(Photo: The Christian Post/Sonny Hong)
BALTIMORE – Southern Baptists are sharing the Gospel with the wrong community of people, said Texas-based pastor John Meador at the Southern Baptist Convention's Annual Meeting on Wednesday.
"Is it right that we spend more time talking and writing about the gospel to other gospel-saturated people than we do to a gospel-starved community?" Meador, who is senior pastor at First Baptist Church in Euless, Texas, asked.
Meador urged pastors and church leaders to fulfill their ministerial duties by sharing the Gospel to people whose eternal fate is at stake.
His sermon comes at a time when SBC membership is in decline for the seventh year in a row. Currently, total membership stands at 15.7 million, down from 15.9 million in 2012. Meador suggested that numbers are low because many pastors don't share the Gospel with those "heading to hell."
He also noted that many Christians are not present in "the field" where generations of people are unchurched and lost.
"... We're clearly not there. We're not getting the gospel into the fields of America, we're abandoning them and the reason for that is because our army has fled. We have no heart for the captives," Meador diagnosed.
Another reason that most people do not evangelize, he said, is because oftentimes they do not have the confidence and are afraid the non-believer will not be receptive. Or they simply think evangelizing is meant for seminary-educated individuals. He also said Christians tend to be far removed from forming relationships with non-believers, which makes it difficult to approach someone about the Gospel.
However, he emphasized that whatever their reasons to not evangelize, Christians have a duty to share God's message because "the soul next door is as equal as the soul on the other side of the world."
"There are people who will never darken the doorways of your church until you go to them, that's where we are letting them down," said Meador.
In order for non-believers to embrace the true Gospel, Meador also touched base on steering away from filtering Biblical principles.
"The Gospel must be clarified but it must be communicated outside the walls of the church. Communicate first, clarify when necessary. We contend earnestly for the faith when the heart of our faith is being threatened by heresy and perversion but we communicate the gospel at all time.We don't halt the communication," said Meador.
He added, "What's it going to take for the concept of your unreached neighbor to become totally intolerable for you?... I don't even know sometimes if we're capable of that kind of anger or if we're so tempered by the complacent apathy of our culture that we don't feel this anymore ... You and I have to come to the point where we spread the Gospel because we can't take it anymore."
Meador has served First Baptist Church in Euless, Texas since 2006. Before joining that church, he served as pastor of several other churches in Texas and Oklahoma.