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June 2014 Issue

SBC President Fred Luter

Fred Luter, president of the Southern Baptist Convention, preaches during the Sunday evening session of the Pastor’s Conference on June 9, 2013. Photo by Thomas Graham.

With a desire to keep the focus on the power of revival and prayer, Southern Baptist Convention President Fred Luter expressed excitement about this year’s SBC annual meeting June 10–11 in Baltimore. Messengers also will elect a new president as Luter wraps up his second term.

Pointing to the annual meeting theme “Restoration and Revival through Prayer,” Luter noted the return of a Tuesday evening revival service—similar in style to last year’s—that has drawn positive feedback from participants.

“Last year our theme was about revival, ‘Revive Us . . . That We May Be One,’” Luter, pastor of Franklin Avenue Baptist Church in New Orleans, said. &l...

SBC Executive Committee President Frank S. Page will issue a challenge to Southern Baptists at the SBC annual meeting to “do more” to reach the world with the Gospel. Page will share his vision for Great Commission Advance, an initiative to increase missions involvement among individuals and churches, during his report to the Convention on Tuesday afternoon, according to C. Ashley Clayton, EC vice president for Cooperative Program and stewardship. “In its most condensed and basic form, Great Commission Advance calls for Southern Baptists to simply ‘do more,’” Clayton said. Page will call on all Southern Baptists—individuals, families, and churches—sacrificially to “‘do more’ to advance the Great Commission so that every person has the opportunity to hear the Gospel,” he said.
SBC Annual Meeting App

Messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting can stay up to date with a smartphone app, which will include more than a dozen features, including schedules, maps, alerts, speakers, newsfeeds, the Book of Reports, the Daily Bulletin, and much more.

The free app is available for iPhone, iPad, Android, and Blackberry users and can be downloaded by searching for “SBC Annual Meetings” in the device’s app store. Once the app is downloaded, it will prompt you to install the information for the 2014 annual meeting.

Developed by Core-Apps, the app will include:

  • Push alerts that give users up-to-date news, such as changes in the meeting schedule should the posted schedule change.
  • The programs for the SBC Pastors’ Conference and the SBC annual meeting.
  • An alphabetized l...
SBC President

June 1, 2014

Hello Southern Baptist Messengers and Guests,

I bring you greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

It is with great joy and enthusiasm that I welcome you to the beautiful city of Baltimore for our 2014 annual meeting. Since our convention ended last year in Houston, the local arrangements committee here in Baltimore has put in hours and hours at meetings preparing to host each of you here for this year’s convention. I have no doubt you will see and experience all their hard work from the beginning to the very end of our meeting. Thank you, local arrangements committee members, for your hard work and dedication!

Messengers, please make sure you arrive at each and every session prepared to hear exciting and inspirational reports from our entities, boards, and seminary presidents. You will be encouraged as we hear the anticipated reports from our Exe...

Chris Davis

Baltimore Orioles’ first baseman, Chris Davis. Photo courtesy of the Baltimore Orioles.

The game of baseball closely resembles life in many ways: it is played every day (between April and October), it is full of unexpected twists and turns, and even those who are successful at it still fail often.

Chris Davis, emerging superstar of the Baltimore Orioles, is living out this truism, and it is leading him in a closer walk with the Lord.

Davis graduated high school in Longview, Texas, with great expectations. The Texas Rangers drafted him in the fifth round of the 2006 amateur draft. At six-foot-three and 230 pounds, the lanky first baseman had always been a slugger; his ability to mash a baseball had earned him the nickname “Crush.”

His life appeared to be proceeding according to plan; he spent little more than a whole season in the minor lea...

Baltimore Baltimore Convention Center Inner Harbor area Fell's Point area Little Italy area USS Constellation Civil War Museum Reginald F. Lewis Museum Babe Ruth Birthplace and Museum Sports Legends Museum at Camden Yards Oriole Park at Camden Yards Federal Hill Park National Aquarium Maryland Science Center American Visionary Art Museum Walters Art Museum
Annie Armstrong

Annie Armstrong

As the home of Annie Armstrong and the first home of WMU, there could not be a more appropriate place to culminate a yearlong celebration of the 125th anniversary of WMU than Baltimore.

It was May 14, 1888, when the women gathered and formally organized what is known today as Woman’s Missionary Union, Auxiliary to Southern Baptist Convention, in the basement of Broad Street Baptist Church in Richmond, Virginia. They elected Annie Armstrong as their leader and set up headquarters in Baltimore from 1888 to 1921.

“When WMU organized in 1888, praying for and giving to missions was at the forefront of the women’s minds,” Wanda S. Lee, executive director/treasurer of national WMU, said. “They had read many missionary letters; heard the pleas from individuals, like Lottie Moon; and recognized the need to raise awareness ...

“We are excited about the interest we’ve seen from other states and churches to serve with us in Baltimore this year. These partners coming alongside us will help extend our reach around the city and connect our community to the local churches already at work in Baltimore.” Bob Mackey, executive director Baltimore Baptist Association
Tom Elliff

Tom Elliff, president, International Mission Board. Photo courtesy of IMB.

Editor’s Note: This excerpt from retiring International Mission Board President Tom Elliff’s May 14, 2014, report to the IMB trustees contains a challenge to members of his Board and Southern Baptist churches. The full text of his remarks may be read at

As our Search Team is seeking for my successor, I believe a good stewardship of the days remaining demands that I alert you to the challenges that face us. Looking ahead, IMB must come to grips with at least three practical issues that demand urgent attention.

1. It is imperative that IMB develop, then clearly define, new means by which personnel are encoura...

The authors of the five articles that follow hold to various stripes of premillennialism and amillennialism.

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.

The Executive Committee voted to place the item on its June 9 agenda after earlier presenting it for discussion during its February 17–18 meeting in Nashville. The Committee set the date in advance to give Southern Baptists an opportunity to weigh in on the proposed changes before determining whether to present a proposed revision to messengers at the June 10–11 SBC annual meeting. To facilitate feedback, the EC announced an email portal, The EC also monitored conversations on Southern Baptist-related blogs and through state Baptist convention newspapers.

The proposal to amend Article III came as a motion from the floor at last year’s SBC annual m...

Blind NOBTS Student Finds Blessing in Challenging Evangelism Course
Andy West and Preston Nix

Andy West (left) and New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary evangelism professor Preston Nix. Photo courtesy of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.

The very thought of door-to-door evangelism stirs fear in the hearts of even the most committed believers, including those in seminary. Fear about what to say. Fear of rejection. Fear of the unknown.

Add something like physical blindness to the mix and the task becomes even more daunting. That was the situation facing Andy West—blind from birth—when he enrolled in the personal evangelism practicum course required for every student at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. Along with all the common fears about door-to-door evangelism, West also had a physical limitation to consider.

West, a master of arts in worship ministries student, was not excited a...

SBDS query

Screen capture from LifeWay’s Southern Baptist Directory Services Query Tool for the 2013 Annual Church Profile

Pastors and churches should feel “very confident” in the trends the Annual Church Profile numbers indicate, according to Scott McConnell, vice president of LifeWay Research.

“When we get together with other statisticians, Southern Baptist participation in the Annual Church Profile (ACP) is the envy of other denominations,” he said in a May 19 telephone interview with SBC LIFE. “Even denominations that have a top-down authority over their churches cannot get the level of cooperation that we, with autonomous churches, get in the Southern Baptist Convention.”

The Annual Church Profile is an annual statistical report churches voluntarily submit to the Southern Baptist Convention. The reported numbe...

GuideStone Ministry Helps Retired Pastors, Their Widows in Financial Need
Virginia Pangle

Virginia Pangle, widow of pastor Hazen Pangle, continues to be cared for through the ministry of Mission:Dignity. Photo courtesy of GuideStone Financial Resources.

“. . . we’ve been able to have chicken or beef two or three times a month.”

The words came on a small note of appreciation from retired pastor Hazen Pangle and his wife Virginia as they applied for a renewal of their Mission:Dignity application. Thanks to a Mission:Dignity benefit, they were able to have basic needs met. The Dallas-based ministry of GuideStone Financial Resources provides for retired Southern Baptist pastors and their widows who find themselves in serious financial need. Even though Hazen died in 2008, Virginia continues to be cared for by Mission:Dignity.

When Hazen Pangle was pastoring, few churches could pay a decent salary, let alo...

Southern Baptist and evangelical church members can now invest with GuideStone Funds, according to a May 5 press release from the SBC’s GuideStone Financial Resources.

Since its 2001 inception, GuideStone Funds has limited participation to pastors, missionaries, and employees of Southern Baptist and evangelical churches and ministries, as well as their immediate family members—until now, the release said.

Messengers to the 2013 Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting amended GuideStone’s ministry statement to allow the entity to offer its investments, insurance, and services to like-minded individuals.

Under the approved expansion of its ministry assignment, GuideStone is now able to make the nation’s largest Christian-screened mutual fund family available to values-driven investors, with a focus on Southern Baptist and other evangelical church members. Investing in these funds became available to individuals on May 1.

“We are only requesting the opportunity to serve a larger audience because we firmly believe it will enhance our ability to serve our South...

Calling the local church the “headquarters of the Southern Baptist Convention,” Frank S. Page, president and CEO of the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee, has committed himself this year to meet with pastors across the country to sense their hearts for Kingdom work and hear their concerns about the Convention’s health and well-being.

Frank S. Page and A. B. Vines

A. B. Vines (standing, above), pastor of New Seasons Church in Spring Valley, California, hosted EC President Frank S. Page and area pastors. Photos by Mike Carlisle.

The year began with three events that prompted a heightened sense of urgency to meet with pastors and local church leaders—a panel discussion with associational directors of missions at the Network of Baptist Associations annual meeting in Fort Worth, Texas, on January 6–7; an associational pastor’s conference at Sev...

ERLC Leland House

In the year 1891, much of what we would now recognize as Washington, DC, was just beginning to take shape. The District of Columbia’s transportation hub, Union Station, would not officially open for another seventeen years. Ground-breaking for the Lincoln and Jefferson Memorials was still decades away. The cornerstone of the US Supreme Court would not be laid for forty-one years.

As the nation’s capital continued to develop, construction began on a group of rowhouses on Capitol Hill, along the east side of Second Street NE.

Almost 125 years and more than twenty US presidential administrations later, many of these rowhouses still stand, weathered by age and repurposed in function. Notable among them is a two-story with basement at postal address 505.

Today, that grey brick building is home to the Washington, DC, office of the Ethics & Religious Libert...

Psalm 23

Revival and restoration will begin when we lean on the Everlasting Arms. Most of us ministry leaders, if not all of us, are exhausted from providing our finite arms to hold up the flock. Destruction, devastation, and disasters are all around. The load of ministry responsibility is getting heavy. We are sacrificed beyond our means.

With strategies, gimmicks, and games as their focus, ministry leaders have neglected to disciple the flock to withstand this level of warfare. Yes, this is warfare, greater than anything we could have imagined. We invariably arrive at a place called Wit’s End. It is at this dark place, Wit’s End, where the Lord Jesus starts His greatest works.

There is nothing new under the sun (Ecclesiastes 1:9). We know that times past were darker than the ones we’re living in today—consider the plights of Abraham, Noah, Lot, Joseph, Esther, Peter, James, and John.