Arkansas Baptist News dissolved, merged into state convention
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (BP) – Amid the headwinds that have beset print journalism outlets nationwide, Arkansas Baptist News (ABN) trustees have voted to dissolve the separate, corporate entity that operated ABN and to transfer coordination of the news service to the executive board of the Arkansas Baptist State Convention (ABSC).
The move, precipitated by a significant decline in subscriptions and revenue, leaves ABN’s future uncertain. But ABSC associate executive director Greg Addison said the decision revolves around structural changes, not ministry changes.
“There is no desire to kill the newspaper at all,” Addison said. “The ministry of information is vitally important.”
ABN trustees made the decision Jan. 16, and the transition was unanimously affirmed by the ABSC executive board of trustees Jan. 28.
Addison said in written remarks that efforts are being made to listen to the needs of Arkansas Baptists to determine the best ways to move forward in this transition.
The news service will continue in an online format, and all publishing and printing will be directed by the communications team of the executive board of the ABSC.
“The ABN had a much broader mission of telling the overall stories of Arkansas Baptist and SBC life,” Addison said. “These are very distinct endeavors.”
Keck to be nominated for VP of 2021 Pastors’ Conference
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (BP) – Jimmy Scroggins, pastor of Family Church in West Palm Beach, Fla., has announced his intention to nominate Chad Keck, pastor of First Baptist Church Kettering (FBK) in Dayton, Ohio, for vice president of the 2021 Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) Pastors’ Conference.
The 2021 Pastors’ Conference will be held in Nashville, Tenn., in conjunction with the 2021 SBC annual meeting. The vice presidential election will take place at the 2020 Pastors’ Conference in June in Orlando, Fla.
Keck was the SBC Executive Committee’s Cooperative Program catalyst for the Midwest from 2016-2018, during which he worked with pastors and churches to promote the vision and value of the Cooperative Program.
In addition to his pastoral ministry and SBC entity work, Keck teaches courses at Cedarville University in the Master of Ministry program and has worked with LifeWay Christian Resources in event planning.
FBC Kettering’s planned giving through the Cooperative Program is more than $200,000, or more than 9 percent of undesignated receipts, according to a release.
CP giving continues upward trend to start 2020
NASHVILLE (BP) – The Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee announced that Cooperative Program giving in the SBC is above budget for the fiscal year by 1.47 percent, and FY 2020 giving remains ahead of last year’s pace by 2.96 percent. Contributions to Southern Baptist Convention national and international missions and ministries totaled nearly $19 million in January 2020.
As of January 31, gifts received by the EC for distribution through the CP Allocation Budget total $66,459,784.69. This exceeds last year’s budget contribution of $64,548,667.08 by $1,911,117.61 or 2.96 percent. The amount given is above the $65,500,000.00 year to date budgeted projection to support Southern Baptist ministries globally and across North America by $959,784.69 or 1.47 percent.
The final amount received in January totaled $18,948,471.79, which was $715,059.42 more than the $18,233,412.37 received in January 2019 and $2,573,471.79 more than the monthly budgeted amount of $16,375,000.00.
Designated gifts received in January amounted to $23,279,681.89. This total was $731,783.51 or 3.25 percent above gifts of $22,547,898.38 received last January. Also, this year’s designated gifts through the first four months of the fiscal year amount to $34,550,486.37, which is $1,770,479.54 or 5.40 percent more than the $32,780,006.83 given through the first four months in the previous fiscal year. Designated contributions include the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions, the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering for North American Missions, Southern Baptist Global Hunger Relief, Disaster Relief and other special gifts. This total includes only those gifts received and distributed by the Executive Committee and does not reflect designated gifts contributed directly to SBC entities.
Yanes: Coronavirus opportunity for love, understanding
NASHVILLE (BP) – The international coronavirus outbreak should not spread panic in the U.S., but should encourage Gospel love and understanding among the diverse body of Southern Baptists, Asian American relations leader Peter Yanes told Baptist Press.
Misinformation has spread across social media platforms including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, and TikTok, NBC news has reported, spreading fear, racial stereotyping, and xenophobia.
“We need to be gracious in our convention dealing with many of our Asian American brethren,” said Yanes, executive director of Asian American Relations & Mobilization for the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee.
“This shouldn’t create animosity. This shouldn’t create fear,” he said of the virus that had killed 427 and sickened at least 20,000 as of Tuesday (Feb. 4), predominantly in mainland China. “But instead, we would rather take an opportunity to let them know we’re praying for them and their families back home. I think that’s the best way to respond.”
Asian American Southern Baptist congregations number about 2,000, according to SBC EC statistics. About 22 million Asian Americans, 5 million of them of Chinese descent, live in the U.S., according to the U.S. Census. About 95 percent of them, the SBC EC estimates, do not have a personal relationship with Christ.
The U.S. is well in control of the spread of the virus, Yanes said. U.S. cases totaled 11 as of Monday, the U.S. Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC) reported, with results pending for 82 others tested. A total of 162 people have tested negative for the virus in the U.S., the CDC said.
“Everything happens for a reason, and it’s always Gospel related, an opportunity for us to respond lovingly, graciously and prayerfully,” Yanes said. “We have gone through a lot, but we have conquered it. In just a matter of time it will be totally controlled, and somebody will find out a better solution to treat the outbreak. We will learn from this.”
Coronavirus symptoms have included fever, cough and shortness of breath, the CDC reported, with symptoms appearing two to 14 days after exposure. In addition to China, Hong Kong, the Philippines and the U.S., coronavirus has been detected in 23 countries, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported. The virus is spreading in countries including Singapore, Thailand and Japan, but WHO said the virus has not reached pandemic or worldwide levels.
Young pastors encouraged at first Timothy + Barnabas Institute gathering
APLHARETTA (BP) – More than 130 pastors left the first gathering of the Timothy + Barnabas Institute (TBI) at the North American Mission Board (NAMB) encouraged and looking forward to the next two years of coaching and mentorship that will be a part of the program.
For two days, participants heard from keynote speakers and met in smaller cohorts made up of a coach and a group of their peers to discuss their backgrounds and challenges they currently face.
“I walked away from the TBI sessions this week incredibly encouraged and refreshed,” said Jamus Edwards, pastor of Pleasant Valley Community Church in Owensboro, Ky. “Few things are more valuable for a young pastor than being poured into by a more seasoned, mature pastor.”
Pastors and ministry leaders such as Danny Akin, Jimmy Scroggins, Bryant Wright, Vance Pitman, James Merritt, Ken Whitten and Johnny Hunt delivered keynote addresses.
Jonathan Akin, NAMB’s director of young leader engagement, helped develop the TBI after hearing a number of pastors describe the need to learn from and be mentored by older pastors.
Over the next two years and between the three remaining main sessions of the TBI, pastors will continue interacting with their coach and the peers from their cohort. There will be monthly scheduled conference calls as well as opportunities to check in one on one.