Month: October 2021

EC calls special meeting to address ‘legal, audit and personnel’ matters

NASHVILLE (BP) – The officers of the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee have issued a call for a special meeting of the trustees for 10 am (CDT) on Thursday, Oct. 28. The meeting will be held in Executive Session, according to EC Chairman Rolland Slade.

Slade said the meeting will “update legal, audit and personnel matters”.

Thirteen trustees have resigned since the board voted to waive attorney-client privilege on Oct. 5 on matters related to the investigation of the Sexual Abuse Task Force appointed by SBC Pres. Ed Litton at the direction of messengers at the 2021 SBC Annual Meeting in Nashville.

The full number of trustees should be 86, according to EC Bylaws. The board currently stands at 72 as 13 members have resigned since the Sept. 20-21 trustee meeting:

Robyn Hari, Tennessee; Mark Elliott, Nebraska; Chad Garrison, Arizona; Melissa Golden, Alabama; Kim Grueser, Pennsylvania; Ron Hale, Tennessee; Paul Hicks, Alabama; Phyllis Ingraham, Alabama; Paul McPherson, Arkansas; Barbara Norris, Texas; Rob Showers, Virginia; Steve Swofford, Texas; and Chuck Williams, Tennessee. Modena Henson from North Carolina resigned before the Sept. 20 meeting because of a personal relocation.

Long-time legal counsel Guenther, Jordan and Price informed the board on Oct. 11 of their desire to withdraw as the EC’s legal counsel because of the trustee’s decision to waive privilege. The group had represented the EC since 1966.

The meeting also comes days before SBC EC President and CEO Ronnie Floyd and Executive Vice President Greg Addison are scheduled to leave their post on Oct. 31.

The special called meeting will not be live streamed because it will be an Executive Session.

Southern Baptists have been here before

More times than I can count over the past several weeks, I’ve heard talk of frustration and disappointment from my SBC brothers and sisters — pastors, lay leaders, church members, denominational employees. “In all my years,” one seasoned pastor lamented, “I have never seen it as bad as this.”

In no way would I pretend to minimize the significance of this delicate hour. Our cooperative mission hangs on the threads of a worn fabric. This fabric has been donned by many a Southern Baptist generation, teased and tried through the decades.

Never has it been as tightly pulled at the seams as it is today. Or has it?

In 1929, the messenger-elected Southern Baptist Home Mission Board, prayed, deliberated and contentiously maneuvered through one of the most trying seasons of denominational life. In the SBC Annual, they reflected with humility and somberness:

“The new Board had but little more than organized and started out with its year’s work when it found itself face to face with a colossal disaster… if in anything we have failed, we earnestly hope that our brethren will be as charitable in their judgment of us as they would wish us to have been to them, if they had been burdened with the responsibility which we have had to carry through this eventful year.”[1]

The trustees faced the scandalous 1928 defalcation by C.S Carnes, who embezzled more than $900,000 from the Cooperative Program. It was a public relations nightmare that threatened the viability of the entire Convention’s ongoing cooperative ministry.

“We did our best to serve in this critical hour,” they continued. “Furthermore, if we are wise, we will capitalize this disaster, and profit by all the mistakes that led up to it, in such a way as to make our future program more thoroughly intelligent and efficient.”

Leaders left office.
Friendships were severed.
Finances were dreadful.
Distrust was high.
Morale was low.
The future was unclear.

For the next 10 years Southern Baptists prayed fervently, gave sacrificially, and gathered hopefully. In the late 1930s, after a decade of continued cooperation through the most disastrous of circumstances, the Holy Spirit saw fit to breathe on the denomination again: the ‘40s and ‘50s saw the greatest evangelistic growth the Convention had ever known.

Great Commission Baptists, we have been here before. Not in the exact same scenario, of course, but in the same state of mind: divided, distrusted, disheartened.

God does not, and never did, need this Convention of churches to accomplish His Great Commission. Despite ourselves, He saw fit to invite us into His plan for worldwide Gospel advance. He saw fit to breathe on our method of missiological cooperation so that the nations might know and worship the one true God through repentance from sin and faith in Jesus Christ.

Our grandfathers and grandmothers leaned on these characteristics during their season of refinement and revision. They are what we need to get us through:


We must regain a posture of prayerful humility before God as individuals, as churches, and as a Convention. No one has the answers for the unique trials we face in this season. There are no experts. No proven strategies. No methodological assurances. We are at our best, as we always have been, when we are a praying people.


Our hearts are stained with sin and pride. The world watches and Satan laughs while we are filled with anger, gossip, manipulation, division, unforgiveness, arrogance, and selfish pride. Social media is a tool we could have used for the advancement of the Gospel. Instead, we have used it for the tearing down of one another. Repentance is in order. God will not despise a broken and contrite spirit. Rather, He will resist the proud and give grace to the humble.


In this season we need servant-hearted leading voices who are bridge-builders and peacemakers – such are blessed of God and will be called His sons. Those denominational servants who excelled in their calling have always been those who lived with integrity while undergirding the work of the churches with diligence. They build bridges. They keep peace with an attitude of gratitude that God would consider them worthy in Christ to descend to a denominational office, washing the feet of Christ’s Bride across tens of thousands of her local expressions.


To move through conflict and turmoil toward an even brighter day, we must afford each other, and our Convention as a whole, the grace of time. Southern Baptists have made some reprehensible mistakes through the decades. However, given the grace of time, the prayer and humility of the saints, and the longsuffering of servant-hearted leaders, God has seen fit to restore and reignite our Great Commission cooperation again and again. What is tangled takes time to straighten. What is broken takes time to repair. What is divided takes time to heal.


“We must not lose the things we have already wrought through the mercies and power of God… we must do our best to bring them to a full reward,” wrote L.R. Scarborough, the great champion of Southern Baptist denominational cooperation. He urged the Convention in 1925 to faithfully and sacrificially give toward the missional endeavors to which they had already committed themselves. Missionaries were promised salaries. Seminary students were promised scholarships. Churches were promised assistance. Humanitarian organizations were promised funding.

Even through many years of recovery after the Carnes scandal, Scarborough remained a steady voice for the cooperative funding that undergirded their missional strategy. The First-Century Macedonian churches call to us still with a reminder that when God’s people are in their most desperate hours, they are in their most sacrificial disposition.


The Baptist Faith and Message 2000 calls cooperation a “spiritual harmony” by which the churches endeavor to secure “the great objects of the Kingdom of God.”[2]

Now looking back across the bridge of time, let us agree with our brothers and sisters of a previous generation: “If we are wise, we will capitalize this disaster, and profit by all the mistakes that led up to it, in such a way as to make our future program more thoroughly intelligent and efficient.”

Let’s follow their lead. Let’s pray fervently, give sacrificially, and gather hopefully while we work to become the Convention God intends us to be.

[1] Annual of the Southern Baptist Convention Nineteen-Hundred and Twenty-Nine, accessed October 22, 2021 (Nashville: Southern Baptist Convention, _1929.pdf), 269-270.

[2] Baptist Faith and Message 2000, accessed October 22, 2021 (Nashville: Southern Baptist Convention,

SBTC DR Ida response continues

JEAN LAFITTE, La.—Southern Baptists of Texas Disaster Relief volunteers have joined Southern Baptist DR teams from across the nation to serve the survivors of Hurricane Ida, which made landfall in Louisiana on Aug. 29. The first SBTC DR team deployed on the day of the storm itself, heading to the Alexandria area to assist in coordinating Baptist relief for the entire state.

Currently, SBTC DR incident management, recovery, feeding support, chaplaincy, assessment and shower/laundry crews continue to serve in Golden Meadow, La., where they are being housed at First Baptist Golden Meadow.

Recovery teams are also involved in a rebuild project at Barataria Baptist Church in Jean Lafitte, La. The Jean Lafitte rebuild was begun by volunteers from First Baptist Church Vidor, which in addition to regularly opening its facilities to SBTC DR and other SBDR work, also actively engages in rebuilding projects. SBTC DR recovery and rebuild teams rotated into the area after the First Vidor crews departed.

The fellowship hall at Barataria Baptist was literally swamped by Ida, although its main building, built some 10 feet higher, escaped damage.  

Zack Greer, associate minister of missions at First Baptist Pampa, and his father James Greer, director of missions for the Top O’ Texas Baptist Association, flew to New Orleans and rented an all-wheel drive SUV in order to make their way 22 miles south to Jean Lafitte where they examined the extent of the damage yet to be resolved and called for assistance.

First Baptist Vidor’s teams had removed four feet of sheetrock and insulation to start the process of drying out the church, James Greer told the TEXAN. The crew of 13 from Top O’ Texas, most from FBC Pampa, arrived to continue the work of replacing the sheetrock and insulation with work beginning for that group on Oct. 14.

Ida Response by SBTC DR as of Mid-October
Volunteer Days
Meals Provided
Professions of Faith
Spiritual Contacts
Recovery Jobs Completed

“We have a plumber, a sheetrock guy, teachers and church leadership with us,” James Greer said, adding that the association had collected $3,000 from Top O’ Texas churches to purchase tools and equipment for Barataria Baptist so that the work of rebuilding might continue.

The Barataria deployment is the first for the new recovery unit based at FBC Pampa, where Zack Greer serves as unit director, SBTC DR Director Scottie Stice said.

James Greer complimented Barataria pastor Jeff Smith, staff and their wives, who ministered to their community despite the damaged facilities.

“They met the stressed-out folks with a smile and a hand of help,” Greer said of the Louisiana church personnel.

Teams in the field are following COVID protocols, Stice confirmed to the TEXAN.

In addition to the ongoing work in the Golden Meadow and Jean Lafitte areas, SBTC DR teams have completed numerous other deployments in response to Ida, Stice added.

Shower and laundry teams and units have served at West Monroe and Minden in support of shelters for evacuees, at Gonzales in support of power line crews and at Denham Springs in support of recovery workers. Feeding units deployed include quick response kitchens sent to Jean Lafitte, Kenner and Denham Springs and mass care feeding teams serving at Gonzales with the Salvation Army. SBTC DR recovery teams have also worked under the direction of Arkansas Baptist DR in Hammond and Oklahoma DR in Morgan City. SBTC DR has provided other support to Baptist DR teams from Louisiana, North Carolina and Alabama.

“The Ida deployment shows the cooperative nature of disaster relief,” Stice said, adding, “DR is a perfect illustration of cooperative missions where we come together with a common goal of serving disaster survivors.”

Personal Devotional Time

Read to Treasure Christ

Three times in the last three years I’ve seen believing friends of mine fall into serious moral failure. Two were pastors, and one was a seminary professor.

In one sense, it baffles me to see people who are seemingly committed to Christ fall into such blatant and damaging ways. In another sense, though, if I’m honest, I remember being in a very dark spiritual place myself not that long ago.

When our love for Christ wanes, from where can we minister and pour out as pastors? When our affections for Christ dwindle, we can’t exactly take a break from ministry (at least not easily). So, we start drawing from other places for our energy, our self-worth and our purpose.

Maybe for you it’s not as serious as pornography. Perhaps it’s entertaining yourself to death via Netflix or social media to help you escape. Or maybe it’s pouring everything into your role as a pastor, thinking that’s what gives you value.

No matter the symptom, the illness is always the same: Our love for Christ has waned. This is why the spiritual disciplines matter so much. Not because they are valuable in and of themselves, but because they foster our love for Jesus. A personal, devotional time of some sort is crucial.

When and How

One of my closest pastor friends starts every morning at 4:30 a.m. He wakes up, goes to the gym, comes home, reads his Bible, showers, and is completely ready for his day by the time his kids wake up.

Me? I wake up when my kids are screaming and I have no other choice but to get up. And usually, I’m waiting to see if my wife will get up so I can have a few more minutes to sleep.

To be honest, I sometimes wish I was a morning person. But I’ve always been more of a late-night guy. I’ll gladly stay up until midnight or 1 a.m. almost every night. Late at night is when I spend my time with the Lord.

I don’t think it matters as much when or how we get into the Word as long as we’re in it. Here are three simple but crucial steps in spending time with the Lord.

1. Read

Whether you spend three straight months digging deeply into a particular book or read the whole Bible in a year, make a plan. The old adage is true: “If you fail to plan, you’re planning to fail.” No, this isn’t about checking something off your to-do list. It’s about spending time with God. But you’ll be more consistent in your time with Jesus if you pick a plan and stick to it. Pick a plan, find a time, and get into God’s Word. For me, that’s late at night, usually on my back porch.

2. Linger

When you read, slow down. No matter how many tasks you have to do in a given day, there’s nothing more important than what you’re doing when you read the Word. Pause and ponder. Enjoy being a child of God. Enjoy seeing the smallest glimpse of who God is in the passage you just read. Spending time in the Word isn’t simply a daily task. It’s a relationship. The goal is that our affections are stirred, that we are compelled to worship this God we see more clearly each day. Keep this as your primary goal. Slow down. Enjoy this Father with whom you’ve been reconciled in Christ.

3. Thread

After you’ve spent time with the Lord, be sure and thread God’s Word into the rest of your day. If a verse was particularly meaningful, come back to it occasionally. Share it with your wife and your kids. Tell your family about the prophet of Obadiah or the bravery of the apostle Paul. For a verse you want to remember, write it down and put it on a card in your wallet. Don’t relegate God’s Word to the brief, uninterrupted time you spend reading it. Thread it into your whole day.

It’s likely that none of this is new for you. But if you’re like me, you too need the occasional reminder about the goal in spending time with Jesus. Our goal is that our “love would abound more and more” (Philippians 1:9). It’s not just to grow in knowledge or to do our daily Bible-reading duty. Our goal is to love and treasure Jesus more than anything. From that well, we can always draw. From that place, we can always minister. In Christ, your value and joy are secure. Read to treasure him.

Study: Few pastors left pulpit despite increased pressure from COVID

Discouraged pastor

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Pastors faced increased stress during the COVID-19 pandemic, as churches were frequently forced to adapt overnight. More felt their role was overwhelming at times, yet very few pastors decided to actually leave the ministry in recent years.

A new study from Nashville-based Lifeway Research found close to 1% of evangelical and historically Black Protestant senior pastors step away from the pulpit each year—a rate statistically unchanged from a 2015 Lifeway Research study.

“COVID-19 was neither a small nor short-lived stressor for pastors,” said Scott McConnell, executive director of Lifeway Research. “Many have speculated that pastors have been opting out of the pastorate as a result. That is not the case. They are remaining faithful to the calling at levels similar to those seen before the pandemic.”

Coming and going

The August-September 2021 study, sponsored by Houston’s First Baptist Church and Dr. Richard Dockins, surveyed more than 1,500 pastors serving in both evangelical and historically Black Protestant churches.

Around 1 in 6 pastors (17%) started at their current church during the pandemic years of 2020-2021. Half of the senior pastors facing the ministry upheaval brought on by COVID-19 were new to their role, as 51% are serving in their first church as senior pastor.

More than 1 in 3 pastors (37%) say they were the senior leader of their church 10 years ago. Among those congregations that had a different pastor in 2011, most of the previous pastors are now either retired (30%) or pastoring another church (28%).

In that time frame, some stepped away from the pulpit for a different ministry role (13%) or are working in a non-ministry position (8%), according to the current pastor. Combined, those two groups who leave the pastorate before retirement reveal an annual pastor attrition rate of around 1.5%.

“COVID-19 is not the only pressure pastors face nor is it the most likely reason pastors from a decade ago are no longer pastoring,” said McConnell. “Baby Boomer pastors are reaching retirement age, and while many continue pastoring for years afterward, retirement is still the most common reason a pastor from 2011 is not pastoring a decade later.”

Thinking of their predecessor in cases where that person is working outside the pastorate, current senior pastors are most likely to say the previous pastor left due to a change in calling (32%), church conflict (18%), burnout (13%), being a poor fit with the church (12%), or family issues (10%). Fewer point to a moral or ethical issue (8%), an illness (5%), personal finances (5%), or a lack of preparation (3%).

Regardless of how the previous pastor left, the vast majority of pastors feel confident in their position. Nine in 10 pastors (90%) say they are sure they can stay at their current church as long as they want, including 60% who strongly agree.

Church conflict

While only 15% of pastors a decade ago have left the pastorate and fewer than 1 in 6 pastors say conflict drove that pastor from the pastorate, many pastors have experienced conflict in their church.

Among the pastors surveyed who pastored a different church previously, almost half (47%) say they left their last church because they took it as far as they could. Another third (33%) say their family needed a change. A quarter say there was conflict in the church (25%). More than 1 in 5 points to the church not embracing their approach to pastoral ministry (22%) or having unrealistic expectations of them (21%). Another 18% admit they were not a good fit for the church. Few say they were reassigned (14%) or asked to leave the church (10%).

Even if conflict didn’t cause them to leave their last church, most pastors (69%) say they dealt with some type of conflict there. More than 1 in 3 say they experienced a significant personal attack (39%), had conflict over proposed changes (39%), or were in conflict with lay leaders (38%). More than a quarter ran into disagreements over expectations about the pastor’s role (28%) or their leadership style (27%). Fewer experienced conflict over doctrinal differences (12%) or politics (8%).

“Churches are groups of people, and even like-minded people do not always get along,” said McConnell. “It would be naïve to think a church would not experience disagreements. The important thing is whether that church maintains unity and love for each other as they navigate those differences or stoops to personal attacks as many pastors have experienced.”

Their previous experience with conflict leads 4 in 5 pastors (80%) to expect they will have to confront it in their current church in the future. As part of this preparation, 9 in 10 say they consistently listen for signs of conflict in their church (90%) and invest in processes and behaviors to prevent it (89%).

Ministry and family stresses

Direct conflict with churchgoers is not the only type of issue pastors face in their ministry. They often feel overworked and overloaded as individuals and worry about the toll their work may take on their family.

Most pastors say they are on-call 24 hours a day (71%) and their role is frequently overwhelming (63%). Half of pastors (50%) say the demands of their job are often greater than they can handle. Many say they feel isolated (38%) and face unrealistic expectations from their church (23%). One in 5 pastors (21%) admit they frequently feel irritated at their church members.

“The impact of the pandemic may be most noticeable in pastors’ increased agreement that the role of being a pastor is frequently overwhelming, which jumped from 54% in 2015 to 63% today,” said McConnell. “But there has also been a shift in how some pastors think about their work. Fewer pastors agree they must be ‘on-call’ 24 hours a day, declining from 84% to 71%. Perhaps even more telling, the majority of pastors (51%) strongly agreed with this expectation in 2015, while only a third (34%) strongly feel this obligation today.”

Almost all evangelical and Black Protestant pastors are married (95%), and their role as spouse, and often parent, has the potential to conflict with their role as church leader. Most, however, feel that serving in vocational ministry has been good for their family.

More than 9 in 10 pastors say their spouse is very satisfied with their marriage (96%) and enthusiastic about life in ministry together (91%). A similar percentage (94%) consistently protect time with their family. Most pastors have been able to take a week’s vacation with their family last year (83%) and plan monthly date nights with their spouse (66%). As a result, few say their work keeps them from spending time with their family (31%), and even fewer feel their family resents the demands of pastoral ministry (19%).

Still, 2 in 5 pastors say they are often concerned about their family’s financial security.

“Fewer pastors are concerned about their family’s financial security—41% today compared to 53% in 2015,” said McConnell. “This decrease in the number of pastors stressed over their personal finances may be due to increased generosity in their church or financial stimulus checks from the government. It is still more common for a pastor to be worried about their own finances than to report declines in giving at their church.”

Pastoral encouragement

While families may provide some added stress and responsibilities for pastors, they are also one of the sources of encouragement and support. They are also a channel through which a congregation can care for their pastor. Nine in 10 pastors (90%) say their family receives genuine encouragement from their church.

Close to 9 in 10 (86%) feel their church gives them the freedom to say no when faced with unrealistic expectations. While few say their church has a plan for the pastor to periodically receive a sabbatical (32%), almost 9 in 10 say they have a day to unplug from ministerial work and have a day of rest at least once a week (86%).

Pastors are also leaning on others for support and encouragement. Most say at least once a month they openly share their struggles with their spouse (82%), a close friend (68%), or another pastor (66%). Others say they are able to speak with lay leaders in the church (42%), a mentor (40%), another staff member (35%), a Bible study group in their church (23%), or a counselor (9%).

“The difficult moments and seasons pastors face require ongoing investment in their spiritual, physical and mental well-being,” said McConnell. “Most pastors and churches have practices that help the pastor in these ways, but there are often missed opportunities to encourage, build up and avoid misunderstandings.”

For more information, visit or view the full report and the 2021-2015 comparison report.

Lewis, Molina join Kaunitz as nominees at the annual meeting

FLINT — Richard Lewis, pastor of Unity Baptist Church in Copperas Cove, and the current SBTC vice president, confirmed to the TEXAN his intention to run for a second term in that office at the 2021 SBTC Annual Meeting, Nov. 8-9 at Flint Baptist Church.

Moises Molina, pastor/church planter of Iglesia Bautista Jerico in Brownsville, has agreed to have his name placed in nomination for SBTC secretary. Steve Dorman, pastor of First Baptist Church Brownsville, will nominate Molina at the 2021 annual meeting.

Lewis and Molina join Todd Kaunitz, pastor of New Beginnings Baptist Church in Longview, in rounding out the slate of officers to be nominated in Flint. Kaunitz will be nominated for SBTC president by Jarrett Stephens, pastor of Champion Forest Baptist Church in Houston.

2021 Presidential Appointments
LaRue Monsivais (CHAIR), Grace Community Church, Mabank
Darla Britt, West Lake Baptist Church, Chandler
Brandon Cochran, Hillview Baptist Church, Henderson
Beth Davis, Flint Baptist Church, Flint
Ame Thompson, First Baptist Church, Fruitvale

John Turner, (CHAIR) Hyde Park Baptist Church, Austin
Michael Cooper, Grace Community Church Mabank
Ken Holland, University Heights Baptist Church, Huntsville
Travis Kerns, Lane Prairie Baptist Church, Joshua
Clara Molina, Hillcrest Baptist Church, Cedar Hill
Sherrell Ogletree, Image Church Houston
Mac Saydometov, Lamar Baptist Church, Arlington
Terry Turner, Mesquite Friendship Baptist Church, Mesquite

Daniel Stone, (CHAIR) First Baptist Church, Murchison
Andy Barlow, Coastal Oaks Baptist Church, Rockport
Amy Collier, First Baptist Church, Groesbeck
Cameron Crow, College Baptist Church, Big Spring
Judson Frazier, First Baptist Church, Fruitvale
Tara Kimball, First Baptist Church, Colmesneil
Charlie Robinson, Fellowship Baptist Church, Athens
Darrell Vang, Unity Point Church, Plano

Al Gage, Convention Parliamentarian
Terry Wright, First Baptist Church, Vidor

2021-2022 Chair: Andy Hill, Mobberly Baptist Church, Longview
Term Expiring 2024
Beaux Hinote, First Baptist Church, Justin
Chris Kouba, United City Church, Humble
Roland Tureaud, Harvest Fellowship Baptist Church, DeSoto

Daniel Darling named director of SWBTS Land Center

FORT WORTH, Texas (BP) – Southern Baptist thought leader Daniel M. Darling has been named director of the Land Center for Cultural Engagement at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, President Adam W. Greenway announced today (Oct. 25). He will also serve under presidential appointment as assistant professor of faith and culture at Texas Baptist College, Southwestern Seminary’s undergraduate school.

Dan Darling

“The appointment of Dan Darling to lead the Land Center underscores our commitment to provide the very best theological education for men and women preparing to serve the churches of the Southern Baptist Convention,” Greenway said.

“In a day of moral upheaval and widespread rejection of God’s design for human flourishing, it is our unwavering commitment that the Land Center be a trusted partner in helping Southern Baptist churches and the broader evangelical world to understand the times and to apply effectively Gospel truth in this day. Dan is the right person to elevate Southwestern Seminary’s work in cultural engagement, and in God’s providence now is the time. It is my joy to welcome the Darling family to Seminary Hill. I look forward to how they will enrich this community, especially the lives of our students.”

Darling, who most recently served as the senior vice president for communications of the National Religious Broadcasters, is a best-selling author of The Original Jesus, The Dignity Revolution, The Characters of Christmas, The Characters of Easter, and A Way With Words. He is also the host of a popular weekly podcast, “The Way Home.”

Previously, Darling served as vice president for communications at the SBC Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC), as well as in pastoral roles.

“I’m honored to join the wonderful team at Southwestern Seminary and assist President Greenway and the faculty in equipping future Southern Baptist church leaders,” Darling said. “We live in complex and confusing times – but times that are not a surprise to God. Our desire is to build at the Land Center for Cultural Engagement a place where Southern Baptists and the broader evangelical movement can both engage in substantive and thoughtful conversations that help equip Christian leaders and to train a new generation of robustly Gospel-centered men and women to engage the world. I’m thankful to President Greenway for this strategic opportunity to serve the Kingdom.”

An award-winning writer, Darling is a columnist for WORLD Opinions and regular contributor to USA Today. His articles also have appeared in Christianity Today, The Washington Post, The Washington Times, TIME, The Huffington Post, National Review, and First Things.

David S. Dockery, interim provost, expressed gratitude for the leadership Darling will bring to his new roles.

“I am genuinely excited about the appointment of Dan Darling as the new director of the Land Center for Cultural Engagement,” Dockery said. “Dan will add much to the overall work of the Southwestern community as he gives leadership to this important center and as he invests in the lives of students through his work as assistant professor of faith and culture in the college. It is a delight to welcome Dan Darling to the Southwestern community.”

The Land Center was established in 2007 in honor of Richard D. Land, who led the ERLC for 25 years until his retirement in 2013 when he was named president emeritus. The center focuses on the study and research of ethics, public policy and other cultural and philosophical issues.

“I am delighted that President Greenway has appointed Dan Darling to be the next director of the Land Center for Cultural Engagement,” Land said. “Never has America been in greater need for Christians be the salt and light in culture that our Savior commanded us to be as part of being His ambassadors of reconciliation. Dan is well-equipped by calling and experience to carry on the mission of challenging Southern Baptists and other believers to engage the culture, preserving against decay and dispelling spiritual darkness.”

Since 2015, Darling has served on the pastoral staff of Green Hill Church in Mount Juliet, Tenn., leading in the areas of discipleship and leadership development, in addition to serving on the preaching team. Darling earned a bachelor’s degree in pastoral studies from Dayspring Bible College and has studied at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and earned a Master of Arts degree from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Darling and his wife, Angela, have four children.

Darling’s appointments are effective Nov. 1.

Pandemic opens door for outreach in Southeast Asia

Send Relief Photo

In Southeast Asia, communities have been ravaged by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Household incomes declined along with available jobs and expected revenues. For many families, the goal each day is to simply find enough food to feed their children.

Understandably, the region is seeing a sharp decline in mental health.

Send Relief was able to provide emergency food packages to 500 families in desperate need of both spiritual and physical care. Working alongside a local church to accomplish this project, Send Relief directors were able to identify those most impacted by the lockdown and prioritize their families when distributing aid.

One project director shared, “This project was absolutely vital to both aiding families that were directly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and furthering our long-term strategy in the area. We were able to enter regions that we haven’t done ministry in before and be the hands and feet of Jesus in both word and deed. Hundreds of new relationships were formed, and, while it may take years to see how the Lord wants to use those relationships, the short-term effect was having hundreds of people gratefully receive food. Additionally, when follow-up visits were completed, more than 40 people heard the gospel for the very first time!”

“We were able to enter regions that we haven’t done ministry in before and be the hands and feet of Jesus in both word and deed.”

“We saw physical health restored but also mental health! The very thought that strangers loved these families enough to come in and gift them with free food brought so much joy to the people. We were able to explain the root of this love and share the gospel many times in the following visits to their homes,” one project leader commented.

After one of these food distributions, a mother told our project directors that she was at a point where her family was splitting one egg per meal among the family members. She shared that as soon as she found out about the food aid being offered, she knew it was an answer to prayer from God! She even asked one volunteer team to wait until her family got home, so that they, too, could hear the gospel message.

It is because of your consistent generosity that projects like this are made possible and that the gospel is spread among the nations! Please be in prayer for those who heard the good news through this project, that they would share it with others and draw close to the Holy Spirit.

Natalie Sarrett is a staff writer for Send Relief.

Visit for opportunities to give and serve.

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Newsboys still trucking after all these years (w/Texas tour dates)

Michael Tait says he’s spent most of his life “on the road” while traveling in a bus from city to city and performing in arenas both big and small.

Until last year, that is.

Tait, the current lead singer for the Christian band Newsboys who got his start as a member of DC Talk, remained at home for most of 2020, unable to tour because of the pandemic and searching for a way to channel his energy.

“It was a bit freaky,” Tait said. “I was like, ‘Will it ever be the same again?’”

Tait wrote 60-65 songs during the pandemic and picked the best ones for the Newsboys’ newest album, Stand. One of those songs, Magnetic, features a message about God’s infinite love and has been on Billboard’s Hot Christian Songs chart for more than a dozen weeks.

Tait and his bandmates believe it’s one of the best albums ever from the group, which launched in 1985 with Peter Furler at lead vocals. Tait, 55, became the frontman in 2009.

He said he has plans on touring until he’s at least 80 — similar to the members of the Rolling Stones.

“Here we are all these years later, still doing it and we’re not quitting — because Mick Jagger was 80 years old still doing it,” Tait said, joking about the Rolling Stones singer, who is 78 and still touring. “We’re just kids.”

The Newsboys embarked in early October on their latest tour, which will take them to more than 25 cities, including Texas stops in College Station (Nov. 19) and Longview (Nov. 20).

Tait and his bandmates are known for their love of live performances.

“It’s everything that I am. I love it. I love seeing people smile. I love serving people,” Tait said. “… I enjoy watching mom and dad come with Bobby and Jennifer or Lequan and Tavon and be blessed. It’s fantastic.”

Drummer Duncan Phillips called touring “the best life in the world if you’re built for it.”

“When you’re called to what you do, they say you don’t work a day in your life. I just love touring,” Phillips said. “I love what I do. I love playing drums. I love meeting people. … You get to a venue, then you get this energy — this kind of symbiotic energy from the crowd. There’s nothing better than playing a full house, no matter if it’s 1,500 people or 15,000 people.”

The theme of the new album, Tait said, is simple: “God is still in control, and God is still good.”

Phillips, too, believes the band will be touring for years to come.

“We’re just getting started,” he said.

FIRST PERSON: Who will lead the SBC forward? The messengers. They already are.

“Since 2018, the Southern Baptist Convention has lost a series of high-profile leaders whose tenures ended due to controversy or misconduct,” began the recent RNS article, “Can anyone lead the Southern Baptist Convention forward?” by Bob Smietana. But maybe the author is looking for leaders in all the wrong places.

The vast majority of Southern Baptist pastors are in towns you’ve never heard of, pastoring churches you will never spot on Outreach’s Fastest-Growing Churches list. After all, Annual Church Profile data in 2020 revealed the Southern Baptist Convention had 47,592 churches with 4,439,797 in average attendance. In other words, the typical SBC church averages 92 people on Sunday mornings.

It was these leaders — the messengers from average, no-name churches — who, as the article put it, “wrestled control of the (sex abuse task force) investigation away from the Executive Committee in a vote from the meeting floor.”

So, “Can anyone lead the Southern Baptist Convention forward?”

Yes. And they already are.

“They” are the guys totally content outside of the limelight who are leading the Southern Baptist Convention. “They” are not the presidents of our seminaries, but the pastors, Sunday school teachers and volunteer age-graded ministry directors who are leading the Southern Baptist Convention.

People like Mitch, a full-time employee of a telecommunications business, part-time rancher and small business owner in a no-name town who leads as a Sunday school teacher. People like Charlie, a retired teacher who leads as a children’s ministry director and heads up the church’s Vacation Bible School program. People like Cal, who leads as the longtime pastor of a small church in the middle of nowhere.

“They” are not the entity heads but are the 1,273 missionaries sent from the International Mission Board since 2018. A few we know, most we do not, but they are leading. “They” are largely not on trustee boards but lead within the 2,643 churches the North American Mission Board planted since 2018. Some in large cities, some in small. But they are all leading.

So, if you are asking who can lead the Southern Baptist Convention forward, look to who is already leading. The people who do not need segments on Fox News or even the occasional piece in a Baptist state newspaper are leading — right now.

You can find them on any given Sunday in America or launching a Bible study in their home in another country. And you will see them descend on Anaheim for the SBC Annual Convention in June, where, with paper ballots in hand, they will lead the Southern Baptist Convention forward. Just like they have done since 1845.

In other words, the SBC is not run by elites but, rather, by ordinary people who show up and lead. They unlock the doors on Sundays, brew the coffee, adjust the thermostat (much to the chagrin of Ms. Helen), teach a Sunday school lesson, rock a baby or preach a sermon. They go to the nations with the gospel or plant churches in hard-to-reach areas.

The true leaders of the Southern Baptist Convention are the ones leading their churches to give through the Cooperative Program to send missionaries and church planters and to train their future pastors (and more). The true leaders of the Southern Baptist Convention are reaching their communities, schools and neighbors for Jesus. The true leaders of the Southern Baptist Convention may not have a glossy business card with a fancy title or even have a title at all, but they are leading — now.

Therefore, if you want to find the leaders of the Southern Baptist Convention, visit First Baptist Church of Anywhere and look around. While entity heads and trustees are important, the true leaders of the SBC are already leading — now, right before your eyes.

This article was originally published by Religion News Service.

Matt Henslee (@mhenslee) is the Associational Mission Strategist of Collin Baptist Association, president of the SBC Pastors’ Conference and hosts Not Another Baptist and Potluck Podcasts