Friday, February 20, 2009

February e-Newsletter Released

The February edition of AGBM president Joel Richards' e-mail newsletter has just been released. Here's his lead article. If you are not receiving the newsletter, please request it from Joel at

Every day when you read the paper there is more and more bad news. We are in difficult times. Brother, you have needs just like the rest of your congregation. Now more than ever you may need to find that partner(s) who can support you and keep you encouraged.

This will be a special time for you to minister to people. Your church will be called to do and provide things that are out of the ordinary. You too, will be looked to for support and encouragement. Stay strong and bring great hope to the people God has called you to minister to.

Remember the words of the old song: "This world is not my home, I am just passing through."

How true that is. Keep that has your focus.

Steve Makofka Concludes at Centerville Sunday

Here's a note from Tri-State coordinator Ned Denlinger:

This Sunday is Steve Makofka's last Sunday at Centerville, Ohio, GBC. There is a dinner for him after church on Sunday. You might want to contact Steve and wish him well as he leaves full-time paid ministry, and trusts God for what He has in His plan for the Makofkas.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Martinsburg, PA, to Baptize 32

Pastor Kurt Miller of the Grace Brethren church in Martinsburg, Pennsylvania, sends along the following e-mail note:

"It will be another exciting Sunday again this month as 32 people are scheduled to be baptized as a public expression of their faith in our Lord Jesus Christ as their personal Savior. To God be the glory!"

Friday, February 13, 2009

SBC Makes Ministers Tax Guide Available

DALLAS (BP)--Ministers can receive additional help in preparing their federal income tax returns from GuideStone Financial Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention.

The annual Ministers Tax Guide for 2008 Returns details recent changes to tax laws and their effect on ministers. GuideStone President O.S. Hawkins said the free tax guide includes sample tax returns with step-by-step instructions for active and retired ministers, as well as a special pull-out section regarding the federal reporting requirements for churches.

"Our goal as a ministry," Hawkins said, "is to be a lifelong partner with our participants in enhancing their financial security. The tax guide is a tangible example of that commitment."

Richard Hammar, a noted CPA, attorney and widely published author on legal and tax issues for ministers, once again authored the guide's overview of recent changes in tax laws. The guide is edited by GuideStone's legal and compliance staff to address the tax issues that affect the greatest number of Southern Baptist pastors.

The tax guide can be obtained in PDF format from the GuideStone website, Printed copies or a CD version also be obtained by calling GuideStone customer service at 1-888-98-GUIDE (1-888-984-8433) between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m. CST Monday through Friday.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Billy Sunday Speaks

Thanks to Don Byers for calling this to our attention!

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Peninsula Grace Has Four Baptisms

Pastor Keith Randall of Peninsula Grace Brethren Church in Soldotna, Alaska, reports, "Last week we had four people who publicly declared their commitment to Jesus by being baptized. Again this week we will end our service with baptism."

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Rural Pastor Shortage Getting Critical

The shortage of pastors for rural churches is getting critical. Here's an excerpt from a recent article in Time Magazine--to read the entire article click here.

The ticktock of farm auctions and foreclosures in the heartland, punctuated by the occasional suicide, has seldom let up since the 1980s. But one of the malaise's most excruciating aspects is regularly overlooked: rural pastors are disappearing even faster than the general population, leaving graying congregations helpless in their time of greatest need.

Trace Haythorn, president of the nonprofit Fund for Theological Education (FTE), says fewer than half the rural churches in the U.S. have a full-time seminary-trained pastor; in parts of the Midwest, the figure drops to 1 in 5.

"It's a religious crisis, for sure," says Daniel Wolpert, pastor of First Presbyterian in Crookston, Minn., and a partner with the FTE, which supports young ministers and religious teachers. "And to the extent that these churches are anchoring institutions, it's a crisis of community."