sbclife logo

May 2017 Issue

Steve Gaines

Southern Baptist Convention President Steve Gaines encouraged prayer and evangelism in his sermon at the SBC Executive Committee meeting February 20–21 in Nashville. Photo by Morris Abernathy.

In Nashville all of twenty-four hours while his wife Donna was home in Memphis, Southern Baptist Convention President Steve Gaines had already spoken with her four times, he said, because he loves her and simply loves to hear her voice.

The conversations with his wife served as an analogy to encourage Southern Baptists to talk with God and tell others about our Savior, the theme of his sermon on the first evening of the SBC Executive Committee meeting in Nashville February 20–21.

“If you love somebody you talk with them; you don’t just talk to them, you listen to them, with them,” he said. “And if you love someone, you talk about them. What I just said is really at the heart of what we ought to be about in the...

Downtown Phoenix Light Rail

Downtown Phoenix Light Rail.
© Visit Phoenix | Photo by Molly Smith.

If necessity is the mother of invention, then Arizona Southern Baptists must be closely related. From the beginning of Southern Baptist work in Arizona, innovation has been the rule of the day.

When Southern Baptist work began here in 1921, there was no association or convention to unite with, so the first Southern Baptist churches in Arizona actually became part of the Baptist Convention of New Mexico through one of its associations.

Big Dreams to Reach Arizona

Arizona Southern Baptists had to be imaginative in church planting. They not only started churches in schools and homes, but in train depots, fire stations, women’s clubs, funeral homes, and even bars.

In a two-stage beginning, the Arizona Southern Baptist Convention was formed in 1928 with a total of eleven churches. It was a rocky beginning. Two churches q...

Downtown Phoenix Light Rail

Corona Ranch Rodeo
© Visit Phoenix | Photo by Eric Lindberg

From the vast expanse of the Grand Canyon to the lofty mountain grandeur of the Mogollon rim to the beautiful Sonoran desert, the diversity of Arizona is a wonder to behold! You can play in the snow of the San Francisco Peaks in Flagstaff one day and play golf in sunny Phoenix the next. You can enjoy the beautiful red rocks of Sedona the same day you wonder at the stone trees of the Petrified Forest. You can even find the London Bridge in a place called Lake Havasu City and the OK Corral in Tombstone. Arizona is the only place where you will find the stately saguaro cactus and the largest stand of Ponderosa pines in the country all in the same state!

Arizona is a destination state for many. Whether it is the warm winter weather, wonders of nature, or the pop of bats and gloves during Spring Training for over a dozen Major League Baseball teams in March, Arizona ...

A Word from Steve Gaines

Office of the President

May 1, 2017

It is with a grateful heart that I address you as president of our Southern Baptist Convention. Thank you for allowing me to serve you and our Lord this past year.

I have been a Southern Baptist all my life. This position has allowed me to grow even more in my appreciation for our SBC.

Since last June, I have attended many Southern Baptist meetings and preached at Southern Baptist functions at the national, state, and local levels.

I attended the board meetings of both our North American Mission Board and our International Mission Board. I am very grateful for the leadership of Kevin Ezell at NAMB and David Platt at the IMB. I am excited to see how the Lord is using our NAMB church planters as we seek to plant a hundred new churches in North America every month! I am also excited as our 3,600-plus IMB missionaries lead in sharing the Gospe...

SBC annual meeting

TUESDAY MORNING, June 13, 2017 8:15 Opening Worship—Mark Blair, Convention music director; music minister, Bellevue Baptist Church, Cordova, Tennessee 8:25 Welcome and Call to Order—Steve Gaines, SBC president; senior pastor, Bellevue Baptist Church, Cordova, Tennessee   Announcement of Committee on Committees, Credentials Committee, Tellers, and Resolutions Committee 8:30 Scripture and Prayer—Grant Gaines, senior pastor, Calvary Baptist Church, Jackson, Tennessee   8:35 Registration Report and Constitution of Convention<...
*All event listings are accurate according to the Executive Committee’s information at press time and are subject to change. Please refer to the “SBC Annual Meetings” app for updates and to plan your schedule.

Shiung Yee (right), a member of First Baptist Church Euless, Texas, shares the Gospel with Ferguson, Missouri, resident Willie Clark during Crossover St. Louis 2016. Clark also received dental care from the Send Relief mobile dental clinic hosted at First Baptist Ferguson as part of the debut of the mercy ministry initiative of the North American Mission Board. Photo by Susan Whitley.

The goal of this year’s Crossover is to “Engage Phoenix with the Gospel” through a partnership with Harvest America.

North American Mission Board and Arizona Southern Baptist Convention leaders are praying for more than five thousand salvation decisions through this summer’s Crossover activities prior to the 2017 SBC annual meeting in Phoenix.

But for that to happen, they need the help of Southern Baptists to come and serve as volunteers, according to Eddy Pearson, evangelism director for the Arizona Southern Baptist Convention.

This year&rsquo...

Cooperative Program

This past year has been a year like no other. New and unexpected issues have challenged us, but at the same time new opportunities for advancing the Gospel have surfaced.

So let’s talk about what it looks like to be Southern Baptists on mission for God in 2017. Let’s talk at the CP Stage and Platform this summer in Phoenix.

Once again, the CP Stage will be located between the booths of the North American Mission Board and the International Mission Board in the exhibit hall at the SBC annual meeting. “We have redesigned the stage this year to reflect a family setting,” said Ashley Clayton, vice president for Cooperative Program and stewardship for the SBC Executive Committee. “Just like dads, moms, and kids share their day with each other around the kitchen table or in a warm, inviting family room, the CP Stage will be an intimate place for the SBC family to meet, share, and encourage one another.”

Programming will run Monday, June 12 through Wedn...

2017 SBC App

Attendees to the Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting can stay up to date with a mobile 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.

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.
  • A list of Pastors’ Conference and SBC annual meeting speakers, including their scheduled speaking times.
  • A newsfeed of Baptist Press news stories and photos covering Crossover, the SBC annual meeting, and related meetings that take place during the week.
  • PDF versions of the Book of Reports, the Daily Bulletin, and SBC LIFE.
  • Scheduled times for seminary luncheons and other...
Calvary Baptist Church

Calvary Baptist Church in Lake Havasu City, Arizona, doubled the seating capacity in its worship center when it relocated to a site more visible from State Highway 95, a main thoroughfare. Photos courtesy of Calvary Baptist Church.

It’s not just by chance that Calvary Baptist Church has grown from fewer than one hundred to more than two thousand in worship each week, said the church’s pastor.

Pastor Chad Garrison cited the church’s “extreme mission focus” plus “God’s enabling” for its growth during the twenty-five years he has served as pastor of Calvary in Lake Havasu City, Arizona. He noted that the church is healthy because its members have been “empowered to do what God calls them to do.”

“We just encourage people to influence their communities, friends, affinity groups, and we help them do that in big ways and small ways,” Garrison said. “It’s ...

The advisory group hopes to draft recommendations to foster vibrant participation within Southern Baptist life among young leaders, including both pastors and denominational servants.
Calling on the Southern Baptist PrayerLink team to “fan into flame a passionate pursuit of God in prayer,” Chris Schofield opened the winter leadership team meeting as the group’s first executive director.
SBCAL Called to Apply the Gospel ‘Relationally, Personally, Missionally, and Spiritually’

Nearly two hundred associational leaders were challenged to “work heartily as for the Lord, and not for men” during the 2016 Southern Baptist Conference of Associational Leaders gathering held June 12–13 prior to the Southern Baptist Convention’s annual meeting. Photo by Adam Covington.


Ray Gentry, Southern Baptist Conference of Associational Leaders executive director, welcomed fellow directors of missions to the 2016 SBCAL meeting in St. Louis, Missouri. Photo by Adam Covington.

Keynote speaker Tom Wood, president of Church Multiplication Ministries and author of Gospel Coach, urged associational leaders “to deliver the Gospel of Jesus” as a means “to increase the health and probability of your pastors.”

The Gospel must be applied relationally, personally, missionally, and spiritually, he ...

For fifty years, Southern Baptist Disaster Relief (SBDR) has demonstrated Christ’s love in a tangible way to a watching world.

What started with a group of Texas Baptists assisting victims of Hurricane Beulah in 1967 has grown to be one of the three largest relief organization in the US. Each year, thousands of SBDR volunteers respond to disasters all over the country, meeting the physical and spiritual needs of those affected by hurricanes, tornados, flooding, fires, and more.

SBDR’s work is recognized nationally and internationally, having been featured in news outlets such as the New York Times, the Washington Post, Fox News, and numerous local newspapers and television stations around the country. In 2016, the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster, an organization that helps coordinate relief efforts among various governmental, private sector, and nonprofit groups, presented SBDR with its National Member of the Year award.

These photographs celebrate fifty years of preparing meals, repairing roofs, providing childcare, removing debris, washing clothes, rebuilding homes, starting conversations, sharing the ...

The Cooperative Program: A Three-Legged Stool

The Cooperative Program was launched in 1925 as a threefold system of support, allowing (1) a local church to contribute to (2) the ministries of its state Baptist convention and (3) the missions and ministries of the Southern Baptist Convention through a unified plan of giving. This three-legged stool supported a vast array of ministries and propelled Southern Baptists to unprecedented growth, both nationally and internationally, throughout the twentieth century.

When the Great Commission Task Force (GCTF) Report was adopted by messengers to the 2010 SBC annual meeting in Orlando, Florida, it honored and affirmed the Cooperative Program as “the most effective and efficient means of channeling the sacrificial support of our churches through undesignated giving which funds both the state conventions and the work of the Southern Baptist Convention” and called on Southern Baptist churches “to increase the percentage of their Cooperative Program giving.&rd...

SBC Executive Committee

Frank S. Page, president and CEO of the SBC Executive Committee, spoke during the discussion of a recommendation to extend EC representation to four state conventions—the Dakotas, Iowa, Minnesota-Wisconsin, and Montana. Photo by Morris Abernathy.

As of print time for this issue of SBC LIFE, the Executive Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention plans to present eight recommendations for consideration by messengers to the 2017 SBC annual meeting in Phoenix, Arizona. As is the usual practice, each recommendation will be printed in the SBC 2017 Book of Reports and posted on the SBC app. Any other recommendations proposed during the EC’s June 12, 2017, meeting will be published in the SBC Daily Bulletin and posted on the app.

Amendment of SBC Bylaw 18. The Executive Committee, Expanding Representation

The EC will rec...

During its third and final meeting, the Women’s Advisory Council received reports from work teams, reviewed research findings from a survey it conducted in 2016, and began formulating specific recommendations to present to Frank S. Page, president and CEO of the SBC Executive Committee.
Our Strength

© istockphoto

“Write something for pastors’ wives,” she said. “Make it funny,” she said. Funny things do happen. Most often they are at our own expense. If we don’t learn to laugh at ourselves and some of the situations in which we find ourselves, we will never survive. As ministers’ wives, much of the time we are called upon to minister to people in the midst of crisis. It is during times of tears and not laughter. What keeps you going when the going is toughest? Where do you find the wisdom and strength to meet the demands of ministry in our fallen world?

Most of us did not attend seminary. Many of us worked full time while our husbands went to school and worked part time. Although our seminaries offer excellent classes to help prepare seminary wives for their upcoming position, a class can never train us in all the varied roles churches anticipate we will fill. Nor can they fully prepare us for the diffic...