LAS VEGAS – I recently spent time in Southern California with 600 church planters and their wives during a Send Network Gathering. They are all planting churches in the Mountain and Pacific time zones. If you could have been there in that room with those men and women of God who are joining in the mission of God, you would be so encouraged by what God is doing in North America and among our Southern Baptist family of churches.
The average pastor in America is fifty-seven years old, which is thirteen years older than it was just three decades ago. Yet, many pastors find themselves put out to pasture or placed on the shelf once they turn 50. This means an unknown number of average-aged preachers await phone calls and emails that never come, while search committees look to fill pulpits with younger pastors.
Administrators at one of the largest hospitals in America researched the reason for their overcrowded emergency rooms. Parkland Hospital of Dallas, Texas, made a startling discovery as they looked for ways to unclog the system. They analyzed data and found eighty patients who went to four emergency rooms 5,139 times in a twelve-month period, costing the system more than $14 million. They sent teams to meet with them and determine the reason. Their conclusion? Loneliness.
ALPHARETTA, Ga. — “Buried with Christ in baptism and raised to walk in the newness of life.” These words, and others like them, have been declared by pastors thousands of times across North America in the last few years as people who have placed their faith in Christ for salvation have been baptized. This act of obedience and public proclamation of faith in Christ is a blessing to behold.
The Christian Index is so excited to play a part in helping Georgia Baptist churches find pastors when their pulpits are vacated. We’ve heard heartwarming stories of how the Lord has matched pastors to churches via our classifieds section. An important part of that has been a classifieds newsletter we started about a year ago that lists churches looking for pastors or other staff members.
Camp ministries provide campers, and pastors, an important experience that can become a defining part of their Christian lives. The Georgia Baptist Mission Board operates Camp Pinnacle and Camp Kaleo, as well as hosting camps for youth at other locations. Last year alone, Camp Pinnacle in Clayton, Ga., hosted nearly 500 girls at missions camps on its scenic property in the north Georgia mountains. Hundreds more youth visited Camp Kaleo or participated in “Impact,” “SuperWow” and “Surge150” camps. Many of them were called to faith in Christ or to a life of ministerial service through those experiences.
It seems that everywhere I turn these days for information and inspiration, the emphasis is on leadership. Books on leadership make up a sizable portion of the Christian non-fiction market. Blogs, podcasts and seminars on the subject abound. A recent Facebook post screams: "The church is desperate for good leaders.” No doubt that's true; yet I submit to you that the church stands in greater need of good followers.
I encountered this eye-catching quote from a book by Charles Martin entitled Chasing Fireflies which has been part of my bedtime reading to relax the mind after a busy day: “It’s the bad that let’s you know how good the good really is.”
For most believers, the phrase “mission field” evokes images of an isolated village in Kenya, an indigenous people group in the Amazon, or an underground church in China. But did you know that most Christians in the United States can reach the mission field in just a few steps from their home? A mission field exists in their own backyard: their neighborhoods.
February 24 marks one year since the start of the war in Ukraine. It’s been one full year of loss of life, liberty and land. Our hearts grieve with Ukrainians and long for an end to the war. Will you join missionaries serving in Europe with the International Mission Board in a 24-hour time of fasting and prayer for Ukraine?