ALPHARETTA, Ga. — “Buried with Christ in baptism and raised to walk in the newness of life.” These words, and others like them, have been declared by pastors thousands of times across North America in the last few years as people who have placed their faith in Christ for salvation have been baptized. This act of obedience and public proclamation of faith in Christ is a blessing to behold.

The Christian Index is so excited to play a part in helping Georgia Baptist churches find pastors when their pulpits are vacated. We’ve heard heartwarming stories of how the Lord has matched pastors to churches via our classifieds section. An important part of that has been a classifieds newsletter we started about a year ago that lists churches looking for pastors or other staff members.

Camp ministries provide campers, and pastors, an important experience that can become a defining part of their Christian lives. The Georgia Baptist Mission Board operates Camp Pinnacle and Camp Kaleo, as well as hosting camps for youth at other locations. Last year alone, Camp Pinnacle in Clayton, Ga., hosted nearly 500 girls at missions camps on its scenic property in the north Georgia mountains. Hundreds more youth visited Camp Kaleo or participated in “Impact,” “SuperWow” and “Surge150” camps. Many of them were called to faith in Christ or to a life of ministerial service through those experiences.

It seems that everywhere I turn these days for information and inspiration, the emphasis is on leadership. Books on leadership make up a sizable portion of the Christian non-fiction market. Blogs, podcasts and seminars on the subject abound. A recent Facebook post screams: "The church is desperate for good leaders.” No doubt that's true; yet I submit to you that the church stands in greater need of good followers.

I encountered this eye-catching quote from a book by Charles Martin entitled Chasing Fireflies which has been part of my bedtime reading to relax the mind after a busy day:   “It’s the bad that let’s you know how good the good really is.”

For most believers, the phrase “mission field” evokes images of an isolated village in Kenya, an indigenous people group in the Amazon, or an underground church in China. But did you know that most Christians in the United States can reach the mission field in just a few steps from their home? A mission field exists in their own backyard: their neighborhoods.

February 24 marks one year since the start of the war in Ukraine. It’s been one full year of loss of life, liberty and land. Our hearts grieve with Ukrainians and long for an end to the war. Will you join missionaries serving in Europe with the International Mission Board in a 24-hour time of fasting and prayer for Ukraine?

One of the privileges of serving in the ministry is the opportunity to be "pastor" to people in times of joy and in times of adversity.  Having that "ministry of presence" and simply being there are greatly appreciated by parishioners in need. I may be slightly biased, but I strongly believe every person needs a pastor and church family to support and walk with them during life's critical moments:  weddings, births, hospitalizations and surgeries, deaths, family crises, celebrations and losses.

I’ve always been keenly interested in famous people, inhaling scores of articles, books, and documentaries to see what makes them tick. Candidly speaking, for much of my life I wanted to be among them. As a young boy on the Little League diamond, I dreamed of playing in the majors. Maybe I’d even hit the game-winning, walk-off home run to win the World Series.

I remember when I was a young preacher in North Carolina.  I was going to seminary, supporting a family, and preaching at a country church in Johnson County, North Carolina.  The little church that called me to be their pastor had been started in 1916 and it had never been full time.  I told them I would come and be their pastor if they would commit to going full time with Sunday A.M. and P.M. services as well as a Wednesday evening time for prayer and Bible study.  They agreed and I went to be their Pastor.  They are still full time and I left there fifty-two years ago.

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