While this will not even come close to being a comprehensive review of the GBC Annual Meeting or the state of the Georgia Baptist Convention as a whole, I thought I would share a few thoughts about our recent meeting. We just hosted the GBC Annual Meeting at the church where I pastor. While it is indeed a daunting task, I believe things went pretty well. Here are a few thoughts that popped into my head while attending this meeting.
1. We need humility. Can I make an honest and loving assessment? Far too often these meetings are more about “politics” than the things that matter most. Sometimes pastors are passing around resumés or jockeying for position within the convention. Most of the pastors who have attended the Southern Baptist Convention or their state conventions will admit this fact. I can’t wait for the day when we are simply united by the main things that bring us together, on fire to reach the world for Christ.
2. We need clarity. While I appreciate the Five Smooth Stones vision for the GBC, I don’t know if the message of this vision is getting to the heart of the people. I’m new (again) to the GBC. So I don’t want to make assumptions or draw conclusions about things I don’t know. But as a pastor, here’s something I do know. When you do too many things, you don’t do many things too well. I think we need to sharpen our focus. It seems that we may be spread too thin.
3. We need unity. It was a blessing to see that two groups who were on different sides of the aisle last year come together in unity. But from what I can tell, there’s much more of this that needs to happen. My hope is, we can unite on the main things. The essentials. The fundamental tenets of our faith. These are the things that matter. But let’s show great love and liberty when it comes to methods, styles, and different expressions of the same beliefs. I believe God has all kinds of different churches because He wants to reach all kinds of different people. I look forward to the day when “contemporary” or “traditional” is not something that defines or divides us.
I don’t claim to be an expert on all things GBC. In fact, I don’t claim to be an expert on anything GBC. But I hope that we can move together in unity, expressing humility, following a vision that’s delivered with clarity. In the end I firmly believe that the local church can change the world through the power of the gospel. I pray we will!