In days of seeking God deeply, I have been asking Him for insights about all that is happening in the world now. While my understanding grows, I want to share what is on my heart today in relation to three areas of crisis.
1. Global Crises
Across the globe, crises abound. The global spiritual crisis continues to grow as lostness escalates. Billions of people are in need of the gospel of Jesus Christ. As more than one-half of the global population is now living in the cities of the world, missional strategies must emerge that address reaching these cities.
Global political and military unrest are threatening the security of much of the world. These crises are responsible for creating millions of refugees and spawning the largest global humanitarian crisis today. Along with this, ISIS continues to march, forwarding their radical Islamic agenda, killing those who will not deny their faith and join their vicious movement.
The Middle East remains the powder keg of the world. With a nuclear threat remaining in Iran and religious persecution growing, we are facing one of the most dangerous moments in our lifetime.
In the background is a fragile global economy. Furthermore, in this season of glaring global realities, we are facing an unprecedented global leadership crisis. Where are the leaders of the world?
We need a breakthrough.
2. National Crises
Across the nation, missiologists tell us that three out of four people in America do not have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. As lostness escalates across America, this spiritual crisis is undeniable. While we hope the churches in America would count this as a time to rise up, advancing the gospel, the reality is that seventy-four percent of our churches in America are plateaued or declining. Additionally, as a whole, the churches in America are in need of a spiritual visitation by the Holy Spirit that will call them out of their lukewarm status.
Politically, America is in trouble. The disappointment of our political leaders not working together for the common good of our nation has Americans filled with all sorts of emotions, many of which are not healthy. Every political candidate that is running to be the next president of the United States is catching the brunt of this reality.
Accompanying these spiritual and political crises is an ever-growing unstable and uncertain national economy that is also connected to a fragile global economy. As these crises converge, we find ourselves in a new territory judicially. Since the Supreme Court released its decision on marriage on June 26, we are now in a moral crisis that is spinning out of control. Now we are facing threats regarding religious liberty that are unprecedented not just to us, but in the entire history of the United States.
And again, at times, it appears we are leaderless. Where are the leaders who will rise above the fray and lead toward a better future in America? Where are the leaders that are communicating a hopeful message for the future, seizing the hearts of all peoples cross-generationally? Where are the leaders in America?
We need a breakthrough.
3. Southern Baptist Convention Crises
There are so many things that are right within our Southern Baptist Convention. For the past fifteen months that I have served as president, I have tried to lead us forward toward a future that is optimistic and hopeful. Yet today, I find myself more aware than ever of our own crises. We must emerge victorious in order to speak to our nation and world effectively.
We are in our own crisis spiritually. Most of our own churches are in a deep and dire need for a mighty movement of the Holy Spirit among them. This becomes more evident with churches struggling with division and distrust. A lack of evangelistic zeal is undeniable and our convention's decline in baptisms is deplorable. The prayerlessness in our churches has led us to be powerless in our churches. Therefore, evangelism is no longer the priority in most of our churches today.
Additionally, we are in our own crisis financially. Tithing is now almost taboo in many churches, while millions and millions of dollars are robbed from God annually by many of His children. Not only does financial selfishness exist in the lives of Christians, financial selfishness exists in many churches. We tend to applaud what we keep rather than what we give away to advance the gospel to our lost and dying nation and world.
Thankfully, the monies our churches give together through our Cooperative Program and Mission Offerings are increasing. Yet, the increases at this point are still minimal. This needs to change. We need our churches to resolve to give more away for gospel causes through the work of our partnership.
Furthermore, our state conventions have to continually evaluate how they can have greater missional clarity, then simplify in alignment with their mission, and ultimately become agile in their ability to adjust. Additionally, they must accelerate their pace in forwarding more monies to our national and international ministries of our Southern Baptist Convention. Then, we must live within the means our churches have provided and maximize these resources for their gospel work. Together, we must advance the gospel to, and plant churches in, the unreached parts of America and the entire world.
We do not have a choice. We are under a mandate from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We are not under the Great Option, but the Great Commission. We do not want to be known for participating in the Great Omission, but we want to be known as being a Great Commission people.
And yes, we also need pastor-leaders by the thousands to rise up and lead forward toward gospel advancement beginning in their towns, cities, across America, and the entire world.
We need a breakthrough.
God Alone Gives the Breakthroughs
We need a global breakthrough. We need a national breakthrough. We need a breakthrough across the entire Southern Baptist Convention.
Since God alone gives the breakthroughs, we must talk to Him more now than ever before. We must move into seasons of fasting and prayer more than ever before. We must call our churches to go places with God they have never gone before.
Then, we must rise up and lead filled with the power of God until the breakthroughs come.