June 2018

IMB Sending Celebration adds 47 new missionaries

June 15 2018 by Julie McGowan, IMB

International Mission Board trustees approved the appointment of 47 new missionaries sent by Southern Baptist churches to take the gospel to the nations during their June 10-11 meeting in Dallas.
 

Photo by Chris Carter
After inviting IMB trustees to pause during their plenary session for a time of personal confession, IMB President David Platt joins trustees in silent prayer. "The IMB's greatest need in trustees and leaders around this room … is holiness and humility before God," Platt said.

The new missionaries were part of a Sending Celebration June 12 during the evening session of the SBC annual meeting at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center.
 
Trustees also heard an update on the presidential search; received a financial report on the entity; reiterated IMB’s “zero tolerance” policy on abuse; and elected 2018-2019 officers during their meeting held in conjunction with the June 12-13 Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting in Dallas.
 
Chuck Pourciau, presidential search committee chairman, reported the committee is making progress and working in unity toward determining God’s direction for the entity’s next leader. He said the committee has moved from determining what kind of person they’re seeking to considering candidates.
 
“This is a great committee,” said Pourciau, senior pastor of Broadmoor Baptist Church in Shreveport, La. “God’s been in our midst, and I thank God for how He led [Rick Dunbar] in putting together this committee.
 
“We are committed to finding God’s leader,” Pourciau said. “We want to see God glorified.”
 

Lottie Moon $5m ahead

 
In their support services committee, trustees reviewed IMB’s 2017 audited financials and its current financial position. “We are on strong financial footing, and by God’s grace we have the resources we have,” reported Seth Polk, the committee chair. “We thank God for the faithfulness of His people in giving.”
 
At the end of May, IMB had received $66,840,768 in Cooperative Program (CP) funding for the 2017-2018 fiscal year, which started Oct. 1. The total is $1,014,337 (1.54 percent) ahead of last year. The IMB had received $142,683,654 so far for the 2017-2018 Lottie Moon Christmas Offering campaign, which began Oct. 1, 2017, and ends Sept. 30, 2018*. This total is $5,161,874 (3.75%) ahead of last year’s LMCO receipts. The total represents money received by the IMB or postmarked by the close of the last business day of May 2018 and includes receipts from the SBC Executive Committee, state conventions, churches and individuals.
 
Trustees also adopted a resolution of appreciation for the work of Randy and Kathy Arnett, who served as missionaries from 1986-2018, and died on March 14 while serving in Africa. The resolution reads: “The International Mission Board, SBC, herein expresses deep appreciation for faithful service to God through this board and pledges special prayer support for the family during days ahead.”
 

‘Zero tolerance’

 
In response to issues arising in the SBC in recent months, trustees and IMB leaders reiterated the board’s policy on abuse and harassment.
 
Dunbar said, “The IMB leadership and the trustees want you to know that we are committed to zero tolerance for child abuse and sexual harassment among our personnel – and we are also committed to communicating and cooperating with our partners to guard against those behaviors.”
 
If anyone “sees or suspects something, they need to say something,” Dunbar said, noting IMB policies provide multiple avenues to make a report, including a confidential hotline designated for this purpose: (866) 292-0181. If anyone has personally experienced or observed child abuse or sexual harassment among IMB personnel in the past, they are urged to contact IMB through the confidential hotline. It is IMB’s policy to investigate all cases regardless of when they occurred.
 
Whenever a church, SBC entity, other ministry or any employer sees “IMB” on the resume of someone looking to serve with them, they are urged to contact IMB for a reference. Reference requests can be submitted to IMB’s HR department at references@imb.org. (The full text of IMB’s Statement on Child Abuse and Sexual Harassment is below.)
 

‘Everything hinges on God’

 
In his report to the trustees, IMB President David Platt shared two truths: 1) When God is with you, nothing and no one can stand against you; 2) When God is not with you, you have no hope. “Everything hinges on the fullness of God’s presence – everything,” he said.
 
Referring to Joshua 7:1-12, Platt explained that because of one man’s secret, hidden sin, God’s presence was not with the entire people of Israel. He told trustees, “We cannot underestimate the consequences of one man’s sin. Our sin never just affects us. Our sin always affects the people around us.
 
“I want to plead with you, for your own sake, for the sake of people right around you ... for the sake of these missionaries we’re about to send out and, ultimately, for the Name [of Jesus] – to repent of any hidden or secret sin in your heart,” Platt exhorted trustees. “I want to urge us to repent of sin and to receive the grace that is available in Christ.
 
“The IMB’s greatest need in trustees and leaders around this room (including myself) is not innovation or organizational this-or-that – the greatest need is holiness and humility before God, that says, ‘I don’t want to hold onto any sin in my heart that will jeopardize the fullness of the blessing of God, not only in my life, but in the lives of those I’m leading, the lives of those I’m influencing,’” Platt said, inviting trustees to spend a few moments in silent confession before God.
 
Trustees also spent concerted time in prayer for the Walangchung people group of Nepal. The East Asian people has a population of 22,000 who primarily practice Buddhism, specifically Lamaism. There are possibly two known believers among the entire population, and the Bible is not translated into their language. Trustees prayed that God would call someone to take the gospel to these people.
 
Six trustees were recognized for their service as they complete their terms: Dick Avey (Ark.), June Coleman (Ga.), Andy Finch (Okla.), Jaye Martin (Texas), Richard Richie (Ala.) and John Ross (Texas).
 

Photo by Chris Carter/IMB
IMB trustees elected new officers for the 2018-2019 year. They included (from left) Rick Dunbar, president, Miss.; Lisa Lovell, recording secretary, Ark.; Seth Polk, first vice chair, W. Va.; and Cecil Sanders, second vice chair, Ala.

Dunbar, a member of First Baptist Church in Madison, Miss., was elected trustee chairman for 2018-2019; Seth Polk, lead pastor of Cross Lanes Baptist Church in Cross Lanes, W.Va., was elected as first vice chair and Cecil Sanders, senior pastor of First Baptist Church in Headland, Ala., second vice chair. Lisa Lovell, a member of First Baptist Church in Fayetteville, Ark., was reelected as recording secretary.
 
The next IMB trustee meeting and Sending Celebration is slated for Sept. 26-27 in Richmond, Va.
 
* The LMCO campaign year historically ran from June 1 to May 31 each year, but that campaign year did not align with IMB’s fiscal year, which runs January 1 to December 31. To help alleviate confusion, IMB finance leaders, in conjunction with the board of trustees, proposed to align the fiscal year and the LMCO campaign to October 1 through September 30. Messengers voted to approve the fiscal year change during the 2017 SBC annual meeting in Phoenix. Therefore, gifts contributed from Oct. 1, 2017, to Sept. 30, 2018, will apply to the 2017-18 Lottie Moon Christmas Offering.
 

IMB Statement on Child Abuse and Sexual Harassment

 
The IMB is committed to zero tolerance for child abuse and sexual harassment among our personnel. Further, the IMB is committed to communicating clearly and cooperating with our partners to guard against child abuse and sexual harassment.
 

Zero Tolerance Among Our Personnel

 
We regularly ask that anyone in the IMB who (a) believes he or she has personally experienced child abuse or sexual harassment, or (b) observes it happen to someone else, bring this conduct into the light by means of a secure report to IMB leadership. In other words, if anyone suspects or sees something, they need to say something. IMB policies provide multiple avenues to make a report, including a confidential hotline designated for this purpose: (866) 292-0181.
 
Anytime we receive a report of suspected child abuse or sexual harassment, we investigate those situations immediately and, if warranted, take the appropriate action to report it to local authorities and remove individuals from IMB employment. In the case of child sexual abuse, if we conclude that one of our personnel has committed child sexual abuse, that individual is terminated immediately. If IMB believes that any personnel has committed child abuse, our practice is to make a report to Child Protection Services in the state where the incident occurred or to the alleged offender’s home state. Moreover, IMB is committed to complying with mandatory reporting requirements and cooperating with any criminal investigations of abuse by our personnel. Further, we are committed to providing compassionate care to anyone who has experienced child abuse or sexual harassment.
 
Cooperation With Our Partners
 
All volunteers who serve with the IMB must undergo a 3-part background screening (criminal background check, references, and an interview) to ensure there is no history of activity that would pose a danger to children or others. All volunteers must also undergo training concerning child protection (IMB provides a training video that covers this). Specific resources and guidance for churches and volunteer trip team leaders is available here on our website: https://www.imb.org/for-churches/mission-trip-prep/.
 
Whenever a church, SBC entity, or other ministry sees “IMB” on the resume of someone looking to serve with them, we urge them to contact us. IMB’s practice is to terminate individuals who have engaged in child sexual abuse or other forms of misconduct. However, in some cases, an individual has resigned before IMB can terminate the individual, or the IMB does not find out about the misconduct until after the individual has left service with IMB. Therefore, IMB strongly encourages any church, entity, or other employer who is considering working or partnering with a former IMB personnel to contact IMB to obtain a reference on that individual. Reference requests can be submitted to IMB’s HR department at references@imb.org. IMB quickly responds to all reference requests by providing a release for that former personnel to sign authorizing IMB to share information from its HR file. In most all cases, IMB will have positive information to share. However, in the rarer cases where IMB has information to share concerning child abuse or sexual misconduct by that former personnel, or the former personnel refuses to sign the release, then the church, entity, or employer will be in a better position to evaluate a future relationship with that former IMB personnel.
 
Confidential Contact
 
The above statements reflect IMB’s present policies and practices. If anyone has personally experienced or observed child abuse or sexual harassment among IMB personnel in the past, we invite you to contact us on our confidential hotline at (866) 292-0181. It is our policy to investigate all cases regardless of when they occurred.
 
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Julie McGowan is public relations manager for the International Mission Board. Reprinted from Baptist Press, baptistpress.com, news service of the Southern Baptist Convention.)

6/15/2018 1:41:58 PM by Julie McGowan, IMB | with 0 comments



Pastors’ wives speakers address ministry challenges

June 15 2018 by Shannon Baker, Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware

Amid growing awareness of difficulties women often face in ministry, speakers at the 2018 Pastors’ Wives Conference reminded the audience they are God’s “beloved” amid ministry that can be both “brutal and beautiful.”

The June 11 gathering in Dallas was held at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center, site of the June 12-13 SBC annual meeting.
 

Lisa Harper

 
Calling this week a “momentous convention,” Lisa Harper urged ministers’ wives to “stand, even when expected to sit, with strong conviction and soft hearts.”
 


Photo by Kathleen Murray
Drawing from the Song of Solomon, which she jokingly called the "Danielle Steele-like steamy literature of the Bible," author and speaker Lisa Harper shared at the SBC Pastors' Wives Conference how this "greatest song ever written – the Song of Songs" conveys the keys to understanding intimacy with God.

“Misogyny or not, we all have to go back to what it means to be beloved,” said Harper, a popular speaker and author of The Sacrament of Happy and Job: An Unlikely Story of Joy. Harper is also mom to Missy, whom she adopted from Haiti in 2014.
 
Drawing from the Song of Solomon, which she jokingly called the “Danielle Steele-like steamy literature of the Bible,” Harper shared how this “greatest song ever written – the Song of Songs” conveys the keys to understanding intimacy with God, something she confessed she didn’t understand until reading the Old Testament book.
 
Growing up in an extremely conservative Southern Baptist household, Harper said she was taught not to pursue men and to let men be the initiators in relationships, but in Song of Solomon 1:2-4, the Shulamite woman boldly declared her love for Israel’s king.
 
“I initially felt the Hebrew woman was trashy,” Harper admitted, noting she couldn’t comprehend a woman being that strong and godly.
 
Even the Hebrew woman paused and reconsidered her worthiness, Harper paraphrased from Song of Solomon 1:5-7, “I just told the king of Israel that I have a crush on him! What was I thinking? He could date any woman he wants!
 
“And yet, so many of us stay in this chapter of our lives, asking ‘How can a God like that be interested in a girl like me?’” Harper said, noting how many godly women labor with their heads down.
 
Harper understands. She came to Christ at age 5, when her earthly father had abandoned her family and when she learned about her heavenly Father, who “wouldn’t walk away.” She later went into vocational ministry after earning her undergraduate degree.
 
“I loved God’s Word, but I labored with my head down,” she said regarding how her past had shaped her self-esteem.
 
She explained how her promiscuous dad, who recently died as a godly man, once left her alone in a bar while he visited a woman. There, she was seriously molested by drunk men, which led her later to believe she was “damaged and dirty.”
 
Accordingly, she soon found herself drawn to abusive men. In college, she was raped. In her early career, she “worked for a series of misogynistic men,” all furthering the negative impressions of herself.
 
It wasn’t until she studied the Song of Solomon that she understood she was God’s “beloved.” It changed everything, just as the Shulamite woman was changed when the king returned her love.
 
“I am just a regular girl,” Harper paraphrased the Shulamite woman’s flowery words (Song of Solomon 1:8-10). “I can’t believe the king is enamored with me!”
 
As the king came “leaping over the mountains” toward her (Song of Solomon 2:8), rather than hanging her head, the Shulamite woman looked right into his eyes and held her head high.
 
To those in the room who had experienced abuse at the hands of fathers, husbands or other men who took what wasn’t theirs, Harper urged the women to lift their heads.
 
“Our hope is in that He loves us with an everlasting love,” she said.
 

Beth Moore


Author and speaker Beth Moore’s message also affirmed God’s love – even in what she called a time of “collision.”
 
Moore is the founder of Living Proof Ministries and author of numerous books and Bible studies read by women of all ages, races and denominations.
 


Photo by Kathleen Murray
Beth Moore, founder of Living Proof Ministries, urged pastors' wives, "Please ask God to not let you ever miss the beauty because of the brutality [in relationships]. God will do the most gorgeous things, and it will involve people."

In 2 Thessalonians 2-3, Moore said, the early Christians were dealing with what people still deal with today: the church and all its beauty and brutality.
 
Globally, universally, corporately, through the global and the local church, and in families, there are collisions – “like two cymbals crashing together,” she said, between God’s goodness and the enemy’s evil.
 
While people are “lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive ... heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal ...” (2 Timothy 3:1-3), God is pouring out His Holy Spirit, Moore said.
 
Referencing the balance between affliction and affection in Psalm 25:18, Moore told conference attendees, “In your situations you’re called to do, it’s not the circumstances that get to us. It’s the relational side – the people side” where there is “brutality” and “breathtaking beauty.”
 
“Please ask God to not let you ever miss the beauty because of the brutality,” she said. “God will do the most gorgeous things, and it will involve people.”
 
Moreover, Satan is a “hinderer” (1 Thessalonians 2:17-18), Moore said. The devil tries to keep us apart, she said, because he knows there is joy, boasting before the Lord, and glory to the Lord coming (1 Thessalonians 2:19-20).
 
Moore urged the audience to evaluate whether their joy was waning or non-existent.
 
“Is there a disconnection? Who is the cause of that disconnection? It’s not the Holy Spirit. It’s the devil himself!” she warned.
 
“At the beginning of our ministry, we thought it was us against the world. But the enemy has honestly convinced us that the world will be nicer to us than those inside the church.”
 
Satan knows with hatred, dissension and a divided house, that house cannot stand, she said.
 
Moore additionally warned it will always be the negative that grabs one’s attention.
 
“But if we miss the holiness and beauty ... not only has the enemy won, but the whole structure of the church breaks down,” she said.
 
Satan also is a murderer, she continued, noting that “unrelenting disappointment is a murder weapon meant to kill you so slowly that you don’t know you are dying until you are dead.”
 
Furthermore, cynicism is “discouragement in a better mood” whose “mood changer is pride.”
 
“Cynicism is disappointment that thinks it is smart,” she added, saying it persuades people to stay in the dark rather than in the light.
 
“[Cynicism] adjusts to the dark so that eventually dark is all it sees,” she warned.
 
The apostle Paul feared “the tempter had tempted” those in the Thessalonica church and that their “labor would be in vain” (1 Thessalonians 3:5). But, Moore said, the apostle was fully alive when he learned they were “standing fast in the Lord” (1 Thessalonians 3:7-8).
 
She asked the pastors’ wives, “As a direct result of what God has called you to do, who will be steadfast in the Lord because you have served?”
 
She stressed, “There is nothing more precious in this world than the body of Christ – the church! Don’t you ever give up on the church.”
 

Sherri Pomeroy

 
In addition to the two keynote addresses, Donna Gaines, wife of SBC President Steve Gaines, interviewed Sherri Pomeroy, wife of Pastor Frank Pomeroy of First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas. Their church was the site of one of the worst mass shootings in U.S. history when a gunman took the lives of 26 worshipers on Nov. 5 of last year. (See related Baptist Press story.)
 

Amanda Moore Jones

 
Kathy Litton, director of planter spouse care for the North American Mission Board, interviewed Beth Moore’s eldest daughter, Amanda Moore Jones, who is married to Curtis Jones, pastor of Bayou City Fellowship in Houston.
 
Jones shared some of the things that she wasn’t prepared for when she and her husband became church planters: children’s ministry, people with a controlling attitude and spiritual warfare.
 
Noting a time when “2-year-olds were the largest demographic in their church,” Jones candidly shared how hard it was to serve outside her giftedness to help nurture the church’s children until others better prepared took on the ministry.
 
She also shared about controlling people who wanted to take advantage of “the wet cement of the church plant” to force their own agendas. She and her husband learned how to stand up for the vision God had given them.
 
“As Beth Moore’s daughter, I have seen a lot of spiritual warfare,” she said, “but this time, it was targeted to us.” Her husband, plagued by nightmares, often with snakes in them, could not sleep at night. Eventually, men in the church took turns to wake up and pray throughout the night so he could sleep.
 
Though she also struggled through the church’s growth pains and loneliness as a church planter’s wife, Jones excitedly reported on the church’s ministry during Hurricane Harvey and her efforts toward racial reconciliation.
 
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Shannon Baker is director of communications for the Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware and editor of BaptistLIFE, the convention’s quarterly magazine. Reprinted from Baptist Press, baptistpress.com, news service of the Southern Baptist Convention.)

6/15/2018 1:41:40 PM by Shannon Baker, Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware | with 0 comments



Send Luncheon: Pastors encouraged for ‘thankless job’

June 15 2018 by K. Faith Morgan, NAMB

One year ago, Hurricane Harvey had yet to appear on radar. One year ago, very few people had heard of First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas.
 

Photo by Hayley Catt
North American Mission Board President Kevin Ezell, left, prays with Pastor Frank Pomeroy and his wife Sherri of First Baptist Church, Sutherland Springs, Texas. Pomeroy, who lost his 14-year-old daughter Annabelle in a mass shooting at his church last fall, said, "Through that trial, He brought victory.... I would hope that when people think of Sutherland Springs, they think of Christ."

“A lot can happen in a year” was the theme of the North American Mission Board’s (NAMB) 2018 Send Luncheon. Held during the SBC Pastors’ Conference, NAMB aimed to bless pastors with stories of faith, hope and redemption – and a dose of humor.
 
The capacity-crowd event overflowed from the main room into a live simulcast location as NAMB President Kevin Ezell hosted the luncheon and turned the crowd’s attention to everyday Southern Baptist pastors faithfully serving their congregations and communities.
 
Pastor David Fleming of Champion Forest Baptist Church in Houston explained how he led his church to serve the community in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey – even when his own home was flooded and in need of repair. While noting the importance of local ministry and national partnerships, Fleming thanked the SBC family.
 
“The church really is on the front lines of ministry in any community,” Fleming said. “We don’t expect our national partners or even our state partners to be there on day one. That’s the church’s role, and that’s the church’s opportunity. We stepped into that gap first. But to know you guys were coming – to see the resources and the equipment and the organization – to have Southern Baptists come from literally all over the country to help us help our community was such an encouragement. I just want to say thanks on behalf of our church.” He also reported, “Almost 2,500, people mudded out 600 homes in just the first week after Hurricane Harvey.... We saw God use that in our community.”
 
Church planter Justin Haynes of the Refuge Church in New Orleans, La., shared at last year’s Send Luncheon how important the prayers of fellow Southern Baptist churches had been in his battle against cancer. This year, he stood and shared with the crowd of 4,000 that he is now cancer free.
 
“I have my hair back,” Haynes joked. “We greatly appreciate everyone in the convention and the North American Mission Board,” he added with tears in his eyes. “I still think about how you all blessed us.”
 
In a somber yet hopeful tribute to the ministry of First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, Pastor Frank Pomeroy, who was met with a standing ovation from the assembled pastors, celebrated the beauty God is making from the ashes in the wake of the Nov. 5, 2017, shooting at the church.
 
“Though there was pain, evil didn’t win. The Spirit of God was moving here,” said Pomeroy, who lost his 14-year-old daughter Annabelle in the tragedy. “Through that trial, He brought victory.... I would hope that when people think of Sutherland Springs, they think of Christ. And if everything that happened and everything we do thereafter gets people to focus on Christ, then that’s what it’s all about.”
 
Ezell said to Pomeroy, “I’ve had the privilege of watching you lead ... in a crisis that no other pastor in this room or North America has ever led through. You have been an incredible model of leading a church through a crisis while at the same time walking through one personally.”
 
Pomeroy and Ezell also gave an update on the rebuilding efforts at the church which are being facilitated by NAMB and through private donations.
 
Surprise guest Beth Moore, in partnership with NAMB and Lifeway, gifted Pomeroy and his wife with a getaway vacation as they continue to heal in the aftermath of tragedy.
 
Pastor’s son and comedian John Crist rounded out the event with a humorous presentation. Crist closed sincerely thanking pastors.
 
“It’s a tough, thankless job, so thank you for all that you do,” he said.
 
IMB President David Platt echoed that sentiment in a statement as the luncheon drew to an end.
 
“I thank faithful brothers all around this room who are serving in churches that many people will never know the name on that church and may never be on a stage like this one,” he said. “But I just praise God for His grace, and I just want to exhort you that this is glorifying to God to faithfully shepherd and love His people in the place where He has put you – wherever that is.”
 
(EDITOR’S NOTE – K. Faith Morgan writes for the North American Mission Board. Reprinted from Baptist Press, baptistpress.com, news service of the Southern Baptist Convention.)

6/15/2018 1:41:25 PM by K. Faith Morgan, NAMB | with 0 comments



Gaines: Supernatural God can lift Southern Baptists

June 15 2018 by David Dawson, Tennessee Baptist Mission Board

Amid the perplexing and potentially divisive issues facing the denomination, Southern Baptist Convention President Steve Gaines said the formula for unity and restoration is surprisingly uncomplicated.

“Stop talking about how big your problems are, and start talking about how big your God is,” Gaines said in his presidential address Tuesday morning (June 12) at the SBC’s annual meeting in Dallas.
 


Photo by Jenna Jacobs

Believing and trusting in the supernatural abilities of God is the key to overcoming all obstacles that Southern Baptists are facing, said Gaines, pastor of the Memphis-area Bellevue Baptist Church who is completing his two years as the convention’s president.
 
“What is going to be the solution to our decline? What can God do with us? First of all, you have to believe in a bigger God than you believe in right now,” Gaines said. “You need to believe in the God of the Bible and the Lord Jesus Christ.”
 
Gaines opened his message with a song, joining his daughter Bethany for a duet of “At the Cross.” He also closed with a song, this time going solo, for a rendition of the resurrection anthem, “He’s Alive.”
 
Between the two songs, Gaines delivered a message on four supernatural characteristics of God – His promises, protection, power and provisions – that can bring harmony and, more importantly, help the SBC fulfill its Gospel mission.
 
“God’s supernatural power is greater than any problem that Southern Baptists have,” he said. “God’s supernatural power is greater than any problem you have in your church.”
 
Gaines was introduced by Randy C. Davis, president and executive director of the Tennessee Baptist Mission Board.
 
“[Gaines] has been a steady hand for a denominational ship navigating through troubled waters,” Davis said. “He is a godly man, daily walking under the Holy Spirit’s influence. He is one of Tennessee’s favorite sons and Southern Baptists’ greatest leaders.”
 
Gaines opened his message by citing both biblical and personal examples of instances in which God showed His supernatural promises being fulfilled.
 
First, Gaines referenced the story of the apostle Paul in which he, while being held as a prisoner, became shipwrecked on the island of Malta – and God provided for all his needs. Paul was able to use the miracles to point the other passengers toward God.
 
“Encouragement is putting courage back into people,” Gaines said. “Discouragement is when the devil, or the world, or sin, pulls courage out of you. Paul encouraged the sailors” who had experienced the shipwreck.
 
Gaines then shared a story of how God’s supernatural powers appeared in how own life, when his son Grant was restored to health after doctors had feared that, at age two, he might have leukemia. Grant now serves as pastor of a growing church.
 
“I can assure you that every promise of God comes true,” Gaines said. “If you have a need, God has a promise.”
 
Gaines also spoke of the protective powers of God in referencing Paul’s ability to literally shake off a snakebite. The same type of protection is given to Christians today who believe in God’s abilities, he said, noting that this is true for each facet of everyday life – the guarding of marriages, the protection of children and the safeguarding of financial needs and challenges.
 
“God can protect you completely and absolutely in every way when you pray it through, when you seek to live under an open heaven and when you steadfastly obey the living God,” Gaines said. “He will be your shield until it is time to take you heaven. No human is stronger than almighty God.”
 
God’s supernatural power is as much on display today as it was in biblical times, Gaines said. “Our God can still move mountains,” he said. “Our God can still say, ‘Hush, be still’ to raging seas. Our God can still heal the sick and raise the dead. He can save you if you are lost.”
 
God’s healing power can include deliverance from all types of sexual immorality and other moral crises, Gaines said. “God is still alive, God is still sovereign,” he said. “He is the same yesterday, today and forever. If you will exercise faith, God will exercise power.”
 
Gaines – who said many Christians are more focused on their resources than their true source of joy and comfort – closed his message by challenging messengers to spread the hope and joy of the Gospel into their everyday lives.
 
“I believe one of the greatest things we could walk out of here with in a few days is to tell the world that God is still on His throne,” Gaines said. “I believe there is a supernatural God. And I thank God that the hero of our Bible is not dead.”
 
(EDITOR’S NOTE – David Dawson is a communications specialist with the Tennessee Baptist Mission Board. Reprinted from Baptist Press, baptistpress.com, news service of the Southern Baptist Convention.)

6/15/2018 1:41:09 PM by David Dawson, Tennessee Baptist Mission Board | with 0 comments



NAMB highlights core ministries & racial relations

June 15 2018 by Brandon Elrod, NAMB

“We are here for you,” Kevin Ezell, president of the North American Mission Board, said in opening his presentation to messengers at the Southern Baptist Convention. “We are grateful for you. We are eager to partner with you to push back lostness in North America.”
 

Photo by Hayley Catt
North American Mission Board (NAMB) President Kevin Ezell, left, Dhati Lewis, lead pastor of Blueprint Church in Atlanta and executive director of community restoration for NAMB and J.D. Greear, lead pastor of The Summit Church in Durham, N.C., and newly elected president of the SBC, discussed the resource "Undivided: Your Church and Racial Reconciliation" June 12 at the Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting.

NAMB celebrated the work of missionaries and shared new mission opportunities at the SBC annual meeting in Dallas on Tuesday afternoon (June 12). Ezell provided updates about collegiate church planting and a new resource NAMB has created to help churches foster racial reconciliation in their communities, then closed by speaking about military chaplaincy.
 
“We are about sharing the hope of the gospel, sharing that hope of blessed assurance,” Ezell said of NAMB’s mission to equip churches to share their faith. “You are helping to send the hope of the gospel to North America.”
 
The presentation opened with a celebration of the work God has been doing in Toronto by tracing the roots of a 2013 church plant back to Collierville, Tenn., just outside of Memphis. First Baptist Collierville sent Matt Hess to Toronto as a church planting missionary, and Hess partnered with a core team to plant Fellowship Pickering.
 
A few years later, Fellowship Pickering would plant Fellowship Church Rogue Park, sending out Kesavan Balasingham as the lead church planter. After sharing a video telling Balasingham’s story of coming to faith, Ezell transitioned to discuss collegiate church planting.
 
Ezell invited Tom Nesbitt, retired pastor of Grand Avenue Baptist Church in Ames, Iowa, and Jack Owens, a member of a collegiate church planting team in Lawrence, Kan., to the stage to discuss the recent boom of new churches in college communities.
 
“God was so gracious to give my wife and me three children,” Nesbitt said. “He put His hand of leadership on our youngest boy, Troy, and Troy got a vision for God and for ministry and emerged as a leader under Jack’s leadership at the Grand Avenue Baptist Church.”
 
Troy Nesbitt now leads the Salt Network in planting collegiate churches throughout the Midwest. Owens, a retired campus minister who began serving the Baptist Student Union at Iowa State University in 1972, will be moving to Lawrence to serve a Salt Network church plant.
 
“I talked to my wife about moving out of Ames after being there for 46 years,” Owens said. “I thought at first that they wouldn’t want any old people there [at the church plant], but they, I found out, had been praying for elders. I said, ‘I will be an elder for your church.’ So, we are moving there next month.”
 
Ezell said of Nesbitt and Owens, “They saw beyond themselves and had a vision of what God could do right in Ames, Iowa.”
 

Ezell described college campuses as one of the most underserved areas of the nation. Enrollment has increased by 5 million since 2000, and NAMB has started emphasizing 403 of the largest campuses where 70 percent of the 22 million college students are enrolled in the United States and Canada.
 

 

Photo by Hayley Catt
North American Mission Board President Kevin Ezell, in NAMB's presentation at the SBC annual meeting, highlighted collegiate church planting; a new resource to help churches foster racial reconciliation; and military chaplaincy.


“The fact is the gospel is for everyone ... We can’t just reach people who look like us or who talk like us,” Ezell said in transitioning to the discussion on race. “Racial reconciliation is a missional issue. We have been called, and we must reach the people within the shadow of our own steeple.”
 
J.D. Greear, lead pastor of The Summit Church in Raleigh-Durham, N.C., and newly elected president of the SBC, and Dhati Lewis, lead pastor of Blueprint Church in Atlanta and executive director of community restoration for NAMB, joined Ezell on the stage to discuss the resource “Undivided: Your Church and Racial Reconciliation.”
 
Greear commented on the idea that people may not think they need this resource because they are not racist. “To listen to somebody is to love them,” he said. “Listening is the first act of loving, and when our brothers and sisters of color tell us that there’s a problem and there are differences of experience and perception, then the way that we love is to listen.”
 
The resource, Undivided, helps lead a church through four phases: ignorance, awareness, intentionality and gospel community. It is free from NAMB and can be downloaded at undivided.net.
 
“When you talk about the racial issue, it is a missional issue. We live in the most diverse country in the world,” Lewis said. “We have to begin asking the question, ‘How do we reach our neighbors?’”
 
“Quite honestly on this issue,” Ezell said, “we’re all tired of talking about it and not seeing any movement. It’s really time that we talk about it and see something happen.”
 
The presentation then shifted to NAMB’s military chaplaincy work, with Ezell reporting that chaplains presented the gospel nearly 90,000 times and saw more than 22,000 professions of faith in 2017.
 
Retired Gen. Douglas Carver, executive director of chaplaincy with NAMB, and Army Maj. Scott Squires, a chaplain at Fort Bragg, N.C., joined Ezell on the platform. Squires has been under investigation for allegedly violating the Army’s equal opportunity policy when he declined to lead a marriage retreat for a same-sex couple.
 
“Chaplain Scott Squires represents all of our endorsed Southern Baptist chaplains – that they are going to hold true to the gospel of Jesus Christ and their own personal faith beliefs and practices as a Southern Baptist,” Carver said of Squires.

Photo by Hayley Catt

 


When Squires was asked to lead the marriage retreat, he stated that he could not perform the task personally. Instead, a chaplain of another denomination was provided to lead the retreat, thereby accommodating the couple and allowing Squires to uphold SBC chaplaincy policy. 
 
“We work in a culture that is changing, but we still love those soldiers even though we don’t agree with the cultural shift,” Squires said. “We’re still charged with upholding their rights, their constitutional rights.”
 
Ezell thanked Squires for his service and the way he took a stand for his faith.
 
The presentation then closed with Carver praying for Squires and all Southern Baptist chaplains. Carver then led the convention in a rendition of “Blessed Assurance.” Messengers stood to their feet and joined Carver in singing a cappella: “This is my story. This is my song, praising my Savior all the day long.”
 
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Brandon Elrod writes for the North American Mission Board. Reprinted from Baptist Press, baptistpress.com, news service of the Southern Baptist Convention.)

6/15/2018 1:40:40 PM by Brandon Elrod, NAMB | with 0 comments



Pence thanks SBC for values, prayers, ministry

June 14 2018 by Margaret Colson

Vice President Mike Pence affirmed Southern Baptists for their gospel witness and then encouraged Southern Baptists to continue in that commitment, speaking at the Southern Baptist Convention’s annual meeting on Wednesday (June 13).

Photo by Matt Miller
Referencing the meeting’s theme, Vice President Mike Pence encouraged attendees at the 2018 Southern Baptist Convention Annual Meeting in Dallas to “continue in your calling with renewed energy. Stand and go and speak.... I believe that your voice, your compassion, your values and your ministries are more needed now than ever before.”

 

“What began more than 170 years ago at First Baptist Church in Augusta, Ga., has now become one of the greatest forces for good anywhere in America.... The Southern Baptist Convention has always strived to reach the world for Christ, and so you have throughout the decades. I believe with all my heart: your faith has moved mountains, and your witness changes lives every day,” he said in his opening remarks.
 
He described being raised in a Christian home, attending church on Sunday mornings and saying “grace before dinner,” and recounted when he heard the Gospel message afresh “40 years ago this spring.... I walked the sawdust trail that night in 1978 and gave my life to Jesus. Thank you for carrying that timeless message every day so faithfully,” he said. 
 
Southern Baptists, he said, “have always worked to bring about renewal of America and new beginnings.”
 
Pence said that he believes America is in “a time of renewal and a new beginning of greatness.” He recounted numerous accomplishments of President Donald Trump’s first 500 days in office. “It’s been 500 days of action, 500 days of accomplishment, 500 days of promises made and promises kept,” Pence said.
 
Among the accomplishments Pence highlighted were a stronger military, law enforcement support, Trump’s recent summit with North Korean leaders, America’s fight against terrorists, the opening of the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem, a recovering economy, protection of religious liberty and commitment to the sanctity of human life. Pence said these accomplishments are due, in part, to the “support of men and women like so many of you.”
 
Pence commended Southern Baptists for their faith that translates into action. “We know that what you do in the ministries of your churches make an extraordinary difference in the life of our nation. We know that what you confess with your lips is the conviction of your hearts. We know that because we see it,” he said. “You’re the cornerstone, not just of your communities but, in so many ways, of our country.”
 
“Thank you,” he said, “to the Southern Baptist Convention for the essential and irreplaceable role you play in America.”
 
The vice president encouraged attendees to “continue in your calling with renewed energy. Stand and go and speak.... I believe that your voice, your compassion, your values and your ministries are more needed now than ever before.”
 
Saying that he and the president will “fight for what we know is right,” Pence acknowledged that “the most important work in America doesn’t happen in the White House or anywhere in Washington D.C. for that matter. The most meaningful, the most transformative work happens through you, through your ministries in the hearts and lives of the American people.”
 
Pence continued, “No podium that the president and I will ever stand behind will be of greater consequence than the pulpits that you stand behind every Sunday. No policy we enact will ever be more meaningful than the ministries you lead. No action will ever be more powerful than your prayers.”
 
Commending the leadership of Pastor Frank Pomeroy in the aftermath of the horrific church shooting at First Baptist Church, Sutherland Springs, Texas, Pence said, “Theirs was a small church, but their faith was not small.”
 

Photo by Bob Carey
The vice president thanked Southern Baptists for the important role they play in the nation’s life. “No podium that the president and I will ever stand behind,” he said, “will be of greater consequence than the pulpits that you stand behind every Sunday. No policy we enact will ever be more meaningful than the ministries you lead. No action will ever be more powerful than your prayers.”

In his concluding remarks, Pence encouraged Southern Baptists to “continue to do what each one of you do every day. Preach the Word, in season and out of season. Always be prepared to give a reason for the hope that you have. Keep changing lives. Keep ministering to the spiritual and practical needs of the American people, especially the most vulnerable.”
 
Quoting the late evangelist Billy Graham, who said, “To get nations back on their feet, we must first get on our knees,” Pence said, “In these challenging times with threats abroad and too much division at home, let’s pray for America.” He said he was not asking for prayer for an agenda or a cause, quoting President Abraham Lincoln, who once said, “My concern is not whether God is on our side. My greatest concern is to be on God’s side.”
 
Vice President Pence continued, “I have always believed those ancient words recorded millennia ago that Americans have clung to in much more challenging times than we face today, and they are still every bit as true today: If His people called by His name will humble themselves and pray, He will do what He has always done through the long and storied history of this country. He will hear from heaven, He will hear us pray as one nation, under God, indivisible with liberty and justice for all.”
 

Messengers vote

 
Prior to Pence speaking to the annual gathering, Southern Baptists on Tuesday (June 12), considered an amendment to the order of business to replace Pence’s scheduled message with a time of prayer.
 
Garrett Kell, pastor of Del Ray Baptist Church, Alexandria, Va., stated that omitting Pence could further unity, especially among Southern Baptists of different ethnicities, clarify the Gospel’s centrality to the SBC and avoid putting overseas workers at risk.
 
“We must do all that we can to preserve the purity of the Gospel, and this invitation works against it,” he said. “... Right now, there is a world filled with people who are going to hell, and what we need to be about is the Gospel and anything that can distort that, I think, is a step backward and not a step forward.”
 
In response, Grant Ethridge, chairman of the Committee on Order of Business, explained that the White House approached Southern Baptist officials about Pence’s speaking during the annual meeting. Ethridge, senior pastor, LibertyLive.Church, Hampton Roads, Va., emphasized, “The Southern Baptist Convention aligns itself with no political party. Our loyalty is to King Jesus, the King of kings and Lord of lords.”
 
After quoting several scriptures, Ethridge further stated, “As a committee we feel to not show hospitality to those in authority would be a bad testimony.... We respect the position, regardless of whether or not you supported or voted for the person,” adding that if President Barack Obama had requested to speak at Southern Baptists’ annual meeting when he was serving, that request would have been granted. He urged messengers to present a “biblical Christ-like welcome to the vice president of the United States.”
 
The vote to amend the order of business failed.
 
Other motions presented later on Tuesday also addressed concerns related to allowing elected officials to speak at future Southern Baptist Convention annual meetings. The motions were referred to the Executive Committee for further consideration.
 
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Margaret Colson is a writer in Atlanta. Reprinted from Baptist Press, baptistpress.com, news service of the Southern Baptist Convention.)

6/14/2018 1:36:58 PM by Margaret Colson | with 0 comments



Messengers make 20 motions, debate SWBTS trustee action

June 14 2018 by Brian Koonce, The Pathway

Messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention proposed 20 motions during two 15-minute scheduled segments of the 2018 annual meeting in Dallas June 12.


Photo by Matt Miller
On a show of ballots, messengers defeated a motion to replace the executive committee of the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary trustee board. Messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention proposed 20 motions during two 15-minute scheduled segments of the 2018 annual meeting in Dallas June 12.

 

Messengers debated then defeated June 13 a motion by Tom Hatley of Immanuel Baptist Church in Rogers, Ark., that messengers dismiss Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary’s trustee Executive Committee. The debate included comments from two current SWBTS trustees, a former convention president and a laywoman.
 
Hatley, a former International Mission Board trustee chairman, said his proposal was based on his perception the SWBTS trustee Executive Committee acted with “haste, lack of proper investigation,” apparent disregard of the seminary’s founding documents and failure to allow seminary President Paige Patterson to respond to accusations against him.
 
Patterson was terminated May 30 from his employment at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, where he had served as president since 2003. The previous week, the seminary’s trustees moved him to president emeritus status on the same day allegations surfaced that he mishandled a sexual assault report during his 1992-2003 presidency of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. Since late April, Patterson also has been under fire for statements he made in the past about domestic violence and women’s physical appearance.
 
Former SBC President Ronnie Floyd spoke against the motion, asking messengers to look past whether these trustees made the right or wrong decision and recognize that adopting a motion to remove trustees “would destroy our own system of government.”
 


Photo by Adam Covington
Bart Barber, right, pastor of First Baptist Church in Farmersville, Texas, and a member of the SWBTS trustee Executive Committee, spoke on a point of personal privilege regarding the committee’s decision to terminate Patterson. “If you take away the spine of the trustees,” he said, “you take away the messengers’ voice.”

Bart Barber, pastor of First Baptist Church in Farmersville, Texas, and a member of the SWBTS trustee Executive Committee, spoke on a point of personal privilege, alleging that Patterson, as Southwestern’s president, attempted to remove a trustee, disregarded a request from trustee chairman Kevin Ueckert and refused to attend trustee Executive Committee meetings when asked to do so. Once Patterson was president emeritus, his attorney “sent an email questioning the legal validity” of the full board’s action.
 
“What is your seminary to do when a president emeritus is working to undermine the legitimacy and validity of the seminary’s board of trustees?” Barber said. “If you take away the spine of the trustees, you take away the messengers’ voice.”
   
The motion failed on a show of ballots.
 

Referrals

 

Grant Ethridge, a messenger from Liberty Road Baptist Church in Hampton Roads, Va., and chairman of the SBC Order of Business Committee, moved on behalf of the committee that the following motions be referred to the SBC Executive Committee for consideration and report to the 2019 SBC annual meeting in Birmingham, Ala.:

  • A motion by Sam Fordham of Oak Bowery Baptist Church in Ohatchee, Ala., that the Executive Committee consider a separate entity for evangelism.

  • A motion by Marshal Ausberry of Antioch Baptist Church in Fairfax Station, Va., that the convention cease inviting elected officials to speak at the annual meeting.

  • A motion by Jason Pamblanco of Thomasville Road Baptist Church in Tallahassee, Fla., to amend SBC Bylaw 21 to prohibit elected officials from addressing convention messengers.

  • A motion by Tim Overton of Kingston Avenue Baptist Church in Anderson, Ind., that the Executive Committee strengthen trustee training.

  • A motion by Steve Bailey of Calvary Baptist Church in Osceola, Ark., that SBC Bylaw 10C be amended to include the percentage giving of candidates for office.

  • A motion by Lewis Richardson of Woodlawn Baptist Church in Baton Rouge, La., that the chairman of the Executive Committee develop and provide more comprehensive trustee training.

  • A motion by Dale Jenkins of Airway Heights Baptist Church in Airway Heights, Wash., that the Executive Committee study the feasibility of remote site and digital participation in the annual meeting.

  • A motion by Brent Lay of Englewood Baptist Church in Jackson, Tenn., that the Executive Committee recommend a program assignment for church revitalization.

  • A motion by Zak McCullar of Carbon Hill Baptist Church in Carbon Hill, Ala., that a children’s ministry Sunday be added to the SBC Calendar.

  • A motion by A.J. Smith of Bay Springs Baptist Church in Shelby, Ala., that the SBC president appoint a committee to articulate the relationship between the Old Testament and the Gospel.

  • A motion by David Prince of Ashland Avenue Baptist Church in Lexington, Ky., that the Executive Committee study the process of the Committee on Nominations and its standards.

  • A motion by Michael Turner of Pleasant Ridge Baptist Church in Walhalla, S.C., that the Executive Committee study the biblical authority for a woman serving as SBC president.

 
The following motions were automatically referred to the appropriate SBC entity under Bylaw 26B for consideration and report to the 2019 SBC annual meeting.

  • A motion by Wade Burleson of Emmanuel Baptist Church in Enid, Okla., that the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission study expanded resources to help churches protect themselves from sexual predators.

  • A motion by Phillip Bethancourt of Redemption City Church in Franklin, Tenn., requesting a task force for helping churches protect themselves from sexual predators.

  • A motion by Samuel Ray Henry of Belvedere Baptist Church in West Palm Beach, Fla., that the SWBTS board of trustees reconsider its decision regarding Paige Patterson.

 
The following motions were ruled out of order because they would direct the officers of the convention to act outside the scope of their duties as established by the convention’s constitution and bylaws, were in the nature of a resolution, or were similar to other motions already referred:

  • A motion by Ron Wilson of Lakewood Baptist Church in Phenix City, Ala., that the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary Executive Committee resign from the board of trustees.

  • A motion by David Lewis of Mt. Lebanon Baptist Church in Sheraton, Texas, that messengers be engaged in pro-life issues.

  • A motion by Scott Gordon of Claycomo Baptist Church in Kansas City, Mo., that elected officials not be a part of the annual meeting program.

  • A motion by Caleb Potter of Shady Oaks Baptist Church in Hurst, Texas, requesting focus on the John 3:16 gospel.

  • A motion by Caleb Peterson of Dayton Avenue Baptist Church in Xenia, Ohio, requesting Vice President Pence to format his address to the messengers in a particular manner.

 
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Brian Koonce is a writer for The Pathway, news journal of the Missouri Baptist Convention. David Roach contributed to this report. Reprinted from Baptist Press, baptistpress.com, news service of the Southern Baptist Convention.)

6/14/2018 1:36:41 PM by Brian Koonce, The Pathway | with 0 comments



Evangelism, tithing crucial, EC leader Boto tells SBC

June 14 2018 by Diana Chandler, Baptist Press

Personal evangelism and tithing are imperative for reversing declines in key Southern Baptist Convention metrics, SBC Executive Committee (EC) Interim President D. August Boto told messengers June 12.
 

Photo by Kathleen Murray
Personal evangelism and tithing are imperative for reversing declines in key Southern Baptist Convention metrics, SBC Executive Committee Interim President D. August Boto told messengers June 12.

Key statistics including top-enrollment seminaries and the largest Protestant membership in the U.S. can camouflage less favorable trends such as declining baptisms and a sharp dip in personal giving, Boto said.
 
“I think it’s important that we not overlook the whole picture,” Boto said in the EC’s Tuesday afternoon report at the SBC annual meeting. “I do want my report to be encouraging ... but I also want it to cast a true picture, so we can be inspired to reach greater heights.”
 
In his interim role, Boto heads the national SBC office that receives donations for the national and international causes through the Cooperative Program (CP), the Southern Baptist channel that also supports missions and ministries at the state level, where gifts are received from local churches.
 
At least six states give 50 percent or more of their receipts through the CP, yet on average, local church giving to the CP has declined from 5.5 percent in 2013 to 4.86 percent in 2017, according to the SBC’s Annual Church Profile (ACP), Boto said.
 
“In the last 18 years, though our national ministry receipts have improved by just over $17 million, our state ministry support has shrunk by over $41 million,” Boto told messengers.
 
“We cannot forget that missions and ministries at the state level depend on the Cooperative Program too,” Boto noted.
 
Personal giving has dipped sharply since the 2008 economic recession, Boto said, and according to latest SBC statistics, baptisms have declined for eight of the past 10 years. The 254,122 baptisms churches reported in 2017 are 26.5 percent fewer than in 2007, according to the ACP. If each of the 15 million Southern Baptists led one person to Christ in one year, the size of the church family would double, Boto said, and simple tithing could greatly expand the SBC’s reach.
 
“Multiple studies reveal that if those of us who earn a wage simply tithed and did nothing more, our CP receipts would quintuple,” Boto said, defining a tithe as 10 percent of income. “If we just tithed and did nothing more, we could afford five times the number of the missionaries at home. We could support five times the number of missionaries abroad. Maybe have five times the number of college ministries to reach and strengthen students; perhaps a similar increase in the number of the seminary graduates.
 
“By any estimate, we could certainly expect a gigantic increase in all of our present fruit,” Boto said. “I do not mean to be self-righteous. My tithing may be a habit, but habits don’t make people righteous. Being washed in the blood of the Lamb does. A real relationship with Jesus does.”
 
Boto, an attorney and layman who serves as EC executive vice president, turned to Scripture to encourage Southern Baptists in evangelism and stewardship. He focused on 1 Thessalonians 5:19, Ephesians 6:19 and Ephesians 6:29-32.
 
A new resource the SBC is offering in partnership with popular financial speaker and author Dave Ramsey, “Leverage,” can help Southern Baptists not only give financially, but to share with spiritual testimonies, Boto said. Witnessing doesn’t require deep theological knowledge or a wealth of answers to potential inquiries, he said.
 
“Those things are helpful, of course, but it is most helpful to remember that God does all the leading, and provides the words,” Boto told messengers. “Some of the words He has already provided are in John 3:16. Those are great words, all by themselves.”
 
Also during the EC report, the importance of ministry on college campuses was underscored to messengers.
 
“Historically Southern Baptists have been at the forefront of reaching college students,” said Josh Miller, who is leading a church plant, Center Church, at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville.
 
“From the Northwest to the Southeast, pockets of Southern Baptist churches … are reprioritizing the campus with incredible results,” Miller said. “But if we’re going to reach the 22 million college students in North America, we as Southern Baptists must all reprioritize the campus.
 
“We must start seeing college students in our towns not as ‘those’ college students but as our college students. … [The] opportunity is in front of us and the question is how will we respond to it,” Miller said.
 
Justin Leitch who, with his wife Bailey, is assisting Miller and his wife Meredith in starting Center Church, told messengers, “When we were lost, you planted a church and reached us. When we were moldable, you trained us. When we wanted to plant a church, you invested in us and now commissioned us and sent us.
 
“To our Southern Baptist family, thank you … for the way that you are now launching us out to reach university students in a new context,” Leitch said.

(EDITOR’S NOTE – Diana Chandler is Baptist Press’ general assignment writer/editor. BP senior editor Art Toalston contributed to this report. Reprinted from Baptist Press, baptistpress.com, news service of the Southern Baptist Convention.)

6/14/2018 1:36:13 PM by Diana Chandler, Baptist Press | with 1 comments



SBC resolutions affirm women, denounce abuse

June 14 2018 by Tom Strode, Baptist Press

Messengers to the 2018 Southern Baptist Convention affirmed the dignity and worth of women, denounced all forms of abuse and called for sexual purity among Christian leaders in adopting 16 resolutions Tuesday (June 12).
 

Photo by Matt Miller
Russell Moore, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission; Jason Duesing, chairman of the Resolutions Committee and Sing Oldham, vice president for convention communications and relations, address the media in a press conference June 12. SBC messengers affirmed the dignity of women, denounce abuse, urge sexual purity among pastors in resolutions adopted June 12.

Passage of the resolutions on women, abuse and pastoral purity by nearly unanimous votes late in the afternoon session came after months of disclosures of sexual abuse and misconduct by male leaders had rocked Southern Baptist and other evangelical churches and institutions.
 
Adoption of the measures also came in the wake of the May 30 termination of Paige Patterson at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary following his alleged mishandling of the reported rape of a female student and criticism of his advice to a woman abused by her husband.
 
The resolution on women recognized May 15 as the 100th anniversary of female messengers to the SBC meeting and honored “the immeasurable contribution of women to our cooperative mission of Great Commission work.”
 
It also affirmed women’s gifts “in their distinctive God-assigned roles” and urged Southern Baptists “to encourage, cultivate, and celebrate the diverse gifts, callings, and contributions of women in biblically appropriate ways.”
 
The measure on abuse renounced “all abusive behavior as unquestionably sinful” and called for decisive action to report abuse allegations to law enforcement authorities. It also offered compassion to abuse victims, “being careful to remind the abused that such injustice is undeserved and not a result of personal guilt or fault.”
 
In the resolution on clergy purity, messengers repudiated actions that undermine the New Testament standard of holiness for Christian leaders and urged churches “to exercise appropriate redemptive church discipline” when needed.
 
While the subjects of these first three resolutions had some overlap, the Resolutions Committee – which received 38 resolutions, the most since 1997 – “determined to address each theme individually” because of the number of proposed statements it received, Chairman Jason Duesing told reporters afterward.
 
“It was clear to us that the convention wanted to speak to those themes,” and separate resolutions allowed the committee to meet that desire, said Duesing, provost and associate professor of historical theology at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, Mo., and a member of Antioch Bible Baptist Church in Gladstone, Mo.
 
Russell Moore, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, commented on the three resolutions by commending the Resolutions Committee “for strong, positive resolutions that address a crisis in our country and in our world right now.”
 
The resolution process not only speaks “to the outside world for the convention” but also serves “to help educate and equip” Southern Baptists, Moore said at the news conference. “And my hope is that these resolutions, as weighty and biblically crafted and worded as they are, would help to spark conversations and actions in local Southern Baptist churches and other churches about how can we best respond to those who are being abused.”
 
Messengers also continued to address racial reconciliation by adopting a resolution renewing the SBC’s “public repudiation of racism in all its forms,” including “the curse of Ham” teaching that God determined the descendants of this son of Noah would have dark skin and live in subordination.
 
In a measure on immigration, messengers again requested reform – as they had in 2011 – that secures the borders and proves a pathway to legal status “with appropriate restitutionary measures.” The resolution also calls for “maintaining the priority of family unity.”
 
Messengers also approved resolutions that:
 

  • Affirmed the “full dignity of every human being.”

  • Called for “caution and wisdom in our media and social media” communications.

  • Encouraged government authorities to establish policies that would curtail gun violence while functioning according to the U.S. Constitution’s Second Amendment.

  • Urged pastors and churches to be informed about the dangers of opioids and to minister to people impacted by opioid abuse.

  • Pledged to pray for Arab Christians in the Middle East and around the world.

  • Mourned the February death of evangelist Billy Graham, a Southern Baptist, and celebrated his life and ministry.

  • Thanked God on the 100th anniversary of GuideStone Financial Resources.

  • Voiced gratitude to God on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.

  • Offered thanks to God for 50 years of ministry through Southern Baptist Disaster Relief.

  • Expressed gratitude to God, as well as Southern Baptists in the Dallas area and all others who helped with this year’s meeting.

 
Messengers also passed a multi-subject resolution that reaffirmed commitment to the trustworthiness of the Bible and “unswerving belief” in the one true God, continued to call for Southern Baptists to welcome refugees into their churches and homes, and urged church members to pray about adopting or fostering children.
 
Because of time constraints at the close of the June 12 afternoon session, messengers approved 14 of the resolutions with one vote. Revisions were offered from the floor on the resolutions on abuse and human dignity, and the committee received them as friendly amendments. Messengers approved all the resolutions in votes that appeared nearly unanimous.
 
In addition to Duesing, the other committee members, in alphabetical order, were: Ken Alford, pastor, Crossroads Baptist Church, Valdosta, Ga.; Byron Day, pastor, Emmanuel Baptist Church, Laurel, Md.; Candi Finch, assistant professor of theology in women’s studies, Southwestern Seminary, Fort Worth, Texas and member of Hope Church, Fort Worth; Willie McLaurin, special assistant to the executive director, Tennessee Baptist Mission Board, Franklin, Tenn., and member of Simeon Baptist Church, Antioch, Tenn.; Chris Metcalf, pastor, Lihue Baptist Church, Lihue, Hawaii; Jason Paredes, lead pastor, Fielder Church, Arlington, Texas; Adron Robinson, senior pastor, Hillcrest Baptist Church, Country Club Hills, Ill.; Alicia Wong, associate professor of women’s ministry, Gateway Seminary, Ontario, Calif., and member of Rosena Church, San Bernardino, Calif.; and Curtis Woods, associate executive director for convention relations, Kentucky Baptist Convention, Louisville, Ky., and member of Watson Memorial Baptist Church, Louisville.

(EDITOR’S NOTE – Tom Strode is Washington bureau chief for Baptist Press, the Southern Baptist Convention’s news service. Reprinted from Baptist Press, baptistpress.com.)

6/14/2018 1:35:53 PM by Tom Strode, Baptist Press | with 0 comments



Diverse slate of officers to lead SBC in 2018-2019

June 14 2018 by Barbara Denman

J.D. Greear, pastor of The Summit Church in the Raleigh-Durham, N.C., area, was elected the 60th president of Southern Baptist Convention during the 2018 SBC annual meeting in Dallas.
 

Photo by Matt Miller
J.D. Greear, center, pastor of The Summit Church in Durham, N.C., will lead a diverse slate of officers including (left to right) John Yeats, executive director of the Missouri Baptist Convention, recording secretary; Felix Cabrera, pastor of Iglesia Bautista Central in Oklahoma City, second vice president; A.B. Vines, pastor of New Seasons Church in San Diego, first vice president and Don Currence, minister of children and administration at First Baptist Church in Ozark, Mo., registration secretary.

Greear will lead a diverse slate of officers including A.B. Vines, pastor of New Seasons Church in San Diego, first vice president; Felix Cabrera, pastor of Iglesia Bautista Central in Oklahoma City, second vice president; John Yeats, executive director of the Missouri Baptist Convention, recording secretary; and Don Currence, minister of children and administration at First Baptist Church in Ozark, Mo., registration secretary.
 
Greear, 45, who was nominated by Ken Whitten, pastor of Idlewild Baptist Church in Lutz, Fla., received 5,410 votes, for a 68.62 percent margin.
 
Also nominated for president was Ken Hemphill, an administrator at North Greenville University in South Carolina and former president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. He was nominated by Brad Jurkovich, pastor of First Baptist Church in Bossier City, La., receiving 2,459 votes, for 31.19 percent.
 
A total of 7,884 ballots were cast for president from the 9,467 messengers registered at the time. Fifteen ballots, or .19 percent, were disallowed.
 
Ronnie Floyd, pastor of Cross Church in northwest Arkansas, nominated Vines as first vice president. “Dr. A.B. Vines understands and knows the Southern Baptist Convention and is ready to serve,” Floyd said.
 
Also nominated as first vice president was Mike Gonzales, a staff member with the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention, by Juan Sanchez, pastor of High Pointe Baptist Church in Austin, Texas.
 
Vines garnered 4,364 votes – or 67.15 percent – to Gonzales’ 2,120 votes – or 32.62 percent.
 
In addition to Cabrera, nominees for second vice president were Jerry Drace, an evangelist from Jackson, Tenn., and Randall Forsythe, pastor of Grace Baptist Church in Portage, Ind.
 
Cabrera received 2,173 votes, for 58.83 percent; Drace, 1,035 votes, 28.2 percent; and Randall Forsythe, 479 votes, (12.97 percent). Seven ballots (.19 percent) were disallowed.
 
Ed Litton, pastor of Redemption Church in Mobile, Ala., nominated Cabrera. As a leader of a church planting network, “Felix Cabrera is a multiplier,” Litton said. “The Southern Baptist Convention needs to multiply Felix Cabrera. We need more leaders like this.”
 
Yeats, who was nominated by Texas pastor Bart Barber, was elected recording secretary without opposition to the post he has held for 21 consecutive years. Currence, nominated by Missouri pastor Phillip Burden, was reelected to a second term as registration secretary without opposition.
 
Messengers elected Stephen Rummage, pastor of Bell Shoals Baptist Church in Brandon, Fla., to preach the convention sermon during the 2019 SBC annual meeting in Birmingham, Ala. Josh Smith, pastor of Prince Avenue Baptist Church in Athens, Ga., was elected as the alternate preacher and Gardner Pippin of The Summit Church in Raleigh-Durham, N.C., was elected convention music director.
 
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Barbara Denman is a writer based in Jacksonville, Fla. Reprinted from Baptist Press, baptistpress.com, news service of the Southern Baptist Convention.)

6/14/2018 1:35:39 PM by Barbara Denman | with 0 comments



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