Hello, BRN Family! It is good to be with you today!
I wanted to take a moment to share a word with you before next week’s annual gathering of Southern Baptists in Nashville, Tennessee.
There has been a lot of hype in social media leading up to this meeting. The world is watching to see how the largest group of evangelicals in the world will conduct themselves as they conduct business over these two days in Nashville. The enemy is already encouraging people to take sides and divide themselves. I believe his specific tactic is the spirit of separation – no different than the separation he stirred up between God and man in the Garden of Eden.
What can we do to spoil this tactic of our enemy?
The greatest thing we can do is PRAY. Pray fervently for Southern Baptists to be united like never before during next week’s meeting. If the SBC goes backwards as a convention of churches next week, it will be a huge setback globally to the work of the Kingdom. The SBC isn’t perfect, but is the largest evangelical group of churches at this time doing missions and evangelism all around the world. No other group in my opinion does collectively what the SBC does in impacting the world for Jesus Christ. This is one of the reasons I am a Southern Baptist. The other reason: we believe unapologetically and without hesitation, that the Bible is inerrant and infallible Word of God.
As you’ve perused and listened to social media in recent days, you already know that many have drawn their opinions and decided what they will or will not do in the future as it relates to being a Southern Baptist. As I cannot speak to, or give an account to, every issue and conversation about what goes on in SBC life, I can speak to, and give an account for, what we will do as Southern Baptists in Pennsylvania and South Jersey.
At the conclusion of next week’s SBC meeting there are some things that I know that will not change as it relates to the work of southern Baptists in PA/SJ. No matter what happens, the Baptist Resource Network we will remain true to the work of helping our churches reach the14 million lost people within our two-state region with the gospel of Jesus Christ.
The BRN will remain faithful in upholding and applying the truth of Scripture, striving to look more and more like Christ. My heart is that we Baptists in PA/SJ will display Christ in our character and conduct, meaning that when people see our churches they see a people that resemble Christ, a people 100% full of His grace and His truth.
The BRN will remain faithful to living out our values of being Gospel-driven, unified in our diversity, innovative, inspiring, and faithful in everything we do for the cause of Christ. We will be a people who do not let culture shape us, but a people who help shape the culture with the gospel of Jesus Christ. We will be faithful in upholding the truths of God’s Word. We will be the voice of justice for any injustice within our context. We will not waver or back down, we will let biblical values shape our lives and let the testimony of living these values be the declarations of our beliefs. We will not shrink from pressure from culture to conform to the world, but rather be transformed into the image of Jesus Christ.
Above all, the churches within the BRN WILL remain united. We will stay united because our choice will be to reflect the prayer of Jesus in the garden on the night He was betrayed. Jesus said these words: “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one—I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.”
I don’t know what will happen in Nashville next week, but what I do know is that our vision and mission will not discontinue in PA/SJ. We will accelerate forward to give 14 million lost people the best opportunity to hear and embrace the good news of Jesus Christ. This is the reason we exist, this is our time, this is our call, and this is our mission. Let’s pray for that we stay united for this worthy cause, let’s be a BRN United to see the Kingdom accelerate all across PA/SJ.
Thanks for listening in today. God bless you!