Archive for May, 2014
When a national secular publication as prominent as The Atlantic publishes an article entitled, “Baptists, Just Without the Baptisms,” Baptists should stand up and take notice! If there is one thing we do not want to be known for, it is that we are not reaching people with the gospel of Jesus Christ effectively. Additionally, we do not want to be known for not reaching the next generation.
Actions We Should Consider Taking Immediately:
1. Each pastor and church leader should share “Pastors’ Task Force on SBC Evangelistic Impact & Declining Baptisms,” released last week, with their entire church leadership and perhaps their entire church.
Last week, I wrote a response to this report that may encourage you on how we are responding as a church. I believe we need to educate our lay people to these matters, and they will rise up with us to take the needed actions. They can join you not only in strategic thinking, but prayerful intercession.
As Great Commission Christians, we must own the Great Commission personally. We cannot blame others or make excuses. It comes down to each of us owning it and wearing it daily. Evangelizing, baptizing, and discipling must be escalated.
3. Prioritize the conversation in your church.
There is a lot of noise in our churches. It is hard to get the attention of our people. The world is not just noisy, but mobile. The growing infrequency of church attendance adds to this challenge. Yet, somehow, some way, we must prioritize the conversation of reaching lost people with the gospel of Jesus Christ. I can assure you, in our church, the more prioritized the conversation is with our team and leaders, the more people we see come to Christ. Acts 1:8 and Matthew 28:19-20 is not an option; it is the Lord’s command to us. Therefore, it is our priority!
How can we live with 60% of our churches not reaching and baptizing at least one teenager? How can we live with 80% of our churches reaching zero to just one adult from the ages of 18-29? In reality, we cannot do a whole lot about other churches, but we can address our own church. Perhaps if we are realizing some success in reaching the next generation, it will encourage other churches to do so as well. Quite honestly, we must return to the Lord and the Gospel of Jesus Christ, believing and realizing that He and His message can transform lives, even the lives of teenagers and young adults. The gospel is the power of God to salvation to everyone who believes!
We can make all kinds of changes relating to reaching people. We can try lots of things to attempt to be more effective. Don’t get me wrong, there are times strategies and even leadership needs to change. However, let’s get real: Above all, we need to see God bring the next Great Awakening! Therefore, we need to pray like never before; meaning, we need to pray extraordinarily. Let’s join together in practicing and believing in extraordinary prayer. No great movement of God ever occurs unless it is preceded by the extraordinary prayer of God’s people.
Perhaps when we take some of these actions, we will become known again as being “Baptists With the Baptisms!”
Yours for the Great Commission,
Ronnie W. Floyd
Isaiah 42 is a prophetic chapter about Jesus Christ, the Messiah. Even though ultimately about Jesus, it does share some powerful truths for any leader. God can teach us more about leadership than anyone else and He knows all about the future! Isaiah 42:16 says,
“I will lead the blind by a way they did not know; I will guide them on paths they have not known. I will turn darkness to light in front of them and rough places into level ground. This is what I will do for them, and I will not forsake them.”
Think with me about this passage.
Think about what God does for Us
Personally, this is what God does for us through Jesus Christ. Jesus takes us to places that we would never go on our own. They are uncharted waters in our lives. In those moments of uncertainty, Jesus shows up and works in our lives miraculously. He does it not only in salvation, but again and again. Once He is there, He is there forever. Leaving His children is something God never thinks about.
Think about what Leaders do for Others
When you lead toward the future, you are doing for people what God does for you. You take people into experiences, dreams, and visions that they would have never seen on their own. And, at times, places where few have gone. In these historic risks of faith, God shows up and moves miraculously. He does it not only once, but again and again. As you lead, you realize one of the most powerful things about leadership: God is with you.
A Personal Testimony
I have been a local church pastor for over three decades. In fact, I have been leading the same church for over twenty-five years. I could name so many experiences and dreams I have been privileged to lead our people through in “Reaching Northwest Arkansas, America, and the World.” Yes, some of them have been challenging. But every time, God has been there with us, showing Himself strong again and again. My heart is full of praise even as I reflect on these experiences, because of the way He has worked among us.
A Final Charge
When you lead others, do not let your fear stop you. Do not permit the unknown to become your master. God is with you, so act like it. Lead like it. Live like it. Pray like it. Lead them where they have never been and know that He is with you.
Yours for the Great Commission,
Ronnie W. Floyd