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Issue Date: 2009-01-29
Volume: 188
Number: 3


"We're making it hard to go to hell"
Former Effingham County pastor working to reach southwestern Pennsylvania

In North American Mission Board missionary Lamar Duke’s native Alabama, there’s one Southern Baptist church for every 1,452 people.
Former gang members now share Christ

In crime-heavy Guayaquil, Ecuador, where more than 60,000 youth are involved in gangs, the scene at the public park looks like something to avoid.
Southern Seminary eliminates 35 positions
Southern Seminary, in response to the national economic downturn, has reduced its administrative staff by 35 positions: 20 full-time and 15 part-time, effective Jan. 30.
Georgia Baptist evangelists committed to reaping the harvest

The Conference of Georgia Baptist Evangelists (COGBE) had their annual retreat in Conyers Jan. 9-11. Bill Prince, president of the organization, indicated to The Christian Index that the meeting was well attended with more than 60 present and the program exceeded all expectations.
Oscar Romo, SBC language missions pioneer, dies
Cumming resident shaped ethnic diversity for nation’s largest denomination

In 1965 when Oscar I. Romo came to the Atlanta-based Home Mission Board (now North American Mission Board), the Southern Baptist Convention was a rather bland-looking denomination, ethnically speaking.
Georgia Baptists graduate from NOBTS
Several New Orleans Seminary students with Georgia ties participated in commencement services Dec. 13.
2008 giving to Annie Armstrong offering tops $58 million

Despite last year’s economic downturn, Southern Baptists still contributed more than $58 million to the annual Annie Armstrong Easter Offering in 2008 – 98 percent of the amount raised in the previous year’s campaign.
Passion turns Thomas Road 'Inside-Out'

Thomas Road Baptist Church is booming. In the last 19 months, hundreds have become Christians and hundreds more have joined the church through a variety of ministries that bring non-members into the church and send members out into their communities.
Obama calls for 'era of responsibility' at historic inauguration

Barack Obama, minutes after being sworn in as the country’s first African American president Jan. 20, said the crisis that confronts the United States requires a “new era of responsibility” from its citizens.
Obama refashions America's old-time [civil] religion

Seeking to revive a dispirited nation, President Obama on Jan. 20 told Americans to get religion – civil religion.
Are you aware?
Legislative Update

As the winds of change are blowing across the land, we are hearing the stirrings of the same old songs from some of our lawmakers under the Gold Dome in Atlanta.
Some Afghan women say death by fire is their only choice

Simagol Yousefi was only 20 when her husband, Abdul, traveled to Iran to find work, leaving her and their two young sons in the care of her in-laws.
Inaugurations rich in SBC participation

Rick Warren’s inaugural prayer Jan. 20 continued a trend that has seen Southern Baptists, or someone who attends a Southern Baptist church, deliver the invocation at five of the past six inaugurations.
Obama sends signals about religious outreach

When President Obama rose to speak between the prayers offered by pastor Rick Warren and civil rights veteran Joseph Lowery, he indicated – without ever saying a word – the breadth of the religious outreach ahead in his administration.
Couple advocates adoption in word and deed

Just mentioning the word “adoption” causes John Mark Yeats’ eyes to light up.
Southern Baptists in Congress express hope
Southern Baptists in Congress expressed a range of views about President Obama and the new administration when contacted by Baptist Press, although members of both parties say they are hopeful that both sides of the aisle can work together to find solutions.
Kurt Warner poised for another miracle

Kurt Warner’s autobiography is titled, “All Things Possible: My Story of Faith, Football, and the Miracle Season.” Warner is at the center of yet another miracle season, leading his underdog Arizona Cardinals to their first-ever Super Bowl appearance.
Search committee recommends Graham grandson to succeed D. James Kennedy

A grandson of Billy Graham has been nominated to succeed the late D. James Kennedy as pastor of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Georgia Newsbriefs

Georgia Baptist student pastor named to coordinate National Disaster Relief
Bruce Poss, student pastor at Marshall Baptist Church in Thomson and director for Feeding Unit 2F of Georgia Disaster Relief, has been named coordinator for National Disaster Relief of the North American Mission Board.
Index looking for Georgia Baptists online
Are you on Facebook? MySpace? Twitter? YouVersion? Got an account on Delicious? A blog that keeps church members and friends up to date on what’s going on in life?

Baptist News Summary

Offering envelopes tell of missions
Despite the challenging economic times the Cooperative Program, Southern Baptists’ channel for supporting national and international missions and ministry, accelerated during the Great Depression – “a time when it should have disappeared,” said Ben Stroup, coordinator of LifeWay Christian Stores’ offering envelope service.
New Orleans latest to announce budget cuts
New Orleans Seminary announced significant budget cuts during a meeting attended by the seminary faculty and staff Jan. 19.
Glorieta changing operational model
Vowing to remain a viable ministry in a tough economy, LifeWay Glorieta Conference Center will implement a new operational model Oct. 1.
90-second video issues call to prayer
Noting that there is no better time for individual Christians and congregations to pray for the nation, the president, and its defenders of freedom, a 90-second video is calling Baptist churches to prayer during this inaugural season.

Religious Newsbriefs

Fatwa says anger-fueled divorces are valid
A leading Islamic seminary has issued a controversial fatwa, or religious edict, saying that when a husband initiates divorce by saying “talaq” three times the divorce takes effect immediately.
Separate cases in Pennsylvania courts uphold weddings by clergy ordained online
In three separate cases, three Pennsylvania county judges have ruled that marriages performed by ministers who do not have houses of worship or congregations are legal, rejecting a contrary 2007 ruling that had sowed statewide confusion.
Poll gives no evidence that recession pulls people into houses of worship
The economic recession has not led to an increase in attendance at U.S. houses of worship, according to Gallup pollsters.
Christmas declared a national holiday in Iraq
Christmas in Iraq was, for the first time, a declared national holiday and Dec. 25 hundreds of Christians gathered in one Baghdad church to publicly celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ.

People and Places

Building Projects
Ministerial Moves

Cooperative Program Stories

A win-win project

Last year, Jennifer Adams couldn’t have pointed out Chula, Ga., on a map, but the little town just south of Tifton is a place that has shaped her life.

Bible Study

Pray Persistently

Matt. 15:21-28, Luke 18:1-8
Related Sunday School Lesson, Bible Studies for Life, Feb 8
Pray in Jesus' Name

John 14:12-14; 15:14-16 16:23-26
Related Sunday School Lesson, Bible Studies for Life, Feb 15


Parents must take control at the beginning of child's life

Knowing the difference between cost and value

Sometimes I find myself living in the past and longing for the price tags of 1959, the year I graduated from high school. That was when first class postage stamps sold for four cents and a gallon of gas cost a quarter.
The irony of the Obama inauguration

The historic occasion of Barack Obama’s inauguration sent chills down my spine.
The Open Door

Saturday a week ago I boarded the “Georgia Baptist Express,” my pickup truck, to make a six-hour trip to Southeast Georgia.


Debt one reason giving is in decline

Thank you LifeWay Research for revealing the problem with debt in our churches. (Index, Jan. 15, “Pastors preach stewardship but unaware of members’ debt”). Debt is the number one reason giving is on the decline.