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Pastors feeling dramatic drop in sense of well-being, questioning calls to ministry, according to Barna Group's latest findings

SUWANEE, Ga. – Pastors are feeling increasingly dissatisfied with their jobs and more than 40 percent have considered leaving the ministry in the past 12 months. That’s according to data released this week by the Barna Group, a research organization that monitors trends related to values, beliefs, attitudes and behaviors. 
Brent Leatherwood formally installed as ‘thoughtful conscience’ of the SBC
BRENTWOOD, Tenn. – Brent Leatherwood pledged Monday that the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission stands ready to represent Southern Baptists well in an America beleaguered by darkness and division. “We will build and reconstitute this team to meet the demands of the times we find ourselves in, fulfill the assignment given to us by our churches over a century ago, and do all we can to bring honor and glory to the name and saving grace of Jesus Christ,” Leatherwood said at an installation service hosted by Brentwood Baptist Church.
Mission Board's church strengthening team to hold roundtables across state in May
AUBURN, Ga. – The Georgia Baptist Mission Board’s church strengthening team will be crisscrossing the state in May with a series of regional roundtables that will focus on the triumphs and trials church leaders are encountering as they work to reach their communities and the world with the gospel. "We anticipate engaging with new and old friends to listen and learn from one another about how God is moving throughout our state,” said Levi Skipper, the Mission Board’s lead strategist for church strengthening.
Not too late to apply for summer jobs at Camp Pinnacle, but spots going fast
CLAYTON, Ga. – Not only will 30 young Southern Baptist ladies be chosen to spend summer break in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains, they’ll also get paid for it. That is if they’re chosen to work at Camp Pinnacle, the Woman’s Missionary Union get-away just outside Clayton, a resort town in north Georgia.
Kemp signs $1 billion state tax rebate that sends $250 to $500 back to Georgia taxpayers
ATLANTA – Gov. Brian Kemp wasted no time signing the $1 billion state income tax rebate the General Assembly passed this week. The Republican governor put his signature on House Bill 162 late Tuesday, just hours after the Georgia Senate gave the legislation final passage.
Pastor Anthony Wilson challenges Georgia Baptist leaders to do the extraordinary to point people to Christ
MACON, Ga. – Anthony Wilson challenged Georgia Baptist leaders on Tuesday to help shape the destinies of people, even if it means taking extraordinary actions to get them to Jesus. “If we’re going to reach the many lost souls in this state, we can’t do it by conventional means,” said Wilson, pastor of Church 180 in Hampton and second vice president of the Georgia Baptist Convention. “We can’t do it the way it was done before I was born. We have to do something unique. The message has to stay the same, but the methods must change.”
Baptist Life

Revival arrives in Georgia's Pleasant Valley where 21 made salvation decisions in single day

SILVER CREEK, Ga. – Localized revivals that have been popping up across Georgia over the past year reached Silver Creek where 21 people made salvation decisions at a Thursday evening sportsmen’s banquet at Pleasant Valley South Baptist Church. “You could sense the presence of the Holy Spirit,” said Pastor Philip May. “It was all ages of people who got saved.”
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Churches are better prepared for financial rainy days than they were prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. A Lifeway Research study on the financial health of U.S. Protestant churches found more congregations have more than two months of cash reserves compared to a previous study in 2016. Additionally, most churches have undergone a financial audit in the past two years, and fewer than 1 in 10 have had someone embezzle funds from the congregation.
ALPHARETTA, Ga. – Wars, natural disasters and famines have been displacing tens of millions of people around the world in recent years, and Southern Baptists have been strategizing together to find ways to minister to them. During a “Reaching the Nations” event in mid-March at the North American Mission Board, Send Relief hosted the Diaspora Missions Collective as ministry leaders from across Southern Baptist life discussed ways to best connect diaspora peoples to the gospel who have arrived in North America and in other parts of the world.
FORT WORTH, Texas — Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary’s World Missions Center hosted the first Sending Church Conference last week. Churches from Texas and Oklahoma desiring to learn how to send missionaries learned through large group and breakout sessions from former missionaries and state convention staff. Ian Buntain, director of the World Missions Center and associate professor of missions in the Roy J. Fish School of Evangelism and Missions, opened the conference by welcoming the attendees, who represented over 20 churches. Buntain referenced how his life was personally changed by the work done by Southern Baptists when he said, “my eternal life was forever changed because Southern Baptists exist to send.” 
CLEVELAND, Ga. — Truett McConnell University’s Hans Hut School of Business announced today a new five-year strategic partnership with Habersham EMC. Dr. Stacy Hall, Associate Professor of Business and Program Director of Strategic Partnerships for TMU’s Hans Hut School of Business said, “I’m incredibly thankful and excited about this new collaboration. HEMC has recognized the importance of investing in the new generation of business leaders and is taking an active part in helping to prepare our business students for success.”

Bell wins Georgia House seat; Clayton sheriff set for runoff

ATLANTA (AP) — Eric W. Bell II won a special election to fill a vacancy in the Georgia House of Representatives, while Levon Allen and Clarence Cox will go to a runoff for the sheriff's post in Clayton County, according to final unofficial election results Tuesday.

Georgia lawmakers at impasse on antisemitism legislation

ATLANTA (AP) — A bill that would formally define antisemitism in Georgia law has stalled after an unfriendly amendment in a Senate committee altered the measure in ways its sponsors disagree with, possibly ending the legislation's prospects in the 2023 legislative session. The sponsors of House Bill 30 say a definition would help prosecutors and other officials identify hate crimes and illegal discrimination targeting Jewish people. But they asked to have the bill set aside after the Senate Judiciary Committee adopted the amendment Monday. The legislative session ends March 29.

Louisiana man charged with hiding death of Georgia visitor

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Police in Louisiana have charged a man with illegally dumping the body of a 42-year-old Georgia man found wrapped in plastic and a rug nearly two weeks after he went missing. Baton Rouge police arrested 45-year-old Derrick Perkins on Monday. They said Perkins is a drug dealer who took drugs with Nathan Millard of Covington, Georgia, while Millard was visiting Baton Rouge on a business trip in late February.

Sheriff: 3 people dead, suspect detained in Georgia shooting

CONYERS, Ga. (AP) — Three people, including a 17-year-old, are dead in what authorities said was a shooting in an Atlanta-area home early Monday. A suspect, Jailon Gray, 21, was apprehended at the scene and now faces three charges of murder, along with three charges of aggravated assault, Rockdale County sheriff's officials said at a Monday news conference.

Norfolk Southern supports some new regs after Ohio disaster

WASHINGTON (AP) — Norfolk Southern's CEO is offering support for some parts of a bipartisan U.S. Senate bill to put tougher safety regulations on railroads after last month’s fiery hazardous materials train derailment on the Ohio-Pennsylvania border. CEO Alan Shaw is under pressure from senators and federal safety regulators to step up his commitment to safety regulations as he appears before the Senate Commerce Committee on Wednesday. Under aggressive questioning from senators earlier this month in a separate hearing, he committed to voluntary safety upgrades and earnestly apologized for the derailment that upended life in East Palestine, Ohio.

Los Angeles schools shut down as staff begin 3-day strike

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Tens of thousands of workers in the Los Angeles Unified School District walked off the job Tuesday over stalled contract talks, and they are being joined in solidarity by teachers in a three-day strike that has shut down the nation’s second-largest school system. Demonstrations began at a bus yard and are expected at schools across the city by members of Local 99 of the Service Employees International Union, which represents about 30,000 teachers’ aides, special education assistants, bus drivers, custodians, cafeteria workers and other support staff.

With overdoses up, states look at harsher fentanyl penalties

RENO, Nev. (AP) — State lawmakers nationwide are responding to the deadliest overdose crisis in U.S. history by pushing harsher penalties for possessing fentanyl and other powerful lab-made opioids that are connected to about 70,000 deaths a year.

Idaho poised to allow firing-squad executions in some cases

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Idaho is poised to allow firing squads to execute condemned inmates when the state can't get lethal-injection drugs, under a bill the Legislature passed Monday with a veto-proof majority. Firing squads will be used only if the state cannot obtain the drugs needed for lethal injections — and one death row inmate has already had his scheduled execution postponed multiple times because of drug scarcity.

Xi lavished with imperial grandeur during 3-day visit to Russia

MOSCOW (AP) — Russia and China showcased their “no-limit friendship” on Tuesday during a pomp-laden Kremlin ceremony intended to further cement ties amid the fighting in Ukraine. After hosting Chinese leader Xi Jinping over a seven-course private dinner for 4½ hours the previous night, Russian President Vladimir Putin greeted him in the old imperial palace for talks involving top officials from both countries. Xi walked slowly up the opulent red-carpeted staircase of the Grand Kremlin Palace as guards in 19th-century-style parade uniforms snapped at attention.

US speeds up Abrams tank delivery to Ukraine war zone

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Pentagon is speeding up its delivery of Abrams tanks to Ukraine, opting to send a refurbished older model that can be ready faster, with the aim of getting the 70-ton battle powerhouses to the war zone in eight to 10 months, U.S. officials told The Associated Press.

In Paris streets, heaps of garbage become protest symbol

PARIS (AP) — Garbage. Heaps, mounds and piles of it are growing daily — and in some places standing higher than a human being. A strike by Paris garbage collectors, which begins its 16th day on Tuesday, is taking a toll on the renowned aesthetics of the French capital, a veritable blight on the City of Light. “I prefer Chanel to the stink,” joked Vincent Salazar, a 62-year-old artistic consultant who lives in a tony Left Bank neighborhood. A pile of garbage sits at the corner of his building overlooking the Luxembourg Gardens.

Putin welcomes China’s Xi to Kremlin amid Ukraine fighting

MOSCOW (AP) — Russian President Vladimir Putin warmly welcomed Chinese leader Xi Jinping to the Kremlin on Monday, sending a powerful message to Western leaders that their efforts to isolate Moscow over the fighting in Ukraine have fallen short.
Challenging. Exciting. Humbling. I’ve met numerous SBC missionaries during my years of service at NAMB, and these three words surface in many of their stories. From planting churches to meeting needs through compassion ministries, the calling these missionaries have given their lives to is not easy, but it’s worth it as they get to share the hope of the gospel and see lives forever changed by Jesus. 
Last week, the Georgia Senate Committee on Economic Development and Tourism replaced House Bill 237, sponsored by Rep. Leesa Hagan, which would establish the Southeast Georgia Soap Box Derby as the official soap box derby of the State of Georgia with language that now makes it a Sports Betting bill. See my Public Affairs Ministry FB video:
Three billion people, a burgeoning mass which makes up 40% of the world’s population, use Facebook. I’m a persistent viewer and periodic poster myself. Yet, as I suspect is the case with many of you, I often grow weary of scrolling through digital reams of pictures and text. And though I enjoy keeping up with the good and exciting things going on in the lives of family, friends and others, I’m tired of the political bickering, religious ranting, and selfies of feet on the beach. Nevertheless, I don’t plan to abandon Facebook. I can’t! I won’t! Why?
LAS VEGAS – I recently spent time in Southern California with 600 church planters and their wives during a Send Network Gathering. They are all planting churches in the Mountain and Pacific time zones. If you could have been there in that room with those men and women of God who are joining in the mission of God, you would be so encouraged by what God is doing in North America and among our Southern Baptist family of churches.
The average pastor in America is fifty-seven years old, which is thirteen years older than it was just three decades ago. Yet, many pastors find themselves put out to pasture or placed on the shelf once they turn 50. This means an unknown number of average-aged preachers await phone calls and emails that never come, while search committees look to fill pulpits with younger pastors.

US home sales surged in February as mortgage rates dipped

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Sales of previously occupied U.S. homes surged in February to the fastest pace in six months as homebuyers seized on a modest drop in mortgage rates and a slight pullback in prices. Existing home sales jumped 14.5% last month from January to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.58 million, the National Association of Realtors said Tuesday. That’s the strongest sales pace since September and it's higher than the 4.2 million economists were expecting, according to FactSet.

Ringling Bros. circus reborn — minus animals

NEW YORK (AP) — The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus has been reimagined and reborn without animals as a high-octane family event with highwire tricks, soaring trapeze artists and bicycles leaping on trampolines. Feld Entertainment, which owns the “Greatest Show on Earth,” revealed to The Associated Press what audiences can expect during the show's upcoming 2023 North American tour kicking off this fall.

Yellen says bank situation 'stabilizing,' system is 'sound'

WASHINGTON (AP) — Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen is trying project calm after regional bank failures, saying the U.S. banking system is “sound” but additional rescue arrangements “could be warranted” if any new failures at smaller institutions pose a risk to financial stability.

Last call: Dodge unveils last super-fast gasoline muscle car

DETROIT (AP) — The last gas-powered muscle car from Dodge isn't leaving the road without some squeals, thunder and crazy-fast speed. The 2023 Challenger SRT Demon 170 will deliver 1,025 horsepower from its 6.2-liter supercharged V-8, and the automaker says it will be the quickest production car made.

Stocks rise on Wall Street after bank deal, regulator moves

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks rose on Wall Street Monday after regulators pushed together two huge banks over the weekend and made other moves to build confidence in the struggling industry.

Japan tops US 3-2 for World Baseball Classic championship

MIAMI (AP) — Shohei Ohtani emerged from the bullpen and fanned Los Angeles Angels teammate Mike Trout for the final out in a matchup the whole baseball world wanted to see, leading Japan over the defending champion United States 3-2 Tuesday night for its first World Baseball Classic title since 2009.

NASCAR suspends Williams for parking at start-finish line

ATLANTA (AP) — Josh Williams was given a one-race suspension on Tuesday as punishment for parking his car at the start-finish line at Saturday's NASCAR Xfinity race at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Williams accepted his punishment but said he doesn't regret his actions which led to the penalty. He will miss this Saturday's Xfinity race at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas.

Young scores 30 as Hawks complete sweep of Pistons, 129-107

ATLANTA (AP) — Bogdan Bogdanovic sank three 3-pointers in a 16-0 run early in the second half that allowed Atlanta to extend its lead to double digits for the first time and the Hawks beat the struggling Detroit Pistons 129-107 on Tuesday night.

Falcons address cornerback by signing Hughes, re-signing Armstrong

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (AP) — The Atlanta Falcons bolstered their group of cornerbacks on Monday by signing Mike Hughes to a two-year deal and re-signing Cornell Armstrong. Hughes, 26, set a career high with 51 tackles, including three for losses, while starting six of 16 games in 2022 with Detroit. Hughes started in five of 17 games with Kansas City in 2021, when he had an interception and four forced fumbles.