Archives For Guinea

browniesTHE BRIEFING | Meredith Flynn

A new Barna study shows 70% of American adults (and 72% of Christians) are aware of the Lenten tradition of giving something up in order to draw closer to God. But only 17% plan to observe Lenten sacrifice this year. Here’s Barna’s list of what they’re giving up:

88% of adults plan to fast from food or drink:

  • Chocolate (30%)
  • Meat (28%)
  • Sugar (28%)
  • Soda drinks (26%)
  • Alcohol (24%)
  • Fruit (14%)
  • Butter or cream (11%)

31% will give up some form of technology:

  • Social networks (16%)
  • Smartphones (13%)
  • TV (11%)
  • Video games (10%)
  • Movies (9%)
  • Internet (9%)

Barna found the millenial generation (born after 1980) is the least likely to know about Lent, but millenials are more likely than other age groups to fast during the season. Read more at

Other news:

Prayer ‘more popular than ever’ says Reader’s Digest
“Organized religion may be losing members, but prayer is more popular than ever,” according to an article in the April issue of Reader’s Digest. The story points to research in the 2010 General Social Survey, which found 86% of Americans pray and 56.7% do so at least once a day. But how they’re praying may look different. Writer Lise Funderburg cites several examples of how the prayer umbrella is widening, including sidewalk chalk prayers outside a Presbyterian church in San Francisco, and the use of Twitter to start prayer movements like #pray4philippines.

The Illinois Baptist examined prayer and spiritual awakening in a January cover story. And Southern Baptist leaders have met together twice recently to pray for individual and corporate revival. Read more at

Menlo Park Presbyterian leaves denomination over doctrinal, evangelistic differences
A San Francisco church “increasingly out of alignment” with their denomination has voted to sever ties with the Presbyterian Church (USA). Earlier this month, 93% of members at the 4,000-member Menlo Park Presbyterian approved the move, Baptist Press reports. The church, led by Pastor John Ortberg, has for years referred to itself as a “Jesus church,” according to a statement by church leaders. “We believe that God has expressed himself uniquely in his son Jesus, who lived, taught, died and rose again for our sakes.”

BP reports a 2011 survey of PCUSA pastors found only 41% agreed with the statement, “Only followers of Jesus Christ can be saved.”

The decision will cost Menlo Park $9 million because the denomination owns its property. “This points to the fact that theology matters,” Southern Seminary President Albert Mohler said of the decision. “Keeping the faith is worth infinitely more than $9 million.” Read more at

‘Son of God’ in top 5 over first two weekends
The movie built from last year’s “The Bible” miniseries was the second-highest grossing movie during its opening weekend, and fell to #5 after its second. Some had thought “Son of God” would reach the numbers posted by 2004’s “The Passion of Christ”, The Christian Post reports, but the new movie’s grosses so far aren’t half of what “The Passion” took in during its debut weekend. Read more at

More Africa stories
Five volunteers from Illinois recently spent a week in Guinea, telling true stories from the Bible to people who had never heard them. For people in the West African nation to know Jesus, “it can only be a move of God,” said one mission volunteer. Read more about their team’s experiences in the current issue of the Illinois Baptist.

Do you know Carol?

Meredith Flynn —  March 10, 2014

Guinea_boats_blogHEARTLAND | Meredith Flynn

Mark Emerson had spent several hours on a boat off the coast of Guinea, looking for the Mbotini people group. It was getting late, and the group would eventually have to turn around. But Emerson had a good reason to find the Mbotini.

They were Carol Stewart’s people.

Before his trip in January, Emerson talked to Stewart about the people group she and her church adopted several years ago. Stewart, a member of Lincoln Avenue Baptist in Jacksonville, Ill., had visited Africa’s west coast. But still, it was surprising how many times
Emerson heard the question:

“Do you know Carol?”

From two missionaries and a local pastor, on the other side of the world. “This Illinois Baptist is known in Guinea because she went there in representation of her church,” Emerson said.

He’s hoping others will follow her example. The International Mission Board is calling congregations to be “engaging churches” who will adopt an unreached, unengaged people
group (UUPG) and send small teams several times a year.

Reaching unreached people groups will require a long-term investment. “This was my first mission trip I’d ever participated in that we didn’t win anyone to the Lord,” Emerson said of
his time in Guinea. Referencing William Carey, he said, “We forget that these hall of fame missionaries of the past spent years before they saw anyone come to the Lord.”

When he joined IBSA’s missions team, Emerson said he had a goal to get as many Illinois Baptists to the mission field as possible. Now, “I’m thinking we need to get the Gospel
where it’s not.”

Read more Africa stories in the newest issue of the Illinois Baptist newspaper, online here.