Observations from a Middle-Georgia Pastorate: The Convention

I haven’t written much over the last week, especially since the weekend. The biggest reason is that I have been pretty busy with ministry and church-related stuff.

Now, when I say “stuff,” it could be interpreted as things that don’t matter much in the big scheme of things, things that just take up time and make us look busy. That kind of stuff is bad, for we should make the best use of what time we’ve been given.

However, the stuff I’ve been doing (at least from Sunday evening through Tuesday) was centered around our denomination in the state of Georgia. This week we attended the 198th Georgia Baptist Convention Annual Meeting.

Conventions

When hear the word convention, they often think about wild parties and lots of nonsense. The convention I went to for two and a half days was anything but parties and nonsense; it was where 1,300 delegates from Southern Baptist churches all over the state of Georgia came together to do business, worship, and be encouraged.

For those of you who don’t know, congregations within the Southern Baptist Convention are independent, autonomous, self-governing churches – the SBC doesn’t tell us what to do. However, what unites us is a common set of beliefs (Baptist Faith and Message 2000) and a desire to reach the nation and the world with the Gospel by participating in the Cooperative Program. State conventions operate in similar fashion, but deal more with regional needs.

Changes

This year is a big year for Georgia Baptists! The reason is that the whole convention was restructured to become more effective in serving the needs of our churches and pastors.

If you haven’t already, you can click on the link above (or here) and see exactly what’s going on. But if you are short on time and/or curiosity, let me sum things up with a few bullet points.

  • The Georgia Baptist Mission Board has been restructured into FIVE main ministry areas:
    • Georgia Baptist Women
    • Research and Development
    • Strategic Church Planting
    • Church Strengthening
    • Pastor Wellness
  • The Georgia Baptist Mission Board is now regionalized into six new areas. Each region will have a team of consultants that are serving our pastors, their families, and churches. Each region team includes consultants from:
    • Evangelism, Missions, Next Gen, Discipleship, & Worship and Music.
  • The Georgia Baptist Mission Board is committed to three guiding principles:
    • Pastors Are Our Heroes
    • Churches Are Our Priority
    • Georgia Is Our Mission Field

Why the Changes?

As stated in the video you can watch on the website, the main reason for all the changes in the structure and guiding principles of the convention is that there are over 7 million lost people in Georgia. We have to get “wiser, stronger, and more efficient in reaching them.”

There is a great need for discipleship. However, you can’t be a disciple of Jesus unless you are a follower of Jesus! We must get back to the primary mission of the Church, which was the primary mission of Jesus: “For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10).

I am proud to be a Georgia pastor. It is a great honor to be counted among those who will recommit to “making a big deal about Jesus” in the communities where we serve, and beyond.

Georgia pastors standing to be blessed with prayer.

11 Comments

Filed under baptist, Christianity, Church, ministry, Southern Baptist

11 responses to “Observations from a Middle-Georgia Pastorate: The Convention

  1. I knew you had been away. Not any telepathic remove viewing or anything, I just knew. I don’t expect to hear much from you till January. With Christmas coming on, i would bet you have meetings with the board to set up the schedule and events and such to organize for the Christmas season and outreach. And Likely plans for a decorating the church, having a Meal, taking in shoe boxes for the needy doing a food drive, handing out christmas cards and First time Invites to special events Possibly a night of music with snacks and hot chocolate. And of course a plan to thank everyone for a year of hard work , and all that doesn’t include all the teaching and preaching and visiting and family events. And while I know you knew Christmas is coming, I bet it still feels like there is nothing planned and everything is up in the air. So good luck with all that LoL. If you don’t blog a lot or at all, I think its understandable. If you survive with all your limbs and some hair, you’ll be lucky.

  2. If you stop paying them are you still a member?

    It’s been so long since I was in the SBC I’ve sort of forgotten how it works.

  3. Here is an Idea for you and your Denomination. Start a Reconciliation Project. Churches get a banner and a sticker or certificate maybe even some money from the district IF they meet criteria for evangelism. The Banner would be ” Part of the Reconciliation”
    The list of requirements would be: to have 80% of the following.
    1) having 4 outreaches per year based on the 4 holidays, Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving and Summer Break. And pastoral sermons and education on Evangelism as well as at least 4 Salvation messages a year.
    2) having contact methods to the community. a) flyer at the door, b) food bank or clothing outreach c) small groups run by delegated leaders.,
    3) Have some type of Celebrate Recovery or Mens Group, Womans Group, hockey team or baseball team with intentional (5 minute bible study/talk)
    4) Have a social media presence, website, invites, and tools for parishioners online to share with friends and family with easy access mission orientated. to have online sermons, Online Youth events and video taping of youth events.
    5) A youth group, a Mid week whole church Pioneers or scouts type event, prayer and bible study etc.
    6) Free Bibles in the church, Tasteful tracts on hand, Literature in the Pew for needs and contacts.
    7) Church participation in Other peoples events like a Christmas Parade, a connection to a ball team that is not christian. A clean up the neighbour hood event or something the community is doing each year to plug Christians into these areas to make connections., Offering the church as a place to meet afterwards.
    8) that the board and church have a 5 year plan of evangelism re-visited every 6 months. or after each major event.

    Something like that. I just tossed that out there but Its been on my mind to push Churches to have a means to get their ducks in a row and to have goals concerning evangelism.

    Something to think about in the new year. Its what most churches do to a point but its an undertaking to set it in motion and measure results and quality of service. One could imagine the positive impact if the Denominations around the country adopted some sort of plan like the above. And encouraged the delegation of duties to make it happen.

  4. Good morning.
    I had a few good Ideas pop into my mind these last few days and had some serious dreams last night. I have been sick so I have been sleeping more and that means my mind has been churning. Ergo the Ideas.
    The Ideas:
    1) Bible Memorization for evangelism and christian character. ( I remember as a youth this one special bible study group I attended where we worked on memorization verses and the basics of doctrine. ) We would study and memorize on our own time the Romans road and salvation scriptures and the group would take the time to hear us quote a verse or two. I took that into my Pioneer club class. I was teaching 10 year old boys. We simply would memorize a verse and they would get a kinder egg. If they did 5 verses they got a football or baseball. every 5 another ball or bat etc. and every verse an egg. (I know you want to sign up!) and at the end of the year I gave away getto blasters for those who could give all of the verses back to me . I had two of 10 that did. And I gave away several balls. and many kinder eggs. I remember these verses and those from my child hood today. They are like the foundation of the house. Built and you forget you have the foundation but if it wasn’t for that, you couldn’t even have a kitchen or bathroom.
    2) I remember when travelling through the states I stopped in at a Nazarene church and they were just about to leave the church to go evangelize. Apparently they did every other week. One week was to discuss evangelism and method, and the next week was outreach. They did everything from going to nursing homes to street preaching, to door knocking to helping the poor. It looked to me like a very bold intense method.
    3) Our church in Oshawa goes to a seniors home once a month to provide a service. I used to do this in my youth preaching for a seniors home. I did that on my own and played the piano myself, but when the church does it as a ministry it fires them up and helps them be christians in the world to other people. part of evangelism is being a christian. (who knew.) And realizing its not about attacking people with the gospel but helping them with the gospel, converting those who cant help your church and who might die soon also becomes a priority.

    Now to go write a Op on how Evolution is a Hoax!

    • Evolution is definitely a hoax. That’s for sure. I’d also say it’s a desperate, straw-grabbing wish list of any explanation that could numb the convicted heart.

      • Sorry to blast you with Text. As I am doing my own work flashes of Ideas keep hitting me. And a warning for you. And I know you know we know this already. If you or any group wants to turn the wheel in the church and enlist a whole group of people to do a new set of things, obligating them and making things change, They might kick you out. You moved the toaster to the right one inch How Dare You! It goes here. So, IF you create a panel to discuss these things and sort of lead with a few Ideas, make up a few groups out of a panel of people and they bring back those Ideas as their Ideas fleshed out, you might get more support. I have felt the swing of the door before, but it didn’t dawn on me until this last moment. I possibly could have inadvertently placed you in front of a mac truck.

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