Thursday, June 22, 2006

“The SBC Needs An Attitude Shift”

Colossians 3:12-14,
“Therefore, God’s chosen ones, holy and loved, put on heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, accepting one another and forgiving one another if anyone has a complaint against another. Just as the Lord has forgiven you, so also you must forgive. Above all, put on love, the perfect bond of unity.”

Colossians 4:6,
”Your speech should always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you should answer each person.”

If anyone studies the growth trend of the Southern Baptist Convention over the last twenty years they would see a denomination headed for trouble. There has been a renewed emphasis of evangelism and baptism in the last couple of years. As of now, there has been no major dent made into the declining numbers we see in the Southern Baptist Convention. I believe there are several issues that need to be dealt with to change that trend. In this article I want to focus on the SBC need for an attitude change.

I believe the first change that must happen for the SBC to become Kingdom focused again is to have an attitude shift. Sadly, I have been apart of the problem. The problem is that we haven’t been Christian in our attitudes toward one another and toward the world. Several years ago I was having lunch with Dr. Bill Tanner, former president of the Home Mission Board, and asked him, “Dr. Tanner how did you make it through the conservative resurgence without any battle scars?” He said, “The reason is because I believed that I could be conservative and Christian at the same time.” If we are going to become a force in reaching the world for Christ, I believe we must return to a Christian attitude. This isn’t an attack against any current leader because I know that many of the people that serve our convention are compassionate men, but I do want to sound a challenge for every Baptist to examine their own attitude toward other believers and the world.

My Confession

I have been part of the problem. I have needed an attitude shift for a long time and recently it has become my desire. God has shown me so much grace and I show so little. For example, when I have listened to other people preach. I have destroyed them because they didn’t do it like me. Why couldn’t I just enjoy hearing God’s Word? The reason is because there wasn’t much grace in my heart. I believe that I have needed and our convention needs a grace revival. We need to treat each other with the grace that we have been given by God. Where much grace has been given, much grace is expected.

I’m also convicted of my lack of patience with people. God is still showing His incredible patience and I’m so impatient with others. At times I get frustrated with the cashier at a store because they are taking a long time or when someone is telling a long story about a subject I don’t care about. I believe our convention would be better off if we were patient with one another. We talk about loving one another, but love is first patient.

Lastly, I’m convicted of an unhealthy desire for perfection. Why do I expect perfection from others and crucify them when they don’t live up to my expectation. I’m called to forgive as I have been forgiven. Matter of fact, none of us will get to heaven because of perfection, but because of God’s grace and mercy. Don’t misunderstand, God deserves our best, but we serve Him through His mercy. If we could be perfect then we wouldn’t need Christ. Matter of fact, I’m amazed at how much God does through a person who makes as many mistakes as I do. So I have decided to not worry about people who aren’t perfect in my church and in my convention, but will try to see them through the eyes of mercy so that I can see God do amazing things.

I believe when our attitude becomes as much of an issue as our theology, our convention will be on its way back to being Kingdom focused. All of us need to place our attitudes before Christ until we treat people as He did. Christ gave us grace, showed us patience, continues to forgive us, and may He continue to use us. I pray that God will give us this type of an attitude shift.


Blogger Kevin Bussey said...

Great reminder for all of us!


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