6 years ago

BREAKING: Birmingham pastor David Platt tapped to head International Mission Board

David Platt, Pastor of the Church at Brook Hills (Photo: Vimeo)
David Platt, Pastor of the Church at Brook Hills (Photo: Vimeo)

Dr. David Platt, the 35-year old pastor of Birmingham’s Church at Brook Hills and New York Times bestselling author, has been tapped to serve as the next president of the International Mission Board (IMB).

The IMB is the missionary-sending organization affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention. It was initially established in 1845 as the Board of Foreign Missions, and now operates in nearly every country around the globe. It supports just under 5,000 missionaries in the field and has a yearly operating budget of $300 million, making it one of the largest missions organizations in the world.

The Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions funds more than 50 percent of the work accomplished through IMB. Named for a courageous Southern Baptist missionary who served in China at the turn of the 20th century, this offering is used exclusively to help provide the day-to-day support for missionaries sent around the globe by their Southern Baptist churches through IMB.

Platt’s election represents somewhat of a departure from many past IMB presidents, who have historically served in the role later in life toward the end of their ministries.

But this is not the first time Platt has taken on a large role at a relatively young age.

At 26, he was hired as senior pastor at The Church at Brook Hills, becoming known as “the youngest megachurch leader in America.”

Platt is also the author of several books, including Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream, which has sold over a million copies. His most recent book, Follow Me: A call to die. A call to live., released last year, also debuted on the New York Times bestseller list. His next book, Counter Culture: Radically Following Jesus with Conviction, Courage, and Compassion, was initially slated to be released in September, but will now likely end up being released sometime in the first quarter of next year.

When news of Platt’s election to head the IMB broke Wednesday morning, the Church at Brook Hills released the following statement:

As The Church at Brook Hills, everything we do is ultimately for the sake of God’s glory among all nations. While we are saddened that David Platt will no longer be our Senior Pastor, we wholeheartedly support his decision to serve as President of the International Mission Board (IMB). We know of no one with greater passion and zeal for seeing Christ preached where He has not yet been named.

For many years, the IMB has been one of our primary partners in sending members of our faith family to make disciples around the world, and we look forward to this relationship continuing under David’s leadership there. We are deeply grateful for the season God has allowed David to shepherd The Church at Brook Hills. We now gladly pray for the Platt family as they transition to a new assignment and begin the work of mobilizing thousands of churches to accomplish the Great Commission.

By God’s grace, Brook Hills will continue to be a vibrant disciple-making church. We trust God’s sovereign plans for our faith family and are confident He will continue to lead us in the months and years ahead.

UPDATE: The IMB released the following video message from Platt:


Follow Cliff on Twitter @Cliff_Sims

45 mins ago

Alabama’s budgets will face real issues post-coronavirus

Every American is fixated on the current coronavirus pandemic. It dominates local and national news, daily talk radio and Alabama’s major newspapers three days a week.

The Alabama political press is busy using this to accuse Governor Kay Ivey of wanting Alabamians to die because she hasn’t issued a “shelter-in-place” order. To their credit, usually, it’s Alabama’s budget cuts, low taxes, taxes on food, failure to expand Medicaid or abortion bans that are being used as an implement of murder by their target of the day, so give them credit for creativity.

If we as a state look past this healthcare issue and look at the damage it is already doing to the state’s economy, we will see a bunch of major issues on the horizon.

When State Senator Arthur Orr (R-Decatur) appeared on WVNN Friday morning, he talked about budgeting issues that will definitely be of major concern when the state is back open for business and the legislature resumes its budgeting process.

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Orr, who has chaired both the General Fund and Education Trust Fund committees, said that the next legislative session will be a hard one with hard fiscal choices.

Planned pay raises for teachers and other state employees are gone. Orr noted that the budgets that are passed will be “level-funding” — or close to it — and hard choices will have to be made.

But that “pain” may be short-term, not that the reverberation of the coronavirus pandemic won’t last for years. There could be long-term issues as well.

The Retirement System of Alabama has long been a hot-button in this state.

Orr sounded the alarm on the viability of the system, saying, “The RSA is among, if not the most, highly exposed defined benefit, public defined benefit plan in the country to equities or to the stock market.”

He noted, “When the stock market has tanked 30 plus percent, RSA feels a much larger hit than other retirement funds. It’s going to be a concern.”

My takeaway:

With a defined benefit payout and few opportunities to increase revenue. the actuarial tables will take a beating as the stock market slides.

Most expect the market to rebound eventually, but Orr has been talking about the RSA’s vulnerabilities for years. And this will not help.

Even if you aren’t a beneficiary of the Retirement System of Alabama, you will still feel the impact if its finances continue to head south. Orr warned of a stark reality where “taxpayers will be ending up having to pay more for retirement for all the government employees.”

Obviously, no one is thinking about this right now, but we will be revisiting this in the very near future and the impact of this could go on for a very long time.

Listen:

Dale Jackson is a contributing writer to Yellowhammer News and hosts a talk show from 7-11 am weekdays on WVNN.

1 hour ago

Survey: 50% of small businesses cannot survive more than two months of coronavirus restrictions

The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) Research Center on Friday released its latest survey detailing the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on small businesses across the country.

The survey was conducted March 30 and utilized a random sampling of the organization’s 300,000 members. This garnered 1,172 usable responses, all small employers with 1-465 employees.

Unfortunately — but also unsurprisingly, the survey showed continued overall deterioration in the small business sector since the NFIB’s previous similar survey, which was conducted on March 20. A release from NFIB on Friday stated, “The severity of the outbreak and regulatory measures that cities and states are taking to control it are having a devastating impact on small businesses.”

In the latest survey, 92% of small employers said they are negatively impacted by the pandemic, up from 76% saying the same just 10 days prior.

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The latest survey also showed 3% of small employees answering that they are positively impacted by the coronavirus outbreak. NFIB explained that these select firms are likely experiencing stronger sales due to a sharp rise in demand for certain products, goods and services. That effect will likely wane in the coming weeks as consumers feel more secure about their personal supply levels, NFIB added.

State-specific survey data was unavailable, but NFIB Alabama State Director Rosemary Elebash said in a statement, “Without a doubt, the coronavirus has taken a tremendous toll on Alabama’s small businesses. Our members are determined to get through this, and they’re working to apply for Paycheck Protection Program loans and other forms of financial relief so they can avoid layoffs and having to close the doors for good.”

Lt. Governor Will Ainsworth (R-AL) noted, “We have organized an Emergency Small Business Task Force to identify problems our businesses are facing during this difficult time. We need to bring clarity to issues and government orders that are often confusing and to effectively communicate solutions and direct business owners to resources that can help. NFIB is an indispensable member helping to guide this task force.”

RELATED: State Rep. Whitt on coronavirus restrictions: ‘Our small businesses are getting destroyed’

Among negatively impacted small employers in the NFIB survey, 80% reported slower sales, 31% reported experiencing supply chain disruptions and 23% reported concerns over sick employees.

One other major point in the survey pertained to how long can small businesses can continue to operate under current conditions.

With the pandemic projected to continue for weeks, it is especially concerning that approximately half of small employers said they can survive for no more than two months. About 15% of small employers responded that they cannot last even another month.

Mitigation is ongoing, however. Due to escalating financial stress on the sector, more small businesses are now talking with their bank about financing needs than was the case 10 days ago. Approximately 29% of small employers have talked with someone at their bank or with the Small Business Administration (SBA) about finance options, and another 23% are planning to do so soon. A total of 38% of small employers have not, and do not, intend to do so, per NFIB’s survey.

Read the full survey here.

RELATED: University of Alabama program helps connect small businesses with federal relief funds

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

2 hours ago

Alabama automakers lend a helping hand in COVID-19 battle

Alabama automakers are stepping in to aid their communities in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, including support of crucial testing services and production of protective face shields for healthcare workers.

Toyota’s Huntsville engine factory is producing 7,500 protective face shields for local hospitals.

In addition, the plant has donated 160 safety glasses to local hospitals, along with $25,000 to the United Way of Madison County to support COVID-19 relief efforts.

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“With our plant idled, Toyota Alabama is eager to contribute our expertise and know-how to help quickly bring to market the equipment needed to combat COVID-19,” the company said in a statement today.

Similar efforts are also happening at Toyota facilities nationwide.

Other Alabama automakers are offering community support as well.

Hyundai Motor America and its Hyundai Hope On Wheels program have donated $200,000 to the University of Alabama at Birmingham to help expand community testing efforts.

The grant will support the existing drive-through testing site in downtown Birmingham and help other sites in Jefferson County provide much-needed screening, said UAB Medicine CEO Will Ferniany.

“Support like this gift from Hyundai Hope On Wheels helps our frontline medical staff understand that they are not alone in this fight,” he said. “This grant will help further UAB’s commitment to providing access to communitywide testing.”

The grant will also be used to expand access for pediatric-specific testing services. About 20 percent of the downtown testing site’s patient population is age 25 and under, and officials from UAB Medicine, the UAB Department of Pediatrics and Children’s of Alabama hope to continue to expand testing for this group.

Nationwide, Hyundai is donating $2.2 million to support drive-thru testing centers at 11 children’s hospitals throughout the U.S.

Hyundai Hope on Wheels supports families facing pediatric cancer, and the company said the pandemic is a particular risk to children with cancer who have compromised immune systems.

Hyundai operates an auto assembly plant in Montgomery, which has been idled amid the outbreak, as have other auto assembly plants in the state.

Honda’s plants across the U.S. are also helping out during the crisis, including its factory in Talladega County.

Honda has pledged $1 million to food banks and meal programs across North America. Plants also are donating equipment, including N95 face masks, to healthcare providers, deploying 3-D printers to manufacture visors for face shields and investigating ways to partner with other companies in producing equipment.

In Tuscaloosa County, the Mercedes-Benz plant has donated N100 reusable filters,  protective suits and other supplies to local hospitals, as well as $5,000 to the DCH Foundation to help with the hospital’s curbside testing process.

Mercedes is also working with the Alabama Department of Commerce on ways the company or its supplier network can support making parts for the medical industry, and it is providing expertise to other manufacturers that are producing healthcare supplies.

The automaker also hosted a LifeSouth community blood drive that received about 95 donors.

(Courtesy of Made in Alabama)

3 hours ago

Birmingham nonprofit aims to feed medical workers with food from local restaurants

A new charitable effort has sprung up in Birmingham that aims to help two of the groups hardest hit by the COVID-19 outbreak: health care workers and local restaurants.

The initiative is called CareHealth and the premise is that the group will use donated money to buy food from locally-owned restaurants and then it will give those meals to hardworking health care professionals across the Magic City.

CareHealth is a project from Urban Avenues, a collaborative coalition of charitable organizations that focuses on improving the City of Birmingham.

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So far, the initiative has partnered with local favorites like Saw’s BBQ, Eugene’s Hot Chicken and Crestline Bagel to provide meals across Birmingham’s health care system.

According to a release, CareHealth has delivered 1,700 meals in its first week and supported 15 restaurants in doing so.

The meals are delivered by volunteers, who receive training and equipment that keeps them and their deliveries safe from contamination.

“CareHealth offers a double dividend for every dollar invested. Health care providers get meals amidst their battle and the light stays on for our food community due to the good people that are investing,” said John Lankford, founder of Urban Avenues.

Those interested in donating to CareHealth, requesting a meal or getting involved in the project can do so at the Urban Avenues website.

Henry Thornton is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can contact him by email: henry@yellowhammernews.com or on Twitter @HenryThornton95.

Birmingham meal prep business offers buy one, give one to help feed those in need

During the novel COVID-19 economic and health crisis, one Birmingham based small business has created a way to give back. Mealfit, a catering and meal preparation company, is donating a free meal to someone in need for every meal that is ordered.

Each customer who purchases a meal for themselves will be offered an opportunity to identify someone who may be in need. Mealfit will provide a meal to those in need at no additional costs.

Mealfit founder and CEO Thomas Cox launched the program as a way to help the community during a time of need.

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“I’ve been racking my brain as a small business owner on how I can provide high-quality, healthy food in a time when people are stuck at home, while also helping people who are in need,” said Cox.

“Everyone has someone who is in need whether it be an elderly person, a single parent or someone who has been laid off because of the crisis we are going through. So from now until further notice, every time you order your Mealfit meals, we will give to a family in need,” Thomas stated.

Customers can order through the company website by 12:00 p.m. on Sunday and pick up food between 4:00-5:00 p.m. on Monday at one of 17 different locations in Birmingham. Once an order is placed the customer can simply respond to their confirmation email and identify the name, number of family members, phone number and email of the person they would like to have a free meal. Mealfit will handle the rest.

Cox only has one small request for the greater Birmingham community: “We ask that you spread the word. We can’t reach everyone on our own, but with your help, we can reach more of the people who are in need that we aren’t directly connected with.”

Go to this website and order food for you and your family.