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March 2014 Issue

Frank Page unveils the new

SBC Executive Committee President Frank S. Page unveils the newly designed Photo by Morris Abernathy.

Southern Baptists can now access important information and resources online more easily than ever. has a new design, updated features, and simpler navigation. The new look to the website provides an "easier way to find those dependable resources Baptists need and use most," said D. August Boto, executive vice president and general counsel of the SBC Executive Committee.

Executive Committee President Frank S. Page unveiled the redesigned website at the Executive Committee meeting on February 18. was designed to be "a portal for all things Southern Baptist," said Chris Chapman, director of information systems for the Executive Committee. "Visitors should be able to easily find information and links to most anything that ha...

EC Chairman Ernest Easley

EC Chairman Ernest Easley addresses the Executive Committee on SBC Constitution Article III. Photo by Morris Abernathy.

The Southern Baptist Convention's Executive Committee will consider a proposal at its June 9, 2014, meeting to update the SBC Constitution regarding qualifications for churches to send messengers to the annual meeting.

During its February 17–18 meeting in Nashville, the Executive Committee voted to place the item on its June 9 agenda prior to the SBC annual meeting in Baltimore. The EC officers proposed setting the date in advance to give an opportunity for EC members and other Southern Baptists to reflect on the proposed changes and provide feedback. The Committee will determine then whether to present a proposed revision to messengers at the June 10–11 SBC annual meeting.

Current Church Qualifications

The proposal to amend Article III came as a motion from the floor at last year's SBC annual meeting&md...

God Has Promised to Sustain the Righteous, Luter Tells EC by Diana Chandler; Page Hopeful for Cooperative Program Uptick by Shawn Hendricks
This year, six individuals and couples, representing thousands of missionaries serving throughout the United States, Canada, and their territories, are spotlighted during NAMB's Week of Prayer. The other two days focus on strategies to continue penetrating lostness.
NAMB President Kevin Ezell

North American Mission Board President Kevin Ezell addresses members of the NAMB board of trustees during a meeting in Indianapolis. Photo by Susan Whitley.

Southern Baptists are blessed with many resources and we are grateful for every dollar churches send to us for missions and ministry in North America. But at the end of the day we receive a finite amount of funding and we must prioritize spending.

When I became president in 2010, our trustees directed us to focus more on evangelistic church planting. We believe churches that proclaim Christ in a community are the best ongoing form of evangelism.

In the midst of this priority shift we also engaged in several important studies. First, we looked at where the deepest pockets of lostness existed in the US and Canada. As you might expect, our tribe has done pretty well in the South with one church for every 2,697 people. But in other regions it's not so good: 1 to 12,802 in the Midwest; 1 to 16,084 ...

Crossover Baltimore

Baltimore Inner Harbor

Less than a year ago Bob Mackey spent a Saturday traveling around Houston. Together with hundreds of other Southern Baptists from across the nation, Mackey, executive director of the Baltimore Baptist Association, was in the city to participate in Crossover 2013, a citywide service and outreach initiative preceding the Southern Baptist Convention. Over the course of the day, Mackey observed partnership in action, with visiting Southern Baptists working alongside the local association and churches of Houston to serve the city.

Since then Mackey and his team at the Baltimore Baptist Association have been working hard to prepare for Crossover Baltimore, taking place in their home city on June 7.

"We visited a lot of different events taking place as a part of Crossover Houston...

Church plant baptism

Baptism at La Chapelle church in Montreal, Quebec. Photo courtesy of La Chapelle Church.

Within months of its launch, a new Montreal church plant named La Chapelle was moving to two services to accommodate almost 700 people attending the young Quebecois congregation.

In terms of growth, La Chapelle stands out among church plants, and it certainly stands out among churches in the Montreal Cosmopolitan Area. Very few churches in the city surpass an attendance of fifty.

But according to the North American Mission Board, La Chapelle also exemplifies some important trends among church plants—including exceptional evangelistic fruitfulness.

There's another phenomenon this church has experienced. Last year they baptized more than seventy people, a nearly astronomical number for this post-Christian city.

As one of few French-speaking Evangelical churches in an area where French-speaking churches are mostly Catholic and declining, La Chapelle...

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Proposed Article III, to be Considered in June
Questions and Answers
Article III Across the Years

Proposed Article III, to be Considered in June

Article III. Composition: The Convention shall consist of messengers who are members of Baptist churches in cooperation with the Convention at levels which the Convention, from time to time, determines. The following subparagraphs describe the Convention's current standards and method of determining the maximum number of messengers the Convention will recognize from each cooperating church to attend the Convention's annual meeting.

1. The Convention will only deem a church to be in friendly cooperation with the Convention, and sympathetic with its purposes and work (i.e., a "cooperating" church as that descriptive term is used in the Convention's governing documents) which:

  1. Has not intentionally operated in any manner demonstrating opposition to the doctrine expressed in the Convention's most recent...
Ethnic and racial tensions still exist in the Southern Baptist Convention but can heal through transparency, honesty, and divine intervention.
You have prayed, "Thy Kingdom come." But can you define the term "Kingdom of God"?
Marijuana's Potency and What Churches Can Do by Barrett Duke; Moore: "What does the normalization of marijuana do to people?" by David Roach.
Southern Baptist Foundation Helps Plan Legacy Giving
My Legacy of Faith

If just 10 percent of Southern Baptists over age sixty-five tithed their estates to SBC Great Commission ministries, an additional five billion dollars would go to support Kingdom causes over the next twenty years, according to Warren Peek, president of the Southern Baptist Foundation (SBF).

The SBF wants to help Southern Baptists realize this astonishing power of legacy giving and assist them as they include their churches and other ministries in their wills. Last year the SBF consulted with 287 individuals about their estate plans, completing more than one hundred plans with total giving of nearly thirty million dollars.

Established in 1947, the Foundation serves as a subsidiary of the SBC Executive Committee to provide investment and estate planning services for SBC entities, institutions, and individuals.

"The importance of being prepared and having a plan for the future cannot be understated," Peek said. "Research shows pastors believe the estate planning of Christia...

VBS at Living Hope Church

Vacation Bible School at the county fairgrounds. Photo courtesy of Living Hope Church.

When lost people come to Christ at Southern Baptist church plants, often it's the culmination of individual, regional, and national cooperation.

Living Hope Church in Marysville, Ohio, is case in point. The five-year-old church plant where about 400 people participate in Sunday morning worship exists because of the partnership of Dublin (Ohio) Baptist Church and Kirby Woods Baptist Church in Memphis, Tennessee, as well as the support of all Southern Baptists through the Cooperative Program.

CP is the way Southern Baptists work together to support the expansion of God's Kingdom locally, nationally, and globally.

"We're better when we serve together and give together," said Jeremy Westbrook, Living Hope Marysville's founding pastor. "The Cooperative Program is, I believe, the greatest network of giving in the world. Where else c...

2014 Annual Meeting Artwork

The theme for the 2014 annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention in Baltimore, Maryland, will be "Restoration and Revival through Prayer," according to SBC President Fred Luter.

"We have not had a theme that focused on prayer and revival for many years," Luter, pastor of Franklin Avenue Baptist Church in New Orleans, told SBC LIFE. "I pray that God will send revival across America and particularly among Southern Baptists."

Luter selected Psalm 80:18–19 as the biblical text to support the annual meeting theme: Then we will not turn away from You; revive us, and we will call on Your name. Restore us, Yahweh, the God of Hosts; look on us with favor, and we will be saved.

Luter will preach during the Tuesday evening session, following last year's annual meeting format. No other business will be presented or discussed in the evening session.

"It obviously had such a great response...

CP Ministry Reports

In an effort to give more visibility to the work of SBC entities, the Cooperative Program 2014 Ministry Reports are now available to all Southern Baptists in an easily-accessible, online format, viewable at

The Executive Committee had previously made these reports available to Executive Committee members and state Baptist paper editors in a printed format. Now these reports are being made available to the general public online in a digital format.

"This new platform gives every Southern Baptist an opportunity to see firsthand the good work our SBC entities are doing," said Ashley Clayton, vice president for Cooperative Program and stewardship. "It brings to life ministry reports that the Executive Committee was already compiling as part of its own ministry assignment."

The Executive Committee, under the leadership of Frank S. Page, has emphasized the importance of the Cooperative Program as the best way to fuel and support what God is doing at home and around the wo...


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Hollywood Gets It Wrong . . . Again
College Friends Share Anonymous "Dad"
America's "War on Poverty"
Which US Cities Are "Bible-Minded"?

Hollywood Gets It Wrong . . . Again

Hollywood Gets It Wrong . . . Again


The success of The Bible miniseries has motivated others in the entertainment industry to produce religion-themed shows, the Parents Television Council reports. Unfortunately, as often happens when Hollywood tries to attract a Christian audience, they get it all wrong. Such is the case with NBC's Salvation, a new prime-time series described as a "provocative drama set against the backdrop of a prominent...

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How about we all do this together: let's simultaneously go to the pantry for a snack and stare at a box of instant potatoes for three minutes. Last time I stared too long; even the packet of Shake 'N Bake started to look good. And I think I've had it since the '70s.

Decisions can be tough in any decade. We make a lot of difficult choices every day. That's why I try not to judge people according to their snack choices. Even when they don't choose chocolate. I try not to judge, but let's face it, I don't get them at all. You say potato, I say Butterfinger.

As ministers' wives, however, some decisions aren't exactly ours to make. If we could decide the number of eyeballs focused on our lives, I wonder how many we would choose. Living life in a fishbowl is one of the chief complaints among pastors' wives.

I know it can be daunting to go about your everyday life and ministry with an audience. I don't always ...

Spring 2014 Issue

Open Meeting

This issue's Open Meeting:

When, how, and why do you use social media, specifically in the context of ministry? What are its strengths? When is its use inappropriate? Why have you embraced, or rejected, the use of social media in your ministry?

Join the conversation:

  1. Comment below using your Facebook account
  2. On Twitter, Tweet using hashtag #sbcopenmeeting
  3. If you don't have a Facebook or Twitter account, you can write to us at or via regular mail

A few responses will be printed in the next issue of SBC LIFE.


Last issue's Open Meeting:

"Are mass-evangelism revival services still effective today? Does your church host ...