I have been a Southern Baptist since my first day in church when I was enrolled in “Cradle Roll.” I have had many opportunities to attend churches of other denominations. I have spent a great deal of my life searching the Scriptures to ensure what I was being taught is truth. So you will understand if I tell you I have a special place in my heart for the Southern Baptist Convention.
This week I read an article about “America’s View of Southern Baptist” that was especially surprising. It talks about how people are turned off from attending a church when they see it is affiliated with the SBC. Most of those who felt this way were those who are not currently attending a church anywhere. How does this happen? How can a group of individuals who pool their time, money, and lives together have such an effect on those for whom they are trying to reach? If the church is to continue to fulfill it commission given by Jesus we must resolve this issue immediately!
In my personal opinion, this has happened because individual churches are seen as a denominational church and not a community church. I love being a part of the SBC; however, as a pastor my aim is to constantly keep the spiritual needs of our community in front of the church members. We are to be salt and light to the world. Our world just so happens to be in Tulsa, Oklahoma. It is easy for the people in the community to see us as just another Southern Baptist Church if we have the mentality of opening the doors and waiting for people to come in and see how special we are. This was never what Jesus intended. Christians are to go out and engage the community one individual at a time. We are to share that they are so special to God that He sent Jesus to die for them that they might spend eternity with Him.
Please understand, this has nothing to do with whether you need the word “Baptist” or “SBC” on your church sign. What I am saying is this, our communities need to know that we are reaching out to them with the love of Christ. We are not a denomination. We are the bride of Christ. We are the body of Christ. We are to be the heart, hands, and voice of Christ to those who are hurting. As Christians, we are to leave our homes every day knowing that God is going to use us to reach out to others that they might have an opportunity to believe in Jesus Christ.
Come on, Christians—let’s demonstrate to the world that we are not just a denomination or a church building. Let’s show them we are people so filled with gratitude for what Jesus has done for us we want to share it with everyone! Let’s change the opinion of those who don’t know us by getting to know them!