Being a Southern Baptist is a joy in my ministry. I am thankful to be a part of this diverse group of Christians that have chosen to partner with one another to do together what we could not do alone.
I understand that sometimes we will have differences in the ways we see theological issues, differing ministry philosophies, and different ideas on what we should do together and how we should do it. Add to that, that we all have sin natures and sometimes act in ways that are sinful or respond to the offenses of others in less than gracious ways. Sometimes those differences and conflicts require discussion and input and working out resolutions in a public way. Sometimes, we must politic in some ways to advocate for and seek to achieve a desired end. I get all that and really have no problem with the process. It’s part of choosing to participate in an organization the size of the SBC and find a way to work together in unity despite all of our diversity.
The questions I continually ask myself are these: What drives you as you engage in SBC life? What is the overriding stance you wish to have toward others and be known for when you engage and cooperate with others?
For me, I want to be known and strive for being unified with others in true Christian community and for the advance of God’s kingdom in the world. I am a Southern Baptist for precisely those reasons. I enjoy being in community with others and the encouragement, partnership, fellowship, sharpening, sharing and resourcing opportunities I have in SBC life. I love cooperating together with other Great Commission believers, both locally and around the nation, to make Christ known. I am thankful for the SBC and what God has chosen to do through this varied and diverse group called Southern Baptists.
AND, at times I disagree with others, about a host of issues, and that’s OK. God has made us with different preferences, different values, different gifts, different temperaments, different ways of thinking, different passions, different personalities and He’s put us together in the body of Christ. For most of those who read this blog, God has put us together in churches that have chosen to partner together in this glorious cooperative work of fulfilling the Great Commission.
I feel privileged to be a part of the SBC and to partner with you all in kingdom work.
Last week, I asked one of our state convention leaders during a meeting what he thought about the current debates and divisions in the SBC and how he would respond to them in his role. His answer was simple, “Unity is a choice!” He’s right. And that’s a choice I will continue to make. It’s a choice I make with joy as we are unified for the glory of God and his mission. Thankful to be in unity with you!