Of Baptisms and Discipleship .... or ... At Least One Editor "Gets It" ... Again
In last week's Alabama Baptist, Dr. Bob Terry posted an excellent editorial. You might want to read it here. His point (or one of them): maybe we're hot to trot for Baptisms, but not so hot about the command, in the Great Commission, which follows immediately: the teaching.
It's also good to remember that every one of that "total membership" number walked down our aisles, presented themselves for membership on our terms, and then placed themselves under the oversight of our churches' leadership.
Someone said our church has about 2,800 members now, and attendance of just under 1,000. At that, the attendance figure includes something on the order of 250 preschoolers, and I'm pretty sure that very, very few of them are included on the membership roll.
Do the math. Then consider what church silence (and inaction), over non-attendance, teaches the non-attenders.
What's that? Non-resident membership? I wonder who said it was OK to join a church, move away, and then just leave your membership at "Back Home Baptist Church". We seldom speak highly about folks who have their "membership" there, but our own church has (apparently) hundreds of members for whom FBC Pelham is "Back Home Baptist".
I'm not throwing rocks at FBC Pelham, by the way. We have a real heart to do all the right stuff, but I think examining the numbers reveals just how easy it is to slip into the pattern that seems to beset the SBC as a whole.
As to the Great Commission Resurgence Task Force, I have a question. Isn't making disciples the primary instruction of the GC, and isn't that responsibility squarely on the shoulders of the local body?
I guess if you look at the whole thing, you might conclude that, if the local churches .. collectively .. don't carry it out, then God is going to move someone else into the gap, and get the job done. Maybe the GCRTF is just that .. a reflection of God's opinion of the current condition of the local SBC churches.
And, of course, I am aware that all generalizations are false, including this one, so any one church may be getting it right. But look at the SBC numbers, and it'll be plain that more people .. souls .. seem to have fallen through the cracks, than have stuck with it and have become disciples. And it might only be our collective pride that keeps us from admitting that.