Looking Back to Louisville, Part 2

Looking Back to Louisville, Part 2

What needs to happen next?

Let me share some thoughts about the future. I think there are some things we should consider as we look toward the future.

1. We need to pray for the Great Commission Task Force. This is a big deal. Their findings and recommendations to the SBC potentially will have a great impact on our future.

2. We need to pray for the 2010 convention in Orlando. It will be a key moment. Will we elect a president who wants to unite us around the common confession and mission? Or will other agendas emerge?

3. We need to affirm and welcome more than just young missional Calvinists who preach verse-by-verse. I am glad that you guys are acceptable now, but I still think we need those contemporary church pastors and emerging church leaders who affirm our confession to be a part of the cooperation. I hope you reformed types will help us out and welcome them.

4. We need to get more colorful. We have made great strides in the SBC, but our leadership is still WAY too pale. If almost 20 percent of our churches are non-Anglo, it’s time for that to be reflected in our annual meeting and at our entities.

5. We need to engage more small church pastors. The average SBC church is small (less than 100 members). We need their voice because, well, they are “us.” The SBC is a convention made up primarily of small rural churches in the South and we would do well not to forget that.

6. We need to reach out to people who are outside of the South. The rest of North America is becoming more secularized with each passing year. Our disciple-making passion for the metropolitan areas in the rest of the country must increase.

7. We need church planting to become more than a current fad. If we truly want to reach North American and the world for Christ, church planting must become a stated element of our strategy and not just the first in a series of new millennium trends.

8. We need to seek a revived church that can be used by God for the next great awakening in our culture. Nothing short of a collective return by His people is worth our time and worthy of His gospel mission.

Just a few thoughts– see you next year in Orlando.

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  1. Aaron Summers   •  

    Our need for more diversity in attendance is indeed needful. The SBC must discover some way to involve more people without them having to be physically present. With out technology and the small church lack of funds for such meetings, we must go to the people. How many times have we heard the Great Commission sermonic mantra of “We no longer can stand on the porch and say ya’ll come. We must go to them.” The same message is true for our colorful friends and our under-funded friends. We must find a way to go to them and allow them entrance and involvement during convention times.

  2. Noah Oldham   •  

    In regards to number 3… When did this happen? I’m in Missouri and as far as I know I’m still not quite welcome to be supported as a church planter because of state and Acts29 relations. I’m glad there is hope, but all I’ve faced is the challenge of desiring to be SBC and being told it’s not fully possible because of a few crazies in my state convention. What’s up?

  3. Jeff   •  

    Thank you for your thoughts. The missional urban church planters in the north east (like myself) greatly appreciate your thoughts. Thank you for your work. The future is bright.

  4. John Harvey   •  

    Ed, As always thanks for the great thoughts. I really connect with #5 on your list. As a small church pastor my voice is rarely heard. I only am contacted from the convention when I fail to turn in the ACP (which is intentional on my part) and when they have a new program to sell. I honestly feel no one cares and so I invest locally where I am. I hope someone will listen to you.

  5. Nathan Finn   •  

    Ed, both of these posts are very helpful, but I especially appreciate your suggestions here. I’m glad you’ve condescended to join us at BtT. :-)

  6. Marty Joplin   •  

    These reasons and a few more are why I have never attended an SBC annual meeting in more tan 25 years as an SBC pastor. I’ve always been more interested in doing the work rather than arguing about how we should be planning and supporting the work. It seemed like a poor use of my travel & continuing education dollars. I love he research & strategizing- it is very helpful to me. I have long felt te same urgings about getting smaller church and ethnic church leaders more involved. Hoever, the reason to get them there isn’t just to show how colorful our team can be, but to gain their insights and prepare to meet their needs. I’ve been working to do that on an associatiional and state level. Keep up the good work, E, there’s too much good stuff and potential in the SBC to see it waste away.

  7. Clark Dunlap   •  

    Every point is well made and taken. As a Calvinistic, verse by verse preacher in an SBC church of less than 100 (in attendance), first let me say, I didn’t know we were acceptable yet! Hallelujah! Second if you ever need to get in touch with the small church happening let me invite you to visit us.
    WHat I would give for some good ideas into my world about outreach/discipleship/church planting on a tiny budget and in difficult economic times.

    God Bless and thanks

  8. edstetzer   •     Author

    Noah and Clark,

    Sorry about that. Let me be more clear on that one.

    Among the elected leadership of the convention and in most of its entities, I see a broader acceptance of young missional Calvinists. If they are focused on church planting, evangelism, and mission (hence “missional”), I have seen the acceptance of those folks grow.


  9. Michael Wilhite   •  

    I really connect with #5 too, but I would add a word of caution here. Small church pastors are almost always bi-vocational like myself. Unfortunately most of the bi-vocationals I know don’t want to be involved with their Associations / Conventions because they view it as a waste of their time. And some then go on to complain that no one from the SBC cares about them. For those folks like that, I would say that nothing is farther from the truth. I pastor a church of about 50 people and I’ve made an intentional effort to be active at our Association and to attend as much state stuff as I can. From experience what I have found is that I am deeply cared about, but I never saw it until I myself made the effort to connect. I think until small church pastors start to attend more of these type of meetings, many will simply miss out on a lot of blessings and friendships all because they chose to go it on their own.

  10. Jonathan McLain   •  

    Ed thanks again for your thoughts. I agree wholeheartedly with all you had to say. I know what you are saying about planting other than the south, but we need to remember our roots. Without major change taking place many of our churches in the south will disappear. They will need to be replaced with thriving church plants. Problem, Many church planters can’t afford to give 10% of their budgets to the cooperative program without getting something in return. Church plants in the south need a fighting chance too.

  11. kamatu   •  

    #3 is great news and despite your post, I’ve seen other Baptists still railing against the preaching of Paul, Augustine, Calvin and Spurgeon.

    Of course, I won’t be connecting in this way with the SBC, because of the blood letting of the past, I’m currently a semi non persona grata. There will have to be some wrongs righted along the way here, but I’ll say again, that the biggest wrong that needs to be righted is the failure of the church to educate.

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