This past week the convention which I am associated with, Southern Baptist, released its annual report and the numbers were not encouraging at all. To read the report – click here.
Let me say on the front end of this conversation that I am not here to point blame or to blame any particular entity within the SBC. However, I do have a few observations.
Observation #1: We need a return NOT to REVIVAL or SPIRITUAL AWAKENING rather we need to return to JESUS! Jesus is our ONLY hope.
Jesus should be our consuming fire, our model, our example, and our source of living. Somewhere along the lines we have left our First Love (A.K.A. Jesus) and have fallen in love with programs and models. The problem, as I see it, is that we adore and love our programs and models more than we do Jesus. Here are few examples:
1. At most of our meetings (local, association, state, or national), the focus is usually the introduction of the latest and greatest model or program that will help your church turnaround.
2. The “acid test” for one’s commitment to our national convention is what percentage you give to the Cooperative Program. The base line percentage is usually 10% if not more. I will go on the record to say that the Cooperative Program is not my priority nor is it my “god.” My responsibility as a pastor is to present the sheep that is under my care mature before God (Col 1:28).
Observation #2: As a convention, we have place so much emphasis on church planting that it seems to me that we have elevated our church planters to the status of being “rock stars!” We treat them with royal treatment and give them annuity bonuses at the end of the year. It seems to me that we value church planters more than Jesus.
Observation #3: When we leave our First Love then there are always consequences. What are those consequences? I am not exactly for sure but here is a glimpse from God’s Word:
“Look at this wonderful Convention, which was exalted and mighty at one time is now declining and loosing momentum and everyone is astonished and is asking, “Why is the Lord allowing this to happen to them and to their influence?” Then they will say, ‘Because they abandoned the Lord, the God of their fathers…and laid hold on other gods and worshiped them and served them. Therefore he has brought all this disaster on them.'” (2 Chronicles 7:21, 22 My Own Paraphrased)
Observation #4: It’s not to late. We can cry out 2 Chronicles 7:14 to God.
My prayer is that we will return to the message and to the methods that Jesus used! Jesus made disciples through relationships. He invested in people and did life with a few people rather than preaching to the masses.
What are your thoughts? Your observations?