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July-August 2019 Issue

Monthly Teaching Resources Password

Digital subscribers may scroll to the bottom of this post to access the current Teaching Resources password. Published bimonthly (in print or digital access), Nurturing Faith Journal is an autonomous, national journal offering thoughtful analysis, inspiring features and helpful resources for Christian living. With abundant original content found nowhere else, this high-quality, 64-page magazine focuses […]

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Mysterious Summons

A conversation with Barry Howard, editor of Call Stories The “call to ministry’ is a common concept in congregational culture, but it remains “a mystical and mysterious summons to help others navigate their spiritual journey.” So writes veteran pastoral leader Barry Howard in the introduction to Call Stories: Hearing and Responding to God’s Call. Howard, […]

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Worth Repeating

“We don’t talk about sin much in the public square anymore. But I don’t think one can grasp the full amplitude of racial injustice without invoking the darkest impulses of human nature.” Columnist David Brooks (New York Times) “The essence of sin is self-centeredness… Selfishness is a cancer that will destroy from within better than […]

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Don’t stop believing, but …

Recently the song “Don’t stop believin’” by Journey was playing on the radio — and stuck in my head for several hours. It is about “streetlight people living just to find emotion” — not about continuing one’s affirmation of the divine presence. However, when you’re theologically inclined everything passes through that filter. Believing in God […]

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Remembering a… a most remarkable woman

On Sunday morning, March 31, Dr. Virginia Boyd Connally of Abilene, Texas, died at age 106. Her legacy is both long and lasting. Writing of her a few years ago, I referred to Virginia as a remarkable woman. I would add: a most remarkable woman. This kind and generous Temple, Texas native was a true […]

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Denton Lotz leaves footprints of leadership, service among global Baptists

News that Denton Lotz had died at his home in Forestdale, Mass., on April 23, did not come as a great surprise. About a month earlier, during the meeting of the Baptist World Alliance Executive Committee in Falls Church, Va., Baptist leaders from around the world spent time in prayer for Denton and his wife […]

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Being Church

Thoughts about traditions, trends and changing times In this series, Nurturing Faith Editor John Pierce raises questions with a variety of leaders about the future of congregational life. This third entry features responses from Bill Wilson, founding president of the Center for Healthy Churches. NF: Sunday school attendance has been a primary measuring stick, at […]

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Why white nationalism tempts white Christians

“Too often Christian individuals and institutions act as if general statements condemning bigotry and saccharine assertions of racial and ethnic equality are sufficient to combat white nationalism. They are not.” Troublesome though it may be, Christians must contend with these twin facts: White nationalism is on the rise, and white Christians are susceptible to this […]

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Congregational identity matters

Pastor John (not his real name) was called to serve First Baptist Church in a small city. The church had a long history of stability, occupying a central place geographically and socially in the community. It was a “big tent” church with members holding diverse positions theologically and politically. Overall, everyone got along well. They […]

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“Being church in changing times”

Toward a compelling theology of lay ministry This column is provided in collaboration with the Center for Healthy Churches (chchurches.org) The number of lay persons with serious involvements in ministry, both professional and volunteer, has grown dramatically in recent decades. The lay empowerment movement, the growth of multi-staffed mega-churches, and the demand for specialized programmatic […]

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THEOLOGY IN THE PEWS: Jesus the Life

Jesus says in the Gospel of John, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life” (14:6). In this series on a Jesus-shaped worldview, I want to reflect on the claim that Jesus is the Life. To understand the significance of this claim, it is helpful to situate it in the context of the […]

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REBLOG: Cleaning out the closets

Our entryway closet greets us as we walk in the door. It’s the perfect dropping-off spot for coats, shoes, umbrellas and book bags. As soon as we walk inside, we can hang jackets on the provided hangers, put shoes on the provided shelves, hang bags on the provided hooks, and place umbrellas in the provided […]

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THE LIGHTER SIDE: May God bless you with a city

We were worshipping with a wonderful, lively congregation. The service was amazing except for one peculiar detail. The forests, rivers and mountains pictured on the screens at the front of the sanctuary looked nothing like the scenes we could see through the windows. Inner city churches make a mistake when they suggest that God is […]

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CLASSIFIEDS

Minister of Music: Immanuel Baptist Church in Paducah, Ky., is seeking a minister of music. Immanuel is a moderate Baptist congregation of more than 400 resident members. The worship of the church may be characterized by a warm formality. Candidates for this position are to be classically trained musicians and have at least a master’s […]

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Gospel choirs seek to build racial harmony through song

ST. LOUIS — Emi Belciak teaches third grade in a tough part of sub-urban St. Louis, where she says her students are exposed to more violence than any child should be. The school is just three miles from the site in Ferguson, Mo., where Michael Brown was killed. Five years have passed, but this part […]

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RELIGION AND THE AMERICAN PRESIDENTS

Harry S. Truman (1945–1953) This is the 33rd article in a series by historian Bruce Gourley, online editor and contributing writer for Nurturing Faith Journal, on the religious faith of U.S. presidents. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s 1930s New Deal ushered in an era of social justice in America likened, by Roosevelt, to Jesus’ teachings. Conversely, […]

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Praying hard prayers

A few years ago, while I was pregnant with Samuel, a baby that I had just learned would not live, I spent night after night sitting in the shower praying hard, angry prayers. If being honest, I was yelling — yelling to God, yelling at God. I recounted this in a small group maybe a […]

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Grace & mercy

Kentucky ministry serves inmates seeking a fresh start Christians believe in God’s grace and mercy. We would like for God to be gracious toward us all the time, and we definitely wish for mercy at the last judgment. There are those, however, who are concerned not only about receiving grace and mercy but also about […]

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Persistent Compassion

A conversation with Judson-Rice honoree Wayne Smith KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — An early educator, advocate and ally for those impacted by HIV/AIDS, Baptist layman Wayne Smith was honored April 25 with the Judson-Rice Award from Nurturing Faith. He is the founding director of Knoxville-based Samaritan Ministry. The dinner event was sponsored by the board of directors […]

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‘Last gift’

With suicide rising, religious communities move beyond condemnation to care When Andy and Tina Plank discovered that their son Sam had killed himself, one of their first calls was to the minister of their church. As soon as he got the news, J.C. Austin dropped everything and met them at the hospital. Newly installed as […]

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Oneness in Christ

Daynette Snead helps churches cross cultural boundaries faithfully Daynette Snead is a force! Her call, character and confidence exude when she enters a room. Daynette serves in multiple ministry roles including pastor of community outreach with First Chin Baptist Church of New Bern, N.C., and directing Diaspra that serves churches “to develop, embrace and execute […]

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DIGGIN’ IT: So now we know?

We are all familiar with the biblical story about how God rained down fire and brimstone on Sodom and Gomorrah, cities known for their cruel treatment of visitors. The story is told in Genesis 19. Because of the citizens’ wickedness, according to the story, God sent two angels into Sodom to warn Abraham’s nephew Lot […]

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REBLOG: Imposing our agenda on Jesus

The harsh reality is that many who profess to be Christian hold a higher allegiance than to Christ. It is to a social ideology based on a highly selective manipulation of the Bible that downplays or ignores the life and teachings of Jesus. This so-called “biblical worldview” actually turns holy writ into a twisted excuse […]

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Questions Christians ask scientists

Do you think extraterrestrial life is out there, and if so, what is its theological significance? — Maxine Williams, Atlanta, Ga. Editor’s note: This column was first published in July/August 2017. The Christian tradition doesn’t say much about extraterrestrial life. Well, actually, it says nothing at all about it. But our faith does tell us […]

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