A fire at the Le Club Apartments in South Miami Dec. 11 left 24 families homeless, including Florida church planters John Michael and Brittany Gibson. Screen capture from CBS Miami
Other news: CP giving up, names submitted for SBC annual meeting leadership, new CP promotion position begins
National CP giving ends first quarter 2.58% ahead of previous year’s giving
NASHVILLE (BP) — Giving through the Cooperative Program remains ahead of last year’s pace by 2.58% as contributions to Southern Baptist Convention national and international missions and ministries totaled nearly $15 million in December 2019.
As of December 31, gifts received by the EC for distribution through the CP Allocation Budget total $47,511,312.90. This exceeds last year’s first quarter budget contribution of $46,315,254.71 by $1,196,058.19, or 2.58%. The amount given is slightly less than the $49,125,000.00 year to date budgeted projection to support Southern Baptist ministries globally and across North America by $1,613,687.10, or 3.28%.
The final amount received in December totaled $14,940,016.37, which was $160,675.10 more than the $14,779,341.27 received in December 2018 but $1,434,983.63 less than the monthly budgeted amount of $16,375,000.00.
Designated gifts received in December amounted to $3,413,353.24. This total was $339,770.40, or 9.05% below gifts of $3,753,123.64 received last December. However, this year’s designated gifts through the first quarter amount to $11,270,804.48, which is $1,038,696.03, or 10.15%, more than the $10,232,108.45 given through the first quarter 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,n 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.
Florida church planters look for positives after losing apartment to fire
By Keila Diaz, Florida Baptist Witness
MIAMI (BP) — Fire alarms began sounding in the three-story Le Club Apartments in South Miami on Wednesday night, Dec. 11, while church planter John Michael Gibson and his wife Brittany were settled in their second-floor apartment.
“We heard the alarms, walked outside, and saw that the building was on fire, so we went back in and helped get everybody out,” said Gibson, who is planting Village Church in nearby Cutler Bay.
Miami-Dade firefighters responded to the fire that left 24 families displaced that night. Due to the fire’s intensity, it took 26 crews almost 90 minutes to subdue the flames.
While no injuries were reported, “everyone was dispersed, and no one was allowed to go back in except one-by-one to grab some things,” Gibson said.
The Florida Baptist Convention (FBC) came alongside the Gibsons with funds to book a hotel room and buy food.
The next day, the Gibsons began to consider the expenses they had incurred as just two people. “Other families have kids and they didn’t wake up the next day to a monetary gift,” John Michael Gibson said.
Local churches have committed $1500 while employees of Cutler Bay Middle School, where the church meets, have collected grocery store gift cards to help the displaced families restock their refrigerators.
The Village Church averages 40 in attendance since starting Sunday evening worship services at the local middle school. They were planning to begin meeting on Sunday mornings when the fire broke out in the apartment building. For full story click here.
McLaurin named EC vice president for Great Commission Relations and Mobilization
NASHVILLE (BP) — Willie McLaurin has been named vice president for Great Commission relations and mobilization at the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee – a new position created to maximize resources and Gospel impact at the EC.
“Willie McLaurin is a highly relational, disciplined, gifted, and growing leader,” said Ronnie Floyd, EC president and CEO. “At 46 years of age, he is a powerful preacher that inspires people to follow Christ passionately. Willie loves people, and it is more than evident when you are around him.
McLaurin began his work with the Executive Committee on Jan. 2. He has served as special assistant to the executive director at the Tennessee Baptist Mission Board in Franklin, Tenn., since 2005.
McLaurin is the author of the book “Which Race Are You Running? Keeping Life in Perspective” and is the co-chair of the Southern Baptist Convention Second Chair Network.
As vice president for Great Commission relations and mobilization, McLaurin will implement Cooperative Program and stewardship education, work to strengthen relationships and promote increased giving among Southern Baptist churches, develop strategies to strengthen relationships with multiple demographic groups within the SBC, and provide oversight and assistance to the executive directors of church relations and mobilization for Hispanics, Asian Americans, African Americans, and of church affiliations. One of McLaurin’s main responsibilities in the new role will be assisting with Cooperative Program promotion across the country.
A native of North Carolina, McLaurin holds a master of divinity degree from the Duke University School of Divinity and an undergraduate degree from North Carolina Central University. Prior to serving at the Tennessee Baptist Mission Board, McLaurin was executive pastor at Greater Missionary Baptist Church in Clarksville, Tenn., and senior pastor at Greater Hope Baptist Church in Union City, Tenn. He has also served as an interim pastor for numerous Southern Baptist churches.
He is currently a member of the Tennessee Baptist Convention Sexual Abuse Prevention and Response Team and the New Churches Task Force of the Tennessee Baptist Mission Board.
Henslee to be nominated for Pastors’ Conference presidency
FARMERSVILLE, Texas (BP) — Bart Barber, pastor of First Baptist Church in Farmersville, Texas, has announced his intention to nominate Matt Henslee, pastor of Mayhill Baptist Church in Mayhill, N.M., for president of the 2021 Southern Baptist Convention Pastors’ Conference. The 2021 Pastors’ Conference will be held in Nashville, Tenn., in conjunction with the 2021 SBC annual meeting. The presidential election will take place at the 2020 Pastors’ Conference in June in Orlando, Fla.
In a release, Barber said Henslee grasps the highs and lows many pastors face which prepares him for this role.
“Matt combines a keen, first-hand understanding of the joys and tribulations that most Southern Baptist pastors face with solid experience in scheduling and producing high-quality content across a variety of platforms to help those pastors,” Barber said.
In addition to his pastoral ministry, Henslee recently authored a book titled “Replanting Rural Churches: God’s Plan and Call for the Middle of Nowhere.” Alongside friend Kyle Bueerman, Henslee also produces “Not Another Baptist Podcast,” a weekly podcast focused on pastoral ministry.
Henslee also is managing editor of LifeWay Pastors, a division of LifeWay’s “Facts & Trends” online magazine designed to encourage and inspire pastors in the trenches.
According to ACP records, Mayhill Baptist reported $25,571 in Cooperative Program giving with a budget of $171,561 (14.9 percent Cooperative Program giving). The church also reported a membership of 177 and average worship attendance of 114 in 2019.
Henslee holds a bachelor of arts from Dallas Baptist University, a master of divinity from The Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, and is working toward a doctor of ministry from Southwestern.
Henslee and his wife Rebecca have four daughters.
Feinstein to be nominated for SBC 2VP
ELKTON, Tenn. (BP) — Chris Bolt, pastor of Elkton Baptist Church in Elkton, Tenn., has announced his intention to nominate Stephen Feinstein, pastor of Sovereign Way Christian Church in Hesperia, Calif., for second vice president of the Southern Baptist Convention at the SBC annual meeting in June 2020 in Orlando. Bolt announced Feinstein’s intended nomination Dec. 31, 2019.
Bolt said Feinstein is a representative of the future of the Southern Baptist Convention. “A future which likely includes more bi-vocational pastors serving smaller and more diverse churches in increasingly hostile ministry contexts,” Bolt said. “[Which is] similar to what pastor Feinstein has done for years.”
Feinstein said his main goal with the position is to be an example of a small church pastor that gets a seat at the SBC table.
“The vast majority of SBC churches are small,” he said. “Yet our convention celebrates large churches and the pastors of large churches. It would be nice for other pastors of small churches to know that the convention values us [small churches] too.”
Feinstein said one way the SBC can communicate its belief in the importance of all faithful churches – not just the large ones — is by platforming more small church pastors that are faithful to the Scriptures.
According to ACP records, Sovereign Way Christian Church has reported no Cooperative Program giving, no Lottie Moon Christmas Offering giving, and no Annie Armstrong Giving in any of the past three years. The church did, however, report Great Commission giving of $7,857 in 2019 with a budget of $235,226.22 (3.3% Great Commission giving). The church also reported a membership of 95 and average worship attendance of 123 in 2019.
Feinstein was raised in a secular Jewish family but became a Christian when he was 17, according to Bolt. He began his teaching ministry at age 20 and began pastoring 10 years later. In addition to his pastoral ministry, Feinstein is a major in the U.S. Army Reserve and has served as a chaplain through the North American Mission Board since 2009.
He holds a master of arts from Liberty University and a master of divinity from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
Feinstein and his wife Bonny have two children.