I’m not in Orlando but I am taking in what I can be way of streaming video. You can watch it with me by clicking on this link: Pastor’s Meeting Streaming Live.
I am encouraged already this morning (Monday, June 14th) by a couple of things I have observed.
First, I am encouraged by the young pastors who are speaking at the conference who are Southern Baptists. Matt Chandler who is in his mid-thirties is speaking boldly the gospel in Dallas, Texas as the pastor of The Village Church. David Platt is the pastor at Brook Hills in Birmingham, Alabama, and is also a young pastor that God is greatly using to make disciples of all nations. He will be speaking later on in the evening.
I make mention of these men not so that they might be idolized, but as examples (there are many others) of why I am thankful that God is raising up young leaders from among the SBC. Last year at this time I was following the convention from home and I was reading about the concern over the lack of young pastors who were attending the convention. I have also read a lot in the last year about Southern Baptists losing many young leaders who for various reasons don’t want to be a part of the SBC. Around two years ago I read that approximately 19 percent of pastors, and I believe it was in the SBC, were younger than 39 years of age.
We need leaders of all ages and backgrounds, but as Bette Midler so obviously sang it, “I believe the children (young leaders) are the future.” I’m with Midler on this one, at least as it relates to Baptists cooperating for the Kingdom of the Great King. If we don’t have young leaders then there won’t be a SBC whose purpose has been, and continues to be making disciples of all nations.
Here is a tweet from the convention: “From what I’ve seen, crowd at #SBC2010 is younger and more diverse than previous years. glad to see. #GCR has def increased interest.” Again, this encourages me.
Second, I am highly encouraged that those who schedule the speakers decided to invite CJ Mahaney. Mahaney was the pastor of Covenant Life Church for 27 years and is now the president of Sovereign Grace Ministries in Gaithersburg, Maryland. Mahaney is not a Southern Baptist, but is a passionate and devoted follower of Christ. (By the way, he did say his favorite seminaries and seminary presidents are Southern Baptist.) I think this is a helpful reminder that Southern Baptists are not the only cooperation of people who are living and speaking passionately to see the kingdom come. I think it is good for the Kingdom and for us when we prayerfully and carefully partner with and support others outside of the SBC who are essentially like-minded then it comes to the gospel.
These are just a couple of things that have encouraged me so far. I am praying for and anticipating that a Christ-centered unity among everyone attending will give us many other reasons to be encouraged as the convention moves forward for God’s glory through Jesus.