Almost 30 years as a Southern Baptist denominational executive, preceded by more than a dozen years as a Southern Baptist pastor, has shaped my perspective on navigating the vagaries of working among the vast network known as the Southern Baptist Convention. It can be, alternately, a rewarding, daunting, or at times disappointing task.

Several years ago, I vented my frustrations about the dysfunction among Southern Baptists to a veteran leader. I told him I was ready to leave the denomination. He replied, “I agree with you.” I was shocked. He was a stalwart and for him to agree with me meant my hopes were dashed. Then he asked, “So, where are we going?” He paused for a few seconds and then continued, “Where are we going that has thousands of missionaries, hundreds of church plants, dozens of colleges and seminaries, a publishing house and financial services provider, hospitals, camps and conference centers, crisis pregnancy centers, and more than 40,000 mostly Bible-believing churches? Where can we find all this without any of the negative that has upset you? So, where are we going?” We looked at each other for a few seconds and I said, “I guess I’m staying.” He smiled and said, “Me too.”

If you only follow SBC issues on the media, your perspective will be slanted toward the problems which supposedly define our denomination. We seem to be focused on the roles of women in ministry, sexual abuse, abortion, national politics, and internal conflicts over money, polity, and entity management. Reality is quite a bit different. Most churches are not divided about these issues. In fact, most church members aren’t even interested in them. They are concerned about making rent, getting their kids through school, caring for their aging parents, and dealing with daily job stresses in a challenging economic environment.

The real story of the SBC is not the problems we have, but the incredible impact we make in the lives of everyday people struggling with the challenges listed above. Millions of Southern Baptists work through their churches, ministry centers, camps and conference centers, mission outposts, and new church plants to meet the needs of countless people every day. Most of that seldom makes the news! Yet, that is the daily reality for most Southern Baptists—doing ministry in Jesus name through voluntary cooperation that defies explanation. We are a huge enterprise which will always have problems, distractions, and conflicts. That’s not really news. What’s truly newsworthy is how much we accomplish in spite of those challenges.

Our annual national denominational meeting is next week in New Orleans. Pray for God’s power to be demonstrated through the meeting as we come together to focus on what we do best, what we do most often, and what we must continue to do in the future—share and live the good news of Jesus Christ everywhere.


Read More

Moving Into the Future

Gateway Seminary has selected Dr. Adam Groza as our eighth president.

Jeff Iorg
President
Dr. Jeff Iorg is the president of Gateway Seminary. Prior to his service at the Seminary, Dr. Iorg was the Executive Director of the Northwest Baptist Convention for almost ten years. He was also the founding pastor of Greater Gresham Baptist Church in Gresham, Oregon, and has served as a pastor in Missouri and a staff pastor in Texas.

An Outsider

Secular scholars are recognizing the positive culture-shaping effects of historic Christianity by witnessing its absence.

Jeff Iorg
President
Dr. Jeff Iorg is the president of Gateway Seminary. Prior to his service at the Seminary, Dr. Iorg was the Executive Director of the Northwest Baptist Convention for almost ten years. He was also the founding pastor of Greater Gresham Baptist Church in Gresham, Oregon, and has served as a pastor in Missouri and a staff pastor in Texas.

Listen

The Bible Teaching Podcast
April 19, 2024

Sincerity of Heart

In this episode of The Bible Teaching Podcast, Dr. Kelly and Dr. Watson focus on a few passages in the book of Micah and the themes relating to God’s presence, transformation, and teaching methodologies. Micah teaches about the importance of heart sincerity o

10 Questions with 10 Pastors
April 15, 2024

The Bustrums

This week, Tyler is joined by church planters in Iberia, Mark and Hannah Bustrum. They discuss the impacts of cultural shock & stress, how to lean into discomfort and be okay, and the need to be involved in community and in the local church.


Watch

Jonathan Edwards and the Asbury Revival

Chris Chun and Chris Woznicki discuss the signs of true revival, signs of the work of the Holy Spirit, and why it is important to critically assess the characteristics of revival in a spirit of charity.

Chris Chun
Professor of Church History | Director, Jonathan Edwards Center
Dr. Chris Chun is the professor of Church History and the director of Jonathan Edwards Center at Gateway Seminary. Chris’ doctoral research at St. Andrews University was focused on the eighteenth-century Edwardsean Baptists in Britain. He also has served as president of The Evangelical Theological Society (Far West Region).

Jonathan Edwards and the Baptists | Douglas Sweeney, Nathan Finn and Chris Chun

Dr. Douglas Sweeney and Dr. Nathan Finn joined Dr. Chris Chun for a panel discussion on Jonathan Edwards, recorded live at the SBC Annual Meeting in Anaheim.

Chris Chun
Professor of Church History | Director, Jonathan Edwards Center
Dr. Chris Chun is the professor of Church History and the director of Jonathan Edwards Center at Gateway Seminary. Chris’ doctoral research at St. Andrews University was focused on the eighteenth-century Edwardsean Baptists in Britain. He also has served as president of The Evangelical Theological Society (Far West Region).

Get updates on new content!