June 2010

WMU elects new president, unhindered mission

June 15 2010 by Charlie Warren, Jim White & Julie Walters, Arkansas Baptist, Religious Herald & WMU

ORLANDO, Fla. — Participants at the 122nd annual meeting of national Woman’s Missionary Union (WMU) elected a new president, listened to Sudan’s ambassador, honored Kaye Miller’s five years as WMU president, and heard missions challenges June 13-14 in Orlando.

Debby Akerman of Ocean View Baptist Church of Myrtle Beach, S.C., was unanimously elected WMU president to succeed Miller. A native of Massachusetts, she has led Girls in Action organizations in her church since 1982 and served as WMU director many years. Akerman served as WMU president for the Baptist Convention of New England from 1993-97.

BP photo by Cat McDonald

Debby Akerman, left, of Oceanview Baptist Church of Myrtle Beach, S.C., was elected as the new president of the Woman’s Missionary Union (WMU), and Rosalie Hunt of First Baptist Church of Guntersville, Ala., was re-elected recording secretary for the WMU during the 2010 National WMU Missions Celebration and Annual Meeting.


In 2007, she received the Dellanna West O’Brien Award for Women’s Leadership Development. Akerman, a nurse for 30 years, and her husband, Brad, share a ministry leading Bible studies at Street Reach, a mission in Myrtle Beach that ministers to the homeless and people struggling with drug and alcohol addiction.

Akec Khoc, Sudan’s ambassador to the United States, requested prayer for an African nation torn apart by civil war.

“Those in the north and south are trying to bring results through the barrel of a gun,” Khoc said. “But healing can come only through prayer to God. … We are appealing to you to pray to our Heavenly Father for the people of Sudan. Only through him can we find peace. … Pray that north and south can agree on peace and unity and partnership.”

Ken Welborn, North American Mission Board missionary to the United Nations, noted Sudan’s civil war has resulted in genocide. The fight is over oil, he said, but Christians in Sudan are fighting for their homeland. A fragile peace accord had been reached, but current tensions threaten to break it, he reported. Welborn urged the women to join Sudanese Christians in 40 days of prayer, Dec. 1-Jan. 9, for peace in Sudan.

In her last address as WMU president, Miller followed the program theme, “Unhindered,” based on Hebrews 12:1, speaking of facing challenges in God’s strength despite hindrances. Miller, a member of Immanuel Baptist Church of Little Rock, Ark., said while growing up as a missionary kid in Thailand, she learned many things try to hinder the work of missionaries on the field. She recalled how her childhood Thai friend, Sombon, suddenly quit attending school.

“She just vanished,” Miller said.

Years later, Miller saw her in Bangkok. “Because there was no money in her family, she had been sold into prostitution … Her father, an opiate addict, sold her services from the time she was about 11 years old,” Miller explained. “My heart broke, partly because I felt guilty for not being able to find her earlier, and for all that she had been through. She looked old and used. She was just a shell of who she used to be. ... I never saw her again.”

In November, Miller received a letter from Sombon.

“After I saw her, something had stirred in her soul and she knew she had to get out of the life she was living. A Southern Baptist missionary woman who felt called to minister to these trapped women often came by her club to talk with her, … to share about Jesus,” Miller said, noting that missionary felt called to missions as a GA. “Sombon escaped from the life of prostitution to a life in Jesus Christ and was able to make a life for herself and her family. She was redeemed in Christ. … Sombon is now teaching young girls that they too can be all they can be through Jesus Christ.”

Human exploitation “is not just happening on the other side of the world,” Miller said. “Right where you live, young girls are being trafficked for prostitution or some form of exploitation.”

She encouraged the WMU annual meeting participants to open their eyes and hearts, learn about the issues and seek out ways to help.

Reflecting on her term as WMU president, Miller said: “These have been five incredible years of serving the Lord through Woman’s Missionary Union. There have been many hindrances along the way, but the Lord continues to have his hand upon WMU and continues to guide and greatly bless us as we continue to be radically involved in his mission to reach the world. “I pray the fire for missions never goes out, never dims as you serve our risen Lord.”

Noting Wanda Lee has completed 10 years as WMU executive director, Miller told the assembly WMU is renaming its Joy Fund — which meets pressing current needs and secures the organization’s financial future through the WMU Foundation — as the Wanda Lee Joy Fund.

In his first public address after being elected president of the Southern Baptist Executive Committee, Frank Page challenged participants at the WMU annual meeting to guard against complacency.

Citing Luke 13:1-9, he shared the parable of the fig tree and said the sin of uselessness is paralyzing Southern Baptist churches. While God has a plan, Satan also has a plan — to move Christians from their initial excitement over salvation to becoming useless, like the fig tree that did not bear fruit, to being a negative influence in the church, he said.

“It is a satanic strategy to destroy the Great Commission work in the church,” Page asserted. “But the reality of grace is that Jesus is interceding on our behalf  … to give us another chance, another opportunity to do what he called us to do in the first place.”

Major General Doug Carver, Army chief of chaplains, addressed how he remains unhindered as he carries the Great Commission “in a somewhat restricted environment.” Carver said he feels total freedom in Christ, “unhindered, uninhibited and unrestrained.”

Noting 300,000 soldiers are deployed, many in harms way, he said everywhere troops are “there are chaplains bringing the presence of God.”

Soldiers “are stretched and stressed” in a “destructive environment” that sometimes results in suicide, divorce, and alcohol and drug abuse, he said.

Chaplains play a unique pastoral position, Carver said, supporting the U.S. Constitution with “close attention” to the First Amendment, allowing exercise of total freedom of worship for all religions, while they “look for ways to share the hope we have in Christ.”

A missionary couple who serves in South Asia and cannot be identified for security reasons, told of the billion and a half spiritually lost people in South Asia. They shared stories of movements of God among Hindu and Muslim people groups, and they asked WMU to pray that Muslims “will have a holy curiosity about the Bible and about Jesus.”

Author Jennifer Kennedy Dean challenged her audience to put aside any hindrances to Christian service, just like elite athletes do what is necessary to give themselves an advantage in a race.

“They shave themselves from head to foot and diet so they don’t have any lumps causing drag, and they will wear clothing that pokes in anything that might stick out and create wind resistance. That’s how it is with us,” she said. “Let us do the same thing they do. Lay aside anything that hinders.” Monica Allen, a missionary in Swaziland, described her call and of the needs of that African nation.

“Over 40 percent of our adult population has AIDS,” she said. “We may become the first nation to wipe itself out through the AIDS epidemic.”

Sharon Fields-McCormick, a NAMB missionary, addressed the commercial sexual exploitation of children in the United States. Painting descriptive word pictures of the tragedies each girl endures, she challenged WMU to do more to bring justice to these children.

Mary Lou Serratt of Amarillo, Texas, received the 2010 Dellanna West O’Brien Award for Women’s Leadership Development. Serratt has served in church, associational and state WMU leadership, including serving as vice president of Texas WMU and a volunteer multiethnic consultant.

She has been involved with Laotian, Vietnamese, Cambodian, Sudanese, Burundian, Iranian, Iraqi, Korean, Liberian, Burmese Chin and Karen people through First Baptist Church in Amarillo.

Joy Cranford, a member of First Baptist Church of Fort Mill, S.C., received the Martha Myers GA Alumna of Distinction Award, given annually to recognize a GA alumna who influences the lives of others for Christ and serves as a positive role model for girls.

Cranford has served as GA leader and director in her church, GA director for the York Baptist Association and GA consultant for South Carolina WMU. She served on the first advisory council for the Christian Women’s Job Corps of York County, S.C., during the pilot year and was one of the first to serve as a mentor. She remained an active volunteer in the CWJC ministry all 13 years of its existence in the association. Angela Kim of Houston and Lee reported growth in missions education among Korean Baptist churches in the United States.

In 2007, national WMU and Texas WMU partnered for a special, three-year project to provide Korean-English bilingual missions curriculum for preschoolers and children.

With these materials, the Korean leadership team, comprised of Korean pastors’ wives across the United States and led by Kim, began missions education in more than 10 percent of Korean churches in the first year of publishing.

“WMU has long embraced the importance of equipping and involving every church of every language and ethnic group in the Great Commission,” Lee said.
6/15/2010 7:00:00 AM by Charlie Warren, Jim White & Julie Walters, Arkansas Baptist, Religious Herald & WMU | with 0 comments



WMU elects new president, unhindered mission

June 15 2010 by Charlie Warren, Jim White & Julie Walters, Arkansas Baptist, Religious Herald & WMU

ORLANDO, Fla. — Participants at the 122nd annual meeting of national Woman’s Missionary Union (WMU) elected a new president, listened to Sudan’s ambassador, honored Kaye Miller’s five years as WMU president, and heard missions challenges June 13-14 in Orlando.

Debby Akerman of Ocean View Baptist Church of Myrtle Beach, S.C., was unanimously elected WMU president to succeed Miller. A native of Massachusetts, she has led Girls in Action organizations in her church since 1982 and served as WMU director many years. Akerman served as WMU president for the Baptist Convention of New England from 1993-97.

BP photo by Cat McDonald

Debby Akerman, left, of Oceanview Baptist Church of Myrtle Beach, S.C., was elected as the new president of the Woman’s Missionary Union (WMU), and Rosalie Hunt of First Baptist Church of Guntersville, Ala., was re-elected recording secretary for the WMU during the 2010 National WMU Missions Celebration and Annual Meeting.


In 2007, she received the Dellanna West O’Brien Award for Women’s Leadership Development. Akerman, a nurse for 30 years, and her husband, Brad, share a ministry leading Bible studies at Street Reach, a mission in Myrtle Beach that ministers to the homeless and people struggling with drug and alcohol addiction.

Akec Khoc, Sudan’s ambassador to the United States, requested prayer for an African nation torn apart by civil war.

“Those in the north and south are trying to bring results through the barrel of a gun,” Khoc said. “But healing can come only through prayer to God. … We are appealing to you to pray to our Heavenly Father for the people of Sudan. Only through him can we find peace. … Pray that north and south can agree on peace and unity and partnership.”

Ken Welborn, North American Mission Board missionary to the United Nations, noted Sudan’s civil war has resulted in genocide. The fight is over oil, he said, but Christians in Sudan are fighting for their homeland. A fragile peace accord had been reached, but current tensions threaten to break it, he reported. Welborn urged the women to join Sudanese Christians in 40 days of prayer, Dec. 1-Jan. 9, for peace in Sudan.

In her last address as WMU president, Miller followed the program theme, “Unhindered,” based on Hebrews 12:1, speaking of facing challenges in God’s strength despite hindrances. Miller, a member of Immanuel Baptist Church of Little Rock, Ark., said while growing up as a missionary kid in Thailand, she learned many things try to hinder the work of missionaries on the field. She recalled how her childhood Thai friend, Sombon, suddenly quit attending school.

“She just vanished,” Miller said.

Years later, Miller saw her in Bangkok. “Because there was no money in her family, she had been sold into prostitution … Her father, an opiate addict, sold her services from the time she was about 11 years old,” Miller explained. “My heart broke, partly because I felt guilty for not being able to find her earlier, and for all that she had been through. She looked old and used. She was just a shell of who she used to be. ... I never saw her again.”

In November, Miller received a letter from Sombon.

“After I saw her, something had stirred in her soul and she knew she had to get out of the life she was living. A Southern Baptist missionary woman who felt called to minister to these trapped women often came by her club to talk with her, … to share about Jesus,” Miller said, noting that missionary felt called to missions as a GA. “Sombon escaped from the life of prostitution to a life in Jesus Christ and was able to make a life for herself and her family. She was redeemed in Christ. … Sombon is now teaching young girls that they too can be all they can be through Jesus Christ.”

Human exploitation “is not just happening on the other side of the world,” Miller said. “Right where you live, young girls are being trafficked for prostitution or some form of exploitation.”

She encouraged the WMU annual meeting participants to open their eyes and hearts, learn about the issues and seek out ways to help.

Reflecting on her term as WMU president, Miller said: “These have been five incredible years of serving the Lord through Woman’s Missionary Union. There have been many hindrances along the way, but the Lord continues to have his hand upon WMU and continues to guide and greatly bless us as we continue to be radically involved in his mission to reach the world. “I pray the fire for missions never goes out, never dims as you serve our risen Lord.”

Noting Wanda Lee has completed 10 years as WMU executive director, Miller told the assembly WMU is renaming its Joy Fund — which meets pressing current needs and secures the organization’s financial future through the WMU Foundation — as the Wanda Lee Joy Fund.

In his first public address after being elected president of the Southern Baptist Executive Committee, Frank Page challenged participants at the WMU annual meeting to guard against complacency.

Citing Luke 13:1-9, he shared the parable of the fig tree and said the sin of uselessness is paralyzing Southern Baptist churches. While God has a plan, Satan also has a plan — to move Christians from their initial excitement over salvation to becoming useless, like the fig tree that did not bear fruit, to being a negative influence in the church, he said.

“It is a satanic strategy to destroy the Great Commission work in the church,” Page asserted. “But the reality of grace is that Jesus is interceding on our behalf  … to give us another chance, another opportunity to do what he called us to do in the first place.”

Major General Doug Carver, Army chief of chaplains, addressed how he remains unhindered as he carries the Great Commission “in a somewhat restricted environment.” Carver said he feels total freedom in Christ, “unhindered, uninhibited and unrestrained.”

Noting 300,000 soldiers are deployed, many in harms way, he said everywhere troops are “there are chaplains bringing the presence of God.”

Soldiers “are stretched and stressed” in a “destructive environment” that sometimes results in suicide, divorce, and alcohol and drug abuse, he said.

Chaplains play a unique pastoral position, Carver said, supporting the U.S. Constitution with “close attention” to the First Amendment, allowing exercise of total freedom of worship for all religions, while they “look for ways to share the hope we have in Christ.”

A missionary couple who serves in South Asia and cannot be identified for security reasons, told of the billion and a half spiritually lost people in South Asia. They shared stories of movements of God among Hindu and Muslim people groups, and they asked WMU to pray that Muslims “will have a holy curiosity about the Bible and about Jesus.”

Author Jennifer Kennedy Dean challenged her audience to put aside any hindrances to Christian service, just like elite athletes do what is necessary to give themselves an advantage in a race.

“They shave themselves from head to foot and diet so they don’t have any lumps causing drag, and they will wear clothing that pokes in anything that might stick out and create wind resistance. That’s how it is with us,” she said. “Let us do the same thing they do. Lay aside anything that hinders.” Monica Allen, a missionary in Swaziland, described her call and of the needs of that African nation.

“Over 40 percent of our adult population has AIDS,” she said. “We may become the first nation to wipe itself out through the AIDS epidemic.”

Sharon Fields-McCormick, a NAMB missionary, addressed the commercial sexual exploitation of children in the United States. Painting descriptive word pictures of the tragedies each girl endures, she challenged WMU to do more to bring justice to these children.

Mary Lou Serratt of Amarillo, Texas, received the 2010 Dellanna West O’Brien Award for Women’s Leadership Development. Serratt has served in church, associational and state WMU leadership, including serving as vice president of Texas WMU and a volunteer multiethnic consultant.

She has been involved with Laotian, Vietnamese, Cambodian, Sudanese, Burundian, Iranian, Iraqi, Korean, Liberian, Burmese Chin and Karen people through First Baptist Church in Amarillo.

Joy Cranford, a member of First Baptist Church of Fort Mill, S.C., received the Martha Myers GA Alumna of Distinction Award, given annually to recognize a GA alumna who influences the lives of others for Christ and serves as a positive role model for girls.

Cranford has served as GA leader and director in her church, GA director for the York Baptist Association and GA consultant for South Carolina WMU. She served on the first advisory council for the Christian Women’s Job Corps of York County, S.C., during the pilot year and was one of the first to serve as a mentor. She remained an active volunteer in the CWJC ministry all 13 years of its existence in the association. Angela Kim of Houston and Lee reported growth in missions education among Korean Baptist churches in the United States.

In 2007, national WMU and Texas WMU partnered for a special, three-year project to provide Korean-English bilingual missions curriculum for preschoolers and children.

With these materials, the Korean leadership team, comprised of Korean pastors’ wives across the United States and led by Kim, began missions education in more than 10 percent of Korean churches in the first year of publishing.

“WMU has long embraced the importance of equipping and involving every church of every language and ethnic group in the Great Commission,” Lee said.
6/15/2010 7:00:00 AM by Charlie Warren, Jim White & Julie Walters, Arkansas Baptist, Religious Herald & WMU | with 0 comments



Frank Page elected EC president

June 15 2010 by Erin Roach, Baptist Press

ORLANDO, Fla. — Frank Page was elected as the next president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Executive Committee (EC) June 14 in Orlando, Fla. A former president of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), Page will succeed Morris H. Chapman, who is retiring after 18 years in the position.

Page, 57, most recently served as vice president of evangelization for the North American Mission Board (NAMB) and was pastor of First Baptist Church in Taylors, S.C., for nine years and SBC president from 2006-08.

Executive Committee members deliberated for nearly two hours in a closed session Monday afternoon before announcing a decision to call Page as president, and he accepted the role with “a great sense of destiny and awareness that God has a great future for Southern Baptists.”

Page told the Executive Committee his goal is that the group will be unified in its passion to see the world won to Jesus Christ, and he pledged to love the committee members and to work with all his might.

In comments to Baptist Press (BP) after the vote, Page said he is following the call of God and is excited about the future.

“I’m somewhat nervous because the task before me is one that’s bigger than any one person, and I am very cognizant of that. So there’s a level of nervousness, and I’m not a nervous person, but I realize the task ahead is great,” Page said. “There’s great division amongst the brethren and to pull us together is going to be a God-ordained task that I shall deal with as best I can.

“One of my goals is to be a unifier. We’ve got to, based on John 17:21,” he said. “It is imperative for our evangelistic efforts that we be unified, and that is extremely important to me.”

Page, who will work alongside Chapman as president-elect until Oct. 1, hinted at an emphasis he’ll unveil in the fall to support international missions, North American missions, the seminaries and the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission.

“The EC is not a missions-sending agency, but I want to be the greatest supporter our agencies have ever seen,” Page said.

After Page emerged from the closed-door session with the Executive Committee members and while they were praying and taking the vote, he told reporters he answered some members’ questions regarding the Great Commission Resurgence (GCR) Task Force report.

As a member of the task force, Page said he voiced deep concerns about some of the recommendations both to the task force and to the Executive Committee.

BP photo

Frank Page, vice president of evangelization for the Southern Baptist Convention’s North American Mission Board, with his wife, Dayle, after being elected by the Executive Committee June 14 as the new


“But I do want to join our president in a call for a Great Commission Resurgence,” Page said. “I believe that. I love Dr. (Johnny) Hunt and love his heart and want to see us do more to reach the nations for Christ.

“Everyone knows I’m a strong Cooperative Program supporter. I’ve said many times, not just in there but everywhere, ‘Just look at the record,’” Page told reporters. “While a lot of people talk about the Cooperative Program, I’ve been raising millions through it because I do believe in it. I believe in what it does in the states. I believe in what it does in supporting missions.” Page said the Cooperative Program plays a unique role that must never be overlooked.

“It alone pulls us together. It alone provides for the work of our state conventions that helps support so many hurting churches. I love that,” he said.

Having only been in the North American Mission Board role since October 2009, Page said he is puzzled somewhat by God moving him so quickly to the Executive Committee.

“I have asked the Lord how it could be because I’ve never been to a short ministry in my whole life,” he said, adding that he has identified three possible reasons for the short tenure at NAMB.

“Number one, I think God gave me that time to see the inside of a denomination better than I would have as a pastor,” Page said. “I think He let me go to NAMB to let me see some of the inside, which I like some of it, some of it I don’t as I’ve looked on the inside of the denomination.

“Secondly, I think being a part of the GCR at the same time helped me provide a perspective to say NAMB has a unique missiological need, and I think that was an encouragement to some on the committee to see that NAMB does have a place separately than IMB,” Page said.

“Third, I would have to say the biggest reason I think God brought me to NAMB was to help legitimize and motivate and encourage people in the GPS strategy,” Page said, referring to the national God’s Plan for Sharing (GPS) evangelistic initiative.

Page received the idea for GPS when he was president of the convention, and he was part of the official kickoff earlier this year when NAMB helped facilitate more than 15,000 Southern Baptist churches sharing the gospel with nearly 38 million people by leaving literature on doorknobs of homes.

As Page accepted the Executive Committee’s call Monday afternoon, he expressed gratefulness for his wife Dayle and his two daughters Laura and Allison, who were with him in Orlando.

“My family is dear and precious to me — my girls. As many people may know, I lost my oldest daughter just six months ago. It’s a very sensitive thing, but they are very precious to me, and I can always count on their support,” he told BP.

A native of Robbins, N.C., Page holds a Ph.D. in Christian ethics focusing on moral, social and ethical issues from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, along with a master of divinity degree from Southwestern. He earned a bachelor of science degree with honors from Gardner-Webb University in North Carolina, majoring in psychology with minors in sociology and Greek.

Page is the author of several books, including Trouble with the Tulip, an examination of the five points of Calvinism, and commentaries on the biblical books of Jonah and Mark. He also contributed as lead writer for the Advanced Continuing Witness Training material. Page was named to President Obama’s Advisory Council on Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships in February 2009.

(EDITOR’S NOTE — Roach is a staff writer for Baptist Press.)
6/15/2010 5:28:00 AM by Erin Roach, Baptist Press | with 1 comments



Frank Page elected EC president

June 15 2010 by Erin Roach, Baptist Press

ORLANDO, Fla. — Frank Page was elected as the next president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Executive Committee (EC) June 14 in Orlando, Fla. A former president of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), Page will succeed Morris H. Chapman, who is retiring after 18 years in the position.

Page, 57, most recently served as vice president of evangelization for the North American Mission Board (NAMB) and was pastor of First Baptist Church in Taylors, S.C., for nine years and SBC president from 2006-08.

Executive Committee members deliberated for nearly two hours in a closed session Monday afternoon before announcing a decision to call Page as president, and he accepted the role with “a great sense of destiny and awareness that God has a great future for Southern Baptists.”

Page told the Executive Committee his goal is that the group will be unified in its passion to see the world won to Jesus Christ, and he pledged to love the committee members and to work with all his might.

In comments to Baptist Press (BP) after the vote, Page said he is following the call of God and is excited about the future.

“I’m somewhat nervous because the task before me is one that’s bigger than any one person, and I am very cognizant of that. So there’s a level of nervousness, and I’m not a nervous person, but I realize the task ahead is great,” Page said. “There’s great division amongst the brethren and to pull us together is going to be a God-ordained task that I shall deal with as best I can.

“One of my goals is to be a unifier. We’ve got to, based on John 17:21,” he said. “It is imperative for our evangelistic efforts that we be unified, and that is extremely important to me.”

Page, who will work alongside Chapman as president-elect until Oct. 1, hinted at an emphasis he’ll unveil in the fall to support international missions, North American missions, the seminaries and the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission.

“The EC is not a missions-sending agency, but I want to be the greatest supporter our agencies have ever seen,” Page said.

After Page emerged from the closed-door session with the Executive Committee members and while they were praying and taking the vote, he told reporters he answered some members’ questions regarding the Great Commission Resurgence (GCR) Task Force report.

As a member of the task force, Page said he voiced deep concerns about some of the recommendations both to the task force and to the Executive Committee.

BP photo

Frank Page, vice president of evangelization for the Southern Baptist Convention’s North American Mission Board, with his wife, Dayle, after being elected by the Executive Committee June 14 as the new


“But I do want to join our president in a call for a Great Commission Resurgence,” Page said. “I believe that. I love Dr. (Johnny) Hunt and love his heart and want to see us do more to reach the nations for Christ.

“Everyone knows I’m a strong Cooperative Program supporter. I’ve said many times, not just in there but everywhere, ‘Just look at the record,’” Page told reporters. “While a lot of people talk about the Cooperative Program, I’ve been raising millions through it because I do believe in it. I believe in what it does in the states. I believe in what it does in supporting missions.” Page said the Cooperative Program plays a unique role that must never be overlooked.

“It alone pulls us together. It alone provides for the work of our state conventions that helps support so many hurting churches. I love that,” he said.

Having only been in the North American Mission Board role since October 2009, Page said he is puzzled somewhat by God moving him so quickly to the Executive Committee.

“I have asked the Lord how it could be because I’ve never been to a short ministry in my whole life,” he said, adding that he has identified three possible reasons for the short tenure at NAMB.

“Number one, I think God gave me that time to see the inside of a denomination better than I would have as a pastor,” Page said. “I think He let me go to NAMB to let me see some of the inside, which I like some of it, some of it I don’t as I’ve looked on the inside of the denomination.

“Secondly, I think being a part of the GCR at the same time helped me provide a perspective to say NAMB has a unique missiological need, and I think that was an encouragement to some on the committee to see that NAMB does have a place separately than IMB,” Page said.

“Third, I would have to say the biggest reason I think God brought me to NAMB was to help legitimize and motivate and encourage people in the GPS strategy,” Page said, referring to the national God’s Plan for Sharing (GPS) evangelistic initiative.

Page received the idea for GPS when he was president of the convention, and he was part of the official kickoff earlier this year when NAMB helped facilitate more than 15,000 Southern Baptist churches sharing the gospel with nearly 38 million people by leaving literature on doorknobs of homes.

As Page accepted the Executive Committee’s call Monday afternoon, he expressed gratefulness for his wife Dayle and his two daughters Laura and Allison, who were with him in Orlando.

“My family is dear and precious to me — my girls. As many people may know, I lost my oldest daughter just six months ago. It’s a very sensitive thing, but they are very precious to me, and I can always count on their support,” he told BP.

A native of Robbins, N.C., Page holds a Ph.D. in Christian ethics focusing on moral, social and ethical issues from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, along with a master of divinity degree from Southwestern. He earned a bachelor of science degree with honors from Gardner-Webb University in North Carolina, majoring in psychology with minors in sociology and Greek.

Page is the author of several books, including Trouble with the Tulip, an examination of the five points of Calvinism, and commentaries on the biblical books of Jonah and Mark. He also contributed as lead writer for the Advanced Continuing Witness Training material. Page was named to President Obama’s Advisory Council on Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships in February 2009.

(EDITOR’S NOTE — Roach is a staff writer for Baptist Press.)
6/15/2010 5:28:00 AM by Erin Roach, Baptist Press | with 1 comments



‘SBC Majority’ group announces VP nominees

June 14 2010 by Baptist Press

ORLANDO, Fla. — A self-styled grassroots organization has announced its nominations for first and second vice president of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC).

SBC Majority Initiative founder Les Puryear announced June 14 that his network will nominate Jim Drake, pastor of Brushfork Baptist Church in Bluefield, W.V., as first vice president and John Copeland, pastor of First Baptist Church in Fulton, Ala., as second vice president.

According to its site, www.sbcmajority.com, the SBC Majority Initiative is premised on the idea that 83.4 percent of all SBC churches have less than 200 in average Sunday morning worship attendance yet few current leaders of the convention come from smaller-membership churches.

The network seeks to address that perceived imbalance by nominating members of smaller-membership churches that are theologically conservative, strongly support the Cooperative Program and give generously to the SBC’s Lottie Moon and Annie Armstrong missions offerings.

Puryear, pastor of Lewisville Baptist Church, said he plans to nominate Drake. Information from the 2009 Annual Church Profile for Brushfork Baptist Church showed five baptisms and primary worship service attendance of 96, giving of $10,140, or 10.99 percent, through the Cooperative Program on total undesignated receipts of $92,195. The report indicated gifts of $1,294 for the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions and $874 for the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering for North American Missions.

Puryear’s announcement noted the church has a baptism-to-member ratio of 19.2 to 1, Lottie Moon per capita giving of $13.48 and Annie Armstrong per capita giving of $9.10.

Puryear said John Copeland will be nominated by Phillip Elliott, pastor of Bellevue Baptist Church in Gadsden, Ala. Information from the 2009 Annual Church Profile for First Baptist Church in Fulton showed four baptisms and primary worship service attendance of 200, giving of $98,560, or 12.81 percent, through the Cooperative Program on total undesignated receipts of $768,902. The report indicated gifts of $26,870 for the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions and $10,333 for the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering for North American Missions.

Puryear’s announcement noted the church has a baptism-to-member ratio of 16.3, Lottie Moon per capita giving of $20.77 and Annie Armstrong per capita giving of $16.88.

In his announcement, Puryear said: “We think it is very important to us that our leaders actually lead in what they do, not just what they say. These two candidates more than meet our stringent qualifications for SBC Majority Initiative candidates.

“Pastor Jim Drake is an excellent leader in his community, association, state convention and Southern Baptist Convention,” Puryear added. “He currently serves at Mountain State Baptist Association on the executive board, continuing education committee and the missions development committee. Pastor Drake serves the West Virginia Convention of Southern Baptists on the Executive Board. He also serves at the national level as an appointee to the SBC Committee on Committees. Jim and Miranda Drake have been married for 23 years and have three children, Kyla, Katelyn and C.J.

“As a SBC Majority church pastor, Jim Drake will be a wonderful representative of 83.4% of SBC churches which have an average Sunday morning worship attendance of less than 200,” Puryear added.

In the announcement, Phillip Elliot said: “It is with great privilege and excitement that I nominate John Copeland for the office of second vice-president of the SBC. I’m privileged because Bro. John has been a mentor to me for over 10 years of my ministry. He has been and continues to be a leader in local association work, always sharing his vast experience and knowledge with others in the ministry. He has a heart for reaching the lost and growing the family of God. My excitement is for the convention because Dr. Copeland will commit himself to everyone, all churches, regardless of size. He will be a true servant of God for all of us.”

(EDITOR’S NOTE — Compiled by Baptist Press assistant editor Mark Kelly.)
6/14/2010 9:08:00 AM by Baptist Press | with 0 comments



‘SBC Majority’ group announces VP nominees

June 14 2010 by Baptist Press

ORLANDO, Fla. — A self-styled grassroots organization has announced its nominations for first and second vice president of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC).

SBC Majority Initiative founder Les Puryear announced June 14 that his network will nominate Jim Drake, pastor of Brushfork Baptist Church in Bluefield, W.V., as first vice president and John Copeland, pastor of First Baptist Church in Fulton, Ala., as second vice president.

According to its site, www.sbcmajority.com, the SBC Majority Initiative is premised on the idea that 83.4 percent of all SBC churches have less than 200 in average Sunday morning worship attendance yet few current leaders of the convention come from smaller-membership churches.

The network seeks to address that perceived imbalance by nominating members of smaller-membership churches that are theologically conservative, strongly support the Cooperative Program and give generously to the SBC’s Lottie Moon and Annie Armstrong missions offerings.

Puryear, pastor of Lewisville Baptist Church, said he plans to nominate Drake. Information from the 2009 Annual Church Profile for Brushfork Baptist Church showed five baptisms and primary worship service attendance of 96, giving of $10,140, or 10.99 percent, through the Cooperative Program on total undesignated receipts of $92,195. The report indicated gifts of $1,294 for the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions and $874 for the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering for North American Missions.

Puryear’s announcement noted the church has a baptism-to-member ratio of 19.2 to 1, Lottie Moon per capita giving of $13.48 and Annie Armstrong per capita giving of $9.10.

Puryear said John Copeland will be nominated by Phillip Elliott, pastor of Bellevue Baptist Church in Gadsden, Ala. Information from the 2009 Annual Church Profile for First Baptist Church in Fulton showed four baptisms and primary worship service attendance of 200, giving of $98,560, or 12.81 percent, through the Cooperative Program on total undesignated receipts of $768,902. The report indicated gifts of $26,870 for the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions and $10,333 for the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering for North American Missions.

Puryear’s announcement noted the church has a baptism-to-member ratio of 16.3, Lottie Moon per capita giving of $20.77 and Annie Armstrong per capita giving of $16.88.

In his announcement, Puryear said: “We think it is very important to us that our leaders actually lead in what they do, not just what they say. These two candidates more than meet our stringent qualifications for SBC Majority Initiative candidates.

“Pastor Jim Drake is an excellent leader in his community, association, state convention and Southern Baptist Convention,” Puryear added. “He currently serves at Mountain State Baptist Association on the executive board, continuing education committee and the missions development committee. Pastor Drake serves the West Virginia Convention of Southern Baptists on the Executive Board. He also serves at the national level as an appointee to the SBC Committee on Committees. Jim and Miranda Drake have been married for 23 years and have three children, Kyla, Katelyn and C.J.

“As a SBC Majority church pastor, Jim Drake will be a wonderful representative of 83.4% of SBC churches which have an average Sunday morning worship attendance of less than 200,” Puryear added.

In the announcement, Phillip Elliot said: “It is with great privilege and excitement that I nominate John Copeland for the office of second vice-president of the SBC. I’m privileged because Bro. John has been a mentor to me for over 10 years of my ministry. He has been and continues to be a leader in local association work, always sharing his vast experience and knowledge with others in the ministry. He has a heart for reaching the lost and growing the family of God. My excitement is for the convention because Dr. Copeland will commit himself to everyone, all churches, regardless of size. He will be a true servant of God for all of us.”

(EDITOR’S NOTE — Compiled by Baptist Press assistant editor Mark Kelly.)
6/14/2010 9:08:00 AM by Baptist Press | with 0 comments



LifeWay lays off two dozen workers

June 14 2010 by BR staff

LifeWay Christian Resources has laid off approximately two dozen employees in what spokesman Micah Carter said is a part of the “normal budgeting cycle.”

Carter would not confirm or deny the number of what he called “staff deletions,” but other sources pin the number at 24-26.

LifeWay, which produces much of the literature used by most Southern Baptist churches, employs about 4,750 people, Carter said.

He said the “deletions” were not economy driven, but came about as part of the annual review of LifeWay goals and actions for the next budget cycle. He said staff changes resulted from “leadership changes” and “resource stewardship” and said “additions” were made as well.

“Difficult decisions have to be made,” for LifeWay to have “the right mix of people” on board, he said.

Carter urged churches to understand that LifeWay “ministry is being honed and sharpened in the process.”

Through seven months of the budget cycle, Carter said the LifeWay budget is in “really good financial shape.”

“LifeWay is strong and healthy,” said Carter, associate to the vice president for executive relations. “That’s not to say we don’t have our challenges,” but the personnel changes were not economy driven.
6/14/2010 8:35:00 AM by BR staff | with 0 comments



Crossover reaches out to Orlando

June 14 2010 by James Dotson and Mickey Noah, Baptist Press

ORLANDO, Fla. — A friendly conversation, a story, a realization and a prayer: that’s the gist of what happens when one person shares and another accepts the simple gospel of Jesus Christ. And while the methods and venues may have varied, the scene played out more than 1,400 times June 7-12 as Southern Baptists expressed their core message of hope through Crossover Orlando.

BP photo by Cat McDonald

Chris Hobbs, 25, a youth pastor from Texas, shares the gospel with Mike Frazier of Apopka, Fla., during a block party June 12 at First Baptist Church of Apopka as part of Crossover Orlando. The event is one of a series of evangelistic outreaches held prior to the Southern Baptist Convention.


The effort, held just prior to the Southern Baptist Convention’s June 15-16 annual meeting at the Orange County Convention Center, involved more than 70 local churches and 1,200 outside volunteers. Venues included weeklong Hispanic Crossover and Intentional Community Evangelism (ICE) efforts, as well as a one-day blitz June 12 that included 15 neighborhood block parties, visits to homes, food distribution at five churches, free water bottles for tourists on International Drive and a huge family festival for the Hispanic community at the Central Florida Fairgrounds.

“The best thing summing up the week for me was for people to see Southern Baptists at their best — cooperating with one another at association, state and national levels,” said Mike Armstrong, executive pastor of First Baptist Church of Winter Park and coordinator of Crossover Orlando. “They saw the best of what Southern Baptists truly are, and that is a cooperative people.”

Crossover is coordinated nationally through the North American Mission Board. Bill Faulkner, director of missions for the 168 churches in the Greater Orlando Baptist Association, said he believes the benefits will extend far beyond the spiritual decisions that were made.

“Encouraging churches in an event like this will help them see that they can do this all the time,” Faulkner said. “It doesn’t have to be a special event. It doesn’t have to be necessarily with volunteers from outside. They see it and they say, ‘Wow, we can do this.’”

Additionally, decisions recorded throughout Crossover are distributed to local churches for immediate follow-up with individuals.

(EDITOR’S NOTE — Dotson and Noah are writers with the North American Mission Board.)
6/14/2010 8:04:00 AM by James Dotson and Mickey Noah, Baptist Press | with 0 comments



Crossover reaches out to Orlando

June 14 2010 by James Dotson and Mickey Noah, Baptist Press

ORLANDO, Fla. — A friendly conversation, a story, a realization and a prayer: that’s the gist of what happens when one person shares and another accepts the simple gospel of Jesus Christ. And while the methods and venues may have varied, the scene played out more than 1,400 times June 7-12 as Southern Baptists expressed their core message of hope through Crossover Orlando.

BP photo by Cat McDonald

Chris Hobbs, 25, a youth pastor from Texas, shares the gospel with Mike Frazier of Apopka, Fla., during a block party June 12 at First Baptist Church of Apopka as part of Crossover Orlando. The event is one of a series of evangelistic outreaches held prior to the Southern Baptist Convention.


The effort, held just prior to the Southern Baptist Convention’s June 15-16 annual meeting at the Orange County Convention Center, involved more than 70 local churches and 1,200 outside volunteers. Venues included weeklong Hispanic Crossover and Intentional Community Evangelism (ICE) efforts, as well as a one-day blitz June 12 that included 15 neighborhood block parties, visits to homes, food distribution at five churches, free water bottles for tourists on International Drive and a huge family festival for the Hispanic community at the Central Florida Fairgrounds.

“The best thing summing up the week for me was for people to see Southern Baptists at their best — cooperating with one another at association, state and national levels,” said Mike Armstrong, executive pastor of First Baptist Church of Winter Park and coordinator of Crossover Orlando. “They saw the best of what Southern Baptists truly are, and that is a cooperative people.”

Crossover is coordinated nationally through the North American Mission Board. Bill Faulkner, director of missions for the 168 churches in the Greater Orlando Baptist Association, said he believes the benefits will extend far beyond the spiritual decisions that were made.

“Encouraging churches in an event like this will help them see that they can do this all the time,” Faulkner said. “It doesn’t have to be a special event. It doesn’t have to be necessarily with volunteers from outside. They see it and they say, ‘Wow, we can do this.’”

Additionally, decisions recorded throughout Crossover are distributed to local churches for immediate follow-up with individuals.

(EDITOR’S NOTE — Dotson and Noah are writers with the North American Mission Board.)
6/14/2010 8:04:00 AM by James Dotson and Mickey Noah, Baptist Press | with 0 comments



Johnny Hunt: In his own words

June 14 2010 by Will Hall, Baptist Press

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — At the news conference after messengers elected him to lead the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) in 2008, Johnny Hunt, pastor of First Baptist Church in Woodstock, Ga., stated that key points of focus for his presidency would be “to keep ... our hearts on what united us” and “inspiring the next generation with a vision for the Southern Baptist Convention.”

In many ways, the annual meeting in Orlando will define the success of these efforts. Last year, messengers overwhelmingly voted to authorize Hunt to appoint a task force to study how Southern Baptists can work “more faithfully and effectively together in serving Christ through the Great Commission.” However, a consensus is not yet clear about the task force’s report and seven recommendations as public statements from Southern Baptists seem equally divided between praise and concern or caution.

As for reaching and inspiring the next generation, Hunt already had a 14-year track record of mentoring young pastors through his Timothy+Barnabas Ministry. But during the last two years he also has made an extra effort to reach out to young men affiliated with Baptist21 and the Acts 29 church planting network, Reformed or Calvinist-leaning seminarians, pastors and church planters. They have a sizeable presence at Southern and Southeastern seminaries and were present in noticeable numbers in Louisville for the 2009 annual meeting, and likely will play a role in the vote about the Great Commission Resurgence (GCR) Task Force report and recommendations in Orlando.

Hunt invited Baptist Press (BP) to provide questions for an interview about his presidency the past two years, and the following questions and answers were exchanged by e-mail exclusively for Baptist Press readers:

BP: During the news conference after your initial election, you said you “want to see as many people as possible come to embrace Jesus Christ as personal Lord and Savior and then help as many people as possible become fully devoted followers of Jesus Christ and to see churches become personally involved in taking the gospel down the street and around the world.” What kind of progress do you see after your two years as president?

JH:
I think that with the GCR we have made a significant movement in the right direction. Of course, I would always like to see us do more, but I think that with the passing of the Great Commission Task Force report in Orlando, we will begin turning this aircraft carrier called the SBC in a new and better direction, and the local churches and the pastors are the key. I think that a renewed emphasis on the local church as the headquarters of the SBC has also been a very positive outcome of the past two years of my presidency. The word is out now that we have seen an increase in baptisms this past year for the first time in a number of years. I certainly do not desire for the Task Force to take credit for that, but we are calling Southern Baptists back to why Jesus died in the first place, and that is to make a way for sinners to have a relationship with the Lord Jesus.

BP: At that same news conference, when asked about “narrowing parameters of participation within the SBC,” you said, “I would hope to unite our hearts around the things we believe Christ was most committed to.” What kind of progress have you seen?

JH:
The final marching orders of Jesus is the Great Commission, found in Matthew 28:18-20 and Acts 1:8. Penetrating and conquering lostness with the gospel is why He came and why we exist as a church. I believe that we have made progress in being passionate about what our Savior is passionate about, still, our baptism numbers and membership numbers clearly reveal that we are not where we need to be. We need a mighty movement of God’s Spirit among our people if a true, genuine GCR is to take place. We can suggest and implement some good and helpful constructive changes; but, even if we came up with a nearly perfect plan, apart from the work of God in each of us, we will not see a mighty work of God among the people called Southern Baptists. That is why our GCRTF report calls for repentance, brokenness, and humility before God as our first and foremost need. Our hearts must be changed so that we love Him more than our comforts and positions, and that we love Him more than the American dream.

BP: In retrospect, what has been the greatest area of insight or learning about Southern Baptists since you became president? What did you learn that surprised you the most?

JH:
We are an incredibly diverse people, yet united around the inerrant word of God and the gospel. The days of methodological uniformity are gone, however, the lordship of Jesus Christ, global missions, aggressive church planting, theological education, and consensus built upon the Baptist Faith and Message 2000 is more than enough to unite us for the great task that God has given us.

BP: What have you found to be the greatest challenge you faced in serving as president? What challenges does a president face in his personal, spiritual or professional life? What have the benefits been?

JH:
I have found that the greatest challenge that I have faced in serving as president of the SBC is balance. Being focused on such a worthy cause of leading the wonderful Southern Baptist Convention, I find much of my time is taken away from being a local church pastor and from my wonderful, godly, precious family, and lots of friends that I enjoy spending time with. It becomes taxing on your personal, spiritual, and professional life and just making sure that you honor the Lord in each of these areas. I believe with all of my heart that my church has so fervently prayed for me because they have seen the benefits of being able to influence the largest evangelical body in North America that has the potential to touch this nation more deeply and the nations of the world more effectively.

BP: When you appointed the GCR task force, you expressed great optimism about inspiring Southern Baptists to mobilize more effectively for the Great Commission. What about the GCRTF process has encouraged you about the future of Southern Baptists? Has there been anything you found discouraging?

JH:
I have been tremendously encouraged by how God brought such a diverse group of Task Force members to a oneness of heart and mind which is reflected in the unanimous report that we will bring to the Convention. I am also excited about the grass-roots support we have received across the Convention. My greatest discouragement has been how badly some have either misunderstood or misrepresented the report. Some have unnecessarily run to a worst-case scenario reading, which I think is unfortunate. I am optimistic that the Task Force has sought the mind of God and that He has led us to bring this report at this particular time in the history of our Convention. We do not see this as the last word. Hopefully, by God’s grace, it will be the start of something great, for the glory of God. It has been said that great opportunities swing on mighty tiny hinges. I pray that we will see this as an opportunity for a new day as Southern Baptists in making the greatest impact in these latter days.

BP: Regarding the GCRTF report:
— The report seems to draw strong reactions at both ends of the spectrum (support and opposition). Why do you think it has become a point of contention with some people, rather than a rallying point?

JH:
Any change is controversial when it happens, and that is a sign of life. Southern Baptists are a passionate people and I fully expect a good debate on this report. I also expect that once Southern Baptists understand it, they will embrace it wholeheartedly and with great enthusiasm as well as expectation. I think that change is always a challenge for God’s people. Change makes all of us uncomfortable, however, it sometimes is absolutely necessary. I believe that we now face such a time. Fear, I think, has been a root of much of the passion expressed by some. I cannot use the word “contention” for the simple reason that everyone is talking about the Great Commission — maybe a different approach, or maybe different thoughts that if they were on the Committee they would have dealt with differently. Just the fact that we are all talking about the Great Commission is enough to thrill my soul! I pray that between now and our time in Orlando we can continue to get our message out, clarify misunderstandings, alleviate concerns, and bring our folks together in great unity. Our most passionate desire is for all of us to be together for the gospel and doing the Great Commission.

BP:
— If the report is adopted in Orlando, how do Southern Baptists move forward to making a Great Commission Resurgence a reality? If the report is not adopted, what do you see as the potential fallout?

JH:
I believe the report is going to be enthusiastically adopted, so I do not fear any fallout from its defeat. I believe an adoption of the report also is just the first step. My prayer is that our folks, individuals in the local church and all the way to our national entities, will study the report and seek its implementation as it applies to them. I think the report charts a hopeful and positive future, however, following Orlando, the time for talk will need to dissipate and the time for action will need to take center stage. Southern Baptists must not turn their backs on a new generation of passionate and committed Great Commission leaders. What would it say if Southern Baptists vote down a report that is all about how to do more for the Great Commission?

BP:
— How do you evaluate the concerns some are expressing about the impact of “Great Commission Giving” on giving through the Cooperative Program?

JH:
I think the area of Great Commission Giving is the area of greatest misunderstanding. Any day now, you will see more and more written for greater clarity in this area. I believe that the best thing folks can do is to read the report and not read into the report. Second, read the superb treatment by Bob White, State Executive of Georgia, who does an excellent job in explaining what Great Commission Giving is all about. Bob, as well as his father, has been considered through the years as “Mr. Cooperative Program.” If anyone is for helping, encouraging, and keeping the Cooperative Program at the forefront of Southern Baptist giving, it is Mr. Bob White. The last thing we want to do is to weaken the Cooperative Program in any way. I would argue that leaving things as they are now is actually the most likely way to weaken the Cooperative Program. We must all remember that we have been declining in percentages of CP giving for many years now. We need to energize our churches by making clear that missions giving is Great Commission giving and celebrate every church’s participation in our Southern Baptist work. The Cooperative Program remains central with the entire Task Force. We want to encourage giving, not putting up barriers to investments in missions.

BP:
— What do you say to those who are wondering why the report had no recommendations for improving the efficiency and effectiveness of the six seminaries?

JH:
Concerning our seminaries, I would point out first that there are a number of challenges to them in the final section that I believe they will take very seriously and respond to. Secondly, the Executive Committee just completed an in-depth, multi-year study of the six seminaries, so we did not see the need for redundancy. Finally, the general feeling of the Task Force was that we were pleased overall with our seminaries. Following the CR (Conservative Resurgence), there has been a radical transformation in our seminaries (that is only 10-15 years old) in the area of theology, preaching, missions, evangelism, and church planting. Now, can our seminaries do better? Of course, but as you know, two of the Task Force members are seminary presidents, and both Danny Akin and Al Mohler were receptive to any and all suggestions the Task Force raised and then included in the final section of the report.

BP:
— Was there an assessment of the efficiency and effectiveness of the IMB?

JH:
There was an assessment of the efficiency and effectiveness of the IMB, but not in great detail. Time, of course, was a major limitation given our one year assignment. And, it was felt by the Task Force that it was not in need of the same careful analysis as say NAMB. We talked about merging the boards, but concluded that was not the best way to go at this time. We did agree to free the IMB to work with unreached people groups in the USA, which we think is a major step forward. But just like NAMB, the IMB is looking for a new leader who will bring his vision to the mission board. That is why, in part, the final report also backed off on details when it comes to NAMB. We have raised, we believe, some good questions and made what we hope are some good recommendations, but ultimately it will be up to the new president and board of trustees of both entities to chart their futures and implement their strategies.

BP:
— Why the selection of the Executive Committee to contribute the whole of the “symbolic and substantial” amount to reach 51 percent of CP at the national level for IMB?

JH:
With the primary promotion of the Cooperative Program being placed in the hands of the states, it was natural and logical for the Executive Committee to make a reallocation adjustment.

BP:
— Would it have been more meaningful as a symbolic move (in terms of “actions speak louder than words”) if all SBC entities had contributed of equal sacrifice toward a reallocation to achieve 51 percent for IMB, especially given there were two entity heads represented on the task force?

JH:
There was a unanimous sentiment by the Task Force that the Executive Committee could be streamlined and continue to do what Southern Baptists want it to do, even with this reallocation of funding. The Executive Committee is an essential part of our Southern Baptist work, but it exists in order that the actual work of the Convention may be done with integrity and strategic vision through the entities like the mission boards, LifeWay, the ERLC, GuideStone, and the seminaries. In all honesty, it seems that the best signal we can send is to reduce the costs of our facilitating ministries in order to strengthen our Great Commission focus. There was much discussion and Dr. Danny Akin and Dr. Al Mohler, both entity heads who serve on the Task Force Committee, offered support for such a decision if that is what the task Force chose to do. Basically, they sat out on that conversation for the most part.

BP:
— If the 51 percent amount is “symbolic,” what is the ideal percentage the IMB should be allocated of Cooperative Program gifts received at the SBC level?

JH:
In answer to a great question of what percentage the IMB should be allocated of Cooperative Program gifts received at the SBC level, I think it might be possible to make minor adjustments to the current Cooperative Program allocations, but the best way to get more funds to the IMB is for Lottie Moon to grow toward the $200 million goal we have set by 2015, and for our people to put in their wills and estate planning Baptist entities like the IMB. More of us, no, all of us, should leave something behind of what Jesus has given us for the work of the Kingdom after we have died and passed on to be with our Lord.

BP: What words of advice do you have for your successor?

JH:
I would advise my successor to be a man of prayer and one who loves and listens to the people. I would advise him to seek God’s face daily as he seeks to determine the vision He would have him cast for Southern Baptists. However, at the end of the day, just remember this: all that really matters is that I please God.

(EDITOR’S NOTE — Hall is executive editor of Baptist Press.)  
6/14/2010 7:56:00 AM by Will Hall, Baptist Press | with 1 comments



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