Growing Racial Diversity In the U.S. Makes the Great Commission More Urgent for Southern Baptists

Racial Diversity

Perhaps the best known parable of Jesus is the Good Samaritan. Jesus gave this teaching in response to the question, “Who is my neighbor?” (Luke 10:29*).

In 2011, the SBC adopted the Ethnic Study Committee Report that contained a series of recommendations designed to increase participation of ethnic churches and church leaders in Southern Baptist life. The report was designed in part to help Southern Baptists answer Jesus’ question in light of the changing demographics in our nation and across the SBC.

Since then, SBC Executive Committee President Frank S. Page, in concert with the North American Mission Board, has appointed four ethnic and racial advisory groups. Their purpose is to provide information, insight and counsel to NAMB and EC staff relative to the special needs and concerns of ethnic churches and church leaders in the Southern Baptist network of churches. The advisory councils are Hispanic, appointed in 2011; African American, appointed in 2012; Asian American, appointed in 2013, and Multi-Ethnic, appointed this year.

Researchers have projected that within the next few years there will be no majority ethnic or racial population in the U.S. In light of these changing demographics, our Lord’s Great Commission becomes even more urgent as we seek to engage all peoples (translated from the Greek phrase ta ethne) with the Gospel, beginning in our own neighborhoods (Matthew 28:18–20).

How, then, should we pray?

To see with the eyes of Jesus

On more than one occasion, Jesus urged His disciples to see with a vision refined by the Spirit of God — to really see that “the fields are ready unto harvest!” (John 4:35). We have no alternative; we must see with the eyes of Jesus.

To feel with the heart of Jesus

Matthew used a strong phrase to express Jesus’ deep-seated compassion for the scattered multitudes. Matthew wrote, “When He saw the crowds, He felt compassion for them, because they were weary and worn out, like sheep without a shepherd” (Matthew 9:36). Our neighborhoods are changing. We must pray that the deep-seated love that drove the heart of Jesus will likewise drive our hearts, that we will love our neighbors as ourselves.

To hear the words commanded by Jesus

Luke told the story of 35 soul-winning teams Jesus sent to evangelize the cities He was about to visit. Jesus gave them a specific command: “Pray to the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest” (Luke 10:2). NAMB’s TenTwo initiative, based on this text, is designed to remind Southern Baptists to pray for additional laborers to participate in the harvest.

Click here to read more.

SOURCE: Baptist Press
Roger S. Oldham

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