In November, the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention will mark 25 years of answered prayer at its Annual Meeting at Cross City Church in Euless. Each month until then, the Texan will feature a brief conversation with past SBTC presidents about how they have seen God answer their prayers for the convention over the past quarter century and how they are praying God will bless the convention moving forward. This month, we feature past SBTC president Juan Sanchez (2017-2019).
What were some of your earliest prayers for the SBTC?
When I came to pastor in Texas in 2005, I was greeted by a mailout from the SBTC warning that the two greatest dangers facing us and our gospel reach were universalism and Calvinism. Frankly, it made me not want to be a part of the convention. My first prayers were asking God for wisdom if we should even be a part. But that prompted me to begin praying that the Lord would open the eyes of SBTC leaders that we have one mission together—to see unbelieving people come to faith in Jesus Christ and become true worshipers of the Father. My earliest prayers were for unity around the mission of the church, knowing we can do more together than we can apart and that our convention would realize that all of us who believe the same gospel have a lot more in common that we realize. So, rather than leave the SBTC, I decided we would lean in.
How have you seen God answer some of your prayers regarding the convention?
The Lord answered our prayers in clear ways very quickly. He allowed us to establish relationships with SBTC leaders and pastors who do not share our [church’s] Calvinism but share our passion to reach unbelievers. Those relationships allowed us to build trust. That trust led to increased participation in the convention. We no longer felt like we were a threat, but we genuinely felt like a part of the convention. Over the years, it has been a joy to see how the Lord has knit our hearts together as Southern Baptists in Texas pursuing the glory of Christ by fulfilling the Great Commission together.
During your service as president, how were you praying for the convention?
My prayers as president were not that different. I prayed that SBTC pastors and churches would realize we can do more together than we can in isolation; that we don’t need to be suspicious of one another; that so long as we ground our ministry in the sufficiency of Scripture, we can honor the Lord and fulfill our ministry.
What is your prayer for the next 25 years of the SBTC?
Now, more than ever, I pray that the Lord would remind Southern Baptists in Texas that we who believe the gospel and trust in the sufficiency of the inerrant Word of God are in a war, not with each other but against the principalities and powers in the heavenly places. We are in a war against the enemy for the souls of men, women, and children. As we fight this war together, we will bring glory to God.