Category Archives: southern baptist convention

Sharpening our Focus, Renewing our Passion

(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

The Cooperative Program Rediscovered

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

Those who don’t attend the Southern Baptist Convention

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

Whither the Cooperative Program?

Whither? At least I didn’t say “ye olde Cooperative Program”. But sometimes it feels as though the Cooperative Program, the primary means by which Southern Baptists have funded their missionary and educational responsibilities for decades, has been relegated to an unnecessary relic of the past. Is that a good thing?
The percentage given by the average SBC church to the Cooperative Program (CP) has dropped over the years to just over 5%. Is that a good thing?
Some churches have, instead, adopted a more societal approach to missions. They tend to do direct mission work (or support those who do) instead of the more cooperative work of the CP.
There are several reasons given for this. “There Continue reading

The Positive Future of the Southern Baptist Convention

A friend of mine advises pessimism so that life is full of pleasant surprises. (Doesn’t that sort of defeat the point?) But I can’t help myself. I am hopelessly hopeful. (And I like a good oxymoron on occasion.)

When it comes to the Southern Baptist Convention we can certainly point to difficult challenges- and I have. But, there are many reasons to be “hopelessly hopeful” about our convention and I want to name a few just to put our future into perspective.

1. The emphasis on Continue reading

The Future of the Southern Baptist Convention

I’m neither a prophet nor the son of a prophet. That’s a bad start for confidence in my predictive powers. But let me speculate on the future of the Southern Baptist Convention with whom I have been associated my entire life.

In many ways I am describing what is more than what will be. Perhaps this is more of where we are than where we are headed. While it seems likely we will have more of what we currently have, God can change things dramatically. Perhaps we will have a great revival. Perhaps we will have ruin. But here is where it seems we are and where we are headed. (Keep in mind the “neither a prophet nor the son of a prophet” part.)

1. We will be less Continue reading

Scorecard on my unsolicited advice for the International Mission Board

Some time ago I gave some unsolicited advice to the International Mission Board of the SBC as they sought a new president to replace Tom Elliff. David Platt was recently elected. I want to note the areas where the IMB followed (if inadvertently) my advice and where they didn’t. Some quick notes-
-Failure to follow my advice is not necessarily failure. I’ve been wrong many times about many things. Sometimes the wisest course is to reject my advice. (More often than I would like to admit!)
-Disagreements do not stop in any way my prayers for, and support of, Dr. Platt. He is our President and I hope he succeeds fabulously. I want the IMB to be more effective for the cause of Christ than ever before.
With that, I give my original recommendations (in bold) and my thoughts on how that stacks up against their choice of David Platt.

1. Don’t worry much about who recommends them. We don’t need any kingmakers because we don’t have any kings. (Further free advice extends to my recommendation that you read that last sentence again.) Continue reading