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November 2002 Issue

SBC President Address to the SBC Executive Committee, September 16, 2002

I believe that Southern Baptists are prepared as never before to come to the Kingdom for such a time as this. In a very critical time in our nation and in our world I believe God has uniquely fitted and framed Southern Baptist churches and this fantastic organization that we call the Southern Baptist Convention to take the gospel to the world until He comes.

I've been asked by several reporters, "What does the Kingdom mean?" "What are you talking about?" "What are you saying when you're talking about the Kingdom?" So I've been working at defining and describing it, and I've outlined it in this way.

First, the mission and the vision of the Kingdom is the exaltation of the King. Our focus is upon Him, our faith is in Him, and our future is with Him. ...

SBC Executive Committee President and Chief Executive Officer Report to the SBC Executive Committee, September 16, 2002

A milestone is often the reason for pause in our pilgrimage of life and career and is both beneficial and refreshing. To pause and reflect is always a healthy exercise. It should be done in the presence of the Lord for His Word says, In thy presence is the fullness of joy (Ps. 16:11). Ten years ago by the invitation of this body and the call of God, I was inaugurated as president of the Executive Committee. Thanks to you, other Southern Baptist leaders, and God's grace, these have been ten of the best years I have ever experienced. The work is both challenging and rewarding. What helps make it so are the thousands who have gone before us.

While our members may serve two full terms of four years, a few have served ten years if completing another person's abbreviated term. Consequently, th...

The following account was related to Bobby Welch by a FAITH strategy church pastor.

Recently the TV has been filled with news of horrible child abuse cases and the disappearance of yet another teenage girl suspected of being murdered. The stock market is still down. All anyone seems to want to talk about is the likelihood that America is headed into war and the concern that our enemy will hit our homeland hard. Every day seems like another bad news day!

But when I saw Norman stand up to speak dressed in a nice business suit and a happy smile, I said to myself, "Here comes some good news and, boy, do I need it!"

Norman said, "I want to personally and publicly thank God for the pastors and staff who care enough to equip laypeople, like myself, to do ministry and share the gospel. Also, I want to thank the laypeople for taking the time to allow yourselves to be equipped to be used of the Lord and to carry out the Great Commission. It is excitin...

Dr. J. Robert White assumed the role of Executive Director of the Georgia Baptist Convention in January 1993, and has since been used of God to impact not only the State of Georgia for the Kingdom of God, but the Southern Baptist Convention as well.

Under Dr. White's leadership the Georgia Baptist Convention (GBC) has seen significant growth in key areas of evangelism, missions, and ministry over the last ten years. During that time:

• Annual statewide baptisms increased from 29,301 to 36,280;

• Participation in Sunday School grew from 692,385 to 722,982;

• The total number of GBC churches grew from 3,282 to 3,508;

• Georgia Baptists started 430 new churches;

• Annual missions volunteers grew from 4,757 to 147,868;

• The GBC Cooperative Program budget grew from $33.7 to $50 million;

• Total Mission Gifts of Georgia Baptists increased from $64.8 to 99.7 million.

Dr. ...

Only by breaking up their hardened hearts can Christians hope to expect revival in their homes and in their nation, said Tom Elliff, chairman of the Southern Baptist Council on Family Life.

To that end, Elliff spoke to future pastors, missionaries, and church leaders at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary on Aug. 27, inspiring them to look to God's Word for an example of true and heartfelt revival.

In introducing the former Southern Baptist Convention president and pastor of First Southern Baptist Church in Del City, Okla., Southeastern President Paige Patterson praised Elliff as a man of rare courage and integrity, one whose leadership and devotion led Southern Baptists in 1998 to move to the cultural forefront by adding a statement on the family to its confession of faith.

Elliff will oversee the first convention-wide Kingdom Family Rally during the mid-June Pastors' Conference at next year's Southern Baptist Convention in Phoe...

The big national media outlets don't say nice things about evangelicals very often. So it's worth taking notice when the New York Times sends a bouquet.

"Evangelicals are usually regarded by snooty, college-educated bicoastal elitists (not that any read this newspaper) as dangerous Neanderthals," admitted columnist Nicholas Kristof in a recent Times piece titled "Following God Abroad."

But Kristof, for one, has changed his mind.

"[W]hile the old religious right was destructive when it launched the cultural wars, the new internationalists are saving lives in some of the most forgotten parts of the world," he wrote.

Who are the "new internationalists"? In Kristof's view, they are the growing ranks of evangelical Christians using their energy, money, and influence to, among other things: fight for international religious freedom; halt the global trade in slavery and forced prostitution; an...

In many ways, Colfax Avenue could be considered Main Street as it cuts across the downtown areas of Denver and Aurora. But it's also one of the city's meanest streets. Colfax is synonymous with crime, drugs, gangs, prostitution, and other vices.

Colfax is a magnet for the homeless of Denver and Aurora. They live on the street. They sleep under bushes or in back-alley doorways. They hang out in parks or at bus stops; that is, until the police enforce an anti-loitering law. Even then, they just wander a bit further down the road to another bench or another bus stop.

For most people, the homeless are a nuisance to be avoided. Just ignore them, don't make eye contact, and keep walking. But a couple of years ago, members of one Aurora church took the time to pause and look at the homeless population on Colfax — much like Jesus probably would've. Amazingly, they stopped seeing the dirty, drunk, unshaven stereotypes. Instead, they saw people with stories ...

During the depression, churches had a hard time finding support since so many people were out of work. One Sunday a pastor decided on a new approach. Whoever contributed the most could select the hymns. The winner was a single lady who immediately stood, pointed her finger, and said, "I want him, him, and him." Many jokes are made about singles wanting to get married. One single guy picked up the phone and said, "Yes, I'll marry you. Who is this?" One lady was so upset about men not taking her out that her will stated that she would have all female pall bearers. When asked why, she said that men didn't take her out when she was alive and they weren't going to take her out when she was dead. Which leads us the single girls' Bible verse: "If any man come after me, let him."

We think the key to a great marriage is finding the right person. We all grew up with Cinderella thinking that one day Prince Charming would ride in and offer his castle...

Virginity On The Increase

The percentage of U.S. high school students who say they are virgins rose to 54.1 percent during the ten-year period of 1991-2001 from 45.6 percent, according to data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Sept. 27.

The percentages were reversed a decade earlier, the CDC reported.

According to another study, meanwhile, teens who engage in first-time sexual intercourse most commonly do so in one of their parents' homes. The finding was reported by Child Trends, a nonprofit research organization based in Washington, D.C.

CDC figures for the increase in virginity show the trend occurring among both female and male students, among tenth-, eleventh-, and twelfth-grade students and among black and white students, according to an analysis of ten years of data from the CDC's Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) of more than 10,000...