Columns

The only beef I have with my fellow Kentucky native and 16th President of the United States Abraham Lincoln is that he never joined a church. I’m quite sure he was a Christian, not to mention a great leader and honest man. Yet, history tells us he never officially connected with a local congregation. So what’s the big deal, many would say, especially in an age of cascading commitment and denominational decline?

As we recognized our graduates in a worship service recently, I made the comment that, “It’s been a loooong time since many of us graduated from high school.” A light chuckle rippled through the congregation as people briefly recalled their own graduation. I reflected, also, with a sense of disbelief at how fast the past 40-plus years since high school have flown.

As the Crisis Response Director for Send Relief, my objective is to help local churches in the United States understand the importance of training their volunteer teams in disaster relief and partnering with the Southern Baptist Disaster Relief network. Preparation is a crucial part of ministry because it empowers us to be more effective as we seek to be used by God to reach and minister to others.

Every election cycle someone says, “This is the most important election in the history of our nation,” or some variation of this statement. There is no doubt that elections have consequences and this is a significant time in our nation’s history. I also believe it is not too soon to begin considering some of the issues of the day. With the 2024 presidential race underway, it is incumbent upon us as Georgia Baptists to engage responsibly and thoughtfully in the political process. We are citizens of heaven, certainly, but also stewards of the earthly realm, and it is in this dual citizenship that our challenge lies.

COLUMBUS, Ga. — While preaching at Salem Baptist Church in Dalton recently, I met a dear woman who asked me to pray for her brother, Bobby Jones, who has been missing in action since November 28, 1972. He was fighting in Vietnam when he was either killed in action or captured by the North Vietnamese.

In the words of Plato, an ancient Greek philosopher, “Books give a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and life to everything.” Truer words could never have been written, words which best describe, “The People’s Justice, Clarence Thomas and the Constitutional Stories that Define Him,” written by Amul Thapar, a judge on the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Reports flow in every week of God moving and revival spreading in Georgia. The Gospel is being shared, and baptisms are increasing! What Ivy Creek Baptist Church imagined would happen at their first men's event in late April since COVID-19 is nothing short of discipleship revival led by the church's men.

A near tragedy providing an up-close encounter with firefighters gradually evolved into a different direction for pastor Frank Mercer’s ministry. The Fayetteville, Georgia, pastor served Rolling Hills Baptist Church at the time. Several years ago, in the middle of the night, the home’s fire alarm roused the Mercer family, who found their back porch engulfed in flames.

Some of Georgia’s best and brightest students have been awarded scholarships to attend Brewton-Parker College, Shorter University and Truett McConnell University where they will receive educations that are second to none. Their academic achievements show their intellectual prowess. Their steadfast commitment to Christ testify to their spiritual strength. Those attributes, combined with other academic and extracurricular measures, earned them Student Achievement Award scholarships from the Georgia Baptist Education Commission.

“Quesadillas and Questions” was the theme for this year’s Georgia Tech Baptist Collegiate Ministries evangelistic outreach event. BCM students and volunteers from local churches gathered every day of finals week between April 27 and May 4 on the front lawn of the BCM. Participants cooked more than 500 quesadillas over the course of the event and gave them out for free to students, with a simple caveat. In order to get a quesadilla, students had to ask any question they had about God or Christianity.

Baptisms are always a special occasion, a worship service highlight. This outward expression of one’s spiritual commitment to Christ brings much joy. Some are more memorable than others. One of my most unique ministry experiences happened one bright Fall morning several years ago. 

Like most Baptist churches of the day, First Baptist Church of Murray, Kentucky, regularly hosted missionaries and denominational workers raising financial support. Growing frustrated with so many requesting to speak on Sundays, Pastor Harvey Boyce Taylor tried something new.

Often during my 30 years as a senior pastor, I got the itch to move on to another church. Some of those urges were legitimate, but many were not. Feeling like “you’ve pulled that ole wagon as far as you can pull it” and waiting for your next assignment can be brutal. Here are nine lessons I learned in the process.

Recently, we treated ourselves to a Chick-fil-a milkshake. As we approached the drive-through window, the employee came over and handed us our milkshake. As I handed him payment, he said, “I gotcha’! It’s taken care of. Happy Easter!” The generous driver in front of us picked up the tab, and we were blessed. This pleasant gesture caught us by surprise and reminded us kindness is still alive.

Brad Hughes, chairman of the Georgia Baptist Mission Board’s Public Affairs Committee and director of field operations for Gov. Brian Kemp, and I are very excited about this year's public affairs training events. Our theme for this year’s training is, "Living for Christ in the Public Square."

One of the key elements in prayer is petitioning, or praying for yourself. Some people shy away from such prayers, thinking that it violates humility and draws attention to themselves rather than God. Yet, it’s absolutely biblical.

A man driving along a highway suddenly sees the Easter Bunny jump out of the bushes and dart across the middle of the road. He swerves to avoid hitting him, but the rabbit jumps right in front of the car. Bam! The driver pulls over and gets out to check on the rabbit. To his dismay, the rabbit is dead. The driver feels so awful he begins to cry. A woman driving by sees a man crying on the side of the road and pulls over. She steps out of the car and asks the man what's wrong. “I feel terrible,” he explains, “I accidentally hit the Easter bunny and killed him. He hopped right in front of me.”

This year's legislative session began slow but ended very busy because it was the first year of a two-year legislative cycle. This was the first year of the Governor’s second term and it was also the first year of a new Lieutenant Governor and a new Speaker of the House. Georgia Baptists monitored around 12 legislative subjects with 27 bills. Once again, we were able to support more legislation than we opposed. Of the 12 legislative subjects that we dealt with, we were in favor of moving legislation in 10 of those areas.

 Although I’ve settled into somewhat of a routine at this stage in life, it wasn’t that long ago that, after nearly 18 years, I made a monumental move from small-town Georgia to the fringes of Metro Atlanta. It was a move I prayed about and anticipated for quite a while. Nevertheless, the transition was much harder than I thought it would be. Here are nine things I learned.  

My first car was a green Ford Maverick with the shift on the column and a broken gas gauge. I had to keep up with my miles between gas purchases so that I would not run out. I think it was a 1971 model. I bought this baby for $500 with my grass-cutting earnings. When I was 10 or 11 years old, I decided it was time to make some money. I hung a poster in the nearby convenience store on Highway 49 in my hometown of Milledgeville that read “Will mow lawns in Allenwood. Call David Chancey at . . .”

Challenging. Exciting. Humbling. I’ve met numerous SBC missionaries during my years of service at NAMB, and these three words surface in many of their stories. From planting churches to meeting needs through compassion ministries, the calling these missionaries have given their lives to is not easy, but it’s worth it as they get to share the hope of the gospel and see lives forever changed by Jesus. 

Last week, the Georgia Senate Committee on Economic Development and Tourism replaced House Bill 237, sponsored by Rep. Leesa Hagan, which would establish the Southeast Georgia Soap Box Derby as the official soap box derby of the State of Georgia with language that now makes it a Sports Betting bill. See my Public Affairs Ministry FB video: https://fb.watch/jj4m-2bDrL/

Three billion people, a burgeoning mass which makes up 40% of the world’s population, use Facebook. I’m a persistent viewer and periodic poster myself. Yet, as I suspect is the case with many of you, I often grow weary of scrolling through digital reams of pictures and text. And though I enjoy keeping up with the good and exciting things going on in the lives of family, friends and others, I’m tired of the political bickering, religious ranting, and selfies of feet on the beach. Nevertheless, I don’t plan to abandon Facebook. I can’t! I won’t! Why?

LAS VEGAS – I recently spent time in Southern California with 600 church planters and their wives during a Send Network Gathering. They are all planting churches in the Mountain and Pacific time zones. If you could have been there in that room with those men and women of God who are joining in the mission of God, you would be so encouraged by what God is doing in North America and among our Southern Baptist family of churches.

The average pastor in America is fifty-seven years old, which is thirteen years older than it was just three decades ago. Yet, many pastors find themselves put out to pasture or placed on the shelf once they turn 50. This means an unknown number of average-aged preachers await phone calls and emails that never come, while search committees look to fill pulpits with younger pastors.

« Prev | 1 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 60 | Next »
Currently viewing stories posted within the past 7 years.
For all older stories, please use our advanced search.