Opinions on a convention

I just returned from the annual Southern Baptist Convention in Greensboro, NC. This was my first time attending one of the national conventions and I have to admit that I went into it with a little bit of skepticism and hesitancy. The reason for my feelings is that I'm not always convinced that this convention - to which I have served and been a member almost my entire life - is leading us in the right direction for the future. This has nothing to do with theology but everything to do with methodology.

It helped that I was able to attend some of the Pastor's Conference at the beginning of the convention because it allowed me to hear from some guys that I really admire. Erwin McManus from the Mosaic in California challenged churches to look like the church to the rest of the world. He said that people should be able to tell that we are a body of believers in Christ without having to first read it on our church signs. Nelson Searcy of the Journey in New York City encouraged pastors to be unafraid to engage areas such as New York that have long been considered difficult places to reach people. And Kerry Shook from the Fellowship of the Woodlands in Texas urged today's churches to speak the language of our culture so that we might reach those men and women who don't have an understanding of what our church culture is all about. I left the pastor's conference inspired and optimistic, knowing that there are many Southern Baptist church leaders who still understand that our churches exist to glorify God by reaching the world for Jesus by "becoming all things to all people."

The convention itself was not nearly as exciting, but it encouraged my heart as well. The most obvious aspect that I noticed was that, even though there was supposed to be a "controversy" regarding the presidential election race, the tone and attitude of those that I saw and heard was gracious and fair. Many motions and resolutions hit the floor - some of which I didn't understand and some of which seemed rather petty - but that necessary business didn't take away from an atmosphere that was positive to the core. I left with the sincere belief that Southern Baptists as a whole do care tremendously about helping those in our world who are destitute and seeing men and women come to Christ. It's not about wielding ultimate power and control. Rather, it's about working together so that we can be Jesus incarnate to a world that even doubts His existence, much less His ability to make a difference.

No comments:

Open hands and letting go

Several weeks ago I ran across an article that described the kind of person that I am to the letter. The writer described a group of people...