NASHVILLE (BP) – As Great Commission Baptists, we are compelled with the vision to reach every person for Jesus Christ in every town, every city, every state and every nation. Our 51,000 congregations that comprise the Southern Baptist network of churches do our best work when we cooperate in presenting the Gospel of Jesus Christ to every person in the world and make disciples of all the nations.
While this compelling vision is always before us, we cannot ignore many of the ongoing threats to our cooperation. Any of us can slip into the mindset of autonomy rather than cooperation.
From having an independent mentality that refuses cooperation to a spirit of pride that does not desire cooperation, all the way to an ongoing spirit of criticism that questions the very heart and beliefs of our cooperation, we must always press through with a common resolve to take the Gospel to the entire world.
In my 42 years of pastoring local churches, I slipped into some of these moments myself. But then God convicted me to such a degree that cooperation became imperative for me personally and for the church I pastored.
When this occurred, radical changes were made, including stopping ministries that were doing many good things so that we could do our highest work together with other Southern Baptist congregations: Sending missionaries across North America and the globe.
That allowed the Lord to create an epic narrative that led to an endless commitment to cooperating in all ways, including a massive, growing financial commitment related to our giving through the Cooperative Program.
Never did I regret making that decision or that commitment to cooperation. When I began to grasp the dire lostness of America and the entire world, it broke me to such a point that I had no other choice. In fact, this continual brokenness and willingness to be used by God in whatever way possible brought me to where I minister, serve and lead today.
I checked my own spirit of independence, my own spirit of pride, and even my own spirit of criticism that questioned things more than supporting the mission at hand. I repented. I changed. I became convinced that regardless of what anyone else did, it was on me to do all I could to join this grand vision to reach the world for Christ while I was living and leading.
To this end, I give my life. From before the sun rises daily until the point of exhaustion in the evening, I give my life to this vision.
Will you join me?
Now is the time to lead.
Ronnie Floyd is president and CEO of the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee.