"I went to Jerusalem to become acquainted (Gk. istoria) with Cephas" - Paul's words from Galatians 1:18.

God Is At Work Building Our House, But We Keep Reminding Each Other of the Houses We Build

Ken Whitten, a fellow trustee of the International Mission Board who treated me more fairly than most during my tenure on the IMB, preached a solid message of encouragement to pastors about God holding our tomorrows in His hand. He encouraged Southern Baptist pastors to quit focusing on the numbers who attend our churches, boasting of great gains financially and numerically at our churches, and instead focus on what God is doing for His servants who faithfully, consistently perform their ministries by doing those things that are not listed on the Annual Church Profile turned into the Convention Office. Things like preaching faithfully the Word of God, leading members to understand the bondage of financial debt and helping them escape it, counseling those who are hurting and giving them hope in Jesus Christ, etc.... A good word for us all.

After Ken closed in prayer, the Vice-President of the Pastors Conference came and introduced another pastor who had served on the Great Commission Committee and was to give a word about the Great Commission Report forthcoming at the Convention. In the introduction, this pastor was called one of the great pastors in America, pastoring one of the largest and fastest growing churches in the Southern Baptist Convention. The irony in the introduction, most likely scripted, is that its content went directly against the spirit of the previous message. It was all about numbers, statistics, boasting, etc....

I guess we pastors can't get too upset at our people for not applying what we teach if we can't even apply what we hear at our own Pastors Convention.

In His Grace,

Wade

14 comments:

Mark said...

Wade,

I heard the introductory remarks for Pastor Greear and thought the same thing. Ironic. Weird. Wrong.

Jack said...

I thought Ken's message overshadowed any intro. Let's not strain at gnats so we can be critical, especially in light of the great messages we are hearing.

Weezie said...

Ouch. I guess that's no different than some pastors that can be seen preaching about sacrifice in name brand clothing. Their tweets describe all the fun they have been having at Disney this week. Our family would have really loved to do that, too.

Not saying its "wrong" but they probably have no idea how they come across. Same as Greear.

Christiane said...

The ability to discern the powerful contrasts noticed may indeed be a gift of the Holy Spirit.

The tone, the 'spirit' of the messages, the emphasis on what each speaker valued . . .

Sometimes the CONTRAST revealed by the gift of discernment IS the message.

B Nettles said...

Isn't that the nature of most introductions. "Here is Bob. You need to listen to him because he does something very well. You may do it well, too, but we want you to listen to Bob because he does something else well. He's probably the only one that does BOTH of these well, but just in case there is someone that does, here's a third thing he does well. Listen to Bob."

Sorry, Wade, Bob just does more things better than you. :)

B Nettles said...

BTW, I am NOT implying that we shouldn't listen to what experienced people and experts have to say, without forgetting that the ones speaking aren't the ONLY people with experience and expertise.

Mark said...

Maybe I was too harsh saying the intro was wrong. Sorry.

I find it interesting that conservative Christians who are all about God's grace give so much praise to man at certain times. We don't (I hope) pray like this so why introduce each other to praise the person?

Lydia said...

" find it interesting that conservative Christians who are all about God's grace give so much praise to man at certain times. We don't (I hope) pray like this so why introduce each other to praise the person?"

Bingo.

What would really be interesting is NO introductions. Nothing about the person, "his" church, what a great speaker "he" is, the growth of "his" church, etc.

It would be all about Jesus Christ and the person speaking would not matter.

Anonymous said...

This whole post is just a tad "nitpicky". Perhaps we should all practice the grace you so freely espouse and quit finding things to complain about.

B Nettles said...

Lydia,
I believe that the question, "why should I listen to this person?" is legitimate. On the other hand, too much introduction is a warning sign.

Here's Pastor Alex. He has been pastoring the same church for 15 years, since he planted it. They have planted 3 churches in surrounding counties with pastors from their original congregation. Each church has about 200 members and they each have over 200 in worship each Sunday.

Here's Pastor Andy. He has grown SYZ church to over 10000 members in 5 years with a regular Sunday attendance of 6000.

Here's Joe. You don't need to know anything about him. Just trust me.

Who would you listen to?

Mark said...

B Nettles,

Let me take your second intro and re-write it to along the lines of what I'm thinking.

Here's Pastor Andy. He has grown SYZ church to over 10000 members in 5 years with a regular Sunday attendance of 6000.

Becomes:

Here's Pastor Andy. God has blessed his ministry at SYZ church allowing him to shepherd a larger than average flock.

I'm just making an observation. I understand to a point the need to say why a certain person is speaking. However, if a man meets the qualifications of a pastor and has been pastoring is that not enough?

There is also the point that the "accomplishments" of a certain person overshadow biblical discernment which allows a "whatever they say goes" mentality.

The real questions seem to be how far is too far? I also wonder if we are guilty of assuming that God gets the glory in the same way we assume the gospel.

Anonymous said...

People need numbers for power and influence.

Jesus needs obedience for power and influence.

Unfortunately, we're all about the tangible in this day and age. Too bad we aren't honest about it.

Michael said...

How about, here's pastor Morgan of TDF. He's led his church into $2 million of debt, against all sound wisdom, only grown his church at an annual growth rate of less than 5% over the last 25 years, but he's a really good writer and has a bunch of books published? I'd love to hear that intro.

Lydia said...

"I believe that the question, "why should I listen to this person?" is legitimate. On the other hand, too much introduction is a warning sign."

Why should anyone have listened to Peter? Barnabas? It certainly had nothing to do with what they accomplished or their education.

A few months ago, I met a 17 year old male teen who met a 65 year old Indian woman in her Indian garb who was out walking in the park. He invited her to sit with him at a picnic bench and told her about Christ. She did not ask where he went to seminary or about his credentials. A few weeks later, she brought her family to his home for dinner with his family.

This is real. Not the stage and acclaim we are so enamoured with.