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 name is Jared Moore. I was dead in my sin and God raised me to life in Christ Jesus. Because of Him, I will live forevermore. I’ve served in pastoral ministry in a Southern Baptist context for 14 years. I pastor New Salem Baptist Church in Hustonville, KY. My wife’s name is Amber. We have three children and one child due to arrive on October 30.
My passion for ministry is discipleship. We must take the gospel to the ends of earth, baptize the repentant, and teach them all that Christ has commanded (Matt. 28:18-20). Every ministry of the church must serve to fulfill this disciple-making commission.
2. Serving as the President of the SBC is a massive time commitment. Why are you willing to commit to such a task?
I am willing to serve Southern Baptists as President because an average voice can be helpful in the leadership of the Southern Baptist Convention. I serve a church that averages around 60 people in attendance each Sunday. I am an average Southern Baptist seeking to represent rank and file Southern Baptists. Most Southern Baptist churches are small. Yet, most of the leadership in the SBC comes from large churches. I believe large churches should be represented in Southern Baptist leadership. But, small churches should be represented as well. It has been over 40 years since a small church leader was elected as SBC President. My prayer is that many more small church leaders will be nominated for SBC President in the future, and that many more will serve on the various committees appointed by the President in the future. If elected, I will appoint many faithful Southern Baptists to serve who have never served before. The appointments will represent the diversity of the SBC by being multi-generational and multi-ethnic, while also pulling from small and large churches in rural and urban areas.
3. How do you think your gifts & vision will help the SBC?
I think my gifts and vision will help the SBC because I am just like the pastor down the street pastoring a local Southern Baptist Church near you. In other words, my gifts and vision are not unique to me, but are possessed by millions of other Southern Baptists. My goal in being nominated for SBC President is not to be exalted, but to bring the Presidency to the average Southern Baptist. Pastor and lay person, you do not need to be a celebrity, or preach like past SBC Presidents, or be someone who Baptist historians remember in order to be qualified to pastor or serve at a Southern Baptist Church. You only must meet the biblical qualifications and remain faithful to your calling. I simply want to encourage Southern Baptists in their efforts to fulfill the Great Commission.
Furthermore, SBC Presidents should not pretend to be able to provide the answers to the problems facing thousands of local churches serving in different communities and contexts than they serve. Therefore, my goal is not to tell Southern Baptists “how” they should be doing ministry to get results. I simply want to encourage Southern Baptists to remain faithful to Scripture. The inerrant word of God is sufficient for all that ails the SBC as the BF&M2K confesses (Article I). Southern Baptists, continue to say what the Bible says, preach the saving gospel, baptize the repentant, and teach them all that Christ has commanded (Matt. 28:18-20). If no one repents, don’t give up. Pray and labor until God brings all sinners from death into life.
4. What is one of the greatest strengths of the SBC? Why?
The greatest strength of the SBC is her desire for all nations to be saved, and her appropriation of this desire into the various ministries of the Cooperative Program (IMB, NAMB, SBTS, NOBTS, SWBTS, SEBTS, MBTS GGBTS, and the ERLC) and other SBC ministries not supported through the CP (Lifeway, Guidestone, WMU, etc.). We not only desire the world to be saved, but we are attempting to save the world by training one another, and by sending one another to preach the gospel, plant churches, and fulfill the Great Commission.
5. What is one of the greatest weaknesses of the SBC? Why? How can we address it?
One of the greatest weaknesses of the SBC is that we are sometimes blinded by our desire for the salvation of souls. We long for the salvation of souls so much that we sometimes use questionable methods in our evangelism, and we refuse to practice loving and consistent Biblical discipline in our churches (Matt. 18:15-20). Yet, Scripture is sufficient. What separates the church from the world is not her toys but her intimate fellowship with God through Christ. What could possibly be greater than knowing the living God? Our hearers have the privilege of knowing the living God if they will simply repent of sin and trust in Christ for salvation! We must offer this good news to the world, and if the world had rather have the temporary common gifts of God (like toys and prizes) than eternal life in Christ, we must preach and teach and pray until they see the value of Christ. Christ is the ultimate gift of God (John 3:16)! We must win our hearers with the gospel, and they will continue repenting of sin and believing the gospel to the end as well.
6. What is one of the most encouraging trends right now in SBC life?
The most encouraging trend in the SBC is a growing desire to make disciples, not merely to make converts. More and more Southern Baptists are emphasizing Christ’s command to deny oneself, pick up one’s cross, and follow Him (Matt. 16:24). Praise God that Southern Baptists are willing to hand their hearers a cross, “For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for” Christ’s sake will find it (Matt. 16:25)!
7. What is one of the most discouraging trends right now in the SBC?
One of the most discouraging trends is that we have a tendency to think that using “the proper method” or “the proper contextualization” will produce our desired results. Then, we are discouraged when we do not get our desired results. Of course, we should be examining our ministries, always looking for other avenues to share the gospel, seeking to be more effective in our gospel presentation, but Southern Baptists must always remember that we cannot raise the dead. We may equip every Southern Baptist with the finest training, the most effectual methodology, and the most Christ-like contextualization, and still decline in baptisms and membership. Another Voice must be heard along with our voices. We must pray, preach and teach until our hearers hear His voice. In the words of Charles Spurgeon, “Look, Sir, you may study your sermon. You may examine the original of your text. You may critically follow it out in all its bearings. You may go and preach it with great correctness of expression, but you cannot quicken a soul by that sermon! You may go up into your pulpit. You may illustrate, explain and enforce the Truth of God with mighty rhetoric. You may charm your hearers—you may hold them spellbound—but no eloquence of yours can raise the dead . . . Another voice than ours must be heard! Another power than that of thought or persuasion must be brought into the work or it will not be done” (“Come from the Four Winds, O Breath!”)!
8. How can the SBC better engage and keep younger leaders?
The best way to engage and keep young leaders is to show them the worth of the Cooperative Program and her ministries. Also, we must involve young leaders in the decision-making processes of the SBC. Having been set apart by Southern Baptist Churches as leaders in pastoral ministry, young leaders are qualified to serve in SBC leadership as well. Let’s involve them more.
9. What one admonition would you give to younger SBCers about something that needs to change with them?
As a young leader, I want to share what I’ve learned from leaders who have come before me. Young leaders, we cannot reach the world more effectively and efficiently with the gospel on our own. We need to keep the “meat” and spit out the “bones” of those who came before us. The Cooperative Program is “meat” not “bones.” The Cooperative Program is still the best avenue through which to give in order to train pastors and missionaries for the sake of reaching the world with the gospel. If we try to create something similar to the Cooperative Program, It will take us many generations, and our “new missions endeavor” will be susceptible to the same weaknesses we may currently see in the Cooperative Program or her ministries. In other words, instead of spending many generations building something new that is susceptible to error too, let’s get involved in the local, state, and national conventions now for the sake of correcting the weaknesses we may see in the Cooperative Program or her ministries, and for the sake of learning from those who are currently laboring. What if the Cooperative Program and her ministries are capable of being all that we want them to be in our generation and in the generations to come, if we’ll come alongside of and sweat and bleed with other Southern Baptists today?
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?
If church leaders in the states disagree with their conventions’ decisions, then they need to take their concerns to their DOM’s, State leaders, and State conventions. They need to nominate and elect state Presidents to help address their concerns.
Concerning younger Southern Baptists, we must be patient and consistent. We must understand that correcting whatever issues we see takes time. Plus, we need to hear the wisdom and reasoning of those who came before and those who are currently serving. The question is not, “Is the SBC everything we want it to be today?” The question is, “Are we willing to labor, sweat, and bleed with other Southern Baptists today so that the SBC can be all that we want it to be tomorrow?” Are you willing?