Connecting the Dots in an Unconnected World

Friday, October 2, 2009

Why I Am a Southern Baptist

As I was reading this week I began to ruminate on the reasons I am a Southern Baptist. Reality is I could have been most anything and pleased someone in my extended family. I grew up in a home that was un-religious. After I came to know Jesus as my Savior I discovered that my extended family included Baptists, Methodists, Pentecostals, and Nazarenes. Sadly, none of these took the time to tell me about Jesus.

Allow me to share some of the reasons I am a Southern Baptist.

It was a Southern Baptist church and a Southern Baptist Evangelist that led me to Christ. I was saved in an Eddie Martin led revival at the Seminole Heights Baptist Church in Tampa, Florida. This church and their pastor cared enough about the lost to take specific steps to reach out to their community with the Gospel.

It was a Southern Baptist church that cared enough about me to follow-up on me and encouraged me to follow the Lord in believer’s baptism and then provide an environment where I was challenged to grow in the Lord. The pastor and lay leaders of this church taught me to love the Bible and to love lost souls. They taught me to be faithful to the Lord and his church. They taught me that missions and evangelism were not programs of the church but rather the reason the church existed.

It was a Southern Baptist church that exhibited enough faith in me to license me and then ordain me to the Gospel Ministry. In retrospect, I am amazed that they would license and ordain a relatively young in the faith preacher like me. I am ever grateful for their support and encouragement.

It has been a Southern Baptist church that has supported me, prayed for me, and allowed me to follow God’s direction in my life for these past nearly 32 years.

It was a Southern Baptist layman that taught me to how win souls.

The above reasons are all very personal. Allow me to share some that are convictional.

I believe that Southern Baptists are committed to the task of carrying out the Great Commission. At every level of our precious fellowship from the local church to the national convention I am impressed with both the desire and the commitment to this great task.

I believe that Southern Baptists have the finest structure to carry out the Great Commission. Our mission boards and seminaries are the finest in all of Christianity. Our denominational structure providing for local, state, national and international missions and evangelism is the finest. Our denominational leaders exhibit clear commitment to world evangelization, while dealing with the opportunities of our historic Baptist polity.

I believe that Southern Baptists have the preeminent process for supporting our desire to carry out the Great Commission through the Cooperative Program. In 1925 God moved to cause us to adopt a cooperative effort that has allowed us to create the largest mission force in the history of Christianity and the finest training effort known to all of Christendom. Our cooperative missions and theological support is the envy of other efforts.

Are Southern Baptists perfect? No. Are there things that can be done to improve our efforts to reach the world? Yes. However, I am glad that God has allowed me to be a part of what I believe to be the greatest movement for world evangelization in all of history.

Attempting to connect the dots…

Romans 1:16

“Baptists do best what they do together."
~ Unknown


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