March 15, 2010

Dear Southern Baptists...

This week I want to talk a little bit about my spiritual heritage. I grew up in a SBC church & attended a SBC university. However, I have never over-identified myself as a Southern Baptist. In fact, it saddens me when someone seems to be more proud of their SBC membership than their part in the Body of Christ. So I want to write this week about the SBC, not to bash it, although I will challenge the status quo on some things & not to stroke the SBC ego, although I will point out a couple of areas where progress is being made.

In some ways, I think we have entered a post-denominational era, but I don't think that means the denominations have to be dissolved, but it does mean that the denominations will have to rethink how they work as an organization & as individual churches. That's why my first word to the SBC is this: Stick With What We Do Best. Baptists aren't good at politics, & usually we have been terrible at PR, but historically we've been really good at working together so that the Gospel goes forward. In this new era, I think it's so important that the SBC focus on missions both at home & abroad. That's what we've always been good at. Stop trying to transform the political landscape & start transforming the culture with the power of the Gospel. Our collective resources should be going to equipping & sending missionaries, setting up church planters, & equipping college students at our universities & seminaries to be the church in whatever field they go into. If that means some of our state entities have to cut back, so be it. This should be THE priority. It should be the thing that defines us, both inside the denomination and out; right now, that's not the case.

I'm no SBC big-wig. In fact, no SBC big-wigs are likely to read this, but that's OK because change in the SBC won't come from the big wigs; it will come from the people on the ground who refuse to be distracted from our calling. I know what God can do in & through us, but I also know how easily we've been distracted from our calling, from the only thing that matters, from the only thing we've been perfectly equipped & empowered by the Holy Spirit to do. Let's stick with what we do best, & let the other stuff take care of itself as God transforms the hearts & lives of people we are able to reach with the Gospel.

1 comment:

Jason said...

I absolutely agree with you. I have heard too many church members express a desire to teach people about what it means to be a Southern Baptist than to show people the love of Christ. Denominations are fading and are being replaced by movements....