Gospel Leadership: Why I Believe J.D. Greear Is Right For Southern Baptists
By Vance Pitman
Vance Pitman is the Senior Pastor of Hope Church in Las Vegas, NV and the City Catalyst for Send Las Vegas. Hope’s congregation has grown to over 3,000 people in small groups desiring to connect people to live the life of a Jesus follower. He earned a Master of Divinity degree from Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary. To hear more from Vance, follow him on Twitter (@vancepitman).
If you go to the official website for the SBC you’ll find these opening words under the “Meet Southern Baptists” heading:
“For more than 170 years, Southern Baptists have sought to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ to all people everywhere. The Southern Baptist Convention was formed with a Gospel vision. Its founding charter identifies its singular focus: …for the purpose of eliciting, combining, and directing the energies of the Baptist denomination of Christians, for the propagation of the Gospel.”
Every sentence of this statement is saturated with the Gospel. The Gospel has united us as Southern Baptists in the past. Uniting around the Gospel and its mission is our future.
And that is why I believe J.D. Greear is the right man to lead us into that future as Southern Baptists. J.D. believes, lives, loves, and shares the Gospel. He is a Bible-believing, Gospel sharing, mission sending Southern Baptist through and through. I know this having watched his ministry from afar as a fellow-pastor and I know this having examined his life up close as a long-time personal friend. The following convictions are those I’ve personally witnessed in his life of Gospel leadership.
The Gospel MUST be SHARED…
J.D. believes the Gospel is the only hope for the transformation of all people everywhere. He is passionate about sharing the Gospel personally and leading others to live on mission sharing the Gospel locally and globally. He believes every follower of Jesus is to live on mission every day using their job, skill, and passion where they live, work, and play to share the Gospel. And that’s the leadership that led the church he pastors to baptize over 600 people for the past five years in a row who embraced the life-changing power of the Gospel.
The Gospel MUST be SEEN…
The Gospel is not only to be shared, the Gospel is to be seen. J.D. says it this way, “Multi-cultural unity is one of the hallmarks of the Gospel, a sign to the world that the Gospel has real power. It’s also a sign and a preview of the coming kingdom, in which every tribe, tongue, language, and nation will gather around Christ’s throne.”It is long overdue that the church demonstrates the reconciling power of the Gospel vertically and horizontally. It is long overdue for Southern Baptists to move beyond passing resolutions about reconciliation and begin producing the results of a reconciled fellowship with diversified leadership. J.D. shares this passion and vision for the future of the SBC that reflects the diversity of our fellowship and proclaims the diversity of the kingdom. I’ve personally preached at the church J.D. pastors and have witnessed both his heart and intentionality when it comes to multi-cultural expressions of the Gospel.
The Gospel MUST be SENT…
Carl F.H. Henry says, “The Gospel is only good news if it gets there in time.”There are billions of people around the world today who are in desperate need of the Gospel. J.D. has modeled for us all that Gospel success results in sending more not simply seating more. The church J.D. pastors is an example for every SBC church to passionately prioritize Gospel sending locally and globally. Summit Church has planted over 200 churches outside the U.S. They have sent over 160 people through the IMB to serve globally. And they consistently challenge the next generation to do what they do well for the glory of God and do it somewhere strategic for the mission of God. This is current, kingdom-focused, Gospel leadership so desperately needed in the SBC today.
For these reasons and many more, I’m honored to support my friend J.D. Greear as the next president of the SBC. J.D. knows that Gospel work is done better together. He shares the very passion that makes us Southern Baptists. I am proud of the Gospel advance Southern Baptists have accomplished in the past. But I am more excited about the future. J.D. is the right leader for that future.
And if all that’s not enough, remember…he wrote the GOSPEL. No, not that Gospel. A great book about recovering the power that made Christianity revolutionary.And that’s exactly the kind of Gospel leadership we need in the SBC today.