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Meredith Flynn/Illinois Baptist

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FIRST-PERSON: Signs of slipping theology?

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (BP) – The 2020 State of Theology survey, released in September by LifeWay Research and Ligonier Ministries, had both good and bad news for churches seeking to share the Gospel in a culture moving further from it.

Chicago collegiate church celebrates first baptisms

CHICAGO (BP) – On the shore of Lake Michigan on a Sunday in June, Jeff Bi compared his life to a car. When he was in the driver’s seat, said Bi, a student at the University of Chicago, the side mirrors were gone and the doors were off the hinges.

Midwest ministry leaders embrace missional resurgence

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (BP) -- Secular pundits say the evangelical church is on its way out, Southern Baptist Convention President J.D. Greear said at the Midwest Leadership Summit in Springfield, Ill. Things are changing, Greear admitted, but proposed that God might be reviving His church.

Helping Illinois children stitch by stitch

MARSHALL, Ill. (BP) -- In a Sunday school classroom at Marshall Missionary Baptist Church, Alberta Siverly explained why she and her sisters meet here every week. "Each one of us has got some adopted grandchildren," she said. Along with their friend Karen Wallace, the sisters are assembled to work on quilts for an annual auction held by Illinois' Baptist Children's Home and Family Services (BCHFS). The group calls itself Loving Hands.

300-mile, 2-week trek: Church prays for Chicagoland

CHICAGO (BP) -- The idea came to Phil Nelson after preaching through the book of Jonah. If the prophet's preaching judgment on Nineveh made the whole city repent and turn to God, he wondered what would happen if someone preached not just judgment, but hope. Nelson and a small team from his church in southern Illinois, Lakeland Baptist in Carbondale, ventured to Chicago -- more than 300 miles to the north -- for a two-week prayerwalk through the city. Carrying a 10-foot-tall, 80-pound wooden cross, Nelson, his daughter Hannah and Steve and Trish Whitaker walked through some of Chicago's toughest neighborhoods in May, stopping to pray with people and share the Gospel.

Pastor combats violence to protect community

CHICAGO (BP) -- An Illinois Baptist pastor appeared on the "Steve Harvey Show" last month to bring attention to rampant gun violence in his city. Corey Brooks, who pastors New Beginnings Church on Chicago's South Side, was part of a four-person panel on Harvey's show, the majority of which was dedicated to violence in Chicago. It's a problem Brooks has been fighting for years, most notably during his 2011 campaign on the roof of a motel across the street from his church. "I was just tired of it," Brooks said of the crime that riddled the motel. ...

‘Most chaotic three minutes of the year’

Meredith Flynn, managing editor of the Illinois Baptist, shares thoughts on "the most chaotic three minutes of the year," or what many refer to as the annual photo taken when Illinois Baptist State Association messengers gather each fall.

9-year-old renewing hope after Haiti earthquake

BIGARADE, Haiti (BP) -- Several years ago, the Bigarade community in Port-au-Prince was just a flood plain. Now, more than a hundred homes dot the landscape, and children run down the dirt roads to their very own school. Earlier this year, there was a new face at the school, though one who's very familiar with its story. At nine years old, Mackenzie Howell has been working to renew hope in Haiti since 2011, when she saw a documentary about the devastating earthquake that rocked the country the previous year.

‘God’s Courtroom’ speaks eternal message globally

SHERMAN, Ill. (BP) -- Bruce Kugler produced the film "God's Courtroom" with the help of his church in Illinois. Now, the video presentation of the Gospel -- set in some of the state's most historic courtrooms -- is available through more than 770 Family Video stores across the country. And a recent translation project aims to make it available to Arabic-speaking people around the world. Kugler and members of Living Faith Baptist Church in Sherman, Ill., would have been hard-pressed to imagine these developments when they began production of God's Courtroom a few years ago. Kugler, an attorney by trade, first had the idea in the late 1980s when he was trying cases before a northern Illinois judge known for his fairness and precision.

Tornado outbreak gets Ill. Baptist callout

WASHINGTON, Ill. (BP) -- Pictures don't accurately capture the destruction, people in Washington, Ill., say when they talk about the tornado that stunned this city of 15,000 on Nov. 17. And, they say, it's the kind of thing that happens to other people, but on that Sunday morning it happened in Washington.