BP Ledger: Dec. 28 edition

Baptist Press
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Posted: Dec 28, 2010 11:30 AM
BP Ledger: Dec. 28 edition
EDITOR'S NOTE: BP Ledger, a new Baptist Press feature launched in mid-December, carries items for reader information each week from various Southern Baptist-related entities. The items are published as received.

Today's BP Ledger includes items from:

The Beacon, San Antonio, Texas

LifeWay Christian Resources

Sammy Tippit Ministries Marks 40 Years

By Patti Richter

SAN ANTONIO, Texas (The Beacon)--Sammy Tippit Ministries (STM)—headquartered in San Antonio, TX since 1986—plays a unique role in bringing hope and healing to areas of the world in most need of the gospel. Though serving U.S. churches and pastors, including those in immigrant and ethnic communities, their ministry distinctive lies in going to difficult places—Africa, Eastern Europe, Central Asia, the Middle East, and South America.

Sammy Tippit grew up in Baton Rouge and came to Christ in 1965 as a freshman at L.S.U. After his marriage to "Tex" and his ordination as a Southern Baptist minister, Tippit launched his evangelistic organization (originally called God's Love in Action) in 1970. He first preached at a church youth revival in Monroe, Louisiana for around 25 people. "Revival broke," says Tippit, "we moved onto a university campus and then to the civic center, with thousands attending." The response to his ministry continued at Asbury College in Kentucky the same year in a revival that spread to seminaries across the nation.

STM first traveled internationally to youth rallies in 1971, marking the beginning of extensive ministry in communist countries. His team infiltrated the Communist Youth World Fest in 1973 to share the gospel among 100,000 youth.

"While others were just smuggling Bibles, we preached in stadiums during perestroika ," says Tippit. "Going places no one ever went to, we reaped a great harvest." Those places included the first evangelistic stadium crusade in the history of Romania in 1990 and other first-ever stadium crusades in numerous cities throughout Russia, Ukraine, Albania and Moldova.

Another distinctive of STM is its small organization. By connecting with national churches through relationship-building, the ministry provides evangelistic meetings that are reproducible. From the beginning they established a pattern of first calling for revival of God's people. In bringing together local church leaders before planned evangelistic outreach, the end results have been big.

After the Iron Curtain fell, STM responded to other invitations—in South America, India and Africa. Tippit preached in Rwanda shortly after the attempted genocide in 1994, working with opposing leaders to foster reconciliation. He preached in war-torn Burundi in 1998, also meeting with peace negotiators. In 1999, he preached to 300,000 in four days in Ethiopia, followed by a Brazilian crusade in the world's largest stadium—with more than 60,000 attending.

The last ten years brought new opportunities for ministry in Muslim areas of the world. By video simulcast in 2001, Tippit spoke to his largest crowd ever, in Egypt, with 150,000 attending throughout 600 locations. In 2004 STM began television ministry in Iran. Incredible as it may seem, one prestigious university in that country later took Tippit's personal testimony from his website and posted it on theirs, totally unaltered, including his invitation to receive Jesus Christ.

This year's milestone of 40 years of ministry brings STM to a new focus for the future. They see the church growing at an unprecedented rate in poor countries of the world and areas with limited freedom of religion. Tippit says, "In one Islamic country hundreds of thousands are coming to Christ, and most of those are young people. We want to multiply our impact through discipleship and leadership training."

Tippit, now 63, had a cancer scare in recent years that served to reevaluate his ministry. He recalled Billy Graham's response to a question of what he (Graham) might have done differently: pour his life into younger evangelists. Tippit wants to do exactly that in his next stage of ministry, saying, "As I age, God has convicted me that I need to begin pouring my life into a new generation."

Find out more at: www.sammytippit.org.

Patti Richter writes a monthly ministry article for The Beacon in San Antonio, Texas, where this article first appeared in the November 2010 issue. Used by permission of the

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B&H Publishing Group engages in media revolution

By Kelly Shrout

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (LifeWay)--In July, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that the social networking site hit a half-billion users.

Twitter now boasts 100-plus million users; 140 million blogs grace the Internet; and 48 million registered users watch YouTube. The digital revolution continues with more than 500,000 e-books available for download.

Smart phones, computer tablets and their accompanying applications seem to influence, even shape, habits of global media consumption.

B&H Publishing Group, the publishing division of LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention, understands the reality of modern communication and proves that a 119-year-old publishing house can still learn new tricks. B&H, with a renewed focus on digital initiatives, is positioning itself for the future by integrating new media strategies into timeless ministry practices.

Friends, followers and communities

Two years ago, B&H entered the social media scene by creating Facebook and Twitter accounts for its authors, the Holman Christian Standard Bible and its specialty imprints. A digital media team also created online communities like PrayerGates.com and LoveDareStories.com to test the online pulse of constituents.

Users responded positively to PrayerGates.com, which was designed as an online prayer community and was based on Beth Moore's bestselling "Praying God's Word." The site exploded and now records thousands of unique visitors a day.

LoveDareStories.com also earned the respect of users and continues to regularly add new members. LoveDareStories.com is an online community for those reading "Love Dare," the bestselling book based on the movie "Fireproof." The community offers a platform for users to encourage each other in their marriages.

"More than a digital presence, we are offering a ministry presence," said Aaron Linne, digital producer. "We have seen readers come to Christ as a result of visiting one of the community sites."

Sites like PrayerGates.com and LoveDareStories.com now garner 50 percent of B&H's online traffic, proving that customers in a digital age want to interact with resources.

"We were one of the first publishing houses to create our own Facebook-like interface for our resources," Linne said, adding that an online book club featuring B&H authors will go live soon.

iPad, iPhone and e-books

Linne and Paul Mikos, executive editor of digital publishing, built upon the success of those initial online communities and began to posture B&H's resources for smart phones and tablet computers.

B&H Publishing Group currently has 13 individually branded applications (apps) for Apple's iPhone and iPad, with several more in development. Six of the 13 are ranked among the top 150 paid apps in the books category.

Considering that there are more than 30,000 available paid apps in the books category, ranking in the top 150 is an honor, Mikos said.

Also in the books category, two of B&H's 13 ranked in the top 100 most downloaded free apps.

One of the most popular apps is the free edition of "Praying God's Word" by Beth Moore.

The app comes with 30 Scripture prayers on the topic of overcoming unbelief and allows users to add 30 more for 99 cents each. Categories include overcoming depression, overcoming the enemy and overcoming food strongholds. Each category references Scriptures that address the topic. Better yet, the app has an interface that allows users to link straight to the Scripture.

"Praying God's Word" has consistently ranked in the top 100 free apps in the books category since its release.

"From a ministry perspective, through this app we are able to see what the needs of our customers are," Mikos said. "We can determine if they are dealing with rejection, addiction or depression. We can track that over a period of time and respond through ministry opportunities."

Offering biblical solutions is key, Mikos said, when developing online apps.

"Scripture is the focus of what we do," he said. "There are many apps available where Scripture is linked within the program. We include the Bible text with everything we publish in digital form. We want to enhance our customers' experience all the while connecting them to Scripture through our content."

The implication of integrating the Bible into all apps and content means more users will be exposed to the gospel.

"We've moved from the Gutenberg model of the Bible being an isolated text to a digital model of the Bible being an imbedded text," Linne said.

In many ways, orchestrating the use of online media for Linne and Mikos is a sacred opportunity.

"Ultimately we want God's Word to be shared through Twitter, Facebook and smart phone applications," Mikos said. "Many of the applications facilitate that sharing and enable, to some degree, the ministry of providing biblical solutions for life."

E-books

B&H resources are now available through major e-book distributors and devices. All new B&H books released since October 2009 have been published in print and digital formats, and more than 500 previously published books are being formatted and distributed through digital channels.

"The dynamic nature of digital media allows us to experiment with new ways of introducing - and re-introducing - our customers to our new and existing titles," Linne said.

Statistics from new e-book releases confirm that customers are interested in a diverse selection of digital resources, from self-help books to Bibles and even fiction.

"Rooms," a novel by debut author James Rubart, was offered as a free download for two weeks in April, the month the book released. The first week the novel garnered more than 20,000 downloads. The second week, it more than doubled that number with 42,000 additional downloads.

"I believe content sells content," said Julie Gwinn, trade book marketing specialist. "This experiment with digital promotion, like free downloads, seemed to jumpstart our marketing campaign for this book in the short run and for the author in the long run."

Linne and Mikos agree that the world of electronic media is still so new that the rules have not yet been written regarding how ministries can use all things digital to maximize their ministry potential.

"Christ was the ultimate storyteller, sharing parables and insights from everyday things around Him to tell truth and Good News," Linne said. "We are blessed to be born during a time and culture where content, discipleship and truth can be spread across the nations at the touch of a button, connecting the bride of Christ in new and powerful ways. We're just honored to be exploring the possibilities, trying to follow Christ's example."

LifeWay, an entity of the Southern Baptist Convention, is one of the world's largest providers of Christian products and services, including Bibles, church literature, books, music, audio and video recordings, church supplies, and Internet services through LifeWay.com. Established in Nashville, Tenn., in 1891, the company owns and operates more than 160 LifeWay Christian Stores throughout the United States, as well as two of the largest Christian conference centers in the country.

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