Archives For work

Giving is up amid declines in baptisms, membership, and worship attendance
The most recent Annual Church Profile reports collected by the Southern Baptist Convention show continued decline in key markers, including a 3% decrease in baptisms from the previous year. And Christianity Today noted membership fell to 14.8 million in 2018, the lowest since 1987.

“As we look forward, it is time to press reset spiritually and strategically in the Southern Baptist Convention,” said SBC Executive Committee President and CEO Ronnie Floyd. “Prioritizing and elevating the advancement of the good news of Jesus Christ into every town, city and county in America, as well to every person across the world, must be recaptured by every church.”

>Related: New data from the General Social Survey says just over half of people who were Southern Baptists at 16 still are as adults.

Churchgoers split on existence of undiscovered sexual abuse by pastors
Nearly all churchgoers say their church is a safe place where children and teenagers are protected from sexual abuse, according to a new survey by LifeWay Research. But almost one-third (32%) also believe many more Protestant pastors have sexually abused children or teens than we have heard about, while 37% disagree and 31% say they don’t know.

Texas lawmakers pass ‘Save Chick-Fil-A’ bill
A so-called “Save Chick-Fil-A” bill was approved May 22 by Texas lawmakers, prohibiting government entities from acting against businesses and people because of their associations with religious organizations. The bill is connected to the chicken chain following the San Antonio airport’s decision to deny space to Chick-Fil-A based on its support for traditional marriage. Gov. Greg Abbott is expected to sign the bill into law.

Younger Americans find more meaning in work than religion
Americans under 40—less likely to say religion is important to them—are finding more meaning and identity in the companies they work for and the jobs they do, Fast Company reports.

-Baptist Press, Christianity Today, LifeWay Research, Fast Company

My job and the Gospel

Meredith Flynn —  April 7, 2014

Carrie_Campbell_blog_calloutHEARTLAND | Carrie Campbell

Looking around my middle school classroom in Springfield, I’m struck by how different it is than where I was eight months ago, surrounded by the beautiful mountains of eastern Kentucky.

Or five months ago, when I was immersed in the bright and flashing lights of New York City.

After college, I decided to take a season of my life and do full-time ministry. I spent two years in Kentucky working with at-risk kids. I followed that up with a
few months in Brooklyn, learning about ministry in an urban context. I came back home to Illinois in November and felt called to live out a personal dream: becoming a teacher. I received an exciting job offer to teach current events to sixth, seventh and eighth graders.

My classroom isn’t as scenic as the mountains or the city, but it’s certainly a mission field.

Going from a mission-minded environment to a secular workplace was a big jump for me. In many ways it was one of my biggest life challenges. I went from being surrounded by those who have the same eternal goal in mind, to working with people who have lots of different goals. I quickly learned that the “harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.” But God has given me opportunities to share the Gospel.

One of the first things I noticed among my co-workers was that the environment in my school was very negative. I started writing encouraging notes to the teachers on my team as well as the administrative staff. My coworkers quickly took notice of that and sought me out to talk about their struggles. A before-school prayer meeting started up again. People are more positive now. I realized that sharing the Gospel starts with the small things, and God can take those small things and transform a school.

The most valuable part of my job is getting to know my students and letting them know I care about their needs. Even though I’m not allowed to say, “Christ has a future for you,” I can give positive feedback and point them toward their strengths.

One student recently was placed in my room for a behavior problem. He quickly got bored, so I gave him the simple task of fixing my three-hole punch. He liked that I gave him some attention and that he was able to accomplish this task for me. We’ve had a positive relationship since then, and he knows that I care about him and want him to do better in school.

Even with the challenges this new workplace brings, I have been constantly reminded that Christ is in control, and that the real mission field lies in our schools and regular workplaces. People with needs are crying out and, for us who are Christians, being able to step into those places and bring the Gospel is an honor.

Carrie Campbell is a member of Delta Church in Springfield.

THE BRIEFING | Meredith Flynn

Lily Eddington and Three Rivers Disaster Relief leader Ken Cummins picked up a new chainsaw after Lily wrote a story that raised more than $2,000 in donations.

Lily Eddington and Three Rivers Disaster Relief leader Ken Cummins picked up a new chainsaw after Lily wrote a story that raised more than $2,000 in donations.

The newest piece of equipment in Three Rivers Association’s disaster relief trailer came from an unlikely source: 10-year-old Lily Eddington.

The Shorewood fifth grader wanted to help the association purchase a new, bigger chainsaw for the team to use after disasters like the November tornadoes that affected many communities across Illinois. She wrote a story that has garnered just over $2,000 in donations, enough to purchase the new chainsaw, another smaller saw, and other needed safety equipment.

Lily has the inside track to knowing about such a specific need – her grandfather is Dan Eddington, Three Rivers’ director of missions. “She knew through my father that they needed help raising money for that,” said Lily’s dad, Matt. “And she came up with the idea of writing a story, and he took the idea and kind of ran with it. And it worked out really well.”

Her grandfather helped Lily publish the story in booklet form, with her own illustrations. The story centers on a family trapped in their home after a tornado. Sisters Megan and Brianna take shelter in the basement with their parents (plus their cat and hamster), but a large tree keeps them trapped inside after the storm passes.

“Then they heard a truck pull up,” Lily wrote. “On the side of the trailer they saw the words, ‘Three Rivers Baptist Association Disaster Relief.’

“Suddenly they heard, ‘Come on guys, we need to get this tree off the house.’”

Read the full story at

Illinois workers join typhoon response
A team of Illinois volunteers is hard at work in the Philippines this week, helping rebuild a school damaged during Typhoon Haiyan last fall. The Disaster Relief leaders also are repairing rain water collection sites on Gibitngil Island, where there is no natural water source. The team starts each day with a boat ride from Cebu Island, where they’re staying, to Gibitngil. “People in small shack houses greet us all along the way and some have even posted signs on their homes thanking our team for helping to rebuild their school,” said Rex Alexander, state director of Disaster Relief for the Illinois Baptist State Association. Go to IBSA’s Facebook page for updates on the team’s work.

Barna: Majority of Christians unclear on calling
Less than half (40%) of practicing Christians have a clear sense of God’s calling on their lives, according to the Barna Group. And 48% of Christian Millenials (generally thought of as those born in the 80s and 90s) say they believe God is calling them to different work. That lack of clarity is the foundation for Barna’s three vocational trends for 2014.

Blog post puts church attendance under the microscope
Author Donald Miller blogged recently that he doesn’t attend church often. “…I don’t learn much about God hearing a sermon and I don’t connect with him by singing songs to him,” wrote Miller, who has chronicled his faith journey in “Blue Like Jazz” and several other books. “So, like most men, a traditional church service can be somewhat long and difficult to get through.” Miller added that he experiences intimacy with God through his work.

Southern Baptist professor and blogger Denny Burk was one of many who responded to Miller’s post, calling his decision “a recipe for spiritual suicide.” Miller responded, and Burk has posted the exchange on his blog.

Christianity Today lists 8 Olympians to watch
Check out CT’s list of Christian athletes competing in Sochi. “We don’t root for them because they’re on ‘Team Jesus,'” writes Laura Leonard, “but all the same it’s nice to see people at the peak of their field, on the world’s biggest athletic stage, turn the credit back to the One who gave us bodies to run and jump and spin on ice and imaginations to push the limits of those bodies to run faster, jump higher, and spin faster than we ever thought possible.”