I am at the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) this week. Think of a giant church business meeting with sermons and worship interspersed. That doesn’t sound like much fun to many of you, but you do get to meet a lot of old friends and make some new ones. Okay, there are some annoyances. There are sessions where anyone can speak- some less thoughtfully than others. (Wasn’t that charitable of me?) There is great congestion and lots of walking. But we SBCers can often focus most on our problems and can be extra critical of ourselves. So here are some things I really like about our convention.
1. We focus well on International Missions. I call the IMB (the International Mission Board of the SBC) the glue that holds us together. I listened
to the IMB report today with great interest as they interviewed Cuban pastors and leaders. I knew most of those pastors from leading a conference in Cuba a few years ago. Great pastors. The IMB is really a fabulous organization (see my two posts on the IMB in my archives) with a great mission. The SBC does that well.
2. We trust and follow the Bible. While we are imperfect people, we believe in a perfect God with a perfect word. We may argue too much, but at least we are arguing from a point of reference that the Bible is to be our guide- not culture or politics or styles. Though I am thinking about making a motion encouraging a return to leisure suits- that was really a snappy style.
3. We are local church led. In many ways, the local church is the headquarters of the SBC. We can hold our leaders accountable- not easily, but it is certainly possible. Our churches can make their own decisions without a hierarchy that tells us what to do. That sounds like a recipe for chaos. In reality, it keeps our institutions somewhat accountable and really gives a “grass roots” feel to our convention.
4. We are diverse. We have many ethnicities. We come from different regions. We use different styles. I like that. That makes us stronger. That reminds me of heaven. Not that the SBC is heaven- no, no. There will be no business meetings in heaven. (That alone is reason enough to give your life to Jesus Christ!) But I like our diversity within the unity of Christ.
Just some of the good side of the SBC to note.