Today the trustees of our SBC International Mission Board elected my friend David Platt to serve as president, and I am radically happy. Here’s why.
I have been praying for a long, long time that he would be elected. Our IMB president must be one who can drive our missions focus in a new way for a new era. It’s not enough that Southern Baptists’ global missions leader motivates us all to give and to go (although he must do that). He must be someone who can connect from the Scriptures how the Great Commission, and especially our global Great Commission responsibilities, are the urgent concern of all of us. Most Christians know that Matthew 28 and Acts 1 command us to go, to reach the unreached with the Gospel. We need though to be constantly reminded how every text, from Genesis 1 to Revelation 22 is connected to the mission of reaching the nations.
In a rapidly shifting American culture, this means modeling a vision of why it is that cooperating together for this task is connected to everything else that we do. We need to activate and enthuse a new generation for the adventure of reaching the world with the Gospel.
Look at the latest Pew Research poll of Millennials. The primary problem there is a mistrust of institutions — from political parties to marriage to church membership and beyond. We cannot simply say, “Look, we have the greatest missionary organization in the history of the Christian church” (although I believe that to be true). We must speak to a generation wary of institutions of why cooperation together is part of the eternal purposes of God in Christ.
We need leaders radical enough to make changes, but radical in the right, biblical sense. We need a radical, not a revolutionary. Someone radical enough to build up, not radical in order to tear down. That’s precisely what David is.
We need leaders radical enough to work together, against the headwinds of a secularizing American culture and a global persecution of Christians that is, if anything, only just beginning.
I have friends who were concerned because David’s church, The Church at Brook Hills, though they heavily supported world missions, didn’t do so mostly through Cooperative Program channels. I understand that concern. If I didn’t know David, I might be just as concerned. I believe in the CP, and always have. As the president of an entity funded through the CP almost entirely, I would be insane to celebrate the election of someone I thought wasn’t committed to CP.
David believes in the importance of CP. He does not want the mess that we came out of before 1925: a missionary force having to spend inordinate time at home fundraising. The society model doesn’t work in reaching the world for Christ, and he knows that.
The CP will thrive and flourish in the future. I firmly believe that. And I believe that’s the case not because Southern Baptists will feel guilty if they don’t. I believe that because there is a new sense of energy, excitement and focus. A new generation of Southern Baptists will give, and I think give sacrificially, to CP because we believe, together, in a common cause, despite all our differences.
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SOURCE: Baptist Press
Russell D. Moore