This post is not intended at all to complain or to offend anyone but the Devil. And I pray I offend him every single day with every single action. Unfortunately, I do not. But I seek to do so.
This post’s intent is to challenge all who seek to be used to advance the purpose and intent of our Sovereign God. It is an observation with that challenge especially for younger pastors in chronological age and those who recognize they are aging, but refuse to get old.
There is a difference. Some of you young guys are already old and seeking how you may “climb the ladder of success.” You are already on the road to irrelevance in the Kingdom of God. And some of us who are aging are not as “old” as our appearance.
My observation throughout the years has been that of being close to some “insiders” and yet not close enough to influence decisions. In other words, I have been in the house but not at the table. At times I feel somewhat frustrated but then I review the ministry God has given and I am overwhelmed by the grace and mercy extended me. I am very grateful some things I wanted early in my ministry were kept from me. And I look forward to the future although I do not know what that will be. Our all-seeing, all-knowing, all-present God is always faithful to us, even when we are failing in our faithfulness to Him.
Thus, my view is from the cheap seats. Here are some of my observations.
A Great Commission Resurgence is much-needed. But my question is why a denomination that believes Scripture is both inerrant and sufficient needs a Great Commission Resurgence? Please do not interpret that as critical of the concept or the committee. Hear the question: Why do we need? And if we do need this and it is biblical, why are we waiting for a committee report to obey God? How many times must Scripture speak before we obey?
There are churches that no longer visit prospects. I was actually told by one staff member that he typically waited until someone visited twice because the second visit indicated there might be serious interest about the church. I have had others, seminary trained, who simply do not visit. Some talk of “attractional” methods. Tell me what is attractive about a church that has lost its passion for Christ and those for whom he died?
Where does a local GCR begin? It begins with leadership in precept, principle, and example.
We have emphasized church growth, then church health, now we have a Great Commission Resurgence committee. God bless them. Those who initiated and suggested this were people of integrity and passion. The same is true for the committee. They seem to desire to be catalysts to move the SBC as a body toward incremental and necessary change.
But you, pastor, do not have to wait until Orlando to change. What is the Spirit saying to the churches? I submit the same things he has said all along recorded in Revelation 2-3 and other passages applicable to the subject.
Has “revival” become a cop-out for such things as passion, caring, obedience and hard work? We do not really know much about revival other than what we have read. We may have had what some call “mercy drops”, but a national or denominational revival/awakening has not been seen by anyone alive today. Biblically, those are mostly Old Testament passages. It is not the cry of the New Testament. The closest in the New is a call to a busy church to remember their first love, turn around, and return to that first love. And I believe that is a first love of loving Christ as well as loving others (Rev. 2:1-7). It seems consistent with the Great Commandment of Matthew 22:34-40.
There is an article here in the Southern Baptist Texan. It is well written and acknowledges that revival/spiritual awakening seems to be predicated upon prayer and the Sovereignty of God. There are those that reduce God’s Sovereignty to man’s formula. We would not do so in precept, but we often do in principle with our methods. Roy Fish, one of God’s greatest gifts to Southern Baptists and the world, is quoted in the article. One of the most crucial concepts is this: “Yet Fish added that awakening—a term he uses synonymously with revival—is not merely the result of believers meeting certain conditions in a formula. In fact, two churches could seek God identically but only one congregation experience revival, he said.”
So my observation is this. We as leaders should lead our people to passionately pursue communion with God through prayer privately and corporately. I do not believe it offensive to lost people who are intelligent enough to know they have entered a place of worship called a church. They may even have expectation that we would pray.
Justice is big stuff these days. It is ”big stuff” and later blog posts will address the subject.
What is justice? This particular post will not go into theological definitions and nuances of the term. However, one has said that justice is righting past wrongs. This particular definition was given within the bounds of biblical truth. One could also say that in a great sense justice is cooperating with the mission of Christ to push back the darkness (see Isa. 61 and Luke 4). If that is true, then not only good works, but also prayer and evangelism become part of any biblical concept of justice.
I may give a cup of cold water and/or food in Jesus’ name, and I should. But if I do not give biblical hope, that person may perish on a full stomach and spend eternity apart from God’s grace but eternally present with His wrath. Good works should not at all be manipulative for the purpose of getting ”decisions”. But somewhere in the conversation, eternal hope through the Gospel of Christ must be clear.
Doing all the Great Commission indeed involves evangelism, discipleship (inclusive of prayer and justice), and bringing people into the local Body of Christ. Again the question: Why do we need a GCR committee?
If indeed there is need, and there appears to be, then is not our immediate and personal response that of heeding John’s call to the Ephesian church in Rev. 2:1-7?
Like I said – it is my view from the cheap seats. How many more churches could be started, mission trips taken, and people helped with the monies we spend trying to motivate professing Christians to simply obey the elementary commands of Christ? Think about it.