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Issue Date: 2011-12-15
Volume: 190
Number: 25

News

Christmas Day services will go on, pastors say

Nine in 10 pastors plan for their churches to host Christmas Day services this year.
Compelled to reach the next generation

Jeff Crook, pastor of Blackshear Place Baptist Church in Flowery Branch, is passionate about preaching and reaching the lost. Scott Crook, Jeff's brother and associate pastor, shares his fervor for evangelism.
Urban engagement sparks NAMB-Rebuild partnership

Hip hop may not readily come to mind when thinking of Southern Baptist work through the North American Mission Board. With The Rebuild Initiative, it may be essential.
'Courageous' to release on DVD Jan. 17
The film "Courageous," still enjoying a successful run in theaters, will be released on DVD Jan. 17.
Bob Bagley celebrates 25 years as associational missionary

On Oct. 20 the North Georgia Baptist Association celebrated 150 years of service to the Baptist churches of the Dalton-Whitefield County area of Georgia.
SBC name change task force reaches decision
Results won't go public until Feb. 20

The task force appointed to study the possibility of changing the Southern Baptist Convention's name has reached a decision that they believe "will please the Father and greatly strengthen our ability to reach more people with the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ."
Christmas Greetings from: The Christian Index
Americans' view of Southern Baptists studied
The majority of Americans have a favorable impression of Southern Baptists, according to a recent LifeWay Research study. However, 40 percent of respondents have an unfavorable view of the denomination; more than a third strongly assume an SBC church is not for them; and the negativity is higher among the unchurched.
Chaplains push for uniform religious badges

With a cross on his lapel, it's easy to spot a military chaplain in uniform. But the same might not be true if the chaplain's badge displays a prayer wheel, a crescent moon or tiny Torah scrolls.
Nativity's potential removal sparks outcry
For the sake of his three young sons and the daughter he and his wife will soon adopt from Africa, Pastor Nathan Lorick says he has drawn a line in the dirt of his East Texas community in defiance of an atheist group's demand that a nativity scene be removed from the lawn of the Henderson County Courthouse.
Christmas Greetings from: GBC
Danger on Rio's streets doesn't deter him from Gospel witness

It weighs on his heart: One day, he will go out to share the Gospel and not come back.
Woodstock church celebrates Hunts' 25 years at First Baptist

The site: the Atlanta Motor Speedway – with a grandstand seating capacity of 125,000 and the home of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races. That was the location for the first celebration Dec. 1 of Johnny (and Janet) Hunt's 25th anniversary at the helm of First Baptist Church in Woodstock. The second celebration occurred at the Woodstock church the following Sunday, Dec. 4.
Debbie Wohler: a study in character and commitment

Debbie Wohler is a legend in Southern Baptist life. She has served her denomination for more than 30 years through the Home Mission and North American Mission boards as a church facilitator, resort minister, Bible teacher, soul winner, mentor to college students who serve as summer and semester missionaries, day care director, etc, ad infinitum.
Advent a make-or-break chance for churches
Unless aging churches start engaging the types of people who visit only at the holidays, they will have virtually no one in them in 30 years, according to Scott Thumma, a sociologist of religion at Hartford Seminary.

People and Places

Ministerial Moves
Friends, family celebrate 95th birthday

Anniversaries
Obituaries
Being Social
Honors
Ordinations
Duncans honored for decade of service
Bringing Christmas to children in Tucker

Cooperative Program Stories

Learning from the matryoshka Russian nesting dolls:
The depth of a local church's generous giving

Since the late 19th century, a traditional Christmas gift in Russia has been the matryoshka doll, stackable wooden figures hand-carved with a lathe.

Bible Study

Rejoice in God's Gift

Luke 2:8-20
Bible Studies for Life, Dec 25
Thriving in a Fast-Food Culture

Pro. 23:21-21; Dan. 1:8-16; Rom. 13:11-14
Bible Studies for Life, Jan 1

Columns

Finding Christmas in unexpected places

It was recently reported that a Louisiana library banned a local church youth group from performing a Living Nativity scene on its property because of its religious overtones.
Jerry and me

The year 1968 serves as a foundational time in my ministry because of a conversation in a church parking lot in Orlando, FL.
The Open Door

The year 1879 was a great year in the history of our nation and the world. That was the year that Thomas A. Edison successfully produced a new concept. It was a high resistance lamp in a very high vacuum, which would burn for hundreds of hours.
Holidays can be a time to grieve rather than celebrate

Letters

Scouts announce new initiative

We are excited to report that the Boy Scouts of America, an organization dedicated to instill­ing in young people the positive values of faith, citizenship, and integrity, is initiating a new move to launch more Scout units in faith-based organizations, called the "Faith Based Initiative."