NASHVILLE (BP) – When I arrived in Nashville on Monday, May 20, 2019, and began this new life calling, I promoted the dire need for a new culture in our Southern Baptist Convention. When I stood before the 2019 SBC Annual Meeting in Birmingham on Tuesday, June 11, 2019, my message focused on this very subject as I described what I believed this should look like.
What I believed then, I am convinced of even more now: We need a turnaround in our SBC culture immediately. We claim to know the Gospel, preach the Gospel, and advance the Gospel to the nations. Now we need to live up to this powerful Good News of Jesus Christ our Lord and share it with the whole world.
We need to believe again that People Need Jesus and People Need Jesus Now.
I am thankful we believe in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, but we must live and breathe this Gospel with a new and deep sense of urgency. What does this mean for us?
- We believe people need Jesus and people need Jesus now.
- We believe Jesus Christ is the only way to God, and there is no salvation apart from Christ alone.
- We believe people who have Christ in their lives go to heaven when they die, and we believe people who do not have Christ in their lives when they die enter eternity in hell because they rejected or ignored Jesus Christ as the only Savior of their sins.
Southern Baptists, do we really believe these things? If we do, we must lift our mission higher than ever before and address it with our greatest intentionality. Presenting the Gospel of Jesus Christ to every person in every town, city, state and nation in the world and making disciples of all the nations is our mission.
Spiritually and strategically, we need a major reset.
This spiritual reset must happen individually, and then must happen within our churches collectively. Ultimately, it needs to occur with all of us, not just when we are together, but also when apart.
We have almost 4,000 missionaries outside the United States who are counting on us. This should motivate each of us to ask God for a personal spiritual reset.
This spiritual reset must happen strategically. I believe the most significant potential for this is Vision 2025. This vision calls for getting our eyes on the great need to reach every person for Jesus Christ in every town, every city, every state and every nation. You will hear much more about this in our upcoming 2021 SBC Annual Meeting in Nashville June 15-16. We pray you will support it wholeheartedly.
I believe this reset needs to happen now, with a sense of great urgency.
We need to come home to evangelism.
Living and breathing Gospel urgency celebrates growth and advancement. It does not condemn or criticize evangelism.
8 actions we can do now to live and breathe with Gospel urgency
- Pray for God to open doors for you to share Christ with others.
- Participate in Who’s Your One?, the relational evangelism strategy anyone can do.
- Ensure your Vacation Bible School this summer is intentionally evangelistic.
- Ensure your student camp this summer is intentionally evangelistic.
- Prioritize reaching, baptizing and discipling teenagers for Jesus Christ.
- Pastors, teachers and evangelists: Preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the entire counsel of God with the fire of God in your heart, living and breathing with Gospel urgency, and always extending the call for people to come to Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord.
- Spiritual leaders, church leaders and convention leaders: Reset your strategies and decision-making processes like leaders who are living and breathing with Gospel urgency.
- Adopt, personalize, promote and support Vision 2025: Reaching every person for Jesus Christ in every town, every city, every state and every nation.
Living with Gospel urgency demands we live by faith in what God can do and we move at the needed pace to take the Gospel to every person across the world.
We cannot simply hope things will get better. Hope is not a strategy.
This is why I am asking you to join me in creating and nourishing a culture within our Convention that is always living and breathing with Gospel urgency.
Now is the time to lead.