I love our state conventions
    December 2 2014 by Alvin Reid, Guest Column

    A few weeks ago I took a couple of students with me to our state convention gathering in Greensboro to speak at a couple of breakouts on the Life on Mission: 3 Circles approach to gospel conversations. What great crowds and a great spirit we shared! I love this one because I get to see so many of my former students who faithfully serve across North Carolina. I’m so grateful for friends at the convention like Milton Hollifield, Brian Upshaw, Lynn Sasser and Marty Dupree who allow me to do what I love in service to them.
     
    Then, I flew to Oklahoma, taking another student with me, to speak at the annual student pastor forum for the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma. I’m grateful for Todd Sanders and his team there. After that, I will be in Columbus, Ohio, at a meeting with North American Mission Board leaders and evangelism leaders from all across the state conventions in the Southern Baptist Convention. Each year I have the joy of being with a dozen or so of our statewide network of churches to serve them in the gospel.
     
    This is a day of change and fluctuation. The gospel does not change, but our culture has. Many today struggle with how best to take the timeless gospel to our world in a timely way. And, we have questions about funding, declining baptisms, and other metrics that tend to be less than encouraging. We definitely need a God-intervention! At the same time, there is much for which we can thank God.
     
    I’m thankful for networks like state conventions that help churches who struggle, pastors who have been terminated, in church planting and evangelistic strategy, and in other ways. Our individualistic culture and our cynicism from sensory overload and over-hyping pretty much everything on social media can easily make us jaded and isolated. But the gospel calls us to do even more than love the lost and love our Lord; it calls us to love each other, and to encourage one another in the advancement of the gospel.
     
    I’m thankful for men of God who genuinely love the gospel and people who are in positions of strategic influence in state conventions. I was a state evangelism director back in the day; I know how easily one can become entitled with a position. But I have so many friends whose passion is gospel advance and who use their role in their states for that.
     
    Our network of churches is far from perfect, and our structures need consistent evaluation. We are a broken people, but we are the children of God called to be on mission for God. And we will fulfill that mission much better striving for unity in the gospel over pushing dissension over non-essentials. Our convention president Ronnie Floyd just produced a wonderful little eBook calling us to revival and to fervent prayer for the fulfillment of the great commission. If you have not read it, please do so. He calls us, using the nomenclature of Jonathan Edwards, to “visible union.” I believe that in the face of a Christ-less world like ours, what we can do together for the gospel matters more than our personal preferences. If you are a Southern Baptist, perhaps you could take time each week to pray for your state convention, and for particular leaders, and take time occasionally to let them know you love them and pray for them.
     
    Perhaps we will have to get to a level of persecution unknown to us previously to bring us together; my hope is our love for Christ and His church will be motivation enough.
     
    (EDITOR’S NOTE – This article originally appeared at alvinreid.com. Download Floyd’s eBook at pray4awakening.com.)

    12/2/2014 12:00:43 PM by Alvin Reid, Guest Column | with 0 comments
    Filed under: annual meetings, gratitude, Southern Baptist Conventions




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