I Survived the Southern Baptist Convention

sbc-loveloudNot only did I survive it, but I really enjoyed. Way more than I thought.

It wasn’t because of the business sessions…I know, you’re surprised. It wasn’t the mini-donut smell that permeated everything. It wasn’t the 3 consecutive BBQ meals I enjoyed. It wasn’t being back in the great nation of Kentucky.

The number 1 reason why I enjoyed the SBC Annual Meeting, why I’ll go again next year, why my church will continue to be a cooperating church, and why I am going to be engaged for the forseeable future is this…

My brothers and sisters took a strong, unified, and loud stand TOGETHER for the Gospel of Jesus and for doing whatever it takes to ensure that our singular focus is taking that Gospel to every city, tribe, tongue, and nation. We united around the Great Commission, not building the Great Denomination.

From the preachers to the conversations in the halls to the dinners hosted by the agencies to the Baptist21 panel lunch that saw 600 young Baptist leaders gather together, the theme was not “How do we save our denomination?” The theme was “How do we better build the kingdom?” Big difference.

I saw the President of the Pastors Conference, Ed Litton, call for Pastors to “give ridiculously” to world missions instead of using the offering to help his church stomach the costs of the conference. The result was 10’s of thousands of dollars given to helped stalled international missionaries get to the field.

I saw our Convention overwhelmingly unite around the Great Commission by passing a motion to form a Great Commission Task Force that will work hard over the next several months to ensure that every dollar given to missions through the Cooperative Program is best used and that every agency is focused on the Great Commission. In other words, leaders and agencies will be held accountable. The Kingdom and the future matter more than the denomination and the past.

I saw our Convention overwhelmingly support an unprecedented initiative for Adoption and Orphan Care. It’s a call for EVERY family and EVERY church in the SBC to do more to care for orphans all over the world.

I could go on and on, but I will leave it with this: it’s a new day for the Southern Baptist Convention. Everyone told me I would be one of a handful of young guys there – not so much. The place was packed with young leaders who have been energized by our convention’s obvious move away from denominational superiority to gospel-centered, mission-driven unity. We were there in full force and I don’t think that will change. The door is wide open for new leaders to step in. I, for one, plan on walking through that door, as God leads and provides opportunity.

I’m thankful for the SBC and believe in the SBC. Our best days are ahead and the 4 days that we got together in Louisville, KY were nothing less than historic and powerful. Now, may God grant us the faithfulness, courage, focus, and passion to pursue Him, His Kingdom, and to carry out His Great Commission.

I have a couple more posts coming with thoughts and reflections from the SBC, so stay tuned.

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6 Comments on “I Survived the Southern Baptist Convention”

  1. David Parks says:

    Jay,
    Thanks so much for sharing your insights. I so appreciate your heart for the Kingdom and am convinced with you that our brightest days are just ahead.

  2. […] are a few others’ comments on the 2009 SBC: Alvin Reid, Jay Hardwick, Ed Stetzer June 25th, 2009 […]

  3. faithengineer says:

    Thanks for sharing your insights. Although I am not currently part of a SBC church now, I still have a great love for the convention. It is great reading your perspective of the convention. After reading the updates from bpnews at http://bpnews.net/BPnews.asp?ID=30774, I assumed that the convention was more business as usual. From reading their update, it seemed like the major focus of the convention was boycotting Mark Driscoll and Pepsi. Until we see the churches become as passionate about evangelism as they are alcohol, I think the decline will continue. It is good to read in your post that younger leaders were present as well. I hope that is a trend that will continue. Thanks again for sharing with those of us who weren’t there.

  4. Marshall Fagg says:

    Jay

    I knew you were excited about attending the SBC, now I understand why! We are refocusing our attention on the real mission of the church and the real work of the kingdom. I join you in praying and working toward that end.

  5. lee webb says:

    God did amazing things at SBC – glad we were there to enjoy together. How many times did we just look at each other with that “what in the world look” & hold our hands up in wonderment? Glad to walk this path of life with ya bro – BTW, never forget Dino’s line, “Oh yeah, He gets it.”

  6. beth says:

    Thanks for sharing this!


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