A few weeks ago I was excited and privileged to attend the 2018 annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention. About 10,000 of us (Messengers – representatives from our local churches) gathered into an icebox called the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center in Dallas, Texas. I’m serious. It was freezing in there… you could’ve hung meat and been safe to do it.
I went there excited because this was my second time. My first was in 2016 in St. Louis and the experience was so exhilarating I couldn’t wait to go to another one. Since I left this meeting a bit deflated, I was trying to figure out what made my first go-round so good. And, after reflecting for a few weeks now, I think it was the Spirit. The palpable Spirit was present 2 years ago, but this time there was no evidence of Him… “the wind blows and you do not know from where it comes or where it’s going, but you can see the leaves move.” No, this time the Spirit was not present in the same way, but I have no idea why.
Politics, culture gone nuts, churches in grave decline, seminary president fired, the Vice President of the United States spoke… there was a lot going on for sure. Maybe we were too busy to really get a grip on what we were missing – God. The ONE spiritual event that got to me was the commissioning of 79 new missionaries going overseas into dangerous places carrying the gospel as their only weapon. They intend to take hope to people who have no hope! The problem with this commissioning is that it took place very late on the first night. Only about 20% of the 10k were present, if that. Everyone was wiped out or going to dinner or even to bed. But this service was about what we are or should be all about – THE GOSPEL OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST.
On a more positive note, one more good thing happened. We elected J.D. Greear to be the SBC President for the next 2 years. JD’s opponent was Ken Hemphill, but I didn’t vote for him for the obvious reasons in the table below. Please look at it… look at the efforts to evangelize, baptize and grow the Kingdom at JD’s church, “The Summit” church in North Carolina that was established in 2006. Ken represented the old guard… few baptisms and hardly any evangelism. Lack of evangelism is the reason the church has shrunk to such low numbers. Lack of evangelism is why our nation is in serious moral and ethical decline. Re-discovering evangelism and actually EVANGELIZING outside the walls of our churches is what will bring them back to life.