The Need for a Local “We”

The Need for a Local “We”
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By Rick Wheeler, Lead Missional Strategist for the Jacksonville Baptist Association in Jacksonville, FL

Five years ago this month, I became the Lead Missional Strategist for the Jacksonville Baptist Association (JBA). When I started, I brought no five-year plan in my pocket. Instead, I stepped into a journey with our association’s pastors and church leaders, praying together and seeking God’s direction on what a local SBC network should look like in the 21st century. And during this time, I’ve been blessed to see something unprecedented in my [cough, cough] years of ministry: God is consistently bringing churches together within our association to form new lanes of missional collaboration.

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Four Ways the Gospel Unites Us in Our Differences

Four Ways the Gospel Unites Us in Our Differences
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By Trillia Newbell, Director of Community Outreach for the ERLC and member of the SBC Women’s Ministry Advisory Council

Recently, I had the joy of meeting with various women’s ministry leaders throughout the SBC. In the course of those interactions, I was struck with the fact that we were all so very different. There were varying ages, backgrounds, ethnicities, and doctrinal convictions, but we had one thing in common, the gospel. Because of that, it was as if we had known each other forever. We easily entered into fellowship with one another and shared joys, burdens, and suggestions freely.
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State Conventions and Evangelism: Cooperation, Capacity, and Contextualization

State Conventions and Evangelism: Cooperation, Capacity, and Contextualization
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By Kevin L. Smith, President of the Kentucky Baptist Convention

As a pastor, I stand with the 3,500 Baptists in my local church. However, as president of the Kentucky Baptist Convention, I stand with 750,000 Baptists in my state convention. We all stand together, united in the mission of Christ. The task before us is great. The spiritual darkness we are encountering in our culture is real. No individual congregation—regardless of size, location, or leadership capacity—can accomplish this task alone. State conventions exist to enhance and expand a congregation’s ability to participate in this disciple-making task.  We stand shoulder to shoulder with one desire: to see the Great Commission pursued to the ends of the earth!
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So-Called “Smaller” Churches and the Future of the SBC

So-Called “Smaller” Churches and the Future of the SBC
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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.
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Where Are the Soul-Winners in Our Southern Baptist Churches?

Where Are the Soul-Winners in Our Southern Baptist Churches?
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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.
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Why Urban Church Planting is Crucial for Southern Baptists Right Now

Why Urban Church Planting is Crucial for Southern Baptists Right Now
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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.
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