BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (BP) -- Steve Thompson said he never thought the day would come when he heard his students say they were sick of their computer screens. But at Auburn University, where Thompson serves as Baptist campus minister, that's the sentiment now -- and students all across the state are right there with them.
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (BP) -- Bryan Gill said there was something "strangely special" about sharing the Lord's Supper in his home, but in community with thousands of other believers from Birmingham's Shades Mountain Baptist Church at the same time. At the beginning of their service, which was streamed online April 5, church staff asked members of Shades Mountain Baptist -- and any other Christ-followers who might be watching -- to go to their kitchen and get what they needed. That meant a drink -- juice, Gatorade or water if need be -- and crackers or bread. Then at the end of the service, Pastor Danny Wood led them in taking the meal together.
THOMASVILLE, Ala. (BP) -- Michael Odom didn't tell anyone he was doing it -- not at first anyway. Not until he'd made the first phone call to UAB Hospital to ask if he could be a kidney donor. And not until he'd gone through several more interviews. He wanted to be certain before he started offering people hope.
STEVENSON, Ala. (BP) -- Sometimes if a train comes through town at just the right time, the service might start at 11:15 instead of 11. Or they might start a little late if it takes a minute to get all the children to sit down. But no matter what, Helton Memorial Chapel Missionary Baptist Church opens its doors every Sunday morning and gets started eventually.
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (BP) -- Persecution is on the move around the world -- and gradually moving into American life -- but God is at work in the midst of it, according to a panel who spoke on the topic during the Monday evening session (June 10) of the Southern Baptist Convention Pastors' Conference in Birmingham, Ala. The roundtable discussion -- moderated by Timothy George, founding dean of Samford University's Beeson Divinity School -- highlighted three stories of facing persecution. George interviewed Andrew Brunson, a pastor imprisoned for two years in Turkey, and his wife, Norine; Nik and Ruth Ripken, retiring missionaries; and Jack Phillips, a lawsuit-riddled Colorado cake shop owner, along with legal counsel Jim Campbell with the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF).
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (BP) -- When Johnny Hunt got saved, he was a high-school dropout living in the projects and managing a pool room. Not too long after, a church invited him to come share his story. Hunt said he didn't have fancy words or any idea what he was doing, but he shared the Gospel -- and people responded. The Gospel message has power no matter the messenger, but it has to be shared in order to change lives, said Hunt, senior vice president of evangelism and leadership at the North American Mission Board.
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (BP) -- It was the kind of call most people answer then hang up immediately. But for some reason Eddie Vines just couldn't. "The man on the phone was such a good telemarketer when my wife answered the phone she tried to politely brush him off, but she couldn't seem to get rid of him," Vines said. "So I took the phone from her and he wouldn't let me get off either."
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (BP) -- Jayson Albers, who grew up in a Baptist church, made a living for a long time as an opening shift supervisor for Ryan's steakhouse. "When they would start a new restaurant I would go in and train them on how to open the store," he said. Then life came crashing down -- his wife and son died in an accident, something which he speaks little about. One thing led to another and Albers started living in a tent in 2000 near the railroad tracks in Birmingham, Ala.
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (BP) -- Linda Johnson says that about a year ago when her friend Linda Jacobson asked her if she was ready to see God do big things, she said yes. She was excited. "But I've thought a thousand times since then that I never could've imagined what was coming," Johnson said. Since it started last year, Johnson, Jacobson and fellow volunteers with the We Sew Love ministry at Huffman Baptist Church, Birmingham, has sent hundreds of clothing items made from old T-shirts to children in Uganda, Zambia, Haiti and other places around the world. They've made crib pads for children's homes. They've made burial gowns for children who pass away in hospice facilities.
MOBILE, Ala. (BP) -- The dirt road snaked long and lonely out to Cudjo's cabin on the outskirts of Mobile as Mary Ellen Caver tried to mentally prepare to meet the former slave. Caver had lived as a single missionary among a tribe in Nigeria before coming home to Alabama. For years, she had been accustomed to the unusual; this time, she had been told it would be a crazy man. The day before, as Caver had walked out of a church in south Alabama, she had met a group of black men waiting in the parking lot. They knew she had been a missionary to Africa, and they wanted her to put some of their questions to rest.