By Travis Smalley, Lead Pastor, Lakota Hills Baptist Church & NAMB Send City Missionary for Cincinnati, OH
I was being interviewed for a pastoral position in a small rural church in eastern Ohio. The first question took me off guard: Why would you come to a place like this? These wonderful people did not think they had much to offer me or the community. I handled the question with the obvious spiritual answer, “I go where God calls me to go.” And, in fact, God did call our family to serve there for a number of years.
Continue reading “So-Called “Smaller” Churches and the Future of the SBC”
By James Merritt, pastor of Cross Pointe Church in Duluth, GA
What have younger Southern Baptists lost in terms of evangelism that previous generations had? Perhaps I should somewhat broaden the question by replacing “younger” with “contemporary.” I don’t want to make only the “younger generation” the scapegoat for addressing what both objective statistics show and our subjective hearts know: Southern Baptist churches are not evangelizing like they used to.
Continue reading “Where Are the Soul-Winners in Our Southern Baptist Churches?”
By D.A. Horton, urban church planter, previously the National Coordinator for Urban Student Missions at NAMB
The United States is “browning” statistically and spiritually. That’s what Richard Rodriguez calls the contemporary blending of the cultural and ethnic hues residing in our country.
Continue reading “Why Urban Church Planting is Crucial for Southern Baptists Right Now”
By Josh King, lead pastor of Sachse’s Church in Sachse, TX
Ask five people what it takes to revitalize a church, and you will likely get five different answers. Depending on the day, you may even get ten different answers. Most people who are trying to revitalize churches have more questions than answers: What should I do to fix things here? What should I avoid? And what would actually qualify as a “win?”
Continue reading “Church Revitalization: Changing the Question”
By Kathy Ferguson Litton, National Consultant for NAMB for Ministry to Pastors’ Wives
Forty years ago this summer I became the wife of a Southern Baptist pastor. The world has so rapidly changed since that time that the ministry we knew and practiced then is for a world that doesn’t even exist anymore. But many of us in the ministry don’t seem to have changed with it, and that is, I believe, one of the great obstacles Southern Baptists face in reaching the world in front of us. We have focused more on protecting our subculture and our churches rather than the mission of the gospel. Thom Rainer’s commentary is spot on, “When the preferences of the church members are greater than their passion for the Gospel, the church is dying.”
Continue reading “Sharing the Gospel in a Rapidly Changing Culture”
By Matt Capps, senior pastor of Fairview Baptist Church in Apex, NC
Throughout Southern Baptist history, the debate on non-Calvinist and Calvinist soteriology has varied from a murmur to a roar. I predict, however, that many Baptist historians will point to the early 2000s as a watershed moment on this issue among Southern Baptists.
Continue reading “Is There Really a Calvinist/Non-Calvinist Divide in the Younger Generation?”
By Dean Inserra, pastor of City Church in Tallahassee, FL
“The Bible Belt is the most difficult place in America to pastor a local church.”
These words, spoken to me by a pastor friend in northern California, seemed comical at the time. I felt like I was taking the easy way out by going to pastor in the South. My West Coast friend was the one who was really on mission, I thought, and I was getting ready to pastor in the land of sweet tea and prayer before the kickoff at the high school football game.
Continue reading “The Bible Belt: Four Challenges to Ministry in the Land of the Over-Churched and Under-Reached”
By Alan Cross, author of When Heaven and Earth Collide: Racism, Southern Evangelicals, and the Better Way of Jesus
“You shall not wrong a sojourner or oppress him, for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt.”—Exodus 22:21
“You shall not oppress a sojourner. You know the heart of a sojourner, for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt.”—Exodus 23:9
“You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God.”—Leviticus 19:34
“Love the sojourner, therefore, for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt.”—Deuteronomy 10:19
Continue reading “Immigration, the Gospel, and Southern Baptists in a Nation in Turmoil”
By Robby Gallaty, Senior Pastor of Long Hollow Baptist Church in Hendersonville, TN
Chuck Kelley, president of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, recently wrote an article entitled, “The Great Commission: Where Are We Now?” In the article, Dr. Kelley makes a passionate plea for a return to biblical disciple-making by charting the decline of baptisms in our Convention over the past 15 years. He writes,
Continue reading “An Evangelism Dilemma We Can’t Ignore”