OK. I'm Done. Soapbox Put Away.
Blog Post yet, please do so. The rest of this one is about what I did about that one.
It might also help if you read this one, too. It'll explain why I may seem, to some, to be sticking my nose into things where it's odd for a 76 year old "guy in a pew" to be doing so.
Now, if you've a mind to read even more, about what I've been up to lately, please proceed.
I got to thinking about the numbers I'd previously cited, and about why we of the SBC seem to be settling for mediocrity. Or worse. Folks around the area seem to hold FBC of Pelham in high regard, and even say really nice things about us, despite the fact that we've declined in attendance about 20% over the last 14 years. Which is also the time we've been in the nice new red brick building on the highway.
That is also the same time period in which Church of the Highlands, mentioned in one of those posts, has grown from zero to 20,000+.
As a result of my feeling of obligation to speak up when I see things, and having had a couple Experiences With God in past years, in which He made it plain He didn't show me things to sit down and be quiet, I decided I'd do what I could. Of course, that has involved teaching along these same lines, but that didn't seem enough. So I decided to plop myself down in front of the biggest voices I could get to in the SBC, and tell them in person.
As a little background, this all started with Jimmy Swaggart. Many years ago, when he "fell from grace", so to speak, I wrote him a personal letter. Had to go to the library to find a Baton Rouge phone book, but that was a small price to pay to follow through on my convictions. As you may recall, upon his confession of wrongdoing, the Assemblies of God put together a very prudent and Spiritually-sound program of repentance, reconciliation and restoration for him, and the church as a whole, to follow. Unfortunately, his response was to take the Family Worship Center out of the Assemblies of God, rather than submit to their program.
So I wrote him a personal letter. I told him that he would likely get a lot of letters saying something like "You show'em, by golly...", and an equal number of letters calling him dirty names, but I wanted to do neither. What I said was that the Bible said we were to show respect for those in authority over us, as they were put there for our good, but he and his church were not doing that. They were rebelling against authority, and I could forecast no good coming from his, and their, defiant actions.
I never heard back, of course, just as I never heard back from another well-known evangelist to whom I wrote a similar letter after what I thought a big offense on one of his radio broadcasts.
Well, I don't do those things to bring about change. I do them out of obedience, so I will know at least someone told them, and my hands can thus be clean in that respect.
So ... my little venture had me sitting in Dr. Frank Page's office six weeks ago this past Monday, and subsequently in Dr. Thom Rainer's office this past Monday. And I showed them the spreadsheets, and told them of the discipleship that goes on at Church of the Highlands, and reiterated that we can hardly be called disciple-makers for the 2/3 of our members who don't come to church. I must say I do not recall meeting with more gracious, genial people than those two men. In light of the advance time it took to get an appointment to see them, I know they're busy beyond anything I ever experienced in my career, and I was blessed beyond my ability to describe, by their spending time with me.
I also, locally, spent time with Rick Lance, who has a huge long title but is basically the Exec for the State Convention in Alabama. He was good enough to meet me at a local coffee shop here .. in fact, it's located in my subdivision here in Pelham ... and we spent about an hour and a half talking about these issues. I really appreciated the time with him.
I left word some weeks ago for Ronnie Floyd to call, as he was out of the office the day I called. To date, he's not returned my call. And it's OK ... I know he's busy like everybody else ... at least you folks that still work, for which I thank you as it's apparent you're the ones paying my Social Security ... and I'm finished with overt action on my little project, anyway.
And, with that, I am. I've had my say. If anything good comes from it, it'll have to be God Who does it.
Come to think of it, He's told us that's how it works in His service, anyway. That's sure good enough for me.