SBC DIGEST: NAMB next-gen podcast; B&H wins two book awards

New NAMB evangelism podcast aims at reaching next generation

By Brandon Elrod

ALPHARETTA, Ga. (BP) -- A new podcast from the North American Mission Board (NAMB), "Next Gen On Mission," focuses on equipping pastors and ministry leaders to reach and disciple the next generation with the Gospel. Hosted by Shane Pruitt, NAMB's director for next-gen evangelism, each episode features practitioners and experts in the area of ministering to the next generation.

Research indicates that roughly 77 percent of believers become Christians before age 18, and 95 percent do so before the age of 30, Pruitt said. That reality adds a level of urgency to reaching teens and young adults.

"Next-gen ministries can't just be programs in our churches. They have to be seen as the front lines of our evangelism efforts," Pruitt said. "So, I want to help churches and leaders to be the most effective they can be in reaching, discipling and mobilizing the next generation to reach a generation with Gospel right now."

The podcast's first season includes 10 episodes which were all posted at the end of March. Guests include Ben Trueblood, director of student ministry for LifeWay Christian Resources, J.D. Greear, lead pastor of Summit Church and current president of the Southern Baptist Convention, and actress and social media influencer Madeline Carroll.

"Next-gen ministries require ever-changing approaches to sharing never-changing truths," Pruitt said. "I've sought to bring on guests who are practitioners. They are constantly developing creative ways to reach, disciple and mobilize Millennials and Generation Z with the eternal truths of the Gospel."

Topics range from helping pastors and ministry leaders understand the next generation and helping them live on mission to utilizing the arts, social media and other digital avenues to reach young people.

Technology and cultural shifts in North America have generated an atmosphere in which more information and different worldviews are available, not only at the touch of a button, but in the communities and schools of the rising generation.

"There aren't a lot of podcasts that are specifically geared towards next-gen realities, and there are even fewer that come from a Christian worldview," Pruitt said. "The episodes are encouraging, convicting and equipping. Every leader who has been a guest challenged us to be better and shared applicable next steps to help us be better."

One of the keys that Pruitt emphasizes in each episode is that the next generation is not the church of tomorrow but "the church right now."

Every episode poses questions for those hoping to reach the next generation to consider, but Pruitt also hopes he and his guests will get the next generation themselves thinking about how to reach their friends.

The podcast is available at namb.net/next-gen-on-mission-podcast/ as well as Apple Podcasts, Stitcher and Spotify with other podcast clients coming soon.

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B&H Publishing wins pair of Christian Book Awards, including best Bible

By Aaron Wilson

TEMPE, Ariz. (BP) -- Two new B&H Publishing releases that draw from the past were recognized as 2020 Christian Book Award winners by the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association (ECPA) in a live webcast May 5.

"Devotedly: The Personal Letters and Love Story of Jim and Elisabeth Elliot" won in the Biography & Memoir category, while the "CSB Ancient Faith Study Bible" shared the award for best Bible of 2020.

Both titles help Christians navigate today's world by drawing insights from spiritual giants and saints of the past.

"What an honor it is to be recognized by the ECPA for these two resources that help us glean from heroes of the faith," said Ben Mandrell, LifeWay president and CEO. "One of my favorite courses in seminary was church history as it helped me appreciate the backstory of our faith. I also love the way the Old Testament adds depth and color to the New Testament. What a privilege to produce resources that help believers in the modern day by gathering insights of the past."

"Devotedly" presents never-before-published letters and private journal entries that capture the unlikely love story of Jim and Elisabeth Elliot.

In the book, the couple's only daughter, Valerie Elliot Shepard, unseals the correspondence that brought her parents together as they followed God's will for their young lives -- a calling that eventually led to Jim Elliot's death in 1956 at the hands of the Ecuadorian tribe he was seeking to reach with the Gospel.

"It's rare for a publisher to participate in history the way B&H was able to with 'Devotedly,'" said Devin Maddox, LifeWay director of book publishing. "We are incredibly proud of Valerie Shepard, Wolgemuth & Associates and the entire team that brought 'Devotedly' to life, specifically because of the distinct contribution this book will be for future students of the history of the church."

The "CSB Ancient Faith Study Bible" features the text of the Christian Standard Bible alongside study notes and commentary from the writings of church fathers of the second through fifth centuries. It also highlights biographies of 25 church fathers and features "Twisted Truth" callouts that describe how some ancient thinkers drifted from orthodoxy.

"What I love about the 'CSB Ancient Faith Study Bible' is how it brings together the richness of ancient Christian commentary on Scripture with a beautiful, elegant design that makes the Bible delightful to read," said Trevin Wax, LifeWay senior vice president of theology and communications. "Our team wanted to carefully craft a Bible that offered readers spiritual insight from ancient pastors and commentators, with a design that would be worthy of such spiritual richness. We are thrilled to see such acclaim for the 'Ancient Faith Study Bible,' and we hope it will introduce more Bible readers today to Bible interpreters from yesterday."

Since 1978, the Christian Book Award Program has recognized the highest quality in Christian books based on excellence in content, literary quality, design and impact. The full list of this year's CBA winners can be found at ChristianBookAwards.com.

Brandon Elrod writes for the North American Mission Board. Aaron Wilson is a writer for LifeWay Christian Resources.
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