Editor’s Last Word: The ‘Hot New Thing’

According to missiologist Ed Stetzer, church planting is the “hot new thing.” Southern Baptists are focused on church planting as a critical strategy in reaching more people for Christ. There is more emphasis than ever on church planting — more meetings, more conferences, more training sessions and more events. This comes at a time when […]

Needed: Strong Existing Churches and Healthy Church Plants

Finding accurate and up-to-date statistics regarding church planting in America can be both frustrating and challenging. However, the statistics do exist, and the big picture is clear. New churches are needed if we hope to keep pace with the increasing population. Existing churches must experience revival or revitalization — or whatever term we choose to […]

Editor’s Last Word: The Blessing of Friendship

W. Ray Partain, one of the best friends I have ever known, died suddenly after a massive heart attack in December. Ray became a very successful businessman after he “retired” from his regular job. When he started his income tax and bookkeeping business around 40 years ago, he dedicated his business to Christ. Throughout the […]

Whatever Happened to Sunday School?

From the mid-1940s to the mid-1950s, Southern Baptists lived on the cutting edge of church growth, primarily by growing strong and evangelistic Sunday schools. Today we are viewed as a denomination in decline, with decreases in baptisms, worship attendance, church membership and Sunday school attendance spanning at least eight years. If Sunday school was the […]

Editor’s Last Word: Adoption … It’s Personal

Adoption is more than just an alternative to abortion. For my family and me, it is personal. Anne and I are the proud grandparents of three of the greatest blessings God has ever given us. One of our grandchildren is adopted, and because January is Sanctity of Human Life emphasis, I want to share some […]

Missionaries with a ‘Macedonian Call’

“God’s will in the matter couldn’t have been more certain,” says Kevin Peacock. “It really was a ‘Macedonian Call.’ ” Twenty years after that call, the professor at the Canadian Southern Baptist Seminary in Cochrane, Alberta, Canada, continues to serve God in a nation where as many as 93 percent of the population is lost. He […]

From The Courier to Your Home, Merry Christmas!

From all us at The Baptist Courier to all our faithful readers, Merry Christmas! Our staff — Butch Blume, managing editor; Debbie Grooms, business manager; Denise Huffman, editorial assistant; Carolyn Rainey, circulation director — and I hope your holiday season is filled with His grace. This is a hardworking group of people dedicated to honoring […]

‘Tidal Shift’: The Case for Bivocational Ministry

Bivocational ministry may be the new normal. More and more, congregations and ministers are seeing the advantages of this style of ministry. For some, bivocational ministry is born of financial necessity; for others, it is a deliberate commitment without regard to financial resources. Charles Jenkins, 82, is a bivocational pastor and a consultant to the […]

Editor’s Last Word: Bivocational Ministry and the Future of the SBC

Ray Gilder has written a book, “Intentionally Bivocational,” in which he stated the case for bivocational ministry. After reading his book and watching his instructional videos, I interviewed him. Today, at 73, he is the full-time pastor of a Southern Baptist Convention church in Tennessee and says he has more spare time now than ever! […]