Connecting the Dots in an Unconnected World

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Lessons I have learned about Florida Baptists

In the fall of the year 2000 I was enlisted to fill a vacancy on the Florida Baptist Convention State Board of Missions. My term of service on the board ended in November of 2007. During my service on the FBC State Board I served for one year as President of the Board. In November of 2008 I was elected First Vice-President of the Florida Baptist Convention and will conclude that service this November of 2010. I am currently serving on the Board of Trustees for the Baptist College of Florida. Florida Baptists have been very good to me. It has been my honor and privilege to participate in the decision making processes of Florida Baptists for these past ten years. I have learned a number of important lessons during this time.

It is eye opening to discover the scope of the work of Florida Baptists. There are more than 2800 Southern Baptist churches and missions in Florida with more than 1.1 million members. This makes Florida Baptists the largest non-Catholic voice in Florida. Florida Baptists are the only Southern Baptist entity to do missions work in Haiti having begun more than 1,000 churches in the past 15 years. Also, we conduct mission’s partnership work in Cuba, Nevada, West Virginia, and Indiana. Through our cooperative program gifts we participate in the largest mission’s effort in the history of Christianity through the International and North American Mission Boards of the Southern Baptist Convention partnering to support more than 10,000 missionaries. Further, we partner with 49 local associations for inspirational and training events. The convention provides support for pastors and churches in crisis as well partnering to provide the leading church planting efforts and the leading evangelism efforts in our Southern Baptist Convention. We also provide quality theological training through the Baptist College of Florida and compassionate care for children through the Florida Baptist Children’s Home.

The leaders of the Florida Baptist Convention are among God’s finest servants. Dr. John Sullivan is, without a doubt, the finest statesman-leader in Southern Baptist life today. A unique combination of pastor, preacher, leader, and visionary, Dr. Sullivan has led Florida Baptists to the apex of a long history of accomplishment. The men and women that serve with and in support of Dr. Sullivan are exemplary in their ability and commitment to the task of the Great Commission.

The best way to fulfill the Great Commission is cooperatively. The Cooperative Program of our Southern Baptist Convention is not only a funding mechanism it is a functional methodology. The genius of our funding through the CP is that our gifts support all of the work of taking the gospel to Florida, America and the ends of the earth. This includes training, support and sending of missionaries as well as theological training for pastors. There is no other funding mechanism that carries the impact of fulfilling the Great Commission like the Cooperative Program. But, CP is also a functional methodology. Baptists do best that which they do together. God in His wisdom takes our cooperative efforts and causes the sum of our efforts to be greater than the individual efforts alone. If we are to fulfill the Great Commission it will be cooperatively.

The service of God is greater than any individual or group. It is a privilege to be allowed to participate in the work of taking the Gospel to the world. God does not need us, we urgently need Him. I am grateful to God for the experience of serving Him through the opportunities that Florida Baptists have given me this past ten years.

As we face the future, may we do so with a sense of desperation for His presence and power that we might take the gospel to a lost world beginning in Florida and reaching the nations.

Attempting to connect the dots…

Romans 1:16

“Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”
~ The Apostle Paul


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