I love my family. I grew up with great parents, the best brother, and some wonderful aunts and uncles. I also had some family members that were a little crazy. I had this one uncle named Al. He was the biggest Tennessee Vols fan I knew. Al was one of those guys who had a big bushy beard and was always really loud. It was guaranteed that when I saw him he would have a beer in his hand and an orange Tennessee trucker hat on his head. Al was just a little on the crazy side! He was probably my favorite uncle as a kid growing up.
As a boy, I looked forward to spending time with Al because he was always fun. He would always take time to love on my brother and I. He would always go above and beyond to take care of us. We knew Al loved our family very much, and we loved him, even though he was a little crazy.
I have been blessed to grow up as a member of a Southern Baptist Church. I remember sleeping on the pews as a four year old and my mom whacking me on the behind to wake up. I remember hearing the gospel faithfully preached at Galilee Baptist Church each week. I recall so clearly having a conversation with my parents and then my pastor about Jesus when I was twelve years old. I remember sitting on my pastors black, leather couch in his wood paneled office praying to trust in and receive Jesus Christ. I recall being baptized into this church, in south Knoxville and then growing up in a student ministry that discipled its students.
I’m confident that Galilee Baptist Church was in my community so that I could hear the gospel and have the opportunity to turn from sin and trust in Jesus Christ alone for my salvation. This is why I love the Southern Baptist Convention. We have stood to advance the gospel throughout the world since our origin in 1845. This is the family I am apart of. Our history is saturated with men and women who have made drastic sacrifices for the gospel. Two of these that I grew up hearing about as a young child and we as Southern Baptists champion are Lottie Moon and Annie Armstrong.
I know not everything in our history has been perfect. We have had bad moments, rough times, and yes, even some crazy family members along the way. By God’s grace we came out of these moments and survived. We have also had incredible moments. Southern Baptists have stood and fought to keep the Word of God central to our convention. Even today Southern Baptists are standing to make sure the Great Commission is at the heart of everything we do as a convention of churches. I am proud of the decision to add a tagline onto our name declaring who we are as Great Commission Baptists.
I believe our best days as Southern Baptists are ahead. I want to champion the work of all of our entities, but I also know that I have a responsibility as a member of this convention to (1) be committed to Jesus Christ and my local church, (2) share the gospel of Jesus Christ with those who are lost, and (3) pray for my church and our convention consistently. I believe our convention is at the brink of something incredible that only God can do. We must unite together in prayer for God to bless us and use us for his glory in this generation and the next generation, just as he has in generations past.
Our family is big. We have some crazy uncles, but I know at the heart of that uncle is a love for our family. We love the SBC. As great as this convention is, we must always protect our heart against loving it more, than we love Jesus, because we know that the family of God exists for the glory of God. We exist only because God has allowed our convention to exist. Holding the gospel and the Great Commission high must be our goal.
So lets pray together, that God would continue to bless us, expand our witness, and make us a fruitful, profitable convention of churches for generations to come. May we continue to plant churches like Galilee Baptist Church so that lost little kids, like I once was, can have the opportunity to hear the gospel, turn from sin, trust in the one and only Son of God for salvation, and gain a new family. May our tribe increase for the glory of God!