“Jesus: to the Neighborhood and the Nations” was the cry during the 2012 Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting in New Orleans. That cry for missions and cooperation encapsulates the heart of Southern Baptists since the days of men like Jesse Mercer and women like Lottie Moon.
It was during that SBC when I heard seminary president Danny Akin say to a group of pastors: Within Southern Baptist life we have different theological ideas. We disagree on different issues but we agree on the Gospel and the urgency of missions.
I remember saying to a friend, that’s the kind of spirit and leadership we need in our churches. We want to bring people together rather than divide ourselves over non-Gospel issues. The Gospel makes us one, and that Gospel compels us to go to reach our neighborhood and the nations for King Jesus.
But the reality is, even for redeemed sinners like us, this work of cooperation is challenging.
It requires personal sacrifices and humility; it requires a heart that is slow to be offended and quick to forgive. Cooperation toward missions is like love; it demands intentionality and patience. It can be difficult but we can do it. We love because we have been loved by God. We go because He came. And that saving love compels us to tell others about that divine love.
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SOURCE: Baptist Press
Edgar Aponte (@EdgarRAponte) is the International Mission Board’s vice president of mobilization.