ANAHEIM, Calif. (BP) – Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary’s annual For the Church micro-conference leading up to the SBC Annual Meeting saw SBC influencers discussing “Six Humble Affirmations.”
More than 900 attendees at the June 14 event heard seminary presidents Jason Allen and Albert Mohler, mission board presidents Kevin Ezell and Paul Chitwood and church leaders Mark Dever and Matt Carter touch on a range of issues affecting the SBC. Matt Boswell led worship at the event.
MBTS President Jason Allen opened the event on the topic, “It’s Your Denomination: Why We Need Pastors & Churches to Engage,” encouraging pastors and ministry leaders to steward their leadership well in a time of instability.
Reflecting on three reasons why pastors should remain engaged in the SBC, Allen said, “Pastors should be involved in our convention because of the resources God has entrusted to the SBC, because our times necessitate it, and because our convention polity needs it.”
He concluded his talk with a call to engage: “We will be stronger, healthier and greater as a convention when people, pastors and churches are more intentionally engaged in this collective, cooperative work.”
International Mission Board President Paul Chitwood called attendees to action with an address about Christians’ “No. 1 task.”
“The Great Commission must remain our No. 1 priority because it was the No. 1 priority in the life of the Lord Jesus, in the life of the church He established, and should be the number one priority of all disciples,” Chitwood said.
Mark Dever, senior pastor of Capitol Hill Baptist Church, gave an address titled “It Starts at Home: Why Healthy Churches are Essential to a Healthy Denomination.”
Dever exhorted pastors to reflect on their church polity and lamented how many churches have lost sight of what it means to be a church.
“With single site, single service, and church membership gone in many of our churches, we’ve left little of the church that remains biblical or Baptist,” Dever said.
Next, Matt Carter, pastor of Sagemont Church, addressed a rising concern: “I’m All In: Why I Moved Toward the SBC, Not Away From It.”
Carter reflected on the impact of the SBC’s churches and ministries on his own life and encouraged attendees to do the same.
“We should move toward the SBC, because I’m convinced the International Mission Board is the greatest missionary sending organization on earth, the North American Mission Board is the greatest church planting organization in North America, and the culture is changing for the better,” he said.
He admonished attendees to remember that “there are thousands of faithful pastors keeping their hands to the plow, serving Christ, and lifting high His name.”
North American Mission Board President Kevin Ezell encouraged attendees with his topic, “It’s Working: Why Church Planting is Key to Reaching North America for Christ.”
During his brief talk, Ezell spoke on the importance of living rightly, being responsible with the places we go and being cognizant about the friends and community we enjoy.
Southern Baptist Theological Seminary President Albert Mohler gave the final address, titled “A Center & A Circumference: Why & How the BF&M Defines our Fellowship.”
Mohler expounded on the importance of the Baptist Faith and Message 2000 saying, “it is what ties us together.”
Just like set theory in mathematics, the Southern Baptist Convention must be a convention that is “centered and bounded… not one that is fuzzy,” he said
He concluded by paraphrasing Dr. Suess: “The Baptist Faith and Message means what it says and says what it means.”
Each address at this year’s FTC Anaheim will be accessible on www.mbts.edu in the coming days.