Southeastern’s president, Danny Akin, said, “What is at stake is the fact that business as usual is not working well. We’ve been losing ground for 50 years and it became obvious in recent years.
“It’s about penetrating lostness and getting to gospel to the unreached and underserved areas of the world.”
Akin, along with Southeastern alumnus Johnny Hunt, encouraged the attendees of a luncheon sponsored bythewebsiteBaptist21 to recognize the need for a recommitment to the Great Commission, even at the cost of established programs. However, rather than pastors only exhorting their congregations to rethink “business as usual,” Hunt said pastors must also be worthy of emulation in their own actions and habits. “We really are looking to make some significant differences. I want to start with me. There’s got to be more emulation to go with our exhortation. I want to pass it on to the generation coming behind me,” he said.
Pastor Jimmy Scroggins said, “The convention exists to serve the local churches. The churches don’t exist to serve the convention. It’s about what is the highest and best use of God’s money. All of our agencies are going to have to learn to compete for our dollars.”
Akin said the Southern Baptist Convention needs to do more than just reach lostness in the southern states. “We need to be penetrating the west, the northeast, the northwest and break out of our regionalism so we become a convention of churches that really is fulfilling the Great Commission.”
David Platt, pastor of The Church at Brookhills in Birmingham, Ala., said, “The reality of what we do as a convention is a product of what we’re doing as churches. The reality is – it has to start in our local churches.”
The change that must begin in local churches is a change of strategy, said Ronnie Floyd, pastor of First Baptist Church of Springdale and The Church at Pinnacle Hills, Ark. “Southern Baptists have got to change our strategies and go where the people are,” he said, addressing the reality that two-thirds of Southern Baptists funds go to reach one-third of the population. “What we’re trying to do is get dollars and cents to one thing – penetrating lostness.”