SBC Life Articles

Tightening Our Spiritual SBC Belt in Order to Broaden Our Spiritual SBC Reach

This year at the Southern Baptist Convention on June 23-24, held at the Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville, Kentucky, Southern Baptists will be challenged to make a commitment to a Great Commission Resurgence. The theme will be Love Loud — Actions Speak Louder Than Words, based on Matthew 5:16. The challenge will be to Love Loud in the area of a Great Commission Resurgence. Dr. Danny Akin will speak to this theme. We will be challenged to Love Loud in Embracing A Kingdom Mindset, led by Rev. Vance Pitman. We will be challenged to Love Loud in Evangelism, winning people to faith in Christ, which has always been the heartbeat of Southern Baptists, through a message from Dr. Jeff Crook. We will be challenged to Love Loud in Engaging the Culture and we will hear a message, as we entertain bringing the next generation with us, by Dr. David Platt.

We need for our denomination to demonstrate to our communities, our country, and to those around the world the difference that Jesus Christ makes in our lives and in our churches. It is my prayer that as each report from our seminaries and different entities is made, the context would be the activity of God — not in buildings that we are building, or enrollments that we are increasing, as much as we are grateful to God for both. Let our laser-sharp focus be upon the activity of God and the lives that are being molded, the communities that are being changed, the countries that are being engaged — all as a result of the people who are making a difference, touched by these seminaries, and being molded and trained to take the Good News to all the nations.

As we consider a Great Commission Resurgence, we want to do so with four major thoughts in mind: (1) Our commitment to a healthy confession of faith as embodied in our Baptist Faith and Message 2000; (2) Our historic and continued commitment to the final marching orders of Jesus found in the Great Commission of Matthew 28:16-20; (3) Our commitment to wed the Great Commission to the Great Commandment of Matthew 22:37-40; and (4) Our commitment to maximize our resources for the extending of the Gospel to all nations.

I believe we have lost our focus on who we are and what we must be about, and we must once again give our attention to spreading the Gospel, planting churches, discipling believers, and equipping them for their work of ministry. All of us know that we must once again have a major focus on a healthy Convention. A healthy Convention will be the result of healthy churches and a healthy Convention apparatus will be a mean, lean, streamlined machine.

As our churches have gone through the economic challenge and down-turn in recent days, we have all had to ask the questions, What is it that we must not give up? What must we streamline? What must we keep our focus on? I think that we hear the answers to these questions over and over again — the Great Commission, evangelism, a Kingdom of God mindset. As we consider this, we must focus our energy and our resources to that end.

There will be much happening at the Southern Baptist Convention and I challenge you to be a part of it. We will begin our special time together with Crossover evangelistic outreach across the local community on June 19. I would encourage your attendance at the Pastors' Conference, the WMU Missions Celebration, and numerous other SBC-related meetings and conferences. Childcare and age-appropriate programs for children and youth are going to be a great source of encouragement and help as we trust families from all over the country will join us at the Southern Baptist Convention.

One of my themes, as president of the Southern Baptist Convention, has been trying to connect with the younger generation who are disconnected from our denomination. In making that statement, thank God for so many that are connected, but we all know that we are a graying and aging denomination. With that being said, I am extremely excited to announce that on Tuesday, during the lunch break of the Southern Baptist Convention, Baptist 21 and Sojourn Community Church will host on their campus, which is only five minutes from the Convention center, a special panel discussion that will lend itself to a panel forum question-and-answer focusing on honoring the past and celebrating what the SBC is "knocking out of the park" in the present. It will also address some areas where change is needed for viability in the future. It is directed at informing, encouraging, and keeping young leaders. I would encourage all of you young pastors to prayerfully consider making this a priority. You will hear speakers such as Dr. Danny Akin, Dr. Ed Stetzer, Dr. Mark Dever, Dr. Al Mohler, and Pastor Daniel Montgomery, pastor of Sojourn Church.

We have a bright future as Southern Baptists if we will embrace the future, if we will remember our past, and if we will be active in the present in making much of Jesus. I look forward to seeing you at the Southern Baptist Convention and believe with all of my heart that we have the opportunity of engaging the brightest future that we could all dream of.

Yours, for a new day in this denomination,

Johnny Hunt
President, Southern Baptist Convention

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  • Johnny Hunt