Yesterday, the closest mosque to me held an open house and having business in the vicinity, I stopped by. This is an annual event that draws quite a crowd of local, non-Islamic visitors. The small parking lot was full and cars were parked up and down the street. The open house included guided tours of the facility, information about Islam and the local center, questions and answers, free food, some "sweet water" from Mecca, free literature, and some Islamic art. As with the only other mosque I have visited (the al-Hussein Mosque adjacent to the mammoth souk in Cairo) visitors had to remove … [Read more...] about A visit to my local mosque
One of the best metaphors relating to life as a pastor is one I first heard from a state convention staffer. He told a story about a pastor and said that every pastor has a bank account of goodwill and that a wise pastor will conserve what he starts with and add to it as often as possible. Sadly, the story was about a pastor who in one fell swoop completely emptied his account. The more common metaphor used of a pastor newly arrived on a new church field is that of a honeymoon. Maybe six months or a year and it's over. Perhaps sooner. We live in a time when churches no longer give … [Read more...] about You should give your pastor a large bank account
No, this isn't about clever Baptist lines like fried chicken being the "Baptist bird" and it certainly isn't about the lamentable clichés that are the bane of SBC preaching but rather is appreciation for the brethren who go beyond the usual word useage. Here are a few current examples: _____ Franklin Kirksey, in a desperate search for that perfect alliterative sermon point, said that The fear of the Lord emancipates and embays life. While he may have secretly resorted to the thesaurus, he gets points for finding a moderately more interesting term for his sermon. Louis was kind to … [Read more...] about Excursions in Baptist vocabulary – updated
Agony We've read for some time about the coming tsunami of church closures and now at least one state convention has a program and staff person whose responsibility includes "serving interested churches that are near closing and helping find creative solutions like mergers, cooperatives with other churches, or even utilization of property for church planting." Sad to see but I'm glad there is a resource person in this area for churches to utilize. A sub-plot in this church closure/merger business is will be megachurches grabbing the assets of dying or dead churches for their real estate … [Read more...] about SBC agony, irony, enmity, and apathy.
SBC This Week has a list, something for which I have an inveterate predisposition, on the SBC for this year: 10 Questions for 2017: 1. What will be the response to the revamped Pastors Conference in Phoenix? 2. Will we start to see leadership transitions in southern states? 3. How will a Trump presidency affect religious liberty? 4. How will the new CSB translation from LifeWay be received? 5. Will the LifeWay building be occupied in 2017? 6. How will the changing online education landscape affect SBC seminaries and baptist colleges? 7. Will limitless missionaries start to become a … [Read more...] about Things to watch in the SBC in 2017
About a month ago the CP was reported by Baptist Press to be significantly lower than the previous year. Someone even wrote an article about it. After December's CP receipts were reported by the Executive Committee, all is about the same as last year. National CP .04% above last year's first quarter Give my colleague and fellow Georgian William Maxwell of the Tennessee Baptist Convention credit for his observation last month that advised "“Pay[ing] no attention until the end of the first three months.” It simply takes that long for the calendar to work itself out and the trends begin to … [Read more...] about Cooperative Program…about the same as last year
1. Big Ten, Pac 12 football. Does anyone require an explanation? 2. Alliterative sermon outlines. Forgive my fervent yet forlorn and perhaps foolish foray into the subject. Adrian could make it work but no one since. 3. The silly idea that only megapastors can be SBC presidents. God, give us a faithful pastor of a sub-megachurch as president...before I die. 4. Any pastor who asks, "Are you tracking with me?" I'm tracking the talking, preaching cliche of a pastor who uses the phrase. 5. The evaluation of everything in the SBC on the basis of Calvinism. Why would any noncal … [Read more...] about Some things that should be left behind in 2017
Here is my completely subjective list of the top Southern Baptist news stories of 2016. Presumably, all of our colleagues will be occupied with Christmas gaiety and not make news between now and the end of the year. The rankings are meant to be generally taken. _______________ 1. Russell Moore's strident opposition to Donald Trump and reaction from some segments of the SBC The Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission CEO, Russell Moore, was a heavy critic of Donald Trump. Some segments of the SBC objected to what was seen as imbalance in his anti-Trump. One mid-level SBC personage spoke … [Read more...] about Top ten Southern Baptist news stories of 2016
The venerable "Billy Graham rule" has served many ministers well over the years. The rule is a simple concept: not being alone with another woman not one's wife. I suppose there are variations and exceptions but those who follow it do not arrange private luncheons with another woman and some go to the extent of not ever being alone with another woman. The latter is impractical, perhaps impossible to follow for some single staff churches with a secretary. The pastor may well be in the building alone if he maintains any office hours at all. I'm curious if the rule which is in its seventh … [Read more...] about Replacement of the Billy Graham rule?
National CP 4.13% under projection The percentage drop featured in the Baptist Press story above is a bit less negative than the actual CP receipts for the first two months of the fiscal year as compared to the first two months last year: a drop of 5.07%. That is a significant number although there is some variation in how states might send the checks to Nashville, so the two consecutive monthly drops may be quickly reversed. The most recent trend for the CP is that it has leveled off and even shown slight increases at the national level. The economy is doing better, state conventions … [Read more...] about Not good news, Cooperative Program 2016-17 is down significantly