I am Southern Baptist… always have been, always will be (God willing). Over the last few years, my heart has been broken over things I’ve seen… and experienced… as a pastor of Southern Baptist Churches. At the last Southern Baptist Convention, a team was assembled to work toward the Great Commission Resurgence (GCR) which is a plan to return the denomination to it’s roots of missions and evangelism. I was reading the interim report of the G.C.R. Team (Click here) and found myself greatly encouraged.
Then I got to one paragraph on page 15… I stopped and quit reading because I believe THIS paragraph (From my perspective and experience) is THE key for Southern Baptist Convention churches to be successful in sharing the Gospel of Jesus effectively in the future. Here’s the paragraph written by Dr. Ronnie Floyd who is the Chairman of the GCR Team (Emphasis mine)…
If we are going to present the Gospel of Jesus Christ to every person in the world and make disciples of all the nations, we need to learn how to get along with each other, creating a new culture among us. Our present culture represents 1 Corinthians 3 much more than 1 Corinthians 13. Envy, strife, and divisions needs to become unacceptable. Instead, let this world know us by the depths of our love for Jesus, the Gospel, and one another. If we are going to keep our people engaged and give hope to a future generation, we need to create a culture built on these core values.
He nailed it! With surgical precision, Dr. Floyd identified the single most important element that will either help or hinder the possibility of Southern Baptists reaching people for Jesus in the future. The issue is the health of local congregations… for that is where all the authority and activity of Southern Baptists has been centered.
Many Southern Baptist churches are seriously dysfunctional. There are schisms and divisions everywhere… within the congregations. There are competing attitudes that do not show evidence of love on any level. Dr. Floyd is right… this is a problem throughout Southern Baptist Convention churches. To say it isn’t a problem is to be laughably and willingly ignorant of the truth.
I’ve observed envy, strife, and division to a degree that should have brought three congregations I’ve served to their knees… regardless of who was “right” or “wrong,” but it didn’t. I hear about problems in churches regularly, I’ve seen it often, and I’ve experienced it myself. So therefore it is this preacher’s opinion that…
Unless local congregations learn that love for God and each other is more important than minor doctrinal differences… GCR won’t work.
Unless local congregations trust their leaders… and leaders trust the congregation… GCR won’t happen.
Unless local congregations refuse to let people breed disunity and disharmony in the fellowship… GCR won’t move forward.
Unless local congregations quit letting a few people control the direction of the church instead of those God calls to lead the church… GCR will sputter rather than race forward.
Unless local congregations quit letting a few power people make decisions for them without letting the rest of the church know what they’re doing and why… GCR will be hindered because 1 Cor 3 will trump 1 Cor 13 in that fellowship.
Unless local congregations learn to forgive and reconcile with each other… unless congregations repent of sin… unless congregations seek God’s face before anything else… GCR is a great idea… but it will fail.
Unless ministers and the congregations they serve believe they are on the same side… and act that way… GCR will have a little heat without much light. And that will be a tragedy!
I pray for revival and awakening… in the local church and the churches I’ve served. I’m convinced Dr. Floyd hit the bull’s-eye about when and how the SBC will be effective once again in missions and evangelism. It will happen when 1 Cor 3 is replaced IN THE LOCAL CHURCH with 1 Cor 13. And that means it begins with me.
Now I’m going to go finish reading the interim report from the GCR Team…
Thanks so much for printing your reflections this morning. I just pray there are some (in the past) who read your blog and, I feel sure you can identify with me those who cannot help themselves, and continue trying to cause problems…What was shared this morning should speak to volumes of people in this community and elsewhere who have been blindsided by others and have failed to really study Bibical truths related to pastors and churches. They were more into gossip, smear tatics and misrepresentation of what the Word really says to all of us, and were very careless in the hurt caused to a family…who…by the way…was God’s chosen family for a particular church. If they had not practiced what THEY preached there would have been so much love and unity in the church no one would ever have been hurt.
AMEN! AMEN! AMEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Excellent point and so needed in all churches today. Thank you for sharing this.
I’m not sure I’ve read or heard it put more succinctly by anyone before. Your insights continue to encourage and bless me. It is now my prayer that this word goes out and touches some hearts in local churches over this country. You are a blessing Ron!!
Please excuse typing from phone…
Ive grown-up Baptist also… I am very active member and a full tithing member. But, last year after my wife who was a 8yr member of praise team left…. Didn’t blame her the sin which was destroying me spiritual was also allowing me to live a lie – I was one of the main greater… that and homeless were where I shined. I loved Jesus and had accountability partners, but was consumed with and by sin.
Aug. 19, 2010 was the start of a brand-new life. Met with the new family pastor and our teaching pastor…. wife as well; after she spoke and told her story and where she was…. they were understanding and nothing short than a true move of God could even consider changing her mind. They were hopeful and encouraging, but just knew in there hearts what they just knew.
I knew the call on my life and to whom I belonged, had basically been in church my entire life… wanted to be a missionary and had even gone before the church as a family.
But, my thoughts always wondered how will being missionary effect my hidden sin…. the Lord our God began dealing with me and those sin and others which at the root and ties of the mindset I had developed and fallen prey to – over and over again.
How sweet is our Lord Jesus Christ!!! For thought I had determed not to fall into my habits for confort…. He shows up full of revelations, conviction, encouragement, love and mercy. It all began Sunday night, august 23, I was moved to read 1 cor 13, my wife came in and I began confessing stuff which all true, happened even before our marriage, but formed around her. I broke and I cried and confessed and confessed all of the sin the Lord brought to mind. I was going to pastoral counseling every Tuesday morning…
I read our bulletin ‘Prayer Service’ Tuesday and Friday 7p – 9p…. this was when the Lord started giving me confirmation two years…. ‘two years, well Lord I’ve screwed my entire life up so what is two more years to straighten out’ I would think. I was so self absorbed… purity and chastity were the first words the Lord spoke to me via two Catholic co-workers. My four children were fully involved at church so I was there all of the time. The prayer meetings where lead by a Koran Pastor Young Sign.
Between what the Lord continued showing me via personal study time, breaking my heart for his love via worship songs via Kara Job and every worship song played. The Holy Spirit began moving on me with no let up…. I had seven revelation moments where the Lord showered me with memories, crying and weeping, and repentance and forgiveness – all so sweet. As this happen 2 Tim 1:7 appeared and questions arose. Where is my power? Where is my Love? And I ain’t got no self-control, but I’m suppose to?
Now, proverbs 25:2 seeking and researching out wisdom…. was coming via revelations, study and prayer meeting. Discovered in Romans chapter 8 the Apostle tells of our choose status and our inheritance of His righteousness. Then the authority purchase through the blood when we were chooseen. Now only authority but we received power… my Baptist pastors never fully explained.
By the end of September the Lord had opened doors in desperation for truth and life nothing would turn me away from knowing the truth…. Because the truth shall make you free.
I feel lead to leave on