined 66.02 percent of the original vote against Jackson and Leo Endel, executive director, Minnesota-Wisconsin Baptist Convention. In the original vote, Wright received 3,433 votes, or 36.84 percent of the vote, while Traylor received 2,719 votes, or 29.18 percent of the vote. Jackson received 2,482 votes, or 26.64 percent of the vote, and Endel received 589 votes, or 6.23 percent of the vote.

Of the registered 10,873 messengers at the time of the vote, 9,318 messengers cast ballots. Of those, 95 ballots, or 1.2 percent, were disallowed.

In nominating Wright, David Uth, pastor of First Baptist Church, Orlando, Fla., said, “He’s not been on a lot of programs and you may not know his name,” Uth said. “He wasn’t waiting on a resurgence or a vote of a convention. He has been quietly leading his church … and doing the Great Commission.”

Wright started Johnson Ferry 28 years ago and has been the church’s only pastor. The church routinely leads Southern Baptist churches in giving to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions and has a strong missions emphasis inside the church. The church plans to give 3.5 percent of its undesignated receipts — more than $600,000 to the Cooperative Program.

Regarding the relatively low percentage to the SBC’s unified budget, Wright said because his congregation is so missions-minded, key leaders of the church questioned why so much of the Cooperative Program stays in the United States.

“We had a stewardship issue and had to make a decision,” Wright said during a news conference following his election June 15. “We wanted the majority of the money to wind up on the missions field where the witness for Christ is not as prevalent” as in the United States.

Uth noted that Wright is among a new generation of pastors who are less interested in the status quo and are asking why more of the money given through the Cooperative Program isn’t going to reach those who have little or no access to gospel.

“I don’t plan to encourage churches to bypass CP,” Wright said. “I do think we need to reprioritize the CP as far as where the funding goes. … More people would be more passionate about the CP if that would happen.” Wright acknowledged the autonomy of the state conventions, but he also noted, “I would encourage state conventions to move … (toward a) 50–50 (split of CP dollars). We could do such a greater work.

“I feel there will need to be more funding for NAMB (North American Mission Board) and the seminaries. They are vastly underfunded,” he said.

“We are at a crossroads. … Some major changes are going to have to occur,” Wright said. “I would like to see all kinds of practical implementations that will have to occur in moving the convention in the direction it is going to have to go (during my year as president). A lot will have to be done.”

Wright said his priorities as president will revolve around reprioritizing the funding structure of the Cooperative Program, fulfilling the Great Commission, encouraging every church — and particularly every pastor — to experience a missions trip and urging Southern Baptists to “return to our first love for Christ.”

In the first vice president’s race, Ron Herrod, president of the Conference of Southern Baptist Evangelists, was elected 1,653 to 1,117 over Jim Drake, pastor of Brush Fork Baptist Church in Bluefield, W. Va.

Eric Moffett, pastor of First Baptist Church, Sparkman, Ark., was elected second vice president 706 to 689 over Jim Goforth, pastor of New Life Baptist Church, Forsyth, Mo. Moffett and Goforth received 66.69 percent of the vote in the first ballot of four candidates.

In the first vote, Moffett received 436 votes while Goforth received 423 votes. Ray Newman, ethics and religious affairs specialist for the Georgia Baptist Convention, received 245 votes, and John Copeland, pastor of First Baptist Church, Fulton, Ala., received 171 votes.

Two officers were re-elected — John L. Yeats, director of communication for the Louisiana Baptist Convention, as recording secretary and Jim Wills, director of missions of Tri County Baptist Association in Missouri, as registration secretary.        
6/16/2010 5:54:00 AM by Jennifer Davis Rash, The Alabama Baptist | with 0 comments



Georgia church planter elected SBC president

June 16 2010 by Jennifer Davis Rash, The Alabama Baptist

ORLANDO, Fla. — In a surprise move, Southern Baptists said no to two well-known presidential candidates and elected a church planter from Marietta, Ga., to lead them in the coming year.

Bryant Wright, senior pastor of Johnson Ferry Baptist Church in Marietta, Ga., beat Ted Traylor, pastor of Olive Baptist Church in Pensacola, Fla., in a run-off ballot 4,225 to 3,371. Bryant’s votes represented 55.11 percent of the 7,667 votes casts, while Traylor’s represented 43.97 percent.

BP photo by Bill Bangham

Bryant Wright


Seventy-one votes, or .93 percent, were disallowed. Traylor and Jimmy Jackson, senior pastor, Whitesburg Baptist Church, Huntsville, Ala., entered the race as the frontrunners, particularly in what many labeled a pro/con Great Commission Resurgence report presidential race.

Traylor served on the task force. Jackson was outspoken against the task force’s report that was approved by convention messengers just minutes before the presidential election results were announced.

Wright and Traylor garnered a combined 66.02 percent of the original vote against Jackson and Leo Endel, executive director, Minnesota-Wisconsin Baptist Convention. In the original vote, Wright received 3,433 votes, or 36.84 percent of the vote, while Traylor received 2,719 votes, or 29.18 percent of the vote. Jackson received 2,482 votes, or 26.64 percent of the vote, and Endel received 589 votes, or 6.23 percent of the vote.

Of the registered 10,873 messengers at the time of the vote, 9,318 messengers cast ballots. Of those, 95 ballots, or 1.2 percent, were disallowed.

In nominating Wright, David Uth, pastor of First Baptist Church, Orlando, Fla., said, “He’s not been on a lot of programs and you may not know his name,” Uth said. “He wasn’t waiting on a resurgence or a vote of a convention. He has been quietly leading his church … and doing the Great Commission.”

Wright started Johnson Ferry 28 years ago and has been the church’s only pastor. The church routinely leads Southern Baptist churches in giving to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions and has a strong missions emphasis inside the church. The church plans to give 3.5 percent of its undesignated receipts — more than $600,000 to the Cooperative Program.

Regarding the relatively low percentage to the SBC’s unified budget, Wright said because his congregation is so missions-minded, key leaders of the church questioned why so much of the Cooperative Program stays in the United States.

“We had a stewardship issue and had to make a decision,” Wright said during a news conference following his election June 15. “We wanted the majority of the money to wind up on the missions field where the witness for Christ is not as prevalent” as in the United States.

Uth noted that Wright is among a new generation of pastors who are less interested in the status quo and are asking why more of the money given through the Cooperative Program isn’t going to reach those who have little or no access to gospel.

“I don’t plan to encourage churches to bypass CP,” Wright said. “I do think we need to reprioritize the CP as far as where the funding goes. … More people would be more passionate about the CP if that would happen.” Wright acknowledged the autonomy of the state conventions, but he also noted, “I would encourage state conventions to move … (toward a) 50–50 (split of CP dollars). We could do such a greater work.

“I feel there will need to be more funding for NAMB (North American Mission Board) and the seminaries. They are vastly underfunded,” he said.

“We are at a crossroads. … Some major changes are going to have to occur,” Wright said. “I would like to see all kinds of practical implementations that will have to occur in moving the convention in the direction it is going to have to go (during my year as president). A lot will have to be done.”

Wright said his priorities as president will revolve around reprioritizing the funding structure of the Cooperative Program, fulfilling the Great Commission, encouraging every church — and particularly every pastor — to experience a missions trip and urging Southern Baptists to “return to our first love for Christ.”

In the first vice president’s race, Ron Herrod, president of the Conference of Southern Baptist Evangelists, was elected 1,653 to 1,117 over Jim Drake, pastor of Brush Fork Baptist Church in Bluefield, W. Va.

Eric Moffett, pastor of First Baptist Church, Sparkman, Ark., was elected second vice president 706 to 689 over Jim Goforth, pastor of New Life Baptist Church, Forsyth, Mo. Moffett and Goforth received 66.69 percent of the vote in the first ballot of four candidates.

In the first vote, Moffett received 436 votes while Goforth received 423 votes. Ray Newman, ethics and religious affairs specialist for the Georgia Baptist Convention, received 245 votes, and John Copeland, pastor of First Baptist Church, Fulton, Ala., received 171 votes.

Two officers were re-elected — John L. Yeats, director of communication for the Louisiana Baptist Convention, as recording secretary and Jim Wills, director of missions of Tri County Baptist Association in Missouri, as registration secretary.        
6/16/2010 5:54:00 AM by Jennifer Davis Rash, The Alabama Baptist | with 0 comments



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