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STATESBORO, Ga. — “What are you guys doing here?” It was a question the Baptist Collegiate Ministry Send Me Now team from Georgia heard repeatedly during their time in the city of Ceske Budejovice, Czech Republic. It was a query which opened doors for sharing the gospel on their ten-day journey in June.

Teams of Georgia Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers headed west to Iowa last week to assist residents dealing with damage caused by record flooding. Severe storms in late June dropped torrential rains on Iowa, causing major flooding as dams failed and rivers overflowed their banks. Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds estimates that more than 5,000 homes were damaged by the storms, including at least 2,000 that are likely irreparable.

“Camp is back!” declared Chris Trent, NextGen catalyst for the Georgia Baptist Mission Board. “Superwow and Impact have an amazing legacy here in Georgia. It was amazing this summer to see those camps continue to point teenagers to Jesus in such a powerful way.”

Summer is here, and in many churches across Georgia, that means it is time for Vacation Bible School. VBS has been a mainstay of children’s ministry programs for decades, if not longer.

LINCOLNTON, Ga. — Former Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia once said, “Some people are inherently likable. If you are not – work on it.” Paul Reviere is a man who is inherently likable and one of the most interesting individuals you could ever hope to meet.

ROME, Ga. — Seven students made salvation decisions and 39 answered the call to ministry at the Georgia Baptist Mission Board’s SURGE Music Camp held last month at Shorter University in Rome. Nearly 400 people, including students and teachers, gathered for the event. Rhon Carter, the Board’s worship and music catalyst, said 30% of the almost 300 students were attending for the first time.

On a winter Sunday morning in February 1779, the sound of gunfire broke the silence along the marshy bottom at the juncture of two small creeks in Wilkes County, Georgia, as men engaged in a life and death struggle. The Battle of Kettle Creek, a pivotal battle and one of the few patriot victories in Georgia, had begun.

CARTERSVILLE, Ga. — After 30 years of service, Don Startup, worship pastor at Tabernacle Baptist Church in Cartersville, Ga., is retiring. On Sunday, June 16, one week before his final service as worship pastor, the church celebrated Pastor Startup and his ministry.

NASHVILLE. Ga. — Pastor Paul Keffer of First Baptist Church of Nashville says he believes revival is critical in the life of a church. “I realize that there are a lot of churches that no longer make revival part of their church schedule,” he explains, “but I believe there are times when we need renewal and refreshing.”

JONESBORO, Ga. — Georgia Baptist Women held their annual Women’s Spring Event at First Baptist Jonesboro on Friday and Saturday, April 26 and 27. More than 650 women were encouraged by inspirational messages, met with missionaries, participated in mission projects, and gathered and interacted with like-minded sisters in Christ to grow in their faith and relationships with each other.

W. Thomas Hammond Jr., executive director of the Georgia Baptist Mission Board, and his wife Kerri led Georgia Baptists in a time of corporate prayer via livestream Wednesday morning on the National Day of Prayer.

CONYERS, Ga. — Georgia Baptist Disaster Relief teams deployed this week to assist homeowners in the wake of a tornado that hit Conyers last week. The EF-2 tornado with maximum winds of 115 mph touched down in Rockdale County early Wednesday morning, April 3, according to the National Weather Service. GBDR teams responded to remove downed trees and clear debris.

This spring, as many college students around the country turned their thoughts to beaches and parties, some had other things on their minds. Groups of students from colleges and universities across Georgia used the pause in the school year to go and tell others about Jesus. Georgia Baptist Collegiate Ministry students and leaders traveled to other nations, states, and communities to share the good news.

SUWANEE, Ga. — With a final count now complete, Georgia Baptist churches saw a 40% increase in baptisms over the past year and a more than 106% increase since 2020. Steve Foster, an evangelism consultant for the Georgia Baptist Mission Board, said reports from the state’s churches showed 21,151 new believers were baptized in 2023, up from 15,127 in 2022.

SUWANEE, Ga. — Pastors are comfortable with artificial intelligence for graphic design and marketing but not for preparing sermons, the Barna Group found in a survey done earlier this year. Barna, an organization that monitors cultural and religious trends in the U.S., said in an article that concerns among pastors about artificial intelligence appear to be easing for some administrative tasks.

ATLANTA, Ga. — Georgia Labor Commissioner Bruce Thompson’s announcement that he has been diagnosed with Stage 4 pancreatic cancer that has spread to his liver has triggered an outpouring of prayer from his fellow Southern Baptists across the state. Thompson, a member of First Baptist Church of Woodstock, said he will provide updates on his health as they become available.

BOWMAN, Ga. — A spiritual movement that began in Georgia in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic is continuing in Bowman where 60 people made salvation decisions at a Wednesday evening wild game dinner. “It was incredible,” said Chris Pritchett, pastor at Pleasant Grove Baptist Church where some 550 people had tickets for the meal that included bison, duck, wild boar, rabbit, and alligator,

LAWRENCEVILLE, Ga. — Mark Marshall, a longtime pastor and former Lifeway Christian Resources director who has been serving as assistant executive director of the Georgia Baptist Mission Board for the past four years, has transitioned into the role of senior lead strategist overseeing church strengthening efforts. The Mission Board’s executive director, W. Thomas Hammond Jr., made the announcement Tuesday at a meeting of the Georgia Baptist Executive Committee.

TIFTON, Ga. — Amid a secular culture prone to reject the gospel, Christians must be more persistent than ever to fearlessly proclaim the name of Jesus, preachers told Georgia Baptists who gathered Monday at Northside Baptist Church in Tifton for the final day of a two-day evangelism conference. “In the time and place and culture we live in, there is a growing conspiracy against the name of Jesus, but we must not be afraid or ashamed to proclaim who He is and what He has done,” said H.B. Charles, pastor at Shiloh Metropolitan Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Fla.

TIFTON, Ga. — Georgia Baptists passionate about sharing the gospel shouldn’t be deterred by church folks “looking like they were weaned on dill pickles.” Instead, they should gladly share the good news with others, regardless of where they live or how they live. That was the combined message of two preachers at the latest of the Georgia Baptist Mission Board’s Called to Witness evangelism conferences that began Sunday night in Tifton.

KENNESAW, Ga. — A menu of wild boar, venison, and alligator, mixed with an ample serving of the gospel, proved to be an irresistible combination at Kennesaw First Baptist Church’s wild game dinner where 28 people made salvation decisions. “God is alive and well in Kennesaw,” lead pastor Perry Fowler said after the Saturday event. “He is blessing, and His kingdom is being built.”

SUWANEE, Ga. — An annual count of baptisms in Georgia Baptist churches has surpassed 20,000 for the first time since 2017. Steve Foster, a Georgia Baptist Mission Board evangelism consultant, said the total as of Friday morning reached 20,280, just 13 short of the 20,293 reported six years ago. The numbers are expected to continue to grow as more congregations complete what's known as the "Annual Church Profile," an annual census of Southern Baptist churches.

CONYERS, Ga. — Georgia Baptist Convention President Josh Saefkow is hoping for a big turnout for a pair of evangelism conferences, the first of which begins on Sunday at First Baptist Church in Conyers. “The evangelism conferences help us to grow, to be equipped and to be inspired,” Saefkow said. “A big part of these conferences is to be inspired to go and tell others about Jesus.” Georgia Baptists are going into this year’s conferences with an obvious zeal for sharing the gospel. They’re reporting a 30% increase in baptisms over the past year and a more than 92% increase since 2020.

AUGUSTA, Ga. — Nearly 800 people gathered in Augusta last weekend for hands-on ministry that including renovating schools and churches, building a playgrounds, providing free dental care, throwing block parties, and so much more. In the process, at least 24 people made salvation decisions.

SUWANEE, Ga. — Nearly half of Christians say they struggle to find time to spend with fellow believers in discipleship activities because they’re too busy, according to a pair of surveys by the Barna Group, an organization that monitors cultural and religious trends in the U.S. Barna, writing about the surveys in an article last week, said they found bright spots in that 58 percent of Christians spend uninterrupted time with God and that 57 percent find time to regularly read their Bibles. But, when it comes to discipleship activities, 39 percent of Christians are not involved in helping others grow in their faith.

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