SBC DIGEST: Iorg podcast has new home; RICO lawsuit against EC dismissed; Mission:Dignity recipients receive 13th check

‘Lead On’ podcast finds new home as Iorg moves to SBC Executive Committee

By Baptist Press Staff

NASHVILLE (BP) – After more than 350 episodes from Southern California, the “Lead On” podcast with Jeff Iorg is continuing from Music City, the home of the SBC Executive Committee.

The weekly resource for pastors and church leaders has been a mainstay for podcast listeners since its debut in May 2017. Seven years later, Iorg continues to share his lessons on life and leadership even as he takes on his new assignment as EC president.

Iorg’s first episode from his role at the EC, “Using Data for Ministry Effectiveness,” assists church leaders in not only what statistics they should be tracking in ministry, but how best to interpret them for effective ministry use.

The podcast is available for download at BaptistPress.com/Lead-On as well as in all major podcast platforms.

Federal conspiracy case against the SBC Executive Committee voluntarily dismissed

By Baptist Press Staff

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (BP) – The plaintiffs in a civil lawsuit filed against the SBC Executive Committee in the United States District Court for the Western District of Tennessee voluntarily dismissed the suit on Monday, May 20. The dismissal comes just weeks after four other defendants in the case, all churches, were also voluntarily dismissed.

The suit was originally filed Dec. 31, 2023, by six plaintiffs: Candence Finch of Fountain, Colo., Tereasa Flanagan of Orange City, Fla., Sally George of Covington, Ind., Christopher Juarez of Arvada, Colo., Kelli Mims of Haughton, La., and James Shannon of Atlanta.

Allegations made by the plaintiffs ranged from negligence and emotional distress to violations related to the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act. However, those claims have all been dropped with the case first being voluntarily dismissed against the churches on April 19, and the same voluntary dismissal against the SBC EC occurring just a month later.

Mission:Dignity recipients receive extra checks thanks to efforts of state Baptist conventions

By Roy Hayhurst, GuideStone Financial Resources

DALLAS (BP) – Mission:Dignity recipients in several states received an extra blessing to start the year thanks to various state Baptist conventions.

“These gifts … ensure that our recipients … will have an extra blessing to look forward to,” said Mission:Dignity director Aaron Meraz. “We give thanks on behalf of the pastors, ministers, and their widows who are cared for through Mission:Dignity.”

Last year, 20 state conventions and/or foundations provided extra benefits like the 13th check to Mission:Dignity recipients.

Here is specific information and comments from various state leaders:

Alabama – “Alabama Baptists are so glad to offer a thirteenth and fourteenth check for Mission:Dignity recipients,” said Rick Lance, executive director of the Alabam State Board of Missions. “We want to express our gratitude to the faithful ones who have gone before us. This is but one tangible way we can show this much-deserved appreciation for their sacrificial service throughout the years.”

Arizona – “We are so glad to be able to partner with GuideStone for this gift for our Mission:Dignity participants in Arizona,” said David Johnson, executive director of the Arizona Mission Network of Southern Baptists. “The response we have received from the recipients in the past has been so moving and meaningful; we did not think twice about doing it again. We are grateful for this great ministry and the opportunity GuideStone gives us to have a small part in it!”

Michigan – “One of the greatest joys and privileges that I have experienced as the executive director of the Baptist State Convention Of Michigan has been the ability to give to those who will benefit most and greatly deserve a 13th check to help with their basic needs,” said Tim Patterson, executive director of the Michigan convention. “Many who received this labored faithfully, and with very little acknowledgment for the Kingdom of God, and now are in need. We who are able to give to these precious people know that we stand on their shoulders and the foundations that they have laid.”

North Carolina – “We are incredibly grateful for the generosity of North Carolina Baptists, which has enabled us to provide additional funds to these faithful servants of the Lord,” said North Carolina Baptists executive director Todd Unzicker. “God has used these leaders to bless so many lives across the state. I’m thankful we have the opportunity to partner with GuideStone through ministries like Mission:Dignity to show our gratitude to these servants in return.”

PA/SJ – “We thank the Lord for the vision of sending a 13th check to those who have faithfully served within the Kingdom of God in the Baptist Resource Network of PA/SJ and beyond,” Barry Whitworth, executive director of Baptist Resource Network of Pennsylvania/South Jersey, said. “We pray this gesture will bring the honor and dignity these wonderful servants of God deserve. We believe this ministry is critical in supporting and affirming those who have given their lives to serve our King, Jesus. Our state convention is extremely honored to not only participate with Mission:Dignity in this initiative but to know, in some small way, this extra check will bring joy to the hearts of those who receive it.”

SBTC – “It is a joy for the SBTC to be able to provide a 13th check to Mission Dignity,” said Nathan Lorick, executive director of the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention. “These recipients are heroes who have faithfully served the Lord and His church! I am grateful for the heart and generosity of SBTC churches to be a blessing to those who have gone before us.”

GuideStone President Hance Dilbeck offered his thanks on behalf of Mission:Dignity’s recipients.

“What a tremendous blessing it is for God’s people to rally behind a common mission like ensuring those who so faithfully served our convention of churches are able to have their basic needs met in their declining years,” Dilbeck said. “I am thankful and want to thank our brothers and sisters for their sacrifice on behalf of those we are privileged to serve.”

To learn more about Mission:Dignity, to donate, to apply for assistance or to refer someone in need, visit MissionDignity.org.

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