April 21, 2014
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Ethnicity & the SBC
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Hispanic leaders train for 'missional advance'
HOUSTON (BP) -- More than 200 Hispanic Southern Baptist leaders converged in Houston for "Avance Hispano 2013" for missional training in conjunction with the annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention.
Ethnic congregations up 66% for Southern Baptists since '98
ALPHARETTA, Ga. (BP) -- The number of non-Anglo congregations in the Southern Baptist Convention has jumped by more than 66 percent since 1998, according to the North American Mission Board's Center for Missional Research.
Just over 10,000 congregations (10,049) of 50,768 congregations in the convention identified themselves by an ethnicity other than Anglo in 2011, the most recent year for which detailed data on ethnicity is available from LifeWay Christian Resources' Annual Church Profile database. In 1998, non-Anglo congregations totaled 6,044. "It's clear that Southern Baptists have been multi-ethnic and are becoming an even more multi-ethnic convention of churches," said Joseph Lee, senior pastor of Connexion Church in Lawrenceville, Ga., a mostly Korean Southern Baptist congregation. "The trend is gaining speed week by week. For example, the ethnic churches grew from zero to more than half of the total number of churches in our county in the past 10 years." The diversification of the convention comes at a time when the United States as a whole is growing more diverse. USA Today, for example, has reported that the number of all-white communities in the country has plummeted since 1980, according to an analysis of census data by Penn State University's Population Research Institute. Less than a third of U.S. counties are 90 percent Caucasian. The largest jump in non-Anglo congregations within the SBC from 1998 to 2011 has predominantly come from an 82.7 percent increase in the number of African American congregations. For Fred Luter, pastor of Franklin Avenue Baptist Church in New Orleans and the first-ever African American president of the SBC, the diversification of Southern Baptists has become very personal. "I remember at one time I was the only [African American pastor] in my city who was Southern Baptist," Luter said. "I caught a lot of flack as a result of that. Thank God I'm able to see some of the fruit of my labor -- not only at my particular church but in the associations and conventions across the country." Hispanic congregations also have seen a significant increase over the same span -- nearly 63 percent. The number of Asian congregations affiliated with the SBC has grown by 55 percent. Because of the nature of Annual Church Profile (ACP) statistics, it's impossible to know the diversity of individuals within the SBC -- only the diversity of congregations.
Black church leaders explore missions
RIDGECREST, N.C. (BP) -- Standing before a room of African American church leaders in Ridgecrest, N.C., Jonathan Marshall* cleared his throat and began his pitch: "My topic is 'Young Black Men in Missions,'" the 26-year-old IMB missionary said with a grin, "but I'm the only one, so I'm going to talk about myself."
Luter exhorts leaders to commitment & renewal
RIDGECREST, N.C. (BP) -- Southern Baptist Convention President Fred Luter exhorted African American believers to heighten their denominational involvement while also seeking spiritual renewal as he addressed the Black Church Leadership and Family Conference at the LifeWay Ridgecrest Conference Center.
Luter: Graham excited about future of SBC
MONTREAT, N.C. (BP) -- Billy Graham established a precedent early in his ministry during America's days of racial segregation by only proceeding with a crusade if blacks and whites could sit together in the audience.
FIRST-PERSON: Fred Luter & the SBC's moral arc
The election of New Orleans pastor Fred Luter Jr., reflects how the Southern Baptist Convention, as Richard Land describes it, "has now gone from being virtually an all-white domination as late as 1970 to being one of the most ethnically diverse denominations."
SBC entities issue 1st report on ethnic diversity
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP) -- Southern Baptist Convention entities have issued their first reports in response to historic measures adopted a year ago to improve accountability in the inclusion of ethnic minorities in SBC life.
Filipinos look toward cross-cultural missions
Chinese discuss outreach beyond their churches
Korean Council draws 800 to annual meeting
LINTHICUM, Md. (BP) -- About 800 people from 600 Korean Baptist churches in 40 states including Alaska and Hawaii gathered for the Council of Korean Baptist Churches' annual meeting.
Messianic speaker underscores discipleship
Black network elects officers, gives awards
FIRST-PERSON: Turning a page in SBC history (& shedding tears of joy)
Columnist and Alabama Baptist leader Rick Lance says he cried tears of joy when Fred Luter was elected -- an election that could "begin a whole new chapter" in the Southern Baptist Convention.
At Avanze Hispano, Robert Amaya of 'Courageous' urges 'Live the truth'
NEW ORLEANS (BP) -- Robert Amaya, one of the stars of the movie "Courageous," was among the featured speakers at "SBC Avanze Hispano" (SBC Hispanic Advance) June 18, attended by 200 Hispanic pastors and leaders from 20 states and several countries prior to the Southern Baptist Convention's annual meeting in New Orleans.
Hispanics pray for SBC during Pastors' Conf.
NEW ORLEANS (BP) -- Several dozen Hispanic pastors and leaders met in the SBC Prayer Room to pray during the June 18 evening session of the Southern Baptist Pastors' Conference.

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