What can happen when we respond rather than react

What can happen when we respond rather than react

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couple of years ago, my 15-year-old son started playing rugby. He has really grown and become a good player. But recently, he called me after his team lost a close match. He was upset and began pointing out all the things everyone did wrong during the match. 

I let him rant for a few moments, then told him to take a deep breath and reminded him that there are always lessons to be learned—even in the losses.

“What lessons are there to be learned,” he asked? 

I told him that leaders don’t react. They respond.

Reaction is usually a temporary emotion to a temporary situation. Responding is an action that can lead to substantial change. When it comes to life, ministry, business, and even sports, those who react will do so almost every time circumstances change. Leaders, on the other hand, respond with forward action. 

As a state network that cooperates with our national Southern Baptist Convention, there are plenty of opportunities to react. All you have to do is spend a few moments on Twitter to see an unending display of emotional responses. As you scroll through all the gossip, slander, and half-truths, some may wonder why we cooperate.

"Friends, let’s move forward and respond—rather than react—by being a stronger network of churches than ever before."

I would rather encourage our Southern Baptists of Texas Convention network to respond rather than react. With the 2023 SBC Annual Meeting in New Orleans now behind us, here are some ways we can do that:

Prayer

We can call our people to be prayer warriors. Our churches can commit to prayer that passionately seeks the heart of the Lord. What if our network was defined by our efforts to lead others in responding with earnest prayer?

Evangelism

Rather than lament statistics about declining evangelism, what if our churches committed to leading the way in sharing the gospel? Wouldn’t it be awesome if, while others share the negative statistics and create their own narrative, SBTC churches could see a greater number of people come to Christ than ever before?

Making disciples

In a culture of chaos and confusion, we can re-engage our people and equip them to make disciples. Wouldn’t it be incredible to see disciple-making movements multiply across Texas and the world? 

Sending

More people live in our state than ever before. We desperately need to plant more churches and send out more missionaries. What if we committed to plant more churches than ever before? What if we covenanted together to call out the called and eagerly send our best to live out the mission as an extension of our church?

Partnership

The SBC has plenty of ups and downs, but we are still the greatest national network of churches anywhere. We send 3,700 missionaries to the field and plant hundreds of new churches each year. It’s an honor to partner with our six seminaries and train more than 20,000 leaders each year. The Cooperative Program is the greatest missions-giving strategy in the world. What if the SBTC committed to leaning in together and seeing God expand our influence and impact because we were focused on expanding our partnerships?

So what happened when I challenged my son to respond rather than react? He agreed, committed to responding to adversity during his next match, and ended up scoring twice to help lead his team to victory. 

Friends, let’s move forward and respond—rather than react—by being a stronger network of churches than ever before. We can set the tone and lead the way for others to follow a path of gospel-focused response. I love you and am honored to serve you. 

Executive Director
Nathan Lorick
Southern Baptists of Texas Convention
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