June 2018

Small but powerful

June 22 2018 by Joe Westbury, The Christian Index

When the South Gate Baptist Church Girls in Action (GA) group decided to focus on Mission:Dignity for their Christmas in August project, most of the members had never heard of the ministry that helps retired Southern Baptist ministers, workers and their wives or widows.
 

Photo by Jon Tyson

South Gate is located in rural southeast Georgia where small churches dot the landscape. Congregations were historically held together with part-time or even quarter-time pastors who worked for little to nothing to fulfill their sacred calling.
 
Now in their sunset years, these pastors struggle to pay the bills while maintaining that calling, even as their health fades.
 
“I remember pastors from my younger days who struggled to get by and feed their family, but they never complained. They always believed the Lord would supply their needs, and He did,” Carol Colley, South Gate’s pastor’s wife, remembers.
 
“But that [Mission:Dignity] DVD told their story in stark yet caring terms that pulled at our heartstrings. It brought back so many memories to many of us, and it educated our GAs of the struggles of faithful servants.”
 
That’s how the small church – which averages only about 70 in Sunday worship and 50 in Sunday school – got behind this year’s missions emphasis. And “small” does not stop with attendance. South Gate’s GA group has only three girls: Mary, Maylee and Molli. But they were up to the challenge!
 
GA leader Peggy Duvall worked with the girls to put a plan into action. They placed a Christmas tree in the church foyer, laden with 50 sealed envelopes. Each envelope had a challenge amount from $1 to $25, and those who chose one or several were asked to return it with as close to the suggested amount as the Lord provided.
 
It was designed as a spiritual lesson not only for the church but also for the young girls.
 
Peggy recalls her 36 years in small churches and still identifies with their struggles, “I remember the annual ‘pounding’ for the pastor and his family that kept them going throughout the year. The pastors gave their lives to the church because they were faithful to their calling and received very little in return.
 
“I get teary-eyed just thinking about it now. Those memories are still very real to me. Many pastors could not afford to pay into Social Security and certainly nothing into a retirement program like GuideStone.
 
“My pastor and his wife were faithful, long-suffering servants who met our every need. But they really struggled to make ends meet,” she says in retrospect.
 
Peggy, Carol and others – along with the girls – rolled up their sleeves and took the Mission:Dignity challenge.
 
“We hoped to raise $200 and felt it was a good goal for our three girls. But when it was over we realized we were aiming pretty low and God said that was not enough. Our people responded in a way that outdid anything we imagined,” Peggy says.
 
“A lot of people in our church obviously remembered similar pastors from their younger years and had no problem identifying with their needs.”
 
As the envelopes began to be returned, it was obvious the $200 goal would be easily met. A full 85 percent were returned with more than the suggested amount. If everyone gave just the amount they were challenged to give, the total would have been an astronomical $650.
 
The total amount came in at $1,085.
 
“I never had anyone say we were asking for too much, even though we also support the Annie Armstrong and Lottie Moon offerings. We are just a giving church, small though we may be. I was constantly being asked how close we were to the goal,” Peggy adds.
 
It’s a lesson that the girls will carry forward into their adult years when they begin to mentor the next generation of GAs. The lesson is that you just can’t out give God.
 
Mission:Dignity Sunday is June 24. It’s a day to remember and honor retired ministers, workers and their widows living on low retirement incomes. It’s also a time to give generously to help the nearly 1,800 individuals and couples assisted by the ministry. More than $7 million is distributed annually, with most of the funding coming from the direct gifts of individuals, Sunday school classes and churches. One hundred percent of gifts provides well-deserved monthly grants with nothing used for operating expenses.

GuideStone has free bulletin inserts, promotional posters and a DVD with several brief testimonies of people assisted by Mission:Dignity. The materials are undated and can be used anytime. Order online and find additional resources at MDSunday.org.
 
“We want to bring up our girls to look beyond themselves and see the needs of others around them. We want them to know that life is not all about them and their needs,” Carol says.
 
“Our goal is to train up the next generation of women who believe in missions and become missions advocates. We are teaching them that there are opportunities to serve if they just develop that sensitivity. But you have to have the vision, and Mission:Dignity gave us that vision.”
 
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Joe Westbury is managing editor of The Christian Index and wrote this story on assignment for Mission:Dignity. Used by permission.)

6/22/2018 12:09:10 PM by Joe Westbury, The Christian Index | with 0 comments



Rainer: Local churches key to reversing SBC decline

June 21 2018 by Aaron Earls, FactsAndTrends.net

Is our denomination dying?
 

Photo by Ethan Loveless
Jonathan Howe, left, blog administrator and host of the “Rainer on Leadership” podcast and Thom Ranier, president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources, discussed troubling trends in the Southern Baptist Convention but also expressed reasons for optimism at LifeWay’s breakfast at the SBC annual meeting in Dallas.

That was the question posed at the LifeWay Christian Resources breakfast attended by 1,100 registered guests during the 2018 Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting in Dallas.
 
Attendees may have been surprised to hear LifeWay President Thom S. Rainer say yes, the Southern Baptist Convention is dying. But they also heard him lay out hope for the future of the SBC as well as for local churches that also may be in decline.
 
“Right now, the SBC is on a trajectory of decline and slow death,” Rainer told a packed room. He cited the recent Annual Church Profile that showed a decline in membership for the 11th consecutive year and a drop in baptisms for eight of the last 10 years.
 
Things have to change, Rainer said, noting that Southern Baptists can maintain their theology while adapting their methodology.
 
“LifeWay people hear me say three words more than any others: Change or die,” Rainer said. “We keep God’s Word as our unchanging foundation but we must change how we do things.”
 
Rainer maintained that “ministry is harder now than it used to be.” In the past, he said, churches could grow by drawing in nominal Christians as there was still a cultural benefit to church attendance. “That is no longer the case,” he said.
 
Many churches rightly jettisoned a programmatic approach to evangelism but failed to replace it with anything else, Rainer asserted. “Instead of reaching out,” he said, “they became inward-focused.”
 
Yet Rainer was optimistic about the future as he spoke at the breakfast with Jonathan Howe, director of strategic initiatives at LifeWay and co-host of the “Rainer on Leadership” podcast.
 
Rainer noted the importance of personal evangelism – including pastors and leaders – in seeing a denominational renewal. “The way to turn things around is if every member of every church will answer the call of the Great Commission and say, ‘Here am I. Send me,’” he said.
 
Rainer shared how he was called to pastor a rural church with only seven members that hadn’t baptized anyone in 25 years.
 
“After spending weeks railing at these people for not doing anything to reach others,” Rainer said, “God challenged me. ‘What are you doing personally?’”
 
Rainer made personal evangelism a priority and started to see new people come to Christ who then reached more new people. “This church of seven people grew to a church of 70 because we started to reach those around us,” he said.
 
It’s those rural churches and neighborhood churches that Rainer believes will give the first signs of whether the SBC will see a turnaround, Rainer said.
 
“If we see a revived interest in evangelism and discipleship there, we will not only see a revived denomination, we will see revival in our country.”
 
But that comes from churches reaching their local communities. “Your church’s address is not an accident,” he said. “God placed you there for a reason.”
 
Rainer repeatedly stressed the importance of the local church throughout his presentation and in answering questions at the end. “Change in the SBC will not come from the denomination down – it will start with the churches,” he said.
 
Matt Boswell, a worship pastor and elder at Providence Church in Frisco, Texas, led worship at the beginning of the breakfast. As attendees were leaving, they received several free resources from LifeWay and B&H Publishing.
 
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Aaron Earls is online editor of FactsAndTrends.net, published by LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. Reprinted from Baptist Press, baptistpress.com, news service of the Southern Baptist Convention.)

6/21/2018 11:41:28 AM by Aaron Earls, FactsAndTrends.net | with 0 comments



‘Associational Mission Strategist’ suggested DOM title

June 21 2018 by BP Staff

Associational Mission Strategist” (AMS) is the new recommended title for Southern Baptist mission leaders formerly called directors of missions or DOMs.
 

Photo by Marc Ira Hooks
Rick Wheeler, lead missional strategist for the Jacksonville Baptist Association in Florida, presented the findings of a 12-member study team, which he led, to the Southern Baptist Conference of Associational Leaders meeting in Dallas.

The new title was unanimously approved by nearly 250 members attending the 2018 Southern Baptist Conference of Associational Leaders (SBCAL), June 10-11 in Dallas, though its recommendations are not binding for the more than 1,100 autonomous associations in Southern Baptist life.
 
A 12-member Associational Study Team commissioned at the 2017 SBCAL meeting in Phoenix recommended the title along with new foundational, relational and strategic proficiencies for effective associational leaders.
 
The study team surveyed more than 400 Southern Baptists online about their views of associations and interviewed leaders of about two dozen various associations in preparing its report.
 
Study team leader Rick Wheeler, lead missional strategist for the Jacksonville Baptist Association in Florida, said the adopted recommendation also includes the abbreviated title of “mission strategist,” or for associations with multiple missions staff, “lead mission strategist.”
 
The title reflected three thoughts, Wheeler said: to keep the word association in the title, to provide options that can be morphed and changed, and the desire to “keep the word ‘mission’ because we are a people of one mission – the Great Commission.”
 
Immediate past SBCAL executive director Ray Gentry, who led the SBCAL during the study period, said the study team presentation “is a historical document and a historic day. [It is] the first time in over 40 years a blue-ribbon panel recommended a name change.”
 
The full report is available at sbcassociations.org/report.html.
 
The SBCAL met at the Adolphus Hotel in advance of the Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center.
 
“As Southern Baptists, we come to Dallas somber, chastened, hurting as a denomination,” Gentry, founding DOM of the Southside Baptist Network in McDonough, Ga., told SBCAL attendees.
 
“There are forces wanting us to choose sides, to turn on each other. That is the world’s [way], not God’s,” he said. “God’s ways are higher, nobler. God’s will is for us to love Him with our hearts, mind and strength.”
 

SBCAL officers

 
Former vice chairman David Stokes, executive director of the Central Kentucky Network of Baptists in Lexington, Ky., is the new SBCAL chairman.
 
Joining him as officers are vice chairman Sean McMahon, executive director of the Florida Baptist Association of Tallahassee, Fla.; and nominating chairman Vince Smith, executive director of the Collin Baptist Association in Fairview, Texas. Philip Price, executive director of the Jackson County Baptist Association of Pascagoula, Miss., continues as recording secretary, and Gentry continues as executive director.
 
In other business, the SBCAL adopted a $70,000 budget.
 

Keynote speaker David Allen

 

David Allen, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary’s dean of preaching, said in his keynote address that seeking the Lord’s counsel is paramount for ministry success.
 

Photo by Marc Ira Hooks
David Allen, Southwestern Seminary dean of preaching, said in his keynote address to Southern Baptist associational leaders that seeking the Lord’s counsel is paramount for ministry success.

Preaching from Jeremiah 10:21, Allen pointed to a time in the Old Testament when kings, priests and prophets of Israel had gone astray. “The shepherds had become stupid,” Allen said. “Why? Because they have not sought the Lord.”  

All those in pastoral ministry or shepherding, Allen said, are in danger of becoming stupid, “dumb, like an animal,” if they do not seek God with their whole hearts. Consequently, they won’t prosper and their flocks will be scattered.
 
Allen warned that in an era when evangelical Christians are striving to be culturally relevant, pastors must stay on guard against idolatry and other forces which would cause them to become stupid.
 
“Stay on mission, stay on message and stay on course,” Allen said. “These are the keys to pastoral ministry.”
 
Allen spoke in place of previously scheduled speaker Paige Patterson, SWBTS immediate past president. Patterson recused himself May 28 from the speaking obligation.

 

Stetzer: Church not dying

 
Ed Stetzer, executive director of the Billy Graham Center at Wheaton College in Wheaton, Ill., encouraged the SBCAL to continue encouraging Southern Baptists in missions.
 
“‘The church in America is dying,’ said no real researcher anywhere,” Stetzer said in the address during the SBCAL second plenary session. “This is really clear. The same percentage of people attending church in the 1930s is the same percentage as today.”
 

Photo by Marc Ira Hooks
Ed Stetzer, executive director of the Billy Graham Center at Wheaton College in Wheaton, Ill., encouraged the SBCAL to continue encouraging Southern Baptists in missions.

Evangelicalism “is not thriving,” Stetzer said, but neither is it dying. He referenced consistent Gallup polling since the 1930s and his own previously published research, much of it conducted during his term as executive director of LifeWay Research.
 
“I want you to hear this clearly,” Stetzer said. “The Southern Baptist Convention is in trouble, and some associations are in trouble. Evangelicalism is not thriving, it’s being hurt by some of the current politics in and around us.
 
“But you have a people to mobilize, don’t talk yourself into failure,” he said. “The percentage of young adults who regularly attend evangelical churches is at its highest point since 1972. Now, don’t misunderstand. That doesn’t mean they go to your churches. Southern Baptists are in decline and accelerated decline.”
 
About one in eight Americans is an evangelical who regularly attends church, he said, and about a tenth of that active number is Southern Baptist.
 
“So that’s a whole mission force that needs to learn to engage the mission field,” Stetzer said. “There’s a cultural value to identify as Christian, but not necessarily to practice it.”
 
The group also heard from Tom Billings, retired executive director for the Union Baptist Association in Houston, who urged associational leaders to become experts in their communities, and to help churches strategize in reaching them.
 
Speaking in the first plenary session, Billings referenced Hurricane Harvey’s damage to Houston and how churches of all denominations banded together to help people. That is the role of the association in a community he said, urging leaders to become “church-centric.”
 
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Compiled by Baptist Press general assignment reporter Diana Chandler, with reporting from writers Barbara Denman from Jacksonville, Fla., and Marc Ira Hooks from Fairview, Texas. Reprinted from Baptist Press, baptistpress.com, news service of the Southern Baptist Convention.)

6/21/2018 11:41:12 AM by BP Staff | with 0 comments



Honor God in workplace, Women & Work panel exhorts

June 21 2018 by Lauren Pratt, SEBTS

Women’s roles in the workplace was the subject of the panel “Women & Work: Stepping into Kingdom Productivity,” June 12 in Dallas in conjunction with the 2018 Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting.
 

Photo by Kathleen Murray

Courtney L. Moore, a Southern Baptist pastor’s wife, contract writer, and mother of three, moderated the panel sponsored by Women & Work, a nonprofit organization she founded in April to help women flourish in their God-called positions.
 
“We want to see you flourish,” Moore, whose husband Brent is an adult group’s pastor for Pinelake Church in Brandon, Miss., told attendees. “We want to see you honor God in the workplace.”
 
Panelists were Amy Whitfield, director of marketing and communications at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary (SEBTS); Kelly King, women’s specialist at LifeWay Christian Resources; Lauren McAfee, corporate ambassador for Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc.; and Mary Wiley, strategist for women’s books at LifeWay Christian Resources.
 
“How would you say you’re getting to be a part of building the Kingdom?” Moore asked panelists during the event held at 7 p.m. at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center. Kingdom building can come through spreading God’s character in secular and ministry positions, Moore said.
 
Whitfield said that it was important for her to get the big picture of the mission of SEBTS, which is to glorify Christ and fulfill the Great Commission.
 
“We’re telling the world what this institution values,” Whitfield said.
 
McAfee addressed the question of how she and her family have integrated faith into Hobby Lobby and the Museum of the Bible, as well as how women can do that in their context.
 
“In our workplace ... we are able to honor God and glorify Him by the way that we do our work,” she said of secular and ministerial work.
 
Panelists also were asked what they are most passionate about in their work.
 
For Wiley, it’s the content that she helps produce at LifeWay. “I think the best part of my job is hearing stories of the Lord changing lives through pieces that we’ve gotten to touch,” Wiley said. “There are opportunities that a book has that a person’s feet will never have.”
 
Panelists addressed views on motherhood and work in various seasons of life. Wiley and her husband are raising two young toddlers.
 
“Work in this season of motherhood has simply been a constant reevaluation,” she said. Every six months, she and her husband see if the Lord is calling them to stay in the workplace.
 
King addressed the issue of how women judge each other’s decisions during motherhood.
 
“I think what I get really upset about is when we start judging each other and we start saying, ‘Well my pathway is your pathway,’” King said.
 
She encouraged mothers not to make work or children an idol, but to look to the Lord to show them what the best decision is for that season.
 
For McAfee, the season of motherhood has looked vastly different as she and her husband have struggled with infertility and the inability to adopt. In this season of life, for instance, McAfee and her husband have been able to pursue Ph.D. studies.
 
“I’ve had to remind myself not to constantly be looking toward the future,” she said. “God has a purpose for this season and we want to make the most of it.”
 
The conversation closed with the discussion of ambition and how that fits into pursuit in the workplace.
 
“There was some kind of drive in me that said, ‘I want to be an active part of what I’m doing,’” Whitfield said, recounting how various jobs have expanded her knowledge.
 
More information on Women & Work is available at womenwork.net.
 
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Lauren Pratt is news and information specialist for Southeastern Seminary’s Office of Marketing and Communications. Reprinted from Baptist Press, baptistpress.com, news service of the Southern Baptist Convention.)

6/21/2018 11:40:32 AM by Lauren Pratt, SEBTS | with 0 comments



EC search committee cautions against speculation

June 21 2018 by David Roach, Baptist Press

The committee charged with nominating the next president of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) Executive Committee (EC) “has not begun to look at names yet” and says “any speculation or social media posts about who we may nominate is just that, speculation,” according to an update released June 20 by search committee chairman Steve Swofford.
 

Photo by Matt Miller
The Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee (EC) seven-member presidential search committee comprises: (first row, left to right) Stephen Rummage, Mike Stone; (middle row, left to right) Adron Robinson, Carol Yarber, Joe Knott; (back row left to right) Stephen Swofford and Rolland Slade.

The update was addressed to EC members and provided to Baptist Press for publication.
 
Swofford, pastor of First Baptist Church in Rockwall, Texas, also told EC members, “When we are prepared to offer a name for consideration, we will do our reporting first and foremost with you, the full Executive Committee. Once we inform you that we are prepared to offer a name (as per our EC bylaws), we will release a statement through Baptist Press that will outline the information we first shared with you. We will not be releasing anything via social media.”
 
Among highlights of the search committee’s work thus far, according to the update, were election of Adron Robinson of Illinois as vice chairman and Carol Yarber of Texas as secretary; review of the process used to elect the previous two EC presidents and the processes being used by “other SBC entities” in their current search processes; and review of input received from “EC members, state executives, and SBC entity heads.”
 
The seven-member committee – which also includes Joe Knott of North Carolina, Stephen Rummage of Florida, Rolland Slade of California and Mike Stone of Georgia – will receive recommendations through June 30, Swofford wrote. Stone, pastor of Emmanuel Baptist Church in Blackshear, Ga., joined the search committee June 11 as an ex officio member by virtue of his election as EC chairman.
 
The full text of Swofford’s update follows this report.
 
**********
 
Letter from Steve Swofford to SBC Executive Committee members:
 
Dear Executive Committee Members,
 
With only ten days remaining before we close the online nomination portal for our EC presidential search, I want to give you an update about where we are in the search process for our next president and CEO. I also want to welcome our eleven new Executive Committee members to their service on the EC.
 
On April 24, I sent an email to our Executive Committee members asking them to share with us what they consider to be the five most important characteristics of the next president. I want to extend the same courtesy to our new members. I know all of you are extremely busy, but we hope to gather your thoughts on this matter as soon as possible. Please email them to me at steve@firstrockwall.org.
 
So far, your search committee has taken the following action steps:

  • We elected our officers: Steve Swofford, chair; Adron Robinson, vice chair; and Carol Yarber, secretary.

  • We reviewed and discussed in detail the process used for the election of the last two Executive Committee presidents, as well as what other SBC entities are doing in terms of their search committee processes.

  • We reviewed/discussed the input we solicited and received from EC members, state executives, and SBC entity heads.

  • We have been receiving recommendations, and will continue to do so until June 30, at which time we will close the online portal for making nominations.

  • Following the election of Mike Stone as our Executive Committee chairman last Monday, we met for a time of prayer and orientation as he became the seventh member of our committee.

 
The search committee has not begun to look at names yet. I want to assure you that any speculation or social media posts about who we may nominate is just that, speculation.
 
I also want to assure you that when we are prepared to offer a name for consideration, we will do our reporting first and foremost with you, the full Executive Committee. Once we inform you that we are prepared to offer a name (as per our EC bylaws), we will release a statement through Baptist Press that will outline the information we first shared with you. We will not be releasing anything via social media. I have included the pertinent section of our EC Bylaws for our new members since you have not yet gone through new member orientation.
 
6.5 Presidential Search Committee. In the event of the resignation of the president, or a vacancy occurs in the office of president for any reason, the board of trustees shall elect six of its members who shall, with the chairperson of the board as an ex-officio member with the right to vote, constitute a seven-member presidential search committee.
 
6.5.1 This committee shall be elected by written ballot from nominees offered from the floor. Each trustee shall be allowed to cast a vote for as many as six of the nominees but may cast only one vote for any nominee. The six nominees with the greatest number of votes shall be elected to and shall constitute the committee. The committee shall select from among its membership a chairperson and secretary.
 
6.5.2 When prepared to do so, the committee shall offer to the board of trustees, in a meeting of the board held in executive session, a nominee for the office of president. No other nominations may be offered. Following the committee’s report, the board of trustees shall have the opportunity to hear and question the nominee and to discuss the nomination prior to voting by ballot whether to elect the nominee. A trustee who is present but who chooses not to vote shall register his presence by submitting a ballot which indicates no vote. If the nominee receives a majority of the votes of trustees present, the nominee shall be elected. If the nominee is not elected, a new presidential search committee shall be selected as provided above and the nomination process shall be repeated.
 
As outgoing EC chairman Stephen Rummage stated last week at both the EC meeting and the SBC annual meeting, we will not be bound by time constraints or social pressures, but will continue to work through the process carefully as we seek to find God’s man to serve as our president.
 
Please pray for us as we work on your behalf to find the person God already has in mind for this strategic position.
 
Steve Swofford, Chairman
EC Presidential Search Committee
 
(EDITOR’S NOTE – David Roach is chief national correspondent for Baptist Press, baptistpress.com, the Southern Baptist Convention’s news service.)

6/21/2018 11:40:19 AM by David Roach, Baptist Press | with 0 comments



Runners raise $6,000 for hungry during SBC

June 21 2018 by Tom Strode, Baptist Press

More than 200 Southern Baptists raised beyond $6,000 to feed the hungry by participating in the Global Hunger Relief (GHR) Run June 13 during the 2018 meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC).
 

Photo by Lisa Martinat
Christine and Chris Hoover, left, messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting in Dallas, participate in the 2018 Global Hunger Relief Run prior to the event’s second day of meetings.

Through the registration fees paid by the runners, the second GHR Run – which began at 6:30 a.m. on the second day of the SBC meeting in Dallas – raised about $1,000 more than last year’s inaugural run in Phoenix.
 
GHR is a partnership of seven Southern Baptist entities that collaborate to address hunger needs in the United States and around the world. The Cooperative Program’s support of SBC entities enables 100 percent of the gifts received by GHR to be used in hunger projects carried out by Southern Baptist missionaries and partners. Many churches give attention to the work of GHR, formerly known as the World Hunger Fund, on Global Hunger Sunday in October each year.

 
Southern Baptist participants in the run commended the collaboration exemplified in GHR, as well as the certainty the funds they provided would go to meet both physical and spiritual needs.
 
Jim Richards, executive director of the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention (SBTC), told participants before the run, “This is a beautiful example of how we work together as Southern Baptists.
 
“[T]his is one of the areas where we enjoy being able to work with the North American Mission Board (NAMB), because they distribute funds back to the state conventions and the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention is able to distribute funds to churches that are on the ground doing this kind of ministry – feeding the hungry and opening the doors for the gospel,” Richards told Baptist Press before he ran.
 
GHR is “a means of meeting a physical need that enables us to bring [out] the spiritual needs in their life and to begin that conversation to share about the Lord Jesus,” he said.
 
Rachel Sperduto, a former missionary with the International Mission Board (IMB), said she knows “the money that we give to the Cooperative Program, to IMB and to [Baptist Global Response] goes to actually do the work.”
 
“[S]o many other charities ... bring in a lot of money, but it doesn’t necessarily actually go to anything that you would say, ‘Oh, well that’s really ministry,’ or ‘That’s really helping people.’ And so I feel confident that when I give money to these organizations that money is going to go where I want it to go,” she told BP before the race.
 
Sperduto is a member of Dallasburg First Baptist Church in Wheatley, Ky., where her husband Tim is pastor. Their children – Isabella, 16, and Elijah, 14 – joined her in competing in the 5K (3.1 miles) race. A one-mile fun run also was held.
 
Ian Carrico, 35, pastor of Beulah Baptist Church in Fancy Farm, Ky., finished the 5K first overall with a time of 18 minutes, 28.4 seconds.
 
Emma Compere, 16, of Minot, N.D., took the top spot among female runners with a time of 22:47.2 and crossed the finish line 11th overall. Her father, Robert, a former Southern Baptist pastor, is a NAMB-endorsed chaplain at Minot Air Force Base.
 
Last year internationally, GHR resources helped more than 606,000 people and impacted more than 2,000 communities, according to the annual report. In North America, GHR helped provide 14 million meals and recorded about 14,000 professions of faith in Christ.

Photo by Lisa Martinat
Krissie Inserra runs in a 5K to benefit Global Hunger Relief at 6 a.m. June 13, prior to day two of the Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting in Dallas.

Eighty percent of GHR funds are used overseas through the work of IMB and BGR. NAMB distributes the other 20 percent of the money with the supervisory help of the Baptist state conventions.
 
The GHR national partners are the IMB, NAMB, BGR, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC), SBC Executive Committee, LifeWay Christian Resources and Woman’s Missionary Union (WMU). They seek to keep Southern Baptists aware of the international hunger situation and to alleviate hunger through feeding programs in this country and around the world.
 
The Cooperative Program, the convention’s unified giving plan, eliminates any need for hunger funds to be used for administrative, fundraising or promotional costs. In addition, food distribution channels already exist through IMB and NAMB.
 
Sponsors of this year’s GHR Run were the Arizona Southern Baptist Convention, Baptist 21, Baptist General Convention of Texas, BGR, ERLC, GuideStone Financial Resources, IMB, LifeWay, NAMB, Southeastern Seminary, Southern Baptist Foundation, SBTC and WMU.
 
The 5K and fun run were held at Trinity Skyline Trail in Dallas.
 
Further information about GHR is available at globalhungerrelief.com.
 
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Tom Strode is Washington bureau chief for Baptist Press. Reprinted from Baptist Press, baptistpress.com, news service of the Southern Baptist Convention.)

6/21/2018 11:39:55 AM by Tom Strode, Baptist Press | with 0 comments



Trump’s ‘zero tolerance’ policy denounced, defended

June 20 2018 by Tom Strode, Baptist Press

Southern Baptist and other evangelical female leaders expressed their opposition Monday (June 18) to separating children from parents on the border as Congress prepares again to take up the immigration issue.
 

Photo by Ben White

The call for a change in the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy that has resulted in family separation at the United States’ border with Mexico came as Republican criticism grew even while executive branch defense of the practice hardened. Nearly 2,000 children were taken from parents or guardians who were seeking asylum – many reportedly fleeing violence in Central America – or entering illegally from April 19 to May 31, according to published reports of a June 15 briefing by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
 
Messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention’s annual meeting June 12-13 in Dallas addressed the latest controversy in the decades-long immigration debate by adopting a resolution again calling for border security while “maintaining the priority of family unity.”
 
In a June 18 news conference call, Trillia Newbell – director of community outreach for the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) – said the government “should not separate children from their parents except in the absolute rarest of cases. Where families have been divided, they should be reunited as expeditiously as reasonably possible. Our immigration policies should reflect these principles.”
 
Kathryn Freeman, director of public policy for the Texas Baptist Christian Life Commission of the Baptist General Convention of Texas, said of the “zero tolerance” policy on the call, “Texas evangelicals do not want this done in our name. To tear small children from their parents is absolutely heart breaking, and it is not legally necessary. We can do better as a nation.”
 
Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the “zero tolerance” policy April 6 in a directive to U.S. Attorney’s offices along the Mexican border. The policy’s implementation came as DHS reported a 203 percent increase in illegal border crossings from March 2017 to March 2018 and a 37 percent increase from February to March of this year.
 
“The situation at our southwest border is unacceptable,” Sessions said in a written statement. “Congress has failed to pass effective legislation that serves the national interest – that closes dangerous loopholes and fully funds a wall along our southern border. As a result, a crisis has erupted at our southwest border that necessitates an escalated effort to prosecute those who choose to illegally cross our border.”
 
President Donald Trump blamed the other party, tweeting June 18, “It is the Democrats’ fault for being weak and ineffective with [border] security and crime. Tell them to start thinking about the people devastated by crime coming from illegal immigration. Change the laws!”
 
Members of his own party, however, said the administration could change the policy. Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., said in a Facebook post “zero tolerance” is “a new, discretionary choice” and the administration’s hands are not tied.
 
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, a Southern Baptist, announced June 18 he would introduce legislation in an effort to resolve the crisis. His proposal would double the number of federal immigration judges, authorize temporary shelters for entire families and expedite review of asylum cases so they are settled within 14 days.
 
“While these cases are pending, families should stay together,” Cruz said in a written statement. “Children belong with their mothers and fathers.”
 
Mark Harris – former pastor of First Baptist Church in Charlotte and a Republican congressional candidate in North Carolina – called for Congress to solve the problem.
 
“As more has come to light about what is occurring at the border, I have a growing concern with what is happening,” Harris told Baptist Press in written comments.
 
“I believe Congress needs to act quickly to address this situation, that Congress must fix the loopholes laid out yesterday by [DHS] Secretary [Kirstjen] Nielsen, and any solution must begin with the understanding that children belong with their parents,” he said. “Children must not be separated from their parents unless there is a real threat to the safety of the children or if the parents are involved in serious criminal behavior.”
 
In a June 18 briefing, Nielsen called for Congress to amend a 2008 law designed to protect trafficking victims she said is being taken advantage of by child smugglers, to reform the country’s asylum laws and to revise agreements to permit detention of entire families.
 
The House of Representatives is expected to vote soon on at least one immigration reform bill. One measure labeled as a compromise would provide Dreamers – undocumented immigrants who were brought to America as children and have been protected from deportation by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program – a path to citizenship while funding a border wall and cutting legal immigration, The New York Times reported June 14.
 
The SBC resolution adopted nearly unanimously June 12 again requested reform – as a 2011 resolution had – that secures the borders and proves a pathway to legal status “with appropriate restitutionary measures.”
 
The resolution noted the lack of meaningful revision in the immigration system the last seven years “that would make it more just, humane, efficient, and orderly.” It declared “any form of nativism, mistreatment, or exploitation is inconsistent with the gospel of Jesus Christ.”
 
ERLC President Russell Moore expressed his gratitude for the resolution’s passage in a written statement for the Evangelical Immigration Table (EIT).
 
“I am grateful for the way that churches all around the country are ministering to immigrant communities,” Moore said. “Now is the time for our country to act justly, to stop separating families, and to fix an immigration system that is hurting too many people in our country today.”
 
Southern Baptists hold a variety of views regarding resolving the immigration problem that has resulted in an estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants in the country. In their 2011 resolution, SBC messengers acknowledged immigration reform “has prompted often-rancorous debate in the American public square.”
 
This year’s resolutions committee received three properly proposed resolutions related to immigration and – without any substantive changes in immigration policy – decided the 2018 messengers “wanted to reaffirm what [was] said in 2011 while also speaking to present concerns shared by all messengers regardless of a variety of opinions as to policy solutions,” said Chairman Jason Duesing, academic provost of Midwestern Seminary.
 
“Thus, like in 2011, the 2018 resolution seeks to affirm the value and dignity of immigrants as human beings and our responsibility to minister to them while also speaking to the need to preserve border security while implementing immigration reform that provides a just and compassionate path to legal status,” Duesing told Baptist Press in written comments. “As the submitted resolutions this year spoke to the current crisis of family separation, we also wanted to include statements that affirmed the longstanding support Southern Baptists have had for the value of the family and thus allow the messengers to express their desire to see immigration reform carried out to maintain the priority of family unity.”
 
On June 14, Sessions defended the “zero tolerance policy,” citing the command of Romans 13 “to obey the laws of the government because God has ordained them for the purpose of order.”
 
Southern Baptist and other evangelical leaders took issue with Sessions’ appeal to Romans 13.
 
“Romans 13 requires respect for government and its rightful responsibility, and in the United States, that means respect for our constitutional order,” said R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of Southern Seminary, June 18 during his “The Briefing” podcast. “It does not mean satisfaction or an absence of protest against the law if the law is wrong and unrighteous and unjust.”
 
The June 18 evangelical women’s conference call sponsored by EIT also addressed the plight of refugees of all religions. June 20 is World Refugee Day.
 
At the current rate, there will be 27,000 fewer Christian refugees specifically permitted in the United States than in 2016, Freeman said on the conference call. In the past decade, more than 60,000 Christian refugees from the Middle East have resettled in America, but almost none have been able to do so in 2018, she said.
 
More than 10,000 people – including Moore and other evangelical pastors and leaders – have signed onto a June 1 letter to Trump requesting a reversal in the “zero tolerance” policy and the restoration of a “robust refugee resettlement program.”
 
EIT is a coalition of evangelical organizations supporting immigration reform. In addition to the ERLC, the organizations in EIT’s leadership consist of the National Association of Evangelicals, World Vision, National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, World Relief, Council for Christian Colleges and Universities, The Wesleyan Church, and Korean Churches for Community Development/Faith and Community Empowerment.
 
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Tom Strode is Washington bureau chief for Baptist Press. Reprinted from Baptist Press, baptistpress.com, news service of the Southern Baptist Convention.)

6/20/2018 12:21:52 PM by Tom Strode, Baptist Press | with 0 comments



Abuse in the church: Its trauma aired by panel at SBC

June 20 2018 by Karen L. Willoughby, Baptist Press

The pastor of an Austin, Texas, Southern Baptist church “finds I’m spending more time in preparation than ever before” for his Sunday morning sermons.
 

Photo by Kathleen Murray
Jonathan Howe and Amy Whitfield moderate a panel discussion with Beth Moore, Russell Moore and Matt Carter, pastor of Austin Stone Community Church in Austin. The panel discussed preventing and dealing with sexual abuse in the church June 11 at the Cooperative Program stage in the exhibit hall at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center in Dallas.

Matt Carter, pastor of preaching and vision at Austin Stone Community Church in Austin, Texas, said in a Cooperative Program (CP) Stage panel discussion prior to the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) annual meeting in Dallas that he weighs his words to make sure they do not send the wrong message to the potential 25 percent of the women in the church who have suffered abuse in their lifetime.
 
“I’m consistently filtering what I’m saying through the eyes of a woman who has been abused,” said Carter, who took the church’s entire staff through a week-long training earlier this year to be able to say to all women, “You are safe here.”
 
The 20-minute panel discussion on Sexual Abuse in the Church in the SBC exhibit hall covered a victim’s trauma; the churches’ response; and how to prepare children for potential situations without scaring them.
 
The SBC’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission President Russell Moore, teacher and author Beth Moore and moderators Jonathan Howe and Amy Whitfield filled out the panel.
 

Trauma

 
The training at Austin Stone Church followed a woman’s report that in 1998 she told a leader in another church what a youth pastor had done to her, and she was advised to not say anything about it to anyone, according to a local news account. That leader was at Austin Stone Church when the report became public in a local newspaper last winter after the victim wrote about it on social media.
 
“Our natural instinct is self-preservation,” Carter said, voicing counsel, however, to “put the need of the victim first.”
 
Beth Moore said women – and men – who have experienced abuse have been damaged deep within themselves, which sometimes takes years to surface, and it affects every person they have contact with. Healing likewise has a ripple effect, she said.
 
“We know God is for us,” Moore continued. “When we begin to help a woman, it has an impact on her and her entire sphere of influence.”
 
One in four women experience abuse in her lifetime, she said.
 

Response

 
When sexual abuse is reported, the investigation that follows should include an outside third party, Russell Moore said, with Carter recommending MinistrySafe.com, which has been in business since 1945.
 
A female advocate needs to be at every meeting with the woman, Beth Moore said. “Power has to be used immediately for the victim.”
 
Reporting sexual abuse “is not a PR issue. This is a spiritual warfare issue,” Russell Moore said. “As a church, we are to bear one another’s burdens. … Minister to the woman. She is not the problem.”
 
Beth Moore suggested putting a notice in Sunday morning bulletins, church newsletters and in restrooms that help is available for those experiencing abuse and how to get that help.
 
“The more visible, the better,” she said. “For us [the church] to be the leaders in this, it’s mandatory.”
 
Make sure law enforcement knows about the charge, Russell Moore said, with Beth Moore adding there is a difference between sexual immorality and sexual criminality, but “both require repentance.”
 
“Abusers use grace to hide behind and mercy as a weapon to hide behind,” Russell Moore said. “Repentance and restoration doesn’t mean grace and justice go together at the cross of Christ.”
 
True repentance bears fruit, Beth Moore said. “We want all people to be restored, to not fall into the same pit again.”
 

Children

 
Youngsters as young as two should be handed the washcloth they use when bathing, Beth Moore said. In church, an adult should never be alone with a child.
 
“Teach your child to tell you everything,” Russell Moore said. “Tell them, ‘Tell us what makes you uncomfortable,’ and if anyone says, ‘Don’t tell,’ tell us immediately.”
 
America has changed, Beth Moore said. “Meek little girls are not going to work in this culture.” Girls need to be taught to stand up for themselves and to be alert to things being “off,” as she put it.
 
“And I always made sure my girls knew, there is no time of night you can’t call me. And they have!”
 
Carter said Austin Stone Church is “talking to the young men a lot” about the “long-term consequences of sin, that you are doing something in the heart of women and yourself. We try to teach through the lens of victims.”
 
The world is watching and the church needs to be the one raising a banner for the protection of women, Carter said.
 
“Your voice is needed,” Beth Moore told the abused. “Someone else needs to hear your voice.”
 
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Karen L. Willoughby is a national correspondent with Baptist Press. Reprinted from Baptist Press, baptistpress.com, news service of the Southern Baptist Convention.)

6/20/2018 12:21:23 PM by Karen L. Willoughby, Baptist Press | with 0 comments



‘Undivided’ race relations resource debuts at SBC

June 20 2018 by Brandon Elrod, NAMB

A breakout session on racial reconciliation during the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) annual meeting accompanied the release of a new resource to help pastors and churches bridge the racial divide in their communities titled “Undivided: Your Church and Racial Reconciliation.”
 

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.

Those who attended the June 12 session hosted by the North American Mission Board (NAMB) heard a pair of panel discussions centering on the history of race relations in the SBC; current issues that divide different ethnicities; and next steps toward a unified mission.
 
“As a church, we have an amazing opportunity to display our unity in Christ to a divided world,” said Dhati Lewis, NAMB’s executive director of community restoration. “But to do so, we have to be willing to run into the tension with a heart for reconciliation and address the issues that divide us.
 
“This is a missional issue,” said Lewis, who also is lead pastor of Blueprint Church in Atlanta. “If we want to make disciples in North America, we must address the issue of race.”
 
Kevin Ezell, president of NAMB, acknowledged in introductory comments with Lewis, “I’ve been a pastor in the SBC well over 20 years. I’ve been president of NAMB for over seven years. Quite honestly, I’m really tired of talking about [the race issue], having forums and conferences about it and seeing nothing ever change on it.”
 
Lewis then facilitated the panel discussions before concluding the night in prayer.
 
The first panel, on the question, “How did we get here?” featured Ed Litton, senior pastor of Redemption Church in Saraland, Ala.; his wife Kathy Ferguson Litton, director of planter spouse care at NAMB; Vance Pitman, senior pastor of Hope Church in Las Vegas; Kevin Smith, executive director of the Baptist Convention of Maryland-Delaware; Jose Abella, lead pastor of Providence Road Church in Miami; and D.A. Horton, pastor of Reach Fellowship in North Long Beach, Calif.
 
Lewis took the audience through the ideas in a book by George Yancey, Beyond Racial Gridlock, to help the audience understand various secular approaches that have created roadblocks to racial reconciliation: colorblindness, Anglo-conformity, multiculturalism and white responsibility.
 
Smith, describing the need to extend beyond secular models, noted, “Many models related to dealing with racial reconciliation – social, political, whatever – stem from dealing with the consequences of sin and its results rather than dealing with the plan of God and starting that way.”
 
The panelists recounted their wide-ranging experiences in dealing with racial issues – from Litton preaching about race in Mobile, Ala., to Abella growing up as an English-speaking Latino in the United States and Pitman being sheltered from racial issues while growing up in rural Alabama.
 
Horton cited Francis Schaeffer’s book, The Great Evangelical Disaster, to describe the depth of the wounds left by slavery and racism in evangelical Christianity and the SBC. He quoted from 2 Corinthians 7 to emphasize the need for godly repentance and sorrow in order to move forward.
 
Pittman noted how the church fails its community when it does not reflect its community, and Abella said the church faces a gospel problem when it refuses to reach its neighbors because of cultural and ethnic roadblocks.
 
The second panel, on the question, “Where do we go from here?” featured J.D. Greear, the SBC’s newly elected president and pastor of The Summit Church in Raleigh-Durham, N.C.; George Yancey, professor of sociology at the University of North Texas; James Roberson, lead pastor of The Bridge Church in Brooklyn, N.Y.; Daniel Yang, director of the Send Institute at Wheaton College; and Jackie Taylor, national MyBLVD urban wives specialist for NAMB’S community restoration team.
 
Yancey explained the various models he recaps in his book and identified the main issue that each secular model overlooks – human depravity. People readily see the depravity in people they disagree with while “failing to notice the depravity in themselves,” he said, which leads people to demonize those with whom they disagree.
 
Each of the panelists spoke of how their backgrounds shaped their various perspectives, explaining their hurts, experiences and their input into how believers can move forward, and they described their expectations for the future of the SBC.
 
Yang emphasized the need for the SBC to fight for diversity as a convention in order to reach a diverse world. He ended the panel discussion by saying of the future of racial reconciliation in the SBC: “I’m optimistic because Revelation has been written already. It’s going to happen.”
 
The new resource, Undivided, is a free five-week video series featuring Lewis and Greear. Click here to view or download video material and a study guide.
 
NAMB will publish the content of the breakout session. Follow namb.net for updates.
 
(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.)

6/20/2018 12:21:05 PM by Brandon Elrod, NAMB | with 0 comments



Evangelist-led worship ‘hit the mark,’ pastor reports

June 20 2018 by Karen L. Willoughby, Baptist Press

Southern Baptist evangelists – preachers and singers – provided a “Worship Encounter” Sunday (June 10) in their annual worship celebration preceding the SBC annual meeting in Dallas.
 

Photo by Matt Miller
Rick Gage of Go Tell Ministries speaks during a morning worship celebration for the Conference of Southern Baptist Evangelists Sunday, June 10, at First Baptist in Grapevine, Texas. Gage was one of several speakers at the event themed "Go Tell."

The worship service sponsored by Southern Baptist Evangelists, also known as the Conference of Southern Baptist Evangelists, took place at First Baptist Church in Grapevine, where Doug Page has been pastor the last five years.
 
“Everybody [on stage] was passionate about Jesus. Several [members] told me after services that the Worship Encounter ‘hit the mark,’” Page said.
 
“People were engaged and joyful, and so grateful to see the heart of those who served [in the service],” the pastor told Baptist Press at an after-church lunch for the group. “It was a blessing for us to have the Southern Baptist Evangelists here.” For First Baptist, Page noted, “the heartbeat of this church is presenting the gospel of Jesus Christ.”
 
During the call to worship, Russell and Kristi Johnson of South Carolina led the congregation in praise choruses “The Lion and the Lamb,” “Jesus Only Jesus,” “What A Beautiful Name” and “Angus Dei.”
 
Richard Hamlet of Tennessee led a five-minute time of prayer, followed by the presentation of plaques of appreciation to Tom Cox Sr. of Arkansas and Marion Warren of Texas, both for 50 years of evangelistic ministry. Five others received similar honors during an earlier two-day retreat for the evangelists and their spouses: David Stockwell and Michael Gott, both of Texas, Leon Westerhouse of Alabama and Herman Rios of Florida, all for 50 years in evangelistic ministry, and Jeffrey Harvel of Tennessee for 25 years. Stockwell is the outgoing two-term president of Southern Baptist Evangelists.
 
In a time of special music, Marion Warren sang “I’d Rather Have Jesus” in a deep baritone and Samantha Reynolds of Texas sang “Clean” in a pure soprano.
 
Rick Gage of Georgia-based GO TELL Ministries gave his testimony to explain his exhortation based on Mark 5:19 to “Go tell your friend what great things the Lord has done for you.”
 
“God has given this church dreams and visions to reach not only this metroplex … but the world,” Gage said, referring to First Baptist Grapevine, where about 900 people gather on Sundays, with ministries reaching into Dallas and other parts of Texas, to Los Angeles, Calif.; Cheyenne, Wyo.; Ecuador and Canada.
 
“God has no hands but your hands, no feet but your feet,” Gage said. “In Texas there are 18 million lost souls. Go tell.”
 
In a kind of evangelistic “show and tell,” Steven Stockwell of Texas used a Rubik’s Cube as he shared the gospel. It took him three months to master the solution to the Rubik’s Cube, Stockwell said as he presented the gospel while clicking on the cube’s colored squares, and 10 years to figure out how to use that skill in evangelism.
 
Stockwell, son of David Stockwell, concluded by explaining how each of the colors relates to the gospel message, akin to the words used with a “power band” or “wordless book” and other evangelistic tools popular in recent years.
 

Photo by Matt Miller
David Stockwell, a full-time evangelist, speaks during a morning worship celebration for the Conference of Southern Baptist Evangelists Sunday, June 10, at First Baptist in Grapevine, Texas.

“Use your passion as an opportunity to share your story and how God changed your life,” Stockwell said, encouraging the audience to use their interests in cooking, gardening, sports or other activities as bridges to sharing the gospel.
 
Amy Stockwell, wife of David Stockwell, then sang “Cross of Love” with Kellan Monroe, worship pastor at First Grapevine and, in a high soprano solo, sang “How Great Thou Art” before her husband preached on “Thirst, Come, Drink,” based on John 7:37-39.
 
“More people are coming to Christ right now than any other time in history,” Stockwell said. “God can use you to lead people to Jesus. … We see people all around us who are hungry and thirsty, who need to call out to God.
 
“God has everything we need, physically and spiritually,” Stockwell said. “Are you following Jesus as Lord? Have you given your life to Christ? What about your friends? We have a responsibility to tell them.”
 
In the altar call that followed, more than half of the congregation came forward in a recommitment to testify to the people they know of the difference God has made in their lives.
 
“This was a wonderful worship celebration today,” the elder Stockwell told Baptist Press after the service. “I think people were encouraged and blessed. It was a great spirit of renewal.”
 
The two-hour service in the comfortably full gathering on both First Baptist’s main floor and balcony of the fan-shaped First Grapevine worship center followed the two-day retreat at the Hyatt in downtown Dallas.
 
At the retreat, nearly 60 Southern Baptist Evangelists members and spouses encouraged each other, shared testimonies of God’s activity among them over the last year, elected new officers and discussed future plans.
 
Sammy Tippit of San Antonio, Texas, was elected for a one-year term as president, with Frank Shivers of South Carolina elected as vice president. Amy Stockwell was reelected secretary/treasurer. Royce Williams of North Carolina was elected parliamentarian, while Kay Cox of Arkansas was reelected recording secretary.
 
In addition to honoring 50-year and 25-year evangelists, David Stockwell and Michael Gott were inducted into the Evangelists’ Hall of Faith for their lifetimes of evangelistic service.
 
Jim Richards, executive director of the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention (SBTC), and Shane Pruitt, SBTC’s director of evangelism, brought messages during the retreat.
 
As to plans for the future, Tippit said he has three things in mind for the Southern Baptist Evangelists organization: to partner more closely than in recent years with North American Mission Board, since “we’re on the same team”; to bridge the gap with evangelists and local church pastors for each to better understand each other’s needs and thinking; and to put a major emphasis on utilizing today’s technology in evangelism.
 
“We’re thankful for the gracious spirit shown us at First Baptist Church of Grapevine,” Tippit told Baptist Press. “We believe this service has been a blessing to the people of this church and we know it has definitely been a blessing to all the evangelists.”
 
Find out more about Southern Baptist Evangelists at sbcevangelist.org.
 
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Karen L. Willoughby is a national correspondent for Baptist Press. Reprinted from Baptist Press, baptistpress.com, news service of the Southern Baptist Convention.) 

6/20/2018 12:20:47 PM by Karen L. Willoughby, Baptist Press | with 0 comments



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