September 2, 2014
2014: SBC Annual Meeting Roundup
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Evangelism experience preps students
BALTIMORE (BP) -- Justin Harrell had just struck up a conversation with a 13-year-old boy while waiting to meet up with friends for dinner in Baltimore. He asked the boy, "Do you know Jesus?"
Church mental health issues explored
BALTIMORE (BP) -- The church has a unique ability to serve families and persons suffering with mental health issues, a group of Baptist panelists agreed at a special breakfast on mental health and the church.
Panel: Diversity for the sake of Kingdom
BALTIMORE (BP) -- While economic woes have slowed the growing ethnic diversity at state levels in the Southern Baptist Convention, panelists at the Cooperative Program exhibit, held during the SBC annual meeting in Baltimore, discussed intentional efforts to include ethnics in Convention leadership.
21st-century challenges confronted
BALTIMORE (BP) -- As Southern Baptists reflected on and bantered various topics -- including numerous challenges of the 21st Century -- at the Cooperative Program exhibit during their annual meeting in Baltimore, most agreed studying Scripture in its proper context, selfless giving and a commitment to praying for others are good starting points for progress.
Motivating, mobilizing churches addressed
BALTIMORE (BP) -- The advancement of the Great Commission will never be accelerated without Christians engaging in personal evangelism, newly elected Southern Baptist Convention president Ronnie Floyd said during an evangelism panel discussion at the SBC annual meeting in Baltimore.
2nd VIEW: Cooperative Program reflects Southern Baptists' values, CP panelists say
BALTIMORE (BP) -- Panelists at the Cooperative Program exhibit expressed universal support for CP missions and ministry during the SBC annual meeting in Baltimore though it is vital to educate grassroots Southern Baptists about how it works.
Pastors challenged to find place in God's story
BALTIMORE (BP) -- Southern Baptist pastors and members were challenged to "Find Your Place in God's Story" during a dinner hosted by IMB as Southern Baptists gathered for their annual meeting in Baltimore.
Leave legacy of missions support, IMB urges
BALTIMORE (BP) -- Whether we like it or not, we are all going to leave behind a legacy, IMB President Tom Elliff said during a June 10 luncheon focused on "The Last Full Measure of Devotion: Your Mission & Ministry Legacy," during the Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting in Baltimore.
Local Hispanic church welcomes SBC influx
BALTIMORE (BP) -- Primera Iglesia Bautista in Laurel, Md., with its retiring pastor Segundo Mir and incoming pastor Gustavo Suarez, welcomed Hispanics from across the country during a special service and luncheon prior to the Southern Baptist Convention's annual meeting in Baltimore.
Avance Hispano draws 500 in Baltimore
BALTIMORE (BP) -- Several Hispanic groups, in an example of Southern Baptist cooperation with a Latin twist, joined in meetings, fellowship and worship prior to the SBC annual meeting at the Baltimore Convention Center. The June 8 event, which began with dinner at 5 p.m., included four workshops and a celebration service that concluded with a concert at 11 p.m.
Politics, gay marriage & embryo adoption focus of ethics panel
BALTIMORE (BP) -- Ethicist Russell D. Moore and pastor Matt Chandler addressed issues ranging from preaching on political topics to relating to homosexual friends to adopting embryos during a question-and-answer session held in conjunction with the 2014 meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention.
"To some degree, it doesn't matter what you do and say, you are going to be known as the people who are against things if you are against the things that people like." -- Russell Moore, ERLC president
The Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC), the convention's moral issues and public policy entity, sponsored "Questions & Ethics Live" June 10 at the Baltimore Hilton. Moore, the ERLC's president, and Chandler, lead pastor of teaching at The Village Church in Flower Mound, Texas, responded to issues raised by an audience of more than 200 people. Chandler, who has been at The Village Church nearly 12 years, said he has preached on such issues as abortion and homosexuality but doesn't recall he has "ever explicitly tried to be political in regards to the things I'm addressing." "At the end of the day, I feel like if I make it like a full-on, political, party issue, then what ends up happening is I start to lose people in the crowd whom I think I can persuade with the Word of God," Chandler told Phillip Bethancourt, moderator and the ERLC's executive vice president. Chandler said if he teaches on what the Bible says about an issue, "then I think I'm addressing political things and cultural issues without making it a Democratic Party issue or a Republican Party issue. And so I have found that by doing that I don't lose my Democrats, that they'll listen and they'll hear. And they might not necessarily land where I land, but at least now we're talking about the Bible and not partisan." The key to not being labeled "culture warriors" is "to talk about people," not just a topic, he said. "[I]f you are going to talk about homosexuality, you had better talk about homosexuality in light of the reality that there are ... more than likely people in your congregation that struggle themselves or love people that struggle or have a neighbor who walks in that lifestyle," Chandler said. "And if you ignorantly paint this issue, you are going to jam up the people you have been meant to lead; you are going to push people who are struggling into silence and quiet and not towards confession and the seeking of help." One participant asked how Christians "communicate with conviction without being known as the people who are against everything." Moore said, "To some degree, it doesn't matter what you do and say, you are going to be known as the people who are against things if you are against the things that people like. ...
6 entity heads address messenger questions
BALTIMORE (BP) -- Messengers had opportunities to ask questions of the presidents of Southern Baptist entities during their reports to the June 10-11 annual meeting in Baltimore.
Spurgeon, Golden Gate move spotlighted
BALTIMORE (BP) -- The life of Charles Spurgeon and an upcoming campus relocation were main topics at June 11 alumni and friends luncheons hosted by seminaries at the Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting in Baltimore.
FIRST-PERSON: SBC's wisdom & gender reassignment
Columnust Penna Dexter explains why Southern Baptists did the right thing in passing a resolution that extends "love and compassion to those whose sexual self-understanding is shaped by a distressing conflict between their biological sex and their gender identity" and to "invite all transgender persons to trust in Christ and to experience renewal in the Gospel."
Annie's church transforms to reach Baltimore's inner city
BALTIMORE (BP) -- Ryan Palmer admitted he was skeptical when he was called to pastor a dying church in Baltimore's inner city, where storied missionary Annie Armstrong was once a member.
A theater major and attorney, Palmer had made other plans with wife Leslie, the two of them members of the Seventh Baptist Church that had then dwindled from a high of 2000 to only 17 members.
"And in 2003 I was actually called and asked to pastor the remnant. The previous pastor was burned out. He said, 'Brother this is where God wants you. He sent you and I believe you are the next pastor,'" Palmer told Baptist Press. "And like Sarah, Abraham's wife, I laughed. My idea was to be bicoastal. I was going to have a home on the East Coast and two aircraft, a home in L.A. and work in the entertainment industry." Palmer's idyllic picture differed from the Baltimore he ministers to today, where openly homosexual and transsexual pastors lead churches a stone's throw away from his. It's also where heroin addicts, the homeless, prostitutes, alcoholics, committed blue-collar workers, affluent professionals, artists and college students all live within a two-mile radius of the architecturally rich church founded in 1845 and rebuilt after a 1919 fire. On June 8, the Sunday prior to the Southern Baptist Convention 2014 annual meeting, Palmer relaunched the congregation as Seventh Metro Church. Fred Luter, who had mentored Palmer in ministry, preached the service as one of the last sermons of his term as Southern Baptist Convention president. Luter commissioned Palmer and the 15 or so Seventh Metro members in ministry, joined on the occasion by perhaps 300 Southern Baptist friends and supporters. "Father, in the name of Jesus, on behalf of the churches and messengers of the Southern Baptist Convention, on behalf of NAMB -- the North American Mission Board, God we right now want to pray and lift up the Seventh Metro Church," Luter prayed. "Thank you for these committed and faithful members. Bless them God collectively and individually. God we commission them. We send them out from this day forth God to fulfill the Great Commission and the Great Commandment of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. ... We lift them up to you God. Give them the boldness and strength that they need God to go throughout the highways and the byways of Baltimore God, and compel lost men and women, boys and girls to come."

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