On Tuesday, I will complete my first week in office as president of the Baptist General Convention of Texas. I suspect not only am I the first second generation president in our history. I may be the first “blogging” president. Concerning my blogging in the days ahead, due to my increased travel schedule and trying to balance all the good things in my life I may not be able to blog as often, but I will try to write from time to time. I enjoy blogging because it gives me an opportunity to express some of the issues and truths I am wrestling with, and it also has created for me a network of friends and even at time critics who help to keep me grounded and in tune with the world around me. As you know leadership at its best cannot be done from ivory towers, but must be down in the dust and mire of the real world and relationships. Too often leaders surround themselves with those who tickle their ears with platitudes rather than speaking the truth in love.
Once the weight of responsibility nestled on my shoulders good and firm, I began to wonder what I had gotten myself into. Why was I so passionate about this place of leadership for the last three years? Now that I could put hands and feet to making my dreams a reality where should I begin?
In a day when so many my age and younger question the necessity of large cumbersome denominations, and complex conventions that seem to seep the life blood out of churches to fulfill missions at times appear to be detached from the heart beat of the local church, why would one give his or her self to this task? Why do we need denominations and conventions? To be frank, I don’t “need” a denomination or convention; I “want” to be a vital part of a denomination or convention. No I don’t believe I have lost my mind or that I live in a traditional fog created by too much fried chicken and banana pudding. I want to be part of something larger than myself and what my church can do. I believe cooperation, networking, interdependence, and working together are timeless Kingdom values. Values essential for doing Kingdom work on a “God-sized” scale, both here in Texas, and around the world.
Listen to Paul writing to the church in Rome:
4 Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5 so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. Romans 12:4-5 (NIV)
Some may argue he is speaking of the local church, but I believe the principles are far reaching and do speak to the opportunities and challenges of doing Kingdom work on our Kingdom agenda together. Where do we want to get our strategies and models for ministry? Do we want to only depend on the organizational and leadership trends of our day or do we want to catch the wind of the Spirit and move in rhythm with God at work among His people.
Since we live and exist as “one” in Christ, I believe job one for me and for us corporately will be to work hard to establish trust as the life blood of our relationships and work together. I will speak more to this issue this week, but I cannot stress enough how essential it is that we learn to trust each other. I know trust at the highest levels must be earned, but I believe in the Kingdom we start at trust not suspicion.