It is sorta like a new marriage. The bride and groom think they know one another but its not until they publically covenant together (they get married) that they start their life together and discover the differences that actually exist with different personalities becoming one.
Sharon and I are breakfast people. As newlyweds, the first breakfast Sharon prepared for us was illustrative. I worked the night before at the General Motors plant and before I headed to class at Dallas Baptist University, Sharon made breakfast. She knocked on the door to tell me the pancakes were ready. So, I have visions of a stack of flapjacks, butter and sorghum syrup dripping off the sides of the golden brown delicacies.
I take the short walk from our bedroom to the eat-in kitchen. Sharon flops this huge plate-sized pancake in front of me. It was as big as the skillet. It was huge and thick–so thick that when I cut into the pancake, the uncooked batter oozed out on to the table.
I love my wife but as a 20 year old, I didn’t know how to respond to the situation other than to say, “Yuk. This is not done!” Dumb, Dumb and Dumber. Major mistake. Sharon’s response was to begin crying. She worked hard to please me and my response was less than loving. The early adjustment didn’t go well.
The good news is that we have learned to listen, to work with each other, and to guard our words so that we encourage one another with what we say. Our relationship has matured and grown deeper. We are far more effective together than either of us would be alone. Our passion is to honor the Lord with our marriage relationship.
I am deeply honored by the new role the Lord has given me with Missouri Baptists. In the early stages of this relationship (while we are getting to know one another), it is important that I communicate my vision for our future. The search committee asked me a similar question—“What do you want to see happen in the next few years?”
Here’s what I shared with them:
First-That the Lord would pour out His Spirit in a fresh way through our personal lives and our churches resulting in a great harvest of souls in the Midwest.
Second-That trust would be restored in such a fashion that the churches, the business community, the education community, the legal community and the medical community marvel at our integrity and passion to serve one another.
Third-That the churches, associations and convention function as collaborating partners for evangelism, discipleship and church planting and that our churches regain the vision for the Cooperative Program as the primary missions funding methodology. How many churches can give one percent more this next year to CP?
Fourth-That our churches sense that God has His hand on our cooperative Acts 1:8 effort with an exponential increase in churches planting churches in Missouri, the nation and the world.
Fifth-That the Convention’s leadership reflects a shift in demographic thinking with more participation from younger people, people of color and linguistic diversity.
Sixth-That bi-vocational church leaders sense that their contribution to our cooperative ministry is highly valued.
Seventh-That every church has at least one volunteer engaged in a cooperative ministry related to the MBC (Disaster Relief, social ministries, chaplaincy, coordinated prayer ministry, Christian Life Commission activism and Cooperative Program advocacy, etc.)
I hope these questions and responses encourage you and your church to join with other Missouri Baptists to embrace the Kingdom work the Lord is doing through us at such a time as this. May our cooperative relationship flourish and be a pleasant aroma to the Lord.