August 22, 2014
NEW YORK (BP) -- Hurricane Sandy was a tragedy in the Northeast, but God used the life-altering superstorm to change the hearts of people in Rockaway Beach, a neighborhood in Queens, New York, from totally disinterested in the Gospel to yearning for spiritual guidance.

A couple of years ago, Larry Holcomb, director of Urban Impact, a ministry connected with a Southern Baptist congregation in New York, arranged for the purchase of a large old house in a rough part of Rockaway Beach, not fathoming what God would do next.

After renovating the beach house, Holcomb moved in bunk beds to house short-term mission teams coming to New York to help Urban Impact reach immigrants in the city through language and job training classes.

With a goal of launching Beach Church in the summer of 2013, Holcomb and others this past summer handed out about 5,000 invitations to Bible studies in Rockaway Beach.

"We went door-to-door, handing them out to people," Holcomb, a former North American Mission Board church planter, told Baptist Press. "We got less than a dozen responses. Through that, from the surrounding community, maybe five people had come to Bible study. So that was a ratio of 5 to 5,000. We knew it was a hard neighborhood. People don't have the time or the interest in spiritual things.

"But after the tragedy, we've handed out thousands of tracts and Bibles, and people eagerly say, 'Can I have this?' 'Can you please give me this? I need this guidance.' They're asking us for prayer and saying, 'Can you please come to my house?'

"It has really turned around the spiritual openness of the neighborhood, and where before we were slaving away to find someone who had any interest, now the problem is, How can we possibly have time to address these hundreds and hundreds who are asking us to help them understand the Bible and get closer to God?" Holcomb said. Read More
BALTIMORE (BP) -- Baptist Press is live blogging the SBC annual meeting in Baltimore. Updates can be read here, at our Twitter account (, or our Facebook account ( Want more updates? Follow our SBC annual meeting feed at A schedule of the Wednesday meeting can be found at Watch the SBC annual meeting live here. Read More
New Hispanic generations to be conf. topic
ALPHARETTA, Ga. (BP) -- Although Southern Baptists have a long history of reaching and starting churches among Hispanics, changing demographics will require a new strategy, a North American Mission Board evangelism consultant has noted. Read More
Bible doesn't command wealth redistribution, presenters say at theological meeting
MILWAUKEE (BP) -- Scripture does not require governments to redistribute wealth to help the poor, presenters in a session at the Evangelical Theological Society's annual meeting said this fall. Read More
Student expelled over beliefs wins settlement
"Public universities shouldn't force students to violate their religious beliefs to get a degree."
-- ADF's Jeremy Tedesco
WASHINGTON (BP) -- Eastern Michigan University has agreed to settle a lawsuit filed by a graduate counseling student whom it expelled after she declined to affirm the "sexual orientation" of a homosexual client because of her Christian beliefs. Read More
First Person
Thomas White
FIRST-PERSON: Jovan Belcher, ruined lives and manhood
Columnist Thomas White says the debate over Jovan Belcher's murder-suicide underscores a societal problem of male bravado -- and a lack of proper biblical manhood among males.

Story Collections
Mideast Monitor
Texas Border
Crisis in Ukraine
The Persecuted Church
SBC Call to Prayer

 © Copyright 2014 Baptist Press. All Rights Reserved. Terms of Use.

Southern Baptist Convention