“Can you pick up toilet paper on the floor in the bathroom?” This was one of the first questions I got in my very first interview as a young and arrogant Bible School student from my future boss. I thought he would come at me with what my view of women in ministry was, my eschatological views, or what places I would be leading within the specific ministry I was being hired under, but instead he impressed two things in that interview; one that he was looking for a servant leader. Someone who would pick up toilet paper and hold open doors. The second he said, “You need to constantly be aware of your sin and need for Jesus. The sin you aren’t dealing with is the sin you will shy away from in ministry.” The whole interview lasted probably a total of 20 minutes, but it was a 20 minutes that would mark the rest of my ministry and Christian walk.
I think often of these two truths and to this day there is rarely a time that I will be in the women’s bathroom and not see a rogue toilet paper piece or paper towel dropping and pick it up. There has been much debate and rallying behind the two candidates for SBC President. There is no doubt that both men have a love for Jesus and the Gospel (this isn’t something to debate), but when I’m looking at the random ballot slip that the moderator calls out, a vote has to be cast and I can’t wait to give my vote to J.D. Greear.
J.D. Greear wasn’t even on my radar as of 3 years ago. I had briefly come across an article that he and his wife had shared on their Bible Study Ready to Launch: Jesus-Centered Parenting in a Child-Centered World as I was preparing to teach to a local MOPS group. I was both challenged and encouraged by their desire to invest in the hearts of children and not cling to security, but instead to use our relationships and means to bring them on mission for the Kingdom of God.
In an interview with Trevin Wax, J.D. said the following:
“The gospel, you see, only makes sense when it is taught in the context of mission. Many kids in evangelical churches are bored because parents look at kids like furniture for the completion of their houses and churches like classrooms to fashion them as “Christian” pieces of furniture. Children are arrows, and arrows are designed to be launched out.”
Knowing nothing more than that he was a pastor in North Carolina I found myself challenged and convicted that I not waste my moments with my kids to both train them and to bring them alongside in our chase after Jesus. Then rolls in the SBC Annual Meeting of 2016 and his name came up again. I followed Twitter and read articles of all God did through his leadership and commitment to the Gospel by sending college students on mission, planting churches, and sacrificially giving. These are all great things, but what stood out most about this guy was his character, heart for God’s people, and most importantly his humility for the sake of the Gospel.
As I streamed the convention and saw the close votes, not one but two times for the role of SBC president, I saw a guy whose influence had captured fellow pastors, but that wasn’t all. In wake of the third and final vote J.D. decided to withdraw for the sake of unity of the people, the convention, and the Gospel he loves. This was a guy picking up toilet paper!
It rings loud of Paul’s words to the Philippian church in Philippians 1:27 “Just one thing: As citizens of heaven, live your life worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or am absent, I will hear about you that you are standing firm in one spirit, in one accord, contending together for the faith of the gospel.”
I think this moment, this humility, was a charge to all believers that Jesus be our one thing. Even though J.D. has not been our official president these past two years, we have been influenced and challenged by his example to be members of the SBC who stand with one another for the Gospel in both humility and unity. What could have been an opportunity to rally the troops he instead used as a platform to wash ones feet.
He is one both young and old should look to and follow. His ‘one thing’ is evident and the fruit of his ministry is a testimony of that love. When women all over the SBC, and the country, were watching a debate of their value, safety, and place in the church, JD unapologetically vocalized the need for women to be protected by their pastors/leaders and for the church to be a refuge. He stated, “There can be no ambiguity about the church’s responsibility to protect the abused and be a safe place for the vulnerable. Abuse can never be tolerated, minimized, hidden, or “handled internally.”
He finds, encourages, and champions women to use their gifts within the church and the Kingdom, not only for the sake of women, but for the sake of the church as well. Our convention needs a leader with character, compassion, and courage and just from a snapshot of our 2016 election he has shown and continues to hold all of these qualities. As an SBC woman I’m hopeful and expectant of all that God will do through him if elected as our new president.
J.D. Greear, almost two years ago, sent waves of truth throughout our people to cling to both humility and unity, and it is his turn to lead.
I think all of us need to be reminded of the charge to do a little bathroom duty and self evaluation of our need for Jesus in these coming weeks. Is our ‘one thing’ Jesus or it is clinging to systems, accolades, and power?
Adopt the same attitude as that of Christ Jesus,
6 who, existing in the form of God,
did not consider equality with God
as something to be exploited.
7 Instead he emptied himself
by assuming the form of a servant,
taking on the likeness of humanity.
And when he had come as a man,
8 he humbled himself by becoming obedient
to the point of death—
even to death on a cross.
Jacki King is a Jesus follower, Bible teacher, and Coffee Addict. She has a passion for seeing women fall in love with Jesus and His Word while challenging them to be on mission in their homes, work places, and communities. Jacki lives in Sachse,TX with her Husband Josh, who is the Lead Pastor/Elder of Sachse’s Church, along with their 3 boys Haddon (9) Leland (7) and their youngest Amos (4) who was adopted from Ethiopia. To connect with Jacki follow her on Twitter or Instagram at @JackiCKing