SBC, 2009, part 1

                 The first part of this week, I’m at the Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting in Louisville, KY.  I’m trying to remember the last time I attended a national meeting of the SBC.  It’s been a really long time–maybe close to 10 years.  After all the infighting and politics of the 80’s and early 90’s, I checked out because honestly, aside from the missionary reports, it wasn’t healthy for my soul to be a part of it.

             Yesterday was the Pastor’s Conference, which finally has a new generation of speakers.  Highlights for me:

                      + Francis Chan, describing what is happening with his church as they take seriously the call to live out the sort of community / family described in Acts 2 & 4.  He and his elders came to a place where they promised to care for each other’s families and share their goods.  They all cancelled their life insurance and gave the money to the poor.

                    + Alvin Reid, describing his passon for the coming generations and his plea for us to realize what the Mormons already know: there are more teenagers alive now that at any time in iour history, and we must find ways to reach their minds, hearts and lives with a big, compelling gospel.  The world has changed and we cannot go back if we hope to reach them.

                  + David Platt, again stunning a crowd into silence by beginning a message by quoting Scripture on the greatness of God for about 5 minutes and then blowing past all time constraints to paint a picture of the glory of God that is worth our risking it all for the peoples of the world to know.  Drop to your knees question: are we going to die in our religion  or die in our devotion for Christ? Will we retreat into safety and formalism or risk our lives for the spread of His glory? 

                   + Worship with the worship choir from North Mobile Church and Jason Breland. Jason’s dad Roger led Truth, the first group I heard do a contemporary Christian sound back in the early 80’s.  “Holy is the Lamb”  and “Let the Church Rise” (..from the ashes and fall to her knees…) were amazing.

               + Watching hundreds of people,  mostly in their 20’s and 30’s , flood into a room for a gathering sponsored by 9 marks Ministries. The SRO  meeting was an open Q & A that went until almost 11pm discussing the nature of being a church shaped and defined by Scriptural  principles, more than by program or methodology.  Signs of hope…

                + Pray for today– the discussion of the Great Commission Resurgence document will be crucial for our future mission.  The pre-convention debate has divided along largely generational lines, or even more– those who think the Kingdom is larger than SBC programming and those who aren’t as convinced.  Some willingness to reconsider our structure and approach to mission is vital, or we will continue to decline, and as former SBC president Frank Page has predicted, half our churches may close their doors within a generation.   This is big stuff…

        More later…

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