The Orlando meeting of Southern Baptists is now history, and it made history in numerous ways. Affirming the task force report was of course the most noteworthy action taken by convention messengers. Months before the convention, there was a huge buildup of momentum toward receiving this report with vigorous debate but in the end a resounding approval. Although I have never tried to be a predictor of events, this vote was pretty close to what I anticipated.
When I talked to several of the task force members, they of course seemed joyfully relieved with the acceptance of the report by the messengers at the SBC. They also could not say exactly how this vision for change would be implemented in the future. They viewed their task as casting the vision and then the various boards have now been given the rather daunting challenge of implementation of the recommendations.
As we approach this period of implementation, I am calling on all involved to pray for A Great Commandment Renewal in Southern Baptist life. “Love one another” is what Jesus said to His disciples of old. I left the convention hall Wednesday night convinced that our Lord is challenging us to live by the Great Commandment as we seek to fulfill the Great Commission. Without love and respect for each other as partners, we can lose focus on the mission of the Great Commission. To be truthful: It’s vital that Christ-exemplified love be personified in each of us in the days to come, else we will spend more time accusing each other of not being “Great Commission enough” to be realistically effective.
In that spirit, I pledge to pray for our new SBC president, Bryant Wright. I’ve never met him personally, but I look forward to doing so in the near future. Additionally, I am truly remembering Frank Page in prayer as he assumes the helm of leadership at the SBC Executive Committee. Furthermore, I will be in continual prayer for the search teams at IMB and NAMB. Now more than ever, we need godly leaders of vision and discernment — men who have a sense of what partnership in Baptist life really means.
I am going to renew my efforts to speak “the truth in love,” which was Paul’s application of the Great Commandment in personal relationships. As I have said earlier, I will do my best not to let disagreements define our relationships. I am praying that The Great Commandment Renewal will begin in me!