A report released by the Southern Baptist Commission this week suggests that the country's largest denomination outside of the Roman Catholic Church is struggling to bring in new members from the Millennials and younger age group demographic.
According to the Pastors' Task Force on SBC Evangelistic Impact & Declining Baptisms, 25 percent of Southern Baptist churches baptized no new members in 2012, while 60 percent reported no baptisms for youth between the ages of 12 and 17. Also indicative of the denomination's struggle to attract Millennials were the 80 percent of churches which reported baptizing one or zero adults between 18 and 29.
Ed Stetzer, the President of the Southern Baptist-linked Lifeway Research, who worked on the team headed by Al Gilbert, the Vice President of Evangelism at the North American Mission Board which created the report, suggested the denomination had not focused enough on intentionally reaching non-Christians. more >>
Russell Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, clarified that his recent criticism of a Christian talk radio program as missing a redemptive message was not aimed at all Christian talk radio programs.
During a speech at the ERLC's Leadership Summit in Nashville on April 22, Moore said, "I listened on the way back up here from my hometown to some Christian talk radio this week, against my doctor's orders. And, honestly, if all that I knew of Christianity was what I heard on Christian talk radio, I'd hate it, too. There are some people who believe that fidelity to the Gospel simply means speaking, 'You kids get off my lawn.' That is not the message that has been given to us."
In a broadcast two days later, Christian talk radio host Janet Mefferd said she was offended at what Moore said and called on him to apologize. Also, Bott Radio Network President Richard Bott reportedly sent Moore a letter asking him for a public apology. more >>
Speaking at the third annual "Washington: A Man of Prayer" event Wednesday, Pastor Robert Jeffress said that while members of Congress can debate immigration, healthcare and taxation policies, there are some issues that are beyond debate.
"Issues such as the value of life inside and outside the womb, the sanctity of marriage between a man and a woman, the right to religious freedom for every human being and the compassionate treatment of the poor. … For the Judge of the universe has already rendered His opinion," Jeffress said in Statuary Hall at the United States Capitol in Washington.
Jeffress, senior pastor of the 11,000-member First Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas, was joined by Fox News host and former Republican governor of Arkansas Mike Huckabee and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) at the event, which was held to commemorate "the events of April 30, 1789, when … President [George] Washington, accompanied by Congress, proceeded to St. Paul's Chapel where, as one of his first official acts, the president offered a prayer of dedication to God on America's behalf," according to the event website. more >>
Bart Barper, who pastors First Baptist Church in Farmersville, Texas, spoke about religious freedom and sexuality at last month's Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission's annual leadership summit that was held in Nashville, Tennesse.
Barper caught up afterwards with The Christian Post where he explained why he stuck up for the developers who wanted to build an Islamic Center near Ground Zero, and why "God bless America" makes him feel uncomfortable and why Hobby Lobby matters.
The following is an edited transcript of the interview. more >>
NASHVILLE — Trillia Newbell, who serves as a consultant for Women's Initiatives at the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, was one of two women at its leadership summit last month to address the dozens of Southern Baptist pastors and church leaders.
Newbell, who recently authored United: Captured by God's Heart for Diversity, caught up with The Christian Post afterwards and shared why she believes the church should talk more about female pornography addiction and how churches should handle sex abuse allegations.
CP: What do you think the church needs to talk about more with regards to women and sex? more >>
Mark Harris, pastor of a North Carolina megachurch who is seeking the Republican nomination for a U.S. Senate seat, has come under scrutiny for accepting church offerings during his campaign.
Harris is currently on leave from First Baptist Church in Charlotte to focus on his campaign win the state's May 6 primary election. However, he has made several recent church appearances as an invited preacher where he has accepted money that could be a violation of campaign finance laws.
"I would hope the pastor would make it very clear that we're taking up a love offering for Mark Harris the pastor, not for the campaign," Harris said, according to North Carolina-based WRAL-TV. "Some of these guys are very aware that I'm on a personal leave of absence without pay, and I have no income. So, should the church take up a love offering, that would be no different from them taking up a love offering when I was preaching revival there or preaching any other meeting." more >>