Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Rick Lance on Strengths, Weaknesses, Challenges, and Opportunities in SBC Life

What do you see as the greatest strength of the Southern Baptist Convention right now?

I perceive our greatest strength to be the growing reaffirmation of who we are as Southern Baptists. We have defined ourselves concerning the basic doctrinal matters in a confessional way, which is the Baptist tradition. We are now reaffirming our belief in the missional relationship we have in the Cooperative Program as the life blood of our Southern Baptist life in terms of missions support locally and globally. This reaffirmation process is the sign of a vibrant and mature denomination.

What do you see as the greatest weakness or problem in the Southern Baptist Convention right now?

As a Southern Baptist, I find the role of critic an unnatural role for me to play. I suppose our weakest point is the same one that I see in American culture in general, namely a sense of apathy due to self absorption. Our culture worships personal happiness, and that idolatrous spirit causes us to be less committed to the mission of Christ which is to "seek and to save those who are lost".

What do you think is the greatest threat or challenge to the Southern Baptist Convention right now?

I would suggest that the problem of apathy is the one challenge which comes to mind. Apathy is subtle but pernicious. Although we all believe that people without Christ are lost, we do not make that conviction the driving force of our lives. If we do not believe in intentional evangelism, then we practice unintentional universalism.

What do you believe is the greatest opportunity for the Southern Baptist Convention right now?

There is no other denomination or faith group better poised to make a kingdom difference in the 21st century than Southern Baptists. We have the missional mandate, the financial means and the relational structure to see this happen. My prayer is that we as a denominational family will keep our eyes on the prize and go forward together for Christ.


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