News Articles

SBC DIGEST: Stetzer named Lausanne’s North America director; George W. Bush speaks at Union; BGR releases annual Christmas catalog

Ed Stetzer named Lausanne director for North America

WHEATON, Ill. (BP) — Ed Stetzer has been named as the Lausanne Movement’s regional director for North America, according to a news release from Wheaton College.

The former executive director of LifeWay Research, Stetzer will continue as Wheaton’s Billy Graham Distinguished Chair of Church, Mission and Evangelism. He joined Wheaton’s faculty in July 2016, serving also as executive director of the college’s Billy Graham Center.

Stetzer, 51, succeeds Tom Lin who is now serving as president of InterVarsity USA.

The Lausanne Movement is an organization stemming from the 1974 International Congress on World Evangelization led by evangelist Billy Graham in Lausanne, Switzerland, attended by Christians from 150 nations. The movement has nurtured such concepts as unreached people groups and the 10/40 Window reflecting the geographic regions where most unreached people groups live. Extensive networking among evangelicals has resulted from the movement, which held subsequent congresses in Manilla, Philippines, in 1989 and Cape Town, South Africa, in 2010.

As a regional director, Stetzer will collaborate with evangelical leaders across the globe and across generations, connect people with the Lausanne Movement and host a yearly gathering for North America, according to the Wheaton College news release.

“As one who is passionate about convening people around the critical issues of our day,” Stetzer said, “I am excited for how God will orchestrate the next decade and more so that we can work together to see more people reached with the Gospel.”

In addition to his faculty position at Wheaton, Stetzer currently serves as interim pastor at Moody Church in Chicago and general editor of The Gospel Project, a curriculum line from LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention.

A New York native, Stetzer received a Ph.D. in missions and evangelism from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in 2003; a doctor of ministry degree in pastoral leadership from Samford University’s Beeson Divinity School in 1998; a master of arts degree in church growth/planting from Liberty University Divinity School in 1995; an M.Div. from Southern Seminary in 1994; and an undergraduate degree from Shorter College in Georgia in 1988.

Among Stetzer’s various roles in Southern Baptist life, he was on staff at LifeWay for nine years and at the North American Mission Board from 2001-2007, including roles as a missiologist and director of its Center for Missional Research; assistant professor of missions and church planting at Southern Seminary; and a church planter in Cumming, Ga., Erie, Pa., and Buffalo, N.Y.

He has authored or coauthored 12 books, including a 2016 release with Daniel Im, “Planting Missional Churches: Your Guide to Starting Churches that Multiply.” His next book, not yet titled on living in a culture increasingly at odds with Christian values, is slated for release by Tyndale Momentum in the fall of 2018.


George W. Bush addresses Union Univ. scholarship banquet

JACKSON, Tenn. (BP) — Former President George W. Bush shared stories of his time in the White House, talked about his faith in Jesus Christ and encouraged college students to be involved in public service at Union University’s 20th annual Scholarship Banquet Oct. 17.

The event, held at the Carl Perkins Civic Center in Jackson, drew 1,500 people who heard the former president in a 50-minute question-and-answer session with Union President Samuel W. “Dub” Oliver.

“Do it,” Bush replied to a question about what he would say to college students considering public service. “It’s ugly at times. But first of all, you live in a fabulous country, and therefore you have a duty to serve your country one way or another. You can serve your country by feeding the hungry or by teaching a child to read.

“You can serve your country in the military,” Bush continued. “And you can serve your country by being involved with the political process. It’s tough. People say things about you that you may not like. But don’t go into politics to be liked. Go into politics to do what you think is right for the country.”

Bush talked about his conversion to Christianity at age 40 at a time when he was drinking too much. Billy Graham came into his life through his friendship with Bush’s parents and gave him a Bible. Bush began reading it, became a Christian and credits Jesus Christ with helping him overcome his alcohol addiction.

That Christian faith ended up influencing many of his policies, Bush said.

He discussed at length the events of Sept. 11, 2001, which proved to be the defining moment of his presidency. He lauded the benefits of freedom as a gift from God to every person in the world. Freedom is not just an American concept, Bush said, but is universal.

Other topics Bush covered included his AIDS initiative in Africa, his painting, the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum, his family and his legacy as president. Following his interview, Oliver presented Bush with a sculpture of a bulldog by Union art student Song Kim.

Oliver, recapping the event, described Bush as “a remarkable man who provided key leadership to the nation for eight years…. [His] sense of humor was on full display, and we appreciate his openness and honesty in talking about his faith and the challenges he faced in the White House.”

Scholarship banquet speakers in previous years have included George H.W. Bush, Tony Blair, Margaret Thatcher, Mikhail Gorbachev, Ben Carson and Condoleezza Rice.


Baptist Global Response releases annual Christmas catalog

NASHVILLE (BP) — The annual BGR Christmas Gift Catalog has been released by Baptist Global Response, an international disaster relief and community development organization.

The catalog features items that Southern Baptists can “purchase” in lieu of Christmas gifts for family and friends, such as pigs, goats, water filters, wells and sewing kits for humanitarian projects that also convey the Gospel.

The catalog also includes a few smaller items, such as fish and seeds, priced for children for parents to use as a lesson in giving.

For many families, the catalog has become a holiday tradition, BGR office director Mary Frances Satterwhite said.

“People have written in to tell us how they’ve used it,” Satterwhite recounted. “Their grandkids will save money all year, and then they’ll all get together at Christmas to pick out something from the catalog.”

The 2017 BGR Christmas Gift Catalog is online at www.gobgr.org/ChristmasCatalog. Free copies can be requested by individuals and churches by calling the BGR office at 615-367-3678. People can also request or download holiday cards to give loved ones for whom they’ve donated items.

Baptist Global Response, though not an official entity of the Southern Baptist Convention, undergirds the work of Southern Baptists worldwide and partners with others who are likeminded in caring for people in need.