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On the SCBaptist Disposition in Indianapolis

On the SCBaptist Disposition in Indianapolis

On the SCBaptist Disposition in Indianapolis

June 10–12, 2024 thousands of Southern Baptists will gather in Indianapolis for the SBC annual meeting.

Hundreds of SCBaptists will be among them. My prayer is that the SCBaptist kind of cooperative spirit will prevail. SCBaptists can model a biblical disposition while influencing contemporary direction. Here are six appeals from me toward that end.  

Be prayerful. Whether or not you plan to attend the SBC, please make the Convention’s meeting a matter of fervent prayer. There are many plans in men’s hearts, but our desire is that the purpose of the Lord will prevail (Proverbs 19:21). Conversations abound. Some are persuasive arguments. Some are empty rhetoric. Some are meaningful dialogue. Some are pejorative exasperations. Wherever words are many, the most important conversation to be had is between each of us and God who alone superintends our shared mission and is able to grant us success. 

Be present. Decisions are made by messengers in the room. Every church in friendly cooperation can seat messengers, and those messengers will be the decision makers at the Convention. SCBaptists are a people who know the value of cooperation and care deeply about our Baptist future. But unless that translates into messengers sent from our churches, we will have no voice in the decisions made in Indianapolis. Not everyone can make the Convention. But any committed SCBaptist can go on behalf of your church, so do your best to send a full slate of messengers. 

Be engaged. Much happens at the SBC every year. Decision-making is only one of many important activities at the gathering. Updates from entities will inform and inspire. Sermons from respected Baptist leaders will challenge and exhort. The worship of our people will uplift and refresh. Hugs in the hallways will encourage and connect. It burdens me each year to see messengers from some states bused in for a particular vote, crowding in at the time of a single agenda item then filing out immediately following it. SCBaptists are better than that. We are attentively engaged in the whole of SBC activity. Let’s draw deeply from the well of our larger Baptist family’s gathering this year. Come not just to be counted, but to be engaged. 

Be discerning. Rhetoric abounds where argument persists. Southern Baptists feel strongly about some upcoming votes, as is their prerogative. But let’s not be among the foolish who “do not delight in understanding,” opining loudly and proudly (Proverbs 18:2). Let’s be among the wise who seek knowledge, doing the harder work of discernment and understanding (Proverbs 18:15). Opinions are cheap. Understanding is priceless. Work for the latter, and don’t get caught up in the former. 

Be kind. My heart breaks to hear and read pejorative derisions between our Baptist brothers and sisters. If Jesus’s words are true about the obviousness of our discipleship being set within in the character of our interactions, I sometimes fear the watching world may be left only with a negative conclusion (John 13:35). But SCBaptists know this is not the way. We can communicate convictions without degrading the brethren. Conviction and kindness are not mutually exclusive, and one will never accomplish its fullest effect without the other. 

Be focused. We are SCBaptists and Southern Baptists because we choose to cooperate for the advancement of the Great Commission. The message of the gospel must reach the ends of the earth. That’s why we cooperate. SCBaptists need to be among the messengers who remain laser-focused on our shared mission. Our message is urgent. Our time is short. Our neighbors and the nations are perishing without Christ. We can endure an abundance of temporary disagreement when we remember that our eternal mission is worth the seasonal deliberation.

May God be pleased not only with the decisions made in Indianapolis, but with the disposition of the messengers who make them. And may SCBaptists lead the way in both Christian decision and Christian civility.

This article was featured in the May 2024 edition of The Baptist Courier.

  • Dr. Tony Wolfe

    Dr. Tony Wolfe

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