I was traveling this last week and found myself at Lebanon, MO on Sunday morning. I decided to go to First Baptist Church. There wasn’t much to it. It was a normal, Bible-belt traditional service. They had a later contemporary service, but because we were traveling we went to the early, traditional service.
The music was fine, the people were nice, and my son seemed to enjoy the nursery. Looking at the surface, most people would of probably thought, “This is a pretty nice church.”
When one gets beyond the surface they see something very different. They seem something better. One thing they might of thought is, “This young, very passionate pastor doesn’t seem to fit in real well with this traditional congregation.” I would respond, “Oh no, he fits perfectly.”
Churches like FBC of Lebanon, MO is one example of why I have great confidence in the future of the Southern Baptist Convention. When a person looks at that church they will see a young, passionate pastor leading and shepherding his congregation on what it means to live “on mission” for Jesus.
After church my wife made the comment, “I think the only thing I really liked was the pastor.” I don’t remember the pastors name and I am in no way trying to promote him as a person. What I am promoting is what he is doing. Church planting is great. What is equally important and often forgotten is young pastors going into old comfortable churches and leading them into missional living. It was great. The heart of the pastor was easily seen and received by his congregation. They are a church that is embracing what it means to be a gospel-community that cares most deeply about the world coming to know Jesus.
As I said before, the music was okay, nursery was fine, and the people seemed nice. What was great was the willingness of this young pastor to patiently lead, by word and example, his church into missional living.