LEADERSHIP LINK: It takes a community to lead a community

Churches are collaborative communities. Remember Paul’s conversation about how diverse spiritual gifts blend together to empower congregational ministries in First Corinthians 12? Romans 16 emphasizes that same theme — but with names and roles. Read More

VITAL SIGNS: The reformation of your church

I have had the privilege of working with numerous congregations to clarify their identity and lean into the future proactively. When that has gone well, one consequence has nearly always been true. The fresh vision requires a significant shift in the organizational life of the congregation. Read More

WINN RECOMMENDS: Books that matter

An antidote to anyone resistant to the temptations to produce numbers in church and hungry for simple connection with others; a collection of sermons which challenge the church to boldly be the church; and a collection of poetry which wrestles with the places of loss and leanness in life. Read More

EDITORIAL: Looking back on my time and ahead to a great new Herald

Serving as editor of the Religious Herald has been the greatest privilege and challenge of my life. To have served as successor in that position to some of the greats in Baptist life has been humbling, but, conversely, being associated with this publication has also been a source of (I hope) justifiable pride. Read More

HERITAGE: Perfect timing

Iris Ellen Wright Taylor of Waynesboro, Va., visited the Virginia Baptist Historical Society on a recent Wednesday. She came to present a second installment of papers and books related to her grandfather, James Henry Wright, who was a Baptist minister in the late 1800s. Read More

Singing our faith: Worship songs reflect and shape theology

When congregations join their hearts and voices in song any given Sunday, the choice of worship songs both reflect and shape their theology. The teaching function of music places heavy responsibility on worship leaders to examine the songs they select, say church musicians and pastors. Read More

What enables some worship songs to last for generations, others to disappear?

Some worship songs endure for centuries, while others stir the souls of one generation and leave others cold. What enables some songs to span centuries, cross denominational lines and contribute to the worship of multiple generations in diverse settings? Read More

Controversy underscores importance of theology in hymns

Worship leaders seldom welcome controversy. But some church musicians see value in the dust-up created earlier this year by a line in a hymn. Read More

'Churchy' lingo turning off Millennials

If there were an 11th commandment, for Millennials it might be “thou shalt ban pious slogans from thy midst.” In fact, faith-based lingo — like “everything happens for a reason” and “God is in control” — is coming under increased scrutiny as younger Americans increasingly cite it as a major turn-off to congregational life. Read More

Virginia Baptists adopt far-reaching governance proposal for likely implementation in 2015

The Baptist General Association of Virginia adopted a far-reaching governance proposal Nov. 13 which leaders said would position the denomination to more effectively meet the challenges of the 21st century while maintaining broad representation from its diverse constituency. Read More

BGAV elects Blacksburg pastor as president, names Waynesboro pastor and former banker as treasurer

In an uncontested vote Nov. 13, Blacksburg, Va., pastor Tommy McDearis was elected president of the Baptist General Association of Virginia in an annual meeting which also featured the election of Waynesboro, Va., pastor David Washburn as treasurer of the BGAV. Read More

Don't adopt proposed prayer amendment, BGAV tells General Assembly in resolution

An amendment to the Virginia constitution aimed at permitting prayer in public schools and government meetings should be rejected by the state’s General Assembly, according to Virginia’s oldest Baptist network of churches, which adopted a resolution Nov. 13. Read More

Virginia Baptist ministries looking at largely unchanged funding levels in BGAV's 2014 budget

Virginia Baptist ministries next year will be funded essentially at 2013 levels following adoption of a $12,214,00 budget by the Baptist General Association of Virginia Nov. 13. The 2014 budget, approved at the BGAV’s annual meeting, is slightly more than this year’s $12,100,000. Read More

Former Bluefield College president Roy Dobyns, whose tenure saw enrollment growth, dies at 82

Roy A. Dobyns, the eighth president of Bluefield College, died Nov. 12 in a Dandridge, Tenn., nursing home. He was 82. Dobyns was president of the Baptist-affiliated school from 1989 until he retired in 1996, a period of enrollment growth for the school in southwest Virginia. During his tenure the number of students doubled, to an all-time high of 853. Read More

Three leaders draw kudos from BGAV, which also commends new Baptist media platform

A trio of Virginia Baptist leaders were honored for distinguished service Nov. 13 by the Baptist General Association of Virginia, which also commended the upcoming merger of the Religious Herald and Associated Baptist Press. Read More

Virginia Baptists allocate $20,000 to assist victims in Philippines displaced by devastating typhoon

Virginia Baptists have allocated $20,000 to assist victims in the Philippines of one of the most powerful typhoons ever recorded. Typhoon Haiyan, which made landfall Nov. 8, displaced more than 800,000 people and left more than 2 million in need of food aid. Read More

Church and people news

Church and people news Read More

Members of Congress accepting religious trips

Over the past four-and-a-half years, private organizations spent nearly $570,000 flying members of Congress and their families around the globe on religion-related trips, putting them up in hotels and feeding them, a study of congressional records shows. Read More

IRS denies it told church not to pray for re-election

A Virginia pastor who prayed that God would re-elect President Bush says the Internal Revenue Service threatened him with charges of improper “electioneering,” but the IRS maintains it has made no decision in the case. Read More

Southeastern audit finds nothing illegal, suggest changes, trustee leaders say

Auditors have made “a number of constructive suggestions for improvements” to financial procedures at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, N.C. Read More