(This is an article I wrote for the Illinois Baptist.)
Sharpening our focus, renewing our passion
This past June, Southern Baptist Convention President Steve Gaines put together a task force charged with recommending how we might deal with the alarming decline in baptisms in our Convention. What a daunting task it is. Baptisms have declined precipitously for the past 17 years. We have gone from more than 400,000 baptisms per year, to less than 300,000. The needs in America are greater than ever, but our effectiveness in meeting those needs has plunged. This ought to greatly concern all of us who care about the Great Commission and this land in which we live.
The task force’s first meeting, held at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Ft. Worth, Texas, was both disquieting and encouraging. We stared the terrible Continue reading
Perhaps the greatest danger for many Christians, churches and ministries is something other than gross immorality or theological liberalism or direct rebellion against the plans of God. Dangerous as these things are, the greatest danger for many followers of Christ is something more insidious. This danger is subtle. It is not so easily recognized. But it just as deadly. This terrible danger is apathy.
Apathy (and her cohort, procrastination) is the Continue reading
Posted in bible study, Christianity, Church, evangelism, passion, prayer, Uncategorized
Tagged bible study, Christian, Christianity, Evangelism, faith, godliness, Jesus, passionate faith, Prayer, spiritual disciplines
One of the the things I want to do in my time of service with the Southern Baptist Convention is to encourage greater support for the cooperative program (CP). Oddly enough, more attention than ever has been paid to the CP through some recent dust ups with churches and the ERLC- one of our SBC agencies. Perhaps the CP is being rediscovered.
Every church in the SBC can decide how much- if any- they give to missions through the cooperative program. Every state convention can decide how much they forward on to national agencies. Every convention can debate the percentages that each agency should receive. But, I contend, the CP remains a marvel of opportunity. Here are some of the blessings of this method of mission giving.
First, the CP has been remarkably Continue reading
Posted in baptist, cooperative program, giving, International Mission Board, sbc, southern baptist convention, southern baptist convention, Uncategorized
Tagged Christianity, church, cooperative program, SBC, southern baptist convention
I like ice cream. Who doesn’t? Ice cream comes in all kinds of different flavors from vanilla to chocolate to pistachio. The basics of ice cream- dairy and sugar- remain the same whatever the flavor, but there are lots of different types.
Evangelistic methods come in different flavors. The basics of evangelism are always the same. Evangelism is the sharing of the message of the gospel with those who are lost. The message of the gospel is the same that it has been for the last two thousand years. (I Corinthians 15:1-8 provides a great summary of that message.) The necessary response to the gospel remains unchanged. We are separated from God by our sins. We need to repent of sin and place our faith in the Lord Jesus who died for our sin and rose from the dead in order to be saved. This is the basic message of evangelism.
But, like varieties of ice cream, there are varieties of ways- what we might call evangelistic methods- by which we do the work of evangelism. Let’s talk about Continue reading
I recently gave our church ministry staff an assignment. Share the gospel with at least one person during the next week and report back. Here are some lessons we learned together.
1. We can easily be around only other believers. We work with other believers (at least we think the rest of our ministry team is saved!), serve in ministry with other believers and Continue reading
I just got back from attending the Southern Baptist Convention. It was an unusual and interesting and exciting meeting.
My wife served as the president of the Ministers Wives Conference with about 1,200 ladies attending the luncheon. It was awesome but she is worn out. (Shout out to all who helped her- we love you!)
I was elected the 1st Vice President of the SBC. Don’t you have some suspicions about an organization that would do that?
But I noticed some people who weren’t there. In fact, several Continue reading
Posted in missionaries, missions, southern baptist convention, Uncategorized
Tagged Baptist, Christian, Christianity, God, IMB, International Mission Board, missionaries, missions, Religion and Spirituality, SBC, southern baptist convention
I love the opportunities that come with Easter Sunday. Hundreds of guests will come to our church on Easter Sunday- some who have never been to church and some who haven’t been in a long time. I won’t bash them for not being there every week. Believe me, as a pastor I would love for them to come to our church every Sunday. But I won’t bash them. Here are some reasons why.
– It is uncharitable. I love these people and care about them. I’ll love them enough to tell them the whole truth of the gospel and God’s word. I will tell them the whole truth. But I will do that out of my love for them.
-It is ineffective. Bashing people on the one Sunday they are Continue reading
Posted in Easter, Easter Sunday, evangelism, Uncategorized, worship
Tagged Christian, Christianity, church, Easter, Easter Sunday, Evangelism, local church, Religion and Spirituality, worship