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September 2005 Issue

It's always harvest time at Green Acres Baptist Church. Short-term missions trips are as apt to take place in January as in December — and every month in between. At the same time, the church gives 15 percent of undesignated offerings through the Cooperative Program — (CP) Missions — to reach people in Texas and around the world.

There is vibrant growth and ministry in rural southeast Missouri — you'll find it at New Bethel Baptist Church, where about 110 people gather for worship each Sunday.

This rural church, where oaks and poplars tower over the red brick building's steeple, gives 25 percent of its offerings through Cooperative Program (CP) Missions and another 7 percent to the Cape Girardeau Baptist Association.

"One of the greatest tools we have is working together," said John Rhodes, New Bethel's pastor since 2000. "The way we cooperate and work together has allowed us to do far more than we ever could on our own."

In addition to its financial support of Southern Baptist missions causes, the church, founded in 1873, gives of itself locally and throughout Missouri's hill country. Furthermore, two years ago, the church gave $5,000 to a church in Belarus in Eastern Europe for a new building and furnishings.

"I believe one reaso...

Approximately 700 people attend Sunday worship at First Baptist Church in Choctaw, Oklahoma. During the 2003-04 church year, ninety-three people were baptized, second in the state for a congregation its size.

But numbers aren't the motivator, said Ray Sikes, who became pastor in 1987 of the church that was founded in 1901.

"We believe our primary purpose is to reach people for Jesus," Sikes said. "We want to do that on a local level, individual level, national level, and international level, and the best tool to do that is the Cooperative Program."

First Baptist commits 13 percent of its undesignated offerings to reaching people through the Cooperative Program. When the church's other missions offerings and projects are factored in, it ranks among the top givers in Oklahoma.

The congregation reaches out through a variety of local efforts and mission trips, in addition to a Cooperative Program percentage that has remained st...

In my report to the Southern Baptist Convention last year, I defined Southern Baptists as "cooperating conservatives," as contrasted to "separatists." Our heritage, beliefs, and polity are founded upon the two principles, biblical conservatism and cooperation. In the last twenty-five years, Southern Baptists have made it clear that they are biblical conservatives.

While we must be vigilant in guarding against erosion in our doctrinal convictions, we must also closely guard the spirit of cooperation that has characterized our Convention and contributed to the far-reaching witness we have achieved historically around the world. If Southern Baptists leaders, pastors, and laymen ride off in all directions at once without an intentional and strong effort in cooperating with each other, even if and when it doesn't come easily, we could easily fall into God's disfavor where He no longer uses us so mightily to preach His Word to the ends of the earth.


The Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee has tapped a retired Army colonel with extensive experience in the U.S. Department of Defense as "the man who can chart the course for the Cooperative Program."

Col. Robert D. (Bob) Rodgers, U.S. Army, Ret., was elected June 20 to serve as vice president for Cooperative Program, charged with the task of ensuring continued record giving amounts while reversing the decline in giving percentages from churches.

Morris H. Chapman, president and chief executive officer of the SBC Executive Committee, said in his recommendation to EC members that he identified the greatest need within the Cooperative Program as "strategic short-term action coupled with long-term planning that will put the Cooperative Program on a track to remain the strong financial lifeline for Southern Baptist missions and theological education it has been for the last eighty years.

"Bob Rodgers is the man who can chart the cour...

For several months, we have been looking together at the "heartbeat of God." God's desire has been and always will be that all the people of the earth have the opportunity to acknowledge Him as rightful King. When we began to examine God's Word for His strategic plan, we discovered that He has chosen to work through a people who would embody His name, embrace His mission, and obey His word. Israel, as a nation, ignored the plight of the Gentile, consuming God's blessings rather than conveying them through mission passion.

The New Testament is replete with the theme of God's Kingdom. John the Baptist declares that it is near at hand. At the very beginning of His ministry, Jesus announces His firm resolve to consistently focus on His Father's Kingdom (Matthew 4:17). We see this empha...

Following a successful launch of the Everyone Can Kingdom Challenge at the Southern Baptist Convention's annual meeting in Nashville this summer, SBC President Bobby Welch is urgently challenging each of the 1,188 Baptist associations across the nation to hold two "associational baptism rallies" between October 1 of this year and September 30, 2006.

His focus on local associations is the key to his strategy for accomplishing the goal of witnessing to, winning, and baptizing one million people within a year.

"My prayer is that we will have bold, urgent, creative leadership emerge out of every association to have two of these baptismal rallies in that one year and that these rallies will begin to spring up all over the different parts of the country," Welch told Baptist Press.

"And when people read about them and hear about them that they too will go and do likewise, and we'll have in the course of twelve months thes...

Editors Note: Because of their particular timeliness and relevance, continuing through the next few issues of SBC LIFE, we will include a sampling of the resolutions passed at the Southern Baptist Convention.


WHEREAS, Some federal judges have undermined and supplanted the United States system of limited government by presuming to write and impose new laws upon America's citizenry rather than interpreting law according to constitutional intent; and

WHEREAS, This tendency by some unelected judges to legislate from the bench subverts the foundation of our democracy, "a government of the people, by the people, and for the people," and moves the nation closer to being governed by an elite class, unaccountable to the American people; and

WHEREAS, Some of the worst decisions put into law durin...

Would you say Christianity, at its heart, is a movement or an institution? I asked that question recently at a national conference of church leaders. I intended for my interrogative to be rhetorical, asking the hearers not to reply aloud. Without realizing it, these wonderful spiritual leaders of churches from across the eastern United States began to mutter again and again, "institution."

Do you see Christianity in its essence as a movement to be advanced or an institution to be maintained? Institutions matter. We need not choose one or the other. Some today, in the name of finding a new emerging church, have all but abandoned anything that smacks of institutions or the traditions they uphold. But Almighty God ordained institutions: the home, the government, the church. I would submit that the form of Christianity most ascribe to in our day has overemphasized the institutional side of the faith and all but ignored Christianity as a movement.

Christianity, at its ...

Below is the testimony of Don Andrews, pastor of Haven Baptist Church in Kansas City, Kansas. He discovered that as he led the way in accepting the Everyone Can challenge, his congregation was more than willing to follow his lead.

Bobby Welch came to our church in Kansas City, Kansas, last September on his Everyone Can bus tour. I was challenged to get busy and to be about putting "first things first." When our people went out into the community that day, it was the first time for many to ever visit anyone for the church or the Lord.

Then the Convention caused me to evaluate what I was already doing and challenged me to do more. I was encouraged that I was definitely on the right track, but I needed to help my church move into the "deep water" and carry out The Great Commission.

When I came to the church four years ago, we had no evangelistic outreach. The encouraging factor was that the church was ready and eager. We bega...

A boy came home with a report card that skipped the first few letters in the alphabet. He handed the report card to his Dad and said, "What do you think caused this — heredity or environment?" The answer is both. There is something wrong with everyone and everything, because we live in a fallen world with fallen people.

Murphy was an optimist, and what can go wrong usually does. Whatever line you are in slows down, because you are in it. If you switch lines, you will slow down the other line, so just stay put. The mate that snores goes to sleep first. Why? Because the angel in charge at night gets bored easily and likes to laugh. When you're early for your flight, the plane is delayed; and when you're running late, the airline is proud of its on-time departure. The barcode never works on your most embarrassing item. I know this, because I raised three daughters. I once tried to sneak out of a store with the cashier waving an embarrassing item and yelling for ...

The Radical Homosexual Agenda — Targeting Our Schools
by Michael Foust

As illustrated children's books go, King & King starts off innocently enough: "On the tallest mountain above the town lived a queen, the young prince, and the crown kitty. The queen had ruled for many long years, and she was tired of it."

The queen, it seems, wanted to step down so that her son could become king. First, though, she wanted him to find a wife. So a search ensued — far and wide — for the perfect princess.

But in the end he chose none of them, instead opting for another prince. (Yes, a prince.) The short twenty-nine-page book ends with a "gay wedding," the proverb...