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October 2004 Issue

Goal: 1 Million Baptized

Shortly after noon, Sunday, August 29, Southern Baptist Convention President Bobby Welch boarded a rented bus on an adventure he compared to a "Lewis & Clark expedition" to try to win souls.

Welch conceived of a national bus tour rally as a means of generating a sense of urgency about evangelism among Southern Baptists. The bus tour is a kickoff for "The Everyone Can Kingdom Challenge for Evangelism" campaign which has the goal of "Witness, Win, and Baptize ... ONE MILLION!" in one year.

Welch is scheduled to travel to all fifty states and Canada to visit with pastors and denominational workers and join them in neighborhood evangelistic visits. On that Sunday night in Richmond Hill, Georgia, the co-creator of the FAITH Sunday School Evangelism Strategy widely used in SBC churches, led by example as he shared the gospel at two homes.

With a passion to see God seek and save the lost, the SBC president hopes "The Everyone Can ...

Investing more than a half million dollars year after year makes a statement.

"We believe in the Cooperative Program," said Frank Page, pastor of First Baptist Church in Taylors, South Carolina. "We maintain a three-fold emphasis in mission ministry and send several groups each year all over the world, but we cannot go into all the places our [Southern Baptist] missionaries can go. When we give to CP Missions, it makes us part of a greater work.

"Supporting the Cooperative Program is a serious intent to fund God's command to go into all the world," the pastor continued. "We have to do this because God's command is clear. It's a matter of obedience."

Obedience is the hallmark of a Christian's response to the love of God, Page said.

"Obedience is a mark of maturity in a believer's life," he said. "A church must exemplify obedience in order for church members to follow the example."...

We often read this descriptive statement from Jesus with little real emotion. We have become so familiar with it that it has become almost a colloquial expression. We refer to a good person by noting that "He's the salt of the earth." Usually we mean little more than "He's a good ole boy." I seriously doubt that is what Jesus had in mind when Jesus affirmed that Kingdom citizens would be the salt of the earth.

First, we should note that the statements "You are the salt of the earth" and "You are the light of the world" are simple statements of fact. This is not an option, it is an observation. Kingdom citizens have this role in God's Kingdom agenda. Further, we should note that these two statements are presented in a context where Jesus has just warned of insul...

Evangelicals have a pitiful record when it comes to voting. Over the last twenty years, on average only half of eligible evangelicals took the time and made the effort to go to the polls. This in itself is sobering, but White House aide Karl Rove has repeatedly lamented that only 15 million evangelicals bothered to vote in the last general election. That might not sound too bad ... until you consider the fact that there are an estimated 60 million evangelicals in our nation! By some estimates, only 25 percent of all evangelicals went to the polls — and less than half are even registered to vote!

Only one quarter of like-minded brothers and sisters voted in the last election. It's fair to ask, "So what?" Does this really matter to God?

At one time I had concluded that perhaps it didn't. I knew God absolutely was concerned about moral issues in our nation, such as abortion and homosexuality, and as a pastor I passionately represented those concerns in ...

New York Giants owner Wellington Mara claims Jesus' parable of the pearl of great price inspired him to part with several draft choices and a load of cash in order to draft rookie quarterback Eli Manning. Then, perhaps taking a cue from our Savior's good-steward parables, he signed two-time NFL MVP Kurt Warner, who was slated to serve as both starting quarterback and as Manning's mentor.

You might say Warner is the frog who's been hopping around the NFL pond for a number of years and Manning is the tadpole hoping to learn which lily pads to hop on and which to avoid. Mara's move may or may not result in New York's return to the Super Bowl, but it illustrates a biblical principle nearly 3,000 years old, when Israel's King David helped prepare his son, Solomon, to build the temple. David not only counseled Solomon, he took an active role in preparing God's people for construction.

I have previously written that the Southern Baptist Conventio...

The reaction to Jimmy Draper's June 24 prophetic call for the Southern Baptist Convention to embrace younger leadership has been swift. Draper wrote, "I'm afraid the Southern Baptist Convention resembles the frog a bit too much these days, and it's time for us to realize the water is heating up."

Then Draper addressed two concerns for the SBC: a decrease in baptisms and the lack of denominational involvement and loyalty among younger ministers. Interestingly, it appears the response to Dr. Draper's observations has had relatively little focus on solving the baptism decline, while the passion for bringing younger leaders to the table has been dramatic. Much of this passion has been of the agonizing variety that regularly accompanies debates over the causes and cures of generation gaps.

Until now, I have not thought that my perspective on the SBC was all that unique. As the son and nephew of Southern Baptist pastors and as the grandson of Souther...

His was no ordinary life. In fact the extraordinary happenings that seemed to characterize his life and ministry began when he was still in his mother's womb. Stephen Olford was born to missionary parents, Fredrick and Bessie Olford, on March 29, 1918. Fredrick Olford's basic knowledge of medicine and the experience he had gained on the mission field caused him to anticipate that the birth of their first baby might be accompanied by complications. Rather than take a chance, he and Bessie made up their minds to make the thousand-mile trek from Angola to the British colony of Northern Rhodesia. Fred walked every step of the way while Bessie was carried in a hammock by A-Chokwe men.

The first seventeen years of his life were spent in the heart of Africa where he witnessed the marvelous power of God working through the lives of his godly parents. His experiences in Africa flavored his preaching. I can remember when I first heard Stephen Olford's voice on the old reel to ree...

A Look at New SBC Congregations

Word Tabernacle Baptist Church is excited about being part of the Southern Baptist family. Pastor Gailliard explains, "We're glad to be a part because of the Kingdom mindset of the Convention .... The connection with the Convention is so solid because of the theology and the cooperation we found there."

This church is like most of the new congregations reporting on the Annual Church Profile for the first time — it is primarily made up of non-Anglos; it is aggressively reaching out to its community; and it is excited about being a part of the Southern Baptist Convention family of churches.

Word Tabernacle began June 3, 2000 when twenty-three people gathered in a predominantly African-American neighborhood in Southwest Philadelphia. The church has baptized over 350 people and grown to almost 600 in attendance by reaching out to its community. While it has grown, it has also been starting even more new churches through the Urban Sanctuary, an urban impact...

October is Clergy Appreciation Month

What is Clergy Appreciation Month?

Clergy Appreciation Month is a special time that congregations set aside each year to honor their pastors and pastoral families for their hard work, sacrificial dedication, and provision of multiple blessings. It is typically scheduled in October, but can be held at any time that is convenient for the community and church.

While CAM celebrations are most intense during October, appreciation and affirmation of our spiritual leaders is appropriate throughout the entire year.

Why is CAM necessary?

The nature of the service provided by pastors and their families is unique. God has entrusted to them one of the most precious of assignments — the spiritual well-being of His flock. When a pastor becomes ineffective, the very souls of his parishioners are endangered. When eternity is in the balance, we should all be concerned.

Pastors and their families...

What a powerful story about one man's love for his Lord and an urgent desire to help others avoid hell and find eternal life and heaven. Consider this amazing account of Bakari from Doug Weaver who serves with IMB as executive vice president of the East Africa Bible Institute. May we be found as faithful.

Bakari was born and grew up in a Muslim tribe near the Indian Ocean in Southern Kenya. On a Wednesday night last March, Bakari was persuaded to attend a Baptist church. Bakari was only willing to go to a church because of personal illness, and he was desperate for help. That evening, at forty-two years old, Bakari found Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.

Proclaiming Jesus Christ as Lord cost Bakari everything. His wife immediately divorced him, the family disowned him, and his job was taken from him. But he had found Jesus, and Bakari never looked back. He immediately and enthusiastically began to be discipled by Ushindi Baptist Church. He loved being at church, ...

When an interviewee for a job at a famous art gallery was asked, "If you could save one picture from a fire, which piece would it be?" He answered, "I'd save the piece closest to the exit." So often that's how we think — only of ourselves. That makes it difficult to walk together, but sadly that's the history of the church. It's like going to a fight and a hockey game breaks out. Sometimes you go to church and a fight breaks out. We don't have the unity of the Christ.

During marriage counseling, often I had men who had been married for five years or so wanting a divorce. When I asked why, they often said, "We are incompatible." I told them that it was incompatibility that attracted them in the first place. She had something that he didn't have. She had characteristics that he didn't have and that attracted him. We are all in a sense incompatible.

You are different from me, and I am different from you. God did ...

New Study Links TV Content and Sexual Activity of Teens
by Erin Curry

Adolescents who watch a significant amount of television with sexual content are twice as likely to engage in sexual intercourse as those who watch little of such programming, according to a study funded by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.

The study also found that teens who watch lots of sex on TV are more likely to initiate sexual activities other than intercourse, such as "making out" and oral sex, a September 7 news release by the RAND Corporation, which conducted the study, said.

"This is the strongest evidence yet that the sexual content of television programs encourages adolescents to initiate sexual intercourse and other sexual activities," Rebecca Collins, a RAND psychologist who headed the study, said in the release. "T...