Conservative Baptist Network hosts Bible conference, calls for SBC reengagement
By BP Staff
MEMPHIS (BP) — More than 200 church leaders and members from across the Mid-South gathered on the campus of Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary for the Conservative Baptist Network’s inaugural Bible conference.
The event, which was heralded as a celebration of the 20th anniversary of the Baptist Faith and Message 2000, was held across the street from Bellevue Baptist Church, the longtime home of Pastor Adrian Rogers, who chaired the BFM 2000 study committee. Speakers pointed to the network as a sign of hope in the Southern Baptist Convention and called on those in attendance and watching online to reengage through prayer, Cooperative Program giving, and attending annual meetings.
MABTS Vice President and Dean of the Seminary Lee Brand began the evening with a sermon from Galatians on why Southern Baptists should defend the Gospel. Mike Stone, pastor of Emmanuel Baptist Church in Blackshear, Ga., followed Brand with a sermon from 2 Timothy on challenges to the sufficiency of Scripture. Chuck Kelley, president emeritus of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, presented a statistical look at the SBC, and Brad Jurkovich, pastor of First Baptist Church in Bossier City, La., preached on the perils of compromise from 1 Samuel.
“I think [God] is stirring waters that we can’t even fathom right now,” said Jurkovich, who is also the network’s spokesman. “I want to be a part of that.”
Leading worship during the event was Marc Ivey, worship pastor at Trinity Baptist – a multisite church in the Jacksonville, Fla., area.
“Pastor, Prophet, Patriot,” the next event hosted by the Conservative Baptist Network, is scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 27, at Truett-McConnell University in Cleveland, Ga.
NOBTS Bridge 2.0 Campaign helps students impacted by COVID
By Marilyn Stewart
NEW ORLEANS (BP) – Phase two of the Bridge Campaign, a special scholarship fund benefiting New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and Leavell College students impacted by COVID-19, has surpassed its goal of $150,000.
Mike Wetzel, vice president of development, said the “Bridge 2.0 Campaign” raised $270,000, benefiting students enrolled in the Fall 2020 semester.
“The fund was meant to help students that might have been struggling because of the economic impact of COVID-19 to be able to come and continue in their studies,” Wetzel said.
Bridge 2.0 provided students full tuition for one fall semester class at the undergraduate or graduate level. The success of the Bridge 2.0 Campaign mirrored the highly successful phase one Bridge Campaign in the spring that benefited students enrolled in the Summer 2020 term.
In phase one, the Bridge Campaign goal of $300,000 was met and exceeded, providing students a 50 percent discount on tuition on each course taken during the Summer 2020 term and giving NOBTS a higher summer enrollment than in previous years.
The response to Bridge 2.0 was unexpected.
“The need was not as great [as in the summer term], but the response was still incredible,” Wetzel said. “We easily surpassed our goal.”
In mid-March, NOBTS moved to online courses to meet governmental guidelines regarding COVID-19. When health restrictions were extended into the summer months, the Bridge Campaign was set up to help students bridge the financial gap created by a struggling national economy.
As the fall semester approached, the need for a second phase of the campaign became apparent and a goal of $150,000 was set.
Wetzel said that as the Bridge 2.0 Campaign went into effect, faculty members and administrators relayed to him students’ comments about the fund, noting, “What a difference it is making.”