In 2016, Anne Graham Lotz stepped into the role of National Day of Prayer Task Force chairman. Known for having similar mannerisms to her father, Billy Graham, Lotz expressed her desire for believers to pray like never before for a country divided. “God has promised to hear us, forgive us and heal us on the condition that we pray,” she said. “Therefore prayer is … not an option; it is a necessity.”
The Prayerlink team settled on four key words – pray, connect, resource and serve – in its effort to refocus on prayer. The logo redesign incorporates those verbs, and the group stressed the need to focus on Great Commission prayer mindset within the Southern Baptist Convention, state conventions, and local associations and churches.
The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) offered a two-day crash course in Christian ethics in May. ERLC President Russell Moore addressed such issues as sanctity of human life, gender identity, religious liberty, marriage, artificial reproductive technology, capital punishment and poverty. The event was followed by a three-day doctoral seminar for students from four of the six Southern Baptist seminaries.
Summit Community Church in Morganton is the product of a church merger. Calvary Baptist Church and Journey Church combined their members and their talents to form a new church. Ninety percent of the new attendees are unchurched, according to the pastor, Mike Chandler. The church is not only committed to reaching its neighbors but is also in a partnership in Guatemala.
Several Southern Baptist leaders are among a group of evangelicals who urged President Donald Trump and the United States Congress to protect undocumented immigrants who were brought into the country by their parents. The advocates sent letters as part of the Evangelical Immigration Table, a coalition of Christian advocates for immigration reform.
Jose Abella, pastor of Providence Road Church in Miami, was nominated and won the office of the second vice president during the Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting in June in Arizona. He also preached during the Southern Baptist Pastor’s Conference prior to the meeting. His congregation in Miaim is bilingual and has planted another congregation in town.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed legislation May 21 that prohibits Texas government agencies from subpoenaing the sermons of religious leaders. Four of the five Houston pastors whose sermons were targeted in 2014 joined the signing ceremony at Grace Church in Woodlands, Texas. The controversy sparked a national debate over religious liberty.
Parenting is both timeless and urgent, Russell Moore said in May prior to the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission national conference on parenting, which was in August. Moore, who serves as ERLC president, said parenting issues should be addressed as part of discipleship: “but we need to speak definitively where scripture speaks definitively and not speak definitively where scripture does not.”
Timmy Blair, pastor of Piney Grove Chapel Baptist Church in Angier, nominated Lee Pigg, pastor of Hopewell Baptist Church in Monroe, as president of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina (BSC). The nomination was made at the November annual meeting. Pigg was unopposed and elected by acclamation. Cameron McGill, previous BSC president, had announced earlier in the year that he would not run for re-election.
Marlana VanHoose, a Southern Baptist from Kentucky, performed at President Donald Trump’s inauguration in January. The member of Liberty Baptist Church near Paintsville, Ky., said the Holy Spirit “takes care of me every single day.” The 21-year-old was born blind but has used her platform to sing at numerous events.