Stories

KENNESAW, Ga. — A menu of wild boar, venison, and alligator, mixed with an ample serving of the gospel, proved to be an irresistible combination at Kennesaw First Baptist Church’s wild game dinner where 28 people made salvation decisions. “God is alive and well in Kennesaw,” lead pastor Perry Fowler said after the Saturday event. “He is blessing, and His kingdom is being built.”

MACON, GA – In Bibb County ask for directions to Cathedral Coffee and you will find Northway Church, a thriving fellowship in middle Georgia that is also worth a visit. Northway Church in Macon started as a mission of Vineville Baptist Church in 1995 and held its first service in 1998 as Vineville North Baptist Church. For four years Vineville Baptist and Vineville North operated as one church, two locations.

CLAYTON, Ga. – Spreading the gospel requires Christians to go and tell, Hispanic Georgia Baptists were told at a Spanish-language evangelism conference in Clayton on Saturday. Pastor Gerardo Mendoza, who leads Misión Bautista Cristo Vive, hosted the gathering at Clayton Baptist Church.

Spreading the gospel requires Christians to go and tell, Hispanic Georgia Baptists were told at a Spanish-language evangelism conference in Clayton on Saturday. Pastor Gerardo Mendoza, who leads Misión Bautista Cristo Vive, hosted the Georgia Baptist Mission Board event at Clayton Baptist Church. More than 220 participants heard Pastor Martín Vargas of Iglesia Real in Hollywood, Fla., and Ramón Osorio, director of Ethnic-Linguistic Church Planting at the North American Mission Board, speak on the need to share Jesus with others.

CORDOVA, Tenn. —  Bellevue Baptist Church pastor Steve Gaines reported major improvements with his cancer in a video posted Firday. In November 2023, Gaines shared with his congregation that he had been diagnosed with kidney cancer, then in December shared that the cancer had spread to his lungs. On Friday, he said the cancer polyps in his lungs and the cancer in his rib were gone, according to his latest PET scan. The cancer in his kidney has also “gone down significantly,” he said.

BETHLEHEM, Ga.— Those who drove east on Highway 316 to the University of Georgia football games last fall may not have noticed Georgia Baptists’ largest church in worship attendance. Pastor Jason Britt and his excellent staff have been faithfully serving Christ and doing their work without much notice from those outside the Barrow, Oconee, and Walton County area, yet mobilizing hundreds of people to build one of the fastest-growing churches in America.

BRENTWOOD, Tenn. — American evangelicals have complex perspectives on immigration and want a nuanced political response, but most want Congress to act soon. A Lifeway Research study sponsored by the Evangelical Immigration Table found evangelicals are increasingly concerned about the number of recent immigrants to the U.S. but still believe Christians have a responsibility to care for those who are in the country illegally.

MARIETTA, GA – Steve McEntyre has had two careers that have called for him to rescue the perishing, first as a firefighter and now as a minister. McEntyre, pastor of Cheatham Hills Baptist Church in Marietta, served 21 years as a firefighter in Cherokee County. “Pastors and firefighters are all about rescuing the perishing,” he said. “It takes passion and an unquenchable resolve to rescue people from burning buildings. And it takes the same kind of driving force and sense of calling to seek to rescue people from the fires of eternal retribution."

ATLANTA — The Republican majority in the state Senate, with help from Democratic colleagues, have pushed through a proposal that could legalize sports gambling in defiance of Georgia’s largest religious organization, which called for the measure to be quashed. The Senate voted 41-12 on Tuesday to pass Senate Resolution 579, another step toward putting a proposed constitutional amendment on the ballot for Georgia voters to ratify or reject.

CONYERS, Ga. —  More than 400 pastors and other Christian leaders gathered at First Baptist Church in Conyers for the Georgia Baptist Mission Board’s Called to Witness evangelism conference Sunday and Monday.

CONYERS, Ga. — Reaching the lost requires Christians to step outside their comfort zones to reach people who desperately need Jesus, preachers told Georgia Baptists on the second day of an evangelism conference in Conyers. “If we’re going to reach this culture, we’re going to have to go to some places that will make us uncomfortable, and we’re going to have to do some things that make our people become uncomfortable,” said W. Thomas Hammond Jr., executive director of the Georgia Baptist Mission Board.

CONYERS, Ga. — For  1.4 million Georgia Baptists to be successful in getting the gospel into every home in the state, they simply need to do what should come natural to all believers — tell others about Jesus. That was a theme of the Georgia Baptist Mission Board’s Called to Witness evangelism conference that kicked off  Sunday evening at First Baptist Church in Conyers. “Once you fall in love with Jesus, you can’t contain it,” said Robert Smith Jr., professor of preaching at Samford University’s Beeson Divinity School.

SUWANEE, Ga. — An annual count of baptisms in Georgia Baptist churches has surpassed 20,000 for the first time since 2017. Steve Foster, a Georgia Baptist Mission Board evangelism consultant, said the total as of Friday morning reached 20,280, just 13 short of the 20,293 reported six years ago. The numbers are expected to continue to grow as more congregations complete what's known as the "Annual Church Profile," an annual census of Southern Baptist churches.

DALLAS, Ga. — In a classy blue suit, striped tie, and starched white shirt, Donald Voyles has the look of a man who has just stepped out of the board room of a Fortune 500 company. He’s every whit the professional, from his freshly trimmed white hair to his newly polished back shoes. At 89, Voyles may not fit the stereotypical mold of the modern church planter, but the Adrian Rogers-look is paying dividends for a congregation birthed from a back-porch Bible study at his home in suburban Atlanta four years ago.

LaGRANGE, Ga. — Georgia pastor Willie Thomas Edmondson is being remembered as a “legend" and a “warrior” as well as a “trailblazer” who served people not only from his church but also from city hall. Edmonson died Friday. In addition to being pastor at Bethlehem Baptist Church in West Point, Edmondson also served as mayor of LaGrange.

CONYERS, Ga. — Georgia Baptist Convention President Josh Saefkow is hoping for a big turnout for a pair of evangelism conferences, the first of which begins on Sunday at First Baptist Church in Conyers. “The evangelism conferences help us to grow, to be equipped and to be inspired,” Saefkow said. “A big part of these conferences is to be inspired to go and tell others about Jesus.” Georgia Baptists are going into this year’s conferences with an obvious zeal for sharing the gospel. They’re reporting a 30% increase in baptisms over the past year and a more than 92% increase since 2020.

Sunrise over Shorter University

Shorter University President Donald Dowless captured the beauty of a late-winter sunrise  on Tuesday.  Shorter University, founded in 1873, is a Southern Baptist school in Rome, Ga.

BOGART, Ga., — When Josh Smith became pastor of Prince Avenue Baptist Church in Bogart six years ago after 11 years at MacArthur Boulevard Baptist Church in Irving, Texas, he succeeded Pastor Bill Ricketts, who had served the church for 43 years. Ricketts had relocated the church from downtown Athens to Bogart, a growing community approximately seven miles west of Athens. The church was poised for growth, but it would take the right kind of pastor to lead the church to its greatest destiny.

COLUMBUS, Ga. – In January, Jimmy Blanton announced his retirement as the missionary of the Columbus Baptist Association by saying, “I realize that the association does not need a new mission, but it does need a new voice, a new vision, and a new missionary.”

WAYCROSS, Ga. (AP) — Two young citizen-soldiers who became close friends after enlisting in the Army Reserve were remembered at funerals in southeast Georgia on Saturday, nearly three weeks after they died in a drone attack while deployed to the Middle East.

CHARLESTON, S.C. — An aspiring young preacher and baseball player who baptized most of his teammates at a Georgia junior college last fall has committed to play for The Citadel beginning next season. Robbie Lane, the starting shortstop at East Georgia State College in Swainsboro, Ga., described being recruited to play for the Division I school in Charleston as a dream come true.

AUGUSTA, Ga. — Nearly 800 people gathered in Augusta last weekend for hands-on ministry that including renovating schools and churches, building a playgrounds, providing free dental care, throwing block parties, and so much more. In the process, at least 24 people made salvation decisions.

SUWANEE, Ga. — Nearly half of Christians say they struggle to find time to spend with fellow believers in discipleship activities because they’re too busy, according to a pair of surveys by the Barna Group, an organization that monitors cultural and religious trends in the U.S. Barna, writing about the surveys in an article last week, said they found bright spots in that 58 percent of Christians spend uninterrupted time with God and that 57 percent find time to regularly read their Bibles. But, when it comes to discipleship activities, 39 percent of Christians are not involved in helping others grow in their faith.

CARROLLTON, Ga. (AP) — The flag-draped casket of Staff Sgt. William Jerome Rivers stood at the front of a church Tuesday as Georgia's governor joined the Army Reserve soldier's family, uniformed military officers and his pastor from New Jersey who made the trip to say farewell.

JONESBORO, Ga. — Pastor and author Henry Blackaby is being remembered as “a great Bible teacher” who inspired untold numbers of missionaries, church planters and everyday believers to “watch where God is working and join Him.” A funeral for Blackaby, author of the best-selling Experiencing God Bible study, has been set for 3 p.m. on Feb. 25 at Jonesboro’s First Baptist Church where his son, Mel, serves as senior pastor. “He will be greatly missed, but his influence on the lives of untold numbers of people through his Bible teaching will live on,” said evangelist Franklin Graham in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter.

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