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d ar Bo n r sio ye is Pra l M of 13 na io ek 2– at We es 1 g rn 7 te 01 Pa In 2



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Executive Committee Allocates $1.41 Million for Disaster Relief Acts for the SBC Ad Interim to Allocate CP Overage



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outhern Baptists’ Cooperative Program gifts will help survivors of a succession of hurricanes that wreaked havoc on Texas, Louisiana, the Caribbean, and Florida, coupled with wildfires that have ravaged large swaths of the western United States. The Executive Committee, acting on behalf of the SBC at its September 18–19 meeting, allocated the first $1.25 million of any national CP overage to the North American Mission Board to assist those affected by 2017 disasters in the United States and its territories. It also allocated $165,521 to IMB for international disaster relief,

the CP overage that otherwise would have gone to the Executive Committee. The Southern Baptist Convention ended its fiscal year $8.14 million over its 2016–2017 budgeted goal of $189 million. According to the budget formula adopted by SBC messengers, each SBC entity would have received its same percentage of the overage, with the exception of IMB and the SBC Executive Committee—IMB would have received 51 percent of any overage, while EC’s percentage was slated to drop to 2.4 percent of any overage. “We are grateful to God for His provision to SBC missions and ministries over this past year,” Frank S. Page, president and CEO of the SBC Executive Committee, said. “Our Lord has provided and given us above and beyond.” Noting that the Lord’s work is supported by His people, Page added, “I am so grateful for the millions of faithful tithers and other contributors who support the ministries of their local churches. “Without their obedience to give as they have been prospered by the Lord, our missions and ministries would quickly come to a screeching halt,” he said. Page voiced gratitude to the officers and members of the Executive Committee for the CP reallocation, describing it as “a strong stance to minister to hurting persons in the many disasters that have recently befallen our nation and world.” “It is imperative,” he said, “that we be proactive and set a good example of ministering to these persons whose lives have been forever altered.” The SBC received $197,146,731.08 in Cooperative Program Allocation gifts for the year. This amount is 4.31 percent more than its budgeted goal of $189 million and is the highest amount of national CP gifts since the global economic crisis rocked the nation almost a decade ago.

Executive Committee Chairman Stephen Rummage (at podium) conducts a vote of the EC at its September 18–19 meeting in Nashville to allocate the first $1.25 million of national CP overage to the North American Mission Board for disaster relief efforts in the United States and its territories in 2017 and the full EC overage of $165,521 to the International Mission Board for overseas relief. photo by morris abernathy

After the first $1.25 million in national CP overage was distributed to NAMB for disaster relief, the remaining overage was allocated as follows: 53.4 percent to IMB; 22.79 percent to NAMB; 22.16 percent to the seminaries; and 1.65 percent to the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission. The EC also approved a one-time suspension of an SBC Business and Financial Plan provision that otherwise prevents one SBC entity from allocating its CP gifts to assist other SBC entities. Jeff Palmer, executive director of Baptist Global Response, reported that the Southern Baptist humanitarian organization in partnership with the IMB is assisting local Baptist partners and entities in three Caribbean countries. “The contributions to the IMB from the EC will go a long way to place food and supplies into the hands of our Baptist brothers and sisters as they help with the continuing assessments and distributions,” Palmer said in written comments.

“Thank you EC for the boost to our ability to respond,” he said. Stateside, more than four hundred Southern Baptist Disaster Relief units from multiple states had been deployed in various capacities in Florida and Texas. SBDR teams are also making inroads in Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands where the devastated infrastructure of the island territories has hampered relief efforts. As of November 7, DR volunteers had served more than 2.8 million meals; tackled more than two thousand chainsaw and seven thousand mud-out, debris removal, and mold remediation assignments; provided almost eighty thousand shower and laundry services; engaged in 3,339 Gospel conversations; and seen 585 professions of faith. A video for use in churches highlighting the work of NAMB’s Send Relief ministry can be accessed at Compiled from Baptist Press and NAMB reports.

Recent Southern Baptist Disaster Relief Efforts

Data from November 7, 2017, NAMB Disaster Relief Situation Report

Hurricane Harvey Activity

Hurricane Irma Activity

Send Relief Activity

Hurricane Maria Puerto Rico

Hurricane Maria Virgin Islands


Professions of Faith 80

Professions of Faith 45

Professions of Faith 21

Professions of Faith 2


Gospel Conversations 594

Gospel Conversations 318

Gospel Conversations 55

Gospel Conversations 32

Chainsaw 1,554

Chainsaw 683

Properties Cleaned 955

Ministry Contacts 549

Ministry Contacts 977

Total Meals 2,180,126

Total Meals 562,375

Total Meals 65,793

Chainsaw 21

Chainsaw 67

Volunteer Days 55,468

Volunteer Days 14,908

Volunteer Days 14,489

Total Meals 16,376

Total Meals 9,454

Shower 39,206

Shower 6,807

Shower 3,400

Volunteer Days 874

Volunteer Days 747

Laundry 24,993

Laundry 2,813

Laundry 2,463

Mold Remediation 0

Mold Remediation 31

Shockwave 5,046

Shockwave 98

Shockwave 2,035

Repair Jobs 34

Repair Jobs 91

Recovery 9,771

Recovery 2,415

Tree and Yard Clean Up 242

Assessments 29

Assessments 49

Crisis Buckets Given 846

Water Purification 1,020

Water Purification 0

Professions of Faith Gospel Conversations

Children Cared For 943





Frank S. Page, right, president and CEO of the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee, and Joe Gonzalez, a student at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (SWBTS) from San Antonio, Texas, share the Gospel with a member of the Glendale, Arizona, community as part of Crossover 2017. Gonzalez was one of seventy-five SWBTS students and alumni who conducted street evangelism in the greater Phoenix area prior to the Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting June 13–14 at the Phoenix Convention Center. photo by kathleen murray

Crossover 2018 Incorporates Personal Evangelism by Tammi Reed Ledbetter


rom Greensboro to Nashville to Salt Lake City, David Galvan remembers joining with thousands of other Southern Baptists to share his faith in neighborhoods of the cities that hosted Southern Baptist Convention annual meetings. “I found them to be a joyful time of outreach,” he recounted. This year the pastor of Primera Iglesia Bautista Nueva Vida in Dallas will be making door-to-door visits in his hometown as a part of the pre-convention Crossover Dallas evangelistic outreach. “It gets the churches together in a common endeavor.”

Intentional Personal Evangelism

“The Southern Baptists of Texas Convention is facilitating connection points for churches to do intentional personal evangelism in the Dallas-

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Communications Specialist SBC LIFE is published three times per year: Pre-Convention, Special Convention Issue, and Winter. It is distributed to pastors, ministers of education, ministers of music, full-time denominational workers, chaplains, missionaries, and vocational evangelists of the Southern Baptist Convention. Workers retiring from any of these groups may continue to receive the magazine upon request. Subscriptions are free of charge. Bulk subscriptions are available at reduced prices. For SBC LIFE subscriptions, call 866-722-5433 (toll-free). * All Scripture is from the Christian Standard Bible unless noted otherwise. * Any article without attribution is by SBC LIFE staff.

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Fort Worth area before the June 12–13 annual meeting,” stated SBTC Executive Director Jim Richards. “Our prayer is that God will use the work of these churches to reach people with the Gospel.” Door-to-door witnessing is an effective way to impact our communities, Richards said. When Houston played host to the SBC meeting in 2013, the annual Crossover event reported more than two hundred professions of faith. In addition, 182 salvation decisions were recorded through door-to-door contact by local churches.

“Personal evangelism still works because the Gospel still works. It’s easy to get in a Christian bubble where everyone is ‘found.’ To reach the lost, we need to be around the lost, and personal evangelism through intentional efforts provides those opportunities.”

Reaching the Nations Across Texas Vision and Mission Trips

of trained evangelists to come alongside the churches to give them the boost they need to reach their communities for Christ.” Over the course of a week, each student has multiple opportunities to share his or her faith with the lost and many of them get to lead people to Christ, he said. “This experience is invaluable to students as they are preparing for Gospel ministry.”

Whether it is the week leading up to the June 12–13 meeting, extending their trip into the next week, or finding another time frame later in the summer, the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention invites mission volunteers to consider opportunities to serve other areas of the state as well, noted Barry Calhoun, SBTC director of missions mobilization. “In 2018 we will have opportunities for churches in other states to get a taste of foreign missions in Texas along with some Texas BBQ,” Calhoun said. “There will be vision tour opportunities in key cities in June for pastors, mission leaders, and church members as they visit our state.” With more than twenty-eight million people in the state and eighteen million of those lost and without Christ, Calhoun said the twenty-five to forty thousand people moving to Texas every month increases that ratio. “We can’t plant enough churches to keep pace with the population growth, so we need other states partnering in Texas to help us reach the nations that have come to us,” he stated.

Seminary Students Sharpen Skills

Crossover also provides seminary students the opportunity to sharpen their skills in evangelism. As assistant professor of evangelism at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Brandon Kiesling will coordinate an entire week of home visits in local churches. “Many of the churches we work with do not have the drive and/or personnel to visit thousands of homes in one week,” Kiesling said after last year’s effort in Phoenix. “So the Southern Baptist seminaries send an army

Shane Pruitt evangelism director Southern Baptists of Texas Convention

Harvest America Crusade

At the invitation of the North American Mission Board, Southern California evangelist and pastor Greg Laurie returns to AT&T Stadium in Arlington to hold his national Harvest America outreach on Sunday, June 10 as the culmination of Crossover. Event-driven and door-to-door evangelism efforts will be spread throughout the DFW metropolitan area on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, June 7–9 as part of the 2018 Crossover outreach and help spread the word about the Sunday night crusade.

1Cross App Crosses Language Barrier

When three students found themselves unable to communicate clearly with a Hispanic woman in Phoenix, one of them pulled up the 1Cross app on her phone to explain the Gospel. With more than three hundred languages spoken in Texas, SBTC developed the evangelistic tool for sharing the message of the Gospel in multiple languages. The three-minute testimonies in video form feature native speakers, making it possible to overcome a language barrier when witnessing. A Spanish-speaking seminary student returned to the same house to ensure that the woman understood the Gospel message and listened as she responded with repentance and faith.

Reach Houston

The Reach Houston Initiative combines church planting and revitalization in the fourth largest city in the United States. Houston is home to more than 350 ethno-linguistic people groups speaking more than 220 languages, making it the most diverse city in North America. Over a dozen new church plants are spread across the region, many of them in need of volunteers to help them recover from Hurricane Harvey. “We also have the longest border of any southern state,” Calhoun said, “and our borderland strategy helps to carry the Gospel of Christ into Mexico from the Rio Grande Valley to El Paso, without us ever crossing the border as part of our Reach Houston and Borderlands Reach initiatives.”

Crossover Dallas—and All Across Texas—in 2018

Wherever and through whatever means volunteers decide to serve in Texas, SBTC Evangelism Director Shane Pruitt is confident God will bless their time in the Lone Star State. “Personal evangelism still works because the Gospel still works,” he said. “It’s easy to get in a Christian bubble where everyone is ‘found,’” he added. “To reach the lost, we need to be around the lost, and personal evangelism through intentional efforts provides those opportunities.” For more information on Crossover Dallas witnessing efforts, contact Shane Pruitt at or call 877-953-SBTC. Details of other opportunities for mission teams will be posted at Tammi Ledbetter is news editor of the Southern Baptist TEXAN and is a member of Inglewood Baptist Church in Grand Prairie, Texas.


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SBC Entities Join Forces to Encourage Gospel Conversations by Brandon Elrod


very year, LifeWay Christian Resources compiles a list of statistics drawn from the Annual Church Profile (ACP) that serves as a health check for Southern Baptist churches. Over the last few years, the reading has been showing signs of trouble. From 2011 to 2016, reports from the ACP have repeated the same news—number of churches up, number of baptisms down. Trends in baptisms, which reflect the addition of new believers to a congregation, have been steadily declining for a decade or more. Leaders in Southern Baptist life have been fighting to reverse that trend. Now the North American Mission Board (NAMB) has partnered with LifeWay, the SBC Executive Committee, and state Baptist conventions on an initiative designed to encourage churches, pastors, and members to have more Gospel conversations. The Gospel Conversation Challenge (GC Challenge) provides churches, associations, and state conventions with an opportunity to pledge their commitment to having Gospel conversations with the lost from now through June 2018. “We want to help pastors make it a priority in their church,” NAMB President Kevin Ezell said. “This is a way to get people thinking about it and talking about the Gospel every day. We hope that by hearing other peoples’ Gospel conversation stories, other believers will see how simple it is to incorporate these conversations into life.” A website,, contains a place where pastors can record the number of

Screenshot from

Gospel conversations their church will pledge to initiate through June 2018. The goal is to help pastors mobilize their churches to share their faith. “Evangelism does not happen without intentionality,” said LifeWay President and CEO Thom Rainer. “The GC Challenge gives churches an opportunity to make evangelism a priority as they send out church members to share the Gospel with friends, family, and neighbors.” The GC Challenge website includes a place for anyone to upload a GC:60 video where individuals describe their latest Gospel conversation in sixty seconds. Several pastors, laypeople, and Southern Baptist denominational leaders have had the chance to submit their own videos, including Frank S. Page, president and CEO of the SBC Executive Committee. “I am honored to be a part of encouraging our brothers and sisters to take up the GC Challenge. This initiative is one of encouragement and accountability,” Page said. “I have long been encouraging our people to share the Gospel. I join in this movement to engage every church and every church member in having Gospel conversations, which lead people to the opportunity to give their lives to the Lord Jesus!” While the GC Challenge is designed to spark Christians toward action, the initiative also recognizes the need to assist Southern Baptists in praying for the lost. The site includes a prayer guide that includes over forty different groups of people that Christians can pray will be open to responding to the Gospel. The guide lists those whom many people tend to overlook and describes some small steps believers can take to

engage them in a Gospel conversation. “The Gospel is the essence of our hope in this life and the next,” said Paul Chitwood, executive director of the Kentucky Baptist Convention. “We are thrilled to be a part of what God is doing across the Southern Baptist Convention to focus the Church on her first mission—sharing the Gospel.” The goal of the GC Challenge is to have churches commit to starting one million Gospel conversations between now and the June gathering of the Southern Baptist Convention in Dallas. That may seem like a daunting number, but if seventy-five people in one church commit to sharing their faith once a month for twelve months, that would lead one congregation to start nine hundred Gospel conversations. With more than forty-seven thousand cooperating churches in the SBC, one million Gospel conversations is an attainable goal. “I’m excited about the GC Challenge’s goal of initiating one million opportunities to share the Gospel,” explained Randy Davis, executive director of the Tennessee Baptist Mission Board. “Think of the ripple effect that could have as people come to saving faith in Jesus Christ. That is an eternal game-changer for hopefully millions of people.” The goal for each conversation is that believers would be able to present the Gospel in its entirety and offer an individual an opportunity to respond. “It’s my prayer,” said Rainer, “that the GC Challenge will spark millions of conversations that God will use to bring about the spiritual

transformation of men and women, boys and girls.” With some intentionality, every conversation can be molded into a Gospel conversation. Even a simple discussion about someone’s day can be transformed into a dialogue about the eternal hope of Jesus Christ. The GC Challenge website points Christians toward resources that help them facilitate such conversations. From tools like the 3 Circles Evangelism Kit to books like Sharing Jesus Without Freaking Out, the GC Challenge provides several ways to inspire and equip believers to talk about their faith. “Our state convention evangelism team is conducting 3 Circles trainings across the state,” said Chitwood regarding Kentucky’s plans to participate. “We are constantly hearing reports about how God is using the witnessing efforts of our pastors and church members to bring the lost to Christ.” Evangelism is a major focus for Southern Baptist churches, and the GC Challenge is one way for pastors to spur their congregations on to having Gospel conversations with their neighbors. “I’m thankful to Kevin Ezell and the North American Mission Board for partnering with LifeWay to equip churches in their mission of making disciples and engaging the world with the Gospel,” said Rainer. “May God lead our churches to evangelism renewal.” Brandon Elrod writes for the North American Mission Board and is a member of First Redeemer Church in Cumming, Georgia.





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State Convention Disaster Relief Response Hurricane Harvey (Texas; Louisiana) Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas/Nebraska, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota-Wisconsin, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Mexico, Northwest, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas (SBTC), Utah/Idaho, Virginia (BGAV) Hurricane Irma (Florida; Georgia) Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland-Delaware, Mississippi, New England, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania-South Jersey, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia (BGAV), Virginia (SBCV) Hurricanes Irma and Maria (Virgin Islands; Puerto Rico) Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, North Carolina, Tennessee, Texas (SBTC), Virginia (BGAV), Virginia (SBCV) California Wildfires (California) Arizona, California, New Mexico, Northwest (On Standby) Northwest Wildfires (Oregon; Montana) Montana (On Standby), Northwest (On Standby) Data compiled from NAMB Situation Reports dated September 8–October 30, 2017.





Third SBC Executive Committee Executive Secretary Porter Routh looks on as twenty-fourth EC Chairman James Pleitz addresses committee members during a 1969 Executive Committee meeting at the SBC Building on James Robertson Parkway in Nashville.

During its one hundredth year, fiftieth SBC Executive Committee Chairman Stephen Rummage looks on (right on platform) as sixth EC President and CEO Frank S. Page addresses the Executive Committee during its February 2017 meeting in Nashville.

photo courtesy of southern baptist historical library and archives

photo by morris abernathy

Celebrating a Century by Frank S. Page


n the back cover of his signature work, The Executive Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention 1917–1984, Albert McClellan says the following: “To many observers, Southern Baptists are a paradox—a people of seemingly contradictory qualities. One has described them as a rope of sand with the strength of steel. Others have compared them to a bumblebee, which in theory should not be able to fly, but which does so quite well. “Southern Baptists strongly affirm both the autonomy of the local church under Christ and the call to cooperate with other local churches in doing the work of Christ on earth.” McClellan was correct. Everything we do as Southern Baptists is about affirming and supporting the work of the local church. To that end, Baptists do their work in an amazing way that is characterized by both independence and interdependence. As I travel across the land, I see both of these powerful descriptors at work.

I also recognize that Baptists work within different affinity organizations. Baptist associations, state conventions, national entities, and numerous fellowships work autonomously, as well as cooperatively, making working together a joy and a challenge at the same time. The Executive Committee was established in 1917 to serve as a vital link in this great fellowship of Southern Baptists. Working together at these various levels, we seek to encourage the work of local churches as they do the work of the Great Commission of our Lord Jesus Christ. In 2010, I was given the incredible privilege of helping lead the work of the Executive Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention. As a part of this ministry to which God called me, I’ve attempted to change the conversation to encourage pastors and church leaders to reengage in this great task of worldwide evangelization, to rebuild trust and encourage dialogue among people groups, and also to involve and encourage

SBC Executive Committee employee Allison Young mans the cake table at the EC’s one hundredth anniversary celebration following the committee’s plenary session Monday night, September 18, in Nashville. photo by morris abernathy

Committee on Transfer of Ridgecrest to the Baptist Sunday School Board, 1938. Pictured are Executive Committee leaders, BSSB leaders, the SBC president, and other SBC entity leaders. This photograph is the earliest known image of the EC transacting work on behalf of the Convention. photo courtesy of southern baptist historical library and archives

people of every ethnic group within our nation to be a part of God’s work within our Convention. My goal has been to build relationships at all the levels described above so that together we might work better in trust and unity. Over the past years, there have been some incredible results. People have deepened their involvement of Cooperative Program giving and are working to make sure that it is organized correctly according to the needs of a twentyfirst century world and church. We have seen challenging days on the mission field, but we are excited that our missionary count is headed back up with still the largest permanent mission force of any faith group. The enrollment numbers of seminaries are some of the largest in human history. There have been changes in our annual meeting demographic as the average age of participants has gotten younger. There have even been changes in the annual meeting event itself as we have been able to bring costs down while at the same time remaining relevant. We live in an anti-institutional and an antidenominational age and, therefore, to do a work that many people would call “denominational

work” is indeed a huge task. However, I’ve been privileged to work with a great staff and partner with great leaders at the national, state, associational, and local level. There is a deep desire to reengage churches as never before in evangelistic strategies and relevant ministries. Many people ask me about the future of the Southern Baptist Convention and I often reply that I am cautiously optimistic about the days ahead. There are some great things happening and many factors that are influencing us now and in the future. I believe that God is not done with Southern Baptists! If we stay focused on His Word and His way, He will continue to favor us with an increased number of churches, and—I pray in the days ahead—an increased number in baptisms, worship, and discipleship as well. May God bless the Southern Baptist Convention and the Executive Committee as Southern Baptists work together with a common purpose. Frank S. Page is president and CEO of the SBC Executive Committee and is a member of Clearview Baptist Church in Franklin, Tennessee.

As a part of this ministry to which God called me, I’ve attempted to change the conversation to encourage pastors and church leaders to reengage in this great task of worldwide evangelization, to rebuild trust and encourage dialogue among people groups, and also to involve and encourage people of every ethnic group within our nation to be a part of God’s work within our Convention. Frank S. Page


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PrayerLink participants worship and pray during one of four 10–20–30 Prayer Experiences during its annual meeting at First Baptist Church in Jonesboro, Georgia, October 5–6, 2017. photo by roger s. oldham

PrayerLink Engages in Prayer, Expands Missional Footprint

by Roger S. Oldham


rayerwalking made a difference in his church’s outreach to its local community, Thomas Hammond told prayer leaders as he welcomed them to Jonesboro, Georgia for PrayerLink’s annual gathering. A lady from the church saw “a small alley behind a row of shops that opened up to eighteen dwellings,” Hammond, pastor of First Baptist Church in Alpharetta, Georgia, said. As a result, the church launched a Latino ministry, seeing multiple professions of faith following a night of blessing. The Latino congregation now has its own church services and outreach ministry, Hammond, who serves as president of the Georgia Baptist Mission Board, said in his devotional from James 5:13–16. “Prayerwalking opened up our spiritual eyes and our hearts to what God wanted us to do,” Hammond said. “We wouldn’t know of this community without prayerwalking.”

PrayerLink Forum

This year’s PrayerLink forum sought input from prayer leaders in response to its newlydesigned logo and purpose statement. The logo incorporates the group’s global prayer focus, its passion to lift up Jesus’s high priestly prayer, and its desire to join hands with people of every race by praying, connecting, resourcing, and serving. Prayer leaders discussed numerous needs such as equipping local church prayer leaders to assist their pastors in prayer ministries and ways

to use social media to expand prayer outreach through local churches and beyond. Chris Schofield, who serves as the volunteer executive director of PrayerLink, opened and closed the October 5–6 forum by pointing to King Asa’s reform (2 Chronicles 14 and 15). At the beginning of his reign in Judah, King Asa commanded the people seek the L ord, Schofield said. Ten years later, the land was invaded by Zerah, the Cushite. Asa led the people to cry out to the Lord, acknowledging that God is greater than the enemies that sought to vanquish his people. When the Lord routed their enemies, the people moved from merely obeying a king’s commandment to seek the Lord to establishing a covenant to seek the Lord. Following their earnest desire to enter a covenant with the Lord, God gave the land “rest” for twenty years. “The seeking was a continuous seeking,” Schofield, director of the office of prayer for evangelization and spiritual awakening with the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina, said. “Over the lifetime of one man’s leadership” the land had rest, he said. “This has to be a serious thing—to seek Him with all our hearts. . . . He is the one who brings that rest.”

10–20–30 Prayer Experience

PrayerLink leaders and guests also participated in four one-hour prayer experiences using the 10–20–30 guided prayer model under the theme

Claude King, discipleship and church health specialist at LifeWay Christian Resources, leads in prayer at the First Baptist Church, Jonesboro, Georgia, House of Prayer.

Sammy Joo, Asian ministries consultant with the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina and founding pastor of NET Church, addresses PrayerLink during its bus prayer tour.

photo by daphne youngblood

photo by roger s. oldham

“God Is Greater Than . . .” The four sessions focused on praying for Great Communities, obeying the Great Commandment, fulfilling the Great Commission, and seeking Great Collaborations. The 10–20–30 prayer experience is a model that can be used in any size church or setting. Each one-hour session includes ten minutes of Scripture reading, exposition, and worship; twenty minutes of sharing prayer concerns in small groups related to the session focus; and thirty minutes of guided and conversational times of individual, group, and corporate prayer. Phil Miglioratti, prayer coordinator for the Illinois Baptist State Association, described it as “a template that produces a fresh format for biblically-themed praying; compelling active listening; enthusiastic asking-sharing-visioning;

Chris Schofield, volunteer executive director of PrayerLink, challenges participants to move from merely obeying a commandment to seek God to establishing a covenant to seek Him during the Forum at PrayerLink’s October 5–6, 2017, meeting at First Baptist Church in Jonesboro, Georgia. photo by roger s. oldham

and a Spirit-led conversation with God that incorporates scripture, song, speaking, silence, sharing, and supplication.”

House of Prayer, FBC Jonesboro

Participants held two ninety-minute affinityrelated discussion groups—SBC entity prayer leaders, state convention and ethnic minority fellowship leaders, associational leaders, and local church prayer leaders. Each small group toured the church’s House of prayer, hosted by Mel Blackaby, pastor of First Baptist Church in Jonesboro, Georgia. Blackaby told PrayerLink members that any group using the facility must have as its dominant purpose to spend time in focused prayer.

Prayerwalking Bus Tour

PrayerLink concludes each annual meeting with a bus tour of ministry sites in the host city. This year, the group prayerwalked the International Bible Church in Clarkston, Georgia, and the Georgia Baptist Mission Board building. The group also prayed for the North American Mission Board and its ministries, Atlanta-area church plants, Georgia Tech Baptist collegiate ministry, and for racial reconciliation in the greater Atlanta area and across the United States. Georgia Baptist Mission Board churchminister relations leader Marty Youngblood, NAMB missionary Lorna Bius, and Baptist State Convention of North Carolina Asian ministries consultant Sammy Joo gave an overview of their respective ministries, leading participants in prayer during the bus tour. Roger S. Oldham is vice president for Convention communications and relations of the SBC Executive Committee and is a member of Long Hollow Baptist Church in Hendersonville, Tennessee.




PRAYERLINK—REFUGEE MINISTRY “I grew up Muslim. I remember hearing worship music back home; I remember it inside a church, but we were not allowed inside. When I came to the United States, I knew I could come inside church. I learned about Christianity and wanted to become a Christian. I love it. I love that it is who I am now . . . not a refugee, not some ‘poor thing’ people pity, but a person. His.” Fatmata Bayoh 2004 Sierra Leone refugee Clarkston (Georgia) International Bible Church welcomes refugees. photo by roger s. oldham

PrayerLink Leaders see Clarkston Refugee Ministry in Action by Josie Bingham


nce referred to as “the most diverse square mile in the country” by TIME magazine, every face in Clarkston, Georgia, carries a story. As a designated refugee resettlement area assigned by the United Nations, Clarkston has become a haven for those driven out of their homelands. Each year, PrayerLink—a collaborative network of prayer leaders representing SBC entities, state conventions, and other groups in Southern Baptist life—hosts a bus tour of local area ministries to foster a Great Commission mindset among Southern Baptists and other Christ-followers. Participants walk the neighborhoods and pray. In 2017, Marty Youngblood with the Georgia Baptist Mission Board included Clarkston as a PrayerLink stop. “Clarkston is at the intersection of what’s known as the green mile and the red path,” said Lorna Bius, North American Mission Board (NAMB) Send Relief missionary in Clarkston who joined the PrayerLink group on their tour of her neighborhood. “The red path has literally been created by the nations and runs right through the property of Clarkston International Bible Church,” Bius told the group during its Saturday morning prayer tour, asking for their prayers as NAMB and SBC entities work to build more ministry at this unique crossroad. The red path is a hard-packed clay trail that crosses the railroad tracks separating the neighborhoods from the business district where many shops and restaurants are located. The green mile is a stretch of bicycle trail that cuts through Atlanta and leads right to Clarkston International Bible Church. “The bicyclists are on the green path and the nations are on the red path . . . and Clarkston International Bible Church is right in the middle of it!” Bius said. “What’s so amazing about this is when the church was established in the 1880s, no one could imagine that the nations of the world would be coming right here. But God knew,” Bius told the group as they walked and covered the streets in prayer. “So, He placed a Kingdom outpost right where He knew this path would one day be. It’s an amazing reminder of John 3:16. . . . He really does love the world,” she said. PrayerLink participants met, served, and prayed over people like Fatmata Bayoh, who began a new life in the United States at age eight after fleeing a ten-year war in Sierra Leone. “My mom told me, ‘Hey, we’re coming to the United States,’” Bayoh said. “I wanted to tell

everybody but [my parents] said, ‘No, don’t tell everybody.’ We came as refugees and my parents just wanted to wait until that moment we were leaving. You know how people are. They can wish bad will on you, so it remained a secret.” Bayoh arrived in the United States in New York City on September 28, 2004. “It was snowing,” said Bayoh. “The first snow I’d ever seen. It was in my eyes . . . I loved it. A lot of people say, ‘Oh, you were eight. You don’t know anything.’ But I remember. I was so excited.” Her excitement, however, waned after just a few days. Bayoh and her family had escaped the tyranny that followed Sierra Leone’s civil war, yet she faced a different set of challenges in America when her family moved to a resettlement community in Clarkston, Georgia. “My mom made me go to school,” Bayoh says. “At first, school was really hard. I went to Indian Creek Elementary School in Clarkston. I was in school but I was not ‘into the system’ yet. I hated being classed as different. I hated the prejudice growing up.” Seeing how her daughter was struggling to fit into western culture, Bayoh’s mom sent Bayoh to an after-school program run by native Nigerian Bennet Ekandem. “Mr. Bennet was the first African we met in the United States,” says Bayoh. “He understood me. His after-school program helped me with my schoolwork and gave me the opportunity to take violin lessons. Music is what actually made me want to be a Christian. “I come from a Muslim background. I grew up Muslim. I remember hearing worship music back home; I remember it inside a church, but we were not allowed inside. When I came to the United States, I knew I could come inside church. I learned about Christianity and wanted to become a Christian. I love it. I love that it is who I am now . . . not a refugee, not some ‘poor thing’ people pity, but a person. His,” she said, speaking of the Lord. Ekandem currently runs his after-school program at the Clarkston International Bible Church. “What really turned things around for me is to see what I’m doing today,” said Ekandem. “This is what I usually tell people who don’t know much about God; He’s the greatest chess player ever. See, I’m from Nigeria. I ran from missionary work in Nigeria. I came to the United States for money and opportunity. I came to be somebody. “But God was moves ahead of me the whole time,” Ekandem continued. “Now my wife and I

Immigrants from many nations have worn a “red path” from residential areas behind Clarkston International Bible Church in Clarkston, Georgia, to the neighboring business district.

Lorna Bius, NAMB missionary working with Clarkston International Bible Church in Clarkston, Georgia, addresses PrayerLink during its bus prayer tour.

photo by daphne youngblood

photo by roger s. oldham

Located in “the most diverse square mile” in the United States, Clarkston International Bible Church attracts refugees and immigrants from dozens of nations to its ministry center. photo by roger s. oldham

work for the Lord here in Clarkston. And He is amazing for that.” During PrayerLink’s walk through Clarkston, participants also saw how NAMB is partnering with the church to encourage and equip other churches for refugee ministry. Clarkston International recently became one of Send Relief’s first ministry hubs. NAMB’s Send Relief Hubs are designed to model and multiply ministry by providing a location where other churches can see ministry in action and offering training for them to replicate similar ministry efforts in their neighborhoods. With more than fifty nations represented in Clarkston, this community truly is a global community, NAMB Send Relief Vice President David Melber said. “It is the perfect place for ministry and for churches and individuals to learn how to minister among such diversity.” The hub, a wholly-owned and operated ministry of NAMB, was purchased from

Clarkston International Bible Church in May 2017. The hub continues to serve as a worship facility for the church and to provide daily services to the Clarkston community. Roger “Sing” Oldham, vice president for convention communications and relations for the Executive Committee of the SBC, was on the PrayerLink tour and marveled at the ministry work being done with refugees and internationals in Clarkston. “Who would have thought in 1883 that this church [Clarkston International Bible Church] would one day stand at the intersection of the green mile and the red path?” And yet, it does, standing ready to equip those hoping for a better life and looking for a greater hope. Josie Bingham writes for the North American Mission Board and is a member of First Baptist Church in Cumming, Georgia.


PAGE 9 WINTER 2017 


Weekly dinner fellowship at The Point International features ethnically-diverse foods. photos by sammy joo

Weekly worship service at The Point International. Pastor Tamran Inayat (far left) preaches interactively with some volunteers from International congregations.

Equipping Refugees for America, Eternity by Karen L. Willoughby


efugees from all over the world, speaking two hundred or more languages, flooding to the Triangle area of Raleigh/Durham/ Chapel Hill, North Carolina, find in The Point International a place they belong, together. They see God’s love for them expressed through the multi-hued faces of the volunteers who serve them, and are drawn to God as a result, church planter/pastor Sang Hyun “Sammy” Joo told SBC LIFE. “It’s really a drawing point,” Joo said. “They see the Kingdom diversity and say, ‘Okay, maybe I can belong here.’” What started in 2011 as an outgrowth of collegiate ministry to international students, NET Church—Nations Engaged Together— merged in August with The Point Church to become The Point International, where nearly one hundred people from at least sixteen nations come together each Saturday for worship in simplified English. NET Church’s growth started when a volunteer helped a Pakistani family move. That family liked what they heard of NET Church, and told their friends. Since then, the church has grown by word of mouth to include people of every age group from Pakistan, Congo, Rwanda, Uganda, Tanzania, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Malaysia, China, Korea, and the Hmong people group from Vietnam and Laos. NET Church merged with The Point Church after Pastor Chris Hankins approached him, Joo said. “He sees the value of cooperation with me. He has a vision to plant thirty churches by 2025, and for ten of those to be in another language. That vision and my vision—to reach as many as possible of the people who speak two hundred

languages in this Triangle area—came together. “This is my first-ever church plant,” Joo continued. “I started with the state convention in 2007 as international student ministries coordinator in the Triangle area. My ministry was sharing the Gospel with non-believing international students and I saw the need of discipling the students coming to Jesus. But how?” He determined starting a church would be the answer. His wife and children would help, they assured him during mealtime conversations. Today, his wife Hyun Kyung “Debbie” Kim prepares—with help 40 percent of the time—a Saturday dinner for the continually growing congregation, and the family continues mealtime conversations about refugees and their needs. Gracie Joo was fifteen when she started a tutoring program other volunteers have now taken up. Enoch, thirteen, plays percussion in the worship band. Noah, ten, evangelizes other children; and Joy, now eight, “makes people happy,” Joo said. “She’s playful and welcoming.” Joo preaches in “very slow and easy English with visual aids” that appear on a screen behind him. He uses Christ-centered storytelling in his preaching because he has learned “storytelling is the most effective and strategic way of communication,” Joo said. Three other pastors work with him, from Kenya, Korea, and Pakistan. The Pakistani pastor teaches a Bible study in Urdu that follows the English service. “He’s going to plant a Pakistani church after six months,” Joo said. “We are an incubator. When we see leaders, we match them to congregations to start another church.” His wife has learned which foods the multicultural, multiethnic, multilingual

NET Church’s growth started when a volunteer helped a Pakistani family move. That family liked what they heard of NET Church, and told their friends. Since then, the church has grown by word of mouth to include people of every age group from Pakistan, Congo, Rwanda, Uganda, Tanzania, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Malaysia, China, Korea, and the Hmong people group from Vietnam and Laos.

Fellowship incorporating people representing numerous languages and ethnic groups is a routine part of The Point International’s ministry.

congregation will eat. “Chicken is like the universal meat,” Joo said. “Sometimes the Pakistani ladies bring their own Pakistan food, and sometimes the African ladies bring what they eat in Africa, like boiled potatoes.” Worship is followed by dinner, then volunteer-led classes in English as a Second Language and tutoring in math, reading, art, high school equivalency (GED), driver’s education, and American culture. Ministry to refugees often includes transportation to worship services as well as throughout the week. “Basically we meet their needs and share the Gospel,” Joo said. Clothing is available every week, and soon, so will be a food pantry, thanks to the recent merging of NET Church into the ninth congregation in The Point Church network. “If they have a calling from God to the nations we welcome more volunteers,” Joo said. “This is not something one person or one church can do.” From the beginning, The Point International was led by volunteers, starting with Joo who serves “covocationally” without pay, depending on his employment with the North Carolina Baptist Convention, where today he is Asian ministries consultant. “Covocational” is the new word coined by NAMB for those pastors who are dependent on

“The biggest help is teamwork. It’s like the Cooperative Program: I see it works. When we cooperate together, we accomplish so much more of what God has for us to do to fulfill His Great Commission.” Sammy Joo, pastor The Point International Cary, North Carolina an external income source for their livelihood. It refers to the fact that the pastor’s ministry continues in both endeavors. “The biggest help is teamwork,” Joo said. “It’s like the Cooperative Program: I see it works. When we cooperate together, we accomplish so much more of what God has for us to do to fulfill His Great Commission.” Karen L. Willoughby is national correspondent with SBC LIFE and Baptist Press and is a member of First Baptist Church in Pleasant Grove, Utah.





YLAC members devoted themselves to prayer for the SBC and its many ministries. Pictured in the foreground, left to right: Noe Garcia, Steven Harris, and Josh Carter. Young Leaders Advisory Council (YLAC) Chairman Jordan Easley facilitates discussion during the council’s second meeting in Atlanta, Georgia, August 17–18, 2017. photos by roger s. oldham

YLAC members learned about one another’s ministries around tables at meal time. Pictured clockwise: Walter Strickland (foreground, blue jacket), David Evans, Josh Carter, Jean Ward, Davin Benavidez, Josh Clayton, Donald Choi, and Steven Harris.

YLAC members prayed for one another and for Southern Baptist ministries at the local, state, and national level. Pictured left to right: Victor Chayasirisobhon, Devon Bartholomew, Davin Benavidez, and Donald Choi.

F E B R U A RY 2 8 - M A R C H 2 , 2 0 1 8 | AT L A N TA A missions conference designed to move leaders to equip the church, engage the lost and embrace the nations. Atlanta, GA

Mary Frances Bowley Wellspring Living

Gregg Matte Houston's First Baptist Church

Bryant Wright Johnson Ferry Baptist Church

Kevin Ezell North American Mission Board

John Onwuchekwa Cornerstone Church

Gordon Fort International Mission Board


PAGE 11 WINTER 2017 

CONVENTION ADVANCEMENT ADVISORY COUNCIL Ken Weathersby, EC vice president for Convention advancement, joined by his Convention Advancement Advisory Council and numerous ethnic fellowship presidents and leaders, present a facsimile of The Many Faces of the Southern Baptist Convention to EC President Frank S. Page at a meeting in Atlanta, Georgia, on August 18, 2017. The book chronicles the work and reports of numerous advisory councils Page has appointed since 2011. photo by roger s. oldham

EC Convention Advancement Council Presents Book M

by Roger S. Oldham

embers of the Executive Committee Convention Advancement Advisory Council (CAAC), joined by leaders of more than a dozen ethnic minority fellowships of Southern Baptist churches, presented a preliminary draft of The Many Faces of the Southern Baptist Convention, to EC President and CEO Frank S. Page at the CAAC’s August 18–19 meeting in Atlanta. The book chronicles the work of six advisory councils appointed by Page since 2011.

Each advisory council represents a different demographic set of Southern Baptists and was appointed to help the Executive Committee and SBC entity heads better understand each group’s unique perspectives and needs. “The advisory councils represent more than ten thousand ethnic and language churches and congregations and over thirty thousand bivocational and smaller membership congregations,” said Ken Weathersby, vice

president for Convention advancement with the EC. “Therefore, it is important for the CAAC to assist in the implementation of the reports presented to Dr. Page and to our entity leaders.” In addition, Weathersby noted that women account for the single largest segment of Southern Baptists, accounting for more than 52 percent of all church members. The CAAC works closely with Weathersby, assisted by Paul Kim, Asian American relations

consultant to the EC, and Bobby Sena, Hispanic relations consultant to the EC. The Many Faces of the Southern Baptist Convention, produced under the leadership of Weathersby and Sena, summarizes the work of the following advisory groups: • Hispanic Advisory Council, appointed in 2011; • African American Advisory Council, appointed in 2012; • Asian American Advisory Council, appointed in 2013; • Multi-Ethnic Advisory Council, appointed in 2014; • Bivocational and Small Church Advisory Council, appointed in 2014; • Women’s Advisory Council, appointed in 2015. The advisory councils’ reports are posted online at Each report contains information about ministries undertaken by the respective groups. The reports also present recommendations to assist Southern Baptist leaders as they seek to incorporate all Southern Baptists more fully into the total fabric of Southern Baptist life, including leadership roles.

YOUR SPARE CHANGE CAN CHANGE THE WORLD. MustardSeed rounds up everyday purchases to the nearest dollar to support your favorite ministry.



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PAGE 13 WINTER 2017 яБо






Mon-Aetna Baptist Church has always stressed the importance of supporting missions to their young members, especially during Lottie Moon season. Stephanie Russell teaches third through fifth grade students. photos courtesy of mon -aetna baptist church

A Legacy of Missions Giving

by Grace Thornton


fter Myra Middlebrooks’s mother died in 2010, she found some money her mom had tucked away—and she knew exactly what it was. “I knew it was her Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for that year,” she said. “She put money away all year for missions. She always had.” For the years that Myra’s mother worked, she squirrelled away a portion of her income in a jar each month. Then after she retired, she began a quilting business and gave a tenth of the profits to the annual offering, which goes in its entirety to fund the work of International Mission Board missionaries overseas. “I’m a firm believer that missions is what God wants us to do, whether that’s to go ourselves or to give so others can go,” Myra said. “That’s what my mother taught me years ago.” So when December rolled around, Myra gave the money she had found, just as her mom would’ve wanted. “When I was growing up, the ladies of the church had several groups called circles, and every year in January just after Christmas, they would start putting up money each month for the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering,” said Myra, seventy-four. “That tradition was a big part of our church, and these days we try to keep it going.” The women of Mon-Aetna Baptist Church in Union, South Carolina—along with the men— save all year, putting as much money away in little jars as they can afford to live without. It’s not a small thing for a church birthed in a hard-working town. “It’s a mill church built between two cotton mills,” said Brenda Going, seventy-five. “We were all just like one big family brought together by the mill. Growing up, we could walk everywhere—to the church, the mill, and the school. We weren’t afraid back then, but we weren’t rich either.” But Brenda, just like Myra, grew up watching her mother separate money out for missions even when times were hard. “The women back then sacrificed. They would do a little extra wash or something to make a little extra money, but they wouldn’t let anybody know about it,” Brenda said. “I remember my mother getting out our weekly offering for church and she would separate it out—$5 for the elevator fund, $5 for choir robes, and a few dollars for whatever else was needed.” And she would separate some out for Lottie, too.

Pastor Chris Gulledge leads Mon-Aetna Baptist Church in not only reaching Union County, South Carolina, with the Gospel, but also in reaching the world. He recently encouraged the church to increase its Lottie Moon Christmas Offering goal from $20,000 to $30,000.

Brenda Going holding a photo of her Sunday school class during a visit by a Foreign Mission Board missionary to China in the 1950s.

“Lottie was a household word for us,” Brenda said. “Everybody would clean out their pocket money and save it up for the Christmas offering.” And as a result, Mon-Aetna Baptist still consistently builds up the backbone of the International Mission Board’s worldwide missionary force. They usually set their goal for $20,000, and there are “very few times we haven’t met it,” Brenda said. She said it’s because as a community, the missions offering was a dinner-table topic and a mustering point. “We had a lady down the street, Mrs. Adams, who would bring missionaries to talk to us after school,” Brenda said. She has a picture of her and a bunch of her friends at seven or eight years old, standing on the other side of the school fence waiting on the missionary to arrive. “Our excitement for Lottie goes back to people like Mrs. Adams and like my grandmother and mother who instilled in me how big missions were,” Brenda said. Those after-school missionary visitors brought the world and its needs close, and they taught her with pictures the story of Lottie Moon,

any kind. This year’s offering goal is $160 million. Myra, Brenda, and the rest of Mon-Aetna Baptist are ready to do their part. At offering time, they will walk one by one to the altar and deposit the contents of their jars. It’s a touching moment, Brenda said. It was during that part of the service that Myra put her mother’s last Lottie Moon Christmas Offering gift in the offering place seven years ago. She will keep on giving her own offering, the way her mother taught her. And both she and Brenda hope that the next generation will carry on the legacy. “The world is changing, and it’s so important that we pass down the importance of missions,” Brenda said. “You’re never too young to learn what it means. And you’re never too young to get involved.” For more information about the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering® or to order or download related videos and other resources for your church, visit

a missionary who sacrificed her life to reach the people of China with the hope of the Gospel. The pennies and nickels Brenda scrimped and collected brought her into the thick of the story. Missions was personal. “We grew up knowing and singing about how Jesus loves the little children of the world, and we knew that when it was Christmastime, Lottie came first, above all the things we wanted,” Brenda said. Myra agreed. “All of us can’t go to the mission. All of us can’t go across the sea,” she said, though she can think of a few people from the area who have gone to serve over the years. “There are people who are able to go overseas and spread the Gospel, and this is one way we can help—to emphasize the special offering and tell people about what the missionaries are doing.” The offering, started in 1888, supports Southern Baptists’ collective international missions effort. It helps fund more than 3,600 field personnel and engage the 3,203 unreached people groups still without a Gospel witness of

Grace Thornton writes for the International Mission Board, Baptist Press, and other Southern Baptist ministries and is an active member of a local Baptist church.


PAGE 15 WINTER 2017 


After preaching at Cristolândia—a Brazilian Baptist ministry that reaches out to drug addicts in São Paulo with a daily meal, a shower, clean clothes, and the Gospel of Jesus Christ—IMB President David Platt (yellow shirt on right) prays for those who have responded to an invitation to follow Jesus Christ.

“Truly one of the most exciting things that I get to watch in the IMB is our Southern Baptist personnel around the world not only leading people to Christ and planting churches, but also helping those churches from the nations reach the nations, and finding ourselves as part of this global family accomplishing this Great Commission.” David Platt, president International Mission Board

photo courtesy of imb

A ‘Thank You’ for Your Church’s Eternal Impact by David Platt


hank you” is something we say to one another frequently, even every day. But recently, someone saying “thank you” reminded me exactly what the International Mission Board—and, really, what the Southern Baptist Convention—is all about. If you were at the Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting in Phoenix, you may have been in the main meeting hall following the IMB report when a Christian brother from Central Asia went to the microphone, not with a question, but rather with a message of gratitude. “I want to say thank you,” he said. “Because you came [to my country], I heard the Gospel, and God saved me and my family, and many others. I want to say thank you to all Southern Baptist churches, because you send your support.” If you missed that moment, I want you to be sure to hear it now: Your church’s giving through the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering® has made an eternal difference to this brother in Christ. It’s making a difference to his family. It’s making a difference to many others who now know and worship our King. This brother expressed what we know: that only God can change a Muslim’s heart to become a Christian leader. God used you and your church’s gifts to bring about that change. Your commitment to lead your church on mission makes an eternal difference. Isn’t that an incredible thought? Our God allows each of us to play a part in the completion of His Great Commission. It’s at the heart of why the SBC created the IMB more than 170 years ago—to partner with churches to empower limitless missionary teams who are evangelizing, discipling, planting and multiplying healthy churches, and training leaders among unreached peoples and places for the glory of God.

Global Mission Force

As I told our brother (and the rest of our fellow Southern Baptists in attendance at that moment in Phoenix), it’s an awesome thing to see the mission field become a mission force. As we reach unreached people around the world, our goal in all of our work is not just to lead people to Christ, see them baptized, gather them in churches, and then move on. Our goal is to help those new Christians and churches take the

Gospel to the next unreached people, then to the next unreached people. And by God’s grace, we are seeing this happen all over the world. We’re seeing this happen through this brother from Central Asia who now works at a Southern Baptist seminary to train leaders from his homeland. We’re seeing this happen through connections made on the mission field by the missionaries from your church, your association, and your state convention. Truly one of the most exciting things that I get to watch in the IMB is our Southern Baptist personnel around the world not only leading people to Christ and planting churches, but also helping those churches from the nations reach the nations, and finding ourselves as part of this global family accomplishing this Great Commission. Your church’s giving through the Cooperative Program and the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering® is the financial fuel that keeps our Southern Baptist missionaries going and witnessing and serving day after day after day alongside new brothers and sisters in Christ. May I boldly ask you to share this good news of thanksgiving with your church? Will you please pass along not only my thanks, but the heartfelt thank you from this brother who found eternal life to the people who have so faithfully given to support this God-given mission? I want every Southern Baptist who has given to the Cooperative Program or to international missions to know their support is making a difference.

Global Mission Focus

Our brother concluded his comments at the microphone in Phoenix by saying: “We need your prayer. Please pray for us. As a member of your family—we are a family from different nationalities—we want to reach the world. . . . We want to say thank you. God bless you.” As you enter what we in the IMB refer to as “Lottie Moon season,” I’m aware that your church calendar, like mine, is filling up with fall festivals, Thanksgiving outreach, and Christmas celebrations. I pray as you engage in each of these opportunities for fellowship, worship, and celebration that your church family will find ways to connect with the nations God is bringing to your very doorsteps.

At the same time, I urge you to set aside time to lead your church in hearing our brother’s pleas and committing to a concerted time of prayer for the global Church’s mission. We have the opportunity to go before the throne of Almighty God on behalf of this brother, and it is our honor that he has implored us to lift up his people’s efforts to share the Gospel. Will you respond to his request for intercession? December 3–10 is observed as the Southern Baptist Convention’s Week of Prayer for International Missions. You and your church can join the prayerful voices of thousands of fellow Southern Baptists in interceding for your field personnel and the national believers with whom they work. They desperately want—and need— your prayers. During that week, IMB personnel know they can rely on the fact that their Baptist partners in the United States and around the world will be praying for them. Please don’t miss the opportunity to join in a chorus of adoration, thanksgiving, and intercession to our Lord on these missionaries’ behalf.

Global Mission Family

Who are the people we will focus on during this year’s Week of Prayer? They are the Bagby family, who share the Gospel among South Asian peoples. For Radford and Sarah Bagby*, getting to the twenty-eight people groups in the mountains of Nepal takes a journey of weeks by car, plane, and trekking on foot—and that’s if everything goes just right. And the mission field is as difficult as the roadways. But the Bagbys see God moving in the heart of Nepalese people. They are people like Elizabeth*, who lives and works in Moscow, Russia. When most people think of Russia, they don’t think of Muslims. But Islam is part of the fabric of old Russia—it made it there sixty-six years before Christianity did. And Moscow now has more Muslims than any other European city. Christians who live among these Central Asian peoples pray for opportunities to develop friendships so they can share the Gospel with them. They are Jared and Tara Jones in Japan, where forty thousand children live in orphanages, but parents rarely give up their rights so that a child can be adopted. But the Joneses knew

God had placed a baby on their hearts, and they prayed. Fast-forward a few months from when their son Ezra was placed in their arms, and his pediatrician was the key to another door—a church plant they had been praying about for years among these East Asian peoples. They are the Mexico City Team, a team of twelve people who face the daunting task of reaching a city of twenty-eight million people with the Gospel. IMB missionaries in this megacity hail from places ranging from Colombia to Cuba and from Korea to Tennessee. They’re finding unreached people in this megacity, and they’re seeing new believers catch a vision for reaching the nations, too. They are the people ministering to the forgotten refugees—like Don Alan*, who seeks to reach refugees in North Africa and the Middle East, and Seth Payton*, who works with refugees in Europe. “Hopelessness is a universal feeling among refugees,” Don says. “They feel forgotten.” These Southern Baptists need your prayers as they take hope into what seem like hopeless places. They are Shane and Lindsay Mikeska, whose Christmas dinner in London may include an Iranian student and Indian student baking Christmas cookies with a girl from Lebanon and another from Hong Kong, before they all sit down to a Mexican meal. London has fortyeight universities, and a quarter of the student population comes from other countries. Across the city, three hundred languages are spoken. The Mikeskas see an amazing capacity to be senders to the world—to see their mission field become a mission force. But they need your church’s prayers and your church’s giving to make that possible.

Your Mission Field

It’s a heavy responsibility to know that thousands of Southern Baptists around the world are depending on our support, and I hope we never take that responsibility lightly. God has richly blessed us as a coalition of churches with the capacity to not only support our current missionary force, but also to find and seize new pathways to send limitless more to share the Gospel. That includes God’s role for your church in the fulfillment of the Great Commission. I pray you will embrace that role completely, knowing that you have the heartfelt gratitude of brothers and sisters in Christ, and knowing that your church is making an eternal difference. Learn more about the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering® and the Week of Prayer for International Missions at *Names changed. Lottie Moon Christmas Offering® is a registered trademark of Woman’s Missionary Union. David Platt is president of the International Mission Board and is teaching pastor at McLean Bible Church in Northern Virginia.





ACTS 1:8 PRAYER FOCUS But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come on you, and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem 1, in all Judea 2 and Samaria 3, and to the ends of the earth 4 (Acts 1:8).








JANUARY 7, 2018

JANUARY 14, 2018

JANUARY 21, 2018

JANUARY 28, 2018

Create a prayer list of your family members, praying for them daily.

Print the names and dates of the church’s planned evangelistic emphases for the next six months—things like VBS, revival services, or special music programs.

Read 1 Timothy 2:1–6 aloud during the morning worship service. Ask the congregation to intercede for the nation. Mention the names of elected officials during the pastoral prayer.

During the pastoral prayer, pray for those in your church who may be sensing God’s call to become part of the “limitless ministry teams” serving alongside our IMB field missionaries.

Pray for the Lord to multiply your church’s reach by calling out of your congregation those who will serve as pastors, missionaries, and church planters.

Ask the Lord to give IMB trustees and leaders divine wisdom and guidance as they challenge Southern Baptists to be on mission with God.

Pray for the diverse peoples of our nation and for the racial reconciliation that is possible only through salvation in Jesus Christ.

Ask for wisdom and mercy for missionaries accepting often-dangerous opportunities for service around the world.

Introduce the CrossRoads Prayer Evangelism ministry (see sample at Encourage church members to list names of up to five friends and begin tracking their prayer, care, and sharing with those friends. Ask members of your congregation to write down names of unchurched and lost family members on a note card and bring them to the front of the worship center and place them before the Lord.

Lead the church to pray for these planned events by name during the pastoral prayer time on Sunday morning. Pray also for the continued health and unity of the church. Pray by name for the church’s ministry teams and committees, encouraging volunteers to use their ministry opportunities to expand the Kingdom.

*For a description of the “10-20-30” prayer model and for other resources visit



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– Available at LifeWay Christian Store –




SBC President Steve Gaines Calls for, Promotes Prayer by Joy Allmond


ifeWay Christian Resources has partnered with Southern Baptist Convention president Steve Gaines to create Pray Like This: Living the Lord’s Prayer, released October 1. This six-session Bible study is designed to bring a deep understanding of the text, theology, and application of the Lord’s Prayer. It is a followup to the SBC’s 2017 annual meeting, themed “Pray! For Such a Time as This.” “Nothing is more vital to the advancement of the Gospel than rallying God’s people to pray,” said Gaines, who served as general editor of the study. “Prayer changes everything. When we pray, God does things that He would not have done had we not prayed. When God’s people agree in prayer . . . there is spiritual synergy. The power of our prayers multiplies exponentially.” Small groups or individuals will enjoy video interview segments with leaders like J. D. Greear, Kelly Minter, H. B. Charles, Ronnie Floyd, Lisa Harper, and Robby Gallaty. Participants will walk through Jesus’s model prayer from Matthew 6 and will have personal study aids to help them dive deeper into the Scriptures and understand the importance of prayer. The study will also cover critical prayer topics, such as intercession, praise, confession, and spiritual warfare, and will emphasize recognition of God as Father and Provider.

Greear, one of the featured leaders in the series of videos, said it is especially important for the Church to be in prayer now. “Prayer has preceded every great move of God in history,” said Greear, pastor of The Summit Church in Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina. “Of Acts’ twenty-eight chapters, we find the church praying corporately in twentysix (of the chapters). If we want power like theirs, we need prayer like theirs. Prayer doesn’t bring the awakening—it is the awakening.” Pastor and contributor H. B. Charles said he believes Pray Like This is an important resource for churches and Bible study groups. “It is both biblical—focusing on the Lord’s Prayer— and practical,” said Charles, pastor of Shiloh Metropolitan Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Florida. “It does not merely teach what prayer is. It motivates us to pray!” Gaines said he hopes to see a movement of God reminiscent of that in the early church. “What would happen if Christians across America and around the world became committed to prayer?” he asked. “Only God knows, but I believe it would be similar to what happened in the Book of Acts. May God use Pray Like This: Living the Lord’s Prayer to such a glorious end, and may it serve as a catalyst for spiritual awakening in our day!”

Focusing on the Lord’s Prayer, Pray Like This is designed to teach and motivate people to pray.

For more information, or to pre-order the leader kit and Bible study book, visit LifeWay. com/PrayLikeThis. Joy Allmond is managing editor of Facts & Trends and is a member of Grace Community Church in Brentwood, Tennessee


New Production Schedule for SBC LIFE The Baptist Program, predecessor to SBC LIFE, made its debut as a four-page slickpaper tabloid shortly before adoption of the Cooperative Program at the 1925 SBC annual meeting. For the past ninety-two years, it has been the dominant means by which the SBC Executive Committee relates the story of Southern Baptists working in cooperation with one another to advance the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In 1947, The Baptist Program was redesigned as a magazine with a multi-color, slickpaper cover. That format was unchanged for almost half a century. During the 1992–1993 fiscal year, the Executive Committee renamed The Baptist Program to its current title of SBC LIFE, redesigning it as a full-color tabloid-sized newsjournal. During the early twenty-first century, was created to post SBC LIFE, but was not designed as a truly digital website. Now in its twenty-fifth year in the current format, SBC LIFE is slated for its fourth major redesign—to a web-based format for this historic newsjournal—in preparation for the 2018 SBC annual meeting. Though the number of print issues will drop to three per year (winter, spring, and annual meeting), the redesigned and expanded digital presence will provide the opportunity to broaden the coverage of the many ways Southern Baptists work in cooperation with one another to advance the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

2018 SBC ANNUAL MEETING reminders To ensure the orderly flow of attendees and enhance security of the convention hall, each MESSENGER, EXHIBITOR, and GUEST must be registered and properly badged for entrance into the general sessions on TUESDAY and WEDNESDAY, JUNE 12–13. Dallas Skyline © istockphoto

PRESCHOOL CHILDCARE for children birth through five years will

once again be provided by Southern Baptist Disaster Relief Childcare teams Sunday through Wednesday. Registration for all children/youth events will open on Thursday, February 1, 2018, at Registration will close on Friday, May 18, 2018. Space is limited to 100 children and pre-registration is REQUIRED—there will be NO On-Site Registration

GIANT COW MINISTRIES will again provide activities for children ages

6–12 Sunday through Wednesday—registration will open on Thursday, February 1, 2018, at A special thanks to WMU for providing missions education as part of the curriculum

Youth on Mission for those children who have completed grades

7–12 will be provided again by WMU Tuesday and Wednesday— registration will open on Thursday, February 1, 2018, at Registration will close on Friday, May 18, 2018. Space is limited to 100 youth and pre-registration is REQUIRED—there will be NO On-Site Registration

MESSENGER PRE-REGISTRATION will open on Thursday, February 1, 2018, at

“SBC ANNUAL MEETINGS” APP—updates will be made as information

becomes available—stay connected by downloading the 2018 “SBC Annual Meetings” app from the Play Store or App Store For more information and to register for these activities, visit

HOTEL RESERVATIONS can be secured by going to


PAGE 19 WINTER 2017 


dallas, texas JUNE 12–13, 2018 OFFICIAL HOTEL LIST AND RATES Hotel & Address

Distance to Conv Ctr / Metro Link

Comp Self Parking

Comp Breakfast

1-2 3-4 Guests Guests

1. AC Marriott Downtown 10 Blocks / 5 Blocks $159 $159 1712 Commerce St 2. Adolphus 10 Blocks / 1 Blocks $179 $179 1321 Commerce St 3. Aloft Across street / 2 Blocks $14 $159/$179 $179 1033 Young St 4. Courtyard Dallas 3.5 Miles / .5 Block Y 15% discount $154 $154 Medical/Market Center 2150 Market Center Blvd 5. Crowne Plaza Dallas- 5 Miles / Shuttle to stop Y Y $125 $125 Market Center 7050 North Stemmons Freeway 6. Crowne Plaza Downtown 10 Blocks / 2 Blocks Y Y $149 149 1015 Elm Street 7. Dallas Marriott 1 Miles / Next door $179 $179 City Center 650 North Pearl St 8. Dallas Marriott Suites 3.5 Miles / 3 Blocks Y $149 $149 Medical/Market Center 2493 North Stemmons Freeway 9. Embassy Suites 2.5 Miles / .5 Block Y $164 $164 Market Center 2727 North Stemmons Freeway 10. Fairfield Inn & Suites 7 Blocks / 1 Block Y $179 $179 Downtown 555 S. Evergreen St 11. Fairfield Inn & Suites 3.5 Miles / .5 Block Y 15% discount $134 $134 Market Center 2110 Market Center Blvd @ Stemmons 12. Fairmont Hotel Dallas 8 Blocks / 2 Blocks 10% discount $174 $174 1717 N Akard St 13. Hampton Inn & Suites 7 Blocks / 4 Blocks Y $149 $149 Downtown 1700 Commerce St 14. Hilton Garden Inn 6 Blocks / Across street $189 $189 Downtown 1600 Pacific Avenue 15. Hilton Garden Inn 5 Miles / 1 Mile Y $149 $149 Market Center 2325 North Stemmons Freeway 16. Holiday Inn 2.5 Miles / Across street Y $1 discount $135 $135 Market Center 4500 Harry Hines Blvd 17. Homewood Suites 4 Blocks / Across street Y $163 $163 Downtown 1025 Elm St 18. Homewood Suites 4 Miles / 3 Blocks Y Y $169 $169 Market Center 2747 North Stemmons Freeway 19. Hotel Indigo 6 Blocks / 2 Blocks $5 voucher $159 $159 1933 Main St 20. Hyatt House Dallas/ 3 Miles / Across street Y Y $164 $164 Uptown 2914 Harry Hines Blvd 21. Hyatt Regency Dallas 4 Blocks / 1 Block $5 discount $185 $185 @ Reunion 300 Reunion Blvd 22. LaQuinta Inn & Suites 5 Blocks / 1 Block Y $149 $149 Downtown 302 S Houston St 23. LeMeridien Dallas, 5 Miles / Across street $13 $179 $179 The Stoneleigh 2927 Maple Avenue 24. Lorenzo Hotel 2 Blocks / Bus to stop $10 $180 $180 1011 S Akard St 25. Magnolia 5 Blocks / 2 Blocks $179 $179/ 1401 Commerce St $199 Suite 26. Nylo Hotel South Side 8 Blocks / Shuttle to stop Y $199 Kings 1325 S Lamar St Only 27. Omni Dallas Attached / 1 Block $189 $189 ***CONVENTION HOTEL*** 555 South Lamar St 28. Residence Inn Downtown 8 Blocks / 1 Block Y $159 $159 1712 Commerce St 29. Sheraton Dallas 1 Mile / Across street 25%discount 20% discount $170 $170 400 North Olive St 30. SpringHill Suites 7 Blocks / 2 Blocks Y $159 $159 Downtown/West End 1907 North Lamar St 31. TownePlace Suites 7 Blocks / 1 Block Y $179 $179 Downtown 555 Evergreen St 32. Westin Downtown 4 Blocks / 1 Block $15 $19 $179 $199/ 1201 Main St $219 TAX RATE: All rates are per room/per night plus tax of up to 15.26% (subject to change).




TELEPHONE 1-800-967-8852 (toll free) Mon-Fri 8:00am to 4:00pm CST

DEADLINE Reservations must be made by May 14, 2018, in order to be guaranteed convention rate. DEPOSIT REQUIRED The hotel holding your reservation may charge the credit card for a deposit on or after May 14, 2018. CANCELLATION POLICY Reservations cancelled on or after May 14, 2018, and prior to 72 hours before arrival date may result in forfeiture of one night’s room and tax. SPECIAL REQUESTS Special requests cannot be guaranteed, however, hotels will do their best to honor all requests. Hotel will assign specific room types upon check-in, based on availability. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS Acknowledgments will be sent via email from ‘Event Customer Service’ after each reservation booking, modification, or cancellation. Please review each acknowledgment for accuracy. If you do not receive an acknowledgment or have questions, please call or email the housing bureau at 1-800-967-8852 or Your housing acknowledgment will serve as your hotel verification as the hotel is not required to send a confirmation.


NO shuttle service will be offered due to the recent decline in shuttle usage, close proximity of hotels, and the availability of excellent local transportation options.





Left: Pastor Chad Hesler of Canyon Ferry Road Baptist Church in East Helena, Montana, speaks to members of the church as they prepare to prayerwalk around an elementary school. Above: Pastor Chad Hesler baptizes Walter Deege, whose father died in a concentration camp in World War II. Degee spoke of his Holocaust experiences at two local high schools, giving full credit to Jesus Christ. Below: Daniel Nessim of Chosen People’s Ministries speaks to the congregation at Canyon Ferry Road Baptist Church. photos courtesy of canyon ferry road baptist church

Montana Church’s Strategy and Tactics Include CP Giving by Karen L. Willoughby


ombat veteran Chad Hesler uses his military training as he pastors Canyon Ferry Road Baptist Church, where about one hundred people participate in Sunday morning worship. As a result, up to four hundred people a day use the church’s facilities; the pastor has been asked to pray for the state legislature and individually with several legislators; a church member has shared his testimony—giving full credit to Jesus Christ—at two area high schools without adverse reaction; and the church gives 25 percent of undesignated income to missions, 15 percent through the Cooperative Program. “It’s been amazing to watch how God is working and moving and allowing us to expand, even with our missions giving,” Hesler told SBC LIFE. “We’re a church that believes in being purpose-driven and mission-minded. “We take that very seriously, making disciples of all nations, baptizing them and teaching them the commandments God has given us,” the pastor continued. “We’ve looked at things and asked, ‘What do we want to be known as?’ and I think the congregation wants to be known as a giving church, a planting church, a disciple-making congregation not only locally but nationally and globally.” The Cooperative Program opens the congregation to seeing the “big picture of God working” in Helena, in Montana, across the nation, and throughout the world, Hesler said. The rest of its missions giving is more up-close and personal: individual support of missionaries in Helena, Latvia, and India; and locally of a Christian school, students on short-term missions, and benevolence. “Through the Cooperative Program we’re able to make a world-wide impact,” the pastor continued. “We want to reach our valley and beyond with the Gospel message of Jesus Christ.” Hesler learned military strategy and tactics during eleven years in the Air Force as a vehicle mechanic, deploying four times, three to eight months at a time, to the Middle East war zone. He utilizes that experience at Canyon Ferry Road Baptist Church. “Tactics is people; strategy is what people do,” Hesler explained.

Even before giving to missions, the church’s strategy starts with prayer, the pastor said. “As a congregation we’ve gotten together; we sat and prayed,” Hesler said. “We have a lot of veterans here, and [discussion about] politics, government, just comes with the territory. So we started praying that way.” That led to prayer for the church’s—and the community’s—youth, who are “on the front lines” of Satanic attack, Hesler said, and after they prayed, the congregation asked, “What can we do?” They added a youth pastor to the staff. The youth now minister at a local skate park, where they build relationships, pray, and share the Gospel. They also help with children’s activities at the church, such as a recent pinewood derby, and at a mega sports camp sponsored by another Helena church. “We find places where we might not be able to lead but we are willing to follow,” Hesler said. Helena Christian School, which has about two hundred students pre-K–12, uses the church’s facilities, as do other civic and charitable organizations. Walter Deege is a recent member whose family history includes a father who died in a concentration camp in Europe during World War II. Deege gave his testimony at church; a teacher heard about it and asked him to bring his testimony to an area high school, where the Holocaust was being studied. At least four hundred students were gathered in an assembly when Deege spoke. “He got to a point where he held up his Bible and read Isaiah 12, his father’s favorite passage,” Hesler said. “There was no mocking, no ridiculing. The students were quiet; they were listening. He spoke of how God got him through that particular time in his life, and how Isaiah 12 impacted his family, and the students took his message.” Deege later was asked to speak at Helena High School, with a near-identical message and results. Hesler spoke of the church’s benevolence fund, which receives 2.5 percent of the 10 percent of undesignated offerings allocated for missions, which last year was about $10,000. This 10 percent is in addition to the 15 percent allocated for the Cooperative Program.

“We’ve looked at things and asked, ‘What do we want to be known as?’ and I think the congregation wants to be known as a giving church, a planting church, a disciple-making congregation not only locally but nationally and globally.”

Chad Hesler, pastor Canyon Ferry Road Baptist Church Helena, Montana

“We didn’t start off with a whole lot of money,” Hesler said. But someone needed money for surgery. That money spent, more came in. “We found out there are some things we are able to do and encouraged to do.” Someone needed a motel room for a night. A business owner called, having heard about the motel stay, and asked if someone might need a job. “All of a sudden we’re getting an influx of people who are looking for jobs,” Hesler said. “It just started blossoming. Pretty soon we had the Social Security office calling: ‘Do you fix cars? Do you pay a medical bill?’ “What’s been amazingly interesting is that it’s not been the person we help, but the person receiving the payment for their debt who are surprised and grateful,” the pastor continued. “They’re trying to figure out why somebody is going to pay the debt for somebody else. That gives us the opportunity to share the Gospel with them. We tell them, ‘We believe Jesus Christ paid

our debt and we’d like to pay this.’ Wow. The faces. They can’t believe we’re doing this.” Canyon Ferry Road Church recently built a soccer field for the community on 2.5 acres of the church’s ten-acre church property. Its next plan—though without funds at the moment to bring the plan to fruition—is to build a gym for the community that would be large enough to seat 1,500 spectators and provide for state tournaments. East Helena does not have a community gymnasium and does not have the resources to build one, the pastor said. “I want to show the congregation, the youth, the people of the community what God does,” the pastor continued. “I want people to see God.” Karen L. Willoughby is national correspondent with SBC LIFE and Baptist Press and is a member of First Baptist Church in Pleasant Grove, Utah.

“Every person who knows the Lord Jesus Christ is a minister a servant of the Gospel ... if we will share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with lost people in the power of the Holy Spirit, there will be salvation.” SBC President Steve Gaines | June 13, 2017 President’s Address | 2017 Annual Meeting, Phoenix, AZ

2018 SBC Calendar of Activities Ja n u a r y



J u ly

January 1-31 Call to Prayer January 7-14 January Bible Study January 21 Sanctity of Human Life Sunday

February 1-28 February 11 February 12-18 February 17

“True Love Waits” Emphasis Racial Reconciliation Sunday Focus on WMU Children’s Missions Day

march March 4–10 March 4–11 March 18

april April 8 April 15 April 22

Youth Week Week of Prayer and Mission Study for North American Missions and the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering Church Planting Emphasis Sunday Substance Abuse Prevention Sunday

July 1 July 22

Crossover: Dallas, Texas Southern Baptist Convention Baptist Men’s Emphasis Mission:Dignity Sunday

Citizenship and Religious Liberty Sunday Send Relief Sunday


August 5 Social Issues Sunday August 12 Student Evangelism Day August 19–25 Worship Music Week


September 2 Single Adult Sunday September 16 Anti-Gambling Sunday

o c to b e r Cooperative Program Sunday Baptist Doctrine Study SBC Seminaries Sunday

October 1-31 Cooperative Program Emphasis October 7 Personal Evangelism Commitment Day October 14 Global Hunger Sunday


may May 6 May 13–19 May 20–27

June 9 June 12-13 June 17 June 24

Senior Adult Sunday Christian Home Week Baptist Association Emphasis

© 2017 Executive Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention

November 4

Disaster Relief Appreciation Day


December 2-9 Week of Prayer and Mission Study for International Missions and the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering




SBC PROGRAM 2016–2017 NATIONAL COOPERATIVE PROGRAM INCOME AND DISTRIBUTION Cooperative Program Allocation Budget/Designated Contributions Received from State Baptist Conventions and Other Sources Cooperative Program Allocation Budget Contribution Sources

Cooperative Program Allocation Budget/Designated Receipts Accumulative Distribution October 1, 2016 through September 30, 2017 Cooperative Program Allocation Budget


International Mission Board 98,792,232.80 133,012,301.89 North American Mission Board 44,644,865.00 57,892,098.93 NAMB—Disaster Relief 1,250,000.00 0.00 Total World Missions Gateway Seminary Midwestern Seminary New Orleans Seminary Southeastern Seminary Southern Seminary Southwestern Seminary Historical Library and Archives

Total 231,804,534.69 102,536,963.93 1,250,000.00

$144,687,097.80 $190,904,400.82 $335,591,498.62 4,215,883.73 5,194,513.38 7,481,508.14 8,174,435.72 9,894,624.61 7,979,597.93 470,152.14

16,699.28 16,512.52 22,973.55 40,338.88 61,657.05 43,409.58 1,186.56

4,232,583.01 5,211,025.90 7,504,481.69 8,214,774.60 9,956,281.66 8,023,007.51 471,338.70

Total Theological Education $43,410,715.65



Ethics & Religious Liberty Comm 3,232,296.06 GuideStone Financial Resources 0.00

20,875.90 34,215.56

3,253,171.96 34,215.56







SBC Operating Total Other Ministries Grand Totals

$197,146,731.08 $191,403,752.79 $388,550,483.87


Alabama 17,431,578.35 Alaska 218,584.41 Arizona 1,220,429.67 Arkansas 8,898,767.78 California 2,209,865.62 Colorado 543,953.08 Dakota 92,271.99 DC 10,346.18 Florida 18,002,169.41 Georgia 16,742,875.61 Hawaii Pacific 454,332.55 Illinois 2,342,018.25 Indiana 815,157.98 Iowa 271,571.07 Kansas-Nebraska 719,888.40 Kentucky 10,080,795.82 Louisiana 7,208,828.14 Maryland-Delaware 1,547,437.17 Michigan 318,097.45 Minnesota-Wisconsin 115,581.16 Mississippi 11,887,528.46 Missouri 6,210,062.27 Montana 146,941.58 Nevada 570,026.53 New England 155,825.39 New Mexico 697,965.94 New York 239,239.33 North Carolina 11,700,422.60 Northwest 760,592.29 Ohio 2,028,568.08 Oklahoma 9,856,159.55 Pennsylvania-South Jersey 218,406.86 Puerto Rico/Virgin Islands 4,400.86 South Carolina 11,120,151.45 Tennessee 15,137,955.50 Texas (BGCT) 10,486,273.62 Texas (SBTC) 15,429,391.15 Utah-Idaho 176,788.55 Virginia (BGAV) 888,825.37 Virginia (SBCV) 4,399,730.29 West Virginia 476,356.13 Wyoming 112,664.07 Subtotal Churches & Individuals Grand Total

2015–2016 17,623,899.73 254,962.63 877,453.14 8,843,314.65 2,257,707.50 579,263.72 81,316.30 20,152.97 14,898,184.50 17,261,133.15 247,218.67 2,394,244.07 887,840.04 289,909.71 642,391.30 10,376,428.15 7,566,459.97 1,549,112.96 309,072.08 94,107.98 11,898,165.83 6,083,560.79 148,087.87 527,011.71 139,226.10 893,679.10 195,465.49 11,417,637.04 765,086.13 1,718,456.91 10,198,960.35 213,465.81 4,803.96 11,571,772.58 15,264,644.02 10,516,259.19 15,892,069.97 166,853.77 875,800.16 4,336,542.13 465,317.95 121,740.53

$191,948,825.96 $190,468,780.61 5,197,905.12


Designated Gifts 2016–2017


18,506,574.93 237,132.01 1,246,083.83 7,561,782.60 2,883,725.71 716,325.79 141,036.52 12,540.18 8,282,626.60 16,067,560.92 414,140.03 2,215,029.89 893,623.86 187,078.68 863,348.78 7,948,336.40 5,826,439.62 1,344,198.00 352,293.02 202,579.88 12,516,621.71 6,582,269.34 198,391.74 249,920.71 229,990.13 1,144,598.82 363,097.20 20,103,183.73 895,813.51 1,255,662.71 7,052,237.83 313,400.75 28,235.25 11,578,040.43 15,373,432.79 13,518,432.90 11,986,041.29 298,689.82 3,474,033.25 4,839,053.76 466,410.15 127,982.23

19,234,863.19 233,264.62 1,221,462.72 8,381,209.82 2,729,462.83 749,154.88 124,741.55 11,163.50 8,952,281.22 17,893,784.93 280,773.57 2,210,497.74 910,025.39 190,949.22 900,124.59 8,251,172.94 6,377,172.31 1,516,324.00 363,662.40 219,160.77 13,136,582.43 6,786,267.09 233,468.73 228,583.54 250,722.87 1,503,466.02 377,302.79 21,051,109.33 863,026.09 1,462,302.96 7,669,429.82 287,997.37 13,276.12 12,253,631.33 17,030,728.62 14,569,947.11 13,867,210.83 294,835.23 3,764,671.95 4,640,010.92 431,994.26 137,839.48

$188,497,997.30 $201,605,657.08 2,905,755.49


$197,146,731.08 $195,730,508.04 $191,403,752.79 $204,671,725.92

Resources to Help You Tell the Southern Baptist Story Meet Southern Baptists

introduces newcomers to the common convictions and farreaching ministries of Southern Baptists. It explains: • Who Southern Baptists Are • What Southern Baptists Believe • What Southern Baptists Do • How Southern Baptists Advance the Gospel • Why Southern Baptists Do What They Do

The Southern Baptist Convention: A Closer Look

is a wonderful resource to help your church members better understand the organization, structure, and activity of Southern Baptists at the local, state, and national (SBC) levels, as well as how autonomous local Southern Baptist churches partner together in ministries and missions.

How to Use These Resources

• New member classes • Distribution at your church • Budget planning • Associational meetings • Conventional emphases on the SBC Event Calendar

Meet Southern Baptists is available for download in seven languages at

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Giving Up by Rebecca Manry


was diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma earlier this year. It was shocking; cancer diagnoses usually are. The treatments were unpleasant; cancer treatments usually are. I

© istockphoto

thank God that my final chemo treatment was two months ago and my scans showed no sign of the disease remaining. As I begin my new phase of life as a cancer

survivor, a new enemy has crept in: anxiety. I find myself worrying that it will come back. I worry about possible long-term effects from the chemo. I worry that I’ll be afflicted by another type of cancer or a completely different disease in the future. While I was in the hospital waiting for my initial biopsy results, I had a strange peace. After months of uncertainty, we had a name for the symptoms I was experiencing. There was a standard treatment with an excellent response rate, and I was under the care of experienced doctors. During treatments I had some difficult moments, but I looked forward to the end and couldn’t wait to get back to normal. Now that I have moved on to the next phase, I’m finding that anxiety can be crippling if not addressed and confessed daily. As we suffer trauma, sometimes in the moment we don’t fully process what’s happening. We’re just in fight mode and do what we have to do to get through. When the dust clears and we start to make sense of everything, the deeper feelings come out. Anxiety feels different when you have actually experienced something life-changing. The event serves as justification for future worry: That awful thing happened that one time, so

I’m convinced that to move on, we have to give up. We have to give up a lot of things that we love, that we cling to, that we rely on. If we don’t, we’ll never make it. who’s to say that this new thing I’m worried about is not a legitimate concern? Jesus gives us all kinds of instructions about anxiety in Matthew 6:25–34. He tells us plainly: Don’t worry about your life. Don’t worry about tomorrow. These are commands from our Lord. Why are they so hard to follow? I’m convinced that to move on, we have to give up. We have to give up a lot of things that we love, that we cling to, that we rely on. If we don’t, we’ll never make it. We certainly have to give up the illusion of control. You can live a healthy lifestyle, but you can never guarantee that you won’t get cancer or another debilitating disease. You can drive safely, but you can’t prevent someone else from crashing into you. You can cling to your loved ones, but you can’t guarantee their safety. There’s literally no other option but to trust God. I have repeated Matthew 6:27 to myself often during this period of my life: Can any of you add one moment to his life-span by worrying? This is a very practical statement from our Lord. Worrying doesn’t change circumstances. I wasn’t able to prevent getting cancer by worrying about it, and God saw fit to heal me without any assistance from me. To worry about our lives is to demonstrate a lack of trust in God and His good plan. He tells us repeatedly in His Word that He loves us and cares about us. He showed us His love in a very definitive way with the cross. Jesus’s sacrifice involved more physical, emotional, and spiritual pain than most of us will ever have to experience, but it was part the good plan of our good God. We also have to give up our idols—the things and people that we value more than the will of God. For me, my biggest idol has been my marriage. At the time of my diagnosis, I was engaged to a wonderful man. We worked with my doctors to plan my treatment schedule around the wedding date, and we had a wonderful ceremony right at the mid-point in my treatments. I had longed for marriage for so long, and I wasn’t ready to let go for anything. Even the thought that I might not be able to live a long and happy life with my husband was too much to bear. God’s priorities for us might be different than our priorities. He promises to provide for our needs as we seek first His Kingdom (6:33), but He knows what we need better than we do. We need to be prepared that He might allow us to lose the things we love the most, including our families or our own lives. I encourage anyone who has experienced trauma or debilitating anxiety to seek assistance from a counselor or doctor. But it’s also worth it to reflect on what you’re holding onto. If we hold on tightly to our lives, we will worry that things won’t work out the way we want them to. Jesus has already guaranteed that we will have troubles (6:34), so there’s no question that we will all experience seasons of pain, loss, and disappointment. We need to give up so that we can trust God and free ourselves from the anxiety that will keep us from seeking and desiring His will. Rebecca Manry is communications specialist for the SBC Executive Committee and is a member of Harvest Fields Baptist Church in Pegram, Tennessee, where her husband serves as associate pastor of children and youth.

SBC LIFE - Winter 2017 (Vol. 26, No. 1)  

SBC LIFE is the official news journal of the Southern Baptist Convention