Anaheim awaits Southern Baptists as we prepare for our annual meeting. The setting will be sunny southern California. As we all know, this is not our typical meeting place for Southern Baptists.
Yet for our brothers and sisters in the western states, meeting in Anaheim makes an important statement about their ministry where Southern Baptists are in a distinct minority. This can be an encouragement to them as we gather.
What kind of attitude should we have as we look toward this annual meeting? We all know that our beloved SBC faces some unique challenges, and differences of opinion do exist among Southern Baptists concerning them.
As one solidly committed Southern Baptist, I would like to offer a simple but specific kind of attitude that I see as a good one for this historic meeting. I share this with the hope that our SBC family would be encouraged to have the healthiest attitude possible as we approach our family gathering.
We need passion for our shared mission.
We all have the same passion for the Great Commission. That is an important affirmation to make. Reaching people for Christ and helping them become growing disciples of Christ represents our mission. We are at our best when we unify around that passion for the Great Commission.
We need prudence for our family gathering.
To some, prudence may be a dusty word, but the concept is good. One online dictionary defines it as “skill and good judgment in the use of resources.” For the Christian, that only happens when we depend upon God and ask Him for wisdom.
Praying for daily wisdom is as important as thanking God for daily bread. In the midst of these most challenging times, we do need wisdom from God like never before.
Each day I pray for daily wisdom. My prayer lately has been that we have His wisdom for the SBC meeting. With His wisdom we will do the right things, the right way, with the right spirit. Without His wisdom, we will wander in the wilderness.
We need patience with each other.
In times of tension, patience seems to evaporate from the attitudes of people. My prayer is that we will be patient with each other, especially with those with whom we disagree.
This is one of the most difficult tests we face as Southern Baptists. In a culture which seems to denigrate those with whom we have disagreements, we can set a much better example.
If we have agape love for one another, we can be patient with each other. Our God has perfect patience. We can draw from the inexhaustible well of His patience.
We need to have persistence in prayer.
Sometimes I think if we spent as much time in prayer as we do differing with each other, we could make a much bigger and better impact upon the world. Prayer gives us perspective. Without prayer, we lose perspective.
Please do not misunderstand me. I do know that we have some serious issues to consider. We can and should have our convictions and opinions about those matters, but my simple plea is to remember our passion for the Great Commission.
Furthermore, remember our need for prudence or wisdom from God. Pause and reflect how we can have patience with each other and, as always, exercise persistence in prayer for our SBC family gathering.
Call me simpleminded or idealistic, but on my best days I think we can come together and handle our business in such a way that honors our Lord and advances the Kingdom.
I believe Southern Baptists are resilient people. I feel certain we can come out of this period in our history with a renewed sense of being on mission with the Great Commission.
I hope to see you in Anaheim. I want to fellowship with you. I desire to help Southern Baptists see better days in the future, and I know you do as well.