TAYLORS, S.C. (BP)–Traveling across the Southern Baptist Convention over the past year has given me an opportunity to see the hearts of many people.
I have traversed this nation visiting state conventions, colleges, seminaries, associations and churches. While I cannot claim that I have a window into every heart across the convention, I have learned a great deal. What are some of the lessons that I have learned over this past year?
I have learned that people desperately want a choice in leadership in the Southern Baptist Convention. I am encouraging all Southern Baptists to pray diligently about the leadership of our convention in the days ahead. Encourage a number of people to consider running for president and vice presidential slots over the next few years. Pray that people of different ethnic backgrounds might consider being a part of leadership. Pray that the day will come when lay people will once again feel a calling to be a part of this leadership.
I have also learned that people want to be able to dialogue and discuss important issues. One of the things I stated upon my first election was that there seemed to be a great disconnect between leadership and the people in the pew. I continue to believe this. People want an opportunity to be able to discuss important issues. People want to be heard! Sometimes, these expressions find themselves being manifest through blogs, state convention newspapers, associational newsletters or simply in hallway conversations in meetings across this land.
I continue to encourage people to debate, dialogue and discuss important issues, but to remember the words of Ephesians 4:15 which commands us to “speak the truth in love.”
Frank Page is president of the Southern Baptist Convention and pastor of First Baptist Church in Taylors, S.C.