Today Baptist21 will be releasing interviews with the 3 Southern Baptist Convention Presidential Candidates. In addition, several of the topics we discuss with them we will discuss at our panel next Tuesday. Register for that event here
1. Will you give us a brief introduction to who you are and what your passion in ministry is?
My passion is to fulfill the Great Commission which the risen Lord gave to us with all the authority in heaven and earth. I am truly passionate about evangelism, discipleship and church revival. My keen interest is to prepare the return of the Lord by testifying the gospel to the ends of the earth, making disciples of all nations, and bringing revival to the church(Matt.24:14;28:18-20;Mark 16:15;Acts 1:8).
2. Serving as the President of the SBC is a massive time commitment. Why are you willing to commit to such a task?
Recently I was recommended by pastors and leaders of the Southern Baptist
Convention to be nominated as a candidate for the office of SBC president. I have collaborated with the ministry of SBC with joy and willingness because I believe all servants need to learn, emulate, and follow the leadership of the Lord. If God gives me the opportunity to serve as the president of the SBC I will continue to remain faithful in my companionship with all other fellow laborers of God’s kingdom.
3. How do you think your gifts & vision will help the SBC?
I may provide an evangelistic tool that is simple enough to train all church members, effective enough to ignite believers’ passion for evangelism, and engaging enough to captivate the hearts of the present generation. As an answer to my prayer, the Lord gave me the wisdom to develop an effective tool of evangelism and discipleship called Anothen(“from above” James 1:17) Training. If the members of the SBC generously accept my initiatives, I would like to introduce Anothen Training and equip Southern Baptist churches so that we may share the gospel effectively, increase the number of our baptisms, revitalize our passion for evangelism, and plant more gospel-driven churches.
4. What is one of the greatest strengths of the SBC? Why?
If local churches and different organizations of the SBC can collaborate for evangelism, discipleship, and church revival, we can expect a great synergy effect from this concentrated effort to fulfill the Great Commission.
5. What is one of the greatest weaknesses of the SBC? Why? How can we address it?
Every individual, local church, and denomination has weaknesses. It is only natural for us to strive to remedy our shortcomings and make improvements. One of the greatest weaknesses of the SBC that has a room for improvement is the gradual decline in zeal for evangelism and world missions. Despite the fact that local churches know the importance of evangelism, there are only few that actually share the gospel in a way that is practical, strategic, and effective. As I was praying to the Lord with the same burden for evangelism, God gave me the insight to develop the Anothen Training for evangelism and discipleship. Since last year, I have trained about 1,500 ministers and lay leaders in the United States, South Korea, Guatemala, Costa Rica, and Dominican Republic. From May 2013 to March of this year, the members of our church have presented the gospel to 3,125 people through personal evangelism. Among the people who heard the gospel, 1,078 people accepted Christ and 802 others received the assurance of salvation. If God is willing and the members of the SBC give me the opportunity, I would like to introduce this tool for evangelism and discipleship. I will continue to research other effective methods and strategies to win souls for Christ by cooperating with the NAMB and leaders of other Southern Baptist organizations.
6. What is one of the most encouraging trends right now in SBC life?
I am aware of the fact that about 1,000 Southern Baptist churches are closing their doors every year. I am greatly encouraged by the fact that NAMB has assembled a Task Force to remedy the problem and set the goal of planting 1,500 churches every year. I am very delighted to be a part of this Task Force.
7. What is one of the most discouraging trends right now in the SBC?
I had the privilege to visit six Baptist Theological Seminaries and converse with professors and students of all campuses. I was happy to see that these seminaries
were growing in their number of student enrollments. However, I am greatly concerned by the current trend that the number of pastoral leaders for the next generation is decreasing. I find it disappointing that there is even a greater decline in the number of pastoral leaders among ethnic minorities. I am concerned that many ministers drop out of ministry and find secular jobs.
8. How can the SBC better engage and keep younger leaders?
We need to have a sense of urgency to develop a strategic way of finding and cultivating young leaders for the next generation. This process needs to be initiated by a local church. Many small churches fail to grow to a mid-sized congregation and remain small even after many years. Many young ministers are discouraged when they see the hardships and struggles that these pastors experience in harsh conditions of their ministry. We need to bequeath the biblical, historical, and practical inheritance of the SBC to the leaders of the next generation so that they may be motivated and challenged to further develop and build on this spiritual legacy. This fruitful ministry is only possible when there is an active cooperation between the current pastors and leaders of the next generation.
9. What one admonition would you give to younger SBCers about something that may need to change with them?
I feel the need to provide opportunities to younger generation of Southern Baptist leaders so that they can participate more actively to the work of denomination. I believe it is important for us to broaden the channel of our communication in order to increase the accuracy of our diagnosis and find solutions for the problems of the day. I would like to encourage for everyone to move in this direction with an active and positive attitude.
10. Recently concern has been raised that state conventions are not following through on the Great Commission Resurgence Task Force suggestions, especially moving more money to international missions. How would you address this problem, and how would you counsel younger Southern Baptists to think about it?
I agree with the suggestions made by the Great Commission Resurgence Task Force. But I also understand the financial restrictions and other realistic difficulties of the state conventions to actually follow and implement the suggestions. Simply dividing our resources with a very limited finance may not be considered as a fundamental solution to the problem. We may experience a break-through by pursuing a biblical revival of the church by mobilizing believers for evangelism and discipleship. We need to collaborate with the young leaders so that we may win souls for Christ, bring them to church, and equip them as disciple-making disciples of Christ. As local churches grow in their membership and finance, the cooperative work with other organizations such as NAMB and IMB will also increase.