Connecting the Dots in an Unconnected World

Friday, April 8, 2011

Diversity and Cooperation

This generation of Southern Baptists is the most diverse in our glorious history. The diversity ranges from the way we dress to the way we worship to the way we structure ourselves as a church and even reaches into what we believe. While diversity is not always a bad thing it can become a challenging thing.

Of late there has been some discussion of the problems created by this diversity. Some seem to feel that we are headed to some form of division based upon our differences. Allow me to suggest that we should not focus on where we differ but rather on the things which we have in common. We should begin to ask the question “Do we have enough in common to walk together.”

Amos, the prophet of God raised the question, “Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” Our treasured practice of cooperation is based on our level of agreement or commonality. While I recognize that a gathering of 3 Baptists will offer 4 opinions, ultimately there must be a point of commonality for there to be cooperation.

Baptists have never been and should never be defined by a creed to be signed or a hierarchy to be obeyed. We have willingly chosen to establish cooperative relationships through which find fellowship, training doctrinal accountability and missional expression and activity. This choosing to cooperate has always recognized a level of diversity exited. However, while the diversity existed so did a significant level of commonality.

Our commonality and cooperation cannot be achieved by edict or coercion it must be achieved willingly and by choice. The very concept of cooperation requires working together toward a commonly agreed upon goal.

We must not allow our differences in the way we dress, the way we worship and the way we do church determine our future. We must determine if we have enough in common doctrinally and missionally to walk together into our Christ commanded future of reaching a lost world with gospel. We must not be deceived into believing a mission strategy is at stake or a denominational structure is at risk. We must move beyond that to the reality that the souls of more than 5 billion people are at stake.

I believe we have more in common than we recognize and that ultimately we do best what we do together.

Attempting to connect the dots…

Romans 1:16

“If you want to be incrementally better: Be competitive. If you want to be exponentially better: Be cooperative.”
~ Unknown


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