Baptist Press Archive

Friday, September 20, 2013

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  • Decline in SBC baptisms being studied by pastors' task force

    by Joe Conway, posted Friday, September 20, 2013 (4 years ago)

    NASHVILLE (BP) -- The North American Mission Board is convening a national Pastors' Task Force on Evangelistic Impact & Declining Baptisms to address the continued decrease in baptisms among Southern Baptist churches. The group's first meeting was Sept. 18 in Nashville.

    NAMB file photo by Susan Whitley
    The 2012 Annual Church Profile reported a drop of 5.52 percent in the number of baptisms in Southern Baptist churches, confirming a two-decade downward trend. The most recent accounting marked the first time since 1948 that baptisms dropped below 315,000.

    "We must pray and think through what we ... should do to turn around this decline."

    -- Al Gilbert,

    NAMB VP of evangelism

    From 1950-2011 Southern Baptists baptized an average of 379,711 people annually. Only twice during that time did the numbers dip more than 10 percent below that average. But in 2012 the decline was 13 percent off the average -- the worst drop in 62 years.

    "Southern Baptists leaders are concerned," said Al Gilbert, NAMB's vice president of evangelism. "Our baptismal trends are all headed in the wrong direction. With a burden to penetrate lostness in North America, we must pray and think through what we can and should do to turn around this decline."

    Gilbert is facilitating the group's sessions along with LifeWay Research President Ed Stetzer. In addition to the first meeting in Nashville, the task force will meet multiple times via conference calls and face-to-face meetings, with the goal of completing its work by May 2014.

    Prior to the meeting Los Angeles pastor Benny Wong said one way churches will see increased baptisms is to narrow their concentration.

    "We need to focus again on the most important mandate for the church today, which is the Great Commission," Wong said. "We need to observe the past to understand some issues, but the real need is to concentrate on the most important areas. In the past 20 years we have had some struggles as a church, but as we focus on the primary things, the so-called problems are not as important."

    In its first 40 years, First Chinese planted five churches, Wong said. Following a long gap in planting, the church planted a new church four years ago with 12 people. It now has 200. A second plant just launched.

    "There is no magic," Wong said. "It is not complicated. It is going back to the basics and following God's leading in obedience. If we only focus on the secondary issues, we will miss out on what is most important in the eyes of God."

    Alvin Reid echoed Wong's thoughts.

    "Obviously evangelism is of primary importance to Southern Baptists, and our primary means of evaluating evangelism is baptisms," Reid said. "It is not the best means, but it is the best one we have. We need some metrics to determine how we are doing.

    "Anytime Southern Baptists have faced a major issue, they have called together leaders to address the challenge," Reid said. "This is certainly an important issue. This task force will actually attempt to accomplish something strategically. I have said for years that we as Southern Baptists should put on sackcloth and ashes and have an annual day of fasting and prayer on this issue."

    Gilbert said the most recent ACP was the final catalyst in bringing the pastors' task force together.

    "There has been a lot of discussion about this issue for years," Gilbert said. "Southern Baptists have talked about declining baptisms but haven't figured out a way to own it. I thought it was important to pull together pastors from different regions and backgrounds to address the issue. We want to dialog about how we can help take meaningful action."

    Task force members include: Ted Traylor, pastor, Olive Baptist Church, Pensacola, Fla.; Jay Wolf, pastor, First Baptist Church, Montgomery, Ala.; K. Marshall Williams Sr., pastor, Nazarene Baptist Church, Philadelphia; Manpoong "Dennis" Kim, pastor, Global Mission Church, Silver Spring, Md.; David Galván, pastor, New Life Hispanic Baptist Church, Dallas; Carlos Navarro, pastor, Iglesia Bautista de West Brownsville, Brownsville, Texas; Andy Addis, pastor, CrossPoint Church, Hutchinson, Kan.; Roger Spradlin, pastor, Valley Baptist Church, Bakersfield, Calif.; Jeff Lovingood, Next Generation pastor ... Read More

  • Henry Blackaby to undergo heart surgery

    by Staff, posted Friday, September 20, 2013 (4 years ago)

    ATLANTA (BP) -- Southern Baptist Bible teacher Henry Blackaby will need surgery after suffering a heart attack Thursday while driving in Atlanta, becoming confused and traveling for 29 hours before police found him Sept. 20 in Tifton, Ga., about 150 miles southeast of his home. Read More

  • U.S. House OKs religious liberty envoy

    by Tom Strode, posted Friday, September 20, 2013 (4 years ago)

    WASHINGTON (BP) -- The U.S. House of Representatives has overwhelmingly approved a bill requiring appointment of a special envoy for the promotion of religious liberty in such countries as Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan and Syria. Read More

  • Hispanic pastor translates Calvinism report

    by Diana Chandler, posted Friday, September 20, 2013 (4 years ago)

    "The God we follow is greater than both our theological positions put together."

    -- Rafael Gutierrez,

    Utah pastor

    COTTONWOOD HEIGHTS, Utah (BP) -- Rafael Gutierrez, a bivocational pastor in the Salt Lake City area, has translated into Spanish the report of the Southern Baptist Convention advisory group on Calvinism. Read More

  • Volunteers deploy to Colo. flood region

    by Joe Conway, posted Friday, September 20, 2013 (4 years ago)

    LONGMONT, Colo. (BP) -- After torrential flooding in Colorado's Front Range, Southern Baptist volunteers are among relief workers now deployed to the region where heavy rains and steep mountains combined to wash out homes, bridges and roads from Estes Park to Boulder and beyond. Read More

  • Emeritus missionaries recount ups & downs

    by Erich Bridges, posted Friday, September 20, 2013 (4 years ago)

    IMB photo
    ROCKVILLE, Va. (BP) -- When missionary Pauline Eardensohn began sharing the Gospel one day in a home in Tanzania, the face of a blind woman who lived there lit up. Read More

  • Doris Kelley, 91, leaves seminary, church legacy

    by Gary Myers & Keith Collier, posted Friday, September 20, 2013 (4 years ago)

    NEW ORLEANS (BP) -- Doris Weisiger Kelley, mother of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary President Chuck Kelley and Dorothy Kelley Patterson, wife of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary President Paige Patterson, died Sept. 19 at her home in New Orleans. She was 91. Read More

  • SPORTS: Orioles' Davis strives for godliness

    by Joshua Cooley, posted Friday, September 20, 2013 (4 years ago)

    Todd Olszewski/ The Baltimore Orioles
    BALTIMORE (BP) -- Three years ago, life was so different for Chris Davis.

          The Baltimore Orioles' slugger was adrift on a sea of uncertainty, searching for answers as swells of career failure buffeted him. Yes, baseball is just a game. ... Read More

  • CULTURE: Union leader thanks God for abortion

    by Staff, posted Friday, September 20, 2013 (4 years ago)

    NASHVILLE (BP) -- A union leader publicly thanked God for legal abortion in a prayer in the Iowa State Capitol that also promoted availability of the lethal procedure in the United States and other countries. Read More

  • FIRST-PERSON: www.helpmesave300.com

    by Kelly Boggs, posted Friday, September 20, 2013 (4 years ago)

    Columnist Kelly Boggs tells how a former NFL player offered a chance at redemption to 300 teenagers who broke into his home and used it for a party involving drugs, alcohol and lots of damage to his property. Read More

  • CALL TO PRAYER: Deliver us from the bubble

    by Todd Peebles, posted Friday, September 20, 2013 (4 years ago)

    Todd Peebles, pastor of Hillcrest Baptist Church in San Angelo, Texas, says his church was caught within the bubble of isolation from the lost. Prayer is a necessary step to freedom, Peebles says. Read More

  • Predique las Escrituras, no una serie televisiva o política, dice Luter

    Por Diana Chandler, posted Friday, September 20, 2013 (4 years ago)

    NASHVILLE (BP) -- Predicar las Escrituras, no política o una serie de televisión, le traerá reavivamiento a la Convención Bautista del Sur y a la nación, dijo Fred Luter el presidente de la CBS en su alocución al Comité Ejecutivo de la CBS en su reunión del 16 y 17 de septiembre en Nashville.

    Foto de Morris Abernathy
    El reavivamiento engendrado a través de la CBS y sus entidades es todavía el deseo de su corazón, dijo Luter, esbozando una comparación a lo que él denominó la "triste historia" de la visión del profeta de los huesos secos en Ezequiel 37:1-10.

    "Mi meta final es, en oración, que podamos orar que Dios envíe reavivamiento a todos los EE.UU. y particularmente entre las iglesias de la CBS," dijo, "porque es muy fácil ser desviado. Es muy fácil estar cómodos donde estamos. Es muy fácil dormirnos en nuestros laureles y en todas las cosas pasadas que hemos hecho.

    "Sin embargo, estoy convencido de que el reavivamiento es todavía penosamente necesario entre nosotros, entre nuestras iglesias, entre nuestra denominación y particularmente entre el cuerpo de Cristo," dijo Luter. "El deseo de mi corazón es todavía que Dios envíe reavivamiento a través de las iglesias, los seminarios, las universidades y las entidades de la Convención Bautista del Sur. Ese es todavía el deseo de mi corazón."

    El reavivamiento solamente vendrá si el cuerpo de Cristo se da cuenta de su condición de sequedad, y escucha y responde a la Palabra de Dios y es llenado con el Espíritu de Dios, dijo Luter en su sermón: "Cómo revivir huesos secos."

    "Damas y caballeros, si somos honestos con nosotros mismos, muchos de nosotros nos podemos identificar con los hijos de Israel de nuestro texto, porque muchos de nosotros somos como hombres muertos que caminan. Hemos perdido la energía, hemos perdido el vigor, y no reconoceríamos la vitalidad aun si nos abofeteara en la cara." Read More

  • Frank Page reporta sobre involucramiento étnico de la CBS

    Por Art Toalston, posted Friday, September 20, 2013 (4 years ago)

    NASHVILLE (BP) -- Frank Page, presidente del Comité Ejecutivo, reportó a los miembros del comité sobre iniciativas para continuar el fortalecimiento del Programa Cooperativo y el involucramiento étnico en la CBS durante la reunión del CE los días 16 y 17 de septiembre en Nashville. Read More

  • Pastor hispano traduce reporte sobre calvinismo

    Por Diana Chandler, posted Friday, September 20, 2013 (4 years ago)

    COTTONWOOD HEIGHTS, Utah (BP) -- Rafael Gutiérrez, pastor bivocacional del área de Salt Lake City, ha traducido al español el reporte sobre el calvinismo del grupo consultivo de la Convención Bautista del Sur. Read More

  • Se ofrece entrenamiento enfocado en las misiones en las Américas

    Por el Personal, posted Friday, September 20, 2013 (4 years ago)

    ROCKVILLE, Va. (BP) -- Missions College 2014, un curso intensivo de entrenamiento misionero, será ofrecido en el Centro de Aprendizaje de la Junta de Misiones Internacionales (IMB, por sus siglas en inglés) en Rockville, Va., del 13 al 17 de enero del 2014. Read More