I’m regularly asked by younger ministers, seminary students and prospective members of our church, “Why would a church want to be a part of a denomination?” [Read more…] about Why Do We Partner?- Reflections from Phoenix
Last year in St. Louis I had the privilege of serving the convention as the second vice-president. That opportunity opened my eyes in a fresh way to how the convention operates and to the importance of the work that happens each year when the messengers of the Convention gather for prayer, worship, and work. This year in Phoenix I was able to take some of those insights and participate more fully in the experience we call the annual meeting. Here are three of the highlights for me from this year’s convention.
1) The International Mission Board Commissioning Service. This is always a highlight for me, but for some reason, it was even more powerful this year. After all of the discussions, blogs, and tweets about who we are as a convention that have happened over the past year I was reminded that this is what we do best as a convention. We gather our funds together in the Cooperative Program for the purpose of doing more together than we can alone and there is no place where that is more observable and important than in the sending of missionaries. My church is a reasonably large church compared to others in our convention, but we could not have sent a single one of these couples to the field by ourselves, yet together the churches of the SBC sent out our best and boldest to the darkest regions of the world for the sake of the gospel. To me this is what it is all about.
2) Seeing the messengers refuse to let an issue they cared deeply about go unresolved. As the father of three children who are adopted from another country and do not share the same ethnicity as I do, I was so glad to see that there were messengers in the convention who refused to let a resolution condemning the “alt right” (and the racism that they espouse) remain dormant. From social media to hallway conversations it was great to see the passion and energy given to revive this resolution. It was also great to know that our Committee on Resolutions was listening and was humble enough to bring back a resolution that was worthy of our consideration and approval. Racism has absolutely no place in the Kingdom of God and as Southern Baptists, we should say so strongly and frequently. It was also thrilling to see that not only did we say so, but we acted on this conviction by electing men of several ethnicities and races to positions of leadership at our pastor’s conference and to our convention leadership.
[Read more…] about Three Highlights from Phoenix
In this video, South CP Catalyst Matt Crawford tells the story of the sale of the Florida Baptist Convention Building and the proceeds forwarded to the Cooperative Program. Thank you, Florida Baptists! We are better together!
One of my first memories of missions was in March of 1978. I was only three years old, but my dad went with a short-term mission team from our church on a trip to Guatemala following a massive earthquake there. My dad was part of the second team from our church that went to help Guatemalans rebuild after that tragedy. The first team worked alongside our SBC Foreign Mission Board (now the IMB) missionaries to rebuild Damascus Baptist Church in Guatemala City. The second team (that my father was on) went to the village of Santo Domingo Xenaco outside Guatemala City to help rebuild homes for those who lost family members and homes in the earthquake. Following a hard day of construction, the team would gather for evening services, where they would worship and share the gospel with locals.
Obviously, being three years of age, I do not remember much about my dad being gone, nor do I remember much about the trip. What I do distinctly remember is what happened to him upon his return home and how it impacted our family and my life. Not long after his return my dad became very sick. We soon discovered that he had contracted an infectious form of Hepatitis A from the drinking water in Guatemala. Even as a young child I remember being extremely concerned over his health. It was scary to have your father home from a long trip and for him not to be able to get out of bed or for you to be able to spend time around him. As I reflect back on this years later, I am struck by the fact that I never heard my father complain about getting sick, nor have I ever heard him talk poorly about his mission trip experience. Perhaps the most amazing thing is that it never slowed him down from taking more trips. He is now 71 and is still actively engaged in international mission trips every year. [Read more…] about Contagious Missions
We are grateful for Dr. Gaines’ leadership in our convention. Here, he tells his own story of being blessed by the Cooperative Program. Thank you, Dr. Gaines!