Baptist Life

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Hispanic churches in the United States face unique challenges but are finding success in building community within their congregations and reaching those outside their walls. Lifeway Research partnered with two dozen denominations and church networks to include what is likely the largest number of Protestant Hispanic congregations in the U.S. ever invited to a single research study. Sponsored by Lifeway Recursos, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and Samaritan’s Purse, the study surveyed 692 pastors of congregations that are at least 50% Hispanic.

FORT WORTH, Texas -- When Mary’s House recently opened its doors to provide a fully furnished residence for a missionary family, it marked a dream come true for Woman’s Missionary Union of Texas and the World Missions Center at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. In 2019, Brent Ray—then director of the World Missions Center—contacted Texas WMU to discuss his idea of providing an on-campus home for international missionary families on temporary stateside assignment. He envisioned a cozy home where missionaries-in-residence could find rest and renewal, while also inspiring seminary students with their testimonies of service on international mission fields.

JONESBORO, Ga. – More than 400 Georgia Baptist students participated in REEL Fest, an event sponsored by the Georgia Baptist Mission Board that allows the next generation of worship leaders to hone their musical and singing skills. REEL Fest, short for Refocusing Energy on Exalting the Lord, is a high-energy worship event that draws students from sixth grade and up from across the state. has ranked Shorter University No. 1 in the nation on its list of Best Online Sports Management Degree Programs for two consecutive years. Shorter University’s score of 99.11 was the highest earned by any program at any institution. Shorter University President Dr. Don Dowless said, “Our Sport Management programs are consistently featured among the nation’s best; we are proud of the arduous work of both faculty and students that make these recognitions a reality. The University is blessed to have dedicated faculty members committed to providing excellent training to equip future generations for Christ as they successfully move forward in their spiritual, academic and career accomplishments.”

DULUTH, Ga. – Georgia Baptist churches have good reasons for submitting Annual Church Reports. And the Georgia Baptist Mission Board is reminding congregations how the information collected benefits everyone.

Everyone around the small town of Lake Arthur, Louisiana calls Jered Thomas “pastor.” As of January 1, they also call him "chief." Thomas, a student in New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary’s Leavell College, ran in November for police chief and won with 84 percent of the ballot count, a total of just over 600 votes. But his election as police chief doesn’t mean he is giving up being the full-time pastor of First Baptist Church, Lake Arthur. “I’m not going anywhere,” Thomas reassured his congregation when he announced his run for police chief last fall.

DULUTH, Ga. – Churches gave more than $1.4 million over the past year through the Mission Georgia offering that provides funding specifically for sharing the gospel in Georgia, a state with more than 9 million unchurched residents. Georgia Baptist Mission Board Chief Operating Officer David Melber said that was an increase of more than $100,000 over the previous year.

GRIFFIN, Ga. – Georgia Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers are entering their second week of tornado cleanup. A series of tornadoes touched down in Georgia last week, causing widespread damage, triggering a full deployment. Along with chainsaw crews, Georgia Baptist Disaster Relief sent chaplains and personnel to assess damage and to man a mobile kitchen, laundromat and showers. The crews expect to complete their assignments next week.

Georgia Baptist Convention President Josh Saefkow has appointed a geographical cross section of church leaders to serve on this year’s Committee on Nominations. Stephen Williams of Belmont Baptist Church in Calhoun, in his second year on the committee, will serve as chairman.

GRIFFIN, Ga. – Charles Raburn and his chainsaw were dwarfed by the massive branches of a giant oak toppled by one of the tornadoes that hit Georgia last week. In a breathtaking scene, the Georgia Baptist Disaster Relief volunteer stood high above a soggy lawn in Griffin, among those branches in a tree that measured nearly 20 feed around at its base.

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