#5) Southern Baptist have a hopeful future if our denomination at all levels begins to reflect the demographic and racial makeup of our nation and the nations.
Southern Baptists were born, in part, out of a racist context and have a racist heritage. That will forever be to our shame. To deny or ignore this is foolish. Actually it is dishonest. By God’s grace and the Spirit’s conviction, we publically repented of this sin in 1995 on our 150th anniversary, but there is still much work to be done. To my utter dismay, some still refuse to own up to our past transgression, perhaps because the seeds of this sin are still scattered across too much of our denomination, especially in the South where most of our people still live.
We must confront the sobering reality that the Southern Baptist Convention remains a mostly middle-class, mostly white network of mostly declining churches in the South. If you doubt what I am saying look around today, visit most State Conventions, attend an annual Southern Baptist Convention meeting, or drop in on 99% of our churches on any given Sunday. We can integrate the military, athletics and the workplace, but we can’t integrate the body of Christ! The lack of urgency and concern in this area is mind-boggling. It is spiritually inexcusable.
Until we get right about race I am convinced God will not visit us with revival. The plea for a Great Commission Resurgence will not move heaven, and it will be scoffed at by the world as a sham.
Starting at home we must pursue a vision for our churches that looks like heaven. Yes, we must go around the world to reach Asians and Europeans, Africans and South Americans. But we must also go across the street, down the road, and into every corner of our local mission field where God in grace has brought the nations to us.
Now please hear carefully what I am about to say. I plead with you to consider its merit. This call to reach the ethne here in America and across the globe will demand a greater commitment and a greater devotion, especially on the part of men. Reaching, for example, Muslim men, will require Christian men! More men must have a Christ-centered passion and gospel-centered priorities. More men must leave our nation and go to the nations like our sisters in Christ have been doing for generations! This will demand a radical reorienting of lifestyles, choices, commitments, and perspectives. Business as usual as a denomination and as individuals will not be an option if a real Great Commission Resurgence is to take place. Fathers and grandfathers must live lives that will inspire their children, especially their sons and grandsons, to do something great for God. Step up to the plate men. The time is now. The need has never been greater!