HOUSTON – Instead of business as usual at the Southern Baptist Convention Annual Meeting held today and Wednesday, SBC President Fred Luter said he is hoping the meeting will spark a revival in the United States.
"We will have our first evening service in several years; but not just an ordinary service," Luter wrote in a letter to attendees prior to the conference. "Tuesday night will be an old-fashioned revival service! No business, other than doing business with God! No reports, no resolutions, no announcements, just dynamic music led by the gifted and talented Charles Billingsley, followed by the president's sermon."
Yes, the issues of SBC church's ties to the Boy Scouts of America, differences of opinion on Calvinism, and religious liberty are planned for discussion. However, the special session set for Tuesday evening at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston, where the two-day meeting is held, is designed to set the tone for something more. more >>
Statistics compiled from churches belonging to Southern Baptist Convention for the association's Annual Church Profile for last year show declining numbers in several key areas, including membership, average attendance, baptisms and total monetary giving. Despite some positive news shown by an increase in the amount of membership churches, SBC Executive Committee President Frank Page expressed his discouragement.
"When I first heard the report of our ACP, I said, 'God forgive us and God help us.' We are thankful for every person won to Christ and every person enrolled in Bible study and discipleship and involved in missions," said Page, as reported in a Baptist Press article by the communications director for LifeWay Christian Resources.
"We are thankful for the millions who are a part of worship in our Southern Baptist churches," he said. "However, my heart breaks when we realize the overall decline in our numbers." more >>
Pastor David Platt, founder of a Christian resource ministry named "Radical," announced that he will be doing a free live simulcast from the Middle East later this summer with a small group to help kick off churches and book study groups that will be following the curriculum from his book Follow Me: A Call to Die. A Call to Live.
The broadcast from the Middle East coincides with a trip by Platt to the region already planned for unrelated ministry work, Radical's executive director, Jim Warren, told The Christian Post on Wednesday. The hosting missions team organizers in the region asked that no specifics to the trip be disclosed to the media.
"I'm excited to share with you that on Wednesday, August 14, I'm going to gather together with a small group of brothers and sisters in the Middle East to dialogue about what it means to follow Christ – to die to ourselves and to live in Him," Platt, the pastor of The Church at Brook Hills in Birmingham, Ala., wrote in his blog published Tuesday. "This dialogue will be simulcast live (and free) from the Middle East as a kick-off for many churches and small groups who will be walking through Follow Me in the fall." more >>
A new study from LifeWay Research reveals that more than half (57 percent) of Americans become more interested in God when a natural disaster occurs.
About one-third (31 percent) said their interest in God doesn't increase after such catastrophes, the Nashville-based research organization found, and 12 percent were unsure. The study, which was conducted just days after a powerful EF5 tornado ravaged Moore, Okla., on May 20, also revealed that Americans were divided about how they feel toward God "when suffering occurs that appears unfair."
One-third (33 percent) of the 1,040 American adults surveyed said such suffering causes them to put more trust in God. One-quarter (25 percent) said it makes them confused about God and 16 percent said they don't think about God at all during such times. Suffering that appears unfair causes another 11 percent to wonder if God cares, seven percent doubt God's existence, five percent become angry toward God and three percent resent Him. more >>
A new report from LifeWay Research reveals that many churchgoers are not open or transparent about their faith.
The Nashville-based research organization's survey identifies being "unashamed" as one of eight attributes of discipleship that are consistent marks of maturing believers.
"There are two elements to this discipleship attribute: being unashamed of Jesus Christ around nonbelievers and showing transparency among other Christians," said Scott McConnell, director of LifeWay Research, in an article about the study. "This transparency is seen when a mature disciple is open to spiritual accountability and willing to share about challenges with other believers." more >>
When it comes to good parenting, Americans rank "loving" as a top characteristic. Being a "committed Christian," meanwhile, is a much less desired trait, according to a new poll by LifeWay Research.
The online poll, which surveyed 1,054 adult Americans on March 25, 2013 and provides 95 percent confidence that the sampling error does not exceed +3.1 percent, separated the results on the qualities needed for fathers and the qualities needed for mothers, as determined by the voters.
For mothers, 85 percent of respondents said that it was mandatory that they be "loving." "Supporting, " "protecting," "encouraging" and "understanding" made up the other top five choices, in that order. Fewer people chose "committed Christian" (26 percent) as a mandatory trait for good parenting than "religious" (35 percent). more >>