Baptist Life

DULUTH, Ga. – The Southern Baptist Convention’s network of associations plays an important role in the nation’s largest protestant denomination, the three announced candidates for the SBC presidency say. In a Q&A with The Christian Index, they described associations as the entities that help congregations fulfill their missions, create closer ties between sister churches, and provide important training for Christian leaders.

DULUTH, Ga. – All three announced candidates for president of the Southern Baptist Convention want to see the nation’s largest protestant denomination return to its soul-winning roots. In a Q&A with The Christian Index, they spoke of the need for Southern Baptists to resolve scandals that serve as distractions, to return to a healthy fear of God, and to “do something concrete and demonstrative to promote evangelism.” “The president of the SBC can, with God’s help, steer us away from creating new divisive controversies and toward resolution of old scandals,” said Bart Barber, pastor of First Baptist Church in Farmersville, Texas. “By doing so, he can eliminate distractions and obstacles that compete with revival for our prayers and affections."

ATLANTA – Martha Day was moved to action when she realized huge numbers of impoverished mothers-to-be in the U.S. are going without prenatal vitamins. “For women who are struggling to put food on the table, buying vitamins just isn’t always an option,” said Day, co-founder of The Vitamin Bridge, a nonprofit organization that’s supplying prenatal supplements to 28 organizations that minister to expectant mothers.

CARNESVILLE, Ga. – Anyone living within a 7-mile radius of New Bethel Baptist Church has either already had a personal visit from the congregation or soon will. Pastor Joey Gilbert is convinced knocking on doors remains the best way to reach people, especially in the rural South where hospitality almost always assures a warm welcome and an invitation to sit a spell. Gilbert and his congregation are about three-fourths of the way through an initiative to visit every home in their sparsely populated section of northeast Georgia.

ORLANDO, Fla. -  International Mission Board trustees approved 56 new fully funded missionaries for appointment during their meeting Wednesday and Thursday in Orlando, Fla. The meeting was conducted in conjunction with the Celebration of Emeriti event held every five years to recognize retiring missionaries who have completed their service with the IMB. New missionaries approved for appointment will be recognized during a Sending Celebration at the Southern Baptist Convention’s annual meeting in Anaheim, California

EASTANOLLEE, Ga. – Eight more students made professions of faith during the past week in the Tugalo Baptist Association where churches have opened off-campus Christian learning centers near schools to teach Bible classes. That brought the total number of salvation decisions to 38 since August at the learning centers in Stevens and Banks counties, said Associational Missions Strategist Mike Blount.

CARTERSVILLE, Ga. – Concerned about the growing secularization of America, hundreds of South Korean believers will be arriving in the U.S. next month to pray for another spiritual awakening for the nation that brought them the gospel. “It’s time for us to repay the spiritual debt South Korea owes to America,” said Nam Soo Choi, president of the World School of Prayer, a missionary organization in Seoul.

MEANSVILLE, Ga. – A U-Haul won’t cut it for John Blackmon’s next ministry move. The longtime Georgia pastor and his family are heading to Bangkok, Thailand at the end of July, a 9,000-mile trip, to join the staff of Calvary International Baptist Church. That Blackmon, his wife, Cheryl, and their two toddlers will soon be leaving the U.S. is in response to a divine calling that became clear to them in recent years. “We’re sure this is what God wants us to do,” Blackmon said. “We have no doubt this is where He wants us right now.”

There’s a lot to see at a mud bogger race. The trucks are big. They’re loud. You can’t avoid seeing them. But somehow, in the middle of all of that, you notice Terry Billings’ truck — the Heaven Bound Mud Bogger. It’s bigger and louder. People want to look at it, climb up the step ladder, sit in the truck and get their picture taken.

WRIGHTSVILLE, Ga. – The pastor of a Georgia church that lost a historic building to fire was be back in the pulpit on Sunday, sharing a message of hope with his congregation. “God’s got this, and we can trust Him,” said Pleasant Grove Baptist Church Pastor Chris Mitchell.

COLUMBUS, Ga. – Cascade Hills Baptist Church, which on average has baptized someone every day since 2015, appears on track to have one of its best years ever evangelistically. The church had 187 salvation decisions during the Easter weekend alone and has baptized 204 new believers so far this year. “It’s all God doing this,” said Pastor Brent Purvis, “He is the Lord of the harvest.”

IVEY, Ga. – A shortage of pianists is hitting churches in the largely rural Ebenezer Baptist Association especially hard, forcing pastors to turn to soundtracks for musical accompaniment. “I’d say more than half of our churches are without pianists,” said Bill Gordon, the associational missions strategist in Ebenezer. “People simply aren’t taking piano lessons like they once did. It’s a lot easier to find a pastor right now than it is to find a pianist.”

Georgia Baptist Disaster Relief workers, typically called on to help in the wake of natural disasters, have begun a 10-day deployment to Poland to help Ukrainian refugees caught up in a humanitarian crisis caused by the Russian invasion.

EPHESUS, Ga. – As a post-COVID revival continues to spread across the state, a church in west Georgia has been making space for a flood of new worshippers by putting extra chairs in the aisles and creating a separate area for overflow seating.

NASHVILLE (BP) – A leaked copy of a Supreme Court opinion that would essentially overturn 1973’s Roe V. Wade decision has prompted Southern Baptists to reflect on their pro-life history.

DOUGLASVILLE, Ga. – Steven Greene launched his ministry at Beulah Baptist Church in Douglasville with a flurry of excitement and enthusiasm. He began his pastorate on Easter Sunday morning with a powerful message on Luke 24: 36-49 where the third Gospel tells about the resurrected Christ making an appearance to His disciples. Both Greene and his message were heartily received by a large congregation of members and guests.

DULUTH, Ga. – A draft opinion that suggests the U.S. Supreme Court may be poised to strike down the 1973 Roe v. Wade case that legalized abortion has triggered jubilation among Georgia’s evangelicals. “This news is too exciting not to celebrate,” said Suzanne Guy, president and founder of the Georgia-based group Life Initiatives and Values and a member of First Baptist Church of Woodstock. “I go between crying and thanking Jesus.”

NASHVILLE (BP) — The Southern Baptist Convention’s Executive Committee has voted unanimously to move the 2023 annual meeting from Charlotte to New Orleans. The Executive Committee’s vice president for communications, Jonathan Howe, said the decision was “simply a matter of math.” The Charlotte Convention Center isn’t large enough to accommodate the projected crowd of 15,000.

MOULTRIE, Ga. – The pastor emeritus at one of the fastest growing churches in America pointed Georgia Baptists back to the basics of prayer and personal devotions, telling them that’s what’s necessary to remain spiritually energized for the demands of ministry.

DALLAS, Texas (BP) — It was broad daylight, but Sarah Taylor knew if the stranger managed to pull her into the car, she would likely die. She fought. “He had his hand locked in my …

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — In the current fast-paced, high-pressure American culture, pastors are stressed, and they know that needs to change. According to the latest release in Lifeway Research’s 2022 Greatest Needs of Pastors study, of all the mental challenges U.S. Protestant pastors face, stress stands out above the rest. Distractions and discouragement are also significant factors for pastors when it comes to mental challenges in ministry.

RICHMOND, HILL, Ga. – Pastors have a responsibility not only to preach biblical truth but also to call on people to respond to that truth, a respected Southern Baptist writer and seminary professor told Georgia Baptists on Monday.

BETHLEHEM, Ga. – Georgia churches continued to see growing numbers of people turning to Christ over the past week, fueling hopes of spiritual revival in the Bible Belt state. One congregation, Cascade Hills Baptist Church in Columbus, recorded 187 salvation decisions over the Easter weekend. Peavine Baptist Church in Rock Spring reported 111 new believers; First Baptist Church of Villa Rica, 60, Brent David Baptist Church in Columbus, 32, and Midway Church of Villa Rica, 20.

PEMBROKE, Ga. — Georgians whose homes were severely damaged or destroyed by tornadoes earlier this month could qualify for financial help through the Southern Baptist Convention’s Woman’s Missionary Union Foundation.

DULUTH, Ga. – The Georgia Baptist Mission Board is launching an initiative to help congregations during those stressful first weeks after pastors resign or retire. “The first six weeks can be difficult,” said Mark Marshall, assistant executive director at the state Mission Board. “The first few weeks without a pastor can be difficult for a church. There are a number of questions of what to do next.”

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