Enjoy The Journey

Shouldn’t I Be More Grateful?

My first job in ministry was when I was a college student at Valdosta State University – I was given the opportunity to serve as a seminar leader at a camp called “Super WOW” with the Georgia Baptist Convention. This was a great experience and it set the tone for the years to come. While in college I was highly involved with the Baptist Student Union – this is where I met my wife, forged life long friendships, grew in my relationship with Christ, discipled and was ultimately “called” into ministry. Later I worked with the Centrifuge camps – also Southern Baptist, served with the North American Mission Board, attended (and still attend) a Southern Baptist Seminary (New Orleans), started a Baptist Collegiate Ministry and now two churches that have baptist affiliation. I’m not writing this to give you my resume, but to reflect on a burning question: “Why I am not totally committed to Baptists?”

For many who read this blog the mere word baptist makes you head for the hills – including those I pastor, but the reality is that no matter how many scars Baptists have – they have a tradition that is steeped in evangelism, church planting, doctrine and Biblically based teaching. But still – sometimes I hit myself for feeling “icky” when it comes to the baptist way of doing things. The truth is I’m embarrassed of what sometimes does or does not happen in the baptist world. This is not a blog dedicated to the tearing down of all that is baptist – it is just a reflection on my on journey and I’ve come to this conclusion: I probably should be more grateful.

No matter how you twist it baptists have been investing in me and my ministry my entire life – and although I don’t agree with everything that is is baptist – I am one. Today I had the opportunity to sit with a bunch of guys much smarter than me at the Georgia Baptist Convention and talk about what it is going to take for Georgia Baptists to plant effective churches. I left there with no answers – in fact I may be even a little more discouraged because it is a huge mountain that must be climbed, but I’m invested. What is encouraging is this: they are listening – finally – they are listening. The image problem that Baptist have toward those in my generation is not going to fix itself overnight (that was obvious as I walked out of the 48 million dollar Georgia Baptist Building) and the relationships between older and younger baptists aren’t going to be forged next week – but the fact that our newer churches are being heard – is awesome.

I don’t know if this meeting will make a difference or not – but I haven’t given up on the idea that 15 million people from churches all around America working together to resource, educate, serve and minister can be and is one of the most effective tools today to share Christ. I’m praying for a new day in the life of Baptists – a day when we can throw off a corporate imagine and put on the imagine of Christ – the suffering servant.

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