William Carey once said that the future is always as bright as the promises of God. When I think of the future of the SBC, I believe that the Holy Spirit has great days ahead. If we believe Christ’s promises, heed the voice of the Holy Spirit, turn from our sin, and cast ourselves upon the mercy of his grace, the gates of hell will not stand a chance.
You don’t have to know the best words for each situation. Sometimes simply how you pray—sad and heartbroken—might be all that is really needed. Simply acknowledging to God, in front of your children, that things aren’t as easy for our brothers and sisters of color can raise some great conversations. It sets the context for race conversations in our kids’ minds. After all, I’d much rather stumble through my words with them than trust society to do it for me.
We need the institutions of the SBC. And we need the next generation to get involved in them—in the associations, in state and national conventions, and in all the entities they support. We at the Summit have tried to follow the examples of others in this, as we’ve gotten more involved in our association in the past few years.
I’ve heard it said that decisions in our Convention, at every level, are made by those who choose to show up. For those of us who have led the SBC in mission, it’s time for us to encourage others to “show up” in our Convention.
This month we are commissioning the 1,000th Summit Church member to go out with one of our church planting teams, many of those having been compelled by our challenge to college seniors to spend the first two years of their lives after graduation on mission for the gospel. Dream about this: What would it look like if every Southern Baptist college student accepted this challenge and pursued the first two years of his or her career in conjunction with a Southern Baptist church plant? Can you imagine the catalyst this would provide for church planting?
Church planting is no substitute for evangelizing and disciple-making; it’s just the best facilitator for it. New churches are, statistically speaking, the most effective means for bringing in new believers.
Of course, in a Convention with more than 46,000 churches, revitalization is an urgent need as well. I believe the two go hand-in-hand. In fact, I believe this because of the experience of our own church. You see, ours is a revitalization story, not a church planting one. Long before the Summit was known for being a church that sends, it was a church that desperately needed a fresh breath of new life.
Here at the Summit, we’re praying that God would use the upcoming Easter holiday to further exalt the name of Jesus, so that hundreds would come to faith in him. Easter is one of those rare moments when people who rarely attend church will respond to a personal invitation. So even if your evangelism game...
Fifty years ago, Martin Luther King Jr. looked ahead and boldly declared that God’s desire for racial harmony was possible. As we look to the future of the Southern Baptist Convention, would you join me in asking God to give us the courage to speak—and live—a similar word of counter-cultural, racially diverse, bold, and unified faith?
Chief among my passions for the SBC at this time is that we reinforce our identity as a gospel people, putting the gospel above all. We do not find our unity in worship styles, or in views on eschatology, or in political positions. We find our unity in the gospel. Whatever preferences we have must be secondary to this unifying standard.
We recognize that the multi-site strategy presents both pragmatic challenges and raises biblical questions. We have wrestled with those questions for many years, and will continue to do so. As we often say, we are eager to hear from anyone who comes to us with an open Bible and an open mind.
But we also believe, despite its difficulties, that the multi-site strategy is biblically faithful and strategically advantageous.
Everything we do as a church speaks. The question isn't if we're sending a message with our guest services, but what message we're sending. Your guest services write the introduction to the sermon. So what kind of introduction are you giving?