Illinois Baptist 05 01 2017 E Edition Page 3

THE TICKER Follow the latest Illinois Baptist news NEWS If we will pray and abandon ourselves to the Lord, he will use us exponentially to take the gospel to people, Gaines said. Similar to the previous few annual meet- ings, Gaines said the 2017 gathering will in- clude seasons of prayer, as well as a personal evangelism emphasis on Tuesday evening led by Greg Laurie . The California evangelist also will lead a Harvest Crusade Sunday, June 11, as part of the annual Crossover evangelistic effort that precedes the Southern Baptist Convention (see Nate Adamss column on page 2 for more information). Organizers say the event at University of Phoenix Stadium, which holds 65,000 people, promises to be the largest single gospel presentation in Arizona history. Focus on stewardship Following the example of previous annual meetings, the gathering in Phoenix will in- clude a panel discussion with SBC leaders. This year's topic: financial stewardship. Gaines told Baptist Press Southern Baptist churches cannot give more to SBC missions and ministries than church members give through their local congregations. The solution for increased funding for world missions begins in the heart of ev- ery individual believer in Christ, he said. Southern Baptists need to get our financial houses in order. The Cooperative ProgramSouthern Bap- tists' unified giving channel for supporting missions and ministry around the worldis likely to be a topic of conversation in Phoenix as well. In February, Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano, Texas, pastored by former SBC President Jack Graham , announced they would temporarily escrow their CP giv- ing because of positions taken by the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission. ERLC President Russell Moore , a vocal critic of now-President Donald Trump dur- ing the campaign, has apologized for com- ments that seemed directed at all evangeli- cals who supported Trump, and the ERLCs executive board released a statement in April pledging their support for Moore. The state- ment also called for unity in the SBC despite differences, a sentiment echoed by Gaines. I believe all of us who are recipients of grace and forgiveness should grant him the same forgiveness that we desire from the Lord, Gaines said after Moore and the ERLC executive board released the statement. It is high time that we put all of this behind us. It is time to move ahead and work together to double our efforts to take the gospel to our nation and the nations. If the recent controversy surrounding the ERLC does make an appearance at the SBC, it could be in the form of a motion from the floor, or during the Q&A time following Moore's report, which is the final item on the meeting schedule. International Mission Board President David Platt could also face questions about the IMBs support of a Mus- lim group's fight to build a mosque in New Jersey. (Like the ERLC, the IMB also signed on to a friend of the court brief in support of the group.) In February, Platt apologized for how distracting and divisive the brief was, and pledged that in the future, the IMB will have a process in place to keep us focused on our primary mission. Still, the mosque debate could spark a religious liberty conversation in Phoenix, as could President Trumps con- troversial travel ban for people from some majority Muslim countries into the U.S. Online pre-registration for the Phoenix meeting is now open at sbcannualmeeting/ sbc17. Messengers and guests are required to be registered and properly badged in order to enter the general sessions June 13-14. For more information about the Southern Baptist Conventions June meeting in Phoe- nix, go to - With info from Baptist Press 3 May 01, 2017 IB Continued from page 1 from the front: possible SBC actions in Phoenix TX church resumes CP giving Three months after announcing it would es- crow its Cooperative Program gifts because of concerns about the SBCs Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, Dallas-area megachurch Pre- stonwood announced April 26 they will resume giv- ing without designation. The church, led by Pas- tor Jack Graham, had objected to ERLC President Russell Moores Trump-related comments during the 2016 presidential election cycle. The SBC Ex- ecutive Committee heard similar concerns from other churches. EC Chairman Stephen Rummage said in March he hoped Prestonwoods resumption of CP giving would indicate a resolution of most of those concerns. Baylor's female president Baylor University announced April 18 that Linda Livingstone will serve as its 15th presidentand irst ever female leader. The school is iliated with the Baptist General Conven- tion of Texas, one of two Baptist state conventions in Texas. Livingstone has been dean of The George Washington University School of Business since 2014, and previously served at Pepperdine University and Baylor, where she rose from assistant professor to dean of the business school. Baylors previous president, Kenneth Starr, was dismissed in 2016 after an independent investiga- tion found the school had failed to protect stu- dents from sexual assault. Lottie giving drops Giving to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering will be much lower than the 2015-16 offering, ac- cording to the Louisiana Baptist Message. Gifts received by the SBC Executive Committee from Oct. 2016 through March 2017 for the Lottie Moon Offering-100% of which supports the Southern Baptist International Mission Board (IMB)are $13.5 million less than the same time frame one year earlier. That did not include Lottie Moon donations that are sent directly to the IMB. The declining numbers follow a year of record giving, in which Baptists contributed $165.8 million to Lottie Moon, after the IMB reduced its overseas missions personnel and Richmond, Va., home ice staffin order to balance its budget. - Baptist Press, (La.) Baptist Message SBC News GAINES LAURIE MOORE GRAHAM PLATT See our big preview of the 2017 Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Phoenix, page 7. LIVINGSTONE

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