Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Down on the SBC - Part 2

In this series I am attempting to explain the major components of the SBC and hopefully help people understand that the SBC is not inherently evil. Last time we looked at three very important aspects of the SBC; the churches that make up the membership, the network or seminaries and colleges that train church workers, and the Guidestone, which is the insurance and retirement arm that help the church workers find affordable insurance and smart retirement options.

This time we will look at the two missions group and the publications arm that is Lifeway. Starting with Lifeway, formerly the Sunday School Board. This group was originally set up to help churches with Sunday School curriculum. It has now blossomed into an organization that not only helps with curriculum, but many other needs of the church. They supply books, multimedia, VBS materials, etc. While I realize that Lifeway may have problems, it has changed a lot over the years to become more relevant and up to date. They have provided very good materials recently such as the Explore the Bible Adult Bible Study. This study is the more comprehensive and systematic, as the class explores the whole Bible book by book. Also we have seen some great things for students, an area that Lifeway has struggles with, like the new Fuel Bible Study. By using cutting edge music and video leaders can use the Fuel material to go throughout the Bible with students in two years. Not only does Lifeway provide these resources they also have stores placed throughout the states to help churches access the resources quickly. Lifeway also runs a few conference center for the SBC and helps organize many training seminars and conferences. Finally, Lifeway seeks out relationships from other manufactures, such as chair or pulpit makers, so that churches can save money. Lifeway is an indispensable part of the SBC, they provide resources from a trusted source that churches can work well with.

The SBC has two main missions organizations: North American Mission Board and the International Mission Board. While Lifeway and most other parts of the SBC are self sufficient, the seminaries and the mission organizations rely heavily on the giving of the churches. The North American Mission Board targets exactly what you thing, North America. They focus on reaching areas that have no SBC churches or areas that SBC churches are dead or dying. They focus intently on the inter-city areas. They have averaged 1,700 new works and over 400,000 people baptized in recent years. Not only does NAMB start and support churches, they also are involved in many service projects through the US. One example is disaster relief; most all the kitchens where food is prepared for disaster victims, which is handed out by the Red Cross ,are SBC kitchens. Also, many of the workers that help the Red Cross are SBC. This is only one example of service, they also have the Baptist Builders, Literacy Missions, Hunger and Poverty Ministries, and the list goes on and on. NAMB is vital to meeting physical, emotional, and most of all the spiritual needs of people across the US.

The SBC also reached outside of its borders in a major way with the IMB. The International Mission Board has over 5,000 field workers on mission and works with over 34,000 volunteers to bring the gospel to over 2,000 people groups throughout the world. Not only do they minister to areas that are open to the gospel, they routinely try to reach those that are considered off limits. The IMB works hard to make sure that no missionary has to worry about funds. Most missions organizations want people to raise their support, but the IMB often provide for their missionaries, so they can spend all their time focused on ministering to people. People all over to world would not be reached if it were not for the work of the IMB.

These three parts are again vital to the SBC organization. They help so many churches afford resources through Lifeway and reach so many souls through NAMB and IMB. I could stop here and it would be enough, but there are two more main components; the Baptist Press and the Baptist Faith and Message.

1 comment:

dc said...

NASCAR sucks. Ooooooo.