May 2018

9Marks, B21, Connect 316 among events for SBC attendees

May 18 2018 by Baptist Press staff

Several Christian ministries – including 9Marks, Baptist21 and Connect 316 – will offer events on topics ranging from the future of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) to the doctrine of salvation for messengers and others attending the SBC’s June 12-13 annual meeting in Dallas.
Among them are the following:


9Marks, a ministry to help pastors grow healthy churches, will hold panel discussions Monday and Tuesday, June 11-12, from 9-10:30 p.m. in room D1-4, Level 3, of the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center. The June 11 discussion will focus on the topic “nations raging, church unchanging” and feature 9Marks editorial director Jonathan Leeman and 9Marks co-founder Mark Dever, pastor of Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington. The June 12 discussion will focus on the current state of the SBC and will feature Dever; SBC Pastors’ Conference President H.B. Charles, pastor of Shiloh Metropolitan Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Fla.; Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary President Danny Akin; and The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary President R. Albert Mohler Jr. Admission is free to both events.


Baptist21 (B21) will host a June 12 luncheon and panel discussion on “United and Diverse: Critical Issues for our Cooperative Future,” according to an email from the group. The gathering will convene during the SBC annual meeting’s lunch break in Room D1-4, Level 3, of the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center. Panelists will include Matt Chandler, pastor of The Village Church in Flower Mound, Texas, and president of the Acts 29 church planting network; The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary President R. Albert Mohler Jr.; Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission President Russell Moore; Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware Executive Director Kevin Smith; and Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary President Danny Akin. Registration at is $13 until May 18 and $16 thereafter. B21 was founded by younger Southern Baptists to address issues relevant to Southern Baptists in the 21st century.

Connect 316

Connect 316 will host a “celebration” dessert and coffee fellowship June 11 immediately following the Pastors’ Conference evening session, beginning at approximately 8:45 p.m. in Ballroom H of the Omni Dallas Hotel. The first 300 guests will receive a complimentary copy of Ken Hemphill’s book Unlimited: God’s Love, Atonement, and Mission. Guests will be introduced to organizations advocating what Connect 316 calls a traditionalist view of the doctrine of salvation. The organizations to be represented include SBC Today, TrueLife, Soteriology 101 and Baptist Strong. The Jerry Vines Award will be presented jointly to David Allen, dean of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary’s school of preaching, and Steve Lemke, New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary’s vice president for institutional assessment. Featured speakers include Richard Land, former president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, and Ken Hemphill, former president of Southwestern Seminary and a candidate for SBC president. The event is free, but registration is required at According to the group’s website, Connect316 is a ministry fellowship that affirms a doctrine of salvation between that of Calvinism and Arminianism, holding that Christ died for the sins of every person.

The Fellowship of Baptist World Ministries

The Fellowship of Baptist World Ministries will host a breakfast Monday, June 11, at 7:30 a.m. at the Omni Dallas Hotel in the Deep Ellum A Room. A keynote address will be from Elijah A., a Christian worker who is equipping pastors to share the gospel in areas of the world where there is little access to it. His last name is withheld for security purposes. To make reservations, email Rodney Cavett, the organization’s president, at The Fellowship of Baptist World Ministries is an association of mission organizations who work in covenant with the International Mission Board to conduct evangelism and discipleship throughout the world.

Replicate Ministries

Replicate Ministries will offer brief assessment meetings in the SBC exhibit hall daily with pastors and church leaders to provide free, customized disciplemaking plans for their church contexts. Details and appointment bookings are available at Additionally, Replicate will be giving away copies of a book each day including, MARCS of a Disciple, The Heart of a Disciplemaker and The Gospel Conversation.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Compiled by David Roach, chief national correspondent for Baptist Press, the Southern Baptist Convention’s news service.)

5/18/2018 9:40:19 AM by Baptist Press staff | with 0 comments

Filipinos to expand ministry offerings

May 18 2018 by David Roach, Baptist Press

Considering an executive director job description and hearing proposals for new ministry initiatives will be among highlights of the Filipino Southern Baptist Fellowship of North America’s annual meeting in conjunction with the Southern Baptist Convention’s (SBC) annual meeting in Dallas.

Baptist Press file photo by Adam Covington
Leaders pray before the Filipino Southern Baptist Fellowship’s 2017 annual meeting in Mesa, Ariz.

The fellowship will gather Tuesday, June 12 at 8:30 a.m. at Dallas Metroplex International Church, less than 20 minutes from the site of the SBC annual meeting. The theme of the Filipino Fellowship’s meeting is “Together for the Gospel,” based on 1 Corinthians 3:8-9.
A worship service will feature preaching by Russell Diwa, pastor of Biblical Community Church in Richardson, Texas, and music led by the host church’s worship team. Jeremy Sin, a national church planting catalyst for the North American Mission Board, will bring greetings.
The executive director job description will be presented by the Filipino Fellowship’s officers, as directed by attendees at last year’s annual meeting in Phoenix. At the 2017 meeting, Florida pastor Dan Santiago was nominated as the fellowship’s first executive director. While the body supported his leadership, attendees asked the officers to clarify the role of an executive director and postponed a vote on Santiago.
“Hopefully, by next year we will be able to identify the potential executive director of our group,” said Santiago, pastor of Covenant Christian Church in Jacksonville, “somebody who will be able to work with our fellowship on a regular basis,” possibly as an unpaid volunteer initially.
Several ministry proposals will be presented at the annual meeting in an effort to “become an association focused more on different ministries we can do for our churches,” Santiago said. “For many years,” emphasis has been on worshiping together “and spending time with each other. But we don’t have formal ministries that we are doing as a fellowship.”
One ministry proposal involves providing training for pastors and churches on topics like conflict resolution and best practices for pastor search committees. Another proposal involves connecting Filipino church planters with individuals who want to help support them – an initiative to bolster the fellowship’s goal of planting 100 new Filipino churches between 2015 and 2020.
Because the success of Filipino Fellowship ministries depends on participation, Santiago said, the group’s officers are encouraging more churches to join. Of approximately 200 Filipino Southern Baptist churches, only about 40 currently are fellowship members, he said.
“We’re expecting more,” Santiago said. “Now that the meeting is getting closer, some churches are coming in and joining us. Our goal is to reach 50 [churches] by June.”
To register for the annual meeting, email Santiago at The fellowship has a Facebook page and will post updates on the June gathering as it approaches.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – David Roach is chief national correspondent for Baptist Press, the Southern Baptist Convention’s news service.)

5/18/2018 9:37:03 AM by David Roach, Baptist Press | with 0 comments

Native Americans to discuss gospel contextualization

May 18 2018 by Karen L. Willoughby, Baptist Press

A presentation of the gospel message to demonstrate a contextual way of ministering to unreached and under-reached Native people will be part of the Fellowship of Native American Christians’ (FoNAC) annual meeting in June.

Submitted photo
Warren “Junior” Pratt and the Tribe of Judah Native Dance Ministry will be featured during the annual meeting of the Fellowship of Native American Christians Monday morning June 11 prior to the Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting in Dallas.

“Everyone is welcome,” FoNAC Executive Director Gary Hawkins told Baptist Press (BP). “In the past few years some have told me they would’ve enjoyed attending our meeting but thought it was only for Indians, which is far from the message FoNAC wants to project.
“People of all ethnicities should attend this gathering to get an update as to what has been done and what is coming, and to get an idea of how they can join and become a partner with FoNAC, to see how they can reach out in their city.
The FoNAC meeting, at 10 a.m. Monday, June 11, will be in Room A115-117, Level 1, at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center, in conjunction with the June 12-13 annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention.
“FoNAC is sure to receive feedback regarding this year’s featured speaker and visual presentation, some of which may be negative but hopefully most will be positive,” Hawkins said.
“Contextualized ministry that doesn’t compromise scripture may look different to some but not to God. The 567 tribes of the United States are very unique and diverse in who they are and their worldview and we must explore new bridges to overcome barriers.”
In addition to the contextual-themed presentation and worship led by Warren “Junior” Pratt and his family, known as the Tribe of Judah Native Dance Ministry, FoNAC’s annual meeting will include reports from the executive director and groups in attendance who minister in a Native peoples’ context as well as descriptions of an upcoming training conference and a new ministry outreach tool specifically for Native Americans.
Pratt, in bringing the annual message, said he plans to illustrate with the Pawnee regalia he will be wearing the way Native Americans might see the scriptural command to put on the whole armor of God.
“As the world we live in today has changed, the need for God’s protection and our watchfulness has increased,” Pratt told BP. “The whole armor of God is vital to our ability to stand in this day and age.”
Pratt, chief of the Skidi band of the Pawnee nation and pastor of First Indian Baptist Church in Cushing, Okla., and his wife Christa developed their Tribe of Judah Native Dance Ministry to share the gospel in a culturally relevant way.
The Pratts, with three of their five children – Cora, 10, Adam, 9 and Andy, 4 – will present Pawnee hymns accompanied with a hand-drum and creative movements to tell contextualized parables, such as a butterfly dance performed by Cora that depicts the new life in Christ.
Reaching Native Americans in the nation’s cities and the pitfalls of syncretism will be among the topics discussed during the FoNAC meeting.
“Some people have the idea you have to stop being Indian to be a Christian,” Hawkins said. “This is a way of saying, ‘as long as it’s not compromising scripture.’ As the apostle Paul said, ‘I have become all things to all people.’”
Syncretism, the blending of two or more religious belief systems, is one of the dangers inherent in reaching Native peoples with the gospel message, Hawkins said.
“There are so many Native people in our cities that are being untouched by the traditional church, or they attend a traditional church but sometimes long to be among tribal people, to hear the tribal songs and hear topics addressed relevant to them,” the FoNAC executive director said. “We’re not trying to make people be isolationists. We’re trying to make an open door for people seeking God in a way that’s culturally relevant.”

FoNAC business

Hawkins, in his report as FoNAC executive director, is expected to talk about the places he’s been and the people he’s talked with over the last year in Illinois, Minnesota, Florida and elsewhere.
“Several tribal members from various tribes were ‘transplanted’ into the larger cities of the United States as a result of the Indian Relocation Act of 1956,” Hawkins wrote in his November 2017 newsletter posted on the website. “This law intended to encourage Native Americans in the United States to leave Indian reservations, acquire vocational skills, and assimilate into the general population. Sadly, this proved to only displace many Native People. ...”
A training event for Native American ministers and about ministering in a Native American context is in the planning stages for this fall. Details will be provided at the FoNAC meeting.
FoNAC assisted Phil Lawrence, longtime Southern Baptist pastor of Native churches, as he compiled a collection of 16 testimonies of Native American men, titled, “Jesus Made the Difference,” which is available online, in PDF form, as a ministry tool, at
“This booklet will potentially be a great way for people to become aware of issues Native Americans deal with on a regular basis, how the struggles have been detrimental to them, and showing the battles they have in becoming Christians,” Hawkins said. “It will be valuable for people wanting to minister among Native Americans, and for Native Americans curious about this Christian faith.”
One need that has surfaced as Hawkins has talked with Native American Christians is theological resources in print form for those who don’t have access to computers or the internet. With FoNAC’s bare-bones budget, however, shipping books donated to FoNAC is not an option.
FoNAC’s executive board is in discussion about alternatives, such as a FoNAC-based registry to connect donors and recipients, with the donors covering the cost. Good study Bibles are needed, along with concordances, commentaries and related helps for pastors and leaders. “We don’t have it all nailed down how it will be done,” Hawkins said.
The FoNAC meeting also will be a time for those interested in ministering among Native Americans to exchange ideas, fellowship with and encourage each other.
“I love getting together at our gatherings with likeminded people with a passion of impacting lostness with the message of Jesus Christ,” Hawkins said. “As scripture says, ‘As iron sharpens iron.’ We encourage each other, and what I see are big journeys starting with small steps.”
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Karen L. Willoughby is a national correspondent for Baptist Press, online news service of the Southern Baptist Convention.)

5/18/2018 9:32:36 AM by Karen L. Willoughby, Baptist Press | with 0 comments

Korean Council to consider pastor retirement funding

May 18 2018 by Karen L. Willoughby, Baptist Press

Discussions about helping pastors get started with a retirement plan and mentoring younger pastors are on the agenda of the Council of Korean Southern Baptist Churches in America’s annual meeting in Dallas.

Baptist Press file photo by Van Payne
Gi Yoal Bahn, president of the Council of Korean Southern Baptist Churches in America, calls for a vote on the organization’s new constitution at the group’s 2017 meeting in Phoenix.

The Korean Council’s June 11-13 sessions, which take place during the week of the Southern Baptist Convention’s (SBC) annual meeting and related gatherings, will be hosted by Semihan Church in Carrollton, where Byeong Rack Choi is pastor.
“This year is kind of special for me because this is my first” as executive director of the Korean Council, James Kang told Baptist Press (BP). “I think if we can get together to help each other, we will make wonderful things happen.” Kang, formerly a pastor in Beaverton, Ore., was elected last year to his post.
“If we are doing ministry by ourselves locally, we can only do so much, but when we are all together, we can do so much more, praying together, working together, helping each other,” Kang continued. “The Council of Korean Southern Baptist Churches in America is for getting together, getting our hearts together, to help each other for the Kingdom of God.”
The Korean Council is a fellowship of about 850 Southern Baptist churches that increasingly are adding English-language services and ministries in addition to those in the Korean language.
SBC entity leaders will continue to be invited to attend the Korean Council so “they can speak and people can better understand what the SBC is doing and be more involved in the Cooperative Program and other ministries,” Kang said.
Guest speakers scheduled this year are Seung Jung, pastor of Everlove Baptist Church in Daejeon, South Korea, among the most influential churches in the Asian nation; Paige Patterson, president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas; and David Platt, president of the International Mission Board.
Other guests from Korea are expected to include the president and executive secretary of the Korea Baptist Convention (KBC), the president and the vice president of Korea Baptist Seminary, and the presidents of the KBC’s Home and Foreign Mission Boards.
The Koreans’ annual theme and scripture will echo the 2018 SBC Annual Meeting’s “Testify! Go. Stand. Speak.” from Acts 5:20 – “Go and stand in the temple, and tell the people all about this life” (CSB).
One mainstay of the Korean Council is the inclusion of Korean food for each of the meal and snack times. This year, Korean churches in the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex will pay for and prepare three traditional Korean meals for 1,000 people, starting with the evening meal Monday, June 11, at Semihan Church. The Korean Council will provide two meals. Breakfast is available at the headquarters hotel, Omni Dallas at Park West, which is a five-minute shuttle ride to and from the church.
The 37th annual meeting of the Korean Council will move from the meal time Monday evening to a worship service expected to last until about 9:30 p.m. A 6 a.m. hour-long prayer service at the hotel will start activities Tuesday and Wednesday morning.
Tuesday morning’s worship service will be followed by workshops, which are to be led by directors of the Korean fellowship’s departments: Education, Second Generation, Women, Brotherhood, Home Missions, Foreign Missions, Pastoral Care and Seminary.
Attendees will be encouraged to participate in the Tuesday afternoon sessions of the SBC’s annual meeting, with transportation provided to the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center and back to the hotel for the evening meal and worship service.
The Wednesday sessions will include business items of the fellowship. In addition to adopting a new budget and electing officers, two initiatives of the Korean fellowship’s executive board will be discussed.
“Over half of the pastors do not have a GuideStone [Financial Resources] retirement plan yet,” Kang said. “The main reason is that the church is not strong enough to provide, and some churches do not even know about it. We are trying to help churches to start putting money in a retirement fund for the pastor.”
The executive board’s initial suggestion – up for discussion Wednesday morning – is for the Korean Council to give $50 each month for 12 months to 100 pastors, and in each of the following four years to do the same for an additional 100 pastors to get the churches started on providing a retirement plan for their pastors.
“Another project is the Mentor/Coaching Relationship Development,” Kang said. “It’s very important that young pastors have someone to coach them, to help them strengthen their skills and give a lot of encouragement, to pray for them and guide them.”
The Korean Council wants to link those who want to be coached with those who want to coach, the executive director said. “Perhaps the churches can support each other,” he added.
The Korean Council’s annual meeting also includes gatherings for preschoolers, children, youth and women concurrent with the main sessions.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Karen L. Willoughby is a national correspondent for Baptist Press.)

5/18/2018 9:28:25 AM by Karen L. Willoughby, Baptist Press | with 0 comments

Messianics to finalize restructuring plan

May 18 2018 by David Roach, Baptist Press

The Southern Baptist Messianic Fellowship (SBMF) will finalize an organizational restructuring plan, hear reports of Jewish evangelism and potentially discuss electing an executive director when the group gathers in Dallas in conjunction with the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) annual meeting.

Baptist Press photo by Bill Bangham
Bruce Stokes, left to right, Mike Saffle and Jamal Bishara pray before the beginning of a joint worship service of the First Arabic Baptist Church in Phoenix and the Southern Baptist Messianic Fellowship prior to the 2017 SBC Annual Meeting in Phoenix.

SBMF members and guests will convene Sunday, June 10, at noon for a lunch meeting at TGI Fridays, 1713 North Market St. in Dallas. The business portion of the gathering likely will be brief, SBMF President Ric Worshill said.
The restructuring plan entails delegating more responsibility to SBMF officers and ministry leaders to facilitate support of SBMF personnel in the U.S., Canada, Israel, Russia, South America and elsewhere. While some SBMF members serving in Jewish evangelism ministries are International Mission Board or North American Mission Board missionaries, Worshill said many are self-supported and depend on resources and encouragement from the fellowship.
“We’re restructuring so we can better take care of our people,” Worshill said. SBMF members “are spread out all over the world.”
Worshill will report on a mid-April meeting of the Lausanne Consultation on Jewish Evangelism (LCJE), a global organization that develops strategies to reach Jewish people with the gospel. SBMF is an organizational member of the LCJE.
“In Jewish evangelism, we have to work with all the different groups” seeking to win Jews to faith in Christ,” Worshill said.
In Dallas, an SBMF member may raise the idea of amending the Messianic fellowship’s constitution to establish the position of executive director, Worshill said. Such a decision may have to be finalized at a later date.
As workers at the Many Faces of the SBC booth in the SBC exhibit hall, SBMF members will help believers of various ethnicities connect with ethnic fellowships, said Worshill, a member of the SBC Executive Committee’s Convention Advancement Council, which promotes ethnic ministry and involvement in Southern Baptist life.
Churches and individuals are invited to contact SBMF for training in how to reach Jewish people with the news that Jesus is the promised Messiah of the Old Testament.
“The most important part of the Southern Baptist Messianic Fellowship,” Worshill said, is to be “a resource to the Southern Baptist Convention for those people who live in areas where there are people of Jewish background who need to hear the gospel.”
Questions and reservations for the Dallas SBMF meeting can be sent via the group’s website at
(EDITOR’S NOTE – David Roach is chief national correspondent for Baptist Press, the Southern Baptist Convention’s news service.)

5/18/2018 9:23:38 AM by David Roach, Baptist Press | with 0 comments

Coffee, tweets or Jesus: Bible ranks low as daily must

May 17 2018 by Diana Chandler, Baptist Press

The Bible tops coffee, social media and sweets as a daily necessity for only 16 percent of the population, according to new research commissioned by the American Bible Society (ABS).
The largest segment of Americans, 37 percent, see coffee as a top essential, the 2018 State of the Bible report said. Dessert topped the list for 28 percent, compared to 19 percent who chose social media.
More than half of adults, or 58 percent, said they wished they read the Bible more often.
In similar research released by the Pew Research Center, African Americans read the Bible more often than other ethnicities and cite particular comfort in the Exodus account of the Israelites’ deliverance from slavery.
More than half of Christian and non-Christian blacks in the U.S., 54 percent, say they read the Bible at least once weekly outside of religious services, Pew said. The percentage falls to 38 percent for Hispanics and 32 percent for whites.
In the ABS State of the Bible report, scripture was considered a daily necessity among a small segment of the population researchers judged as “Bible-centered.” Among those approximately nine percent of Americans, 61 percent chose the Bible as more essential than other options. Bible-centered people said the book offers hope and peace.
“The Bible provides the wisdom of the ages for today’s fears, challenges and struggles,” ABS president and CEO Roy Peterson said upon the report’s release. “We are finding the more engaged with the Bible someone is, the more hopeful and peaceful they are.”

State of the Bible

Among 16 percent of Americans the ABS termed “Bible-engaged,” 43 percent chose the Bible as the top daily necessity among choices given, compared to 21 percent of people described as “Bible-friendly.”
The ABS report used 14 questions to determine a respondent’s state of Bible engagement, focusing on how often people read the Bible, how scripture makes them feel and how it influences their daily behavior.
Researchers deduced that nine percent of the population is Bible-engaged, and 16 percent ranks as Bible-centered. More than half of the population, 54 percent, is described as “Bible-disengaged,” indicating Bible usage either not at all or only once or twice yearly, according to the study accessible at Other population segments are Bible-friendly (15 percent), and Bible-neutral, 5 percent. Barna Research Group conducted the study for ABS.
People relying on coffee, sweets and social media are more fearful today than in the past, researchers found. The largest segment of respondents, 42 percent, said they are more fearful today, with women and millennials registering higher levels of fear than other subsets.
Fear levels were lower among those termed Bible-centered. Among those, 41 percent said they felt peaceful when reading the Bible, and 62 percent said their fear level had not risen in the past five years. A higher level of Bible engagement also signals more hope for the future.
ABS revealed public practices in reading, perceiving and responding to scripture, looking more closely at such practices in 2018 than in previous reports, the ABS said.
“We are now able to give better context into how Americans are or are not interacting with the Bible and how that impacts their lives,” Peterson said. “We are finding the more engaged with the Bible someone is, the more hopeful and peaceful they are, along with a greater awareness of their need for the Bible.”
Among other statistics the ABS released:

  • 89 percent of Bible-centered people and 80 percent of Bible-engaged people believe the book contains all knowledge a person needs to live a meaningful life, compared to 42 percent of the general population;
  • 66 percent of Bible-centered and 70 percent of Bible-engaged people believe the Bible has too little influence on U.S. society, compared to 41 percent of Americans in general;
  • Americans overwhelmingly believe morality and values are declining in the nation, including 89 percent of the Bible-engaged, 88 percent of the Bible-centered, and 79 percent of the general population.

Barna conducted its research nationwide in two polls, including an online survey of 1,063 adults and a telephone poll of 1,004.

Pew findings among blacks

Pew found that only 24 percent of blacks in the general population seldom or never read the Bible, compared with 50 percent of whites and 40 percent of Hispanics.
But among Protestants, Bible readership among blacks was about the same as readership among white evangelicals. Among historically black Protestants, who comprise over half of the black population, 61 percent read Scripture weekly outside of church, comparable to 63 percent of evangelicals.
Pew released its data May 9, based on an analysis of research conducted in its 2014 Religious Landscape Study of 35,000 Americans in 50 states.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Diana Chandler is Baptist Press’ general assignment writer/editor.)

5/17/2018 9:53:18 AM by Diana Chandler, Baptist Press | with 0 comments

Tennessee evangelist Jerry Drace to be 2nd VP nominee

May 17 2018 by David Roach, Baptist Press

Tennessee evangelist and pastor Jerry Drace will be nominated for second vice president of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), Union University professor Ernest Easley announced May 16.
A vocational evangelist for more than 40 years, Drace has preached in approximately 1,000 Southern Baptist churches and conducted 300 of his signature Hope of the Home conferences in the U.S. and Great Britain. For the past eight years, he has served as bivocational pastor at Friendship (Tenn.) Baptist Church, the west Tennessee congregation his father once pastored and where Drace came to faith in Christ.

Jerry Drace

Drace is a former president of the Conference of Southern Baptist Evangelists.
“Electing a longtime vocational evangelist/bivocational pastor as an officer of our convention will be another step toward getting our focus back on reaching the lost for Christ,” said Easley, professor of evangelism at Union. He added that Drace “has led his church to have a focus on getting the gospel to the world.”
The nomination will occur during the SBC’s June 12-13 annual meeting in Dallas.
Easley, a former chairman of the SBC Executive Committee, said Drace’s nomination is timely, given the “renewed emphasis on evangelism across the Southern Baptist Convention.”
In March, the Jerry Drace Evangelistic Association – which Drace founded in 1975 – sponsored the Evangelists’ Summit ’18 in Jackson, Tenn., according to SBC LIFE, the journal of the SBC Executive Committee. At the summit, 15 evangelists gathered to discuss how they can continue to help pastors amid declining use of vocational evangelists by churches.
Friendship told Baptist Press (BP) it gave 18 percent of its undesignated receipts last year in Great Commission Giving, including 9 percent through the Cooperative Program (CP). Giving data from the SBC’s Annual Church Profile and the Tennessee Baptist Mission Board varies slightly from that CP total, but such variance generally stems from a variety of factors such as different fiscal years, the timing of CP gifts sent to the state convention and differing accounting methods.
Great Commission Giving is a category of giving established by SBC action in 2011 that encompasses giving through CP, Southern Baptists’ unified program of funding state- and SBC-level ministries, as well as direct gifts to SBC entities, associational giving and giving to state convention ministries.
Friendship baptized approximately a dozen people last year, with an average worship attendance of 85-100, the church told BP.
Drace, the author of two books, has conducted numerous international crusades and preached at the 1984 SBC Pastors’ Conference.
He earned a bachelor of science degree from Union, a master of divinity from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and a doctor of ministry from Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary (now Gateway Seminary of the SBC).
He and his wife Becky have two adult children.
Drace is the second announced nominee for second vice president. Oklahoma pastor Felix Cabrera’s nomination was announced in March. Announced presidential nominees are North Carolina pastor J.D. Greear and former Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary President Ken Hemphill. Announced first vice presidential nominees are California pastor A.B. Vines and Southern Baptists of Texas Convention staff member Mike Gonzales.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – David Roach is chief national correspondent for Baptist Press, the Southern Baptist Convention’s news service.)

5/17/2018 9:52:35 AM by David Roach, Baptist Press | with 0 comments

SBC evangelism task force finalizes recommendations

May 17 2018 by David Roach, Baptist Press

With hopes of catalyzing “a fresh wave of evangelistic passion,” the Southern Baptist Convention’s (SBC) evangelism task force has finalized its recommendations to the convention and will release them a week before the SBC annual meeting in Dallas.

Photo by Adam Covington
The SBC’s evangelism task force unanimously adopted its recommendations to the convention during a May 14-15 meeting at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.

The task force, appointed last June by SBC President Steve Gaines, held its third and final meeting May 14-15 at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (SWBTS) in Fort Worth, Texas. In addition to adopting its recommendations unanimously, the 19-member group elected The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (SBTS) administrator Adam Greenway as vice chairman. SWBTS President Paige Patterson is chairman.
“We finalized several affirmations and denials regarding biblical evangelism that we believe will be readily embraced and adopted by the messengers of the SBC at our upcoming meeting in Dallas,” Gaines, pastor of Memphis-area Bellevue Baptist Church in Cordova, Tenn., told Baptist Press (BP) in written comments. “We also set forth several recommendations that relate to Southern Baptists on multiple levels. We believe these will strengthen and enhance our evangelistic efforts as we move forward to reach our world with the [g]ospel of Jesus Christ.”
Greenway, dean of SBTS’s Billy Graham School of Missions, Evangelism and Ministry, said the meeting “was characterized by constructive conversations about our report and recommendations.”
“The evangelization of the world remains our top priority as a convention of churches, and the prayer of all of us serving on this task force is that God will use our efforts to help bring us together by renewing our passion for and increasing our effectiveness in bringing people to Christ,” Greenway told BP in written comments.
Task force member Doug Munton said he is “encouraged by the brothers on the evangelism task force. They love the Lord, the SBC and the [g]ospel. It is my prayer that we see renewed passion for evangelism and the work of the Great Commission.”
The task force “has worked hard and prayed hard,” Munton, pastor of First Baptist Church in O’Fallon, Ill., told BP in written comments. “We know that we need a fresh wave of evangelistic passion, but we also need the presence and power of God. We won’t get it all right, being imperfect members of an imperfect convention in an imperfect world. We do pray we bring encouragement to the SBC to refocus our attention and energy on reaching the lost with the [g]ospel.”
The task force is scheduled to report Wednesday morning, June 13, at the SBC annual meeting.
Gaines thanked Southern Baptists for their prayers on behalf of the task force and requested continued prayer “for the SBC as we renew our commitment to take the [g]ospel to all people everywhere.”
See reports on the task force’s first two meetings here and here.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – David Roach is chief national correspondent for Baptist Press, the Southern Baptist Convention’s news service.)

5/17/2018 9:51:07 AM by David Roach, Baptist Press | with 0 comments

Timothy George to end 30 years as Beeson dean

May 17 2018 by Art Toalston, Baptist Press

Timothy George, founding dean of the interdenominational Beeson Divinity School at Samford University, has announced he will step down as dean by the end of the 2018-2019 academic year.
George, 68, who also is professor of divinity at Beeson, said in his May 16 announcement he will remain on the faculty, where he teaches church history and doctrine.

Timothy George

The divinity school, which describes itself as interdenominational and evangelical, is now marking its 30th year with 200 students. Beeson opened with 31 students in 1988. In its 30 years, it has sent out nearly 1,300 alumni.
In a Facebook post, George voiced gratitude to the school’s founding benefactor, the late Ralph Waldo Beeson, and other donors; “wise and supportive university administrators,” including two Samford presidents and five provosts; a “superb faculty and faithful staff”; “the host of students who have been formed for a lifetime of ministry in this good community of faith and learning”; and “churches and mission movements who partner with us to advance the work of the [g]ospel in our time.”
George used the word “eucharist” to describe his sentiments, which in addition to the last meal Jesus shared with His disciples “also means thanksgiving.”
Prior to founding the divinity school, George had taught church history at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (SBTS) in Louisville, Ky., from 1977-1988. SBTS’s president, R. Albert Mohler Jr., was among his students. George also has served churches in Georgia, Massachusetts, Kentucky and Alabama.
He holds a Th.D. from Harvard University; an M.Div. from Harvard Divinity School; and an undergraduate degree at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.
George is the general editor of the Reformation Commentary on Scripture, a 28-volume series of 16th-century exegetical comment and author or coauthor of 20-plus books, including Reading Scripture with the Reformers, The Great Tradition of Christian Thinking: A Student’s Guide with David Dockery, Amazing Grace: God’s Pursuit, Our Response and Theology of the Reformers, a textbook on Reformation theology widely used in seminaries and schools, which has been translated into multiple languages.
George is a life advisory trustee of Wheaton College; is active in evangelical-Roman Catholic dialogue; and serves as senior theological adviser for Christianity Today and is on the editorial advisory boards of First Things and Books & Culture. He also has chaired the Baptist World Alliance’s Doctrine and Christian Unity Commission and served as a trustee for LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention.
George and his wife Denise, author of more than 30 books whose most recent works have focused on the Holocaust and the Civil Rights Movement, have two adult children.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Art Toalston is senior editor of Baptist Press, news service of the Southern Baptist Convention.)

5/17/2018 9:50:44 AM by Art Toalston, Baptist Press | with 0 comments

Free Bibles? LifeWay launches effort to spur evangelism

May 17 2018 by Aaron Wilson, LifeWay Christian Resources

This summer, thousands of Bibles will ring up for free at the registers of LifeWay Christian Stores.
It’s an effort by LifeWay to help local churches take the Word of God into their communities through an initiative called “Share the Word. Together.”

Churches of any denomination within 15 miles of a LifeWay store can sign up for a designated week in which each member of the church can visit the local LifeWay to pick up a free CSB personal gift Bible. Church members will then give the Bibles away in their communities.
“The goal for this free Bible giveaway is to start gospel conversations and spark invitations to weekend worship services or Bible study,” said LifeWay President and CEO Thom S. Rainer.
Rainer shared on his blog this week that he was inspired to create this initiative when his church gave away loaves of bread to members and asked them to share the bread with people in their communities. He says many who received the bread came to church the next Sunday.
“I began to think, ‘Could I leverage my position at LifeWay to help thousands of churches do the same?’” Rainer said. “The answer came back as a resounding ‘yes’! We will be giving away the Bread of Life instead of the bread in loaves.”
Along with the free Bibles, LifeWay stores will provide instructions for church members who participate in this Bible outreach ministry and bulletin inserts, graphics, logos, email templates and sample announcement scripts to churches.
Rainer said one pastor asked him how LifeWay could afford to give away so many Bibles.
“I simply told him I was trusting God to provide,” Rainer said. “I have little doubt God will honor a ministry that gets His Word into the community and provides opportunities for powerful gospel conversations.”
Churches are encouraged to sign up for a week that overlaps with an existing event on their church calendar, such as Vacation Bible School, promotion Sunday or back-to-school kickoff events.
Spanish Bibles will also be available for use on a limited basis for churches that designate “Spanish” in the denomination field when filling out the form.
“I have to say, this ministry is one of the most exciting endeavors I have led in the 13 years I’ve been at LifeWay,” Rainer said. “Even more, I am incredibly excited about how God will use this ministry to impact both churches and their communities.”
Learn more about “Share the Word. Together” and sign up your church by visiting
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Aaron Wilson is a writer for LifeWay Christian Resources.)

5/17/2018 8:02:05 AM by Aaron Wilson, LifeWay Christian Resources | with 0 comments

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