Hunt: Recommendations will take ‘yawn’ out of SBC
    June 16 2010 by Drew Nichter, Western Recorder

    ORLANDO, Fla. — Just as Caleb and Joshua delivered a “bold report” to the Israelites about the Promised Land, so has the Great Commission Resurgence task force relayed a “compelling vision” to the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), President Johnny Hunt told messengers.

    Delivering his final address to the convention as its president, Hunt said this year’s annual meeting in Orlando, Fla., finds the SBC at a crossroads.

    “Many are saying this could be a history-making convention,” the pastor of First Baptist Church of Woodstock, Ga., told messengers. “God could use some of the things we do here … to embolden Southern Baptists to their greatest days.”

    BP photo by Matt Miller

    Johnny Hunt, president of the Southern Baptist Convention, gives the president’s address June 15 during the opening session of the annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention June 15-16 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Fla.

    Referring to Joshua 14, Hunt compared the report of the Great Commission Resurgence task force, which later was adopted by messengers, to the “bold report” Caleb and Joshua brought back to the Israelites after spying out the land of Canaan.

    Twelve spies were sent to assess the land promised to them by the Lord; 10 of them brought back “bad reports,” Hunt said. Joshua and Caleb saw things differently. 

    “Ten of the spies magnified the problems, spent lots of time reviewing the past and, in the process, missed God,” he said.

    Caleb and Joshua, however, “magnified the power of God, made so much of the promises of God and desired to lead the people to a brighter future,” Hunt added.

    After the Israelites rebelled against Joshua and Caleb’s report, the tribe would not inherit the land the Lord had promised them for another 45 years, Hunt reminded messengers.

    Saying the spirit of the task force report mirrors that of Caleb’s, Hunt called the group’s “Penetrating the Lostness” document a “compelling vision” for the denomination — “something that will take the yawn out of Southern Baptist rhetoric.”

    “I’m tired of yawning. I’m tired of having my membership in a convention that’s declining,” Hunt declared.

    And decline is the No. 1 concern. According to the SBC’s Annual Church Profile report released last month, Southern Baptist church membership dipped 0.42 percent in 2009. Most SBC leaders agree the primary reason is the aging of the denomination, and only an infusion of young leadership will stave off a continued slide.

    “Look around,” he said. “We’re aging. We’re balding. We don’t have 45 years. … We’re here to make decisions that will affect what type of convention we offer to the young ones that are coming behind us.”

    Hunt, well known for his mentorship of young evangelical leaders through his Timothy + Barnabas Ministry, said he is being challenged by the up-and-coming generation of church leaders.

    But they will not lead the convention into the future without the help of those who have come before them, Hunt stressed.

    “I’d like to be a blessing to the ones that went before me that made such an investment in me,” he said. “But I want to grab the young group behind me … and rally them to our greatest days in Southern Baptist life.”

    Pointing out Joshua was 100 years old and Caleb was 85 when he took the land of Hebron from the Anakites, Hunt said older pastors should not yet concede their ministries. “If you’re still breathing, it is still your day,” he noted.

    “Caleb and Joshua were senior-adult saints that left spiritual wealth to those behind them,” Hunt pointed out.

    While many details still are to be ironed out now that the Great Commission Resurgence report is approved, Hunt said he is convinced it will renew Southern Baptists’ hearts for fulfilling God’s utmost commandment.

    “The future of the Southern Baptist Convention will not rest on a single vote alone,” he said. “But who can calculate what it will mean as a waiting world and a rising generation watch to see if we’re serious about emboldened Great Commission faithfulness in the future.”
    6/16/2010 10:23:00 AM by Drew Nichter, Western Recorder | with 0 comments

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