Encouraged, but concerned
    July 15 2014 by Ricky Mason, Maggie Valley, N.C.

    Having just returned from the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Baltimore, I was encouraged to see more young pastors and staff members attending than in recent years. I was also happy to hear positive reports of record giving to our Lottie Moon Christmas Offering and a slight increase in our Cooperative Program giving after several years of decline. It was exciting to hear of the new church starts across the U.S., especially in our strategic cities. But along with the positive reports, there were some concerns that were shared.
    About 6,000 churches in the U.S. are closing their doors each year. Only one in 10 pastors starting out in ministry today are still in the ministry when they retire. One fourth of our Southern Baptist churches, more than 11,000, had no baptisms last year; 26,000 of our 46,000 SBC churches baptized no teenagers last year, and 9,000 more of our churches baptized only one. It appears we are losing the battle as we seek to reach this generation for Jesus Christ. With that in mind, let me share what has happened in Western N.C. Since 2006 we’ve been having “Ignite Youth Explosion” events. So far we have had 16 area-wide events in nine counties. Over 4,000 total decisions for Christ have been recorded with more than 2,700 first time professions of faith and 575 called into ministry. In every event, more than enough money has come in to meet the budget, and after every event the local leaders have been willing to send at least $1,000 of their excess money to the location of the next scheduled event to help them reach their budget.
    Leading worship for the events has been Dove Award recipient Carl Cartee and his praise band from Nashville, Tenn., “3D” from Sevierville, Tenn., and “The Leap of Faith” praise team from Haywood County. Evangelist Clayton King has been doing the preaching. Admission is always free. Would you prayerfully consider having an “Ignite Youth Explosion” event in your association or area? Contact pastor Ricky Mason, (828) 926-0065, First Baptist Church, P.O. Box 309, Maggie Valley, NC 28751; rickymasonfbmv@gmail.com.

    Ricky Mason
    Maggie Valley

    7/15/2014 11:41:02 AM by Ricky Mason, Maggie Valley, N.C. | with 0 comments

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