MISSIONS EFFECTIVENESS EXAMINED BY SBC LEADERS

By Karen L. Willoughby
Baptist Press

R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, discusses the importance of advancing the Gospel locally, regionally, and globally during a panel discussion Monday, June 13 in St. Louis. -Photo by Miranda Johns

R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, discusses the importance of advancing the Gospel locally, regionally, and globally during a panel discussion Monday, June 13 in St. Louis.
-Photo by Miranda Johns

ST. LOUIS (BP) — Entity leaders discussed ways to be more effective in global missions during one of 18 Cooperative Program panel discussions held June 13-15 in conjunction with the Southern Baptist Convention’s annual meeting in St. Louis.

The videotaped discussion took place at one side of the America Center’s exhibit hall with Jon Akin, pastor of Fairview Baptist Church near Nashville moderating.

Responding to his questions were Frank S. Page, president of the SBC’s Executive Committee; R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary; Danny Akin, president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary; and David Platt, president of the International Mission Board.

Moderator Jon Akin opened the discussion by asking Page about a report on the decline in attendance, members and baptisms in Southern Baptist churches. Does this indicate America is going to become like Europe — post-Christian, unchurched? [Read more…]

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CONFERENCE AIMED AT ‘REACHING THE NATIONS’

By Diana Chandler
Baptist Press

160621Reaching-The-NationsBRENTWOOD — Spreading the gospel among the more than 42 million foreign-born refugees, immigrants, and international students in the U.S. is the focus of the Reaching the Nations in North America conference, an upcoming national event spearheaded by North Carolina Baptists in conjunction with the Tennessee Baptist Convention, the International Mission Board, and the North American Mission Board.

Termed “diaspora missions,” ministry to those in the U.S. living outside their birth countries, can help evangelize unreached, unengaged people groups, conference organizer Chuck Register told Baptist Press.

“The summit is designed to heighten the awareness of denominational leaders and local church practitioners to the millions of foreign-born residents God has guided to the U.S. and to focus our attention and efforts on engaging immigrants, refugees, and international students with the gospel for church planting,” said Register, executive leader for church planting and missions partnerships with the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina. “Many of these groups are classified as unreached people groups or unreached and unengaged people groups.” [Read more…]

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LOTTIE MOON OFFERING REACHES $165.8 MILLION

By Julie McGowan
Baptist Press

Christian worker Gary Warrior (name changed) leads praise songs and teaches a Bible study in a national's home at night. Providing clean water to communities gives Warrior and his team a welcome reception in people’s homes, and they are often open to the message of the gospel. -IMB Photo

Christian worker Gary Warrior (name changed) leads praise songs and teaches a Bible study in a national’s home at night. Providing clean water to communities gives Warrior and his team a welcome reception in people’s homes, and they are often open to the message of the gospel. -IMB Photo

RICHMOND — Southern Baptists provided resounding support through the 2015 Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions.

Finalized in early June, the 2015 Lottie Moon offering totaled $165.8 million — the highest total in the 127-year history of the offering. The offering surpassed the previous all-time record of $154 million in 2013 by $11.8 million. The 2014 Lottie Moon offering totaled just over $153 million.

Through June 7, Tennessee Baptists have contributed $10,726,904 to the Lottie Moon offering. The amount is approximately 10 percent ahead of last year. The Tennessee Baptist Convention will continue receiving LMCO gifts through November of this year. [Read more…]

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TENNESSEAN TO CHAIR IMB TRUSTEES

IMB News Office

Scott Harris

Scott Harris

RICHMOND — The International Mission Board is ready to move forward into a future of partnership with churches that empowers limitless missionary teams who are making disciples and multiplying churches among unreached peoples and places for the glory of God, International Mission Board President David Platt told the agency’s trustees May 11.

In addition to hearing this vision for the future, IMB trustees also approved the appointment of 29 new missionaries; recognized the longtime service of two faithful missions servants as they retire; and elected new officers during their May 9-11 meeting near Richmond. [Read more…]

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FIRST SHOW UP, THEN PARTICIPATE

By Randy C. Davis
TBC Executive Director/Treasurer

Randy C. Davis

Randy C. Davis

There is an old expression that states that about 80 percent of life is just showing up. That may be true, but it begs the question: So what do you do once you get there? That’s easy. Participate.

That would be my advice to any minister or messenger wondering whether to attend the annual Southern Baptist Convention meeting, and especially this meeting coming up in a few weeks in St. Louis. Show up and participate.

Personally, I believe every Southern Baptist Convention meeting is important. Look back through our history and the annual meetings are key markers on our journey as a denomination. Yes, we’ve tackled some tough issues along the way, but as the largest evangelical network of churches in the United States gathered via elected messengers, we have collectively committed through the years to embrace the centrality of the gospel of Jesus Christ communicated through an inerrant Scripture. [Read more…]

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MOVING FORWARD WITH THE IMB

By Randy C. Davis
TBC Executive Director

Randy C. Davis

Randy C. Davis

It’s not whether you win or lose, but how you play the game.

We’ve all heard that sports cliché and frankly it is one I don’t particularly like. Yes, it does matter how you play the game, but the point of playing the game is to win. However, how we deal with setbacks reveals our true character and builds resiliency. Like Thomas Edison once said, “Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like hard work.”

Southern Baptists, it is time to put on our overalls and get back to the hard work that defined us as people who had a passion for sharing the gospel and building great universities, seminaries, hospitals, and mission boards. We did the hard work of sacrificial giving to fuel all these endeavors, often during some of the most economically depressed times in our country’s history. Hard work is in our DNA, and it is time to seize the opportunities that lie ahead. [Read more…]

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THE IMB: WE MUST REFOCUS AS WE RESET

By Randy C. Davis
TBC Executive Director

Randy C. Davis

Randy C. Davis

Almost everyone has seen the U.S. Navy’s Blue Angels perform their amazing aerial acrobatics. These highly skilled pilots are among the best of the best in the world. The “Blues” as they are nicknamed, fly $60 million F/A-18s inches apart at hundreds of miles per hour. There is virtually no margin for error. These pilots strive for perfection every time.

But they are not perfect. Immediately after every “mission,” the Blues debrief every moment and dissect each to the smallest detail. The point is not to dwell on the past but to improve for the future.

In a sense, Southern Baptists need a debrief in the wake of approximately 1,000 International Mission Board missionaries and staffers stepping away from Great Commission work. The purpose of such a rigorous introspection would be to improve for the future. We need to refocus and reset.

In a previous column (“IMB: How Did We Get Here?” in the March 9 issue of the Baptist and Reflector), I offered six observations why I believe Southern Baptists should step back and evaluate our advance of the gospel. My assessment is that we’ve lost evangelism as a priority, that we’re failing at discipleship, that we’ve become financially selfish, that we’ve focused on maintaining the “SBC Machine” more than the mission, that we’ve become prideful, and that we’ve created unrealistic expectations by extending our missions force beyond our financial resources. [Read more…]

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IMB ADDRESSES BAPTISM NUMBERS

By David Roach
Baptist Press

A decrease in international baptisms reported is due largely to changes in data-reporting methods, the International Mission Board said. -BP photo.

A decrease in international baptisms reported is due largely to changes in data-reporting methods, the International Mission Board said.
-BP photo.

NASHVILLE (BP) — Decreases in the number of baptisms and new churches reported by International Mission Board missionaries during the past decade reflect changes in data-reporting methods and missions strategy, not a lack of evangelistic ministry.

That’s the conclusion of a March 21 IMB news release issued in response to observations that overseas baptisms for 2015 are at their lowest level since 1969 — 54,762, according to the IMB’s 2016 Ministry Report to the Southern Baptist Convention’s Executive Committee, down from a high of 609,968 reported for 2007. [Read more…]

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ANSWERS STARTING TO COME FROM IMB

By Lonnie Wilkey
Editor, Baptist and Reflector

Lonnie-WilkeyIn the Jan. 27 issue I wrote a column expressing concern about the lack of information coming out of the International Mission Board. The IMB had made some major decisions about needing to cut between 600 and 800 missionary/staff positions due to overspending by $210 million over the past five years or so.

In addition, the IMB announced it was eliminating its Communications Center in Richmond with 30 of the 40 employees losing their jobs. Ten were reassigned to other areas.

I was critical of the IMB for their lack of information. President David Platt was not available to the media. I stand by what I wrote at the time. It was valid and needed to be brought out. [Read more…]

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THE IMB: HOW DID WE GET HERE?

By Randy C. Davis
TBC Executive Director

Randy C. Davis

Randy C. Davis

It was a dark day two weeks ago when International Mission Board President David Platt stepped to the microphone to inform Southern Baptists that 983 missionaries and 149 IMB staffers were stepping away from their involvement in taking the gospel to the nations. Dr. Platt described it best when he spoke of the “heaviness” of the day. I agreed, and wondered, “How’d we get here?”

That’s a question worth exploring. It is important to learn from our past so that we can make necessary changes that positively impact our future. There are lessons here for all of us, and as Christians, we need to pause and take stock in how this applies to us individually and collectively. [Read more…]

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