Student and leader guides for “The Agenda: 8 Lessons from Luke 4” are now available. The online, eight-lesson Bible study supporting next year’s New Baptist Covenant Celebration in Atlanta is offered free of charge by the Baptist Center for Ethics in partnership with other organizations.

Available here, “The Agenda” enlists writers from diverse backgrounds in terms of gender, race, ethnicity and nationality to examine the Bible chapter that includes the foundational text for the Jan. 30-Feb. 1 gathering to unite Baptists from North America around Jesus’ moral agenda as announced in his first sermon recorded in Scripture to his hometown synagogue in Nazareth.

In Luke 4:18-19, Jesus said: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

In the introduction to “The Agenda,” Robert Parham, executive director of the Baptist Center for Ethics, said the study takes a “material” reading of the text, in contrast to other studies that tend to spiritualize or otherwise water down the message of justice for the poor and oppressed.

“Our hope is that Baptists across North America will use these lessons in preparing their hearts, minds and hands to pursue Jesus’ mission statement,” Parham said. “We hope that we will be hearers and doers of the word (Jas 1:22), that our minds might be transformed (Rom 12:2) and that we might become known as those who do good for and with others (Mt 7:12).”

Lesson writers include:

–Carol Anne Janzen, lecturer in Christian Education at Acadia Divinity College in Wolfville, Nova Scotia.

–Aidsand Wright-Riggins, executive director of National Ministries of American Baptist Churches in the U.S.A.

–William Epps, senior pastor of Second Baptist Church in Los Angeles and editor in chief of National Baptist Voice, magazine of the National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc.

–Daniel Carro, Latino ministries ambassador for the Baptist General Association of Virginia, and Dina Carro, a member of the Baptist World Alliance study and research committee.

–David Goatley, executive secretary-treasurer of the Lott Carey Foreign Mission Convention.

–Gilberto Gutierrez, pastor of Iglesia Bautista in Horeb, Mexico, and president of the National Baptist Convention of Mexico.

–Don Sewell, liaison to worldwide Baptist bodies with the Baptist General Convention of Texas.

–Heather Entrekin, senior pastor of Prairie Baptist Church in Prairie Village, Kan. (ABC/USA).

Sponsors enlisted so far include Christian Mission Concerns; American Baptist Churches, U.S.A; Baptist General Association of Virginia; Baptist General Convention of Texas; Cooperative Baptist Fellowship; North American Baptist Fellowship; School of Religion at Belmont University; Lott Cary Foreign Mission Convention; Cecil B. Day Foundation; Baptist General Convention of Missouri; Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of Georgia; Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of Alabama; Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of Florida; District of Columbia Baptist Convention; Buckner International; Faith Baptist Church, Georgetown, Ky.; First Baptist Church, Columbia, Mo.; First Baptist Church, Memphis, Tenn.; Highland Baptist Church, Louisville, Ky.; Pulaski Heights Baptist Church, Little Rock, Ark.; Tennessee Cooperative Baptist Fellowship; and Zebulon Baptist Church, Raleigh, N.C.

Bob Allen is managing editor of

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