Church leaders who want to see growth must get outside the walls of the church and into their zip codes.
That was the message Willie McLaurin, interim president of the SBC Executive Committee, emphasized to those at the Bivocational and Small Church Leadership Network luncheon held June 15 in conjunction with the Southern Baptist Convention Annual Meeting in Anaheim.
McLaurin and Mark Clifton, senior director of replanting at the North American Mission Board, were featured speakers at the event. BSCLN Executive Director Joe Wright called the speakers “the best of the best” for a group that represents a large percentage of Southern Baptist pastors.
McLaurin encouraged leaders to serve the community where God has put them regardless of circumstances.
Every pastor, “whether he is bivocational, trivocational or quadrovocational … is called and commanded to move beyond the walls of the church,” McLaurin said.
Outside the walls of the church, he said, “there’s a teenage girl who is pregnant and she’s thinking about aborting that baby … somebody who is addicted to drugs and thinking about taking their own life, a couple who is struggling and talking about divorce.”
Don’t give up
“We are called to take the gospel to the nations and to our neighborhoods,” he said. “If we don’t, we will become keepers of the aquarium rather than fishers of men.”
Mark Clifton, senior director of replanting at the North American Mission Board, also encouraged leaders to persevere, even in times of uncertainty.
“One of the strongest things we can do for one another is just encourage each other not to tap out, not to quit, not to give up,” he said. “We all have those times, those seasons, when we question everything.”
In the face of unrealized expectations, disappointment or depression, “look to the cross,” Clifton advised. “Don’t look to a denomination. Don’t look to your strength. Don’t look to anything other than the resurrected Christ.”
The BSCLN does not require membership dues and is an auxiliary of the SBC. In a brief business session, attendees affirmed three new board members. Wright noted that the organization’s website (bscln.net) has many resources that are free to all leaders.
For more information on BSCLN, visit bscln.net.
For more stories from the 2022 Southern Baptist Convention Annual Meeting, visit thebaptistpaper.org/sbc2022.