God’s Glory in Our Unity
October 23rd, 2019 / By: Joshua Crutchfield | FBC Madisonville / comments
God is glorified when the church is unified. There is no more formidable force to push back darkness than a holy community sharing one mind, looking in the same direction, and possessing a singular mission. The opportunities and outcomes for a church like this are limitless. The same is true for a convention of churches.
The Southern Baptists of Texas Convention is poised for another exciting annual meeting. What will make this gathering special is the unity our convention of churches enjoy. While our congregations take all shapes, shades, and sizes, all 2,700 must agree doctrinally that the Bible is the inerrant Word of God. Scripture is the natural starting point for our cooperation, for what we believe about the Bible will shape our focus and our mission. But our confession concerning the Word of God is not the final agreement, it is the first. As Southern Baptists, we share a faith statement that is broadly narrow. These core tenets of what we believe are found in the Baptist Faith and Message 2000, and function in a way that allows us to agree theologically so that we can agree to cooperate together missiologically. While not every state convention or even our national convention requires their churches to affirm this faith document, the churches of the SBTC stand stronger together because we all uphold shared biblical values. As we embrace a mutual faith, we have a greater opportunity to look in the same direction, sharing the same focus.
The kingdom of God is the reign and rule of God that has come in the person of Christ. We do not build His kingdom, but we do proclaim it and see it advance within our world. The church celebrates the arrival of the kingdom, as each congregation represents an outpost of heaven on earth. But the church also focuses on the movement of the kingdom, knowing that the King of the kingdom will one day come and bring His kingdom in full. It is this hope that compels us to take this good news to our homes, communities, state, country, and world. Around our state we are hearing stories of revitalization, reports of baptisms, and an army of people taking the Gospel to their “one.” This is the fruit of a unified effort. The effort is not just from our local churches, but also from the unified energy of our convention of churches focused on kingdom work. Our unified focus will be seen as unified worship when we come together at our annual meeting and celebrate the kingdom victories we are enjoying as a convention. As we focus on the kingdom together, we are able to encourage one another to be missionally driven.
“Who’s Your One?” has been a tremendous tool for our churches to be on mission. This call to commit to sharing the Gospel with one person has seen a response from churches in our national convention, and has also been productive in our state convention. Many churches are seeing a spike in baptisms as they participated in the recent, “baptism Sunday.” This concerted effort is not just possible due to the vision of key leaders, but also because of the commitment our churches have to the cooperative program. As we give through this missional pipeline, we are able to fund innovative evangelism and discipleship resources, our 6 seminaries, our 3,700 missionaries, our church planters in Texas and throughout the country, and so much more. Due to our unified effort, we are able to accomplish more together than we could apart. As a result, more people are hearing the Gospel, more churches are being planted, more disciples are being made, and more missionaries are being sent. Such news is sure to fill our annual meeting with a holy energy that will compel us to worship and glorify our God, Who is able to do incredible things through His unified people.
As we look forward to our annual meeting, we will have the privilege of joining our partnering churches to affirm our confessional commitment to the inerrant Word of God, celebrate the kingdom advancement we are seeing within our congregations, and be encouraged by the fruit of our mission as we cooperate together to see the Gospel go to the ends of the earth. So make plans to join us in Odessa as we come together unified for the glory of God.