Earlier this year I attended the International Christian Retail Show in Atlanta, an annual gathering of authors, speakers, and publishers from around the world. When I heard that my pastor, Dr. Charles Stanley, was doing a book signing in the conference exhibit hall, I sheepishly showed up. "I promise I'm not stalking you," I told him with a giggle. "I just came by to cheer you on."
If ever I start to get overly skeptical about humanity, I just need to show up to a Dr. Stanley book signing and watch as long lines of people tell him their stories of how his messages have impacted their lives and helped transform their relationships with the Lord. As I stood back and observed loyal listeners and readers light up when it was their turn to shake his hand, I teared up and thanked God that I had been given the immense privilege of sitting under his preaching and teaching for my entire life. "Thanks for letting me be part of the fan club," I whispered to Phillip Bowen, the CEO of In Touch Ministries, Stanley's broadcast organization. "You're part of the family," Bowen responded.
In that moment I was reminded of how First Baptist Atlanta has been more than just my church for the past 30 years. It is indeed my family. And Dr. Stanley has been more than just the pastor. He has been my pastor. Today, as he turns 82 years old, Dr. Stanley remains like a grandfather in the faith to me and countless others who have been personally shaped by his ministry over the years. more >>
Perry Noble admits that he loves taking the offering in church as much as he enjoys giving money because he does not see it as an obligation but rather as an opportunity. Moreover, he believes "there is not a better investment on the planet than the local church!"
Noble made his comments about taking and giving money in a blog post after his South Carolina church, NewSpring, kicked off "The Church Just Wants Your Money" sermon series on Sunday.
"I love taking the offering in church. I'm sure you expected me to say that; after all, I am a megachurch pastor and it's really easy to take shots at guys like me when we talk about money," said Noble. more >>
Pastor Perry Noble of NewSpring Church took to social media on Sunday to announce that 2,335 people had been baptized throughout their 10 South Carolina campuses.
Noble and his megachurch often celebrate large baptism and salvation numbers but he says the church in general needs to do a better job at celebrating God's work, including the name and story behind each individual.
"Over and over again His people are called to celebrate who God is and what He has done," Noble wrote in a blog post. "As His church, we should refuse to be silent when He has been so good … every number has a name, every name has a story and every story matters to God." more >>
S. Truett Cathy, the 93-year-old billionaire and founder of Chick-fil-A, died early Monday morning surrounded by family, according to a spokesman for his company.
In a statement released soon after Cathy's death, the company announced that a public funeral will be held for the Chick-fil-A founder on Wednesday at First Baptist Jonesboro in Jonesboro, Georgia.
The Southern Baptist Convention, hoping for both a dramatic and unifying agent for change, announced Wednesday the election of 36-year-old pastor and Radical ministry founder David Platt as president of its International Mission Board.
"I believe Southern Baptists want to come together for the spread of the Gospel," said Platt, who leads a movement called Radical that is devoted to platforming and disseminating disciple-making resources, so that the Gospel "might be made known to the ends of the earth."
"I'm living and leading for the day when the IMB is needed no more because there are no more unreached people groups," Platt. senior pastor of The Church at Brook Hills in Birmingham, Alabama, said during a telephone conference for the press on Wednesday. "I want to trumpet the Great Commission, disciples made, God glorified here, and God glorified among unreached people around the world. I am exhilarated about the possibilities ahead." more >>
Christian couples should marry sooner, an ethicist and a pastor with the largest Protestant denomination in the United States argue.
Andrew Walker, director of policy studies for the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, and Jon Akin, senior pastor of Fairview Church in Lebanon, Tennessee, made the argument in a column for the Baptist Press earlier this week. While not advocating a specific age for marriage and noting the diverse situations for people, young people should still look toward marriage sooner, they said.
"We do not advocate a specific age; rather, we believe that young people should make themselves 'marry-able' younger," wrote Walker and Akin. more >>