Just a few thoughts on the 2009 Southern Baptist Convention in Louisville. Several have already written helpful responses to this year’s convention (see Ascol, Cross, Rainer, Reid, IMonk, and Stetzer). Here, I will express my own response. I will give you three reasons I attended this year and three thoughts as I departed this year’s convention.
Many reasons excited young Southern Baptists and provided optimism for this year’s convention. Young Southern Baptists have not always been excited or optimistic about attending conventions. Even so, I know too many friends who think it odd that I would even attend this year. Judging by their comments, many of my pastor friends would rather preach a funeral than to leave their city and church (where they are welcome) to go to a Southern Baptist Convention (where they believe they are unwelcome). In this case, perception is reality. Yet I had three reasons for attending this year.
(1) To attend a couple meetings with church planters and church planting churches. I have a dream of mobilizing churches and planters to partner together for the planting of more missional and confessional Baptist churches that have the DNA to plant more churches across the states and beyond. I was privileged to meet several amazing churches and planters who are in love with God and the Gospel and, as David Platt preached, willing “to die in their devotion,” rather than ‘to die in their religion.”
(2) To spend time with a hero of mine, John Keith (my father-in-law), who has been pastoring SBC churches for nearly 40 years in KY, TN, FL, and UT. I was overwhelmed with the time spent with my father-in-law. As we witnessed the events, and listened to the sermons, we stood together as God moved his heart, and mine. We disagreed graciously with each other on some points of importance during the convention, yet we were always determined to agree together on faithfulness to Gospel ministry. In truth, he has always been more patient with me, loving me despite my flaws and always willing to go the extra mile to coach me back to Gospel faithfulness. Many times this week I prayed the older SBC generations would love my generation as sons and seek unity over the Gospel. It was powerful to hear Ed Stetzer make that point in his message. Continue reading