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  • Tim Patterson

Better together

PLYMOUTH – My good friend and counterpart in Arizona, David Johnson, recently wrote an article and it was published in the Baptist Press. I wanted to share just an excerpt from it that I feel is very helpful for many of us in the Southern Baptist Convention today.



There has been so much negativity and conflict within our ranks, one could almost believe that all we do is fuss and fight, and never accomplish anything for the Kingdom. The fact is quite the opposite.


That does not mean that we have no problems or issues that need to be addressed. We do! It has often been said, “When two or more of us gather together, someone is ticked off about something!”


Thus is the nature of a people who are passionate about their Lord, and serious about the work of ministry to which we have been called. Also, when you have millions within our churches, the law of averages tells us there are going to be some real stinkers among us. Every family has some crazy uncles, and we have our fair share, and our family tree produces some real nuts.


I choose to be part of this family we call Southern Baptist for a plethora of reasons. Do we have faults? Yes. Are there some fissures forming within our ranks? Possibly. Do we need to make some changes? Obviously. Is it really worth it? Absolutely.


The SBC family may be a mess at times, but it is still our family and good families stay together and work through their problems.


The following is from an article by David Johnson, Executive Director of the Arizona Convention. It is by no means an exhaustive list but a very good reminder.


18 good things about being Southern Baptist right now:


  1. We are reaching the nations together through the International Mission Board to address the world’s greatest problem: lostness!

  2. We are planting new churches together in our state and across North America through the North American Mission Board.

  3. We are preparing people for all kinds of ministry through our seminaries around the country.

  4. We are not ignoring the sexual abuse issue. We have recognized the problem and are taking action to address it.

  5. We are helping people in crisis through Disaster Relief in places that have experienced devastating events like hurricanes, tornadoes, fire, and floods.

  6. We are responding to human needs around the world through Send Relief in refugee camps, clean water wells and famine projects.

  7. We are staying true to biblical truth as expressed in our shared confession, The Baptist Faith and Message (2000).

  8. We are helping churches share the Gospel through evangelism training and equipping partnering with the North American Mission Board.

  9. We are helping feed the poor through hunger relief funds provided by the World Hunger Offering.

  10. We are reaching college students with the Gospel through collegiate ministries on campuses around the country.

  11. We are responding to children and families in need through children’s homes and family ministries in our states.

  12. We are working to revitalize and replant churches in our local associations.

  13. We have a resource for advocacy and expertise dealing with political issues that affect us through the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission.

  14. We are taking care of retired pastors and their widows in need through Mission Dignity.

  15. We are the most ethnically diverse denomination in America, which gives us greater strength and a stronger witness to the world.

  16. We have a network of state conventions and local associations to partner together for more effective ministry and mission work.

  17. We have the best resource for Bible study and discipleship materials in the world through Lifeway Christian Resources.

  18. We still have the best missionary supporting system on the planet, the Cooperative Program!


 



ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tim Patterson is Executive Director/Treasurer of the Baptist State Convention of Michigan. Elected unanimously in May of 2015, Patterson formerly served for 9 years as pastor of Hillcrest Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Fla. He also served as trustee chair and national mobilizer for the North American Mission Board.



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