Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Concluding Thoughts On The Convention

The 2010 Annual Meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention is now history.

More than 11,000 messengers were here in Orlando for a historic meeting, now we all begin heading back to our respective homes and places of ministry. Issues that were hot topics of discussion for the past three days now slowly begin to fade back into the reality of normal Southern Baptist life. If there is to be a Great Commission Resurgence among Baptists, it will begin in the pulpits and pews of our 40,000 + local congregations. No amount of restructure, programs, or catchy buzz words will avail any results apart from the working of the Holy Spirit in the lives of Christ Followers.

I am thankful that we Baptists can come together for worship, prayer, preaching, and fellowship, and to handle the business issues that are necessary to operate the various aspects of the world's largest organized group of evangelical Christians. Technically Southern Baptists are a Convention, not a denomination. There is a difference. A denomination generally is operated on a hierarchical model, with decisions coming from the top down. A Convention is, on the other hand, a voluntary group of autonomous churches, working together for a common mission. The Convention meets two days per year. Each local church is entitled to send messengers to speak for their congregation. They set budgets, enact policies, and elect Convention officers, and trustees to manage the various entities and boards of the Convention.

Do the messengers always see eye to eye?

Does every member of your church see eye to eye?

Of course not!

The good news is that the wrangling is not about theology. The Battle for the Bible was won through the "Conservative Resurgence" process several years ago. Now, the hot button issues are more over methodology, and one can expect opinions on "how to do it" to vary from person to person. There are sometimes heated debates on various issues. Passions burn high, and opinions vary. Votes are taken and results may not always be what you hope they will be, but when the smoke clears, we are still brothers and sisters in Christ, with His mission to fulfil.

So now we enter the era of the "Great Commission Resurgence". There is not a born again Southern Baptist in the Convention Center (or ANYWHERE else) who is against the Great Commission. We may have different opinions as to how we may accomplish it, but there is no debate on the question of "Why?" The command is clear. Our marching orders from Christ are to be His witnesses in the world - from right here at home, to the ends of the earth. That task is not accomplished by messengers in huge convention halls, but by our local congregations, as we go about our daily lives, seeking to share the Good News of Jesus Christ, and through cooperative intentional mission efforts to reach every people group on the face of the planet. It is a God sized task, and we'd best ramp up our efforts and follow His lead, because the time to accomplish it is quickly passing.

That is what we are working toward at Westmoreland Baptist Church. May God help us redouble our efforts to do as Jesus commanded - "making disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you."

No debate on that issue.

Time to get to work!


Bobby Wood said...

Wish I could have been there this year. Sounds like a lot happened.

By the way, I like the new look to "For What It's Worth."

C.J. Adkins said...

Thanks Bobby. Missed you being here. Looking forward to seeing you again one of these days. Perhaps next year in Phoenix. In the mean time, stay in touch! Love you Bro.