Tuesday, October 25, 2011Download All Stories
55,901 SBC congregations by 2020 envisioned by Ezell
PHILADELPHIA (BP) -- A goal of 55,901 Southern Baptist congregations by the end of 2020 has been set by North American Mission Board President Kevin Ezell as part of the Send North America strategy NAMB is implementing in evangelistic church planting. The goal would mean a net gain of 5,112 SBC congregations in less than a decade -- more gained than in any decade since 1900."This should be the golden age of church planting in the Southern Baptist Convention," Ezell said during the Oct. 17-19 meeting of NAMB's trustees in Philadelphia.
The growth is based on projections of new church plants, new affiliations and church deaths between 2011 and 2020. Reaching the goal would require nearly a doubling of the SBC church birth rate by the end of the 10-year period. The 55,901 "congregation" target includes new self-supporting churches as well as church-type missions which will become new churches at some point. The goal was shared with trustees during an informal update by Aaron Coe, vice president of mobilization at NAMB, a day before their meeting.
NAMB's trustees also approved a $115 million budget for 2012, toured new ethnic church plants and -- with state convention and local association leaders and church planters -- celebrated groundbreaking church-planting efforts now under way in the historic "City of Brotherly Love."
"This trustee meeting in Philadelphia has been good for us," Ezell said in his presentation to the trustees. "In a lot of the places we live, there's a high population of Southern Baptist churches. Where I live in Atlanta, there's one stretch with nine evangelical churches in a two-mile area.
"Driving into Philadelphia, we saw one evangelical church. It reminds us of our priority of impacting people's lives with the Gospel. We can't get away from that. We need to stay focused on impacting the lost with the Gospel."
Ezell's report to trustees and many of the activities surrounding the meeting focused on Send North America, the NAMB initiative focusing on church planting -- especially in North America's largest cities and least-reached areas.
NAMB continues to make progress toward its goal to transition 50 percent of the mission entity's budget to church planting, Ezell reported.
"In 2009, NAMB spent 28 percent of its budget on church planting. In 2011, we are spending 37 percent and, in 2012, we will spend at least 42 percent of our budget on church planting," Ezell said. "So we are progressing rapidly toward our minimal goal of 50 percent." Read More
Study: Gays can change sexual orientation"The results that we report in our study suggest that change is definitely not impossible, and it's probably not uncommon, either."NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP) -- A major seven-year study published in a mainstream journal is challenging the secular notion that gays and lesbians cannot change their sexual orientation. Read More
Turkey quake: survivors 'need aid fast'
ERCIS, Turkey (BP) -- In eastern Turkey, hard-hit by a 7.3-magnitude earthquake Oct. 23, the living are still being pulled from the rubble -- a two-week-old baby, a pregnant mother, a grandmother, according to BBC News. Read More
Short-term mission opens doors in IndiaINDIA (BP) -- Picture frames began to fall from the walls as Adam Reese was scooping another handful of rice and lentil soup into his mouth. Read More
Quake stirs fear among Hindus, BuddhistsINDIA (BP) -- "Prabuu. Prabuu. Prabuu," the Nepalese man chanted with force in his lungs as the walls began to crack and the earth beneath him shook violently. Read More
Hindu woman in her 70s embraces Christ
INDIA (BP) -- Sarah Weber signed up for the September missions trip to India in May. It would be her first international experience.
Although she and other members of a missions team from The Church at Brook Hills in Birmingham, Ala., prepared spiritually and physically for months, Weber said she never expected to lead someone to Christ.
"I was planning on planting the seeds," she said.
But when a Hindu woman in her 70s wanted Weber to tell her how to become a Christian, she had ... Read More
India earthquake redirects Baptist team
INDIA (BP) -- Overcoming roadblocks in northern India -- both figurative and literal -- became a common theme for a missions team from The Church at Brook Hills in Birmingham, Ala.
After preparing for months for an evangelistic missions experience in the western section of Sikkim state, the team learned only days before departing it would be needed in a remote mountain village, north and east of the original location.
A magnitude 6.9 earthquake shook the mostly Nepalese area near the I... Read More
FIRST-PERSON: Total capitulation & the evangelical surrender of truth
An Oct. 17 op-ed in The New York Times by two professing Christians that called for evangelicals to lower their view of Scripture is nothing more than a capitulatation to the secular worldview, says seminary president R. Albert Mohler Jr. Read More
FROM THE STATES: Fla., N.C., Ill. evangelism/missions news
EDITOR'S NOTE: From the States, published each Tuesday by Baptist Press, relays news and feature stories from state Baptist papers and other publications on initiatives by Baptist churches, associations and state conventions in evangelism, church planting and Great Commission outreach, including partnership missions. Reports about churches, associations and state conventions responding to the International Mission Board's call to embrace the world's 3,800 unengaged, unreached people groups also ... Read More