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Articles by David Roach

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Energy Savings Passed Along through CP

What would your church do if it found a way to save thousands of dollars in annual energy costs?

That’s what happened to Hurstbourne Baptist Church in Louisville, Kentucky, when it upgraded light bulbs and thermostats to more energy-efficient models, lowering its gas and electric bills by five thousand dollars annually. And it used part of the savings to increase gifts to missions and ministries through the Cooperative Program, raising its contributions from 7 to 8.5 percent of undesignated receipts with plans for 10 percent within five years.

Pastor Mike O’Neal marvels at the potential Kingdom impact if every Southern Baptist church would examine its energy costs, make upgrades, and pass some of the savings along through CP.

“We’re just being better stewards,” O’Neal said of his congregation. “Why pay more to the power and light companies than you have to? Now we can devote those resources to Kingdom purposes.”

Hurstbourne’s journey toward savings began in 2009 when a local engineering firm proposed an e...

Fred Luter’s election as SBC president illustrated the wisdom of a 2011 Executive Committee recommendation adopted by the Convention that “workers and leaders from all ethnic backgrounds . . . involve themselves to the highest level possible in associational life and through state convention ministries” so that “leadership in the Convention will naturally follow.”
Dozens saved through campus evangelism in New Mexico

If you sit on a bench at New Mexico State University and wait long enough, there’s a reasonable chance that someone will come talk with you about the Gospel.

That’s because nearly every day, teams of two to three students from NMSU’s BSU Christian Challenge walk the Las Cruces, New Mexico, campus sharing their faith with anyone who will give them permission to do so. As a result of the evangelism walks, along with students telling their friends about Jesus, nearly forty people have professed faith in Christ at NMSU this academic year, according to BSU Christian Challenge director David E.*

“Our goal is to inspire [students] with the reality that God’s at work in people’s hearts beyond our imagination,” said David, who also serves as director of state collegiate ministries with the Baptist Convention of New Mexico. “He is working and drawing men and women to Himself all the time. We’re blind to that most of the time unless we are engaging them in some kind of spiritual ...

Through a variety of channels, Southern Baptists are attempting to uphold traditional marriage in America following President Obama’s announcement in May that he supports “gay marriage.”

The president’s announcement, which came during an interview with ABC News, made him the first sitting US president to affirm “gay marriage” publicly and drew reactions from Southern Baptist leaders.

“It is very depressing news when the president of the United States uses his power of influence to endorse same-sex marriage,” SBC president Bryant Wright said. “. . . Scripture is very clear that from the beginning, God intended marriage to be between one man and one woman. It is important for us who are followers of Jesus to uphold the sacredness of marriage according to Scripture.”

Yet in addition to speaking prophetically about the evils of “gay marriage,” Southern Baptists also are delivering a message of hope and redemption to those trapped in the sin of homosexuality.


He looked like the ideal youth minister—recommended by a friend of the pastor, personable, and leading a thriving ministry to teens at Wayside Baptist Church in Miami, Florida.

But looks were deceiving.

For months, he had been sexually abusing boys during sleepovers at his home. When the offense came to light, the church had its very existence jeopardized by a $6 million civil judgment in favor of the victims. Eventually the case was settled for an undisclosed amount, and Wayside determined to do everything it could to protect children in the future.

"Now we do criminal background checks on anyone who is volunteering, and they put glass in all the doors [of children's and youth classrooms]," Carrel Youmans, a longtime member at Wayside who taught youth when the abuse occurred in the 1970s, told SBC LIFE.

According to Patrick Moreland, vice president of marketing at Church Mutual Insurance Company, Wayside is not an isolated case. Church Mutual averages four to five reports of chi...

Don't change the Southern Baptist Convention's formal, legal name, but adopt the informal "descriptor" phrase "Great Commission Baptists."

That is what the task force appointed by SBC President Bryant Wright to advise him on a potential Convention name change presented to him February 20 during the spring Executive Committee meeting in Nashville, Tennessee. Wright, who serves as an ex officio member of the EC, then moved that the EC approve his request to forward the recommendation to messengers at the SBC annual meeting in June. The following morning, February 21, the EC voted to forward the recommendation in a show-of-hands vote, with approximately five or six negative votes out of sixty-eight members present.

"We believe that the equity that we have in the name Southern Baptist Convention is valuable," task force chairman Jimmy Draper told the EC. "It is a strong name that identifies who we are in theology, morality, and ethics, compassion, ministry, and mission in ...

What do you do when ethnic and socioeconomic changes around your church cause attendance to drop by thousands?

That was the question facing Rehoboth Baptist Church in Tucker, Georgia.

The congregation answered by turning its sprawling campus into a multinational hub, where eleven different churches meet each week, most of which are non-Anglo. In the process, it has experienced God's blessing and established a new model for church revitalization.

Appropriately, the word Rehoboth is a Hebrew term meaning "broad places" and conveys the idea of a place where all people are welcome.

"This is an extraordinarily viable model where there are churches with space and an abundance of it in a location where new churches need to be started—whether those be language churches, multiethnic churches, multigenerational churches, or even additional Anglo churches. There is no reason we should not be leveraging those resources," said Troy Bush, Rehoboth's pastor of administration since August. "In fact, I think it is poor stewardship when ...

From a human perspective, it does not seem like Oklahoma City's Northwest Baptist Church can afford to increase its Cooperative Program giving.

The congregation supports an array of community ministries, plants churches in an adopted Southeast Asian city, and has a building debt in excess of $400,000.

But this church views missions giving with eyes of faith. That is why it has increased its Cooperative Program giving from five to six and one-quarter percent of its undesignated receipts over the past several years and plans to increase it at least another one percent in January.

"Yes, there are other ways to network," Pastor Benjamin Brammer said. "But I believe that, for many reasons, the Cooperative Program, when done right, is the best way."

A Change of Heart
Given Brammer's enthusiasm for CP, Southern Baptists' unified program of supporting missions and ministries, it might surprise some to learn that he has not always been so zealous. Until recently,...

Stewardship and Missions at Sagemont Church

Over a 45-year pastorate, John Morgan has led Houston's Sagemont Church to give $25 million to missions, build $50 million in buildings, and set aside more than 10 percent of its annual budget for missions.

Remarkably, the church has done it all without borrowing a penny for decades. "There's not one building program in the Bible that was ever financed," Morgan said. "It was when a willing-hearted people gave a willing offering as God prospered them. And so I became very convicted that if our church was going to do missions like we wanted to do them, then we couldn't do so and stay in [financial] bondage to the world."

Morgan's ministry at Sagemont began in 1966, when he was called as the congregation's first pastor. At that time, it was a mission of First Baptist Church in Pasadena, Texas, where Morgan's father was pastor. About fourteen people came to the new church initially, he said.

In June, Sagemont celebrated its 45th anniversary. Over four decades, the church e...

God is touching lives at the University of Miami (Florida) through its Baptist Collegiate Ministries (BCM).

Consider, for example, a student from the United Kingdom who recently came to the university uncertain of God's existence. After some BCM students befriended her, she not only professed her faith in Christ, she began ministering to others.

Consider also that after the BCM president cast a vision for a campus-wide evangelistic emphasis, students organized a forum where Christians and non-Christians could dialogue about spiritual issues. As a result, lost students began to consider the Gospel.

But according to Miami-area BCM director Becky Crandall, such Kingdom advances are possible only because of the intricate web of Southern Baptist cooperation that supports BCMs.

"Aside from the theological distinctions that we have, the thing that I love most about Baptist life is...