“We’d be all in!” Those are the words a friend of mine declared when I asked him a simple question several weeks ago. What would it mean for your church’s approach to the SBC if David Platt is elected as president of the IMB?
His church is emblematic of a group of younger generation leaders who have hovered around the fringes of SBC life. He was raised in an SBC church. Went to an SBC seminary. Planted an SBC church. By God’s grace, it became one of the fastest growing churches in his state.
But along the way he began to question the value of his church’s engagement in the SBC. Why put their energy and resources there when other opportunities for partnership exist that were less frustrating? Yet recently, connections with an SBC seminary combined with new leadership and vision at NAMB and the ERLC have reenergized his interest.
When he says, “we’d be all in!” what he means is that the SBC would now become like the lead sponsor of a NASCAR vehicle, with the most prominent logo spot emblazoned on the hood for all to see. Sure, there will still be other partnerships that continue. But the SBC would now be the church’s primary identity. As a result, their money, their missionaries, and their involvement in the SBC will increase significantly.
Now, there is no question that Platt’s election will generate some controversy in the short term. There are some in our convention who have reasonable concerns about his Cooperative Program giving track record. People who support Platt’s election should not dismiss his CP giving history as irrelevant, especially since Platt himself has acknowledged his track record.
We need to work hard as a convention to have an honest conversation about our differences that results in greater unity, not greater division. The worst thing that churches that are frustrated with Platt’s past lack of Cooperative Program giving could do is to use his election as IMB president to justify their own future lack of Cooperative Program giving.
There are several reasons why David Platt’s election as IMB president will solidify and shape the next generation of the SBC:
I believe David Platt’s election as IMB president is the most significant step of the next 20 years for solidifying the next generation of the SBC. He will cast a compelling vision that will capture the hearts of future SBC leaders. My friend’s enthusiasm will not be an isolated case. My hope is that whether young or old, whether established church or church plant, whether currently committed to the Cooperative Program or not; all SBC churches, pastors, and leaders will rally around the election of David Platt and decide that they are “all in” for the sake of the SBC, for the sake of the CP, but most importantly, for the sake of the gospel. I am “all in.” Are you?