Illinois Baptist 10 16 2017 E Edition Page 2

ot long ago, the pastor of an already growing church contacted me about becoming Southern Baptist. His church was starting to think about planting another church or campus, and had heard about the partner- ship and resources available through our North Ameri- can Mission Board. As I began explaining Southern Baptist polity and structure to him, I realized that those of us who be- came Southern Baptist when our parents enrolled us in the church nursery may sometimes take for granted the way our largest Protestant denomination in America operates and cooperates. In fact, many laypeo- ple in our churches today might have trouble answering this pastors question. Later I wished I had explained Southern Baptist life to him the way I truly think about itlike a family. A local church is like the imme- diate family you live with every day. You do life with them and know them intimately, in good times and bad, for better and worse. A local Baptist association is like your family that lives nearby. You might see them every week, or maybe once a month, perhaps for dinner or to help with a project. They would help you move, or loan you their truck, or pick up your kids or grandkids in an emergency. They are your first line of sup- port, and your first line of defense. You trust them, and you count on them, because theyre family, even if they dont live at your house all the time. A state Baptist Association or Convention is like a more extended family. The distance between family members keeps you from seeing everyone in person very often. But you talk by phone, and youre Facebook friends, and youre aware of what each other is doing. When youre in their town, you visit them. When their kids graduate or get married, or have a big life event, youre there. And theyre there for you too. When you are together with ex- tended family, its still clear youre related. The subtle family resem- blances are there. Behaviors and preferences may be diverse, but values are largely the same. You know the same folklore. You cel- ebrate the same heritage. You would still do anything for each other, even if Uncle Bill irritates you a little. You would never want to leave or lose this family, even if youre grateful to get back in the car and go home. Then theres the national Southern Baptist Convention, which I might compare to a nationwide family reunion. I attended one of those once, for the Cunningham line of my family, which has gathered every Fathers Day weekend for decades in western Kentucky. We loved going, and met people we had never met before, and it didnt take long to discover common threads, and certainly common values. I hope to go again someday. And if you ask me, Are you a Cunningham? I will proudly say yes, and eagerly help anyone from that family. I know lots and lots of pastors and church members who have never been to a national Southern Baptist Convention, but who faithfully give to Southern Baptist missions, and who faithfully believe The Baptist Faith and Message . Its a wonderful, diverse, large family. And so, with a newfound warmth and enthusiasm for family, I invite you to come to Tabernacle Baptist Church in Decatur this November 7-9 for the IBSA Pastors Conference and IBSA Annual Meeting. In fact, bring someone with you who hasnt been to this extended family gathering in a while. You wont know everyone, but everyone you meet will be family. They believe what you believe, and they work together at doing the things you know are most important. And at least most of us would do anything for you. Nate Adams is executive director of the Illinois Baptist State Association. Respond at Family gatherings NATE ADAMS Snapshots from the world of Illinois Baptists The general telephone number for IBSA is (217) 786-2600. For questions about subscriptions, articles, or upcoming events, contact the Illinois Baptist at (217) 391-3119 or . The Illinois Baptist is seeking news from IBSA churches. E-mail us at to tell us about special events and new ministry staff. POSTMASTER: The Illinois Baptist is owned and published every three weeks by the Illinois Baptist State Association, 3085 Stevenson Drive, Springfield, Illinois 62703-4440. Subscriptions are free to Illinois Baptists. Subscribe online at . CONVENTIONAL WISDOM The Illinois Baptist staff Editor - Eric Reed Managing Editor - Meredith Flynn Graphic Designer - Kris Kell Contributing Editor - Lisa Misner Sergent Multimedia Journalist - Andrew Woodrow Administrative Assistant - Leah Honnen N 2 Illinois Baptist the cooperative program Giving by IBSA churches as of 10/06/17 $4,528,748 Budget Goal: $4,846,154 Received to date in 2016: $4,605,362 2017 Goal: $6.3 Million Illinois Baptists will celebrate their annual 'family reunion' Nov. 7-9. Different definitions of generosity There are some significant gaps among the generational groups on what counts as generosity, how it's practiced, and its overall importance among life's competing priorities. - Barna Research Is generosity about more than money? Age groups disagree. Service - The Generosity Gap study by Barna and Thrivent Financial also includes Elders and Gen X, Emotional Support Money Hospitality Gifts 32% 38% 30% 34% 31% 22% 23% 13% 12% 3% 21% 5% 3% 5% All Christians Baby Boomers Millennials All Christians Baby Boomers Millennials All Christians Baby Boomers Millennials All Christians Millennials Baby Boomers All Christians Millennials

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