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November 2006 Issue

It has worldwide impact, stretching from Southern Baptist churches in all fifty states to mission fields across the globe, connecting church members with missionaries in fulfilling the Great Commission.

The Cooperative Program surpassed $200 million in gifts for national causes for the first time in the Southern Baptist Convention's history during the fiscal year that ended September 30, according to an October 3 announcement by Morris H. Chapman, president of the SBC Executive Committee.

And in the Gulf Coast states struck by Hurricane Katrina, Southern Baptists showed resiliency and resolve in maintaining support for Cooperative Program causes.

Chapman described the $200-million record as "a remarkable reminder that so many are giving faithfully, Sunday after Sunday, through the Cooperative Program. These multiple-upon-multiple sacrificial contributions make it possible to achieve so much more together in cooperative missions, ministries, and theolog...

Your 2006 gifts forwarded to the Convention for distribution to support the cooperative ministries of the SBC have totaled $200,601,536.29. This is the first time over $200 million has been distributed through the Cooperative Program Allocation Budget process and is an increase of $4,653,113.74 over giving in 2005.

The ultimate impact of such generous giving will be measured in the number of lost people led to Christ here in North America and around the world. This new record illustrates the magnitude of love the SBC has for a lost world while demonstrating the power of cooperative giving for cooperating ministries. Our churches, big and small, are able to combine the financial resources that God has provided them with those of other churches to accomplish that which individual churches can never accomplish alone.

Much of the increase can be credited to a renewed commitment by many to increase the percentage that each state forwards to the Convention. All of the state execs ...

Contributions through the Southern Baptist Convention's Cooperative Program were 2.37 percent above the previous fiscal year, topping the $200-million mark for the first time, according to a news release from SBC Executive Committee President and Chief Executive Officer Morris H. Chapman.

As of Sept. 30, 2006, the final total for the SBC Cooperative Program's 2005-06 fiscal year stood at $200,601,536.29 — $4,653,113.74 above the $195,948,422.55 received during the 2004-05 fiscal year, for a gain of 2.37 percent. For the month, receipts of $17,477,916.14 were 5.90 percent, or $973,043.70, above the $16,504,872.44 received in September 2005.

Designated giving of $191,428,618.05 for the fiscal year was 0.90 percent, or $1,698,784.18, above gifts of $189,729,833.87 received last year.

For the SBC Cooperative Program Allocation Budget, fiscal year total of $200,601,536.29 was 105.65 percent of the $189,865,254.85 budgeted to support Southern Baptist mini...

Getting Back To The Three "Rs"

From the SBC President's Address to the SBC Executive Committee on September 18, 2006

During the Christmas season, an elderly lady decided that it had become too difficult for her to get out and buy gifts for all of her children and grandchildren. Wanting to continue to be a financial blessing to them, she decided to send money instead of buying gifts. She purchased Christmas cards for all the children and grandchildren and wrote a Merry Christmas greeting as well as the phrase which she included instructing them to "buy your own present this year."

She mailed the cards hoping that this would be an acceptable alternative. However, in January as she was cleaning up her desk, she was horrified to find the checks which she had written to her children and grandchildren. It came to her realization that she had sent out Christmas cards with the instructions for her family to buy their own gifts without including the money for them to buy the gifts!

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If you were preparing to build a house, you wouldn't begin by putting the rafters in place. Yet many churches that are plateaued or declining look first for a new method, marketing strategy, or worship style to return their church to healthy growth. While it may be necessary to address issues of method and style, the most critical issue is supernatural empowering by the Spirit. This empowering comes in response to the concerted prayer of God's people. When we demonstrate our dependence on God, He pours out His Spirit upon His Church.

Several years ago many people were fascinated by the success of the cell group movement in Korea. I was privileged to hear a prominent Korean pastor speak on his cell groups. Toward the end of the presentation he made an interesting observation. He noted that many people who came to hear him were fascinated to hear about his cell groups but uninterested when he spoke about prayer mountain, the place where hundreds of believers gathered to pray...

Prayer was the topic of conversation when the president of the Southern Baptist Convention met with the president of the United States October 11.

Other issues were on the agenda when President Bush welcomed SBC President Frank Page; his wife, Dayle; and SBC Executive Committee President Morris H. Chapman to the Oval Office. The day's events — including an hour-long news conference and a plane crash into a New York City high-rise building — reduced what was supposed to be a forty-five-minute meeting to twenty minutes, however.

Page said he had planned to discuss some moral issues with the president, but "I did not have time for that. ... [I]n fact, [Bush] had requested that we speak about several issues."

In the short time they had, prayer received most of the attention.

The meeting "primarily focused on prayer, on what prayer means to him," and how it undergirds and strengthens him, Page said of the president.

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Considering the Christian's Responsibility on Election Day

Much has been said in the last two years concerning the influence of religious faith upon the ballot box. Following the massive turnout of "values voters" in the last election, it is suddenly in vogue for candidates of both major parties to passionately affirm their own personal religious convictions and to declare their unflagging commitment to family values (even when private behavior might contradict such claims). It seems political candidates posing as loyal faith and family advocates have popped up everywhere. But this recent — and likely temporary — political obsession with such things should not surprise us; politicians have hitched a free ride on the train of popular trends for generations.

Such political opportunism should have no bearing on the Christian's perspective on civic responsibility. We are called to rise above such prattle, for our ultimate loyalties rest in our True King, and His Kingdom priorities supersede all earthly political agendas...

Eighty-seven Southern Baptists will cover the globe as they take the Gospel to ten of the International Mission Board's eleven administrative regions following their appointment September 13 during a service at First Baptist North Spartanburg in Spartanburg, South Carolina.

The event, which kicked off the church's Global Impact Conference, brings the total number of IMB missionaries to more than 5,100. Many of the new appointees experienced a call to international missions during similar church-related activities or on volunteer mission trips.

"When I boarded a plane returning from a short-term mission trip, my heart broke, I didn't want to leave, and I realized [I had a] heart for missions," said one new missionary who will serve in the Pacific Rim region. "I've found no greater joy than sharing the name of Jesus with someone who has never heard."

The missionary is one of many who cannot be identified by name because she serves...

Leading to Increased Missions Support

Members of Amite Baptist Church believe in missions because they do missions, pastor Terry Booth says.

"It is my conviction that we [the Southern Baptist Convention] will not be able to sustain Cooperative Program support without direct involvement," said Booth, pastor of the Denham Springs, Louisiana, congregation since 1985. "There's just a difference when people come back from mission trips; it puts a fingerprint on their giving."

Amite Baptist gives 13.5 percent of its undesignated offerings through the Cooperative Program because it's a loyal Southern Baptist church with a strong belief in missions, Booth added.

"The connection is pretty easy for the congregation to grasp," Booth continued. "As [former Amite member] Derrick Thornton plants churches among Muslims in Atlanta, our CP missions dollars are helping him .... When our members see this, it's easier for them to digest the concept of giving to missions, an...

(With Three Months Remaining!)

Southern Baptist giving to the 2006 Annie Armstrong Easter Offering for North American Missions has been so generous that the offering set a new record with three months remaining in the giving period.

Carlos Ferrer, interim chief operating officer for the North American Mission Board, announced the record giving at the opening session of the Woman's Missionary Union national missions event September 27 at the LifeWay Ridgecrest Conference Center near Asheville, North Carolina.

"Thanks to the sacrificial giving of Southern Baptists and the dedicated support of Woman's Missionary Union, we have already received in the first nine months of the year nearly $55 million for the Annie Armstrong Offering," Ferrer announced.

"That is more than we have ever received in an entire year, and we still have three months to go. It is an honor and a privilege, on behalf of our missionaries, staff, and mission partners, to say thank you to WMU and all our mi...

More Than Turkey and Dressing

As we approach Thanksgiving, you might be wondering, "What can I do? How can I demonstrate the love of Christ during this season?" Here are a few suggestions:

• One pastor told how his congregation purchased certificates from a local grocery chain for $30 apiece which entitled the recipients to a free Thanksgiving meal. They hand delivered approximately fifty certificates to local needy families expressing that in a season of thankfulness, Christ is everything!

• Another pastor shared how they adopted women from a local battered women's shelter and provided them with a safe haven to experience Christ's love.

• A church might ask permission from the local hospital to take coffee, sweets, and goodies to the hospital waiting room. Church members should be ready to listen, love, and share!

• While some churches may provide volunteers to feed at homeless shelters, one church leader explained that they actually picked up...

Don't Let Him Intimidate You!

Have you ever hesitated to present the Gospel because you were afraid you might offend someone? If so, or if you know someone who has, this testimony from Jennifer Ramey of Boone, North Carolina, will help erase your fears.

I have always had a burden for the unsaved. However, after losing a dear friend and not knowing her spiritual condition, I became especially burdened for my family and friends. Up until the fall of 1997, I knew the Gospel, but I was not very sure how to present it clearly to anyone. My husband and I went through an evangelism class in Gainesville, Florida, in 1998. I was ecstatic to finally have a way of telling others about Christ in a non-invasive and friendly way. I was so excited that I wanted to practice on my family, in particular my stepfather's family, because I was not sure of their spiritual condition. Every time I would mention to my mom that I wanted to call them or pay them a visit during summer or at Christmas, she would always say, "...

Have you taken children to an amusement part to ride the carousel? Do you remember watching and waving as they circled each time? You don't leave to get a Diet Coke or Snickers. You stay and wave to the kids each time they pass. We all are born with the innate need for encouragement.

My oldest grandson is playing his first year of tackle football. He is new to the team with many of the other boys being more experienced. He is working hard. He told his mom the other day that he didn't think the coach appreciated all of his hard work. His mom smiled and explained that coaches are appreciation-handicapped. Most coaches are attack dogs with a whistle. She explained to him that most coaches score very low on the appreciation index. As a family, we laughed at Drew's appreciation-deprived coach. In thinking of all of my coaches, the one I remember most is the one that told me he appreciated me and that I was good player. Whether it is sports, business, or church, I have discover...

Facing the Giants
A Box-Office Miracle?

Filmed on a shoestring budget using volunteers from a Southern Baptist church, the inspirational movie Facing the Giants racked up enough success in its first two weekends that one major newspaper labeled it "miraculous."

The movie comes from a church where brothers — and staff members — Alex and Stephen Kendrick are intent on using the silver screen to showcase family values and the need for a personal relationship with Jesus.

Facing the Giants, and an earlier release Flywheel, are ministry tools developed by Sherwood Pictures, featuring the Kendricks' filmmaking talents and the support of Sherwood Baptist Church in Albany, Georgia.

The squeaky-clean PG movie passed the $3 million gross mark October 12, which already makes it a success sto...