Keith Collier/Southern Baptist Texan

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TX Gov. urges FEMA assistance for churches

AUSTIN, Texas (BP) -- In a letter sent to President Trump, Sept. 20, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and Attorney General Ken Paxton called for churches and other religious organizations to receive equal treatment with other nonprofits and to be included in Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) disaster funding for victims of Hurricane Harvey. "Churches have opened their doors to feed, shelter, comfort and rebuild their communities -- even hosting FEMA operations in the process -- but this policy has made those very same churches ineligible for assistance because their primary use is, by nature, religious," Governor Abbott and Attorney General Paxton wrote in the letter.

Texas Baptists Committed ceases operations

HOUSTON (BP) -- Texas Baptists Committed, an organization formed in the 1980s to promote moderate principles and leadership within the Baptist General Convention of Texas, announced on the organization's blog July 8 that its board of directors had voted to cease operations at the end of July. TBC Executive Director Bill Jones cited lack of funds and "battle fatigue" as factors. "Funds have been tight at TBC at least since I first joined the board in January 2006," Jones said in the blog post. "With no visible 'battle' for control of the ...

Church revitalization challenges draw state leaders

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (BP) -- State convention leaders from across the country gathered to discuss and strategize for revitalizing plateaued and declining Southern Baptist churches. This marked the fourth year for the state revitalization network meeting, which was held March 20-21 at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, Mo.

Pastors’ Conference speakers meet to unify sermons

FORT WORTH, Texas (BP) -- This year's Southern Baptist Pastors' Conference has already promised several firsts, including the first time all preachers will be from small- and medium-sized churches and all sermons will walk through a book of the Bible expositionally. This year's Pastors'Conference added another first -- the first time the speakers met in advance to discuss their passages to ensure cohesive unity to their sermons.

Prayer rally, Holy Spirit theme mark SBTC meeting

AUSTIN, Texas (BP) -- A three-day emphasis on the Holy Spirit concluded with a citywide prayer rally, music led by Christian recording artist Jeremy Camp and the conclusion of a six-part series through Romans 8 during the 2016 Bible Conference & Annual Meeting of the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention. The Nov. 13-15 meeting, themed "The Holy Spirit," was hosted by Great Hills Baptist Church in Austin.

IMB taps 5 megacities for global initiative pilot

LONDON (BP) -- "There's no lack of church buildings in London, but the average congregation is fewer than 20 people," missionary James Roberts noted. Roberts is part of an International Mission Board team in London strategizing a comprehensive missions approach to reach this city of 8.6 million. More than 50 non-indigenous communities, each with 10,000 people or more, have been identified in London, making it truly a global city.

Greenwich, at Longitude 0°, seen for Gospel promise

LONDON (BP) -- The southeastern London borough of Greenwich, chosen in 1884 by delegates from 25 nations as the location of the prime meridian, or Longitude 0°, has served as the standard for mapping and world time zones ever since. The Royal Observatory is perched on a hill in the historic borough, home to the University of Greenwich and located just across the River Thames from Canary Wharf, London's bustling financial district. Greenwich's 270,000 residents are largely young professionals and students. Grounded in a secular worldview and seeming success, most of them feel no need for religion, much less the Gospel.

Black pastors attend prayer & listening session

GRAPEVINE, Texas (BP) -- Nearly two dozen black pastors met with Southern Baptists of Texas Convention Executive Director Jim Richards and convention staff for a prayer and listening session on racial reconciliation amid national tensions stemming from black men being killed by police in Baton Rouge, La., and St. Paul, Minn., as well as gunmen killing police officers in Dallas and Baton Rouge. Richards invited the SBTC pastors to discuss ways the convention can assist churches of all ethnicities in working together for racial reconciliation in their communities.

Pastor celebrates 50 years with Sagemont Church

HOUSTON, Texas (BP) -- When pastor John Morgan planted Sagemont Church on June 1, 1966, he never imagined the explosive growth and worldwide impact the church would have. But, over the past 50 years, the church on the southeast side of Houston has grown from 16 to more than 20,000 members and regularly sends hundreds of members each year to share the Gospel on short-term international mission trips as well as through mission work in Houston.

State leaders discuss church revitalization

CHARLESTON, S.C. (BP) -- Church growth is a "supernatural event, and therefore church revitalization is more of a spiritual issue than a mechanical one," said Ken Hemphill, director for North Greenville University's Center for Church Planting and Revitalization, during a meeting of leaders from 14 Baptist state conventions. Hemphill was a guest speaker at the March 21-22 meeting in Charleston, S.C., where the network of leaders focused on sharing best practices related to work in church revitalization. Also present were representatives from LifeWay Christian Resources and the North American Mission Board as well as several leaders from local associations in South Carolina.