Barry Fields wants to tell his congregation about the work of Southern Baptists every chance he gets.
Fields, pastor of Hawesville Baptist Church in Hawesville, Kentucky, is one of many pastors, associational directors of missions, state convention leaders, and others who use print and digital resources from the SBC Executive Committee to inform their churches about the Southern Baptist Convention and its ministries.
“The more that we can do to tell the story, to get the word out there, the better off that we’re going to be,” Fields said.
The Executive Committee strives to assist churches by providing resources that help people discover what it means to be Southern Baptist, stay connected with the ministries of the SBC, and celebrate the many ways God is working through Southern Baptists.
Among the resources available are the brochures Meet Southern Baptists and The Southern Baptist Convention: A Closer Look. Meet Southern Baptists gives an overview of who Southern Baptists are, what they believe, and how they do ministry. A Closer Look describes the structure and function of the Southern Baptist family, including the SBC Executive Committee, the SBC annual meeting, funding through the Cooperative Program, and the SBC’s cooperative relationships with other Baptist organizations. Printed copies of both brochures are available in English and Spanish, and PDF downloads of Meet Southern Baptists are available in seven languages.
Churches frequently report using the brochures in new member classes to introduce prospective members to the character and purposes of the SBC. Associations and state conventions distribute them to churches in their areas who might be interested in cooperating with the Convention, or who might just be curious about what Southern Baptists are all about.
Hawesville Baptist posts the brochures on a prominent bulletin board, with each page of the brochures separated for easy viewing. Fields also makes copies available at the welcome centers of both church campuses—in Hawesville and in Tell City, Indiana.
The Tell City campus, just across the Ohio River, is in an area with a large Catholic presence. He has found the brochures to be useful in clearing up misconceptions about Baptists and breaking down barriers. “They have been helpful in reaching out into a world that really doesn’t know much about Southern Baptist life,” he said.
While the brochures can help facilitate connections with people and congregations who don’t know much about Southern Baptists, the Convention’s daily news service, Baptist Press (BP), and its news journal, SBC LIFE, offer opportunities to stay connected with what’s happening now in the SBC.
The Executive Committee receives regular requests from pastors and associational leaders to use BP and SBC LIFE articles in newsletters, classes, and doctrinal studies.
Baptist Press offers a daily email subscription providing news and commentary from a Christian worldview. SBC LIFE has a newly-designed online format in addition to its three print issues per year.
Fields believes in the cooperative work of Southern Baptists—and feels a responsibility to promote it.
“I’ve just felt convicted,” he said. ”We tell the story to let the church know what’s going on both here and around the world, and [the Executive Committee’s resources] are some of the tools we use to do that.”
Fields is also a member of the Young Leaders Advisory Council. He said his work with the group has strengthened his conviction to inform his congregation and encourage younger leaders to engage. The Young Leaders Advisory Council was formed by the Executive Committee in 2017 to better understand the perspectives of young leaders and involve them in SBC life.
“We have to understand that we can do more together than we can separately,” he said. “In a society that’s increasingly growing hostile to the Gospel, in a culture that’s quickly becoming anti-church, I think we need each other now more than ever. I think it would be foolish of us to neglect to do all that we can to see that the next generation is handed this baton of missions and ministry.”
Meet Southern Baptists—A brochure that tells about who Southern Baptists are; what they believe; how they show the love of Christ through evangelism, church planting, compassion ministries, and missions; how they cooperate through Convention ministries and the Cooperative Program; and how Christ’s love motivates all that they do. Printed copies in English and Spanish are available for purchase. It is also available online in PDF form in English, Spanish, Chinese, Japanese, Khmer, Korean, and Vietnamese.
The Southern Baptist Convention: A Closer Look—Describes the Convention’s purpose; its annual meeting; its entities; its Executive Committee; its funding; the wider network of cooperative Baptist bodies within the Southern Baptist family, including state conventions, local associations, and ethnic and affinity groups; and its cooperative diversity. Printed copies in English and Spanish are available for purchase. It is also available online in PDF form in English and Spanish.
Fast Facts about the SBC—Provides statistics at a glance including general information about the SBC, its mission boards, its seminaries, the ethnic and racial diversity of its cooperating churches, GuideStone’s Mission:Dignity ministry, disaster relief, children’s and family ministries, Baptist collegiate ministries, giving through the Cooperative Program, and designated giving to special offerings. Fast Facts is available on SBC.net or as a PDF download.
Becoming Southern Baptist—A section of SBC.net with information for churches that are interested in cooperating with the Southern Baptist Convention, including information about its structure, the benefits of cooperating, frequently asked questions, and action steps to identify as a Southern Baptist church.
In All Things Pray—A collection of prayer resources compiled in collaboration with PrayerLink, a group of prayer leaders from state conventions and SBC entities. It includes prayer guides, resources from state conventions and entities, an outline for the 10-20-30 Great Commission Prayer Experience, and the CrossRoads Prayer Evangelism leaflet (available for purchase or download).
Baptist Press—The Convention’s daily news service, with news and commentary about the work God is doing through Southern Baptists as well as stories of interest to evangelicals.
Forged by Faith—A video series that shows how committed individuals combined their efforts, talents, and ministries to forge the Southern Baptist Convention—an ongoing and effective cooperative mission effort built on a faith that “wears like iron.”
For more information, visit booth 1623 in the exhibit hall of the 2018 SBC annual meeting.
Rebecca Manry is communications specialist with the SBC Executive Committee and is a member of Harvest Fields Baptist Church in Pegram, Tennessee.