I believe in a decision of rededication of one’s life to Christ. I have preached that conviction throughout my pastoral ministry.
Several times in public worship services, I have publicly rededicated my life to Christ.
Recently, while on a missions trip to various places in Europe, I had another such experience. It was a quiet, personal moment with the Lord, and it has brought me to a fresh understanding of what my life for Christ should be.
I believe I need to share some of reflections related to that commitment to Christ. Since I have pledged my life anew to Him, I want to share my pledge to you my Alabama Baptist and Southern Baptist family.
From a personal perspective, I want you to know that I am even more committed to the One Mission, The Great Commission we have as followers of Christ.
I know you have heard me use that phrase frequently through the years, but please know that I am indeed passionate about being a Great Commission Christian. I want to help Alabama Baptists be all we need to be and do all we need to do in order to become more effective as Great Commission people.
In that spirit, I pledge to you to pray more earnestly for our churches and for our missionaries in Alabama and around the world.
I want you to know that I need your prayers too. I depend upon them. I am in this with you, and we have to lift each other up to the Father.
Furthermore, Pam and I have decided to give our largest gift to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering than we have ever contributed. I would respectfully ask you to do the same. Our International Mission Board will utilize those funds on the mission fields in a global way. Let’s endeavor to reach our all-time highest goal as Alabama Baptists and Southern Baptists.
From a missional perspective, I want to help our churches as much as I can to be One Mission or Great Commission people. Alabama is a state populated with individuals who do not know Jesus Christ as Lord. I am praying that the 3,250 plus churches in our state will rededicate themselves to evangelism and discipleship in all of our communities. We can regain the momentum needed to reach people for Christ.
One day soon, I would love to see our baptisms rise above the 25,000 mark again. I believe it can be done for God’s glory.
Beyond Alabama, we are sending more than $20 million to IMB through CP and Lottie Moon. We give more than $10 million to NAMB through CP and Annie Armstrong. I pray for a day when those numbers will appear small by comparison of what we do in the future.
From a financial perspective, I want to see us grow our CP budgets in a healthy way for the future. I have 2020 on my mind. Before or by 2020, I would like to see us at a point of parity with the SBC related to Alabama Baptist ministries and Southern Baptist ministries.
For the 2016 budget, your SBOM is recommending 53 percent for Alabama ministries and 47 percent for SBC ministries. This 47 percent does include approximately 2 percent for SBC GuideStone. This is the retirement and protection amount that supports ministers and other church employees as they labor for the Lord. The 53 percent includes all of our entities and the State Board of Missions.
This is my pledge to you! As I said to our board of trustees in August, I am prepared to recommend that all increases in our budget be given to SBC ministries until we are at this point of parity. That means we could potentially arrive at our goal before 2020.
This rededication of my life is something I take seriously. My pledge to you from a personal perspective, from a missional perspective and from a financial perspective is rock solid in my mind and in my heart.
So now you know something of my burden and desire.
As we gather at our convention, let us celebrate what God has done in the past, and then let us anticipate what our God will do in the future.