|EDITOR'S NOTE: BP Ledger carries items for reader information each week from various Southern Baptist-related entities and news releases of interest from other sources. The items are published as received.
Today's BP Ledger includes items from:
The Pathway/Missouri Baptist Convention
Joni and Friends
American Public Policy Alliance
Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability
Gary Taylor, 'Missouri's prime minister,' dead at 70
By Don Hinkle
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (The Pathway)--Following a ministry that spanned five decades, Missouri Baptist pastor Gary Taylor died Tuesday, May 29, at Jefferson City's Capitol Regional Medical Center following a lengthy battle with cancer. He was 70.
Once dubbed "Missouri's prime minister" by a former Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC) leader, Taylor was pastor for several Missouri Southern Baptist churches prior to serving as state evangelism director for the MBC from April 2, 2007, until his death. For the past two years Taylor was a popular columnist for The Pathway, penning articles that focused attention on his passion: evangelism. Taylor was elected president of the MBC in 1998-99.
"Gary Taylor's life and ministry is the stuff of legends," said John Yeats, MBC executive director. "One of my greatest remembrances is that of being on my face in prayer with Gary. He wept for specific people. He cried out for the lostness in our cities. He was a warrior for Christ.
"One of the things Gary and I spoke about was the vision of mobilizing our churches to distribute one million Bibles in 2014. With his broad winning smile, he looked me square in the eye and said, 'We can do this!'"
MBC President John Marshall, pastor of Second Baptist Church in Springfield, said, "To many of us Gary Taylor was a gentle giant. He was tall, towering over a crowd, but had a humble heart. He was one of the most beloved and respected pastors in the history of the Missouri Baptist Convention."
Wrote Hannibal-LaGrange University President Woodrow Burt in an e-mail reaction: "The Lord has welcomed one of His most faithful servants."
As recently as a week before his death, Taylor taught several pastors attending a conference at the Baptist Building -- from a wheelchair.
Bott Radio Network personality Harold Hendrick of First Baptist Church, Ferguson, said Taylor was a dear friend for more than 30 years. "What a great, godly, and faithful man. He finished the course in victory," he said.
Prior to serving with the MBC, Taylor was pastor of First Baptist Church, O'Fallon, dating back to 1989. Under his leadership the church grew from 328 to 840 in average attendance with high attendance days running more than 2,000. During his tenure at First O'Fallon the church baptized more than 1,000 people.
Taylor began in the ministry in 1963 when Dresden Baptist Church called him as pastor. While there he helped the church grow from 15 to 40 in Sunday School attendance. Taylor also served as pastor of First Baptist Church, Lamont and at two other St. Louis-area churches, Tower Grove Baptist Church and Rock Hill Baptist Church.
Taylor was active in MBC life, serving in a variety of leadership positions besides the MBC presidency. He was also an original member of the MBC Legal Task Force, which for more than a decade, directed the convention's efforts to retrieve the five breakaway agencies. While Taylor strongly supported the legal action by the MBC, he met with leaders from the breakaway agencies in an effort to avoid legal action, repeatedly urging them to submit to binding Christian arbitration, which they refused. Taylor, a staunch believer in the inerrancy and infallibility of the Bible, was also a supporter of Project 1000, the theologically conservative movement that successfully saved the MBC from liberalism.
Taylor was a graduate of William Jewell College and Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.
He is survived by his wife, Cindy, and three children from a previous marriage: Debra Shinkle of Novelty, Mark Taylor of St. Louis and Gary Paul Taylor of Florida. He was preceded in death by his first wife, Joyce.
The Missouri Baptist Convention has established the R. Gary Taylor Memorial Fund for Evangelism. Donations should be addressed to the R. Gary Taylor Memorial Fund for Evangelism, Missouri Baptist Convention, 400 E. High St., Jefferson City, MO 65101.
Don Hinkle is editor of The Pathway.
Joni and Friends Radio Celebrates 30 Years
AGOURA HILLS, Calif. (Joni and Friends)--Following the founding of Joni and Friends International Disability Center as a way for Joni Eareckson Tada to minister to others affected by disability, she was approached in 1982 by Al Sanders and Jon Campbell of the Ambassador Advertising Agency with the idea of a radio program as a new way to deliver her messages of hope and encouragement. Sanders had founded Ambassador in 1959 to begin sharing Christian programs via radio.
Joined by Campbell, who became president of the agency in 1989, the two recognized a potential audience for Joni and Friends, and presented a proposal in May 1982. Now, 30 years and more than 7,800 programs later, Tada's messages are heard worldwide. With topics ranging beyond disability awareness to prayer, marriage, poetry and worship, the programs provide inspiration for people from all walks of life.
Originally airing as Joni and Friends Radio, the daily programs were five minutes in length and tackled wide-ranging topics, but always from a biblical perspective. The programs were recently updated with a new sound and contemporary style, introducing Joni and Friends to a new generation of listeners across the U.S. and around the world. The one-minute shortened format, christened "Diamonds in the Dust," is now airing on hundreds of radio stations daily, along with the new four-minute "Joni and Friends" program.
"I thank my Savior for the energy, breath and the insights from His Word and, I'm looking forward to sharing more with our listeners in the months and years to come," said Tada of the 30th anniversary milestone and her continued ability to reach audiences via Joni and Friends Radio.
Tada was honored by the National Religious Broadcasters (NRB) earlier this year with the NRB Hall of Fame Award for her contributions and commitment to Christian radio through the years. Previously, NRB had honored Joni and Friends Radio as Radio Program of the Year in 2002, and in 2010 "Diamonds in the Dust" received the same recognition in the short program category.
The radio show is one of many facets of the Joni and Friends ministry that contributes to the overall mission of communicating the Gospel and equipping Christ-honoring churches worldwide to evangelize and disciple people affected by disabilities.
For more than 30 years, Joni and Friends has worked to accelerate ministry to the disability community, offering a wide array of life-affirming ministries to people with disabilities around the world. Joni and Friends does this through the Christian Institute on Disability; the International Disability Center; international radio and television programs filled with inspirational stories; Wheels for the World, which every year sees thousands of individuals receive wheelchairs and the life-giving message of the Gospel; and family retreats where families affected by disability learn they are not alone.