June 2019

Moore: ERLC helping churches address sex abuse

June 17 2019 by Tom Strode, Baptist Press

The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) has been, and will be, helping Southern Baptists address the sexual abuse crisis in churches, Russell Moore said during the entity’s report June 12 at the convention’s annual meeting.

Photo by Van Payne
Russell Moore, president of the Southern Baptist ERLC, gives a report during the 2019 Southern Baptist Convention Annual Meeting June 12 in Birmingham, Ala.

Moore, the ERLC’s president, told messengers the entity has been privileged to work with SBC President J.D. Greear and the Sexual Abuse Advisory Study he formed last summer to assist churches in the effort to prevent abuse and care for survivors. The study group issued a report with recommendations June 8 and has worked with the ERLC to produce free curriculum published by LifeWay Christian Resources and a year-long initiative to equip churches to address sexual abuse.
Addressing the crisis now is vital, Moore said.
“Southern Baptists, we have reached our age of accountability, and the vital question before us today is: ‘What will we do next?’” he told the messengers.
“The stakes are too high,” Moore said. “The implications for vulnerable people and our moral witness are too great.
“Brothers and sisters, we must speak with unflinching clarity to a watching world and say: ‘Those who would use religion to prey on those looking to hear a word from Jesus are more than just criminals, although they are certainly that. They are those who commit spiritual rape of the most incestuous and violent kind and we, the people of the church of the Lord Jesus Christ, will not stand for it for one minute.’”
The need to help churches at this time address sexual abuse caused the ERLC to scrap plans for its 2019 National Conference, Moore said. Instead of focusing on “Gospel courage” as originally intended, the ERLC announced in late April it would reinvent the program to address the sexual abuse crisis. The conference – titled “Caring Well: Equipping the Church to Confront the Abuse Crisis” – will be Oct. 3-5 at the Gaylord Texan in Grapevine, Texas.
In addition, the ERLC worked this year with a member of its Research Institute and a Texas legislator for the successful passage of a bill to grant civil immunity to churches that reveal credible sexual abuse allegations to possible employers.
The ERLC also has focused its efforts in the last year on the issues of sanctity of life and human dignity, racial unity, religious liberty, artificial intelligence and cultural division.
Regarding the sanctity of human life, Moore said, “We at the ERLC wake up in the morning and imagine what a post-Roe America would look like. We imagine that and work toward that future.” Roe v. Wade is the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1973 ruling that legalized abortion.
Among the ways the ERLC works toward such a future, Moore said, is its annual Evangelicals for Life (EFL) conference. The next EFL will be Jan. 23-24 in Washington, D.C.
Another way is to help provide ultrasound machines to pregnancy care centers through the ERLC’s Psalm 139 Project. In the last year, Psalm 139 placed machines at centers in Baltimore, Birmingham, Dallas, Kansas City and New Orleans, Moore said.
On other issues, the ERLC’s efforts in the last year and currently include:

  • Working with LifeWay to develop curriculum on applying the gospel to the issue of racial unity.

  • Opposing tirelessly the Equality Act, a congressional proposal barring discrimination against people who identify as gay or transgender that Moore described as an assault on religious freedom.

Southern Baptists’ spiritual ancestors recognized “religious liberty is not a grant handed out by Uncle Sam but a gift bestowed by Father God,” Moore said.

  • Issuing an Evangelical Statement of Principles on artificial intelligence.

  • Partnering with LifeWay Research on a survey of American evangelicals on issues of “cultural fragmentation” that will be released later this summer.

Moore encouraged the messengers to remember Christians “are called to stand, sometimes in community, sometimes in solitude, but always for a truth that is dependent on the cross and not on the crowd.”
The ERLC report closed with a video preview of a short film the entity will release soon about Christians in North Korea, one of the most dangerous countries in the world for followers of Jesus.
(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, news service of the Southern Baptist Convention.)

6/17/2019 12:10:21 PM by Tom Strode, Baptist Press | with 0 comments

LifeWay camp staffer charged with child molestation

June 14 2019 by Biblical Recorder Staff

A staffer at CentriKid Camp was charged with multiple counts of child molestation this week in Overgaard, Ariz., according to a statement by Brad Waggoner, acting CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources.

Noah Paradis, 19, worked at the camp, a LifeWay ministry, the week of June 10-14. LifeWay immediately terminated his employment and alerted the six churches that attended the camp at Bison Ranch Retreat Center.

Camp leaders immediately notified state and county authorities and the victims’ parents when they learned of the incident that involved two minors.

“We are heartbroken for the victims and the victims’ families,” Waggoner said. “I commend the victims for their bravery in disclosing the abuse. Our primary concern is the safety and wellbeing of all our camp participants. We are grieved that someone representing LifeWay would behave in this manner and abuse their position of authority with a child. LifeWay is working with local law enforcement as the investigation is ongoing and will continue to follow their lead in the case.”

The alleged abuse occurred the week Southern Baptists met for their annual meeting in Birmingham, Ala., where messengers voted to strengthen and affirm their stance against sexual abuse. During the June 11-12 meeting, J.D. Greear, president of the Southern Baptist Convention, gave an update on the Sexual Abuse Advisory Study he initiated with the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC). Messengers also received a multimedia resource, “Becoming a Church that Cares Well for the Abused,” which LifeWay developed with the ERLC and the advisory group.

“We are grieved our safeguards did not prevent this from happening,” Waggoner said. “We are committed to continually evaluating and updating our policies and procedures to ensure we are doing everything we can to prevent this type of event in the future. LifeWay will continue to be vigilant about the security and safety of the children and teens who attend LifeWay camps and events.”

6/14/2019 10:30:25 PM by Biblical Recorder Staff | with 0 comments

SBC seminary presidents relay reports to messengers

June 14 2019 by SBC Seminary Staff

Presidents of the Southern Baptist Convention’s six seminaries reported on their 2018-2019 academic year to messengers at the June 11-12 SBC annual meeting in Birmingham, Ala.

Iorg: ‘Minorities joining majority culture is not diversity’

Kathie Chute, Gateway Seminary


Minorities joining the majority culture is not diversity, Gateway Seminary President Jeff Iorg told messengers at the Southern Baptist Convention June 12. Instead, “true diversity is embracing different cultures and incorporating their perspectives in daily operations.
“Gateway Seminary has been – for more than 30 years – the most diverse ministry entity in the SBC,” Iorg said, noting that more than half of Gateway’s students are non-Anglos, with that commitment to diversity also reflected in the seminary’s staff and faculty. About 30 percent of the student body is women.

Photo by Adam Covington
Jeff Iorg, president of Gateway Seminary, reports to messengers about a diversity reflected in about 60 percent of its students being non-Anglo and 30 percent female.

“We are a better school because of the richness of the cultural layers which create the Gateway family,” Iorg said. “Southern Baptists, we have nothing to lose and everything to gain by becoming a pluralistic denomination that embraces different cultural expressions in creating our denominational tapestry.”
Iorg reported that the seminary’s accrediting agency had given the seminary a full 10-year reaccreditation, the maximum allowed under their policies. They also issued seven written commendations, which included mention of Gateway’s high quality online program that they described as exhibiting the best practices in distance education.
“Our online program is considered a world-class example of how to do it right,” Iorg said. “We were among the first group of seminaries approved to offer the master of divinity degree fully online. We are now offering all five of our master’s degrees fully online.”
Instead of considering itself a physical organization with a digital presence, Gateway is gradually seeing itself more as a digital organization with physical locations, Iorg said.
“The global move to prioritizing digital presence over physical locations seems to be marching inexorably forward. We are trying to stay in step with these changes, while also emphasizing in-person instruction as an important delivery model,” he said.
Iorg told messengers that Gateway Seminary is partnering with the 12 western state Baptist conventions, the Baptist Foundation of California and the Northwest Baptist Foundation in a joint effort named the Call Project to elevate the emphasis on being called to ministry leadership.
“For the next five years, these state conventions will prioritize ‘calling’ in every event that includes high school or college students,” Iorg said. “They will distribute materials, host breakout sessions, share sermon resources and otherwise promote the subject of ‘call.’ This is a long-term investment in developing leaders for the future. While we are focusing in the West, we welcome any other states to contact us about being involved in this project.”
Iorg thanked Southern Baptists for their steadfast support since adopting the seminary in 1950.
“Thank you for your Cooperative Program gifts, for sending students and for praying for us,” he said. “Seventy-five years after our founding, we are celebrating all God has done through us. The most important accomplishment – which we will celebrate soon – will be sending our 10,000th graduate to expand God’s Kingdom around the world. We have grown from a prayer meeting with six deacons and their wives who founded our institution to 10,000 graduates. To God be the glory!”

Allen underscores Midwestern’s dedication to the local church

T. Patrick Hudson, MBTS

Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary President Jason Allen’s report to the messengers at the 2019 Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting reflected the institution’s determination to serve the local church.

Allen noted that Midwestern’s primary focus is to constantly evaluate and answer the question, “How do we best equip and serve the churches of the Southern Baptist Convention?”
Reading from Ephesians 4:11-16, Allen explained that the passage clearly points to Jesus’ emphasis on the corporate body of believers, saying, “The main act is not Midwestern Seminary. The main act is not even theological education. The main act is the local church – the body of Christ.
“The magic of this convention is not in its six seminaries. It is that nearly 50,000 congregations, week after week, are winning people to Christ, baptizing believers into the body of Christ, sending missionaries unto the nations for the cause of Christ. Our work at Midwestern Seminary, therefore, is to undergird and support your work in the local church.”
Thanking messengers for their faithfulness in supporting Midwestern Seminary through their Cooperative Program giving, Allen said the past year in the life of the institution had been “unprecedented.”
Among the achievements for which he gave thanks, Allen noted the completion of the Mathena Student Center, the seminary’s significant faculty hires, the transition to a biblical counseling model, the relaunching of Spurgeon College, and school’s record enrollment.

Photo by Adam Covington
Midwestern Seminary President Jason Allen told messengers three words “describe who we are – ‘For the Church’” and “two words to all Southern Baptists – ‘Thank you.’”

Allen said the $13 million, 40,000-square-foot Mathena Student Center is a spectacular addition to campus, meeting an institutional need that has existed since the seminary’s earliest days.
Significant new faculty hires, Allen told messengers, were Andreas Köstenberger as research professor of New Testament and biblical theology; Jason DeRouchie, research professor of Old Testament and biblical theology; Andrew King, assistant dean of Spurgeon College; and Thomas Kidd, distinguished professor of church history.
Allen said the hiring of Dale Johnson as associate professor of biblical counseling has transitioned Midwestern from an integrative counseling to a biblical counseling model.
“We’re really looking forward to seeing how God impacts students through [the biblical counseling model]. Why such a transition? Because, again, we asked how do we best serve the churches of the convention? For us, it became clear that this was the decision God would have us to go.”
In relaunching the seminary’s undergraduate program, Spurgeon College, a little over a year ago, Allen reported that the college’s ministry footprint is expanding, with students coming to Kansas City not just to be trained as pastors, ministers and missionaries.
Students in new degree like business and communications are not only “for the church,” they are “for the Kingdom,” Allen said. “The reason for this is that they will now have the ability to go and serve vocationally in the marketplace at home or overseas – taking the gospel of Christ to the nations via a business or other platform.”
Regarding enrollment, Allen expressed gratitude to God that Midwestern’s enrollment is on course to reach 3,800 to 3,900 students, which means the seminary’s enrollment has more than tripled over the past seven years. Additionally, he said, all early metrics portend another record enrollment this fall.
Concluding his report, Allen explained the mission of Midwestern Seminary is simple, “It’s not about one man or an entire faculty. It’s not about the brilliance of a team, the eloquence of speakers or the savviness of marketers. It’s about three words: for the church. It’s a mission, a determination, a resolve that continues to resonate with the messengers seated before me and the churches throughout the land.
“We are here to train pastors, ministers, missionaries and church planters for Southern Baptist churches. Three words: for the church.”

Chuck Kelley transitions to Jamie Dew in SBC report

Gary D. Myers, NOBTS

During New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary’s (NOBTS) report to the convention, two leaders – Chuck Kelley and Jamie Dew – shared the podium and offered a picture of a gracious transition of leadership and the importance of answering God’s call.

Photo by Adam Covington
Chuck Kelley, who retires as president of New Orleans Seminary July 31, gave his last report to messengers at the 2019 SBC annual meeting. Jamie Dew was elected June 5 as the next president of NOBTS.

Kelley, who led NOBTS for the past 23 years, spent the first half of the report thanking Southern Baptists for their gracious support of theological education and sharing the good news of the school’s minority scholarships and evangelism efforts. Halfway through the allotted time, Kelley yielded the podium to Dew, who was elected as the seminary’s ninth president on June 5. Dew shared his vision for a seminary of committed servants of Jesus Christ.
“My first words have to be, ‘thank you,’” Kelley said. “No other American family of churches is invested in theological education the way Southern Baptists are invested. The truth is, we still need to do more.”
Kelley said the Cooperative Program has provided $172,751,343 in funding to NOBTS during his tenure alone.
“We want to thank you for that and say please keep on sacrificing, keep on sending, keep on supporting the preparation of your next generation of ministers,” Kelley said. “All of us want to see our students graduate without student debt and you can make that possible.”
Presidential transitions usually result in decreases in enrollment and giving, Kelley noted. Bucking that trend, NOBTS experienced a small increase in enrollment this year in spite of Kelley’s retirement announcement. Giving remains strong as well. Since January, $2 million has been given to the seminary’s student scholarship endowment.
Kelley pointed to two important scholarship programs in which donors have given sacrificially in order to keep student debt to a minimum. The Fred Luter Jr. Scholarship is helping the seminary student body become more diverse, while the other, the Caskey Center for Church Excellence, is helping NOBTS become more committed to evangelism.
Since 2011, the Fred Luter Jr. Scholarship has distributed more than $1 million in scholarships to African American students in Atlanta and New Orleans. These funds supplement the general NOBTS scholarships which are available to all students regardless of ethnicity. The family who started the Luter Scholarship recently pledged another $250,000 to the effort.
The Caskey Center provides full-tuition scholarships for nearly 300 smaller membership church ministers in Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi. Not only is the funding helping pay for the cost of theological education, it is fostering local church evangelism. Students who receive the scholarship are required to engage in at least one gospel conversation every week. Since 2015, Caskey recipients have engaged in 34,732 gospel conversations resulting in 4,059 new believers.
After these brief updates, Kelley yielded the podium to Frank Cox, chairman of the presidential search committee, who introduced Jamie Dew to the convention. “[Serving on the committee] has been one of the greatest experiences of my life,” Cox said.

Photo by Adam Covington
Jamie Dew, newly elected president of New Orleans Seminary, tells messengers at the 2019 annual meeting that “everything I am is because of … the faithful work of Southern Baptists.”

Dew said he is “honored to be numbered among these men on this stage and to have the opportunity to give my life in service to you. Everything I have and everything I am is because of the grace of God through Jesus Christ that came to me through the faithful work of Southern Baptists.”
Dew said he had every intention of spending the rest of his life leading the College at Southeastern in North Carolina, but the call of God led him to New Orleans and that call has given him a passion for his new task.
“In a very short time, I have fallen in love with the city of New Orleans and New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary,” Dew said. “I had written a very cute, beautiful story for my life, but through this process I have remembered that God has the right to rewrite our stories and that He writes more beautiful stories than we do. God took something from me that I deeply loved – [the] College at Southeastern – and He put in my hands and my heart New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.”
Dew said that the convention can expect to see a seminary that passionately trains up a generation of servants for Jesus Christ. NOBTS will prioritize preaching and proclamation of the gospel to a broken, fallen world, he said.
“There is only one name, there is only one man, Jesus Christ, who can redeem and restore,” Dew said. “We have a passion to see that redemption unfold to this nation and the nations around us.”
Dew said the task before believers today will not be accomplished without a commitment to prayer and spiritual fervor.
“We must be a people who walk on our knees and keep our noses on the floor before God begging God to do a great work in us and a great work through us,” Dew said. “So at the beginning of this journey, I offer our students, our faculty, our administration and myself to you as your servants for the century before us.”

Akin celebrates growth at Southeastern

Lauren Pratt, SEBTS

Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary President Danny Akin celebrated the growth that has occurred in its enrollment and announced new partnerships, degree programs and staff changes within the seminary.
“If you ever walk on the campus of Southeastern Seminary, you will immediately catch the DNA of our institution, which is the Great Commission,” Akin said.

Photo by Adam Covington
Danny Akin, president of Southeastern Seminary, reports to messengers at the SBC annual meeting of its 10th year of record enrollment, now with 4,700 students.

Southeastern Seminary and The College at Southeastern have seen significant growth with a current non-duplicating headcount of 4,700 students.
Akin also celebrated the recently announced partnership between Church Answers and the Revitalize Network to offer an M.A. in church revitalization, which will be taught by professors such as Thom Rainer, founder and CEO of Church Answers, executive director of the Revitalize Network and former president of LifeWay Christian Resources, and Sam Rainer, president of the Revitalize Network and Church Answers, co-founder and co-owner of Rainer Publishing and pastor of West Bradenton Baptist Church in Bradenton, Florida.
Southeastern’s Global Theological Initiative office has seen significant development in its Hispanic, East Asian and Persian leadership development programs, Akin reported. GTI works with strategic partners on six continents to create cohorts of selected leaders from their seminaries, mission boards, denominations and key churches. GTI’s goal is to equip these national leaders so they may train local pastors and missionaries within their various contexts. Through this initiative, Southeastern is training faculty and administrators from more than 40 seminaries in Brazil, the third leading country in sending missionaries. Southeastern also is working to train faculty and administrators from seven schools across Ukraine and working to create a partnership with more than 40 theological training entities from 20 separate countries across Sub-Saharan Africa.
“In all of this we are training leaders who we pray will also go out and train leaders as well,” Akin said.
Akin honored Jamie Dew, former dean of The College at Southeastern who has been elected as president of NOBTS. Under Dew’s leadership, the college more than doubled its enrollment to more than 1,200 students. Akin said he counted it a joy to see Dew’s appointment to lead NOBTS in the days ahead.
“We are sorrowful in losing him, but we delight in God’s call upon his life to go to New Orleans Seminary,” Akin said. “He has done a phenomenal job and served us with faithfulness and dedication.”
Akin reported that Scott Pace has been appointed to succeed Dew as dean of the college. Pace previously served as director of the Center for Preaching and Pastoral Leadership as well as assistant professor of preaching at Southeastern.
As a part of The College at Southeastern, Akin celebrated the Hunt Scholar Program’s growth, which has doubled since its inception and saw its first two graduates in May 2019. The program is designed to provide both a bachelor of arts and master of divinity in pastoral ministry in as little as five years.
Akin also highlighted the continuation and growth of the North Carolina Field Minister Program, which allows long-term inmates in the North Carolina prison system to receive a bachelor of arts in pastoral ministry through The College at Southeastern. In its third year, enrollment has risen to 80 students with a 91 percent retention rate. Through partnership with Joe Gibbs Racing and Game Plan for Life, the program is fully funded to date.
The Kingdom Diversity Initiative at Southeastern, likewise, has grown since its inception in 2013, with the non-white student population increasing by 50 percent and the female student population increasing by 40 percent.
“We have more women studying today at our six seminaries than at any time in the history of the Southern Baptist Convention,” said Akin, which was followed by applause from messengers across the area.
With so much growth occurring within the institution, Akin announced Southeastern’s launch of a For the Mission campaign, a four-year campaign addressing four strategic initiatives for Great Commission effectiveness to be strengthened among Southeastern’s students, faculty and staff.
In closing, Akin, who is celebrating his 15th year as president of Southeastern, thanked Southern Baptists for their prayers, love and support for the seminary.
“We continue to be consumed with a passion that allows us and drives us to be focused outward on the nation,” said Akin, explaining that this is coupled with deep conviction of belief “flowing from a non-negotiable commitment to an infallible and inerrant Bible.”

Mohler: Southern Seminary’s calling remains ‘trust’

Andrew J.W. Smith, SBTS

As he is about to begin his 27th year as president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, R. Albert Mohler Jr. emphasized a rich and deep theological training that students are receiving at the school.
Southern Seminary is “unapologetically Southern Baptist” and remains as committed as ever to training men and women for gospel ministry. Thus, every word of the school’s title carries weight, he said.

Photo by Adam Covington
R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of Southern Seminary, underscores to messengers, “In the coming generation, ministers and pastors are not going to need less Bible; they are going to need more Bible.”

“Every single word in the name of Southern Seminary is vitally important,” Mohler said. “We are, without apology, a theological seminary for the training of pastors and ministers.”
Mohler referenced the high priestly prayer of Jesus in John 17 as inspiration for Southern Seminary’s calling.
Jesus prayed that his Father would sanctify His people “in truth” in John 17, thereby defining the nature and focus of theological education, and by extension the mission of Southern Seminary, Mohler said. 
“We exist not only that a coming generation would be trained and prepared and educated for service in the churches, pulpit and mission fields ... but that Christ’s church, by their ministries, would be sanctified by the truth – the revealed truth of God, the Holy scriptures,” he said.
In an age of quick-serve theological education, where many degree programs are entirely available online and the requirements for graduation are lowered, Southern Seminary is committed to providing the full depth of ministry preparation.
“At a time in which there are many denominations and many seminaries trying to figure out how little they can offer in order to get the job done most quickly, we are determined to do it most faithfully,” Mohler said.
“In the coming generation, ministers and pastors are not going to need less Bible; they are going to need more Bible.”
Mohler characterized Southern Seminary’s mission as a “stewardship of truth.”
“There is no adventure like training young preachers,” he said. “There is no joy like seeing them go out. There is no satisfaction like seeing a young man who is called to the preaching ministry and see his mind grow full and his heart grow even more full.”
Mohler also gave a report as chair of the Council of Seminary Presidents, telling the convention that both the Southern Baptist Historical Library and Archives and Seminary Extension programs are thriving.
Both programs are critical to the past and the future of the Southern Baptist Convention, he said, and ensure that every Southern Baptist can know the history of the convention and that any Southern Baptist can have access to theological education.

Greenway presents ‘big-tent’ vision for Southwestern Seminary

Alex Sibley, SWBTS

Adam W. Greenway delivered the report for Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary for the first time as its ninth president, using the opportunity to present his “big-tent” vision for the seminary.
Before doing so, however, Greenway first took time to say a special “thank you” to the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention.

Photo by Adam Covington
Southwestern Seminary President Adam W. Greenway relays a “big tent” vision to messengers at the SBC annual meeting in Birmingham, Ala.

“Thank you for what you have done for so many years through the generous and sacrificial giving through your local, visible, New Testament churches through the Cooperative Program.... Every dollar that comes to our seminaries is a dollar we do not have to charge our students in tuition,” he said.
“And I want you to know my prayer is that we will continue to see a strengthening of our Cooperative Program giving and our partnership together, because in every one of our seminaries, including our seminary in Fort Worth, if Jesus tarries, we are training your grandchildren’s pastors, and we want those pastors to be debt-free; we want them to have every opportunity to succeed, wherever God may call them.”
Greenway then laid out his “big-tent” vision, which consists of four pillars – that is, four commitments and convictions that characterize the seminary: a high view of Scripture; confessional fidelity to the Baptist Faith and Message 2000; the Great Commission; and cooperation.
Greenway clarified this is not a new vision but rather a reinvigoration of the vision of B.H. Carroll, Southwestern’s founder. Greenway noted, for example, that Carroll started the first chair of evangelism in any seminary, “the Chair of Fire,” originally occupied by L.R. Scarborough, later the seminary’s second president.
“Our seminary has had a passion from the very beginning not just to know the Word of God, but to help people encounter Jesus in a saving way,” Greenway said. “Because at the end of the day, what matters is our efforts and labors to do everything we can to take as many sons and daughters to glory as we possibly can, and if we fail in the area of evangelism, then we fail everywhere. Our passion, our joy is seeing people come to Christ, beginning right in Tarrant County, Texas, and going to the nations.”
Greenway concluded his report by acknowledging that Southwestern Seminary, like other institutions, has historically fallen short of certain expectations, but that “it is our resolve to do better.”
“I have had a longstanding love and gratitude for Southwestern Seminary,” Greenway said, noting that he first came to the campus as a student 20 years ago this summer.
“As the first alumnus in 25 years to sit in the president’s chair, I am committed to doing everything I can to see our seminary flourish – not for our name’s sake; not so people will know Adam Greenway’s name or even Southwestern Seminary’s name, but so that they will know the life-changing power of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and [so that] the glory of God will be seen in Fort Worth, Texas, and to the nations.”
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Reprinted from Baptist Press, baptistpress.com, news service of the Southern Baptist Convention.)

6/14/2019 3:25:29 PM by SBC Seminary Staff | with 0 comments

Resolutions contend for vulnerable, gospel

June 14 2019 by Tom Strode, Baptist Press

Messengers to the 2019 Southern Baptist Convention advocated for the vulnerable against abortion, sexual abuse and religious persecution in approving 13 resolutions June 12.

Photo by Kathleen Murray
Curtis Woods, left, chairman of the Southern Baptist Convention Resolutions Committee, and Russell Moore, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, speak during a press conference after the conclusion of the 2019 Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting.

The resolutions also addressed a variety of other noteworthy issues in the convention and the world, including local church autonomy, same-sex attraction, justice, women in the military draft and gene editing.
On abortion, the messengers applauded the recent enactment of state laws to restrict or prohibit abortion and called for the U.S. Supreme Court to reverse the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that legalized the lethal procedure.
In a meeting that made the sexual abuse crisis in the SBC a priority, messengers passed a resolution that condemned and lamented all such abuse and called on churches and institutions to establish a safe culture for survivors and to guard against and confront abuse.
Messengers also approved a measure in which they pledged to pray for the end of persecution in China and North Korea and called on the United States and the international community to make religious freedom a “top priority.”
Curtis Woods, chairman of the 10-member Resolutions Committee, told reporters the “overarching theme” of the panel’s report “would have been protection – protection of the unborn as well as protection of those who could find themselves vulnerable to sexual abuse, as well as just keeping the gospel of Jesus Christ first, advancing the gospel, being concerned about the Great Commission.”
The Great Commission of Jesus Christ is vertical, horizontal and cosmological, he said in a news conference. “God will make all things new in Christ Jesus. And all things will be summed up in Christ. The gospel pushes us to protect and to love our neighbors well.”
Woods is co-interim executive director of the Kentucky Baptist Convention and a member of Watson Memorial Baptist Church in Louisville, Ky.
Russell Moore, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC), commended the committee’s work in the news conference, saying it gave the messengers a group of “carefully thought-through resolutions that Southern Baptists could speak through, to speak to ourselves and to the larger world.”
All the resolutions except one passed in unanimous or near-unanimous votes. A resolution on critical race theory and intersectionality still gained passage with a strong majority.
The resolution affirmed the Bible as “the first, last, and sufficient authority” regarding how the church tries to amend social evils and said critical race theory and intersectionality should only be used in submission to scripture. The resolution described critical race theory as a set of tools to explain how race functions in society and intersectionality as the study of how various characteristics overlap.
Tom Ascol, senior pastor of Grace Baptist Church in Cape Coral, Fla., sought to amend the resolution, including with language to say critical race theory and intersectionality are “rooted in ideologies that are incompatible with Christianity.”
Woods told the messengers in response, “What we are saying is that this can be utilized simply as an analytical tool, not a transcendent worldview above the authority of scripture, and we stand by the strength of this resolution.”
Messengers also approved resolutions in which they:
– Reaffirmed the doctrine of local church autonomy under Christ’s lordship and rejected its use as a way to conceal the sins of pastors and others in the church who are guilty of abuse.
– Urged Christians who battle same-sex attraction “to forsake any self-conception or personal identity that is contrary to God’s good and holy purposes in creation and redemption” and commended the “faithful witness” of such disciples who walk in obedience to Jesus.
– Promised to oppose “a divisive spirit” and to develop a “cooperative culture” for the fulfillment of the Great Commission.
– Committed to respond to injustices by gospel proclamation, advocacy for oppressed people, acting with justice personally and demanding that “spheres of society” function righteously, truthfully and lovingly.
– Renewed their commitment to the Great Commission and encouraged the convention’s seminaries, entities and churches to enable pastors to understand “how culture and contexts shape ministry methods and strategies.”
– Called for the president and Congress to refuse to extend the military draft to include women.
– Denounced human germline editing and called on Congress and international policy makers to make it unfundable and illegal.
– Confirmed their commitment to Christ over a political party and acknowledged the various political affiliations and viewpoints in the convention’s churches.
– Expressed gratitude to God, as well as Southern Baptists in the Birmingham area and all others who helped with this year’s meeting.
Messengers approved two extensions of time for a total of 15 minutes in order to complete action on the resolutions.
The committee chose not to act on proposals submitted on the moral character of government officials, reconciliation with Jewish people because of a lack of concern by the SBC during the Holocaust period, peace between the United States and Iran, and the freedom of conscience of whistleblowers in the SBC.
Keith Whitfield, vice president for academic administration at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, N.C., served as vice chair of the committee. He is a member of Faith Baptist Church in Youngsville, N.C.
In addition to Woods and Whitfield, the committee members, in alphabetical order, were: Tremayne Manson, associate pastor for community development and outreach, The Summit Church, Raleigh-Durham, N.C.; Adron Robinson, senior pastor, Hillcrest Baptist Church, Country Club Hills, Ill.; Walter Strickland, associate vice president for diversity, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, Wake Forest, N.C., and member of Imago Dei Church, Raleigh, N.C.; Angela Suh Um, founder and chief consultant, Boston Academic Consulting Group, Cambridge, Mass., and member of Antioch Baptist Church, Cambridge; Trevin Wax, Bible and reference publisher, B&H Academic Group, LifeWay Christian Resources, Nashville, and teaching pastor, Third Baptist Church, Murfreesboro, Tenn.; Jared Wellman, pastor, Tate Springs Baptist Church, Arlington, Texas; Rick Wheeler, lead missional strategist, Jacksonville Baptist Association, Jacksonville, Fla., and member of Mandarin Baptist Church, Jacksonville; and Alicia Wong, director of women’s programs, Gateway Seminary, Ontario, Calif., and member of Rosena Church, San Bernardino, Calif.
(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, news service of the Southern Baptist Convention.)

6/14/2019 3:18:51 PM by Tom Strode, Baptist Press | with 1 comments

LifeWay trustees to hear presidential search report

June 14 2019 by Diana Chandler, Baptist Press

LifeWay Christian Resources trustees will meet June 28 to hear a report from its presidential search committee, the entity has announced.

Photo by Marc Ira Hooks
Jimmy Scroggins, chairman of the trustees for LifeWay Christian Resources, addresses messengers during a report to messengers June 12 at the 2019 SBC Annual Meeting. Scroggins announced June 13 the full board will convene June 28 to hear a report from its presidential search committee.

Trustee chairman Jimmy Scroggins will convene the full board of trustees to hear from the team working to replace Thom Rainer who retired, LifeWay Director of Corporate Communications Carol Pipes announced June 13.
“LifeWay Christian Resources Chairman of the Trustees Jimmy Scroggins has called the full Board of Trustees to a special meeting on June 28 to consider a report from the Presidential Search Committee,” Pipes said in a statement to media. “Additional information will be made public as it becomes available.”
In accordance with LifeWay bylaws, executive vice president Brad Waggoner has served as acting president and CEO since March 1, and is expected to continue in the post until a new president is named.
“The search committee’s work is on track,” Scroggins said as recently as March 4, “and we look forward to naming a new president in the near future.”
Rainer announced his retirement in August, 2018, and served in the post through the end of February, marking 13 years of service.
The Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee (EC) honored Rainer June 11 with a resolution of appreciation at the 2019 SBC Annual Meeting in Birmingham, Ala. The EC noted among many achievements that Rainer launched LifeWay Research, reversed decades of declining sales of small group Bible study curricula, expanded LifeWay’s global reach, launched B&H Academic, made several key acquisitions, and sold its former downtown Nashville campus in a relocation within the city.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Diana Chandler is Baptist Press’ general assignment writer/editor. Reprinted from Baptist Press, baptistpress.com, news service of the Southern Baptist Convention.)

6/14/2019 3:13:08 PM by Diana Chandler, Baptist Press | with 0 comments

26 new missionaries obey God’s call to the nations

June 13 2019 by Julie McGowan, IMB

David and Zoey Lee know they can go as Southern Baptist missionaries today because Christian believers in the past sacrificed to get the gospel to their homeland – a truth they shared June 11 during a Sending Celebration to honor the appointment of 26 new Southern Baptist international missionaries.

Photo by Matt Jones
David and Zoey Lee of Wedgwood Baptist Church in Fort Worth, Texas, were part of a group of 26 new IMB missionaries that shared their story with Southern Baptist messengers June 11.

“Many missionaries came to Korea and laid down their lives for our people,” said David Lee. “We would not be able to stand here without their obedience to God’s call.”
“Twenty years ago, I never imagined sharing the gospel with people from other cultures,” added his wife Zoey Lee. “In the past 10 years, I’ve shared the gospel of Christ with 30 different people groups in America. I’ve learned it’s the power of God that works in us and through us.”
The Lees, including their three children, are sent by Wedgwood Baptist Church in Fort Worth, Texas, to share the gospel among Sub-Saharan African people in Madagascar. The International Mission Board (IMB) service honoring the appointees illuminated a dark Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Center arena with colorful banners and praise music during the SBC annual meeting’s Tuesday session.
Moments earlier, IMB President Paul Chitwood had reported that Southern Baptists continue working toward seeing the vision of Revelation 7:9 fulfilled. He noted fulfilling that vision will require cross-cultural missionaries from many nations.
“And one of the ways God will accomplish a great multitude from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages standing before His throne and before the Lamb, will be through those who go on to share what they have heard from us,” Chitwood said. “Since 1845, Southern Baptists have been making disciples among the nations. And now, in an unprecedented season of the globalization of missions, those who Southern Baptists have reached are now taking the gospel to the nations themselves.”

‘I saw lostness’


Photo by Matt Jones
A worship team member is among more than 8,000 messengers at the 2019 SBC Annual Meeting June 11 who prayed for 26 new Southern Baptist missionaries that were celebrated by the IMB during the Send Celebration. The missionaries will be going to Europe, Southeast Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa, and other parts of the world.

New missionary Jason Davis said his father’s job required their family to travel the world, yet in all his childhood moving, his parents’ love for the gospel and for the church remained constant. During his university years, God called Davis to serve in full-time missions.
“I have traveled to the jungles of Southeast Asia on a short-term mission trip with Highview Baptist Church and spent five years in the urban cities of Europe where I saw lostness and a lack of gospel presence,” he said.
Sent by Highview Baptist Church in Louisville, Ky., Davis is returning to Europe to take the gospel to Italian people.
After 34 years of serving overseas with the IMB, John and Patricia Gordy returned to the United States. He served on staff at the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina, and she worked as a geriatric registered nurse.
“We built our first home and loved our new jobs,” Patricia Gordy said. “But we still felt called to missions. The gap between the millions who have never heard the gospel of Jesus, and those of us who have, burdened our hearts.”
After much prayer, the Gordys are being sent back to Sub-Saharan Africa by Calvary Baptist Church in Winston-Salem, N.C.

To the nations

“Look around this room,” Chitwood told the Southern Baptist messengers in attendance. “You are a part of sending people, families, who have committed their lives to take the name of Jesus to the nations and proclaim that there is salvation in no other name. Missionaries, look around the room. You are surrounded by churches who love you. They covenant together at this moment to pray for you.”

“Isn’t this awesome?” he added. “Isn’t it inspiring to be a part of what God is doing among the nations?
“IMB missionaries, we not only pray for you now, we commit to praying for you and to support you as God takes you to the nations. Together, we now – as your Southern Baptist family – send you to the nations.”
The next IMB Sending Celebration is planned for Sept. 25 in Richmond, Va.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Julie McGowan is public relations director for the International Mission Board. Reprinted from Baptist Press, baptistpress.com, news service of the Southern Baptist Convention.)

6/13/2019 4:38:50 PM by Julie McGowan, IMB | with 0 comments

Bold talk not enough to stop sex abuse, Greear says

June 13 2019 by Diana Chandler, Baptist Press

“Bold resolutions and sweeping statements are not sufficient” to tackle the crisis of sex abuse, Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) President J.D. Greear said June 12 at the 2019 SBC Annual Meeting in Birmingham, Ala.

Photo by Van Payne
“Bold resolutions and sweeping statements are not sufficient” to tackle the crisis of sex abuse, SBC President J.D. Greear said June 12 in introducing a report compiled by the Sexual Abuse Advisory Group he initiated with the ERLC.

“Victims have told us, words without follow-up actions are worse than no words at all,” Greear said in what is his latest update on the Sexual Abuse Advisory Study he and the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) initiated in 2018. Victims “want to see ... that we care enough about this issue to do whatever it takes to make our churches safe for survivors and safe from abuse.”
Greear offered eight updated action steps for churches after messengers approved an SBC bylaw amendment and a constitutional amendment addressing sexual abuse, although the constitutional amendment can only become effective if two-thirds of messengers in 2020 also approve. Greear’s recommendations also follow 10 calls to action against sex abuse Greear issued at the February SBC Executive Committee meeting in Nashville.
In a press conference Greear hosted at the close of the annual meeting, he affirmed progress made in Birmingham not only in dealing with sexual abuse, but in race relations and in clarifying the gospel roles of women.
“It was a defining moment in regards to what kind of witnesses we are going to be,” he said. “I believe the right tone was set in some of these discussions.”
Addressing sexual abuse in particular is an ongoing commitment, he said at the press conference.
“We’ve tried to be very clear that this is not something to put on a list and check off and say, OK, we dealt with that in 2019,” Greear said. “This is a milestone in something that will go on for the rest of our lives. It is the inculcation of certain values, and the inculcation of an awareness in a way of approaching things that will not just shape 2019, but will shape future generations.
“And I believe it was done in pursuit of our mission. This is the way that God teaches us to be,” Greear said, “because the gospel teaches us to not only protect the vulnerable, but to lay down our lives for the vulnerable like God did. And we believe that the reflection of that is that we are doing everything we can do to make our churches safe places for the vulnerable and to make them safe from abuse.”
Churches should be willing to do the necessary work to make churches safe, said Greear, pastor of The Summit Church in Raleigh-Durham, N.C., in his report preceding the press conference.
“Is not the integrity of our gospel witness worth this price?” Greear posed. “And yes if some churches have to go the extra mile to demonstrate they are above reproach in this area, that should be a price that they are eager and willing to pay.
“So Southern Baptists at this moment we have to ask ourselves, and I ask you – are you ready to do all that you can to confront this Southern Baptist abuse crisis for the sake of the people that God gave into our care, and for the sake of the gospel witness and its integrity?”
Greear and others bathed his report in prayers of lament, repentance, sorrow and guidance, including a prayer offered by Mary DeMuth, a survivor, author and advocate. DeMuth is featured in the “Caring Well” report the Sexual Abuse Advisory Study issued June 8. Greear invited abuse survivors, and friends of survivors, to stand on the convention floor as prayers were offered.
“Our majestic, sovereign, empathetic, beautiful Father in heaven, we repent of how we have failed to love those who struggle in our midst,” DeMuth prayed, “and we recognize Your holy rumblings in the midst of the sexual abuse crisis. We have not always wept with those who weep. We have not always crossed the street with the Good Samaritan, inconveniencing ourselves for those who bleed.
“We have sometimes preferred our institutions and systems to the cries of the wounded in our midst,” she confessed to God. “We have failed to acknowledge the very real grief and trauma of survivors, abandoning them to feel alone, bereft and untouchable.... We have not rightly understood the nature of wolves in our midst, and there have been times when we jumped to believe their howls of innocence over the cries of those they have devoured,” she prayed in part.
Greear encouraged churches not to hide behind autonomy, which has never precluded accountability. Action is critical, Greear said, but success will only come by God’s hand.
In his eight updated action steps, Greear urged churches to unite together with:
– The right heart, grievously lamenting the presence of abuse in our churches and taking responsibility for getting rid of it.
– The right public statements. “Let me be clear, statements are not enough, but our statements can signal our intentions and our resolve.”
– The right partnerships. What must continue, Greear said, are partnerships already initiated among Southern Baptist seminaries and other entities, state conventions and associations addressing the issue.
– The right training. The ERLC is unprecedented, Greear said, in scrapping plans already made for its national conference and redesigning it to address abuse prevention, awareness and care Oct. 3-5 in Dallas.
– The right resources. Also available is the new multimedia resource, “Becoming a Church that Cares Well for the Abused,” developed by LifeWay Christian Resources, ERLC and the advisory group. The SBC distributed the free resource to messengers.
– The right governing documents.
– The right ministry screening process for ordination.
– The right unified call to action. Initiating the recommended steps and using available resources across the SBC family is important to successfully tackling the issue, Greear said.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Diana Chandler is Baptist Press’ general assignment writer/editor. Reprinted from Baptist Press, baptistpress.com, news service of the Southern Baptist Convention.)

6/13/2019 4:32:15 PM by Diana Chandler, Baptist Press | with 0 comments

Diversity expands among SBC boards, committees

June 13 2019 by Art Toalston, Baptist Press

Diversity among Southern Baptists was conveyed via two key committee reports approved at the SBC annual meeting in Birmingham, Ala., June 12.

Photo by Lindy Lynch
“The conversation about diversity is starting to yield a culture of diversity,” said Bucky Kennedy, chairman of the SBC’s Committee on Nominations during the morning session of the SBC annual meeting.

“The conversation about diversity is starting to yield a culture of diversity,” said Bucky Kennedy, chairman of the SBC’s Committee on Nominations, which recommends the trustees for the SBC’s entities and members of its standing committees, including the newly repurposed Credentials Committee to make inquiries and recommendations for action regarding church departures from Southern Baptist beliefs regarding such issues as sexual abuse that call a church’s standing into question.
“What I experienced through working with this committee,” said Kennedy, an evangelist from Gainesville, Ga., “is what I believe every Southern Baptist really wants: an opportunity to come together, to work together for a cause bigger than any Southern Baptist church or church member – the cause of Christ in reaching every tongue and every tribe.”
Sky Pratt, chairman of this year’s Committee on Committees, which nominated members of the coming year’s 68-member Committee on Nominations, noted that “a commitment to biblical authority is necessary to preserve the confessional identity of our institutions.
“Likewise, a commitment to personal holiness is necessary to preserve the moral character of our institutions,” Pratt, executive pastor-mobilization at Prince Avenue Baptist Church in Bogart, Ga., continued.
“And if our institutions are to serve well the diverse congregations that are generously underwriting them through the Cooperative Program, they must also be governed by trustee boards that resemble the beauty of heaven.”
Messengers approved 150-plus new or renominated trustees and committee members among nearly 600 who serve in the convention, declining a motion for a substitute to one of the Credentials Committee nominees, in votes taken by raising their printed ballots.
Kennedy reported that 32 percent of the new trustees and committee members are female or non-Caucasian. Their churches averaged 7.25 percent in giving through the Cooperative Program for Southern Baptist missions and ministries in their states and across the nation and world.
And for the first time, International Mission Board trustees were elected from eight conventions – Alaska, Hawaii, Montana, Iowa, Wyoming, Minnesota-Wisconsin, Utah-Idaho and the Dakotas – under newly expanded representation from smaller-membership areas.
The Committee on Nominations for 2020, meanwhile, will be 62 percent female or non-Caucasian, Pratt reported to messengers, describing it as “truly historic.” By gender, the committee will have 41 men and 27 women.
The average Cooperative Program giving is just under 6 percent by the churches of the new Committee on Nominations members, Pratt said. The average age is 46, with a range of 22-81; the average size of their churches is 687, ranging from 15 to 6,500.
The Committee on Nominations report included seven of the nine members of the new Credentials Committee.
Three of the nominations originated with the Executive Committee, in accordance with the SBC bylaw change that created the new standing committee: Linda Cooper of Bowling Green, Ky.; Stacey Bramlett of Collierville, Tenn.; and Mike Lawson of Sherman, Texas.
The four members nominated directly by the Committee on Nominations were Jimmy Draper of Euless, Texas; Cheryl Rice of Clearwater, Fla.; Greg Fields of Las Vegas; and Roger Spradlin of Bakersfield, Calif.
The final two members forming the Credentials Committee, according to the new SBC bylaw passed by messengers June 11, are the Executive Committee’s chairman, Mike Stone of Blackshear, Ga., and Kathy Litton, the SBC’s newly elected registration secretary from Saraland, Ala.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Art Toalston is senior editor of Baptist Press. Reprinted from Baptist  Press, baptistpress.com, news service of the Southern Baptist Convention.)

6/13/2019 4:23:45 PM by Art Toalston, Baptist Press | with 0 comments

8,183: SBC’s unofficial Birmingham registration

June 13 2019 by Brian Koonce, The Pathway

The Southern Baptist Convention’s (SBC) annual meeting drew 8,183 messengers to Birmingham, Ala., June 11-12, outgoing SBC registration secretary Don Currence said in releasing the unofficial total.

Photo by Matt Miller
The Southern Baptist Convention’s annual meeting drew an unofficial total of 8,183 messengers to Birmingham, Ala., outgoing SBC registration secretary Don Currence reported.

Official attendance numbers will be released later in June, Currence, of First Baptist Church in Ozark, Mo., said.
There were nearly 2,000 registered guests plus more than 1,800 registered exhibitors, bringing the total to almost 12,000 in the second time the annual meeting has been in Birmingham; the first time, in 1941, saw an attendance of 5,884.
Newly elected SBC registration secretary Kathy Litton, director of planter spouse development for the North American Mission Board, will assume registration duties for the 2020 meeting in Orlando, Fla.
Alabama Baptist churches turned out in force in Birmingham; their 1,366 messenger total was the largest among the states. Nearby Georgia was second at 834 messengers, with Tennessee at 738. State-by-state numbers do not include guests, children or exhibitors.
The unofficial state-by-state messenger registration numbers are: Alaska, 17; Alabama, 1,366; Arkansas, 239; Arizona, 52; California, 129; Colorado, 27; Connecticut, 2; Washington, D.C., 15; Delaware, 12; Florida, 579; Georgia, 834; Hawaii, 13; Iowa, 10; Idaho, 5; Illinois, 146; Indiana, 82; Kansas, 36; Kentucky, 480; Louisiana, 389; Massachusetts, 14; Maryland, 76; Michigan, 39; Minnesota, 3; Missouri, 263; Mississippi, 522; Montana, 7; North Carolina, 450; Nebraska, 4; New Hampshire, 3; New Jersey, 15; New Mexico, 42; Nevada, 24; New York, 35; Ohio, 115; Oklahoma, 155; Oregon, 10; Pennsylvania, 26; Puerto Rico, 11; Rhode Island, 2; South Carolina, 319; South Dakota, 10; Tennessee, 738; Texas, 515; Utah, 5; Virginia, 187; Vermont, 4; Washington, 14; Wisconsin, 8; West Virginia, 35; Wyoming, 5.
Messenger registration for last year’s SBC annual meeting in Dallas totaled 9,637.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Brian Koonce is assistant editor for The Pathway, news journal of the Missouri Baptist Convention. Reprinted from Baptist Press, baptistpress.com, news service of the Southern Baptist Convention.)

6/13/2019 4:19:30 PM by Brian Koonce, The Pathway | with 0 comments

Messengers elect Committee on Nominations

June 13 2019 by Baptist Press Staff

Messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) have elected the 68-member Committee on Nominations for 2019-2020 to represent the 34 states or territories qualified for representation on the committee according to SBC Bylaw 30.
The committee, with at least one layperson from each qualified state or territory, was elected during the June 11-12 SBC annual meeting in Birmingham.
The committee will make nominations to messengers at the June 2019 SBC Annual Meeting in Birmingham, Ala., for trustees to the SBC boards and committees.
An asterisk denotes the committee member is a layperson. All others are church vocation workers.
ALABAMA – Craig Carlisle, First Baptist Church, Gadsden; *Jarman Leatherwood, House of Hope and Restoration Church, Huntsville.
ALASKA – *Dana Belmore, True North Church, Anchorage; *Paul Fernandez, Filipino Bible Church, Anchorage.
ARIZONA – *Simone Lake, Church on Randall Place, Pine; *James Main, North Phoenix Baptist Church, Phoenix.
ARKANSAS – Clay Cunningham, First Baptist Church, Benton; *Erin Wheeler, University Baptist Church, Fayetteville.
CALIFORNIA – *Eric Tibayan, Bethany Baptist Church, Bellflower; *Milton Loy, Reach For The Son Church, Poway.
COLORADO – Breck Merkle, First Baptist Church of Black Forest, Colorado Springs; *Dianne Lewis, Denver Christian Bible Church, Denver.
FLORIDA – Beverly Bonner, Family Church, West Palm Beach; *Eduardo Astigarraga, Riverside Baptist Church, Miami.
GEORGIA – *Carla Sibley, First Baptist Church, Watkinsville; *Tyrone Barnette, Peace Baptist Church, Decatur.
HAWAII/PACIFIC – Larry Hale, Eleele Baptist Church, Eleele, Hawaii; *Annie Lam, Hawaii Chinese Baptist Church, Honolulu.
ILLINOIS – Bryan Price, Love Fellowship Baptist Church, Romeoville; *Doug Nguyen, Uptown Baptist Church, Chicago.
INDIANA – James Bohrer, Hope Community Church, Brownsburg; *Mike Schloss, Oakhill Baptist Church, Evansville.
KANSAS/NEBRASKA – Marty McCord, First Southern Baptist Church, Coffeyville, Kan.; *Susan Pedersen Prairie Hills Southern Baptist Church, Augusta, Kan.
KENTUCKY – *Torey Beth Thompson, Bloomfield Baptist Church, Bloomfield; *John Kloke, First Baptist Church, Henderson.
LOUISIANA – Jason Thomas, Fellowship Church, Prairieville; *Laura Muckleroy, First Baptist Church, West Monroe.
MARYLAND-DELEWARE-D.C. – Larry Lin, Village Church, Baltimore, Md.; *Loretta Jones, Montrose Baptist Church, Rockville, Md.
MICHIGAN – Bob Johnson, Cornerstone Baptist Church, Roseville; *Nick Staley, ONElife Church, Flint.
MISSISSIPPI – Scott Hanberry, Hardy Street Baptist Church, Hattiesburg; *Cassidy Sager, Carterville Baptist Church, Petal.
MISSOURI – *Jordan Wade, Mosaic Bible Fellowship, Kansas City; *Ulysses Ross, WORD Church, St. Louis.
NEVADA – Michelle Dickens, vice chair, Hope Church, Las Vegas; *Waithira Gruger, WALK Church, Las Vegas.
NEW ENGLAND – Daniel Coleman, Central Church, Augusta; *Katlynne Mirabal, Seacoast Community Church, Portsmouth.
NEW MEXICO – Aaron Colyer, First Baptist Church, Roswell; *Janelle Miller, First Baptist Church, Tularosa.
NEW YORK – *Maryanna Lilly, Starpoint Church, Clifton Park; Stephen Stallard, Mosaic Baptist Church, Brooklyn.
NORTH CAROLINA – Andrew Hopper, chair, Mercy Hill Church, Greensboro; *Missy Speir, Mercy Church, Charlotte.
NORTHWEST – Nate McGlinchy, BridgeCity Church, Snohomish, Wash.; *Aubrey Beard, Pathway Church, Gresham, Ore.
OHIO – Danny Stringer, Hill Station Baptist Church, Goshen; *Kari Ortega, H20 Wright State Church, Fairborn.
OKLAHOMA – Jim Lehew, Emmaus Baptist Church, Oklahoma City; *Stephanie Egert, Henderson Hills Baptist Church, Edmond.
PENNSYLVANIA/SOUTH JERSEY – Josea Gonzalez, Iglesia Bautista Salem Baptist Church, Elizabeth, N.J.; *Valerie Cook-Henry, Ezekiel Baptist Church, Philadelphia, Pa.
SOUTH CAROLINA – Stephen Splawn, Willow Ridge Baptist Church, Lexington; *Angela McKnight, North Anderson Baptist Church, Anderson.
TENNESSEE – Mark Whitt, Calvary Baptist Church, Murfreesboro; *Carmen Echols, Brown Missionary Baptist Church, Southaven, Miss.
TEXAS – Luis Canchola, Baptist Temple Church, McAllen; *Chinyere Shanea Branch, Creekstone Church, Keller.
UTAH/IDAHO – Matt McGukin, Calvary Baptist Church, Idaho Falls, Idaho; *Larry Bodden, Redemption Church, Ogden, Utah.
VIRGINIA – Doug Ponder, Remnant Church, Richmond; *Lidia Payan, Iglesia De Las Americas, Lynchburg.
WEST VIRGINIA – Travis Rucker, Good Shepherd Baptist Church, Scott Depot; *Jordan Craigo, Resurrection Church, Charleston.
WYOMING – Danny Smith, Expedition Church, Laramie; *Frank Ley, First Baptist Church, Worland.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Reprinted from Baptist Press, baptistpress.com, news service of the Southern Baptist Convention.)

6/13/2019 4:13:26 PM by Baptist Press Staff | with 0 comments

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