Storytelling

Who doesn’t like a good story?  I don’t know of many people who do not like to hear one tell a good gripping story.  I have had the privilege of sitting at the feet of some good storytelling people.  Some were relatives that just brighten up the times together with a good story.  Some were friends who would tell about past adventures.

A good story is priceless.

For some people, storytelling is indeed priceless.  For some people in our world, storytelling might be the only way that they get to encounter the life-changing Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Last night, my wife did a great job of sharing with our church family about mission work done in the Ivory Coast through some of our IMB missionaries.  One of the major ways that the Gospel is shared in the Ivory Coast is through storytelling the Bible.  This is done primarily because the literacy rate is sadly very low.  A great video that tells a little about the work in the Ivory Coast can be seen here.

This got me to thinking…

If we had to share the truths of the Bible with another person in the form of storying, could we?

In our country, it is not uncommon for there to be a copy of the Bible in the home, workplace, hotel rooms, library, or other places we find ourselves frequently.  You can even find the Bible at Walmart!  Even though we have an abundance of Bibles at our fingertips, I am concerned that we don’t know what the story of the Bible really is.

I would encourage you to take that number one best-seller that may be on a shelf close by and take time to learn the story of the Bible.  Don’t just read and listen to the many stories, but take time to see the overall story that goes throughout Scripture.  Then let’s take the time to share that story with others around us.

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New Leadership at IMB

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I heard the news today that the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention has elected a david-plattnew President to oversee its work.  The IMB has selected David Platt to the position.  Platt has been the Pastor of the Church at Brook Hills in Birmingham, Alabama and authored many books on the Christian faith.  You can read an article about Platt being chosen as the new leader by clicking here.

I for one am very glad to hear this news.  I have been tracking this young man for a little while.  It has been interesting to see how God has been using this young man for His glory.  He has a passion for the lost and to see that people from every walk and nation come to know about Jesus.  He has been passionate and vocal about the Church around the world.  I could not think of a better person for this time to be at the leadership position of the IMB.  There are so many people that are wanting to get the Gospel to the ends of the earth, and Platt is one that can be a good, solid voice for them.  He has proven himself to be very qualified for the position of leading as he helped a megachurch in Alabama gain a new identity after some rocky times.

I cannot wait to see how God uses David Platt and his family in this position.  I encourage all Christians – Southern Baptists and others as well – to join me in praying for this man as he helps the SBC to be focused on the Great Commission.

Thoughts on SBC Relevancy

I have continued to ponder this question that was posed to me by a good friend recently:

“Are Southern Baptists relevant?”

I believe that it is difficult and unfair to lump all the Southern Baptist churches into one pot and say that they are either relevant or not.  I have seen some churches that are faithfully carrying out the Great Commission and being used by God in great ways in their community and through the world.  I also have seen some Southern Baptist churches that had about as much life in them as the local funeral home.  In the latter churches, it truly seemed as if God had removed their lamp stand  and they were just going through motions of what they had done for years.

I had said in my previous post that for Southern Baptists to stay relevant in these ever-changing times, they will have to learn to speak the language of the community that God has placed them.  I really don’t believe that the relevant issue is about “traditional” or “contemporary”.  I think that it is simply a communication and being intentional on reaching your community.

It is sad to me how, in the church, we will ride a “horse” (program/ministry) way past the point of the grave.  There comes a time when you have to step off the “horse” and let it be put to rest.  Strangely enough, you do not read about many of our ministry programs within the New Testament.  I’m not saying that they’re wrong.  I’m just saying that a point in time came when a new approach had to be taken.  If a program/ministry is really doing what it was intended to do, reaching people with the Gospel, and you are seeing constant fruit, then by all means, ride that “horse.”  If you can honestly evaluate the program/ministry and see nothing but glory days from way back when, then it might be time for a memorial service and new direction.

Before the IMB sends missionaries all across the world, they put them through a serious time of training.  This training consists of learning the language and customs of the people they will be ministering among in their field of service.  The IMB takes great precaution in making sure that these servants know who they are trying to reach.  This just seems like common sense to me.  Why would someone not take the time to understand the field that Jesus is sending them to?  Why wouldn’t that person do everything that they can to get the Gospel in the most plain language so that the “locals” can understand and apply it to their lives?

If the IMB takes such great care and dedication in making the Gospel easiest to understand, why can’t the local churches?  There are so many “languages” that are spoken here in the United States of America (and I’m not talking about English, Spanish, Chinese, etc).  There is “white-collar”, “blue-collar”, city, country, redneck, urban, artsy… the list could go on for days.  The truth is the Gospel is for each and every one.  We need churches that will speak the language of these people and take the Gospel to them in their language.

As long as there are churches that are deliberately taking the time to make sure that they are sharing the Gospel with their communities in the language that they speak, then Southern Baptists will be relevant.