Prioritizing Our Cooperative Mission
This article was featured in the July 2023 edition of The Baptist Courier.
“You’re Out!” Poor Colin struck out again.
He was on my little league baseball team and struggled at the plate. The other kids on the team got frustrated with him, but I wasn’t going to kick him off the team for not doing everything right.
Then with humility, he came up to me one game and said, “Will you pray I hit the ball?” It opened the door for me to have a conversation with him and tell him a few things that he needed to change to hit the ball. I said, “Colin, I will pray that God does His part, but you are going to have to do your part. You must swing the bat.”
There was one thing he had to get right if he was going to hit the ball. Colin had to swing the bat. He had backed out during every pitch after being hit by the ball in the first game.
The Southern Baptist Convention was started in 1845 because a group of churches cared more about who was out than who was in. The one sacred effort was to join forces together to send missionaries to the outsiders. It was a beautiful picture of autonomous cooperating churches that came together for “who’s out.”
In recent years, there has been a focus on determining “who’s in” during our meetings at a national level. We are a collection of cooperating churches who believe the Bible is the inerrant word of God and in the exclusivity of the saving grace of Jesus Christ. These theological truths lay a foundation that we must all get right. Of course, there are some theological differences among our churches, but we closely identify with our statement of faith, the Baptist Faith and Message 2000. When there are disagreements, we should extend the same patience with one another that our Heavenly Father extends to us. Pastors would do well to exhibit humility in discussions with each other.
We run the danger in the future of spending all of our time in future meetings determining “who is in” when lost people “who are out” are in desperate need of missionaries to take them the Gospel. Our focus should be on the mission.
I am so thankful for SCBaptist churches and leaders who are willing to disagree on some issues and still cooperate with one another. Our national convention would do well to follow their lead.
Colin did hit the ball in the last game of the season. In fact, he drove in the winning run in the championship. Patience paid off. He made some changes and swung the bat.
Lee Clamp is Chief Strategic Officer at SCBaptist.