1) I'm getting old.
Now ... there are several other points I've come face-to-face with, in the recent past. In addition to the obvious thing of age ... I'm 77 ... there's also arthritis, titanium knees, and a host of other vagaries that come with advancing years.
But there's also another factor to consider. From 1975 to 1984, I traveled extensively, on business. The four corners of the country and lots of places in between. And regularly to London.
Plus, Peg and I traveled somewhere special every year, generally March 13th to 20th. The 13th is our anniversary and the 20th is her birthday, so that was a handy way to cover both with one trip.
We went to Cancun, St. Thomas, St. Martin, Jamaica, Germany, and probably some other places I've forgotten. When I add them up, I've been in 126 airports on 3 continents!
So .. the elephant I faced this last week was that I really don't want to travel, for pleasure. Which it isn't, any more, anyway. I came to this realization while at the Alabama Baptist State Convention's annual meeting, this year in Daphne. I decided this mainly because we had an ideal hotel, 3 minutes from the meeting site, and I still did not enjoy the trip one bit. Oh, I saw a few good friends, but they're mostly local and I can see them here in town, much more easily than I can, after traveling 200 miles.
I don't like travel any more, unless it is for a purpose. Such as being part of the State or National SBC, which I have done several times. But which brings me to the other point.
2) I've already said it.
But the SBC leadership won't face it. Their elephant is the failure of the churches, for the most part, to make disciples. Which happens to be ... hello .... the Great Commission.
I say that because, according to numbers published in The Alabama Baptist a few years ago, attendance in SBC churches, in the 6 big population areas of Alabama, is 33.28%. When you consider that attendance includes pre-schoolers, children who aren't counted as members, and other visitors, I think it's safe to assume that fewer than 3 out of 10 members are in church on any one Sunday.
Oh ... just by way of information, other reporting denominations' attendance is 53.97% of membership. Hmmm .... so much for the SBC's collectively being the "crown jewel of God's plan to evangelize the world." Which, yes I did, I heard someone say about the SBC.
Ask yourself what would happen, to your employer, if 3 out of 10 employees showed up for work, except maybe the days before holidays (so they could get holiday pay).
I have also asked Sunday School Teachers, Deacons, individually and in meetings, why you have to be baptized to join a Baptist church. No one, in 6 years, has ever given me the right answer!
I see absolutely no evidence, nationally, that our churches are effective at making disciples.
The IMB cutback raised a mighty uproar, mostly concerned with we ought to be ashamed. That churches ought to give more. But what I have heard no one, at any level, say is that God is our source of supply!
And He still does pay for what He wants done!
Not only is God our financial source, but He also has supplied us with every person who has ever walked through our doors, down our aisles, into our baptistries, and onto our membership rolls. And I've already stated what we seem to be doing with them.
Or not doing. And remember ... God sent them to us ... every one ... to make disciples!
I said as much from the floor of the Convention, when we were discussing the "alternate descriptor" ... "Great Commission Baptists".
I also said this, personally, to people in the highest levels of management within the SBC. Again, both Alabama and nationally.
Add it all up and I think the plain fact for me is that, unless something new arises, on some other front, which indicates to me that I should attend the conventions again, that my tour of duty in all things SBC, has come to an end. I want to concentrate the energies and ideas I do still have, on the mission field in which God has placed me.
Right here at home.