The 21st Century SBC: Seven Crucial Aspects of our Mission

The 21st Century SBC: Six Crucial Aspects of our Mission

(By: Danny Akin & Bruce Ashford)

In light of recent debate and discussion about the future of the Southern Baptist Convention, this series of posts delineates seven crucial factors for the success of our cooperative mission as we move forward together in reaching the nations with the gospel. Our mission must be one that is (1) revealed in the Christian Scriptures, (2) based upon God’s mission, (3) focused on the nations, (4) focused on this nation, (5) driven by biblical theology, (6) centered in the gospel, and (7) based on local church initiative and supplemented by entities and associations. The series provides a joint reflection upon these factors, applying them to the life of our churches and entities, calling us to action, and addressing in concise fashion some of the major issues in convention life.

Southern Baptists are more than merely an indiscriminate collection of congregations who practice believer’s baptism by immersion. We are churches who by conviction stand in the Baptist tradition of historic Christianity who cooperate because we believe that our mission will be more effective if we combine our efforts rather than if we “go it alone.” However, cooperation does not, in and of itself, ensure the success of our mission. In the 21st century, our success or failure as a Convention will depend, in part, on these seven aspects of our mission.

Our exposition of these seven aspects is divided into approximately fifteen installments, which we will release over the next three weeks. We pray that they will be helpful for the advancement of Christ’s kingdom.

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  1. Michael   •  

    Thanks for numbering the nations and this nation with the same #3.

  2. Bruce Ashford   •     Author

    Michael, ironically since you posted your comment we have decided to go with seven aspects instead of six, and have given “this nation” its own number (#4). Our treatment of “this nation” has turned out to be the longest of all of the aspects. Hopefully it will be a helpful treatment.

    Thank you for reading the post and commenting.

  3. allan gravely   •  

    Folks, I love the emphases, but there is something lacking. SBC should be also encouraging the kind of ethical/spiritual culture and accountability within churches such as we see in the Sovereign Grace movement. It is an essential part of mission to be evangelistic and mission minded, but if the infrastructure is lacking in local churches to produce godly individuals it can become one-sided. Local churches need to develop the kind of congregational polity with elders and deacons which will provide a richer spiritual life than the one-sided pastor deacon govt that most are operating with.

  4. Bruce Ashford   •     Author

    Allan, thank you and you are “on spot” with your comment. We treat church culture and health in post 5c specifically.

  5. Ryan G   •  

    It seems that many SBC churches are moving away from cooperating and want to do their own thing. I hope that your efforts will be successful in bringing us back together.

    As you think about the “nations” and this “nation” in points 3 and 4, remember that the term nations (ethne) rarely should be construed as political boundaries but is much better defined by socio-ethnic-linguistic groups. The U.S. like many other large countries is made up of many different “nations” in this sense, and is not a monolithic culture. “This nation” shouldn’t be restricted to small town southern culture or middle-class white suburbia. L.A. and Wake Forest are very different places. We can’t forget the Hispanics of L.A., the Chinese in Seattle, or the Polish in Milwaukee.

    You are certainly already all on top of that. I’m looking forward to reading this series of posts.

  6. Bruce Ashford   •     Author

    Ryan, you are “spot on” with your comment. Thanks for the encouragement.

  7. ryno   •  

    This is great stuff. Kostenberger wrote on the local church understanding its mission, and this is in that same stream.
    I would encourage really emphasizing the local church role and responsibility to fulfilling the mission of witnessing to the Gospel throughout the world: even in speaking to the significance of leadership roles as well as gifting roles in helping the church fulfill its mission.
    I’ve blogged on the responsibility of the local church and “sent out ones,” which is a contemporary, critical issue for the SBC missionaries:
    I look forward to the following posts.

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