Last Sunday evening I had the joy of speaking to the NAMB Summer Leadership meeting in Atlanta. Leaders from across America and Canada came for the annual retreat/training event. It is always good to be with those who are working in missions across North America. Their task is not easy. I thank God for them.
On Monday I sat in on a 75-minute Q&A session lead by interim President Richard Harris and Tim Dowdy (NAMB trustee board chairman). They fielded questions about our work. Most of it centered on the GCR report and everyone wants details. However, the trustees are the ones to work out those details. They have some very important work to do. And our search team needs to find a president to lead the way. These are essential issues. There was concern in the room for the future of NAMB and rightfully so. However, there is no place for fear. And there is no place for denial that change is called for and coming.
Full implementation of GCR will fall to the trustees and NAMB leadership. In the hall talk I heard some say they would just ignore the report. Others stated if cooperative budgets changed they would simply keep more money in their state. Some wanted to outline the worst case scenario and stated their work might just go away. These are the kinds of statements that are born out of frustration and fear. Others stated this was one of the best meetings they had ever been in at NAMB. It was said to be a time of honest evaluation and vision casting.
There is no doubt NAMB is in a great time of transition. This entity exists to serve the SBC churches. I do believe her best days are ahead. The ball room in the Westin hotel was full of capable servant leaders. I am asking God to empower them for the tasks at hand and ask you to join me.
Pastor Ted Traylor
The last two days have been busy but encouraging. Sunday evening I spoke at the NAMB State Summer Leadership meeting in Atlanta. More than five hundred missionaries attended the session. It was a great time of revival and Holy Spirit response. God is doing an amazing work in the lives of these servants. Greater things are yet to come.
Last night I preached at Valley View Baptist Church in Tuscaloosa. This is a growing and dynamic ministry led by Pastor Billy Joy. He and his wife Mary have a passion for reaching the lost, impacting the culture and growing strong disciples for Christ. I left blessed knowing kingdom work is being accomplished and lives changed for eternity.
As I returned to Pensacola this morning, I was reminded there is much work to do here. We have a mission field right before our eyes. Embrace the opportunities to share Christ. He is worthy of our passion and praise.
Tropical storm Bonnie is moving. She is predicted to race through the gulf toward Louisiana. While this is not a hurricane, it is a good reminder to prepare for the real deal. If a big storm was coming, now would be the time to have a plan and work that plan. I encourage you to review your hurricane strategy with your family.
Last night we had a great deacons meeting at Olive. One of the ministry items we discussed was the hurricane plan for widows. Our men look after the ladies that do not have family. Crawford Odom and his team have been connecting with the ladies to make certain of our plan. This is a great work. Let me remind you, after you have your family plan in place, to show concern for those who may not have family or means to get ready for a storm. This is what a church family does.
Tonight at the School of Tyrannus we will be discussing End Times. This should be a fun night. Then join me Sunday for another great day at a place called OLIVE.
We are coming to the end of July. SEC Football media days are kicking off. Preseason comps will be in high gear in a few weeks. Last chance vacations are being taken. All that points toward the start of school. If you are a Christian teacher or student, what are your rights as you walk back on the campus this fall? Can you pray? Can you carry a Bible or read it? What about sharing the Gospel verbally or giving a written presentation of the Good News? These are questions some ask and many think about. Often we simply decide to hide our light under a covering of fear.
On August 14 from 8 AM-Noon Olive is hosting a workshop to help answer these questions and more. Details are coming in a few days regarding sign up, costs and agenda. I will pass them on as I get them. I encourage you to mark your schedule for this Saturday. The Liberty Counsel will be the presenters. All of us in NW Florida know that this is a first class organization based on the defense they gave Frank Lay and Robert Freeman. This workshop will be great for teachers, parents, students and concerned citizens. Tell your friends and be in attendance. Then let’s go be salt and light in a lost world.
The writer of 3 John said he had no greater joy than to hear that his children walked in truth. As a dad I would say the same. And, as a pastor, I am always thrilled to see young people grow up and live for Jesus.
This week I have heard from several of our younger members who are on mission in Africa. One spoke for the first time and saw thirty-five people trust Jesus. Glory to God! My prayer is for the Lord to raise up a generation who will stand for Jesus and turn America back to her foundation of One Nation Under God.
One young member of our family has just released a new book titled Prep Steps-A 31 Day Guide to Success for Female Student-Athletes. The author, Charity Butler, grew up at Olive. She played softball at Southern Miss and then professionally on the international level. She came to the conviction that young ladies in sports need a book to guide them in life for success. So she went to work. Just a few days ago the book came out. I have been sharing it with coaches and they love it. Last week many NCAA ladies coaches were in Pensacola and Charity was able to promote the book. I am proud of her. And the book is top shelf and first class. She and her husband Jonathan are always looking for platforms where they can lift up Jesus. This book will open doors for that. Find out more about the book at Charity’s website, http://exceed-sports.com.
Several days ago I had lunch with a gentleman who is deeply involved in political campaigns across America. We talked about many things. One item that jumped out at me was the power of the church in voting. The church is still a dominant force.
Americans are right of center voters as a majority and that includes church members. If we can just motivate them to go to the polls it will make a big difference.
The problem is that many church members are like other Americans-they do not go to the polls. We must get out the vote and things will move in the right direction. And most church members are even more conservative than the rest of the country and that can make impact.
Florida will hold primary elections on August 24. If normal trends hold true then the turnout will be pitiful. If the church really turned out it could control the primary votes. A church like Olive could really make impact if we get to the booth and mark our ballots. Members do not need to be told how to vote-they will do right. And 50 % is all we need in the total.
So mark your schedule and get to the polls on August 24. To not vote is to dishonor those that gave their lives for our freedom. Let us all practice our freedom by being responsible to walk into the polling place.
There are other ways to get involved. If you have a candidate you are backing work for them. Write a check if you can. Campaigning is expensive. Pray for candidates and encourage them. It takes guts to place your name on a ballot.
Chuck Lawless and Adam Greenway have edited a new book entitled The Great Commission Resurgence. They compile writings from various authors and leaders. In section three Dr. Jeff Iorg, president of Golden Gate Seminary, writes the chapter “North America As A Mission Field”. He lists the following three strategies used to communicate the Gospel:
• Attraction strategy: a Christian event or program designed to accommodate unbelievers and introduce them to Jesus. This includes inviting someone to Sunday School or church.
• Engagement strategy: an event or program designed to involve unbelievers and introduce them to Jesus. Organizing a Bible study at your workplace inviting friends would be an example of this.
• Infiltration strategy: the deployment of believers throughout the culture to introduce unbelievers to Jesus in their context. Serving as a chaplain in a corporate setting and seeking to share Christ in the workplace would be a way to implement this strategy.
All three of these strategies are needed in the church. However, the last one is sorely lacking in our church life.
During Southern Baptist Convention in Orlando last month, I was delighted to share in a reception for a lady who has been doing these things for more than thirty years. Iris Blue is my dear friend. NAMB Interim President Richard Harris invited me to be a small part of a program honoring Iris. She is the real deal. Infiltration is her strategy and presenting Jesus is her game plan. I am proud to be her friend.
My busy June is over and I am back in the office after taking a few days off. We had a great Sunday at Olive on July 4. Yesterday was a holiday and now it is time to get back to work. Olive Baptist demands my full attention as we step into the future.
Yet, I have one large task outside of Pensacola. That is the responsibility of being chairman of the search team for the new president of the North American Mission Board of the SBC. Over and over it has been said to me, “You must get this right.” Well, no one wants to get it wrong. Next week I will be in Atlanta with my committee, making major decisions in this process. I need your prayers. I do not need you just to think about it. I need you to call this need to the Father. This is one important role in American Christianity. The potential impact is staggering. The right visionary leader in this position can help push back darkness in America. I AM ASKING YOU TO INTERCEDE FOR ME AND THIS SEARCH GROUP LIKE NEVER BEFORE. NOW IS THE TIME TO FIND GOD’S LEADER.
As we approach the 4th of July weekend, I want to thank God for America! Our nation is far from perfect, but we still need to protect the great country that God has given us. Our nation faces many challenges, but illegal immigration is one of the crucial issues before us. For far too long we have refused to enforce the laws on the books. If we would put teeth in them, we could turn this issue around, but not until.
Several years ago my wife’s stepfather asked me if I had ever read the constitution. I was happy to say yes. It has been my habit to get out a copy on the 4th of July and read that blessed document. I encourage you to try it on Sunday afternoon after you come home from church. Before you get ready for a cookout and fireworks, find a copy of that old document and give it a read.
Have a flag waving weekend. If you happen to encounter someone not born in America, be a good neighbor. Open up your arms and heart. They may be here for a multitude of reasons. It is still the greatest nation on earth!