This past week Jennifer and I attended the Southern Baptist Convention for the first time. Overall we were glad we went. We got to see how decisions were made, what big things That were going to happen nationally and internationally from our conventions and got to be apart of history in electing Fred Luter the first African American president of our convention.
Both Jenn and my favorite parts of the convention were the reports given by the International Mission Board and the North American Mission Board. There is just something exciting in seeing what we as Baptists are doing together to reach people who do not know Jesus.
The last presentation of the last night was the NAMB’s. They went over their church planting effort, talked about the work in disaster relief, introduced us to a military chaplain and finally noted on their efforts to revitalize churches.
When the NAMB talked about church revitalization my heart leapt. God has put a great burden on my heart for the existing churches and revitalization is its greatest challenge. The NAMB played a video about work they did with FBC Odessa Florida. It was a church that was down to its last members, no kids, no life. The video followed that a growing existing church of 200 was merged with the final ten members to revitalize FBC Odessa.
Wait… That’s not revitalization. That’s just using the building of a dying church to house a growing church. The one need that the SBC never ventured to connect to was the need of truly revitalizing it’s existing church bodies. The closest they got was the reallocation of a building.
For our convention to get over our decline we must do more to equip our pastors to deal with decline in their memberships. I think it is necessary that the convention take time whether at the SBC 2013 pastors conference or at the general meeting to look at and discuss what we can do to support traditional pastors in this monster of a task.
God has a great plan for the SBC. I am glad that they are planting churches. I am glad that they are targeting unreached people groups all over the world. We must be careful that we do not neglect our biggest need, our eroding base here at home. Here is to Houston 2013.