Summit is So Much More Than a Meeting

My No. 1 desire is to see the spiritually lost people of Tennessee won to saving faith in Jesus Christ, and it is weeks like last week that give me hope that together as Tennessee Baptists, we might see that happen.

Summit, our annual gathering of Tennessee Baptists, is so much more than just a meeting. It has become a rich time of worship, challenge, fellowship, focus, business and celebrating what God is doing across Tennessee to bring people to salvation through Tennessee Baptists and their churches. Continue reading “Summit is So Much More Than a Meeting”

‘We Serve Churches’ — It Isn’t Just a Slogan

You shared your concerns.

We carefully listened.

And now I want to prayerfully respond on behalf of the Tennessee Baptist Mission Board.

Several of us from the TBMB have recently engaged with over 500 Tennessee Baptists during nearly two dozen listening sessions across our state. We initiated these sessions with the sole purpose of learning from you and using what we heard to shape how we as a mission board serve your churches.  For us, “We serve churches” is more than just a mission statement that hangs on a wall. It is our mission. Continue reading “‘We Serve Churches’ — It Isn’t Just a Slogan”

Listening Sessions — Twenty Towns, Two Ears

Step off the elevator on the second floor of your Church Support Center in Franklin, turn right and you’ll be looking straight at this large reminder: “Tennessee Baptist Mission Board is a Christ-centered, field-focused, Great Commission organization created by Tennessee Baptists to serve Tennessee Baptist Churches. We value relationships, innovation, stewardship and excellence.”

Our mission statement for many years has been, “Making Christ Known by Serving Churches.”

What does the TBMB do? Simply put, we serve churches. Continue reading “Listening Sessions — Twenty Towns, Two Ears”

Your GOTM Giving and Your Kingdom Impact

I spend a lot of time crisscrossing the state on Interstate 40, so much so that I jokingly call it “Randy Davis Boulevard.” The landscape constantly passes, but rarely changes. It’s the people, however, who make Tennessee special.

And the people change. One way we change is our increasing numbers. Our population is rapidly growing. People are relocating here from around the country and around the world bringing racial, ethnic, economic, religious — and non-religious — diversity. There are more dissimilar people now living in Tennessee than ever before.

However, as significant as our diversity is, it is more important to focus on what we have in common. People need Jesus — to be saved, baptized and set on the road to discipleship. Our population is growing faster than the gospel is advancing. The result is that every year our state is becoming more spiritually lost. The reality: any way you slice it, Tennessee is a mission field.

I’ve been saying that for the past several years. It’s a belief based on what I see as I travel Tennessee’s interstates and backroads. Continue reading “Your GOTM Giving and Your Kingdom Impact”

Anti-Abortion to Comprehensively Pro-Life

i-stand-petitionThis one has always been clear cut for me. Any person with a moral compass, common sense and even a little knowledge of abortion’s horrors is against the taking of a life in the womb.

Unfortunately, we live in a culture that not only demands the right to murder these sweet gifts of God, it celebrates the murderous practice. The image is seared in my mind of celebration that followed New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s signing into law late-term abortions up to the point of birth. How perverse is that? I never want to see that celebration in Tennessee, and as Tennessee Baptists we not only have an obligation to our Lord to protect unborn children, we have an opportunity to stand and be counted for life. Continue reading “Anti-Abortion to Comprehensively Pro-Life”

Count the Days and Make Them Count

calendar-page-handI love sunrises and sunsets. I don’t think there’s anything more beautiful than a sunrise in all its glory or a sunset in all its splendor. The fact that our Lord has given us another day of abundant life on our way to eternal life is a special gift.

My friend, Paul Clark, Jr., loved the hymn, “For the Beauty of the Earth.” I love it too. “For the beauty of the earth; For the beauty of the skies, For the love which from our birth, over and around us lies, Lord of all, to thee we raise, this our hymn of grateful praise.” Continue reading “Count the Days and Make Them Count”

Reasons for Optimism About the SBC’s Future

road country skylinePresident George W. Bush once stood in front of a group of people trying to make sense of the world that seemed to be coming undone around them. “One thing is for certain,” he said. “We did not ask for these challenges, but we will meet them. I say that with certainty because this nation has strong foundations and won’t be shaken. In this hour of our country’s history we stand in the need of prayer.”

That comment was made at the first post-9/11 National Prayer Breakfast and prior to the beginning of the longest war, the war on terrorism, in our nation’s history. I was at that prayer breakfast. I saw the resolute courage in our president’s eyes; I heard it in the tone of his voice. Continue reading “Reasons for Optimism About the SBC’s Future”

Change Happens but the Mission Remains

Life way buildingThe March 20 headline splashed across Christianity Today, The Tennessean and National Public Radio was one few in Southern Baptist life thought they’d ever read. There were variations, but in effect they all communicated the same thing: “LifeWay Christian Resources, the largest Christian retail chain in America, plans to close all 170 stores this year and shift its offerings entirely online.”

It was a sad day that revealed the lifelong emotional attachment many Southern Baptists have had with the bookstore. Frankly, generations of us have never known a world without a Baptist Book Store or a Lifeway Christian Store. Many expressed their anger with statements about how the bookstore was more than just books. It was the people who worked there — who ministered there — who made the stores what they were. Continue reading “Change Happens but the Mission Remains”

Somebody Tell the Pastor He’s No Cowboy

cowboy boots bibleToo often pastors develop an “old cowboy” mentality where they feel they need to “stay in the saddle” at all costs. Unfortunately, too many church goers feel their pastors should be old cowboys. That notion of pastoral “toughness” may sound romantic, but it rarely – if ever – ends well. Set aside the obvious sin of pride involved; no one can spiritually, emotionally or physically sustain it.

Pastor, if you feel you’re riding that horse, I’ve got four short statements of unsolicited advice you need to hear if you, your family and your ministry are going to survive. Somebody’s got to tell you so it might as well be me. I’ve ridden in that rodeo before. Continue reading “Somebody Tell the Pastor He’s No Cowboy”

Tenn. Baptists Know the Recipe for Missions

recipe book on tableGreat Commission work is like having a balanced diet and Acts 1:8 is the recipe.

You know the recipe: “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come on you, and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” However, it is one thing to know the recipe, it is quite another to actually cook up Great Commission work. I believe Tennessee Baptists are great cooks.

April is the month we celebrate North American missions and offer support to Southern Baptist missionaries through the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering. As is so often the case, Tennessee Baptists rise to the occasion. Proof? Tennessee Baptists have given an average of over $4.4 million annually over the last five years through the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering. I believe our generosity flows because we see the need to saturate our country with the gospel. Continue reading “Tenn. Baptists Know the Recipe for Missions”