By Terry L. Kirby
Pastor and author from Jefferson City
“We the People” are some of the most inspiring words found in America’s founding documents. It should paint images of responsibility, unity, and opportunity in the collective minds of all Americans. As we approach Independence Day, all Americans must evaluate and rededicate their energy to be a part of “We the People” to keep America healthy and strong. Being “We the People” means that we also participate in the work of this great country at all levels of civil responsibility. Our leaders are critically important to the success of America, but the people are what make America an enduring nation.
As Southern Baptists enter the summer of 2018, we face some leadership challenges. Because of the failure of a few, some are predicting the end of our great convention. Others believe that the convention will never have the same impact. One thing is true, many in the convention are discouraged. This discouragement may lead to paralysis. With lostness increasing in our growing world, we cannot stop for one minute in our mandate to fulfill the Great Commission. Southern Baptists, there is one thing to remember, we are the Southern Baptist Convention! Our convention is not only our leaders, although the great majority of them are faithful and beyond reproach, it is the collective body. As spirit-filled Christ followers and churches, we must continue to remain focused on our goal: the Great Commission.
As the SBC, there are three simple actions we must take to continue our historic fight to defeat lostness. First, we must pray. In the name of Jesus, prayer is invoking the power of God to bring life-change, conviction, and action. Prayer cannot be the work of a few. Everyone must pray. Our prayers must be as steady and continuous as our beating hearts. Our prayers also must be bold and far-reaching. Pray for our convention leadership but also for the army of the faithful fighting on the frontlines.
The second action we must take as the SBC is that we must pay. Giving our money is not like paying taxes. I know we talk about giving percentages but paying is all about generosity. This may be a worn out statement, but it is true, we cannot out give God. Giving to kingdom causes is unlike anything in this world. Paying for missions and other kingdom causes impacts eternity. No possession can escape our earthly bounds but investing in causes that convert the lost into Christ followers can. What an investment. Be generous and give!
The final action we must take as the SBC is that we must participate. Praying and paying are critical steps, but we must take the next step. All of us must participate. Participation means different things to different people. We must use our gifts, talents, and time to serve the Lord. Are you serving God through the work of your church or the SBC? Our leaders are not the only servants, we the people must serve. We are the SBC!