Bethlehem Boulevard: A Drive-thru Christmas
Kingsland Baptist Church, in Katy, TX, presents the gospel for those on the go. The congregation brings to life more than 100 biblical characters in authentic dress and ancient settings as people drive down Bethlehem Boulevard. The cost of the drive is $4 per car, regardless of how many people are stuffed in it, and that includes a cassette tape with narration and background sound effects. Cars without cassette decks can even borrow a player, and if you'd rather walk or take a tram, there's that option too. Over the years, the scenes on Bethlehem Boulevard have included a Palestinian market street, Moses before the burning bush, Isaiah receiving the promise of a savior, the angel appearing to Mary, and the manger scene. Over 10,000 people drove down the boulevard last year.
800 Calls a Day on the 800 Line at the SBC's Annuity Board
Christy Teeter, manager of customer relations, is pictured with Collin Harbour, one of the specialists who answer calls on the Board's toll-free line (1-800- 262-0511). They average 16,000 calls a month and 800 a day .
CompassionNet: Modern Age
CompassionNet, the Foreign Mission Board's worldwide electronic prayer network is making the distance shorter between missionaries and their prayer supporters. Missionaries send prayer reports to the FMB's International Prayer Strategy Office, and the prayer needs and answers are immediately processed and entered onto CompassionNet. Computer literate Southern Baptists can access the information 24 hours a day, linking them as prayer partners with missionaries around the world. For information on how your church can use CompassionNet, call Randy Sprinkle at 1-800-866-FMB1.
In a series titled, "Inside the American Megachurch," The Dallas Morning News featured Prestonwood Baptist Church on its front page three days in a row last September. The extensive coverage of the 13,000-member church discussed methods its uses to reach the unchurched, outlined church activities that run seven days a week (including a bass fishing club), and the church's plan to relocate north of Dallas. Among the images of Prestonwood was the one above, showing Neal Jeffrey baptizing Stephanie Kelley.
Pastor with Longest Tenure Dies
T. Lamar Mathis, pastor of Faith Memorial Baptist Church in Houston, TX, for 54 years and 3 months, died in October. Mathis became pastor of Faith Memorial in July 1941, and it is believed he holds the record of the longest tenure in a single church. John Bisagno, pastor at FBC-Houston, says, "This man is like a hero and a father to those of us who are preachers."
Gifts for Baby Jesus
Each year, Rileyville Baptist Church, in Rileyville, VA, encourages members to bring a baby gift or money to their worship service on Christmas Day. The gifts are placed in a baby crib at the front of the sanctuary and then given to a local Crisis Pregnancy Center. Last year church members donated enough money to buy six new baby cribs for the CPC. With about 250 active members, Rileyville gave $9,000 to Lottie Moon and Annie Armstrong last year.