What an exciting day! I was a new pastor and I was going to baptize a young adult lady who had recently trusted Christ as Savior. This was to be my very first baptism. And, to make it even more exciting, this would be the first baptism for our small congregation in two years. I couldn’t wait for Sunday!
But, I had a big problem. Though the church had not baptized anyone in a couple of years, water had steadily dripped from the faucet which filled the baptistry. And, the baptistry was made out of sheet metal. Who makes a baptistry out of sheet metal? Sheet metal rusts! This had to be the work of a committee! The dripping faucet left the drain completely clogged and several inches of rusty water stagnating at the bottom.
I had to face this dilemma head on. On Saturday morning, Continue reading
The Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) faces some challenges. We have slowly declined in recent years. We have less members and attenders. The decline in evangelistic effectiveness is especially troubling. But there is opportunity.
Our fellowship has not always been stellar. We can be cantankerous towards each other and our disagreements are not always handled as agreeably as they should be. Sometimes we find ourselves unnecessarily snarky. But there is opportunity.
We have vacancies at the leadership of two major agencies– the International Mission Board and the Executive Committee. These are critical roles and there are no perfect people to lead them. But there is opportunity.
God provides Continue reading
Posted in baptist, Christian unity, evangelism, friendship, humility, International Mission Board, southern baptist convention, southern baptist convention, Uncategorized
Tagged Executive Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention, International Mission Board, SBC, southern baptist convention
The president of the International Mission Board (IMB) is, I believe, the most important post in the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC). With news that David Platt is stepping down, the SBC will be looking for the next person to fill that critical role. More than anything we need to pray for wisdom and to find God’s man for this time. With that said, here are my thoughts on the kind of person we need to lead us.
We need a unifier. Perhaps no agency has the potential to unite the SBC as does the IMB. The mission of reaching the world for Christ requires and ignites unity. We can unite around this mission whether young or old, traditionalist or Calvinist, Alabama or Illinois fan. (There are only 10 of us Illinois fans in the SBC but I just like to put our name in there with Bama!)
The mission is not all that unites us. We are also united by Continue reading
Posted in baptist, Christianity, International Mission Board, missionaries, missions, sbc, southern baptist convention, southern baptist convention, Uncategorized
Tagged Christian, Christianity, Evangelism, International Mission Board, missions, southern baptist convention
Though I have shared the gospel message many times, I can still be afraid to share my faith with others. I’m pretty sure I’m not alone in that fear. I’ve heard many others express that same anxiety. Here are some reasons we might be afraid to share our faith and what to do Continue reading
(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