OPEN LETTER: Hunt issues challenge to all Southern Baptists
WOODSTOCK, Ga. (BP)--Johnny Hunt, president of the Southern Baptist convention and pastor of First Baptist Church in Woodstock, Ga. has issued the following letter to Southern Baptists:
Dear Southern Baptist Convention Family,
Thank you for the trust that you placed in my leadership last year at our National Convention. It has been an honor to serve you this year and I appreciate your prayers as well as your concerns that you have shared with me as we have presented to you the Great Commission Resurgence Declaration. I have heard you loud and clear, and with that in mind I have attempted to honor James 3:17, knowing that wisdom comes from above and that the Bible gives us marvelous characteristics of what that wisdom looks like. The words that really stand out in this passage that really speak to my heart are: easily to be entreated, willing to yield, or reasonable. I want to be God's man who is reasonable and always generating kindness, and a man with pure motives that are displayed with pure manners. With that being said, there have been several revisions that I have made to this document that I trust will give greater clarity, as well as gain greater support. As my good friend David Dockery has said, "A Great Commission Resurgence needs Great Commission partners." It is my prayer that each of us, regardless of whether we serve in a convention leadership role, a local church, or as a layperson in the fellowship of one of our churches, would rally behind the Great Commission Resurgence. With that being the ultimate motive of our hearts, the nations will have an opportunity to hear the Gospel.
At our annual meeting you will hear in the President's Address a passionate plea that God would touch us again, even as the cry came from Almighty God in 2 Chronicles 7:14, that we must be visited from heaven. He must once again touch the hearts and claim the allegiance of every pastor and every spiritual leader in this Convention. The last words our Lord Jesus gave to the church were that of the Great Commission. That being said, it must be our ultimate task. That is my sincere prayer. I believe that the answer to our ills lies in the context of our local pastors. I have often said that whatever is important to us, as pastors, is what becomes important to the people in the pews. I believe the grassroots of the Southern Baptist Convention are the local churches, the people in the pews, and the pastors and staff who lead those churches. Let me also be quick to recognize our local, state and national partners with whom we are able to do a more effective ministry in reaching this nation and the nations of the world. It is my prayer that God would call all of us together, and as Jay Strack has often said, "that we would all check our 'egos' and our 'logos' at the door," humbly bow before God, and let Christ work through us as a unified body. Adrian Rogers often called us to unity in the context of diversity. I have discovered through leading our Convention over these last 11 months there is great diversity; yet, in so many places there is such great unity. In recent days the economic downturn has caused all of us to reevaluate our priorities. What better time than now for us to take a deep spiritual look inside all we do to make sure His priority is ours. May He also challenge us spiritually to take the same type look and see if there is any need to streamline on any level mentioned thus far in this letter so that we might surrender to Almighty God and become more efficient and more effective in doing the Great Commission like never before. Please know that as I draft this letter, I desire as much as anyone who breathes to see God touch us, use us, and raise us up. Many throughout the nation have said, "that as goes the Southern Baptist Convention, so goes the evangelical world"! I am not sure if that is 100 percent true, but I believe that it is more truthful than false. With that being said, let us rise up, under the lordship of Jesus Christ, for the expressed purpose of embracing God's heart for the nations.
I deeply love all of you, my dear brothers and sisters, and it is my prayer that we would experience God's touch at the Southern Baptist Convention this year. May His Kingdom be empowered! May His Kingdom be advanced! May His Kingdom be embraced! May His Kingdom's work be enjoyed! May we seek to celebrate the Great Commission like never before. There are nations waiting to hear, and may there be a Southern Baptist Convention more eager than ever to tell.
You can read and sign the revised Great Commission Resurgence document at www.greatcommissionresurgence.com.
God bless you! Please pray that God would revive us again.