News

Here you will find the very latest news from the Baptist Press (BP), NAMB (North American Mission Board) and IMB (International Mission Board). Each entry includes the title, source and date of the article and a brief summary.

You can also select a specific news source (i.e. Baptist Press) from the News drop-down menu to read only a specific news feed.

Click on the title to view the full article at the external website.

 

BP News Friday, June 11, 2021 - 5:24pm

NASHVILLE (BP) – SBC Executive Committee President and CEO Ronnie Floyd announced Friday (June 11) that the Executive Committee has secured Guidepost Solutions for an independent review of its handling of sexual abuse issues.


The move came just days before Southern Baptists gather in Nashville for the 2021 SBC Annual Meeting, and amid controversy over allegations made by former Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission President Russell Moore that various Southern Baptist leaders “stonewall[ed]” calls to address sexual abuse in the SBC.


According to a news release, Floyd worked with Executive Committee Chairman Rolland Slade, who had earlier called for an independent investigation, on “details of this outside review and selection of a firm.”


“Guidepost is one of the most reputable companies in the nation for uncovering facts and providing guidance for the future,” Floyd said in a statement to Baptist Press. “Our staff commits to transparency and cooperation. Caring for abuse survivors and protecting the vulnerable in our churches must remain a priority for Southern Baptists, and we want to communicate that clearly before a watching world.”


Slade, who has been vocal about the church’s responsibility to address sexual abuse, said the issue is a “personal” priority of his tenure as Executive Committee chairman.


“The church should be the safest place for survivors of sexual abuse,” Slade told Baptist Press. “They deserve to be treated with the utmost respect. For me, it’s personal because my wife is a survivor. It’s important that we do everything we can and then some.”


Slade said he has heard questions about whether the Executive Committee could be trusted to investigate itself.


“I know there are folks who will not agree with the actions we’re taking,” he said. “I want to ask them to be patient with us and join us in getting this right.”


Guidepost Solutions has been engaged for independent reviews recently by organizations including The Summit Church of Raleigh, N.C. – where SBC President J.D. Greear is senior pastor – and the ministry formerly known as Ravi Zacharias International Ministries. The news release from the Executive Committee touted Guidepost’s “deep experience providing advice and counsel to faith communities” in “monitoring, compliance, sensitive investigations and risk management solutions.


According to the news release, the Executive Committee “commits to providing full support and transparency to Guidepost Solutions including making individuals available for interviews and providing relevant documents.” Guidepost Solutions will:


“Review these recent allegations against the SBC Executive Committee of mishandling sexual abuse cases and mistreating sexual abuse victims; the allegations of a pattern of intimidation; and


“Review and enhance training provided to SBC Executive Committee staff and its board of trustees related to these matters, as well as its communications to cooperating churches and congregants in cooperating churches.”


Slade cited Guidepost’s “varied expertise” and reputation for work in the faith community. He said the firm could “not only help us with and in this situation, but I’m hopeful we can have an ongoing relationship and they can help us develop expertise from top to bottom to better than we’ve done in the past, which is really just being faithful to the charge Southern Baptists have given us.”


Moore’s allegations came in two letters leaked recently to news media. In a letter addressed to Greear and dated May 31, 2021 – the final day of Moore’s eight-year tenure at the ERLC – Moore wrote of two meetings in 2019 among Southern Baptist leaders, describing opposition to efforts to address sexual abuse in the SBC. Floyd participated in both meetings; then-Executive Committee Chairman Mike Stone participated in one.


Stone is among four candidates for SBC president at the 2021 Annual Meeting. In a video posted Saturday (June 5) to the YouTube account of his church, Emmanuel Baptist of Blackshear, Ga., Stone called Moore’s allegations “ungodly” and “absolutely slanderous.”


In a statement Saturday (June 5), Floyd said while he took the allegations in the letter seriously, he did “not have the same recollection of occurrences as stated.”


On Wednesday (June 9), Slade, pastor of Meridian Baptist Church in El Cajon, Calif., told Religion News Service he would call for such a review at the Executive Committee’s meeting Monday (June 14) in Nashville, saying: “It’s never the wrong time to do the right thing.”


The controversy grew Thursday (June 10), when Phillip Bethancourt, a Texas pastor who was at the time the ERLC’s executive vice president, released audio clips from the 2019 meetings which appeared to buttress the charges made in Moore’s letters. In a statement released later Thursday, Floyd joined Slade in calling for the independent, third-party review. He said the EC staff leadership had been working since last weekend toward “securing a highly credible outside firm” to conduct a review.


Floyd described the meetings, which were held in May 2019 and October 2019, as “leaders engaging in a scriptural process of coming together with others who have differing opinions on complicated issues and … discussing those differences honestly with a goal of how to best move forward.” He also apologized “for any offense that may have resulted” from remarks he’d made in the meetings, while saying Bethancourt’s release of the audio recordings was “an attempt to mischaracterize” the meetings “as an effort to avoid addressing the reality of sex abuse.”


Guidepost Solutions was engaged earlier this year by The Summit Church to review handling by staff member Bryan Loritts of sexual misconduct allegations against his then-brother-in-law at a Memphis church Loritts pastored.


Guidepost Solutions was also recently hired by the organization formerly known as Ravi Zacharias International Ministries to conduct an independent review of the organization. Guidepost was engaged after another independent review found Zacharias, its founder, had engaged in numerous instances of sexual misconduct.


According to the Executive Committee’s news release, Guidepost “will assist the SBC Executive Committee in its commitment to Christlike behavior and develop policies and systems to better equip the Executive Committee staff and Board of Trustees to serve the best interests of Southern Baptists with integrity and excellence.”


Slade told Baptist Press: “We should have done this two years ago, before Dr. Floyd came [as Executive Committee president and CEO]. We should have just gone through and cleared the deck, cleaned everything up that needed to be cleaned up, so that when he came in, we were moving forward fresh and squared up, rather than finding out these things were happening behind the scenes before he came.”



BP News Friday, June 11, 2021 - 5:10pm

NASHVILLE (BP) – Twenty years from now, historians are going to call the upcoming annual meeting a defining moment for the Southern Baptist Convention. It will determine if the SBC chooses to let the Great Commission and the Gospel define its mission or if it will be seen as a geographical, cultural and political voting bloc. It will determine the basis for SBC unity.


At least that’s the position of James David Greear as he finishes his third year as SBC president. Greear’s association with the SBC presidency began in 2016 when he withdrew his candidacy after neither he nor Memphis pastor Steve Gaines broke the 50 percent threshold despite being the only two candidates. Add in an unexpected third year as president due to the cancellation of the 2020 annual meeting amid COVID-19, and Greear – better known as J.D. – has been a leading figure in Southern Baptist life for half a decade.


“We need to leave St. Louis united,” Greear told messengers five years ago before making the motion to elect Gaines by acclamation. Despite the current day’s divisions in the SBC, unity is a hope he not only holds on to, but sees tremendous evidence of.


“I’ve spoken at most state conventions across the country, and I see Southern Baptists who just want to be about the Great Commission and reaching our neighbors who aren’t like us,” Greear said. “Yes, we all have our political opinions and hold them differently. But our differences on secondary matters ought not be the defining reality of the church.”


That observation has come from his time with “rank and file Southern Baptists across America, whether in big cities or small, rural towns.” The focus, he observed, is on evangelism and missions and not “tertiary and secondary questions.”


“They want the main thing to be the main thing,” he said. “They recognize that our society is changing and diversifying. If we’re going to reach our society, our leadership is going to have to change with it.”


Greear cited the North American Mission Board’s report that 63 percent of its church plants are led by people of color. Fifty-one percent of the appointments he made to SBC committees are also people of color.


“When you see people stepping forward to lead, that’s a demonstration of God doing something,” he said. “He is pursuing a unity of diversity and unity of cause in the SBC that’s preparing to take us in the future of reaching all of our country with the Gospel, not just people in one ethnicity and geographical area.”


According to Greear, the volume level of criticism during his presidency does not match his experience in actual number of critics. But it did lead to unexpected attention in other areas.


“You have a loud and vitriolic small minority that want our Convention to be about preserving the status quo or being divisive over secondary issues,” he said. “I joke that it’s like when Toto pulls back the curtain in the Wizard of Oz. This big, booming voice actually belongs to this one tiny man. That experience has actually been a pleasant surprise and given me hope.


“However, I wasn’t prepared for some of the cheap shots that came against me, particularly my church. People at The Summit couldn’t understand why everything we do is suddenly controversial. We’ve had others take out Facebook ads targeting church members and trying to sully my reputation.”


The SBC’s biggest challenges moving forward are going to begin with the basics, Greear said. That starts with how Southern Baptists see themselves and their mission.


“It’s going to depend on whether or not we’re a Great Commission people, if we’re basing our unity on that or if we’re going to be preservers of a geographical or cultural heritage,” he said. “I’m not talking about compromising on things like the sanctity of marriage, religious liberty or the sanctity of life. Those things are political, and we will always be clear on those things.


“God has not called the SBC, first and foremost, to save America politically. He’s called us to testify the Gospel to all peoples. The rules of engagement are different as to your primary purpose, and that’s going to be a challenge going forward. Are we going to rally around the Great Commission? Are we going to reach those in all parts of the country, not just the red or blue parts?”


The focus, Greear said, should be on presenting and living out the Gospel for a younger generation. Greear pointed to NAMB’s projection that by 2030, more than a third of Southern Baptist churches will be no more than 20 years old.


“I talk to younger pastors, Black pastors, Hispanic pastors all the time who are wondering why they should be a part of this Convention when there’s so much slander and distortion and exaggeration,” Greear said. “That’s going to be a challenge. If we’re going to posture ourselves in a spirit of the Pharisees that treats the traditions of men like they’re the commands of God and be preservers of the status quo, then at that point Jesus said you’re like a whitewashed tomb. The exterior is pretty but you’re filled with bones.


“If we don’t say we’re a Great Commission Gospel people, we’re not only going to lose our [pastors of color], but the next generation of Southern Baptists.”


It is “absolutely” possible to address issues such as racial reconciliation and sexual abuse without placing the Gospel in a secondary position, he said.


“Racial reconciliation is one of the fruits of Gospel transformation,” Greear said. “We always say that vertical reconciliation leads to horizontal transformation. It’s also evangelistic for us. Are we just going to be a church for southern Republicans? Or are we going to be a Convention that reaches everybody? Churches that are seeking to fulfill the Great Commission should reflect the diversity of their communities and proclaim the diversity of the kingdom.


“Sexual abuse is the same thing. What kind of Gospel are we preaching that doesn’t lead to us protecting the most vulnerable in our congregation?”


He added that it is always possible to place a fruit of the Gospel above preaching the Gospel, and is something that must be guarded against. But “in this day and age we’ve got to focus on areas where the Gospel is transforming us. That means how we relate to people around us who aren’t like us as well as to how we protect the most vulnerable.”


Greear said that type of witness in no way includes a compromise on biblical fidelity, but the opportunity to provide a living example of it. An SBC that “loves Baptist doctrine, God’s Word and the Great Commission” doesn’t bend on pro-life positions, religious liberty or issues related to the sanctity of marriage or God’s design for gender, Greear said.


He further confirmed that “without caveat” The Summit Church, all SBC entity heads, state convention executives, SBC officers and other leaders affirm the Baptist Faith and Message 2000, the exclusivity of Christ and the inerrancy and sufficiency of Scripture. Those standards and following the example of Christ are crucial for how the SBC will progress.


“Jesus taught us this when He went to the cross, though in the form of God He considered himself a servant,” Greear said. “That is the mission.”



BP News Friday, June 11, 2021 - 5:05pm

NASHVILLE (BP) – It gives me such joy to see thousands of messengers and churches prioritizing this year’s SBC Annual Meeting on June 15-16, 2021. We are always at our best when we have pastors and laypersons involved in our Convention ministries and annual gatherings.


We are a convention of churches. While we have existing structures to assist our churches, it is all about the churches. Jesus has anointed His Church to advance the Gospel across the world. One day when Jesus returns, He will return to unite with His Church. We are all about the church.


Our challenges are many


It is undeniable our SBC family is facing many challenges. Some are real and concerning. Missing last year’s annual meeting has hurt us immensely. I knew it would be difficult when the decision to cancel was made over a year ago, due to the global pandemic. The negative effect is greater than I anticipated.


Our work is built upon a relationship with God and others. People need each other, and we have not been able to be together. When we gather next week with around 20,000 messengers and guests to our convention, we will see some of you for the first time in two years. Hugs and even tears may come in reuniting with friends.


While we will take the time to work through our challenges and arise stronger through them, our gathering should be overflowing with much joy and jubilant celebration.


Our future is before us


When we review these past few years in Baptist life, we have been rocked with enormous challenges. I encourage you to keep perspective.


Decisions are not based upon the most recent drama on social media. In fact, many Baptists are completely disengaged from social media because they do not find it healthy for their spiritual lives or daily mindset. Please rest assured that decisions are made with due diligence and in order.


This diligence is why, even in the midst of a global pandemic, the churches of our SBC still sent 422 missionaries through the International Mission Board and planted 588 Gospel churches through the North American Mission Board. This diligence is why the churches of the SBC still equipped 24,000 students through our six seminaries. This diligence is why the churches of the SBC still gave $683 million through our Cooperative Program, the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions, and the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering for North American Missions. The Cooperative Program is our priority giving and fuels our Great Commission work regionally, statewide, nationally and across the world.


This is what Southern Baptists do. This is who we are.


This Is why


When we gather next week to conduct important business together, we do so because we want our processes and procedures to assist the Great Commission work of our churches in how we choose to cooperate missionally. Furthermore, we also want to be inspired with the preaching of the Word of God, worshiping together, sending missionaries across America and the entire world and coming together around a unified Great Commission vision called Vision 2025.


For some who may be younger or somewhat new to our family, I want you to know it really is not all about drama when we meet. It is about the mission. We exist because of the mission.


We walk forward together in our common theological beliefs to do our mandated mission assigned to us by our Lord: Presenting the Gospel of Jesus Christ to every person in the world and making disciples of all the nations.


This mission assignment is why we meet. This mission assignment is why we gather. This mission assignment is why we cooperate together.


You see, people need Jesus and people need Jesus now.


That is why reaching every person for Jesus Christ in every town, every city, every state and every nation is of the utmost importance to us.


This is who we are. This is what we do. This is the Baptist way.


Now is the time to lead.



BP News Friday, June 11, 2021 - 4:52pm

NASHVILLE (BP) – Messengers and guests at the 2021 SBC Annual Meeting won’t have to go far for a taste of Nashville, as local food trucks will be available along the side of the Music City Center each day of the convention.


Local businesses will be serving options including brisket, chicken & waffles, lobster and various desserts.


Jeff Pearson, CFO of the SBC Executive Committee, which manages the meeting, said he knew an increased number of nearby food options was necessary as the number of registered SBC messengers continued to climb.


“The city of Nashville and has been so helpful and accommodating for us to be able to have our annual meeting here,” Pearson said. “We are also specifically grateful to the Music City Center for allowing us to provide food trucks to our people here so we can conduct our business of the annual meeting in a more efficient manner.”


The trucks will be located on the sidewalk next to the Music City Center along Rep. John Lewis Way S. and will be open from 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Monday-Wednesday, June 14-16. Nearby is the Marty Dickens Terrace, where tables and chairs will be available.


“We are glad to play a part in opening the city of Nashville up again,” Pearson said, “both to the residents of Nashville and to those visiting the city for the meeting.”


A full schedule and list of the food trucks available each day is below:


MONDAY


Nashville Chicken & Waffles


Love Bus


Tasty & Delicious


Califarmia


Music City Brisket


Logan’s Snack Shack


Bradley’s Creamery


TN Cobbler


TUESDAY


Chang Khan


Love Bus


Music City Brisket


Chang Noi


Dawg Daze


Jay’s Chicago


Roscoe’s BBQ


Cousins Maine Lobster


Fried Green Tomatoes


Bradley’s Creamery


Driving You Donuts


WEDNESDAY


Love Bus


Chicken Shack Express


Chang Khan


Chang Noi


Nashville Chicken & Waffles



BP News Friday, June 11, 2021 - 2:57pm

NOBTS hires Greg Mathias, plans relaunch of missions center


By Gary D. Myers/NOBTS


NEW ORLEANS (BP) – New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary announced the appointment of Greg Mathias as associate professor of global missions, the relaunch of the school’s Global Missions Center, and new scholarships for missionaries and their children.


Greg Mathias

NOBTS and Leavell College President Jamie Dew began using the phrase “prepare here, serve anywhere” to describe the aim of the seminary’s programs when he arrived at NOBTS in 2019. Dew has worked to create a campus atmosphere that prepares students to serve wherever God calls. The school’s mission statement was updated to include “fulfill His mission” to indicate the commitment to global mission efforts. The appointment of Mathias and the reinvestment in the missions center are part of the seminary’s efforts to prioritize mission preparation and encourage more students to be a part of fulfilling God’s mission throughout the world.


These moves represents a response to the ambitious missionary placement goals set by the IMB.


“I was thrilled to learn of the relaunch of the Global Missions Center at NOBTS and the appointment of a former IMB missionary to lead it,” IMB Paul Chitwood said. “This move is further proof that Dr. Dew is serious about New Orleans becoming a ‘prepare here, serve anywhere’ seminary.”


“At IMB, we have set a goal to increase our overseas mission force by an additional 500 missionaries by 2025,” Chitwood said. “Reaching that goal depends on many things but none more important than having trained and qualified candidates who can serve through IMB. The Global Missions Center at NOBTS will help us meet this goal of more trained workers for the harvest fields among the nations. More importantly, it will ensure that more of the lost and hurting around the world receive help and hope.”


Dew said the renewed missions focus is designed to embrace and support Chitwood’s ambitious vision for missionary deployment.


“If we need 500 new missionaries per year to reach IMB goals, then it is time for NOBTS to step up and do the very best she can for the Great Commission,” Dew said. “The hiring of Greg Mathias, the relaunch of our Global Missions Center, and the new scholarship offerings we are giving are major steps we can take towards that end. It’s my prayer that in the years to come future missionaries will come to prepare on our campus, and that they will then go to the nations.”


Read the full story here.



Rudy González joins MBTS faculty to assist with new Spanish Ph.D. program


By Michael S. Brooks/MBTS


KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Midwestern Seminary President Jason Allen announced today (June 11) the addition of Rudy González, who will join the seminary’s instructional faculty in a part-time capacity as professor of Biblical Studies and as assistant director of Midwestern’s new Spanish Ph.D. program.


Rudy González

González comes to Midwestern Seminary after two decades of service in various leadership and teaching capacities, serving most recently as professor of New Testament and dean of the William R. Marshall Center for Theological Studies at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, until his retirement in 2019.


Allen expressed delight in welcoming González to the instructional faculty and into his role in the forthcoming Spanish Ph.D. program, particularly noting González’s strong ties to the Hispanic community.


“Our Spanish studies programs have flourished in recent years under the leadership of Dr. Bobby Sena and his capable staff. The addition of Dr. González in an assistant director capacity will bolster our continued efforts to serve our Spanish-speaking brothers and sisters in theological academic settings and in Southern Baptist churches around the world.”


Sena, who serves as director of Midwestern’s Spanish Studies programs, expressed similar excitement over González’s addition: “Having served faithfully in notable posts prior to joining Midwestern, Dr. González brings the necessary administrative skills to ensure that our Ph.D. program moves forward with efficiency.


“What is more, Dr. González was raised in Mexico, is thoroughly conversant in Spanish, and is comfortable with the diversity of the Latino culture. Few Hispanics have both the academic credentials and life experiences he brings to the table; those who know him can testify to his theological acumen and his heart for the church.”


González is a graduate of Criswell College in Dallas with a Bachelor of Arts in Biblical Studies. He earned a Master of Divinity from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, a Master of Theology degree from Princeton Theological Seminary in Princeton, N.J., and a Ph.D. in Biblical Studies from Baylor University in Waco, Texas.


Read the full story here.



BP News Thursday, June 10, 2021 - 8:13pm

NASHVILLE (BP) – Following the release Thursday (June 10) of audio clips from two 2019 meetings among Southern Baptist leaders regarding how to address sexual abuse in the convention, SBC Executive Committee President and CEO Ronnie Floyd has joined Executive Committee Chairman Rolland Slade in calling for an independent, third-party review.





The move came amid growing controversy after the publication of two letters from former Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission President Russell Moore. In the second letter, which was dated May 31 and addressed to SBC President J.D. Greear, Moore directly and indirectly accused various Southern Baptist leaders of “stonewall[ing]” calls to address sexual abuse in the SBC.





Slade told Religion News Service on Wednesday (June 9) he would call for an independent investigation at the EC’s scheduled meeting Monday (June 14) in Nashville, saying: “It’s never the wrong time to do the right thing.”





In a statement released Thursday after the audio clips had been posted online, Floyd said the EC staff leadership had been working since last weekend toward “securing a highly credible outside firm with the intent of conducting an independent third-party review of the accusations recently levied at the SBC Executive Committee.”





The meetings were recorded and released by Phillip Bethancourt, a Texas pastor who was at the time the ERLC’s executive vice president. In his statement, Floyd described the meetings as “leaders engaging in a scriptural process of coming together with others who have differing opinions on complicated issues and … discussing those differences honestly with a goal of how to best move forward.”





He also apologized “for any offense that may have resulted from my remarks,” but said Bethancourt’s release of the audio recordings was “an attempt to mischaracterize” the meetings “as an effort to avoid addressing the reality of sex abuse.”





The call for an independent review came just days before Southern Baptists gather for the 2021 SBC Annual Meeting, which is set for next week (June 15-16) in Nashville. With more than 16,000 preregistered messengers, it is expected to be the largest in 25 years.





In the May 31 letter to Greear, Moore recounted meetings in May 2019 and October 2019 in which he described opposition to efforts to address sexual abuse in the SBC.





He described as “tense” a May 2019 meeting in Atlanta that included Greear (who is also pastor of the Summit Church in Raleigh, N.C.; Todd Unzicker, Greear’s chief of staff; Floyd; Bethancourt; and then-SBC Executive Committee Chairman Mike Stone. Moore, who was not present, charged that Stone wanted to “delay the formation” of the Credentials Committee, which would be tasked with addressing charges of sexual abuse.





Stone is among four candidates for SBC president at the 2021 Annual Meeting. In a video posted Saturday (June 5) to the YouTube account of his church, Emmanuel Baptist of Blackshear, Ga., Stone called Moore’s allegations “ungodly” and “absolutely slanderous.”





Moore also wrote of a meeting with Floyd in October 2019, following the ERLC’s 2019 Caring Well Conference. In an on-stage discussion with Moore at the conference, lawyer and abuse survivor advocate Rachael Denhollander charged Baptist Press, the convention’s news service operated by the SBC Executive Committee, with mishandling a story related to sexual abuse.





Moore wrote that in the meeting after the conference, Floyd told him “he was experiencing backlash from his chairman [Stone] and others over what we had allowed to happen,” and that they “were especially upset” because the Executive Committee had contributed $250,000 to the ERLC’s efforts to address sexual abuse. 





In a statement Saturday (June 5), Floyd said he did “not have the same recollection of occurrences as stated.” He added: “I do take seriously allegations in this letter which may raise concern for Southern Baptists.”





On Thursday, Bethancourt, who is now the pastor of Central Baptist Church in College Station, Texas, posted an email addressed to Floyd and Stone online, with links to the audio clips.





Bethancourt took issue with Floyd’s and Stone’s statements, and said he was “compelled to do something no one would want to do—become a Southern Baptist whistleblower,” and that their “own words actually corroborate the claims in Russell Moore’s letters.” He attached several audio clips of both 2019 meetings, saying he had recorded them legally under the laws of both states to “ensure both the accuracy of notes and the clarity of follow-up actions.”





In audio purportedly from the May 2019 meeting, Stone said the Executive Committee’s bylaws workgroup was no longer working to create a credentials committee.





“There’s a human factor where good people were thrown under the bus, trying to do their best,” Stone said in the recording. “And now we’re asking the group to trust some of the ones that they feel threw them under the bus.”





Stone also took issue with Bethancourt’s assertion that if the Executive Committee did not act to form a credentials committee, he would bring a motion to the floor of the 2019 SBC Annual Meeting.





“That’s just an unseemly approach to trying to work together,” said Stone said, adding that members of the bylaws workgroup “feel like they’ve been bullied.”





In the October 2019 meeting with Floyd after the ERLC’s Caring Well Conference, Floyd asked what he should tell Executive Committee members about Denhollander’s comments. Moore told him the ERLC “wanted to hear from everybody’s heart, without a muzzle put on them.”





Floyd also said he wanted “to preserve the base” of the SBC. When Moore said the SBC had “several bases,” Floyd agreed, saying: “The old SBC does not exist.”





Calls for an independent investigation began after the publication of Moore’s second letter. Two pastors, Ronnie Parrott of Christ Community Church in Huntersville, N.C., and Grant Gaines of Belle Aire Baptist in Murfreesboro, Tenn., announced Saturday (June 5) they were preparing a motion to make at the Annual Meeting to call for the newly elected SBC president to appoint a task force for the purpose of hiring “a third party to investigate the allegations made against the [E]xecutive [C]ommittee of the SBC” in Moore’s letters.



BP News Thursday, June 10, 2021 - 5:12pm

California pastor Stephen Feinstein to be nominated for SBC 2nd VP


By Timothy Cockes/BP


ELKTON, Tenn. (BP) – Chris Bolt, pastor of Elkton Baptist Church in Elkton, Tenn., has announced his intention to once again nominate Stephen Feinstein, pastor of Sovereign Way Christian Church in Hesperia, Calif., for second vice president of the Southern Baptist Convention at the 2021 SBC Annual Meeting in Nashville, June 15-16.


Stephen Michael Feinstein

Bolt announced in January of 2020 his intention to nominate Feinstein for second vice president at the 2020 SBC Annual Meeting in Orlando, but that meeting was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He again announced his intention to nominate Feinstein for the position on Twitter Wednesday (June 9).


In his thread posted on Twitter, Bolt explained he is now even more confident of Feinstein’s qualifications for the role.


“I am even more encouraged after lengthy conversations with him (Feinstein) regarding our convention,” Bolt said. “Like many of you, Pastor Feinstein and I share concerns about the current state and trajectory of the SBC. We believe Southern Baptists must feel comfortable expressing their agreements and disagreements in an open and honest fashion for the sake of unity in the truth.


“What I really like about Steve is that, whether one agrees or disagrees with him, he does not compromise on his convictions, and is his own man. But he also deeply believes in the work of the Southern Baptist Convention and is representative of its future.”


Feinstein told Baptist Press in January 2020 that he hoped serving in the position would be an example of a small-town SBC pastor with a seat at the table.


“The vast majority of SBC churches are small,” he said. “Yet our convention celebrates large churches and the pastors of large churches. It would be nice for other pastors of small churches to know that the convention values us [small churches] too. This will communicate that pastors don’t have to buy their way into office with large CP donations from their megachurches,” Feinstein said. “If my election in even a small way can communicate this, then that is my main goal.”


Sovereign Way Church, where Feinstein serves as pastor, reported $5,000 in Cooperative Program giving in 2020 according to the ACP. The church reported no CP giving the 5 years prior to 2020.


Feinstein began his teaching ministry at age 20 and began pastoring 10 years later. In addition to his pastoral ministry, Feinstein is a major in the U.S. Army Reserve and has served as a chaplain through the North American Mission Board since 2009.


He holds a master of arts from Liberty University and a master of divinity from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is married to Bonny and they have two children, Rachel and Hadassah.



Students mobilized to ‘go change __________’s world’ at REV 7:9


By Myriah Snyder/IMB


NASHVILLE (BP) – The International Mission Board is introducing the first annual REV 7:9 conference to be held on Dec. 29-31, 2022, in Nashville. “Go change __________’s world,” will be the theme of the conference, a missions movement for 18–25-year-olds. The blank is intentionally placed in the theme to challenge students to think of a person or people group in need of the Gospel.


The vision of the conference is to bring students one step closer to missions through praying, giving and going. Its purpose is to “be a conduit between 18- to 25-year-olds and the nations,” conference organizers said.


“IMB is thrilled to help churches mobilize the rising generation of Christ-followers to steward the Revelation 7:9 vision to get the Gospel to every nation, all tribes, peoples and languages,” IMB President Paul Chitwood said. “To that end, we are excited to announce the REV 7:9 conference.


“This conference will inspire students to go to the nations, pray for the nations and send to the nations. A recent Barna research study found that 51 percent of churchgoers don’t know the Great Commission. Those who attend the REV 7:9 conference will not only know the Great Commission, but they’ll understand their part in the Great Commission and how to live it out.”


IMB leaders envision REV 7:9 to be a place for students and student leaders to participate in missions hands-on in the exhibit hall and interact with missionaries to build partnerships and learn about ways to serve overseas. Information on how to engage in future missions projects will be provided.


“REV 7:9 will be an exciting opportunity for young adults and their ministry leaders to learn how they can connect their lives with the mission of God while in college or after they graduate,” said Chris Derry, the IMB’s director of church and network mobilization.


“It’s our hope to see a movement of young adults join God in how He is at work through IMB teams working among the nations. We want them to grow bolder in their faith by living in community with other missionaries. We want them to leverage their talents, backgrounds and majors to create new opportunities to reach the next generation in global cities. We want them to celebrate the kingdom impact of their praying, giving and going.”


Read the full story here.



BP News Thursday, June 10, 2021 - 4:30pm

CORAL SPRINGS, Fla. (BP) – In the middle class neighborhood of Parkridge Church, cars lined up an hour before opening to receive nonperishable food to help them survive the lingering economic challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.


Volunteers of new church plant Our Destiny Church participated in a recent food distribution at Parkridge Church in Coral Springs, Fla.

“We’re in a neighborhood that’s pretty middle to upper-middle economics, and yet even here there is a need,” Parkridge Church Senior Pastor Eddie Bevill said days after the June 5 event. “People came. The line was formed. We opened the doors at 8 a.m. I got here at 7 and the line was already formed.”


The church counted 375 families among those accepting the food provided by the interdenominational Food for the Poor relief ministry and supported by volunteers from six Southern Baptist churches in Broward County. World of Giving donated the supplies to Food for the Poor, the relief ministry said in a press release.


About 75 people stayed for prayer and the Gospel during the drive-through event, and a few accepted Parkridge’s invitation to Sunday worship.


“They thanked us and just … reiterated that while things are certainly getting better, financially people are still trying to get their feet up under them, some people are, and so every little bit helps,” Bevill said.


The southeast Florida church is near the Broward County – Palm Beach County line. Southern Baptist congregations supporting the effort were Cross United Church of Lighthouse Point and four congregations that meet at Parkridge – Chinese Baptist Church of Coral Springs, Parkridge Korean Church, Iglesia Comunidad de Parkland and Our Destiny Church, a new plant.


Iglesia Comunidad de Parkland Pastor Domingo Arias prays with a woman who received goods during a Food for the Poor distribution hosted by Parkridge Church in Coral Springs, Fla., and supported by several Southern Baptist congregations.

Domingo Arias, pastor of Iglesia Comunidad de Parkland, told Food for the Poor it was “a great honor to talk to people about the Word of God, not only giving them food but also helping them to grow spiritually.”


Jacob Lee, pastor of Parkridge Korean Church, a Parkridge Church plant, told Food for the Poor the event provided a wonderful opportunity to work with other churches in helping families.


Bevill described the lingering financial slowdown as “a mixed bag.”


“On the one hand, I even have personal friends who have lost their jobs and are kind of trying to start over again,” Bevill said, “but at the same time the offerings of our church have been up. So there are some factors that seem counterintuitive, but at the same time we definitely see those who are struggling.”


It was the second distribution Parkridge hosted in cooperation with Food for the Poor with the support of Southern Baptist congregations. The August 2020 distribution included mainly household goods donated by Food for the Poor ministry partner Matthew 25: Ministries .


“We just want to be postured and ready to help when we can, and when there’s a need,” Bevill said. “I feel like if every church in every community is doing what they can with what they have, then that makes a difference, and people appreciate that.”


Alvaro Pereira, FFTP executive vice president for church alliances, expressed gratitude for the churches’ support.


“The Lord has called us to work together and serve the community,” Pereira said.


 






BP News Thursday, June 10, 2021 - 4:20pm

Every four years, athletes and spectators descend on the cities hosting the Olympic games. Historically, volunteer teams from U.S. churches have also journeyed to the Olympics and played active roles in both the Summer and Winter Olympics ministry strategies of IMB missionaries and national partners.


IMB missionaries in Tokyo developed evangelism and outreach plans utilizing both volunteers and Japanese churches and believers. These plans required adapting, first with the postponement of the 2020 Olympics and second with the news that international spectators would not be permitted to attend the games in 2021.


Julie and Scott Bradford


IMB missionary Scott Bradford said they remain committed to engaging the Japanese with the Gospel. Their ministry strategy is evergreen, and they’ve adapted to the changes in the summer Olympics.


“Our vision, our focus as a Tokyo team, is first and foremost, the Japanese,” Bradford said.


IMB missionaries shifted their efforts from being event-oriented to strategy-oriented with a focus on utilizing events to enhance their outreach. Their strategy is two-fold, Bradford said. They will be planting churches and supporting Japanese believers and churches.


Bradford explained that’s not to say they won’t be using events as an entry point for evangelism.


“What we want to do is utilize whatever event is happening, whether it’s the Olympics, whether it is an earthquake or any kind of event,” Bradford said.


“How do we come alongside our local churches in the midst of the event and support them and utilize this event to enhance opportunities for people to have a chance to hear the Gospel and to be exposed?” Bradford said their team has been asking themselves.


IMB missionaries are encouraging Japanese believers not to rely on pastors and missionaries to share the Gospel – it is every Christian’s job to share their faith.


Mobilizing local Christians is central in their strategy, Bradford said.


Hiromi and Rick Price


“We’re trying ways to help them, encourage them, come alongside them, support them and work hand in hand with them to help them engage their community and help the community to see the church in a different way,” Bradford said.


Rick and Hiromi Price are IMB missionaries in Tokyo and are leading the ministry before, during and after the Olympics this summer. The Prices are encouraging Japanese churches to take an active role in reaching out to people at the Olympics.


Technology is one way the Prices and Japanese Christians hope to minister during the Olympics. Rick said they are looking into using QR codes that Christians will distribute in front of venues and inside parks. Scanning the QR codes will open websites with Christian material.


During the Olympics, missionaries and Japanese Christians will be offering conversational English practice in areas where college students congregate.


One part of the initial 2020 Olympic strategy involved renting space in front of an Olympic venue that would be a central outreach hub. The area would have offered sports fans a reprieve from the heat and included a pop-up coffeehouse, a stage, a play area and a space to trade Olympic pins.


While this might not be feasible anymore during the Olympics, the Prices and Bradford said it is a strategy that can be utilized in the future, for instance, using a mobile cart stationed in a park where Christians pass out refreshments and talk to people.


Daniel and Tara Rice, also IMB missionaries in Tokyo, and the Prices investigated community-based activities to introduce people to church in a non-threatening way.


Hosting community festivals is one avenue they are pursuing to minister in communities.


The Prices said their plans for festivals and outreach in parks will continue after the summer Olympics.


Ongoing support from Baptist conventions


Once Japan opens for travel, Bradford said they look forward to utilizing volunteers.


The Hawaii Pacific Baptist Convention, the Northwest Baptist Convention, the California Baptist Convention and the South Carolina Baptist Convention partner with the IMB in East Asia. Several of the conventions planned to send volunteer teams to minister alongside IMB missionaries and Japanese Christians during the Olympics.


Various leaders in the conventions and churches told Bradford and the Prices their commitment to serving in Japan does not center on or around the Olympics – their commitment is to the Japanese people.


“That was really encouraging because that’s really what our focus on the Olympics truly is – it’s on the Japanese people,” Bradford said.


Churches in the conventions plan to send teams once it is possible. The Price’s home church, The Summit Church in North Carolina, plans to send a volunteer team this fall.


*Name changed for security.



BP News Thursday, June 10, 2021 - 4:15pm

NASHVILLE (BP) – According to some, especially in the secular media, funeral arrangements are being made for the once lauded Southern Baptist Convention. Mission drift has morphed into personal rancor. Division, distrust and deception seem to be the rule rather than the exception.


But is this true? Is the SBC experiment in missions, ministry and education over after 176 years of fruitful ministry? Is the SBC a cut flower disconnected from its original life source of Jesus Christ and the mission of the church?


Is the SBC dead? NO!


I paraphrase Winston Churchill when he noted that democracy is the worst form of government in the world, of course, except for all other forms of government. Like democracy, the SBC can be messy, misunderstood and misdirected at times, but it is not dead.


I’m a lifelong Southern Baptist. I was raised in a Southern Baptist church, educated in SBC schools, have served Southern Baptists through local churches, in state conventions and in some of our national agencies and entities.


I have learned that many have prematurely declared the SBC experiment in cooperative, national and global missions dead, not just once but many times. I have seen leaders come and go, and issues rise and fall, yet the SBC remains.


Bolstered by 47,000-plus churches, with six world-class seminaries with 9,000-plus students, two massive mission sending agencies sending out thousands of missionaries and church planters every year, a major publishing entity in Lifeway, along with the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission that speaks to the cultural and moral issues of the day, and with Guidestone Financial Resources to provide insurance and retirement instruments for pastors and other SBC servants, the SBC remains one of the largest, most formidable evangelical instrument in the hands of God on the globe.


And because of the Cooperative Program (adopted in 1925 at the SBC annual meeting in Memphis) the Southern Baptist Convention has a mission-funding process that is the envy of the evangelical, Protestant world. Missionaries and agencies heads can “get at the work” because they do not have to raise monies under the old “society method” due to the generosity of good-hearted Southern Baptist men and women in mostly smaller churches with a vision for world missions.


Are there challenges? YES!


But there have always been challenges. In the early part of the 20th century, it was modernism and mission funding. Those issues were resolved through the reaffirmation of the theological fundamentals and the development of the unified plan of giving called the Cooperative Program.


In the middle to later parts of the 20th century it was theological liberalism and institutional drift. Those problems were solved through the “Conservative Resurgence” and the further clarifying of the SBC’s confessional statement known as the Baptist Faith and Message 2000.


The issues today are CRT, identity politics, women in ministry and a whole host of other issues such as decreasing church attendance and a serious decline in baptisms.


These issues are serious, formidable and, if left unaddressed, lethal to the great experiment of SBC cooperative missions and education.


Is there a remedy? YES!


Yes, there is a remedy. It is the same remedy Southern Baptists have turned to in the past and, if we’re smart, we’ll turn to again: Confessionalism, Confession, Commission, and Cooperation.


First, it begins with the fact that Southern Baptists are a confessional people. That is, there are some things that we believe and that we must constantly reaffirm. I would argue that we must intentionally and annually reaffirm our commitment to the BF&M 2000. This is not a redundancy. A constantly shifting lost world needs to hear a constantly clear word from God. Our statement of faith is narrow enough to confirm that there are truths Southern Baptists gladly believe. It is also wide enough that it allows for a variety of applications in the 47,000-plus autonomous Southern Baptist churches.


We must “resolve” every year our commitment to biblical truth through the Baptist Faith and Message 2000. In doing so it can keep us biblically guided and missionally anchored. If we neglect our statement of faith, we neglect a rather effective tool for keeping us on track doctrinally, missionally and cooperatively.


Second, rooted in a strong theological confessionalism, Southern Baptists must be a people who constantly confess our sins, our need for Jesus Christ, our need for the enabling power of the Holy Spirit, our need for personal transformation and institutional renewal and our need to address whatever issues we face from a robust biblical posture with a humility born of being a needy people.


With biblical humility we can address racial reconciliation, protect the abused and fulfill our Great Commission mission to a needy and lost world. And we can do so apart from worldly mechanisms and processes. Humility is not a sign of personal weakness or theological spinelessness. Christian humility is simply transferring the ground of our confidence from self to our great, triune God and His all-sufficient, inerrant, infallible and clear Word.


Third, armed with a clear confessionalism and a humble confession of our constant need for God, Southern Baptists must be reminded of our commission, our great commission – preach a clear Gospel, develop disciples, plant and build churches, educate the called and send missionaries to the ends of the earth. We are not faced with the false choice of choosing doctrine over missions or missions over doctrine.


Without a clear confession of our articles of faith, we may get to the mission field with nothing to say. If we have only a clear confession of faith yet with no mission outlet, then we may never get to the mission field. Instead, Southern Baptists must be robustly and simultaneously biblical and missional. We go on mission because of what we believe, not despite it.


Finally, Southern Baptists must relearn cooperation. To be divided by genuine, doctrinal heresy is understandable, even necessary at times. But, for the most part, that’s not what divides us. What currently divides Southern Baptists is the media mania, twitter trolls, political identities and wrong perceptions of others. We are isolated and insulated from each other. We live in our own silos. It is time we relearned cooperation.


Armed with a robust confessionalism, coupled with a humble confession of our own neediness for God and each other, we can accomplish God’s great and good commission and do so cooperatively, proving that the rumors of the SBC’s death have been greatly exaggerated.



BP News Thursday, June 10, 2021 - 3:53pm

NASHVILLE (BP) – While the rewritten Business & Financial Plan up for vote at the SBC annual meeting next week has generated a lot of discussion, its overarching goal is to generate more transparency and accountability among SBC entities.


That’s the assessment of Robyn Hari, chair of the Committee on Convention Finance and Stewardship Development with the SBC Executive Committee. Hari’s daily role as director and managing partner of the Nashville office for Diversified Trust lends to her understanding of the issues outlined in the Business & Financial Plan.


The motion by former SBC EC President and CEO Morris Chapman, then as a messenger to the 2019 SBC Annual Meeting, for “greater transparency” in the Business & Financial Plan was the first of its kind in at least 30 years, said Hari. She noted that the updated version covers several key areas.


Among those is the preamble, which Hari said “outlines the intent of the Business & Financial Plan, the spirit and cooperative nature behind it.” In short, it outlines what the document does and does not speak to as well as serves as an outline to the structure and organization of the SBC.


That provides messengers with a basic view of how the SBC functions and polity, according to Hari.


“It states the expectation we have of cooperating together – Executive Committee, entities and the entire SBC family,” she said. “It also addresses the legal authority within our entity boards and expresses the goal of the Business & Financial Plan, which is to give Southern Baptists confidence that business is being conducted properly and we’re being good financial stewards.”


Other changes included updated language and “all of the current and highest standards of accounting” as well as the annual entity confirmation.


While the responsibility of the Business & Financial Plan was placed upon the Executive Committee, Hari called it “a group effort.” That began with the Committee on Convention Finance and Stewardship Development, which formed an ad hoc group of six members to focus directly on the assignment. In particular, the group was assigned with enhancing transparency and creating more accountability of entities, all the while understanding the autonomy of those entities and recognizing the responsibility of their respective boards. Honoring SBC messengers and churches in the process was paramount.


EC staff and leadership played key roles in keeping the project on time and on task, she pointed out. SBC legal counsel and leadership from all 11 entities, as well as others with expertise or knowledge for specific areas, also brought input. The perspectives of those entities and others provides “great guidance and best practices” in helping form the Business & Financial Plan.


Hari addressed Article VI.C. and concerns that it can prohibit messengers from nominating and electing trustees from the floor during the annual meeting, saying that was “not at all” the case.


“Keep in mind that serving on one of our boards as a fiduciary for that entity is a huge responsibility,” Hari said. “The Business & Financial Plan provides for the training of trustees prior to their nomination to … help them understand their responsibility and confirm their willingness to serve.”


It is the right of messengers to be able to nominate and elect a trustee from the floor, if an uncommon one, Hari added. But any who are would complete the assignments outlined in the Article prior to their first meeting with the entity board.


Article XIII.A. also has created discussion as to transparency. In actuality, Hari said it would lead to more transparency by creating a clear path for access of financial information.


“Remember, we as SBC messengers are the ones who elect the trustees to our various entities,” she said. “The boards are responsible for establishing those approved policies in order to respond to questions about finances. These board members we’ve elected allow a direct path to them rather than us going through entity staff.”


Hari said another area of discussion, the annual entity confirmation, also provides greater transparency.


“First, it provides a summary and synopsis of key elements of the Financial Plan,” she said. “It lays out the expectations of the entities and requires affirmations not just from the entity CEO/CFO but also the board chair. It also defines any consequences for noncompliance.


“The goal is to give members of Southern Baptist churches confidence that the things outlined in the Business & Financial Plan are being followed and there truly is cooperation among the entities and Executive Committee.”



BP News Thursday, June 10, 2021 - 3:43pm

NASHVILLE (BP) – It’s an activity that requires only a ball and glove. Yet, John Powell believed in simple acts like a game of catch. Such things had the power to lead to much bigger changes, he reckoned. Powell believed in the power of something simple becoming something great.


“He was like a renaissance man,” said Kody Gibson, who worked for Powell at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, where Powell was at one time the director of admissions.


Powell’s death almost a year ago left a gaping hole in the lives of many, including Gibson, who recalled Powell’s “fun ways to get to know people.”


“One of those ways,” he said, “was to get a baseball and toss.”


So, that’s what Gibson and Powell did. Whether it was just to get out of the office for a few minutes or during a student preview day, the two would find a spot and throw. It was so relaxing, freeing of the current stresses, that Powell, Gibson and Florida pastor Dean Inserra decided to have the first official/unofficial “SBC Toss” at the 2016 Annual Meeting in St. Louis.


Packed schedules for all three made it a challenge, but determination won out. On the final day, dodging forklifts that were moving displays being torn down, they held the first SBC Toss in the exhibit hall.


It lasted 15 minutes before they were kicked out. But still, a tradition was born.


“We tried to pretend we were there on official SBC business,” Inserra, pastor of City Church in Tallahassee, Fla., said with a laugh.


Powell’s final act testified to his love for others, even as it took his life. On July 18, 2020, he died while attempting to help a motorist whose car had been struck and caught fire. Powell, who had four young children with his wife, Katherine, was 38.


“John was serious about the things he needed to be serious about but would also have a good time with buddies and relax,” Inserra said. “At the Toss, nobody cares about the size of your church or who you’re voting for president. You can relive glory days and laugh with friends and not take yourself too seriously.”


Since it began, locations for the Toss have improved and the number of attendees has grown. In 2018, more than a dozen showed up at Dallas Baptist University’s baseball field. Samford University played host on its diamond in 2019, with 20 participating. This year, 45 have signed up through an Eventbrite page.


In his honor, the John Powell Memorial Toss will take place Monday (June 14) at 9 a.m. at the Walk of Fame Park, which is located adjacent to the Music City Center across Demonbreun and Rep. John Lewis Way streets.


Minimal athletic ability is needed for any man or woman who wants to participate. If you can throw a rock – and let’s face it, many in church life are good at that – you can throw a ball. Powell would show up in jeans and his Kansas City Royals hat. Gibson was a southpaw pitcher for Ouachita Baptist University from 2005-07 with a nasty curve, but those days are far behind him. Inserra was a high school catcher who became a lifelong coach and now serves as a chaplain for the Florida State University baseball team.


“John was an influential guy and great at bringing people together,” said Gibson, who is now director of enrollment and communications at Phoenix Seminary. “Toss is about that, especially in a time like this where there is division.”


Inserra agreed, saying, “If there’s ever a year when we need something like this, it’s now. Let’s have some fun.”



BP News Thursday, June 10, 2021 - 3:05pm

NASHVILLE (BP) – This weekly Bible study appears in Baptist Press in a partnership with Lifeway Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. Through its Leadership and Adult Publishing team, Lifeway publishes Sunday School curricula and additional resources for all age groups.


This week’s Bible study is adapted from the Bible Studies For Life curriculum.


Bible Passage: Revelation 2:8-11


Discussion Questions:



  • What riches have you experienced because of your relationship with Christ?

  • How do suffering and hardship work to strengthen our faith?

  • What are some practical ways to reject fear and embrace God’s promises for the future?


Food for Thought:


Tradition says John was the only apostle not martyred for his faith. But late in his life, around A.D. 95, he lived on the island of Patmos in the Aegean Sea, just off the coast of Asia Minor (Revelation 1:9). He was exiled there because of his bold ministry for Christ, primarily in the city of Ephesus.


John recounted how, on one Lord’s day, he was in the Spirit when he witnessed a vision of the risen and exalted Christ (vv. 8-20). The Lord commanded John to write down what he was about to hear and see, and send it as letters to seven churches in seven cities of Asia Minor (v. 11).


In Revelation 2:8-11, John wrote to the church in Smyrna. Jesus’ message to the believers began with encouragement: “I know your affliction and poverty, but you are rich” (v. 9). The church at Smyrna was a poor church with few resources. Still, Jesus described them using one word: “rich” (v. 9). Their lack of material and financial wealth did not completely define them; their spiritual blessings in Christ, however, did.


Jesus told the church at Smyrna not to fear what they were going to face. They had endured tremendous trials, tribulation and persecution in the past – and more was still to come. We are told repeatedly in Scripture not to be afraid, and Jesus reminded the believers in Smyrna of that instruction. The believers at Smyrna needed these words of encouragement because persecution did come. The Jews hated the Christians as much as the pagans did, and they sought to imprison and even kill them.


Jesus’ words to the church in Smyrna ended the same way His earlier message to the church in Ephesus did: “Let anyone who has ears to hear listen to what the Spirit says to the churches” (v. 11). He wanted the churches to not just hear the words but take them to heart. They were to act on the instruction they had just received.


This message was given to the church in Smyrna, but it is a message that is relevant to us today. True, lasting riches are only found in Christ. Though we may face suffering and persecution, in Christ we are conquerors. He has secured our victory.


Bible Studies for Life


Bible Studies for Life connects the Bible to life for adults, students and kids. Bible Studies for Life helps individuals and groups know God’s Word through trustworthy content, creates biblical community through engaging and conversational group studies, and helps people engage the culture missionally by unpacking what the Bible says about real-life issues. More information can be found at biblestudiesforlife.com.



BP News Wednesday, June 9, 2021 - 4:52pm

NASHVILLE (BP) – SBC President J.D. Greear led the third and final Wednesday sessions of focused prayer for the 2021 SBC Annual Meeting today (June 9) at 2 p.m. CDT.


Greear, who is pastor of The Summit Church in Durham, N.C., has issued a call for all Southern Baptists to pray and fast in the weeks leading up to the meeting June 15-16 in Nashville.


The 30-minute time of prayer focused on the three areas Greear has highlighted – Great Commission mobilization, unity in the Gospel and the Holy Spirit’s anointing on the meeting.


Greear was joined on the call by three SBC leaders who each prayed for specific areas – Katie McCoy, assistant professor of theology in women’s studies at Texas Baptist College; Marshal Ausberry, pastor of Antioch Baptist Church in Fairfax Station, Va., and SBC first vice president; and Ronnie Floyd, president and CEO of the SBC Executive Committee.


Watch the prayer call below.




BP News Wednesday, June 9, 2021 - 4:38pm

SPOTSYLVANIA, Va. (BP) – Adam Blosser, pastor of Goshen Baptist Church in Spotsylvania, Va., will be nominated for Southern Baptist Convention recording secretary at the SBC 2021 Annual Meeting June 15-16 in Nashville, he announced today.


David Miller, pastor of Southern Hills Baptist Church in Sioux City, Iowa, will nominate Blosser to the post.


“I’ve known Adam for quite a while, and I think he’s a young SBC pastor, the kind of man we need in leadership,” Miller said today (June 9). “But I think the main thing is we just need new leadership at the Executive Committee, and I think he would be just an excellent asset to that ministry. I think he’d do a great job. So that’s our hope.”


Miller described Blosser as a “very intelligent, sharp young man” who is “very precise and devoted and committed to our cooperative work.”


Blosser, the only announced challenger to longtime recording secretary John Yeats, announced his intention to seek the post today at sbcvoices.com, a blogging site independent of the SBC.


“The job of SBC recording secretary is not glamourous,” Blosser wrote. “Our annual meeting is an important gathering as we come together once a year for two days to do the business of our convention. If elected, it will be my pleasure to serve Southern Baptists in these important ways,” he said in referencing the pertinent responsibilities.


The SBC recording secretary is responsible for the record of SBC proceedings, for training volunteers for convention business sessions and for the final edits of the SBC Book of Reports and the SBC Annual. The recording secretary serves as an ex officio member of the SBC Executive Committee. Yeats has held the position for 24 years.


Goshen Baptist Church, where Miller has Blosser has served as senior pastor since July 2016, gave $24,584, or 10 percent of its undesignated receipts, to the Cooperative Program in 2020, according to Annual Church Profile (ACP). The church averaged 108 in weekly Sunday attendance in 2020.


“I believe in our cooperative work,” Blosser said in announcing his intentions. “I have led our church to increase our giving to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering, Annie Armstrong Easter Offering and Vision Virginia state missions offering over the five years that I have been here. We have sought mission partnership overseas. Our church sponsors a NAMB (North American Mission Board) church plant in Fredericksburg, Va. And we are working locally to serve our neighbors and take the Gospel to them.”


Blosser previously served at Drakes Branch Baptist Church in Drakes Branch, Va., leading youth and children from 2009-2013 and serving as senior pastor from 2013-2016.


Blosser holds a bachelor’s degree from Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va., and a Master of Divinity from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, N.C. He and Ashley, his wife of 10 years, have four children – Hudson, Addie, Amos and Calvin.



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