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May 1999 Issue

As Southern Baptists prepare to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Cooperative Program, an added facet of co-operation is emerging as a cause for celebration.

Southern Baptist Convention agencies have heightened their sharing of resources and services in seeking to fulfill Christ's Great Commission for evangelizing and discipling the world's masses, at a time when Southern Baptists' giving through the Cooperative Program has set yearly records in support of the convention's worldwide endeavors.

The inter-agency cooperation stems from a recognition that some of an agency's assignments from the SBC dovetail with another agency's assignment. A number of the North American Mission Board's evangelistic concerns, for example, may best be administered through Sunday school ministries, to which the SBC has assigned LifeWay Christian Resources (formerly the Sunday School Board) responsibility in assisting churches.

The new FAITH initiative, thus, ties o...

A Cooperative Effort to Prompt Revival Through Stewardship

"By almost any standard of measurement, America is in trouble. ... And many people do not understand that God has the answers they so desperately need."

Well-known author, financial planner, and Christian businessman Larry Burkett spoke to the needs of Christian families, especially regarding their stewardship before God, at the February Executive Committee meeting in Nashville, Tenn. Burkett teamed with officials of Church Stewardship Services of LifeWay Christian Resources in announcing a new stewardship emphasis: How Much Is Enough? 30 Days to Personal Revival.

The emphasis is designed to "capture the attention and imagination of thousands of believers during the first quarter of the year 2000," Gary L. Aylor, program director for the LifeWay group, told the Executive Committee in introducing Burkett, president and founder of Christian Financial Concepts, Atlanta.

"In the areas of identity, priorities, personal financial management,...

Sitting at my grandmother's kitchen table didn't seem the same without the smell of fried chicken and hot biscuits in the air. But I knew I wouldn't enjoy that inviting fragrance and warm feeling again, at least not there. We had attended Grandmother's funeral that morning, and now sat at her kitchen table going through an old trunk that had rested in her bedroom for years.

It was an emotional time for me on more than one level. Just a few days earlier, I had received an invitation to come to the newly formed North American Mission Board and join Southern Baptists in the work of evangelism and church planting. Though I was a bivocational church planter and a Director of Missions' son, I was struggling with the thought of moving away from my loving parents, my exciting new church, and my rewarding career in the Chicago suburbs. Georgia, missions, the task of reaching the peoples of North America - all seemed very far away.

As if she knew what I was thinking, my mom s...

While the Cooperative Program is now well-known and well-established among Southern Baptist churches, there was a day when cooperative giving was a bold, new idea.

From 1919 to 1924, Southern Baptists participated in an unprecedented giving campaign that became the foundation for today's ongoing Cooperative Program. Prior to that time, special fund drives were common twice a year, one for Southern Baptist Convention causes and the other for needs in the states.

But by 1918, the pressing physical and spiritual needs of post-World War I Europe, as well as other missions, education, and benevolence causes led the Convention to look for new models of cooperative funding. In the face of worsening financial difficulties, SBC President J.B. Gambrell challenged Southern Baptists at the 1919 Convention "to adopt a program of work commensurate with reasonable demands upon us." (SBC Annual, 1919). The 4,200 messengers voted, without dissent, the undertaking of the Baptist 75 Million Campaign, where members in every church were asked to sign pledge cards and give over a five-year period.

Leaders such as George W. Truett, pasto...

More than ever, North Korea stands alone.

It looks out over Northern Asia - proud, defiant, solitary-like the statue of its late "Great Leader," Kim Il Sung, towering over Pyongyang, North Korea's capital.

But Kim's statue has an outstretched arm. After generations of self-imposed communist isolation, North Korea also is beginning to reach out. The nation is cracking open under the pressure of changing times and the enormous human suffering caused by recent natural calamities.

A look at the current context of North Korea reveals a communist state with virtually no access to the gospel of Christ. Pyongyang once was known as the "Jerusalem of the East;" more than 1,000 churches thrived in the north. Today, only two Protestant churches - both in the capital - operate openly. Atheism is official doctrine, and North Koreans are taught to revere the late leader Kim Il Sung and his son and successor, Kim Jong Il, as all-knowing national fathers.

Atlanta, Georgia


8:00 - Inspirational Music - Revival Choir and Sunday Celebration Orchestra, First Baptist Church, Snellville, GA, Rick Forbus, director

8:15 - Congregational Praise and Worship - Rick Forbus, minister of music, First Baptist Church, Snellville, GA

8:20 - Call to Order - Paige Patterson, president, Southern Baptist Convention, president, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, Wake Forest, NC

Registration Report and Constitution of the Convention - Lee Porter, SBC registration secretary, retired, Lawrenceville, GA

8:30 - Prayer - Jerry Fortune, pastor, Mother Holmes Baptist Church, Sheffield, TX

8:35 - Committee on Order of Business (First Report) - Ken Whitten, chairman, pastor, Idlewild Baptist Church, Tampa, FL

8:40 - Welcome - Tru...

Pastors' Conference
June 13-14, 1999
Georgia Dome, Atlanta, Georgia

Empowered for Tomorrow

Sunday • June 13, 1999

Session I • 2:00 - 4:30 p.m.

Dr. Kie Bowman, pastor, Hyde Park Baptist Church, Austin, TX

Dr. Fred Lowery, pastor, First Baptist Church, Bossier City, LA

Dr. Morris H. Chapman, president and chief executive officer, Executive Committee of the SBC

Larry Burkett, president and founder, Christian Financial Concepts

Session II • 6:30 - 9:00 p.m.

Dr. Bob Record, president, North American Mission Board of the SBC

Dr. Jay Strack, evangelist, Jay Strack Evangelistic Association

Dr. John Maxwel...

Implementing New Standards and Easing the Burden

New leadership in the Conference of Southern Baptist Evangelists advanced initiatives in ethics and accountability, and announced the creation of an emergency financial aid fund during their February national congress at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.

The evangelism offices of the North American Mission Board and New Orleans Seminary cosponsored this year's congress.

Issuing calls for both a code of ethics and a means of accountability during the business session, COSBE President Jerry Drace of Humboldt, Tenn., presented rough drafts for ten "Affirmations of Accountability," for the establishment of a council on accountability, and for a set of guidelines for denominational endorsement.

Calling the ten affirmations "our code of ethics," Drace said the proposed affirmations would affirm "before the Lord and each other" their accountability as vocational evangelists. Seeking integrity in all areas of an evangelist's life, Dr...

New Avenues for Applying Salt and Light

Poorly funded public schools, expensive private schools or the challenge of homeschooling - parents in inner-city Youngstown, Ohio, had few options for their children's education - until now.

This year, 624 students in urban Youngstown are attending their first year at Eagle Heights Academy, a public charter school privately run by Christians.

"We just wanted to give parents another choice for their children," said Gary Frost, pastor of Rising Star Baptist Church and member of the Greater Youngstown Coalition of Christians, a group of area churches which have united to provide educational, social, economic and urban renewal programs to the community.

"GYCC felt that education was the key to permanent community renewal in Youngstown," said Frost, a former president of the State Convention of Baptists in Ohio, former second vice president of the Southern Baptist Convention, and current Executive Committee member.

Charter schools, also calle...

Key to Student Success

U.S. News and World Report spent the past two years working with the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago to develop a reliable method for evaluating high schools. The research reveals that outstanding schools share several key traits. Conspicuously absent from that list of traits are strong extracurricular activities, detailed college advising, state-of-the-art facilities, or teachers with doctorate degrees. Instead, the research cites "partnerships between parents and schools that enhance the academic offerings of the school" as a key trait of top high schools. Principals from 80 percent of the outstanding high schools say parents are involved and supportive, compared with 68 percent at other schools.1

The study clearly indicates parental involvement has a positive effect on students' academic performance. The 1998 Metropolitan Life Survey of the American Teacher found that 87 percent of students who earn A's and B...

Church - A Healthy and Holy Affect on Society

The Princeton Religion Research Center recently published statistics demonstrating the connection between religious faith and a person's character, health, and productivity. According to their findings, attending church services is the most significant factor in predicting a person's charitable giving habits and volunteer activity. They conclude:

• Young people (grades six through twelve) who attend church services at least once a month are half as likely as young people who do not attend church to engage in at-risk behaviors, such as substance abuse, sexual excess, truancy, vandalism, and drunk driving.

• Persons who attend church are more likely to help neighbors in need than non-churchgoers.

• A strong majority of Americans, 75 percent, say religious practice has strengthened their family relationships.

• Church attendance lowers the rate of suicide.

• The presence of active churches and synagogues reduces violent cri...

She came before you, not in prominence but in time. Yet in every way she readied me to love you. To say this woman's image would be stamped upon your being may seem a monstrous strike against your uniqueness. Yet here I must begin. I knew her first: not just before I knew you, but before I knew anyone. First knowledge emerges unsteady in the haze of infamy. It is umbilical, inseparate. What is it I remember of her? Some husky alto lullaby? Perhaps. I remember and yet do not. Life is dim and distant when it emerges from the womb. It is separate from motherhood, yet too amniotic to be very separate ... an embryonic reverie of gray amnesia ... a thereness not yet there. Remembering is not the issue; it is life. Being was her gift. Still, being has to wait to understand, to know itself. Being comes from the shadows and moves ever gradually toward the light. Without a sense of being, my knowledge of myself was not "mine" but "ours." The two of us were there as far back as it is possib...

Like most families, when we go on vacation we drive 500 miles to look for a place that serves home-cooked meals. One time we stopped to get our fix of southern cooking. The waiter who waited on us was service industry challenged. He couldn't get anything right. I thought, "If he gets minimum wage, he's overpaid." They say that an average person only uses 10 percent of their brain. In this case, the kid was way below average. His IQ was so low I thought he would stumble on it just walking out to help us. He needed some industrial strength counseling on customer service.

The worse the service, the more irritated I became. When I'm irritated, I use humor to make sure people understand I'm irritated. The waiter came by and I said, "You've been gone so long, I expected a much older guy to come back." My wife and daughters were getting irritated with me because they knew I was irritated with him. So they kicked me under the table and said, "Act like a C...

More Internet Insanity

The Internet censoring software, Cyber Patrol is now blocking access to the web site of the American Family Association (AFA). In 1995, Cyber Patrol decided to remove blocking from sites run by the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD). After protests from the organization, Cyber Patrol removed the block, and a representative from GLAAD joined the board. Shortly thereafter, the board voted to ban the AFA website, saying that the AFA uses harsh language toward homosexuality. For example, referring to homosexuality as "repulsive to Christians."

Robert Peters, president of Morality in Media, charges that the AFA site has been blocked because gay rights groups "are attempting to win the public debate on homosexuality by suppressing information." He argues that while AFA's views are depicted as out of the mainstream, a New York Times poll found that a majority of Americans believ...