Here’s a Resolution: Denominations Should Stop Shooting Themselves in the Foot

The world is watching.

Dwight McKissic called the most recent SBC drama a “24-hour roller coaster ride.”

I called it shooting yourself in the foot. Again. Publicly.

What could have been a Tuesday condemnation of racism became a Wednesday mea culpa.

So, what really happened on Tuesday when the Southern Baptist Convention Committee on Resolutions offered nine resolutions on various topics but passed over Pastor McKissic’s resolution condemning the alt-right? As I conversed Tuesday night with some of the players, everyone knew that Dwight McKissic had brought a resolution, as he often does. With him regularly bringing resolutions, perhaps the Resolutions Committee had been predisposed to pass this one by—and some of the language in the resolution may have added to that.

But it’s time we see that decisions like this are more than just what happens in a room in Phoenix.

The Context

Let’s step back and look at what it means to exegete the national cultural context.

Here comes a well-publicized resolution on racism (of the alt-right, in this case). It had similarities to resolutions overwhelmingly approved in years past. But a national context is not built on the doctrine of “once-passed, always-passed.”

The number of resolutions passed on the issue of abortion (or alcohol!) testify to this. Things happen in culture that lead us to discern that we may need to speak up again.

If you’ve passed literally dozens of resolutions on alcohol, when everyone already knows where you stand, maybe another resolution on rasicm might help address some history and stereotypes. (Right now, the SBC resolutions mention alcohol four times for every one mention of racism—it’s not bad to close that gap.)

In addition, ...

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Why Each Day Matters: What Emerson and Mister Rogers Have Taught Me About Life & Gospel Opportunities

How are we using our days to point people to Jesus?

In one of his landmark essays, poet Ralph Waldo Emerson writes, “The years teach much which the days never know.” The first time I read these words, I fell in love with them, but I wasn’t sure why.

And then I had children. I have a 3 and a 5-year-old. My 5-year-old recently had her first ballet recital. As I looked in my rearview mirror and saw her all dressed up in her glittery tutu and hair up in a bun, I shuddered. It seemed as though it was only yesterday I was changing her diaper. I blinked and lost five years.

In the book of Ecclesiastes, we track with the author as he continually cries out, “Vanity of vanities!” and ponders the meaning of life and our existence in it.

Time. Perhaps it’s something we all want more of, and yet it eludes us. Even Psalm 144:4 reminds us, “Man is like a breath; his days are like a passing shadow.” Time. It’s something we try to hold tightly and yet too often we get lost in such busy-ness that in the blink of an eye, our day, our week, our month…is gone.

There is no place where I feel the passing of days so acutely as in my desire to share Jesus with others. Those “days” which Emerson so poignantly talks about are the necessary ingredient to lead to the “years” that will teach us much. How are we using our days for God’s honor and glory? How are we using them to point people to Jesus?

The Bible is oddly silent on many of the days and years of Jesus when He walked this earth. But in the middle of one of these times of silence, we read, “And the child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom. And the favor of God was upon him” (Luke 2:40).

These are the days we seek to have, aren’t they? ...

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Five Leadership Axioms That Shape Your Ministry

Healthy leaders make for healthy organizations.

1. Value People More Than Tasks

This first leadership axiom is one that I will occasionally just put on a post-it note on the top of my computer. Slow down and see people. Because I'm such a driven leader, I can be task before people by nature. I am sure there are others who feel the same way, right? Yet leadership is all about people, influence, and relationships. It has taken me some time to learn that I can get a lot done, but if I'm bulldozing people in the process, I'm not an effective leader. Leadership means taking people along the way and I know that I need to be intentional to slow down, to see people, to engage. When I do this, the results of valuing people over tasks have a far greater reward than the reward of knowing the task is complete. This is more Christ-like anyway and Jesus’ concern for people needs to be reflected in my leadership form and function.

2. Lead Yourself Well to Lead Others Better

One of the things that I am just deeply passionate about is the concept of self-leadership, as I believe that it has a direct correlation to our ability to lead others more effectively. The importance of leaders being intentional about our spiritual, emotional, physical, and relational well-being cannot be understated. Our inability to honestly evaluate our lives holistically may eventually disqualify us from the race God has called us to run. Good leaders tend to observe various dimensions of their life and recognize, "If I'm not leading myself well in that area, I am not going to have overflow to lead my teams, and those I have influence with." Self-leadership benefits the team and organization ultimately.

3. Love Learning and Be Intentional Not to Plateau

Every leader has their ceiling, ...

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A Brief History of Recent Movements

7 constants representing 2 commitments

Let’s go on a short journey exploring the recent history of significant movements that have shaped what we’re seeing in the West today.

This history is important to digest as we look forward to the possibilities that lie ahead—with God! Less than 50 years ago, a movement was birthed to reach a specific subculture in the United States: the hippies. At a time when America was infatuated with drugs, sex, and rock-n-roll, there was a great awakening of individuals who decided to reject that lifestyle and seek God instead. This was the Jesus People movement of the 1960s and 1970s.

When Kenn Gulliksen was sent out by Calvary Chapel in 1974 to start a church in West Los Angeles, no one would’ve guessed or even imagined that less than 50 years later, there would be over 2,400 churches in 95 countries that would share the same name: Vineyard.

Eight years after Gulliksen planted
 the first Vineyard church, there were at least seven Vineyard churches in this loosely defined network. It was at this point, in 1982, when John Wimber became the first director of this growing Vineyard movement.

Sure, your church may not be 
Vineyard and may not affirm all they do, but you can’t deny the tangible, movemental impact they have had planting new churches. This impact is, without question, one of their greatest attributes. In fact, here are seven constants to church planting that John Wimber outlined and lived by as he led the Vineyard movement to plant over 1,000 churches in their lifetime.

1) Constantly Tell Your Story

When church planters were getting ready to launch, Wimber would commonly teach them to share why they were there.

Tell everyone why you are there. And once you’ve told them ten times—tell them ...

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The BGC Gospel Life Podcast (Ep. 19)

Start each week with this encouragement to show and share the love of Jesus.

Episode Nineteen | Developing a Spirit of Acceptance When We Reach Out to the Unchurched

Rick Richardson, Professor at Wheaton College and head of academic programs and research at the Billy Graham Center, shares a story of a recent evangelism encounter. Rick explains that once unchurched people know they won’t feel judged or pressured by Christians, their hearts warm to the gospel and the opportunities for faith sharing are endless.

Episode Eighteen | Two Practical Ways to Show and Share the Love of Jesus with Others

Wes Holland, Program Administrator of the Rural Matters Institute at the Billy Graham Center, reminds us that God went on a rescue mission for us, and that we must do the same for others. He shares two challenges that will help us truly serve God. These two simple steps – being present instead of just occupying space and writing down our gospel moments in order to share them with others – can make all the difference in seeing those around us come to faith.

Episode Seventeen | When It Seems as Though God Is Up to Nothing

Laurie Nichols, Director of Communications at the Billy Graham Center, reminds us that even when we don’t see God working, He is. And if we remain faithful in prayer and seek ways to reach out to those who don’t yet know the love of God, He will open doors.

Stay the course, friends. Your work is not in vain (Heb. 6:10). Keep working as though it all depends on you (Col. 3:23), and keeping praying as though it all depends on God (Eph. 6:18).

Episode Sixteen | Are Our Gospel Conversations Only Empty Words?

Kerilee Van Schooten, Church Evangelism Research and Ministries Coordinator at the Billy Graham Center, reminds us that our evangelism must be authentic and real, or people ...

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