Thoughts on the SBC, Part 1: Service
I am very happy to be a member of a church that is a member of the Southern Baptist Convention. It is the family of churches where I know I fit. We have a brilliantly-crafted confessional consensus in The Baptist Faith and Message. Our central funding mechanism known as the Cooperative Program is one of the most effective in the history of the church. I like the autonomy of local churches and the opportunity to partner with Gospel-minded people to further God’s mission in the world.
As we approach this year’s Annual Meeting of the SBC, as always, we have the opportunity to help our churches or harm them. There has been no shortage of news stories, social media rants, blog posts, and personal conversations surrounding this year’s meeting. Everyone wants to know what will be done about a myriad of issues. I’m happy for all of the voices that are calling for prayer, unity, and focus on God’s glory above our own needs. I want to add my voice to the chorus of those who believe that God can refine our hearts in the days ahead.
The convention can be a tool in God’s hand only as far as its members yield our needs below His right to have the glory and direct our work.
As a member of an SBC church, a pastor among us, and as a messenger to the Annual Meeting, I’ve assembled a few thoughts on how I plan to engage the issues at hand. They are all around how we can follow the example of John the Baptist in saying about Jesus, “He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30). I hope you’ll join me in prayerful consideration on your role as well. Here is my first thought (with more to follow in the days ahead).
Get ready to serve.
I’ve made the decision: If nominated, I will run. If elected, I will serve. Like all of you, busyness is a constant state of existence. I don’t have time for anything else in my life but the Cooperative Program is too important to ignore its needs. We have a great system of church life, a powerful mission-funding mechanism, and some amazing mission agencies. I’m ready to serve from FBC Bradenton as a pastor of our medium-sized church that is dedicated to the SBC and the CP. I’ll serve if called upon by my association, state convention, Baptist entities, and national convention. We all need to be of the same mind. Serving the mission of the church is worth our efforts and sacrifices.
One day the SBC will cease to exist. In the eternal Kingdom of God, no denominational entities will be needed. But while we are here, our SBC has the potential to be a powerful structure for aiding churches find fruitfulness in God’s mission. Let’s serve one another well through it. Let’s honor Christ by fulfilling His mission as a family of churches. Let’s gather in Dallas with the theme not just on paper but in our hearts. Testify! Go. Stand. Speak. All for King Jesus.