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Articles by Chris Turner

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Sadly, the “porn problem” is rapidly escalating among teenagers.

Hundreds of Southern Baptist pastors and staff ministers will be terminated this year, according to recently compiled reports, with fulltime pastors more than twice as likely to be fired as bivocational pastors. Control Issues—“who’s going to run the church”—topped the list of reasons for termination. The issue of control, cited in 209 instances of forced termination in 2009, has anchored the top spot in this and similar surveys previously compiled by LifeWay Christian Resources’ pastoral ministries department. Nearly twice as many pastors are dismissed annually related to this issue than any other issue.

“We consistently see the inability to develop and maintain healthy relationships within the church as the [top] reason for dismissals,” Bob Sheffield, formerly a pastoral ministries specialist with LifeWay, commented after the 2006 report. The current report reveals that the trend continues.

Reports from twenty-two state Baptist conventions compiled by the Alabama Baptist Convention over ...

Engaging a UUPG Where to Begin?

We must change our perspective on how “missions” is done in order effectively to reach the world with the Gospel, according to David Sills, associate dean of Christian missions at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, and a former IMB missionary to Ecuador.

Full-time overseas missionaries by themselves will never disciple the nations for Christ.

They were never intended to.

“There are generally two types of responses people and churches have to the Great Commission,” Sills, who also seeks to equip laypersons to be effective missionaries through Reaching and Teaching International Ministries, said.

“The first response is they understand their church needs to be involved, but they defer to the International Mission Board (IMB) to do it.

“The second response is saying, ‘Yeah, we want to be involved but where can we go and what can we do?’” Sills said.

Noting that every Christ-follower has been commissio...

Lory Matthews wasn’t one of the cool kids growing up. In fact, she barely had friends. So when she felt God tapping her on the shoulder to start a youth ministry at her church, she wasn’t so sure He had the right person.

“I came from a very dysfunctional family,” she said. “We weren’t allowed to have friends over, and I never had pajama parties or anything ‘normal’ kids do. I couldn’t believe it when I felt like God was leading me to step out and lead a youth ministry even though I had teenage kids.

“But that was the beginning of a tremendous learning curve for me. I didn’t become a Christian until I was thirty-nine. He showed me I didn’t have to be cool or hip; that I didn’t need to speak the kids’ latest jargon. But what I did need to be was willing to allow Him to love these kids through me.”

Matthews had no way of knowing then that starting that youth ministry in her Syracuse, New York, church (eighty members at the time) would merely ...

Lawrenceville is the kind of place a man might go to feel a million miles away from his past.

It's a place where there are few people, and fewer questions. Most occupy themselves with surviving seemingly endless upper New York winters and higher-than-average unemployment. It's a place where one of the bigger buildings' sole purpose is to house road salt. A county clerk's office, some houses, and a bridge over the meandering Deer River are about it. Population 1,200, so says the census. Good luck finding that many.

Yep, Lawrenceville is exactly the kind of place a man could go to get lost. Especially if you're a man like Don Baxter.*

Baxter, 52, grew up downstate in South Albany, a rough kid in the roughest neighborhood. Multiple run-ins with the law had him on the verge of jail time by age 18. A judge's ultimatum—jail or military—soon led Baxter to join the Army. It was a short-lived reprieve. He was in prison by age 30, serving fifteen years for conviction on three felony ...

Small Group Supports a Journey to Faith

Brian Baker* was firmly skeptical. How could anyone believe that God—if there really were one—would descend to earth, live a perfect life, die on a cross then rise from the dead? It was the most improbable string of events his analytical mind had ever considered.

But Baker was curious too, curious enough to befriend several fellow university students who didn't share his skepticism. In fact, they'd committed their lives wholeheartedly to the claims of Christ.

"I remember Brian hanging around our Baptist student group and getting into theological conversations with different people," said Freddy T. Wyatt, now a pastor and church planter in New York City, recalling those days a decade ago when he and Baker first met. "You could tell he was looking for answers, either to prove or disprove Christianity."

Baker got answers, a lot of them, when Wyatt and several friends invited him to join their weekly small group Bible study led by a local pastor. The group was a perfect fit for someone seeking intellectual answers to spiritual questions.

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