Comforting A Community, Disaster Relief, & Ukraine Response

Four miles from the Tops Friendly Markets mass shooting, North Buffalo Community Church Pastor William Smith is comforting a crying community. The forecast only called for a small chance of severe weather on April 12 in Salado, Texas, but before the day was over, and EF-3 tornado would change the small town forever. And Texas Baptist Disaster Relief Workers have just returned from working in Poland where they served refugees from Ukraine.

Refugee Crisis, Ukraine Aid, & The Skit Guys

The unmatched, global refugee crisis calls for the United States to increase its support for the tens of millions of people who have fled their homes because of religious persecution and other causes, a bipartisan commission says. As stories of tragedy and heartache continue to emerge from the ongoing crisis in Ukraine, Send Relief is grateful for the generosity and commitment of Southern Baptists to help Christian brothers and sisters and other refugees in Eastern Europe. And the first-ever family film from The Skit Guys, a Christian comedy duo, is in theatres nationwide.

$100M Gift, State of the Bible, & Special Needs Ministry

Samford University has received the largest single donor gift ever received by an institution of higher education in Alabama – $100 million from the Marvin Mann estate. Nearly 40 percent of Generation Z believe Jesus was a human and sinned like other people when He lived on earth, the American Bible Society reveals in State of the Bible 2022. And in a First Person on Baptist Press, Sandra Peoples encourages church to prepare to welcome children with special needs to their Vacation Bible School this summer.

Inflation, Parsonages, & Apathy

Inflation and higher prices at the gas pump are effecting churches across the country. Charlie Houck loves serving as lead pastor at Mesa Church in San Diego. Just as much, he’s a fan of the parsonage that came with the building when Mesa launched in October 2020. And pastors often deal with churchgoers with strong opinions, but they’re much more concerned about the people in their congregations who don’t seem to care much at all.

Prison Ministry, Abortion Rights, & The Disciple’s Path

Robert Hyde, the immediate past pastor of Grace Baptist Church in the Louisiana State Penitentiary, is now a free man after being granted parole a few weeks ago. The U-S Senate failed to pass a bill Wednesday to legalize abortion. The bill would have codified the right to access abortion into federal law and guaranteed the right of health care providers to perform abortion services. And in a First Person piece on Baptist Press, David Jeremiah encourages Christians to walk on the disciple’s path with Jesus.

Eternal Hope, Church Planting, & Christ’s Return

Send Relief volunteers from First Baptist Church of Folsom, La., recently set up a medical clinic for Ukrainian refugees as they crossed into Moldova. They checked vital statistics and other basic health needs. Cliff McCray was playing football at the University of Central Florida (UCF) in 2007 when one of his teammates tragically passed away. Through the tragedy, God led McCray to faith and kickstarted a journey that led to full-time ministry and church planting. And in a lesson from Bible Studies for Life, Lifeway writers draw from Matthew 24 to bring an encouraging reminder of the second coming of Jesus Christ.

Pregnancy Support Centers, Double Burdens, & Worship Music

Tensions are high after weekend attacks at pregnancy support centers and protests at churches following the leaked Supreme Court document indicating the possible overturn of the court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade decision. Baptist ministers in Ukraine express a double burden, helping others survive the war while struggling to survive themselves. And a new study entitled “Worship at the Speed of Sound,” from Southern Wesleyan University professor Mike Tapper and colleagues, found that the lifespan of a hit worship song has declined dramatically in recent years.

Missions History, FCA Discipleship, & Purity Culture

In 57 Seconds, a video series produced by the International Mission Board, you can hear truths of God’s work around the world throughout history and how Southern Baptists have joined Him in biblically sound ways. Coaches constantly encourage their teams to focus on the fundamentals. Now, a new tool from Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) is helping coaches and players do the same when it comes to discipleship. And in a First Person piece on Baptist Press, Dean Inserra shares a portion from his new book Pure: Why the Bible’s Plan for Sexuality isn’t Outdated, Irrelevant, or Oppressive.

Cartoon Ministry, Serving Schools, & Next Gen Leaders

Joe McKeever, a well-known Baptist minister famous for drawing cartoons and caricatures for Baptist publications, has announced his intention to donate his entire archive of cartoons and other works to the John T. Christian Library at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary (NOBTS). As the school year starts to wind down, there are still opportunities for churches to serve schools in their area. And one of the ways churches can reach the next generation is to value the next generation pastor, according to Shane Pruitt of the North American Mission Board.

National Day of Prayer, Infertility, & Consistent Prayer

Today is the National Day of Prayer. Christians will gather across the United States to pray for our nation. Traci Newell had plans when she married her husband, Mark. In particular, the couple wanted children. Those plans came to fruition but took a path different from most. And n a recent Lifeway Research study, over 70 percent of pastors say they need consistency in personal prayer.

SCOTUS Leak, Apologetics, & Our Judge and Savior

Evangelical leaders are weighing in on the leaked draft of an opinion related to a significant abortion related case being considered by the Supreme Court. A Texas church is plowing new ground in the area of apologetics – the defense of the Christian faith. And in a Bible Study from Lifeway, we’re reminded of how Jesus Christ is both Savior and Judge.

Importance of Evangelists, Religious Freedom, & Prayer’s Power

The Southern Baptist Evangelists Fellowship is actively look for the next generation of evangelists through personal contact, mentorship, one-on-one relationships and encouragement. The Taliban’s return to control of Afghanistan headlined the examples of religious freedom deteriorating in multiple countries last year, USCIRF said in its annual report issued April 25. And Robert Hefner from Pleasant Garden, North Carolina recently traveled to Ukraine to see how his church and other churches could help people facing devastating conditions due to Russian attacks.

Global Family Tree, Community Connections, & Pastors’ Needs

One question puzzled Answers in Genesis researcher and biologist Nathaniel T. Jeanson for decades: What was going on in pre-Columbus America before Europeans arrived? A couple of years after Kason Branch planted Creekstone Church in Keller, Texas, he had an idea that he believed would improve his community. And in the current fast-paced, high-pressure American culture, pastors are stressed, and they know that needs to change.

Teacher Shortage, Narrow Escape, & Women’s Ministry

A national shortage of teachers in public elementary, junior high and high schools is opening a door for local churches to provide assistance to schools. It was broad daylight, but Sarah Taylor knew if the stranger managed to pull her into the car, she would likely die. She fought. And Lifeway Christian Resources hopes its newly released “CSB Lifeway Women’s Bible” encourages women of all ages to study God’s Word and be inspired to grow and worship alongside their community.

Defending the Faith, Abortion Prohibitions, & Steps of Obedience

Bárbaro Castellanos, dean of the Baptist Seminary in Havana and president of the Baptist Convention of Western Cuba, was invited to participate in a panel discussion on a TV show on the Cubavisión Network. State lawmakers across the U.S. continue to adopt pro-life protections this year in hopes the U.S. Supreme Court will return abortion policy to their home jurisdictions in a ruling expected by this summer. And stories of older Christians being baptized are serving as a reminder that it is never too late to take a step of obedience.

Reaching the Unreached & Overcoming Obstacles

For more than 11 years, International Mission Board missionaries Andy and Marie Hoffman shared the Gospel with an unreached people group in North Africa. And over the years, dozens if not hundreds of women have walked across the stage in the Miss Alabama USA competition. But when Lauren Gray, 22, of Huntsville entered the contest, she rolled across in a motorized wheelchair.

Georgia Revival, Persecution in Mozambique, & Experiencing God

The number of new Christians in Georgia grew by another 19 in revival services earlier this month at Pineland Baptist Church in Thomasville in the state’s southwest region. Christians in Mozambique are facing increased attacks as Islamic terrorist groups are aggressively moving against them, according to the Voice of the Martyrs. And longtime friends Deborah White and Paula Kaufman have camped out in the “Experiencing God” Bible study for more than two decades.

Together for the Gospel, Serving Refugees, & Homeless Ministry

The final Together for the Gospel (T4G) conference, taking place April 19-21, has prompted many to reflect on the conference series’ impact on evangelical Christianity as well as their own personal lives. Ministering to the world’s refugees can be an outgrowth of a Great Commission culture in a church, the audience for a Southern Baptist-sponsored webinar was told Tuesday (April 19). And, “Would God put somebody on this earth to be nothing but a drug addict and to die in that sin?” That was John Draxinger’s first question when he heard the Gospel in a jail cell around July 4, 2013.

Afghan Refugee Aid & Church Invitations

In response to the number of resettled Afghan refugees in communities in the United States, Send Relief is facilitating coaching to help churches engage their new Afghan neighbors. And in a First-Person piece on Baptist Press, Lynn Prior with Lifeway Christian Resources offers some suggestion on how you can invite someone to a Sunday School class or small group.

Special Needs Ministry, Ukrainian Refugee Aid, & Chaplain Ministry

For Tom Stolle, associate executive director and chief financial officer for the Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware (BCM/D), helping equip churches to care for those with disabilities is a deeply personal endeavor. Send Relief leadership recently traveled to Romania and Moldova to listen to, pray for and determine the needs that each of the nation’s Baptist unions have in their ministry to Ukrainian refugees. And the Winter World University Games are coming to the Adirondack region of New York in 2023, and Ryan Schneider, pastor of Saranac Lake Baptist Church and lead chaplain for the event, is looking for believers to volunteer and minister in a variety of ways during the games.