MUSLIMS OUTPACING CHRISTIANS IN BIRTHS, PEW SAYS

By Diana Chandler
Baptist Press

The growing birth rate among Muslims will put the group’s population at nearly equal that of Christians globally by 2060, according to Pew Research. In this BP file photo, Muslims are praying at Jakarta's Masjid Istiqlal, the largest mosque in Southeast Asia.

The growing birth rate among Muslims will put the group’s population at nearly equal that of Christians globally by 2060, according to Pew Research. In this BP file photo, Muslims are praying at Jakarta’s Masjid Istiqlal, the largest mosque in Southeast Asia.

NASHVILLE (BP) — Muslims are so outpacing Christians in births that the two population groups will be nearly equal by 2060, with Christians holding only a slight majority, according to newly released Pew Research data.

An increase in Muslim births compounded by an aging Christian population will put the Muslim share of the global population at 31 percent by 2060, just under the 32 percent for Christians, Pew said in its April 5 report.

Muslim births are nearly double the overall growth rate of the global population, Pew said, characterizing Islam as the youngest major religious group with the highest fertility. Atheists, agnostics and adults who don’t specify a religion, together classified as “nones” by Pew, lag far behind both Muslims and Christians in reproduction. [Read more…]

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VOLUNTEERS NEEDED FOR CROSSOVER

Baptist Press

170407crossoverPHOENIX — The goal of this year’s Crossover is to “Engage Phoenix with the Gospel” through a partnership with Harvest America.

North American Mission Board and Arizona Southern Baptist Convention leaders are praying for more than 5,000 salvation decisions through this summer’s Crossover activities prior to the 2017 SBC annual meeting in Phoenix.

But for that to happen, they need the help of Southern Baptists to come and serve as volunteers, according to Eddy Pearson, evangelism director for the Arizona Southern Baptist Convention. [Read more…]

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LACK OF PLAN MARKS CHURCH RESPONSE

By Bob Smietana
Lifeway Research

170404domesticviolence1NASHVILLE — When it comes to domestic violence, Protestant pastors want to be helpful but often don’t know where to start.

Most say their church would be a safe haven for victims of domestic violence.

But many don’t know if anyone in their church has been a victim of domestic violence. And only half say they have a plan in place to help if a victim comes forward.

Those are among the findings of a new report on churches and domestic abuse from Nashville-based LifeWay Research, based on a phone survey of 1,000 Protestant senior pastors. Scott McConnell, executive director of LifeWay Research, said churches want to help victims of domestic violence but aren’t always effective at doing so.

“Many pastors aren’t aware if domestic violence is happening in their congregation,” McConnell said. “And even if they are aware, they often don’t know how to help.” [Read more…]

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VICTIM: TREAT DOMESTIC ABUSE WITH CARE

LifeWay Research

depressed-woman-cryingNASHVILLE — Investigating claims of domestic violence can backfire for churches, said radio host and speaker Autumn Miles, who partnered with LifeWay Research on a study about churches and domestic violence.

Miles, a past victim of domestic abuse, said it’s difficult for victims to come forward and ask a church for help. And when they do, they often need immediate assistance. They can’t wait for a church to do an investigation before deciding to help. [Read more…]

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TX CHURCH MOURNS LOSS OF 13 MEMBERS IN BUS TRAGEDY

Editor’s Note: One of the victims in the accident was Addie Maurine Schmeltekopf. She was the sister of Carrol Kelly, who retired as executive director of Tennessee Woman’s Missionary Union in 2001.

By Diana Chandler
Baptist Press

Thirteen senior adult members of First Baptist Church of New Braunfels, Texas, were killed Wednesday (March 29) in a bus accident on their way home from a three-day retreat.

Thirteen senior adult members of First Baptist Church of New Braunfels, Texas, were killed Wednesday (March 29) in a bus accident on their way home from a three-day retreat.

NEW BRAUNFELS, Texas (BP) — “Death could not hold Him,” proclaims the website of First Baptist Church of New Braunfels, Texas. The bright Easter message of Jesus’ resurrection sits just above the tragic announcement of 13 members who died Wednesday (March 29) in a bus accident.

“When we’re absent from the body, we’re present with the Lord,” First Baptist New Braunfels pastor Brad McLean told San Antonio CBS affiliate KENS5 News hours after the crash. “We know that their families are going to be hurting and our church family is going to be hurting.”

McLean cancelled Wednesday evening services and opened the sanctuary for prayer after the members of the senior choir were killed when a pickup truck crossed the center lane in a curve, state troopers said, and struck the bus head-on on Highway 83 in Concan around 2 p.m. The bus driver and one church bus passenger survived and are hospitalized. [Read more…]

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N.C.’S REPEAL OF RESTROOM BILL CALLED ‘A LOSS’

By David Roach
Baptist Press

170331nc-state-houseRALEIGH, N.C. (BP) — North Carolina legislators have repealed a controversial law that required individuals in state buildings to use restrooms corresponding to the gender indicated on their birth certificates.

The repeal of House Bill 2 today (March 30) marked a compromise between Democrats and Republicans and culminated more than a year of contentious debate since the bill’s passage in April 2016.

North Carolina’s senate passed the repeal 32-16 following brief discussion. The house’s 70-48 vote to repeal HB 2 followed more than two hours of debate and came some 90 minutes after a noon deadline set by the NCAA for the Tar Heel State to overturn its restroom bill or lose the opportunity to host championship events in 2018-22. [Read more…]

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COMMITTEE ON RESOLUTIONS NAMED FOR 2017 SBC

Baptist Press

Barrett Duke of Montana was named chairman of the SBC Committee on Resolutions by SBC President Steve Gaines.

Barrett Duke of Montana was named chairman of the SBC Committee on Resolutions by SBC President Steve Gaines.

PHOENIX (BP) — Southern Baptist Convention President Steve Gaines has named the members of the Committee on Resolutions for the June 13-14 SBC annual meeting in Phoenix.

Gaines, pastor of Memphis-area Bellevue Baptist Church, appointed the committee in keeping with the provision in SBC Bylaw 20 that its members be named 75 days prior to the start of the annual meeting.

Gaines named Barrett Duke of Montana as committee chairman. Duke is the newly elected executive director of the Montana Southern Baptist Convention and a member of Weems Creek Baptist Church in Annapolis, Md.

The other committee members, in alphabetical order, are:

— Ken Alford, pastor, Crossroads Baptist Church, Valdosta, Ga.

— Felix Cabrera, co-founder, Hispanic Baptist Pastors Alliance; pastor, Iglesia Bautista Central, Oklahoma City, a mission of Oklahoma City’s Quail Springs Baptist Church.

— Linda Cooper, national president of Woman’s Missionary Union; member, Forest Park Baptist Church, Bowling Green, Ky.

Phoenix, AZ.

Phoenix, AZ.

— Jason Duesing, provost and associate professor of historical theology, Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Kansas City; member, Antioch Bible Baptist Church, Gladstone, Mo.

— David Leavell, pastor, First Baptist Church, Millington, Tenn.

— Matthew McKellar, associate professor of preaching, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Fort Worth, Texas; member, First Baptist Church, Dallas.

— Jeffrey Riley, professor of ethics, New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, New Orleans; member, Edgewater Baptist Church, New Orleans.

— Rolland Slade, pastor, Meridian Southern Baptist Church, El Cajon, Calif.

— James Smith, vice president of communications, National Religious Broadcasters, Washington, D.C.; member, Covenant Community Church, Fredericksburg, Va.

The committee’s composition, according to Bylaw 20, must include at least two members who served the previous year, with Cooper, Duesing, Slade and Smith meeting this requirement. Bylaw 20 also stipulates that the committee include at least three SBC Executive Committee members. This year they are Alford, Cooper and Slade.

The procedure for submitting resolutions is as follows according to Bylaw 20:

— Proposed resolutions may be submitted as early as April 15 but no later than 15 days prior to the SBC annual meeting, giving the Resolutions Committee a two-week period in which to consider submissions. The committee also may propose resolutions for consideration during its deliberations. Resolutions may not be submitted during the annual meeting.

— Proposed resolutions must be accompanied by a letter from a church qualified to send a messenger to the SBC annual meeting certifying that the individual submitting the resolution is a member in good standing.

— Proposed resolutions preferably should be submitted by email or mailed to the Committee on Resolutions in care of the SBC Executive Committee, 901 Commerce St., Nashville, TN 37203. The drafts must be typewritten, titled, dated and include complete contact information for the person and his or her church.

— No person will be allowed to submit more than three resolutions per year.

— If a properly submitted resolution is not forwarded by the Committee on Resolutions to the SBC annual meeting, a two-thirds vote of messengers would be required to bring the proposed resolution to the convention floor.

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GHOST TOWN CHURCH SEES HOLY GHOST REVIVAL

By David Roach
Baptist Press

Faith Christian Fellowship in Organ, N.M., has seen 500 percent growth over the past four years despite its location in an area classified as a ghost town. -Photo by Joe Seale

Faith Christian Fellowship in Organ, N.M., has seen 500 percent growth over the past four years despite its location in an area classified as a ghost town.
-Photo by Joe Seale

ORGAN, N.M. (BP) — With numerous dilapidated buildings and only 323 residents according to the 2010 U.S. census, Organ, N.M., appears on at least one website listing American ghost towns. But Pastor Mitch Newton prefers to think of it as a Holy Ghost town because of the surprising work God has done through the town’s Baptist church.

Over the past three years, Faith Christian Fellowship has grown from five worship attendees to more than 25. The congregation has baptized six people over that span, with three more baptisms scheduled for the coming weeks.

On one occasion, a man jumped in the baptistery while his 80-year-old parents were being baptized, professed that he also wanted to be saved and was baptized with them.

“God is so faithful,” Newton, 71, told Baptist Press. “… He is doing the whole work. I don’t do anything. I just open my mouth” after a week of study and preparation, “and we let the Lord take it from there.” [Read more…]

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‘JESUS’ FILM REACHES MILLIONS

Baptist Press

A group of kids in South Asia watch a version of the "JESUS" film adapted for children. Since the film was first released in 1979, it has been reworked and adapted many times for different audiences in addition to being translated into 1,500 languages.

A group of kids in South Asia watch a version of the “JESUS” film adapted for children. Since the film was first released in 1979, it has been reworked and adapted many times for different audiences in addition to being translated into 1,500 languages.

ORLANDO — The “Jesus” film will be translated into its 1,500th language this month.

Josh Newell, the Jesus Film Project’s director of marketing and communications, told Baptist Press that the latest translation — into Daasanach, a language spoken by an ethnic group inhabiting parts of Ethiopia, Kenya, and Sudan — is part of the project’s initiative to reach the world’s remaining 865 language groups that have 50,000 or more speakers.

It’s a “big milestone,” Newell said — “a celebration of a partnership from Bible translators to church planters to individuals who use it throughout the world to reach people from far-flung corners to city high rises.” [Read more…]

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DISCIPLE-MAKING TASK FORCE CONTINUES

By Diana Chandler
Baptist Press

Robby Gallaty

Robby Gallaty

NASHVILLE — A group tasked with encouraging and teaching disciple-making among Southern Baptist churches will extend its work an additional year, task force chairman Robby Gallaty told Baptist Press.

Gallaty, hosting a task force meeting here March 9, said the group will not issue a report at the 2017 Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting in Phoenix. The task force will instead seek an additional year to evaluate discipleship and strategize. They plan to give their report at the 2018 SBC annual meeting in Dallas. [Read more…]

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