Baptist Life

NEWNAN, Ga. – The Christian life is not to be characterized by the words “sit, relax, bask, repose, lounge or luxuriate.” The Christian life may be more accurately defined by the word “go.” The Great Commission in Matthew 28: 19-20 begins with the word “go.” We are to be on the go with the Gospel.

SNELLVILLE, Ga. — The next generation of Georgia church leaders are now growing up in the state’s congregations, awaiting a spiritual nudge to step forward. So says Georgia Baptist Convention President Josh Saefkow who has built an annual meeting of the state’s largest religious group around the theme Calling Out the Called.

RICHMOND, Va. — The International Mission Board reported Friday that Southern Baptists have given more than $196 million through the Lottie Moon offering for the year, besting a $190 million goal. “Thank you, Southern Baptists, for your growing commitment to get the gospel to the nations,” said IMB President Paul Chitwood. “Your generous giving through the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering, along with your ongoing commitment to the Cooperative Program, has the IMB positioned to overcome the staggering impact of global inflation and meet the needs of your missionaries.”

SNELLVILLE, Ga. — Messengers to the Georgia Baptist Convention’s annual meeting will consider updates to their 200-year-old governing documents when they gather in Snellville in mid-November. “A part of this goes back to the fact that some of our core documents really were 200 years old,” said Tim Oliver, chairman of the Georgia Baptist Administration Committee.

SUWANEE, Ga. — One of Mark Marshall’s greatest keepsakes is a notebook filled with letters from church members expressing their love and appreciation for him and his wife. “It was given to me 26 years ago, and I still have it,” said Marshall, a longtime Southern Baptist pastor now serving as assistant executive director of the Georgia Baptist Mission Board.

MOUNT VERNON, Ga. — Brewton-Parker College has received news that it is one of this year’s Strengthening Institutions Program grant recipients from the U.S. Department of Education. The grant totals over $2.2 million awarded over the next five years and will provide the funding needed for the college to begin what it calls its Enrichment, Persistence, and Innovation in Collegiate Community Initiative.

FAYETTEVILLE, Ga. – Pastors’ wives often face a unique kind of vulnerability. Many of them feel like they are living in a fishbowl or vainly trying to live up to unrealistic expectations. It has been said that being a pastor’s wife can feel like being a solo traveler on a long trip in a foreign country.

SANDY SPRINGS, Ga. – Sometimes churches struggle in their valiant effort to survive. When a church membership ages and there are few or no young couples with children or teenagers, it becomes difficult to attract other young couples. If a church no longer has a critical mass or enough people in attendance in their worship services those who visit the church may not return be inspired or inclined to return.

LITTLE MOUNTAIN, S.C. — When wounded military personnel recovering in the Soldier Recovery Unit at Fort Stewart, Ga., are physically able, they venture into the great outdoors courtesy of a big-hearted veteran from South Carolina who knows the value of fresh air and sunshine to the body and soul. Chuck McAlister, who was stationed in Georgia more than 40 years ago as a young Army officer, welcomes injured soldiers onto a 200-acre sanctuary at Little Mountain, S.C., where they can get away from the sterile confines of hospital rooms and experience nature at its finest.

MONTREAL—Numbers don’t do justice in describing the last two years for Kevin and Casey Kilgore and their family, but it’s a start. In just a little more than 24 months, the Kilgores have surpassed 70,000 miles traveled in their RV. They’ve visited and encouraged 265 pastors and missionaries. They’ve been to 48 out of 50 U.S. states.

TOCCOA, Ga. — As Paul Garrison looks back over a half century of ministry, he sees how the Lord has fulfilled all of his childhood ambitions. With a smile, the Toccoa pastor explains that when he was a toddler, he wanted to be a garbage collector, just like those men he would watch from his window each week. In time, his ambition changed to being a firefighter and later a heart surgeon.

McDONOUGH, Ga. —  Five people surrendered their lives to ministry at a missions conference for Georgia college students last weekend, and five others made salvation decisions. They were among about 650 co-eds who attended Baptist Collegiate Ministries’ annual Confluence conference at Eagle's Landing First Baptist Church. The focus of this year's conference was evangelism.

DULUTH, Ga. — A metro Atlanta pastor will lead the Georgia Baptist Education Commission, which provides scholarships to college students and monitors campus trends on behalf of the 1.4 million-member Georgia Baptist Convention. Tim Akin, pastor at First Baptist Church of Douglasville, was elected chairman of the commission on Tuesday in meeting that highlighted an ongoing spiritual movement not only on the state’s three Georgia Baptist-affiliated campuses but also in the Baptist Collegiate Ministries operating on public universities.

Asian American and Hispanic church leaders are expressing their “profound concern, dismay and disappointment” following staff cuts by the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee that included two associate vice president positions responsible for overseeing ethnic relations.

BAXLEY, Ga. — Hundreds of people streamed out of the bleachers at Jimmy Swain Stadium on Wednesday, responding to a call from evangelist Rick Gage to get right with God. In a scene that harkened back to  evangelistic crusades of yesteryear, they crowded around the platform where the man dubbed the “small-town Billy Graham” had just wrapped up  a fiery gospel sermon that warned of judgment for unrepentant sinners and promised eternal life for those willing to turn from their sins and commit their lives to Christ.

East Cobb Baptist is a church that knows God can

MARIETTA, Ga. — On April 8, 1906, the Rev. Charles S. Wing preached a sermon that was published in the New York Tribune. As a part of his sermon, he referred to the “Story of the Engine that Thought it Could.” Despite the steep climb and heavy load, the engine slowly succeeded in pulling the train over the high mountain while repeating the phrase, “I think I can.”

MOUNT VERNON, Ga. — An estimated 150 students made spiritual decisions during a chapel service at Brewton-Parker College on Tuesday in a scene that President Steve Echols described as amazing. Between 60 and 80 of the students made first-time salvation decisions while others rededicated their lives to Christ. “The Holy Spirit was moving in a way I have never seen before,” said Echols, a longtime preacher and educator. “It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I have seen some marvelous things of God. But I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything more precious than this.”

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — A retired pastor described as “beyond reproach” withdrew his name Tuesday from consideration as interim president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Executive Committee. Dan Summerlin, the longtime pastor of Lone Oak First Baptist Church near Paducah, Ky., offered no public explanation for his decision, though Executive Committee Chairman Philip Robertson of Louisiana said Summerlin cited his wife’s health as a primary reason.

WILLIAMSON, Ga. — Dixie Gilbert was nauseous during worship on Sunday morning and was thinking she needed to go back home. “I was not feeling good at all and was super dizzy and lightheaded,” she told Pastor Chris Watson at Harp’s Crossing Hollonville. “But something kept telling me to stay.” She understood why when, near the end of the service, her 13-year-old daughter prayed to receive Christ.

In 1894, Uganda became a protectorate of the British Empire, and in 1962 the United Kingdom granted independence to Uganda. Since that time, the landlocked country in East African has suffered extreme poverty and untold hardship. According to World Vision, many older adults will remember “the brutal eight-year reign of Dictator Idi Amin whose regime killed up to 500,000 people, persecuted Christians, and left Uganda a broken nation.”

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Leaders of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Executive Committee will recommend a longtime pastor with “a stellar reputation” and years of denominational leadership experience to serve as their interim president. Dan Summerlin, who recently retired as pastor of Lone Oak First Baptist Church in western Kentucky, would lead the Executive Committee staff until a permanent president is hired.

STATESBORO, Ga. — Christians who truly want to make a difference in the world always put the needs of others first, do whatever it takes to point people to Christ, and commit to a spirit of cooperation. Those are three characteristics common among difference-makers, said Georgia Baptist Mission Board Executive Director W. Thomas Hammond Jr., the keynote speaker Saturday at the final of a series of church equipping conferences held across the state over the past month.

BAXLEY, Ga. — Christians in the Baxley area were preparing for an evangelistic crusade when a revival broke out. Some 600 people had gathered for a pre-crusade youth rally on Wednesday evening. Nearly 300 of those made decisions for Christ. “The key to the success last night was the people of God have been praying for months for this crusade,” said Rick Gage, the Georgia-based evangelist who leads GO TELL Ministries, in an interview Thursday. “This area is ripe for a great harvest, and I think we’re going to see a move of God.”

FAYETTEVILLE, Ga. — Fayetteville pastor Josh Saefkow will seek a second term as president of the Georgia Baptist Convention with hopes of keeping churches focused on sharing the gospel. Saefkow, elected last November, said the position has given him “a front seat to see all that the Lord is doing in Georgia.” “I have loved seeing how God is moving all over our state, and I have loved being with our pastors, our associational missionaries, our Mission Board staff,” he said.

CUMMING, Ga. — Andrew Ryzhkov and his wife, Inna, planted a Russian-speaking church in Snellville and are currently serving Calvary Russian Church, a thriving congregation they started from a humble beginning in Alpharetta over 20 years ago.

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