The real solution for transforming our communities

Each month in the Texan, we publish a column written by the current president of the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention, who this year happens to be Todd Kaunitz, lead pastor at New Beginnings Baptist Church in Longview. As I began to edit his article for this month’s issue, I quickly noticed he wrote about something he’s written about quite a bit over the past year or so—prayer and revival. 

“Revival in the church,” he writes, “will lead to spiritual awakening in our communities.”

Kaunitz has seen this happening in his own church. We’ve previously told a tiny portion of that story in the pages of the Texan, but the gist of it is that a season of personal distress and discouragement a couple of years ago led him to cry out to the Lord and, subsequently, to lead his church to do the same. What they’ve seen since can only be described as a God thing, with hundreds coming to Christ, being baptized, and experiencing personal renewal.

You’ll also find in this issue a Q&A with Bart Barber, pastor of First Baptist Church in Farmersville and president of the Southern Baptist Convention. When I interviewed him a couple of weeks ago, I asked him how Southern Baptists might amplify their collective voice in a country that seems to stray further from God. His response: “I think the best way we amplify our voice is to share the gospel with people in our community who are lost and to help them see Jesus is the answer.”

In John 16:33, Jesus said, “These things I have spoken to you so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”

The words of each of these men, speaking about the ways communities can be transformed, collided in my mind with the fresh memory of the events of May 6, when a 33-year-old man shot and killed eight people at an outlet mall in Allen—a location I had driven past only a month before. Before we even knew the name of a single victim, the airwaves began to be filled with, frankly, what they’re always filled with: speculations, accusations, opportunistic political maneuverings, and the like. 

But none of those things will ever fix any of this. Only Jesus can fix broken people born into a broken world who live in broken communities. I wondered if the Allen shooter had ever heard or had a chance to respond to the gospel. I wondered what would happen if, as Christians, we would pour the entire weight of our devotion into prayer and sharing the gospel with one more person rather than pouring ourselves into worldly conversations about things that have exclusively spiritual solutions. 

We wring our hands about the brokenness in this world and wonder aloud about what can be done. In John 16:33, Jesus said, “These things I have spoken to you so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”

Though it seems an unlikely solution to those who don’t know Jesus, these battles—which are truly for our hearts and minds—are fought on our knees. In this world, we will undoubtedly face more tribulation. But for our tribe, we can take heart. We serve a Lord who has overcome the world. 

Digital Editor
Jayson Larson
Southern Baptist Texan
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