Wednesday, August 09, 2006

"Seven Questions with Dr. Jim Richards"

1. What is your greatest passion?

Since Jesus saved me at 17 years, He has been my passion. Pleasing Jesus on a daily basis is my desire. I have failed Him many times but He has never failed me.

2. In your opinion what is the main thing that must happen in the SBC to build momentum for Kingdom growth over the next 5 years.

A strong focus on church planting and evangelism is the greatest need in SBC life. The IMB has been consistent with a strategy. We need that type of strategy in North America. Starting churches that are committed to reaching the lost and reproducing while supporting the SBC giving method will impact Kingdom growth more than anything I can think of.

3. What type of relationship does the state convention have with Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary? Why should someone who feels called to ministry think about attending seminary?

a. The SBTC is a full partner with SWBTS. Southwestern is supported through the Cooperative Program. The SBTC sends on 53% of all CP operating dollars to the SBC. The seminaries receive about 23% of SBC allocation. SBTC has a scholarship fund for Hispanic Ph.D. students helping to raise more leaders for the next generation.

b. I was told as a young preacher that you can cut more wood with a sharp ax. While you might be able to get to the woods quicker if you don’t sharpen the ax, you will eventually be overtaken by someone with a sharp ax. Preparation for ministry is important.

4. If you could give one word of encouragement to every Baptist minister what would it be?

Find your strength in a personal walk with Jesus and stay close to your family. God’s work may take different forms but your personal spiritual development is where His power begins. Every pastor’s wife needs her husband to be her friend, lover, and co-laborer not just her pastor. The children need a dad. Remember the church or ministry is always secondary to those two priorities.

5. As an Executive Director of a state convention, in your opinion, what are some ways a pastor can lead his church to become more evangelistic?

Leadership by example is the best. Being a personal soul-winner is absolutely essential. A church will never rise above the pastor. Use both proven and innovative methods to reach people. Be intentional. Churches do not grow by conversion without a plan. Get a plan (from God) and work the plan.

6. What is one trend in Southern Baptist churches that has given you reason for concern? What is one trend in Southern Baptist churches that has given you reason for excitement?

“Younger leaders” is the answer for both of these.

a. Cooperation on a large scale is loosing ground. Getting and keeping a “big” partnership for missions and ministry is in jeopardy. Unfortunately, some do not see the value in the Cooperative Program.

b. Many of the newer churches have a true desire to make a difference in their areas for reaching people with the Gospel. I see commitment, fervency, and sincerity in many who are beginning in ministry. On a visit to a “20- something” church, I experienced the preaching, singing and ministry. If that is an indicator of the future, I believe Kingdom work will be fine.

7. Over the next year what are some things you hope to accomplish and how can my readers and I be praying for you?

An important opportunity is before us. We are told that 75-85% of SBC churches are plateaued or declining. We can turn this around. Under God, we must turn this around. A plan is being formulated to help these churches reverse this trend. It can happen. Pray that God will give us insight and resources to make a difference in the thousands of churches that need to be vibrant again.

Dr. Jim Richards is the Executive Director of the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention. Please visit the SBTC's Blog


Blogger OKpreacher said...

For all that are interested, I have some information for you. I didn't want to leave it as a post so I made it a comment. I will be gone till Monday. I'm attending the Willow Creek Association Leadership Summit 2006. I'm excited and it should be tons of fun. See you all on Monday.



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