Southern Baptists are compassionate people—media portrayals notwithstanding. Yes, we have some mean-spirited, negative people in our movement. The media seems to always find them when they want a story about us. In doing this, they ignore the millions of people who invest billions of dollars and countless hours meeting the needs of others.
Perhaps the most visible demonstrations of our compassion are large hospital systems with the word Baptist in their name and disaster relief vehicles/teams that show up every time something bad happens on a large scale. But there’s so much more—nursing homes, children’s homes, feeding centers, clothing stores, medical clinics, refugee centers, and on and on. Through all these efforts—as individuals, churches, associations, state conventions, mission boards, and other organizations—Southern Baptists demonstrate compassionate service to others.
A distinctive among all this is the accompanying witness of the gospel. We are not afraid of a so-called social gospel. We recognize sharing the gospel may involve meeting the needs of people who are made in the image of God, but also includes sharing the plan of salvation in Jesus Christ. There is no need for any artificial division of these efforts or competition between these ministry approaches.
Because we believe in compassion ministries—and want you to do them more effectively—our annual mission conference this year is themed: Compassion Projects and the Gospel. The conference is March 4–5 at the Ontario, California campus. It begins at 9 a.m. on Friday and will conclude on Saturday afternoon with a Missions College training event co-hosted by the IMB. Topics in general sessions and breakouts include refugee assistance, human trafficking, disaster relief, and a host of other options.
The keynote speaker is Dr. Bryant Wright, President of Send Relief, the international compassion ministries leader for the Southern Baptist Convention. Dr. Wright is a former pastor and past president of the SBC. He is also a personal friend and one of the most effective leaders we have in our movement. What an honor and privilege to have him lead this event!
You can register for the Missons Conference on eventbrite. The cost is $25. This is such a significant event (not only the subject, but the post-Covid return of our in-person Missions Conference) I plan to be part of it all day on Friday! I hope to see you there.
Forgiveness, restoration, and pastoral integrity are pressing issues in our generation – as they have been throughout history and will be in the future. Yet, as believers, our commitment to robust church fellowship demands we do this hard work.
Dr. Iorg responds to the Tyre Nichols tragedy and commends the response of the Nichols family.