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DECATUR, Ga. — Standing 6 feet 5 inches tall, Mark Riggins stands out in a crowd and the choir loft of Briarlake Church, in Decatur. So, it may not be out of the ordinary when someone walks up and says, “We’ve met before.”

Daniel Holland, a rising senior at Georgia Southern University, has been selected as state president of Baptist Collegiate Ministries for 2024-2025. Holland, a marketing major, says he plans to attend seminary after graduation, and his ultimate desire is to serve as a pastor.

FORSYTH, Ga. — Last Saturday, April 20, some 250 Georgia college student leaders gathered at Maynard Baptist Church in Forsyth for Equip, a day of equipping leaders to be on mission on their campus, in their community and around the world.

FORSYTH, Ga. — Last Saturday, April 20, some 250 Georgia college student leaders gathered at Maynard Baptist Church in Forsyth for Equip, a day of equipping leaders to be on mission on their campus, in their community and around the world.

HIAWASSEE, Ga. — Macedonia Baptist Church in Hiawassee wrapped up a fruitful week-long Spring revival last week, seeing seven people profess faith in Christ and 14 come forward to be baptized since Easter Sunday.

SYLVANIA, Ga. — Despite his planned retirement, pastor Charlie Cooper knew in his heart that he wanted to still have opportunities to preach. The night before his last Sunday preaching at First Baptist Sylvania in February 2021, Cooper prayed that the Lord would still be able to use him.

DALLAS, Ga. — Paulding Pregnancy Services hosted its third annual "Miles for Moms" 5K race on Saturday, with the event starting and ending in the parking lot of Fortified Hills Baptist Church. Nearly 150 participants ran, walked, or strolled to complete the course.

BUFORD, Ga. — Stephen Fountain, lead pastor of First Baptist Church in Buford, is a winsome and caring pastor who has led his church to become a loving and compassionate fellowship. He has successfully connected his church with the community because he is intricately bonded with the community himself.

SNELLVILLE Ga. — The Church on Main will not soon forget Hannah’s baptism. A 15-year-old with cerebral palsy, Hannah was nonverbal and communicated through a device that tracked her eye movements and generated speech for her. Through that device, she told her mother she had committed her life to Christ and wanted to be baptized.

BRUNSWICK, Ga. – At Marshes of Glynn Baptist Church in Brunswick, pastor Darrell Joiner is seeing the results of focusing on discipleship, evangelism, and service to the community. When Joiner was called to the church in November 2020, he says the average Sunday attendance was about 35. Today, Sunday School and Sunday services attract more than 100, and the church continues to grow.

SUWANEE, Ga. — After a couple of stress-filled years, the majority of America’s pastors are feeling better about their ministries. That’s according to research from the Barna Group, an organization that monitors cultural and religious trends in the U.S. In an article last week, the Barna Group said 90 percent of pastors surveyed said they felt more confident in their calls to ministry than they did when they first started, a sure sign that the nation’s preachers are no long feeling “discouraged, depleted and defeated by their day-to-day work.”

PEACHTREE CITY, Ga. — It was an easy decision for First Baptist Church of Peachtree City to financially support Mission Georgia, the statewide outreach to orphaned children, human trafficking victims, and others in need. “We believe the causes that Mission Georgia engages are critically important to God,” said Pastor Joey Rodgers. “They are also causes our church has traditionally prioritized.” First Baptist of Peachtree City led the state in giving to the Mission Georgia offering over the past year, contributing $23,623.50 to help the Georgia Baptist Mission Board bring hope and healing to the hurting while compassionately sharing the gospel.

CONYERS, Ga. —  More than 400 pastors and other Christian leaders gathered at First Baptist Church in Conyers for the Georgia Baptist Mission Board’s Called to Witness evangelism conference Sunday and Monday.

DALLAS, Ga. — In a classy blue suit, striped tie, and starched white shirt, Donald Voyles has the look of a man who has just stepped out of the board room of a Fortune 500 company. He’s every whit the professional, from his freshly trimmed white hair to his newly polished back shoes. At 89, Voyles may not fit the stereotypical mold of the modern church planter, but the Adrian Rogers-look is paying dividends for a congregation birthed from a back-porch Bible study at his home in suburban Atlanta four years ago.

CHARLESTON, S.C. — An aspiring young preacher and baseball player who baptized most of his teammates at a Georgia junior college last fall has committed to play for The Citadel beginning next season. Robbie Lane, the starting shortstop at East Georgia State College in Swainsboro, Ga., described being recruited to play for the Division I school in Charleston as a dream come true.

JEFFERSONVILLE, Ga. — As a former high school football coach, Dan Wright loves the challenge of building a winning team. So, when Wright transitioned from the playing field to the pulpit in a career change four years ago, he welcomed the chance to serve as pastor at Jeffersonville Baptist Church, a 175-year-old congregation that had fallen into decline a half century ago. Over the past decade, Sunday morning attendance has hovered around  30, according to the Annual Church Profile, a yearly census of Southern Baptist churches.  Even so, Wright sees championship potential in the congregation that will be celebrating its milestone anniversary on Sept. 22.

FAYETTEVILLE, Ga. — Baseball superstar turned evangelist Darryl Strawberry had a simple message for the 600 people at a men’s breakfast Saturday at New Hope Baptist Church in Fayetteville. “If you fall in love with Jesus, you realize you don’t need anything else,” he said. Strawberry played most of his 17-year career with the Mets and New York Yankees and knows about the heights of success and the depths of failure. The 1983 National League Rookie of the Year, eight-time All Star, and four-time World Series champion had all the fame and fortune the world could offer and lost everything to drug addiction.

A Baptist preacher who lived in bondage in colonial Georgia would go on to help wipe out the final vestiges of slavery in the British Empire. George Leile, with the help of the young deacon Samuel Sharpe, kicked the door closed on slavery through what became known in Jamaica as the Baptist War. Leile became a pioneering African American minister and missionary ater his conversion around age 21. He was ordained by the Big Buckhead Baptist Church in Georgia’s Burke County in 1775, becoming the first African American in America set aside for the ministry.

VILLA RICA, Ga. — An organization that exists to prevent and resolve conflicts in churches will hold a southern regional conference in Georgia in April. “I am aware of no greater threat to the gospel and the North American church than internal conflict,” said Todd Wright, co-lead pastor at Midway Church in Villa Rica, the setting for Relational Wisdom 360’s conference April 18-20. “The trauma of a single conflict is often passed down two additional generations. Sadly, for many people, their most vivid church memories center around conflict, instead of the transformational power of Jesus.”

WAYNESBORO, Ga. — Botsford Baptist Church endured the difficult years of the American Revolution, ministered through yellow fever outbreaks, and survived on little through the Great Depression. Now 250 years old, Botsford Baptist is one of Georgia’s oldest churches, continuing to proclaim the gospel just as it did when Baptist preacher Edmund Botsford and a small group of hardscrabble pioneers built a log meeting house near here some three years before American colonists declared their independence from England.

COVINGTON, Ga. — Georgia Pastor David Wheeler’s love for old cars is turning him into a YouTube celebrity. Nearly six million people have tuned in to watch Wheeler and his family restore rusted clunkers on their YouTube program Revstoration. “We take old, forgotten, abandoned things left for dead and bring them back to life,” said Wheeler, who is typically on screen in worn jeans, boots and greasy T-shirts, trying to get long-abandoned cars and trucks back on the road.

STATESBORO, Ga. — Tom Kollars walked into a Starbucks coffee shop in Statesboro not long ago, chatting with people as they waited for their cups of java. By the time the 64-year-old college professor left a short time later, he had led five strangers to Christ. Pastor Mike Dann of Botsford Baptist Church saw it all unfold and was amazed by the ease with which Kollars was able to successfully engage people in lifechanging conversations about the gospel. “He’s the most incredible soulwinner I’ve ever met,” Dann said.

BAXLEY, Ga. —Signs of spiritual renewal swept across Georgia in 2023, producing thousands of new believers in the Bible Belt state. Church leaders reported a widespread “spiritual hunger in communities large and small” that they said generated a huge spike in numbers of commitments to Christ. Evidence of that was on full display in Baxley in October when some 10,000 people attended a four-night evangelistic crusade in the local football stadium. Some 1,600 of them responded to the gospel.

ATLANTA — Inside the Capitol rotunda, a towering Christmas tree shines with thousands of lights. Red poinsettias line the staircases. Long strands of garland hang from railings. And a children’s choir sings about the birth of Christ. That was the scene when Gov. Brian Kemp and his family kicked off the Christmas season in Georgia earlier this month with the lighting of the state Christmas tree, a clear signal that it’s still politically correct to celebrate Christmas as a Christian holy day in the Bible Belt.

DALTON, Ga. — A Georgia man’s chance meeting with country music star Chris McDaniel in a Delaware store led to a life-changing encounter with someone far more famous. McDaniel, a founding member of the multi-platinum-selling band Confederate Railroad, had stopped at the store for a soft drink as he prepared to drive back to Georgia. When he walked to the counter to pay for it, a man he came to know simply as Pablo was there with a basket of groceries and no way to pay for them because he had left his wallet at home.

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