by Seth Springs
WATERFORD, MI – At the beginning of June, my wife and I attended our first ever Southern Baptist Convention meeting. It was an encouraging time as we gathered with 16,000 other Southern Baptists, including 2 of our church planting teammates. But, as we heard reports and casted votes, I began to ask myself a question that I believe many others have been asking themselves, “What makes me a Southern Baptist?” Why have I chosen to engage in Southern Baptist life? What keeps me committed to this family of Great Commission Baptist Churches? While you answer this line of questioning for yourself, I’d like to share 3 reasons why I am a Southern Baptist.
If you’ve been around SBC life for long, you know the name Lottie Moon (1840-1912). As a young lady, Lottie Moon offered her life to Christ through missionary service. This route included denying the comforts of home and declining a seemingly attractive marriage proposal. She would set sail for China at the age of 32, and never look back, making Jesus known among Chinese peoples for 39 years. You probably know Lottie Moon as the namesake of the SBC’s annual Christmas offering. This is because, while serving overseas, Lottie wrote letters urging churches to give generously and send missionaries so that the Nations might hear the Good News about Jesus. This has resulted in Southern Baptists giving over $5 billion to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering. That’s $5 billion so that missionaries can be sent, the Gospel can be preached, and people “from every nation, tribe, people, and language” can call on the name of the Lord and be saved. This global cooperative effort is what makes me want to be a Southern Baptist.
Behind the organization of the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering was a group of Southern Baptist women known as the Women’s Missionary Union. Behind that group was a woman named Annie Armstrong (1850-1938). Born and raised in the city of Baltimore, Annie always had a passion for serving those in need. As leader of the WMU, she helped mobilize other women, and their churches, to live on mission near and far. In 1934, The Home Mission Board (NAMB) renamed its annual offering for North American missions after her. Each year, Southern Baptists support the work of meeting needs, planting churches, and changing lives across North America through the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering. Without this offering, the ministries of church planters like me would look vastly different! This cooperative effort, that our new church plant now has the privilege of participating in, makes me want to be a Southern Baptist!
Another significant reason I am a committed Southern Baptist is a name that you may not know. Brenda Carter has championed cooperative missions for the entirety of her adult life. For years she has led WMU efforts in her church and local Baptist association. Once a month, she meets with ladies of her church to pray for international missionaries by name. Brenda has been on close to 30 short-term mission trips to the country of Brazil, and has served hard-hit communities through Disaster Relief. I know all of this because Brenda Carter is my grandmother. My favorite memories of VBS are of my grandmother giving the weekly “missions moments.” The first time I can remember hearing someone share the Gospel was when my grandmother shared the Good News about Jesus with a UPS delivery man right in her kitchen. When I was radically saved at the age of 15, years of mission moments and evangelistic enthusiasm finally made sense. I am thankful for the work of Southern Baptists, especially this one!
What makes me a Southern Baptist? Simply put, I don’t want to miss out. The Great Commission really is great and we are better together.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Seth Springs serves in Waterford, MI alongside his wife Taylor and 3 young children. Seth is a church planter and one of the pastors at Transformation Church Waterford.