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SBC DIGEST: First Baptist Dallas to celebrate 150th anniv.; LifeWay named one of best employers for women

First Baptist Dallas to celebrate its 150th anniversary

DALLAS (BP) — First Baptist Church in Dallas will celebrate the 150th anniversary of its founding on Sunday (July 29).

When 11 members formed First Baptist Church on July 30, 1868, it “marked the fourth attempt at organized Baptist work in the city,” an article on the Texas State Historical Association website states. “The first two churches had disbanded by 1860, while the third moved out of Dallas and changed its name to Pleasant View Baptist Church.”

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has announced he will attend First Baptist’s 10:50 a.m. service, which follows its 9:15 service.

Senior pastor Robert Jeffress, who has led the 13,000-member church since 2007, stated in a media alert, “For 150 years, First Baptist Church Dallas has preached the Bible and, because of that, when the winds of adversity and criticism have blown against this congregation, it has not fallen because it has been built on the eternal and unchanging truth of God’s Word.”

Key factors in First Baptist’s national prominence have been two of its distinguished pastors, W.A. Criswell from 1944-1990 and George W. Truett from 1897-1944.

Criswell, who authored more than 50 books, championed the inerrancy of Scripture within the Southern Baptist Convention, writing the popular “Why I Believe the Bible is Literally True.” Under Truett, First Baptist grew to nearly 8,000 members and became known as the largest church in America. The late Billy Graham was a member of the church for more than 50 years.

O.S. Hawkins, president of Southern Baptists’ financial service entity GuideStone Financial Resources since 1997, is another of First Baptist’s former pastors.

Jeffress, an evangelical adviser to President Trump and Fox News contributor, delivered the dedicatory prayer at the opening of the new U.S. embassy in Jerusalem in May. He is the author of numerous books and is featured on the daily radio and weekly TV broadcasts “Pathway to Victory.”

Founded in a Masonic lodge when Dallas was a frontier town, First Baptist has been located downtown ever since. In 2013, the church reinforced its commitment to downtown Dallas by completing a $135 million renovation of its campus spanning six city blocks while preserving its historic sanctuary.

“Throughout its history First Baptist has pioneered ministries in Dallas. In 1919 it began one of the earliest ministries to the deaf in Texas,” the Texas State Historical Association article notes.

“The services of First Baptist were broadcast on radio in 1921, and by 1926 three radio stations were broadcasting its programs. Its first televised service occurred on January 7, 1951. In 1970 First Baptist established a biblical institute named for Criswell, which in 1985 became Criswell College,” the article recounts.

Every family attending First Baptist’s Sunday morning services will receive a commemorative Bible and all children will receive a children’s book about the church’s history.

For more information, including short videos about First Baptist’s history, visit firstdallas150.org.


Forbes names LifeWay one of best U.S. employers for women

NASHVILLE (BP) — LifeWay Christian Resources has been ranked as one of the nation’s top employers for women by Forbes magazine.

LifeWay, with 5,000 employees, landed at No. 282 on Forbes’ 2018 “Best Employers for Women” list — the first time the business magazine has published rankings in that category. Earlier this year, Forbes also named LifeWay as one of America’s Best Midsize Employers — ranking it 196th among 500 companies.

“LifeWay continues to focus on enhancing employee benefits and workplace culture to make LifeWay a place where people want to work,” said Connia Nelson, LifeWay vice president of human resources. She noted that changes LifeWay has made have included moving to a flexible work environment and increased time off for vacation and parental leave, which have helped create an organizational climate attractive to and supportive of women.

“LifeWay always leads with its faith and mission,” Nelson said. “We want to make LifeWay a place that reflects our commitment to family and provides a healthy work-life balance.”

Forbes partnered with market research company Statista to identify America’s best employers for women. Statista surveyed 40,000 Americans, including 25,000 women working for businesses with at least 1,000 employees.

The anonymous survey asked respondents to rank their employers on criteria such as working conditions, compensation, diversity and how likely they’d be to recommend their employer to others. Responses were then reviewed for potential gender gaps. Statista specifically asked female respondents to rate their employers on factors such as parental leave, flexibility, discrimination and pay equity.

LifeWay President Thom S. Rainer said the Forbes recognition is “a testament to the culture we have established at LifeWay. We have an incredible employee team made up of gifted and exceptional individuals who fully embrace LifeWay’s vision and values.”

Founded in 1891, LifeWay Christian Resources is one of the world’s largest providers of Christian products and services, including Bibles, books, Bible studies, church supplies and other Christian resources. The Nashville-based company also owns and operates more than 170 LifeWay Christian Stores across the nation.

To see the full list of America’s Best Employers for Women, visit Forbes.com. For more information about LifeWay, visit LifeWay.com.

    About the Author

  • BP & LifeWay Staff

    Compiled by Baptist Press senior editor Art Toalston, with reporting by Joy Allmond of LifeWay Christian Resources.

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