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April 2010 Issue

Southern Baptists must be gripped anew by the lostness of the world, repent of their self-centeredness, and focus their local churches on taking the Gospel to those who have yet to hear, the chairman of the Southern Baptist Convention's Great Commission Resurgence Task Force said February 22.

Toward that end, Ronnie Floyd, pastor of First Baptist Church in Springdale, Arkansas, presented a "progress report" to the SBC's Executive Committee on the task force's work that included six "components" of a vision they believe Southern Baptists will rally around and experience renewed passion for the Great Commission — making disciples of all the world's people groups.

To open his ninety-minute presentation, Floyd drew on Joel 2:12-17 to deliver a challenge about the need for urgent, wholehearted repentance if Southern Baptists are to participate in the evangelistic ...

Southern Baptists must be gripped anew by the lostness of the world, repent of their self-centeredness, and focus their local churches on taking the Gospel to those who have yet to hear, the chairman of the Southern Baptist Convention's Great Commission Resurgence Task Force said February 22.

Toward that end, Ronnie Floyd, pastor of First Baptist Church in Springdale, Arkansas, presented a "progress report" to the SBC's Executive Committee on the task force's work that included six "components" of a vision they believe Southern Baptists will rally around and experience renewed passion for the Great Commission — making disciples of all the world's people groups.

To open his ninety-minute presentation, Floyd drew on Joel 2:12-17 to deliver a challenge about the need for urgent, wholehearted repentance if Southern Baptists are to participate in the evangelistic ...

From the President's Report to the SBC Executive Committee, February 22, 2010

The Greatness of Cooperation

As a member of the Executive Committee (EC), you serve in one of the most critical positions in the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC). The Convention relies heavily on you to be trustworthy and wise in your deliberations and judgments. The committee always will have its critics, and lobbyists who attempt to pressure you "to see it their way." Those who live and die by the political sword in the Convention believe that you can be convinced of their position because of your desire for political goodwill. But in the years I have been here, members of the Executive Committee have displayed rare and courageous resistance against those who attempt to influence your vote on everything from issues to offic...

Members of the Great Commission Resurgence Task Force told reporters following the presentation of their report to the SBC Executive Committee Monday, February 22, that their proposed dissolving of cooperative agreements between the North American Mission Board and state conventions will make the respective sides stronger and more equipped to reach the nation with the Gospel.

The proposal could have a significant impact on state conventions located in areas which do not have a strong Southern Baptist presence.

The various cooperative agreements NAMB has with state conventions would be dissolved by the end of a four-year period to free up more money to "budget for a national strategy" to prioritize the planting of churches, particularly ones in cities. Currently, the state conventions forward a portion of Cooperative Program money to the SBC's Allocation Budget, and NAMB takes its po...

Regular processes of the Southern Baptist Convention will be followed if the Convention's messengers approve the Great Commission Resurgence Task Force's recommendations, according to responses to a question during the Executive Committee's (EC) February 22-23 meeting in Nashville, Tennessee.

Participants were Roger Spradlin, a California pastor who is both a GCR Task Force member and the Executive Committee's vice chairman; Morris H. Chapman, president of the Executive Committee; and D. August Boto, EC executive vice president and general counsel.

The exchange occurred in the context of a discussion of how the Executive Committee would implement a portion of the task force's vision calling for a transfer of 1 percent of Cooperative Program Allocation Budget from the Executive Committee to the International Mission Board.

The reallocation would involve approximately $2 ...

At the core of the mission of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary is to train men and women to take the Gospel to the ends of the earth — to one's neighbors and the nations.

"The task of fulfilling the Great Commission, from the onset of Southwestern Seminary's pilgrimage in 1908, has been the working hypothesis of the seminary," says President Paige Patterson.

"Theological training is not merely for the purpose of producing astutely trained minds but rather for the purpose of training men and women to become effective missionaries and evangelists in whatever God's calling may be."

Founding president B.H. Carroll's passion for evangelism compelled him to create the first-ever chair of evangelism in a seminary, and that same evangelistic zeal has carried Southwestern over the past one hundred years and can be seen in the more than forty ...

SBC President Johnny Hunt has selected "LoveLoud through the Great Commission" (1 John 3:18) as the theme for this year's sessions.

"We've got to 'Love Loud'!" Hunt, pastor of the Atlanta-area First Baptist Church in Woodstock, declared. "Loud Love moves beyond the four walls of the church. I hope to encourage our folks to roll up their sleeves and get after it.

"Our theme verse is clear," Hunt said of 1 John 3:18, which states: "My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth."

"It is not simply enough to say; we must do!" Hunt said. "We have embraced what we believe. It is now or never to engage this generation with what we believe — the Gospel.

"Our nation is lost. We have the answer. Let's do it!"

Registration for the Orlando annual me...

Pastors' Conference June 13-14, 2010 Orange County Convention Center Greater Things Sunday Evening, June 13 5:30 Pre-session Concert - Travis Cottrell 6:00 Welcome and Introductions - Kevin Ezell 6:05 Worship through Music

At Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, what began as a routine stewardship emphasis ended up making a radical difference for God's Kingdom.

In 2009, nearly four hundred students packed the Fort Worth, Texas, seminary's It's A New Day for Financial Freedom conference sponsored by the SBC Executive Committee (EC) in partnership with Crown Financial Ministries. Any attendees who expected to receive only dry accounting tips left the one-day event pleasantly surprised.

"A lot of students said it made a difference in their marriage. I had a couple of students say, 'We were looking at divorce, and we might be able to get through this thing now,'" said Scott Preissler, Southwestern's Bobby L. and Janice Eklund Chair of Stewardship. "So there were lots of testimonies. It was highly unexpected. We were just going to put on a stewardship day and didn&...

April 11 is Cooperative Program Sunday. Karen Willoughby is a feature writer for Cooperative Program emphases in SBC churches. This issue contains three articles by Willoughby which demonstrate the local, national, and international impact when churches partner through the Cooperative Program. For CP promotional resources, visit www.sbc.net/cp. Click the "Resources" tab and download the new poster series called "The Gift" FREE of charge.

Outreach and missions have been essential to Bethlehem Baptist Church since it was organized in 1881 in rural central Virginia. This is clear from the example of Jordan Taylor, who gave the land for the then-new church. He was 99 when he was baptized in the waters of the nearby Troublesome Creek.

In the years since, the church in Dillwyn, Virginia. has maintained that outward focus — which explains its growing commitment to reach...

When Cross Roads Baptist Church realized they had more income than budgetary needs last fall, it didn't take long to decide how to spend it.

They upped their giving to missions through the Cooperative Program from 10 percent to 12 percent.

"The Bible tells us in 1 Corinthians 4:2 that stewards are to be found faithful," said Andy Johnson, pastor of the congregation in Farmerville, Louisiana. "Rather than roll those finances over into a CD or put them away in a rainy day or a building fund, we decided that they would be put to better use for the Kingdom's sake in the Cooperative Program.

"The CP missionary force is, in my opinion, one of the most important arsenals that we as Christians have today," the 30-year-old Johnson said of the national and international outreach supported by 45,000 Southern Baptist churches. The missionaries "are on the fron...

Southern Baptist disaster relief volunteers are on the ground in Chile, partnering with Chilean Baptists to address critical needs in two areas hit hard by the 8.8-magnitude earthquake that struck the country February 27.

A six-member team from the South Carolina Baptist Convention landed in Santiago early in March and a second team arrived a few days later. Two teams from the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention also arrived in mid March.

The teams, which specialize in mass feeding operations, planned to set up kitchens capable of producing as many as one thousand meals daily.

The South Carolina team began by purchasing equipment for two kitchens, using money provided by Southern Baptist hunger and relief funds, said Charles Clark, an International Mission Board missionary who serves as strategy leader for the part of South America that includes Chile.

The South Carolina and Tex...

Organizers of the "Buckets of Hope" initiative for Haiti relief estimate that 150,000 food buckets will be shipped to Port-au-Prince to help combat hunger in the earthquake-devastated country. Several Baptist state conventions announced a goal for the number of buckets their state's church members will contribute including Kentucky with 10,000 buckets; Tennessee with 7,000 buckets; the Southern Baptist Conservatives of Virginia with 6,000 buckets; Louisiana, Georgia and South Carolina with 5,000 buckets each; Arkansas with 4,000; and New Mexico with 2,100.

"Exciting things are happening to the Buckets of Hope campaign in Colorado," Mike Gaines, disaster relief director for the Colorado Baptist General Convention, said, adding that churches there are turning Buckets of Hope into outreach efforts.

Wal-Mart, the world's largest retailer, also has supported the project by enco...

A drop of rain. A seed of corn. A thin red cent. None, by itself, seems significant. But collectively — and cooperatively — a drop joining with other drops of rain becomes a deluge. The grains of corn feed an army. The thin red cents fund a movement.

The Cooperative Program is like that. The gifts I give out of obedience to my Lord join with other gifts to provide a cup of cold water in the name of Jesus, spiritual food for the hungry soul, and support for sending laborers to the ends of the earth.

The church I served in Northwest Tennessee for twenty-one years was a "10 percent and more" Cooperative Program church. This means that at any given time at least ten cents out of every dollar contributed to the church budget was forwarded by the church to the Cooperative Program.

The state where I lived became a "40 percent state." This means of the ten cents of e...

One of the exciting things about the Gospel is that it has no boundaries of nationalities, as you will read in the testimony below from Pastor Dennis Littleton of First Baptist Church, Palm Coast, Florida. Church folks are an interesting bunch, to say the least. But one thing is sure, all church folks have the same Jesus urging them to be "salt and light" in a very dark world. The world's only hope is knowing Christ.

Our church is starting its seventh semester of FAITH evangelism. Thanks to this intentional approach to disciple making, God has given our church unprecedented opportunities to share Christ's Gospel of love and forgiveness throughout our community and beyond.

As I write, we are beginning this new semester with seventy-five church members who have already been trained in evangelism, and we are expecting a new class of "newbies" this month to enroll as be...

An article in Psychology Today told of a man who committed three hours a day for ten years to find something wrong with everything. He then either wrote to or talked to someone to complain about what was wrong. He did that for ten years of his life. Psychology Today concluded that his only accomplishment was to make himself miserable for ten years. That's life, isn't it? There are many things that can't be changed, many possessions we want, or accomplishments we may not achieve, but if we spend our lives trying, we will be miserable. A man said that if he just had $100 he would be happy. A friend overheard his comment and gave him $100. He then said that he wished he had asked for $200. Satisfaction comes from within. A. W. Tozer said gratitude is an offering precious in the sight of God, and it is one that the poorest of us can make which makes us much richer.

In his heyday, it was s...

Ripples of Prayer Spreading in Udmurtia by Blake Williams, The Court OKs "Under God" in the Pledge by Michael Foust,
Ripples of Prayer Spreading in Udmurtia by Blake Williams, The Court OKs "Under God" in the Pledge by Michael Foust