Last week the trustees of the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention elected Pastor David Platt to take over the reigns of what is arguably our most important organization. As he takes over this enormous responsibility I would like to suggest a few ways that every Southern Baptist can help to make this a smooth and effective transition.
Pray for David Platt and his family – I think that this goes with out saying but yet it stills needs said. The truth of the matter is that we all know that we need to pray for Dr. Platt and his family but I would like to urge us all to actually do it. Let’s bath him and his family in constant prayer for the next 30 days.
Pray for our missionaries around the world– once again this goes without saying but it still needs said. Our missionaries are on the front line Kingdom work. They labor in dangerous and difficult places. They need our prayer’s every single day.
Commit/Recommit ourselves to the cooperative program giving– if you’re not Southern Baptist you might not know what I mean but Cooperative program is the one of the ways Southern Baptists fund our missions work. Over the past several years we have been watching the average percentage that churches give to Cooperative program steadily decline. I would like to challenge every Pastor in every Southern Baptist Church to lead their church to increase the amount they give to CP next year, even if it means having to make sacrifices in other areas such as salaries or upgrades to equipment and buildings.
Get prepared for Lottie Moon and make it the best year ever– The truth of the matter is that the IMB has had to turn down missionaries because of the lack of funds. Let’s make sure that doesn’t happen this year.
Agree that God is sovereign and that David Platt is God’s man to lead IMB – There are a lot of people in the SBC who might have made good leaders for the IMB but the simple truth is that they weren’t elected. God is sovereign and David Platt is the man for the job so let’s all agree to give him our full support and to work together to fulfill the mission of taking the gospel to every tribe, nation and tongue.
Easter will be here in just fourteen days and this is one the greatest seasons for growth in the life of the church. The weeks leading up to Easter give us an opportunity for our own spiritual growth and renewal plus they offer us an unparalleled opportunity for inviting unchurched people to come to church. Let me share with you three steps that every Christian can take to experience Spiritual growth and renewal during the next several weeks.
1.) Renew- The days leading up the celebration of Easter provide us with a great opportunity to examine our own lives and experience a personal renewal in our spiritual lives. I find that in my own life, the lead up to Easter is always a time of growing spiritual intensity and spiritual sensitivity, therefore, this is always a good time to concentrate my efforts on spiritual renewal. Here are just a couple of suggestions for how you can pursue this in your own life:
Take a Spiritual Inventory– Before we can experience renewal and revival in our spiritual lives we need to take an honest examination of our lives. Click here to be taken to a tool entitled “Heart Searching for Prayer, Preparation and Personal Revival.” I have used this tool many times in my own life and have found it to be very helpful in allowing the Holy Spirit to examine my life. Recently, I shared a post entitled “Escaping the Idolatry of Ministry” where I share a little more information about how to take a spiritual inventory.
Get alone with God for an extended period of time– We live in a busy world and sometimes we find it difficult to carve our time to really devote to our spiritual lives. I find that it is helpful to periodically carve out an entire day or even just an afternoon where I can get away from the hustle and bustle of life to simply concentrate on my own spiritual life.
Read the Gospels– One of my favorite things to do in the lead up to Easter is to read through all four of the Gospels. My suggestion would be to spend the next month thoroughly saturating yourself in the gospels by reading one each week for the next month. Start in Matthew today and read straight through it. Next week concentrate on Mark, then Luke, then John in the following weeks. This would not only offer a nice lead up to Easter but would also keep your focused on Christ in the weeks after.
2.) Invite- Sit down and make a list of the five to ten of your friends, neighbors and co-workers who don’t go to church. Make a commitment to pray for each of them everyday and to invite them to church on Easter Sunday. Statistics show that 80% of people who visit a church for the first time come because someone they knew invited them. Easter is the single best Sunday of the year to invite unchurches people to come to church. Use every available means at your disposal to invite your friends and family to come to church this Easter. Call them, email them, Facebook them, visit them, do whatever it takes but make sure that you take the personal responsibility for inviting as many people as you can to come to church with you on Easter Sunday.
3.) Connect Getting someone to visit the church for the first time is really the easy part. But once they come we need to take on the responsibility of helping them to connect to the church. If you invite a friend to come to church and they come, it is your responsibility to help them get connected by introducing them by inviting them to sit with you during the services, introducing them to other people in the church and following up with them throughout the week. The simple truth is that unless people connect to other members of the church within the first few days after their first visit, they are unlikely to come back.