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May 2014 Issue

Prayer at IMB appointment service

Friends and family gather to pray over new missionaries during a February 27 IMB appointment service at Hope Church, Las Vegas, Nevada. Photo courtesy of IMB.

This year's Woman's Missionary Union missions celebration will feature a unique opportunity for Southern Baptists to witness a joint commissioning service of up to one hundred new IMB and NAMB field personnel.

With the WMU annual meeting theme "Go Forward," the commissioning service highlights the 2014 WMU Missions Celebration and Annual Meeting which will take place June 8–9, 2014, in Baltimore. The commissioning service will be at 4:00 p.m. on Sunday afternoon, June 8, in the Baltimore Convention Center Ballroom.

"Commissioning missionaries for special service is a great privilege," said Wanda S. Lee, executive director of national WMU. "It is a time to celebrate their calling, voice our affirmation a...

Paul Kim

Paul Kim introduces the motion during the 2009 SBC Annual Meeting in Louisville, Kentucky, that resulted in the SBC-adopted Ethnic Study Committee Report of 2011. Photo by Morris Abernathy.

From his unique vantage point—as a Korean pastor of a multi-ethnic church for more than two decades in Boston, the historic "cradle of the American Revolution"—Paul Kim sees an America that has clearly gone adrift.

"This isn't the America the Pilgrims founded in 1620 near Boston where I live," Kim said, citing the growing movement to legalize same-sex marriage and the drift from the nation's Christian origins. "This isn't the country our forefathers dreamed of. There's no question that our country has changed. Sin has so influenced our country. We need salvation from God."

Born in Korea, Kim came to the United States fifty years ago, became a US citizen, and eventually became a reserve chaplain for the ...

"Oh say, can you see" all the exciting opportunities you'll encounter when you come to Baltimore? This colorful and delightfully diverse "city of neighborhoods" has a rich history—from the birthplace of our national anthem to the home of the Southern Baptist Convention's beloved Annie Armstrong. This is one place you won't want to miss.
Click here to download the 2014 SBC Annual Meeting program and schedules for conferences and ancillary events. Click here to download a flyer for the Baltmore Orioles' Baptist Nights. Click here to view information about Crossover Baltimore. Click here to view an article in this issue of SBC LIFE about the annual meeting mobile app.
The Hispanic Advisory Council's report reflects perspectives from Puerto Rican, Cuban, Central American, South American, Mexican, and European Hispanic communities and first-, second-, and third-generation Hispanic immigrants.
The Asian American Advisory Council, representing numerous Asian cultures and language groups, has found unity of purpose around "some things we have in common," SBC Executive Committee President Frank S. Page told Council members during its second meeting, March 13–14, in Nashville.
Leaders representing various language and ethnic groups told Frank S. Page, president of the SBC Executive Committee, they would like to be "incorporated" into the totality of Southern Baptist life, not merely "assimilated" as objects of ministry.
Little Cypress Baptist

Members of Little Cypress Baptist Church participate in missions and ministry. Photos courtesy of Little Cypress Baptist Church.

Flexibility and preparation are important to Little Cypress Baptist Church, located in a hurricane-prone zone less than twenty miles north of the Gulf of Mexico.

Nicknamed the "biggest little church in Texas," Little Cypress Baptist is committed to winning souls for Christ by giving through the Cooperative Program—the way Southern Baptists maximize missions and ministries in state conventions and throughout the world—and emphasizing personal evangelism. The church also focuses on preparing for an uncertain future.

Cooperative Program Giving

"Even though I've been the pastor for sixteen years, our Cooperative Program giving doesn't have anything to do with me," said David Turner, pastor of the rural church where about 220 pe...


Paul Thompson considers it a beautiful thing to reflect on the days he and nine other Baptists were detained in a filthy Haitian jail, falsely accused of trafficking the orphans they were trying to help.

"They were difficult and perplexing and complex days, but God ordained them," said Thompson, pastor of Eastside Baptist Church in Twin Falls, Idaho, four years after the ordeal. "It's easy to see that, especially as I read back through my journal entries from those days."

Thompson has compiled a sixty-page journal of his time in Haiti, recording times when he wept with his face to the wall and times when he rejoiced over God's provision.

The group of volunteers from two Idaho churches traveled to Haiti in January 2010 to rescue orphans from the earthquake-ravaged country and move them to safety in the Dominican Republic. Shockingly, they were charged with child kidnapping instead.

Eight of the volunteers, including ...


SBC Executive Committee President Frank S. Page has named a volunteer advisory body of local church leaders and professionals in the mental health field. The advisory group will advise him on possible ways of better communicating with Southern Baptists about mental health ministry needs in their churches and communities and the availability of ministry resources to address those needs.

During its February 17–18 meeting in Nashville, the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee concurred with the spirit of a motion referred from the 2013 SBC annual meeting regarding mental health ministry and voted to amend an annual ministry report form it solicits from the SBC's entities to include questions asking appropriate entities what they are doing to assist Southern Baptist churches in equipping and ministering to people with mental health challenges.

The Executive Committee also voted to "continue to seek ways to work in cooperation with SBC entities and others to address the seve...

Joe baptizes Boris

Joe baptizes Boris in Foggy Lake in Gothic Basin, near where they first met. Photo courtesy of Joe Chambers.

Sometimes pain has rewards that transcend the temporary discomfort.

I was backpacking alone up the Weden Creek trail in Washington on my way to Gothic Basin when I slipped on some wet grass. The torque of my fall broke the fibula in my right leg. I endured severe pain for several days as I waited for someone to come along and send for help.

My rescuer was a young man named Boris, who volunteered for Search and Rescue. He was hiking on his day off when he found me and radioed for a helicopter to come to our location. While we waited, we talked. I found out he was born in America and moved with his folks back to the Netherlands when he was quite young. They divorced soon after that. I asked if he was married and he said he was going through a divorce.

The Search and Rescue helicopter arrived and I said goodbye....

Bivocational ministry is a special calling that's starting to receive more attention.
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 typing in "SBC Annual Meeting 2014" in the smartphone's app store.

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 list of Pastors' Conference and SBC annual meeting speakers, including their scheduled speaking times.
  • A newsfeed of Baptist Press news stor...
Buddy system at Stewartstown Baptist

Sarah Fuller leads James Peoples, an autistic child, in a Bible study at Stewartstown Baptist Church. Photos courtesy of Stewartstown Baptist Church.

Stewartstown (Pennsylvania) Baptist Church wanted to teach the special-needs children in their community—and their parents and siblings—about God's love. They figured out some low-cost, high-impact ways to make it happen.

The church offers bimonthly respite nights as an outreach to the community. Special-needs children and their siblings come to the church for a fun night while the parents get a date night, knowing their children are in a safe place at the church with people able to provide the quality of care their youngsters need.

On Sundays, the church pairs special-needs children with volunteers in what they call the "buddy system." Buddies sit with the children, support them, and assist them in the church's f...

TALKING is a Spiritual Gift

My husband once told me I have three spiritual gifts not listed in the Bible: sleeping, shopping, and talking! Oh my, I do seem like a shallow Christian. How reassuring to discover biblical support for my gift of talking. First Peter 4:10–11 says: Based on the gift each one has received, use it to serve others, as good managers of the varied grace of God. If anyone SPEAKS, it should be as one who SPEAKS God's words.

Talking IS a spiritual gift! You may have this gift too. A spiritual gift is a special ability given by God for Christian service. Paul the Apostle often taught about spiritual gifts to encourage believers to minister to others. There is one body of Christ but a diversity of gifts including prophecy, service, teaching, and exhorting (Romans 12:6–8). The same God gives at least one of His various gifts to every believer (1 Corinthians 12:4–11). And, He personally gives them for th...