I love the Southern Baptist Convention. I am a Southern Baptist by conviction. Theologically and missions wise I feel that the Southern Baptist Convention is the strongest. I love the influence that the SBC has, but could our name be hurting our influence? Could the name ‘Southern Baptist Convention‘ actually be holding our convention back?
Yes.. You might be a little surprised by my answer, but I think that it is true. I was born in Nebraska and I talk to a lot of people from there. I also served in Indiana for awhile and spoke with many people up there. The church in Indiana was an American Baptist church. They agreed that the SBC was better theologically, but thought it would be weird to be a part of the SBC when they are on the north side of the Ohio River. I asked my friends in Nebraska if they knew of any strong SBC churches in Nebraska and they said, ‘Southern Baptist?’ They were kidding because they are well aware of the SBC, but were making a point that the SBC has little to no influence in Nebraska. It struck me as interesting because I know that the Oklahoma Baptist Convention is a very large convention within the SBC. Yet, the SBC in Nebraska barely exists. Could this be because of the name?
I do not want to say that it is all because our name but I do think it is part of it. I just kept hearing, ‘why would we want to be Southern Baptists when there are other ‘good enough’ denominations up here?’ There is an Evangelical influence in the Midwest and more northern states, but almost none of that is Southern Baptist. The Evangelical Free Church does pretty well and there are a few conservative Lutheran and Presbyterian churches. If you know anything about ‘church culture’ in the midwest/north then you know that the Catholic influence is overwhelming. Where is the SBC influence?
If there could be any proven fact that our name was hurting our influence and holding back our growth/expansion would we change our name? I hope so… Hopefully, we wouldn’t let a name get in the way of Kingdom Growth. I am not sure why people wouldn’t join a convention just because of there name, but they seem to be out there. What bothers me the most is our lack of effort for these places. Where are the Midwest, Northern, and Northeast church plants? I know there are a few out there and I am thankful, but they are greatly lacking.
I truly think if we would change our conventions name then more doors would open. Let’s get a name that can represent us globally! We are no longer a convention that is stuck in the South. We are sending more missionaries than any other convention overseas. We are planting churches all across the globe.
It would be great to see a name that represented that work, mission, and goal. Our mission is to reach the world with the gospel. This includes the south, midwest, north, west, northeast, southwest, South America, Africa, Asia, Europe… you should be getting the point. Let’s have a name that does not automatically turn people off who aren’t in the South. It is just a name, it should not be a big deal, but it is. It is a big deal when it hinders our growth and influence. Is anyone willing to follow me here? Are we as a convention willing to do whatever it takes to reach the world with the gospel? Changing a name seems like a very small, insignificant piece of the puzzle and yet it would make a difference in reaching lost people. Let’s pick a name that has God’s love for the Nations in mind!
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