By: Marcus DeWare (pseudonym of a Guest Blogger who is a missionary in a high-security area)
I recently returned from an annual meeting of IMB colleagues. Serving on the field sometimes requires families and individuals to be isolated from co-workers. This annual meeting is a great time to congregate with co-laborers to worship God, encourage one another in our work, console those who are hurting, and to hear how our Master is moving among the various people groups we are targeting with the gospel.
On July 1, the IMB implemented a global restructuring and the changes will continue for several more months. The motif of change reverberated throughout our whole meeting. We have a new catalog of acronyms (and for anyone who has spent time with people from the Board, you know our company acronyms can be dizzying). We have a new leadership structure. We have new team groupings. The unreached people groups we are passionate about targeting are the heart of this re-organization. These changes hope to facilitate front-line workers to be freed up and better equipped in their task. These changes were more difficult for some than others.
I observed that the people who are affected most by these changes are the ones that are the most removed from front-line positions of evangelism and church planting. Most people I talked to at our meeting who are front-line personnel do not feel like their assignment or task has changed at all. The people who are experiencing the most change and uneasiness are those serving in support positions and administrative roles. Most everyone in our company does not like change, but we all embrace changes that will make us more useful for the sake of Jesus’ fame among the nations.
The changes we are experiencing as the missions agency of the SBC can help inform the changes the SBC may experience in the near future as a result of the Great Commission Resurgence Task Force. I was one of the first people to sign the declaration. I love our convention and am grateful to God for the opportunities to be discipled in an SBC church, trained for gospel ministry in an SBC seminary, and sent out to the global harvest through our SBC missions agency. I am expectantly looking forward to how the structure and arrangement of the SBC will be changing in the future so that all Southern Baptists may impact the globe for Jesus’ fame. Several observations from our recent annual meeting are useful the SBC in the coming months and years.
I am praying for the SBC and the GCR Task Force. I pray that through any changes the SBC may adopt that the convention will be more suited to do the work the gospel demands of us all as Southern Baptists. Change is inevitable. We can either impact the change or be impacted by it. Through proactive steps and the visionary leadership of godly men and women in our denomination I believe the SBC still can look to great days ahead for the purpose of reaching the nations. We exist as a cooperation of autonomous churches because of the gospel; we ought to maintain that gospel-centeredness through the changes and to the next generations.
Directions to the B21 Panel: (from the Kentucky Exposition Center to Sojourn Community Church)
•1. STARTING AT The Kentucky Fair & Exposition Center 937 Phillips Ln, Louisville, KY 40209 – (502) 367-5000
•2. Head northeast on Phillips Ln toward Freedom Way – About 1 min (0.6 mi)
•3. Turn left at KY-61/Preston Hwy, Continue to follow KY-61 – About 4 mins (1.6 mi)
•4. Continue on S Shelby St – About 2 mins (0.9 mi)
•5. Turn right at Goss Ave/KY-864 (466 ft)
•6. Turn left at KY-864/Logan St – About 1 min (0.2 mi)
•7. Turn right at E Oak St (0.1 mi)
•8. Turn left at Swan St (377 ft)
•9. Turn left at Mary St – Destination will be on the left (394 ft)
•10. END AT 930 Mary St, Louisville, KY 40204
We will explore simplified directions (and will post them if we find them), but unless notified these directions are the best way to Sojourn.
Availability Left: Seating for this event is limited and the remaining available seats are being filled up quickly. Only the first 450 signed up will receive the books being made available.
Information about the Panel:
What: B21@SBC “b21 Panel“ - A forum discussion about the present and future of the SBC. Each panel member will briefly address a key issue in SBC life, and this will be immediately followed by Question/Answer time. Topics will include: the benefits of cooperation, the great things the SBC is doing, changes the SBC needs, how we involve younger leaders, how we can move forward, and others.
When: June 23rd 11:45 am – 1:45 pm (during a break at this year’s Southern Baptist Convention in Louisville). Lunch will be provided and paid for by Dr. Johnny Hunt. Each attendee will receive several books donated by the B21 Panel presenters.
Where: Sojourn Community Church, 930 Mary St. Louisville, KY 40204 (about 5 minutes from where the convention will be held)
Who: Daniel Akin from SEBTS, Mark Dever of Capital Hill Baptist and 9 Marks, Albert Mohler from SBTS, Daniel Montgomery of Sojourn, David Platt of the Church at Brookhills, Ed Stetzer from Lifeway, and the Baptist 21 guys.
Why: Many in the SBC see a great need for directional change, but are also very excited about the things that the SBC does well. This event will celebrate what we are doing well and discuss possible areas of change for greater SBC effectiveness in the 21st century.
Danny Akin Promo Video for the b21 Panel:
In this video Dr. Akin discusses the SBC and the GCR, the critical nature of the present time for the SBC, honoring the SBC past while forging forward, what being Baptist in the 21st century will look like, and the baptist21 panel. Check out this video and help us promote this event.
In Part One, Dr. Nelson addressed why he is a Southern Baptist, why he believes in a “good ecumenism,” why he is committed to being Baptist, that a major problem in the SBC is that we do not agree on the gospel, his understanding of the gospel, the necessity of theological triage, and why he thinks we need to examine restructuring our convention.
In part two he addresses more topics concerning Southern Baptists. The questions asked are printed below. You will want to hear his answer to the final question, as he addresses NAMB, state convention giving on to the national convention, churches giving straight to Nashville counting as CP givers, and the ERLC.
Dr. Nelson Interview (pt. 2)
One of the goals of baptist21 and one of the contributing factors to its formation was the hope to encourage more activity and participation from younger SBC’ers. It was and is our hope to compel more of the younger generation to stay in the SBC as well as persuade others to join. Our Purpose statement says, “We pray that this vision will be compelling to younger Baptists who have left or are contemplating leaving the SBC, and that Baptists of all ages will continue to cooperate together in the cause of the Gospel. We believe the Gospel is relevant to every man and woman in every culture, as it calls all to repentance of sin and faith in Jesus. Our goal is to bring the gospel to bear on contemporary issues in the church and the world. This will mean engaging culture, using culture, rebuking culture and redeeming culture.”
We believe that the upcoming Convention in Louisville is vital for the vision baptist21 has for the future of the SBC. Part of that vision is that we want more young guys to stay in the convention, so we want them to attend the annual meeting. More than that, we want them to be active in the convention and participate in the annual meeting. The reason we want this is not in anyway for the name of the SBC, but rather for cooperation in the Great Commission. We believe in the SBC, and operate b21, because we still see this convention as possessing best the tools to do Great Commission work. We still believe the SBC is the place to show how the “gospel IS relevant to every man and woman in every culture, as it calls all to repentance of sin and faith in Jesus.” This upcoming Southern Baptist Convention could be vital towards that end, as we see much activity from the “Great Commission Resurgence.” This convention in Louisville in many ways could shape the future of Southern Baptists, and so we want young guys to have their voice heard. SO WE CALL ON ALL YOUNG SBC’ers TO COME TO LOUISVILLE!
So why should young SBC’ers (and really all SBC’ers, younger just happens to be our peer group) come to the Southern Baptist Convention?
1. A good lineup of speakers- This year’s convention promises a great line up of preachers and speakers, and many are from the younger crowd or will address issues that are important to younger SBC’ers. The Pastor’s Conference features JD Greear, Ed Stetzer, Francis Chan, Alvin Reid, Johnny Hunt, and David Platt. The Convention itself will be featuring Great Commission Lectures from David Platt, Danny Akin, Jeff Crook, and Vance Pitman (a young planter in Las Vegas). In addition, Johnny Hunt’s Presidential address promises to deal with some of the major concerns of the SBC. Those who decided this year’s speaking lineup did so with us in mind. This lineup, perhaps more than times past, is very compelling to the younger crowd. So please make it a priority to attend.
2. The extra events outside the official Convention time- In addition to the great lineup of speakers at the SBC, there are several events of great interest, again especially to a younger audience. These events include some of our favorite thinkers and speakers.
a. First, there is 9Marks@9. This event features Mark Dever speaking on “Why the Nine Marks are Central to the Future of the SBC” (Monday@9pm) and Danny Akin speaking on “The SBC: Where We are and Where We’re Going” (Tuesday@9pm). Monday night will also feature a panel discussion with Mark Dever, David Platt, and Greg Gilbert, and Tuesday night will feature a panel discussion with Mark Dever, Michael McKinley, and Josh Smith.
b. Second, there is the Founders Breakfast (Tuesday@6:30am). This event features Danny Akin speaking on “”Creeds, Deeds and the Great Commission.”
c. Third, there is our b21 panel. This event features Ed Stetzer, David Platt, Albert Mohler, Daniel Montgomery, Danny Akin, and Mark Dever. They will be speaking and answering questions on a variety of topics, such as: The Future of the SBC, The GCR, The Primacy of the Local Church, What the SBC does well, and What needs to change.
So there is plenty being done around the convention to offer worthy events. We believe these events are important and will speak to our future and the future of the SBC.
3. A Chance to network with likeminded brothers- The Southern Baptist Convention is a place to meet fellow laborers for the Lord Jesus Christ. Especially with the events outside the convention time mentioned above, it will be a time to meet like-minded brothers who could be an encouragement to you and your ministry. We believe that cooperation is a good thing, and increasingly cooperation is not bound by geographical lines. B21 is an example of that. The SBC in June could be a time of meeting pastors that you could partner with and encourage for greater Kingdom effectiveness.
4. It is time we get involved- We, the younger generation, should not have a seat “at the table of the SBC” if we will not get involved. “Getting involved” means attending these meetings, on the state and national level. It does little good for us to criticize state conventions for keeping too many CP dollars in state if we will not show up and vote. It will do little good for us to call for a GCR and not show up and vote for GCR related motions and resolutions at the national convention. The reasons you should be involved are numerous. We have mentioned those in our blog “Y We R and Y We Think U Should B SBC.” But quickly lets look at why. If you want to have a say in how we do missions, church planting, theological education, and mercy ministries, then you need to show up and vote. If you think we should reallocate our monies in other ways to be more effective, you need to show up and let your voice be heard. In addition, another reason Pastors should get involved at the state and national level is that they are called to be stewards before God of the resources they send on to state and national conventions. In fact, this is becoming one of the major areas of concern raised to b21 as to why many pastors are in favor of examining restructuring, especially at the state level. But, if you are unhappy with how your resources are being spent as they are sent on to the state and national level, then show up and vote. If it is worth being involved and we want our voices to be heard then we need to play a part.
5. There are potential decisions this year that will affect your future in the SBC- I believe that this year is a pivotal year in the life of the SBC. Many have sounded this alarm. In particular, for those that we are trying to write to, this convention is important. We have made it no secret that one of our aims is greater involvement of younger pastors. We know there are many frustrations with the SBC from some of the younger crowd (again I mention the younger crowd because it is our peer audience, we know there are plenty older than us that have frustrations with the SBC), but we believe that the Great Commission Resurgence is trying to answer some of these frustrations. It is true that many younger SBC’ers are frustrated with the bureaucracies and with what they perceive is ineffective use of resources. In addition, they are frustrated with many of our church planting mechanisms. We at b21 believe in the GCR and believe that is trying to address these frustrations. That is why we think that it is vital to the future of the SBC and the GCR that you show up at this year’s convention and support it. If you think the SBC has great potential for missions, church planting, and theological education and you want to be a part of it, but want change, show up and support the GCR and encourage as many as you can to do so as well. I am afraid that if we get to the precipice of change (as the GCR is advocating we study) and back off, we will see a mass exodus from the convention and I do not want to see that. If things come up from the convention floor that pertains to these topics, especially the GCR, be there and vote. I hope you will call on your spheres of influence, because I believe that we are at a turning point and if we push “pause”, it will be damaging to the future of the SBC, especially in terms of sending missionaries to the unreached places of the World (which is already happening) and planting churches in the Urban Centers of America. We at b21 love the SBC. It is the mechanism that we want to be a part of for future kingdom effectiveness, and we believe its vitality in a very real way will be addressed in June in Louisville. So we hope that Young (and older) will be heard and come out in force for the GCR and the future of the SBC. We pray that your involvement will mean that the SBC lives up to the goal of our Forefathers, “combining and directing the energies of the whole denomination in one sacred effort, for the propagation of the Gospel.”
What: B21@SBC “b21 Panel” - A forum discussion about the present and future of the SBC. Each panel member will briefly address a key issue in SBC life, and this will be immediately followed by Question/Answer time. Topics will include: the benefits of cooperation, the great things the SBC is doing, changes the SBC needs, how we involve younger leaders, how we can move forward, and others.
When: June 23rd 11:45 am – 1:45 pm (during a break at this year’s Southern Baptist Convention in Louisville). The time was changed due to the President’s Address at 11:00 am. Lunch will be provided and paid for by Dr. Johnny Hunt. Each attender will receive a couple of books donated by the B21 Panel presenters.
Where: Sojourn Community Church, 930 Mary St. Louisville, KY 40204 (about 5 minutes from where the convention will be held)
Who: Ed Stetzer from Lifeway, Daniel Akin from SEBTS, and Daniel Montgomery of Sojourn, Dr. Albert Mohler from SBTS, Dr. Mark Dever of Capital Hill Baptist and 9 Marks, and Dr. David Platt of the Church at Brookhills. The Baptist 21 guys will be moderating the event.
Why: Many in the SBC see a great need for a directional change, but are also very excited about the things that the SBC does well. This event will celebrate what we are doing well and discuss possible areas of change.
About this Promo video from Al Mohler: Dr. Mohler briefly touches on some of the subjects that will be covered at the panel forum.
Specifically he addresses:
1. Why the Southern Baptist Convention is worth being a part of?
2. Why he is a Southern Baptist?
3. If he were King of the SBC for a day, what would he change?
4. Why should one take time to come to the b21 Panel?
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