Sometimes I feel a bit sheepish that the doctorate certificate hanging on my wall is honorary rather than earned. While I am truly humbled and honored to have been selected to receive it, I never attempt to equate it with the amount of energy and number of years many of you dedicated to earning your doctorate.
At the same time, I’m starting to warm up to the idea that anyone who is truly able to understand, contextualize and distill (with clarity and accuracy) all that is happening within Southern Baptist life right now — and how it connects to the past and the future — definitely deserves some type of doctorate-level credentials.
Our team is working hard to sift through all the jargon, sit through the public meetings, talk to those in the inner circles and listen carefully to what is being reported and what isn’t.
Tuning out the countless voices with personal agendas while thinking through the multiple and seemingly nonstop situations requires a good bit of mental capacity and focus.
We are honored to be among those serving you in that way. You have too much happening in your own areas of ministry as well as your personal lives to attempt to keep up with it all.
Truth with compassion
Thank you for trusting us as a voice of reason and calm reporting focused on truth with compassion.
We are glad to be your representative closely following the news items so we can report back what we understand the situation to be.
Your questions and concerns help us know where to put our energy, and we are grateful you understand the complexity of serving in Southern Baptist life — a commitment to local church autonomy and being a convention of churches but not a denomination.
It gets even more murky when one group wants autonomy for themselves but also wants to dictate what another group or congregation can and can’t do.
And there’s always the concern of how to maintain an expectation of excellence when current funding does not seem to be enough even though Southern Baptists as a whole still promote and celebrate the Cooperative Program concept.
Complicated and sometimes exhausting
As complicated (and sometimes exhausting) as it is to attempt to motivate more than 45,000 churches to partner on so many missions and ministry levels during routine days, it gets near impossible when serious difficulties continue to pile on top of one another.
While I’m confident most individual believers in our Southern Baptist churches love Jesus and want to serve Him, I can’t quite figure out why the authenticity of who we are in Christ seems to fade away when we gather for convention-related discussions and business decisions.
And I’ve always been perplexed by the need for such specificity related to a Christian’s conduct, even though I try to remind myself our leaders are flawed, broken humans like I am.
Looking to Jesus
It’s like when Southern Baptist leaders took two years to study how to motivate our church people regarding evangelism and another two years to research how to encourage them to embrace disciple-making. Sometimes we overthink what Jesus modeled so beautifully and simply for us.