James Carville famously hung a sign on the wall of the Bill Clinton campaign headquarter’s in 1992 that contained a message that would ultimately win Clinton the presidential election: it’s the economy, stupid.
Focusing on fixing the economy, which was in recession at the time under Bush, would solve THE MAJOR PROBLEM in every voter’s mind.
If you streamed or attended the Southern Baptist Convention or its Pastors Conference in Saint Louis last week, you heard more about EVANGELISM and BAPTISMS than you have in some years.
You could almost sum it up as the following message: “It’s evangelism, stupid.”
And it is.
Now, I’m NOT accusing anyone of wanting to just “fix the Baptist economy” so to speak. Don’t take my Carville metaphor that far, please.
This is, to most everyone, I believe, about how involved or not we are in our mandate to “good news” our communities with the gospel.
Somewhere, Baptists GOT OFF TRACK with our Great Commission mandate. It’s just now being strongly announced.
Somewhere and at some time we started thinking that _____________ was more IMPORTANT than evangelism… and THAT’S what be got busy with INSTEAD.
And what VERSE in SCRIPTURE puts ANYTHING in that blank?
Mark this truth in the midst of what you and I are so busy running around trying to fix, change, satisfy or improve in our church: evangelism solves every problem anyway.
Not that that’s the point of evangelism. But it just does.
I know you and I are running around putting out fires and spinning plates and every other busyness word picture you can think of. I get it. But whatever those problems are, they can be SOLVED BY EVANGELISM.
More souls won equals more personnel, more money/tithes, more kingdom focus, more unified efforts, and even more discipleship.
(It interesting how discipleship activity goes up when you win more, since now there are more who need to be discipled.)
So the insanity, if there is any, of current “Baptist church life” is our spending untold amounts of time and energy trying to solve all those problems without doing the CHIEF THING which would actually solve ALL those problems ANYWAY if we just focused on that ONE CHIEF THING.
Even the problem of the NEED for SPIRITUAL RENEWAL would be solved BY obedience in evangelism.
Quite frankly, some are using our unmet need for spiritual renewal as an excuse, falsely concluding that until spiritual renewal comes, we can’t evangelize.
But that’s like saying, until spiritual renewal happens, I can’t be faithful to my wife, I can’t raise my kids in the Lord, I can’t tithe, I can’t avoid gossip, or whatever.
Since when did any current “spiritual climate” of the church excuse us from obedience to the clear commands of Jesus, including the Great Commission?
I say, for any individual struggling with a need for spiritual renewal, go out and make a couple of attempts today to share Jesus with someone who doesn’t know him. You will, that very day, begin to feel your spiritual pulse quicken!
So, evangelism SOLVES EVEN THE NEED FOR SPIRITUAL RENEWAL.
Southern Baptists aren’t going to evangelize as long as these carts keep getting placed in front of their horses.
So, if James Carville were a Christ-follower, he might say: it’s evangelism, stupid.
We don’t have James Carville. And we don’t need him.
We have Ronnie Floyd… and countless others echoing this call, now more than ever as we’ve heard this week.
And what they are saying is this: EVANGELISM, our Great Mandate, that kick-off moment in anyone’s life that necessarily BEGINS discipleship — must be placed again at the forefront of every activity of the church corporately and every Southern Baptist individually.
Having said all this, I heartily recommend that you read this Christian Index article by Ronnie Floyd that includes our current SBC stats along with his comments.
Let’s get back to “first things” and glorify God through the means he said we should: by sharing the gospel with those who needs to hear it.
And we are here to help.
Thank you for all you do.