Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Dr. Avery Willis - An Endorsement

We have good crop of candidates in the pool who are seeking the presidency of the Southern Baptist Convention. This year's mix includes some predictable faces, great pastoral leaders, and wonderfully gifted men.

Without hesitation, I personally endorse Avery Willis as the candidate to represent all Southern Baptists. Avery's passion for missions is amazing. His understanding of discipleship is well documented. He understands the power and challenges of Baptist churches with small congregations more so than anyone I know. Avery is a practical man with approaches to ministry/missions/discipleship that would be a breath of fresh air in the SBC.

I pray for all of these candidates...but I love the senior, statesmanship qualities of Avery whose life at home and abroad defines what I love most about Southern Baptists. There are many areas of the conservative direction of the SBC where Avery and I would disagree, but I am convinced that Avery's understanding of fellowship among Baptists is more 'embracing' of our diversity rather than 'narrowing' due to our differences.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Two Rivers Baptist Vote - Again, Confusing

Somewhere in Roberts Rules of Order there (evidently) exists a clause whereby members of an organization who are charged with wrongdoing are not allowed a vote should the issue of their membership status arise. From my experience in running meetings over the last 40 years, that is new one. In one article
Two Rivers Baptist Church attorney, Larry Crain, is quoted as saying,
"If you're charged with a crime, you can't sit on the jury"

Attorney Crain is certainly correct when his comment applies to the court system...I find it a stretch to apply that same logic to a group whose dissension (or sin) is compared to a criminal or illegal act. I would suggest that if that logic were to be applied equitably, then all of those at TRBC who has been accused of financial misdeeds should not have been allowed to vote either.

I am really confused over the 'surprise' Mother's Day vote at Two Rivers Baptist Church. From one Sunday's vote where members were required to show identification in order to vote, to the next Sunday when the very same issue is resolved by a simple show of hands, I believe there is room to question motive as well as action. Those who 'lost' on Mother's Day will no longer be able to vote as 'members' of Two Rivers Baptist Church...otherwise, I am not certain that the second vote accomplished anything other than raising additional suspicions within the congregation.

I will stand by my previous post. Those who have problems with the leadership at Two Rivers Baptist should find a new home..a new branch. Those who remain should re-focus on the mission of the church and bearing new fruit. John 15:1-2 reads, "I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes[a] so that it will be even more fruitful."

Many of the members at Two Rivers Baptist Church who were ousted on Mother's Day became members when Jimmy Henry was pastor. I cannot imagine that Jimmy is not heartbroken by the distractions at his previous pastorate. Perhaps some of Jimmy's retirement time could be spent in counseling his older TRBC flock. Certainly there is great need for healing on both sides of the issues at Two Rivers Baptist Church.