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October 2012 Issue

In one of the most historic meetings in the Southern Baptist Convention’s 167-year history, messengers meeting June 19-20 elected the body’s first African American president.

Frank Page, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Executive Committee, used a World War II analogy in his address at the SBC annual meeting in New Orleans to warn that the Cooperative Program, which fuels SBC missions and ministry, is running low.

A student of history, Page said the Germans were defeated in the Battle of the Bulge after a solid start because they ran out of fuel.

“Their machines stopped working. They were technologically very superior, but they couldn’t go anywhere. Their tanks became sitting targets for our tanks and our soldiers,” Page said.

He then told messengers: “We’re running out of fuel in the Southern Baptist Convention. The fuel for a Great Commission Advance, which is what I would like for us to see happen, is the fuel of the Cooperative Program.”

Southern Baptists can talk about missions and even summon the resolve to engage in missions, he said, but without providing fuel for the missions task, the Great Commission will be left to someon...

A strong home base of ministry with an aggressive global vision for reaching the nations with the Gospel has been the driving passion of Southern Baptists since the SBC was formed.

During the first eighty years of the Convention’s existence, its missions and ministry entities routinely experienced financial hardship. Things came to a head in the first two decades of the twentieth century when many of our boards incurred massive debt. It seemed at the time that some would not survive.

Southern Baptists desperately needed a funding mechanism that would provide a steady, dependable source of income for the missions boards and seminaries.

In 1925, leading pastors in the Convention led the Convention to adopt a plan by which churches could send a weekly or monthly check to their respective state Baptist convention and provide support for a whole range of state, national, and international ministries. They named this plan the Cooperative Program.

The Cooperative Program is the fuel that drives the missions and ministries of th...

September 26—November 4
www.4040prayer.com

I am convinced that the downward moral decline in America will not change because of who is in the White House. I truly believe the moral decline will only change because of who is in God’s House!

It is time for true revival. It is time for true repentance. It is time for the church to stand up and be the church by being light in a dark world and being salt in a low-sodium, saltless society! We can start by taking part in this 40/40 Prayer Vigil for Spiritual Revival and National Renewal. I truly believe this prayer vigil can make a difference in our nation.
Fred Luter
 

As I travel across our nation, I am met with an almost universal understanding that we are in dire need of a Holy Ghost revival in our nation, in our churches, and in our lives. This refrain is repeated over and over.

God has a plan for our nation, for our churches, and for our lives. Satan al...

Fred Luter’s election as SBC president illustrated the wisdom of a 2011 Executive Committee recommendation adopted by the Convention that “workers and leaders from all ethnic backgrounds . . . involve themselves to the highest level possible in associational life and through state convention ministries” so that “leadership in the Convention will naturally follow.”

In downtown Belfast a group of trees have no lower limbs. The limbs were not lost to fire or drought or city tree-pruners. They were cut off because so many people hanged themselves on them in this city smothered with despair.

As evangelist Jay Lowder passed them, he thought about the day twenty-five years earlier when he sat with a pistol to his own head—and about God’s redeeming grace that saved him.

During a recent evangelistic campaign in Northern Ireland he shared about his brush with suicide and preached the Gospel, helping hundreds of Irish men and women find new life through Jesus Christ in the process.

“I haven’t forgotten what it’s like to be lost,” he said.

Lowder, a “harvest evangelist” from Wichita Falls, Texas, preaches mostly to large rallies and assemblies, calling people to make public commitments of salvation through altar calls. It’s a Billy Graham style of evangelism he acknowledges has fallen out of favor in recent years.

“There...

Hundreds of Southern Baptist pastors and staff ministers will be terminated this year, according to recently compiled reports, with fulltime pastors more than twice as likely to be fired as bivocational pastors. Control Issues—“who’s going to run the church”—topped the list of reasons for termination. The issue of control, cited in 209 instances of forced termination in 2009, has anchored the top spot in this and similar surveys previously compiled by LifeWay Christian Resources’ pastoral ministries department. Nearly twice as many pastors are dismissed annually related to this issue than any other issue.

“We consistently see the inability to develop and maintain healthy relationships within the church as the [top] reason for dismissals,” Bob Sheffield, formerly a pastoral ministries specialist with LifeWay, commented after the 2006 report. The current report reveals that the trend continues.

Reports from twenty-two state Baptist conventions compiled by the Alabama Baptist Convention over ...

SBCLIFE: Joe, we notice this series of cartoons deals with the same scene. A little delegation of church members approaches the pastor with a grievance. You obviously feel strongly about this?

Joe: Cartoonists connect best with people when they can connect at a deep emotional level such as anger or anxiety. Editorial cartoonists often call their assignment “getting angry five times a week.”

SBCLIFE: You don’t seem to be an angry person. So, how do you stir these emotions?

Joe: No one who knows me personally thinks of me as an angry person. I certainly do not preach angry sermons or write angry cartoons. But over these fifty years of preaching, I have seen the little scenario in this series of cartoons play itself out far too often. A small group of self-important members decides to straighten the preacher out, or worse, to pressure him to resign.

SBCLIFE: Does that upset you?

Joe: ...

Baptist Collegiate Ministry is one of Southern Baptists “best-kept secrets,” according to Weaver McCracken, director of collegiate ministry for the Mississippi Baptist Convention. “Southern Baptists often do not realize all that BCM does to disciple and influence our next generation of leaders, and the tremendous contributions BCM makes to the Kingdom work that drives Southern Baptists.”

Last year, more than 69,500 students were actively involved in campus ministry on the 839 college and university campuses across the United States and Canada where Southern Baptists and their Canadian Baptist counterparts have a Baptist Collegiate Ministry (BCM). The ministry is also known as BSU (Baptist Student Union), CrossWalk, Christian Challenge, and a variety of other names in different regions of the nation.

An additional 290,000 students were directly impacted by a Southern Baptist campus ministry last year, according to Brian Frye, collegiate evangelism strategist for the State Convention of Baptists...

Engaging a UUPG Where to Begin?

We must change our perspective on how “missions” is done in order effectively to reach the world with the Gospel, according to David Sills, associate dean of Christian missions at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, and a former IMB missionary to Ecuador.

Full-time overseas missionaries by themselves will never disciple the nations for Christ.

They were never intended to.

“There are generally two types of responses people and churches have to the Great Commission,” Sills, who also seeks to equip laypersons to be effective missionaries through Reaching and Teaching International Ministries, said.

“The first response is they understand their church needs to be involved, but they defer to the International Mission Board (IMB) to do it.

“The second response is saying, ‘Yeah, we want to be involved but where can we go and what can we do?’” Sills said.

Noting that every Christ-follower has been commissio...

by Jeff Palmer

WORLD HUNGER DAY

October 14 is World Hunger Day on the Southern Baptist Convention calendar.

Churches are encouraged to alert their people to the hunger needs around us and around the world, encouraging their members to contribute to this vital cause.

Southern Baptists provide an avenue through which people can give to World Hunger. Called the World Hunger Fund, it is not another special offering the Convention promotes; rather it is a standing fund through which people can contribute on an ongoing basis to help meet hunger needs in the United States and around the world. All money received from the churches by the SBC Executive Committee is divided to overseas hunger needs and domestic hunger needs in an eighty-twenty split—80 percent goes to feed hungry people around the world and 20 percent is distributed to hunger projects across the United States. Because of the Cooperative Program, there are no overhead costs associated with distributing World Hunger contributions. Every penny of every dollar of World Hunger contributions goes dire...

WORLD HUNGER DAY

October 14 is World Hunger Day on the Southern Baptist Convention calendar.

Churches are encouraged to alert their people to the hunger needs around us and around the world, encouraging their members to contribute to this vital cause.

Southern Baptists provide an avenue through which people can give to World Hunger. Called the World Hunger Fund, it is not another special offering the Convention promotes; rather it is a standing fund through which people can contribute on an ongoing basis to help meet hunger needs in the United States and around the world. All money received from the churches by the SBC Executive Committee is divided to overseas hunger needs and domestic hunger needs in an eighty-twenty split—80 percent goes to feed hungry people around the world and 20 percent is distributed to hunger projects across the United States. Because of the Cooperative Program, there are no overhead costs associated with distributing World Hunger contributions. Every penny of every dollar of World Hunger contributions goes dire...

The sound of the brightly-colored church bus chugging to a halt at an aging trailer park draws a dozen or more youngsters every Wednesday from their homes not far from West Heights Baptist Church, where David Hamilton is pastor.

After retrofitting the now-seatless interior, one of five rotating groups of members takes the bus each week to the trailer park to provide a Backyard Bible Club experience for young children who otherwise might not have any contact with God or His people.

“I just like to see folks saved,” Hamilton said. “I still believe the Lord saves, and we’ve got to tell people that.”

West Heights members spread throughout Pontotoc, Mississippi, North America, and world-wide to tell people of God’s love, first by giving 13 percent of their offering to missions through the Cooperative Program—the way Southern Baptist churches work together through state conventions for theological education, cultural impact, and global missions.

“The whole idea of the Cooper...


William Wilberforce

As the 2012 presidential election approaches, one of America’s most coveted blocks of voters, evangelicals, are desirable for good reason: they have never sat on the sidelines of the public square. Throughout the ages, faithful, biblical Christians have labored within the parameters of their respective forms of government to exert godly influence and seek redemptive change in ungodly social structures and societal practices—all for the glory of God.

During the Protestant Reformation in sixteenth-century Europe, John Calvin sought to build a Christ-glorifying society in Geneva and believed Romans 13 supported his effort. Though he wrongly advocated a state-run church, many of his underlying principles were consistent with Scripture.

Scottish Baptist Robert Haldane, a pastor/theologian who ministered two hundred years later, saw government as a necessary product of the Fall of Adam, a reality that is also a gift of mercy from the hand of a good and sovereign God. Christians must necessarily engage ...

“For I know the plans I have for you . . . plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)

Are you really living where you live? No, that’s not a mistake. I meant to ask it just like that. Many people fail to really live because they’re longing for where they came from or where they’ll be going. They’re just biding time.

When Waylon and I got married, I felt like Cinderella . . . and Dorothy. I was whisked away into the sunset by the handsome prince; but I definitely wasn’t in Kansas anymore! Being from Alabama, Louisiana isn’t the place I would have chosen to spend my life. It was an adjustment. But now, these many years later, I am so thankful. Waylon and I have had a wonderful life together. Both girls were born here—Anna in Baton Rouge and Emily in New Orleans. God has blessed us beyond measure. To live here was not my plan. But, it was God’s plan.

Living in Louisiana is a little different from living ...

October
Cooperative Program Emphasis Month (October 1-31)
Soul-Winning Commitment Day (October 7)
World Hunger Sunday (October 14)

November
Children’s Missions Celebrations Day (November 4)

December
Week of Prayer and Mission Study for International Missions and the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering (December 2-9)

 

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