Five takeaways from the Southern Baptist Convention

First I would like to express my appreciation to Southern Baptists for joining us in the greatest outreach effort in the history of the SBC. More people professed Jesus as their personal Savior during Crossover than ever before. We give God all the glory! There were numerous meaningful events preceding and following the SBC that did not get as much attention. These gatherings benefited the churches. Thank you to the SBTC staff and churches who contributed to make these ministry activities a blessed experience.

Every year churches have the opportunity to make decisions at the Southern Baptist Convention that literally will impact millions of people. This year was no different. Major actions were taken that could help shape a better day for the SBC. I am hopeful for a renewal of cooperation among the 47,000 churches. In my optimism I found five takeaways that encouraged me. 

1. We are undeterred from our missionary focus – The Southern Baptist Convention remains a group of churches that finds commonality in getting the gospel to those who need Jesus. This was evident from the Evangelism Task Force and the Discipleship Study Group reports. The IMB commissioning service pointed us to the unreached. The Great Commission remains great among Southern Baptists.

2. Decorum prevailed – Tough topics were discussed with generally positive decorum. Although there were tense moments, from the person in the seat to the president’s moderating a Christ-like attitude prevailed for the most part. Messengers exhibited the desire for fairness in deliberations. People were allowed to share their concerns before the body. 

3. Opinions expressed in resolutions brought clarity to issues – Southern Baptists’ renounced racism, affirmed human dignity, addressed abuse and called for holiness. There was much more but there is no doubt about Southern Baptists’ commitment to a biblical inerrancy that calls for a biblical sufficiency to instruct believers to walk in the Spirit.

4. The future is now – A generational shift was evident not just by the election of J.D. Greear but by the number of attendees who were of the rising generation. For years there has been handwringing about the absence of younger leaders. This year started a new trajectory for the SBC. Younger leaders are participating in the life of the convention in the greatest numbers I have ever observed. 

5. God’s people worked and witnessed – this was evidenced by the staff and volunteers of the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention. From the record attendance at the SBTC reception to the partnership with the ERLC for the Global Hunger Relief run, every effort was made to be a good host to the thousands who came to Texas. The SBTC was allowed to host the prayer room for the convention. Many SBC organizations expended energy to accommodate their fellow Southern Baptists. Numerous service people in the convention center were touched by the gospel. Our witness as Southern Baptists was strengthened, not diminished.

As we go back to our churches we can be confident the entities will carry on the work of the convention under the watchful eye of Southern Baptists. Participation through the Cooperative Program is vital for the excelling of ministry expansion through the SBC. Join me in praying for God’s favor to be upon us as a convention to see the furtherance of the gospel. As God’s Spirit leads us through his Word, we can believe that our best days are still ahead. Let’s stay together and keep moving forward with the gospel!

Executive Director Emeritus
Jim Richards
Southern Baptists of Texas Convention
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