Our Blog

Filter By:

Pastor's Point - July 2024

main image

Dear Church Family,

I want to take this opportunity to give a report from my time at the 2024 Southern Baptist Convention. The convention is two days of meetings that run from morning to evening to oversee the business of our convention of churches as we meet one time a year. This year we did a lot of what we do every year. We hear ministry reports from our different schools, missions’ agencies, approve a new annual budget, commission new international missionaries, and this year we elected a new president of the Southern Baptist Convention as well. Also, every year there are resolutions that are considered that express the will of the convention in that year that often speak to issues of the day. But also, every year there are new matters of business that we consider as well.

Overall, I was encouraged by much of what I heard. Our baptisms as a convention are trending back up after recent declines, we heard encouraging reports from the mission field, as well as from our seminaries. Partnering together with other churches allows us to do more than we can accomplish on our own. So, I am very thankful for our convention of churches! I want to share with you four items that we dealt with as we gathered.

Financial Transparency: There was an effort to seek better financial transparency from all our SBC entities which includes our seminaries, mission boards, and other agencies. This was a motion that was made by one of our messengers last year that was referred to our Executive Committee which functions throughout the year to manage items of business for our convention of churches. Sadly, the Executive Committee did not bring it out to the floor of the convention for the whole convention to consider which by our bylaws is their right. The motion that was made asked for all our entities to fill out the equivalent of a standard 990 form which non-religious non-profits are required to fill out. In my limited understanding this form gives basic financial information to help make sure that all our entities are financially healthy and that there is no conflict of interests on any of our trustee boards. As one who serves as a seminary trustee, I think this would have been a very good thing to bring to the floor of the convention and let the messengers consider it and vote on the matter. Financial information and clarity are good to share and would only help build goodwill between local churches and the convention.

New President: This year we elected a new president. His name is Clint Pressley who is a theological conservative who wants our convention of churches to refocus on our theological convictions and missional cooperation. This is good news especially since the president of our convention make appointments that help to shape our convention boards of our entities and boards that will shape the life of our convention for years to come. He was also a supporter of the Law Amendment which I will deal with now.

Law Amendment: I am sure you have read headlines online or in the newspaper and I want you to know that most likely what you read is not accurate. At least the articles I have read were misleading at best. The Law Amendment would have amended our SBC constitution to require churches in cooperation with the SBC to have only qualified men serving as pastors. This amendment simply restates what the Baptist Faith and Message 2000 states about this subject but in a way that was intended to be helpful to our credentials committee to deal with churches who are outside of that doctrinal statement. It is true that the Law Amendment did not pass which was disappointing to me. But there are facts about what happened that give me reasons to be hopeful for the future.

First you need to know that most messengers voted for the amendment. The vote did not reach the required super majority percentage for it to pass, but over 61 % of our messengers voted for it. Second, the results of the election of Clint Pressley as the new president confirms as well that Southern Baptists are in favor of holding to the biblical standard of only qualified male pastors. Pressley spoke publicly that he was a supporter of the Law Amendment. There is much that could be said about the Law Amendment, but it is hard to cover everything in this one report. Just know that the spin and intent of most secular reporting does not understand the truth of scripture on this matter or the nuance of exactly what we are dealing with in our convention.

Pastor Heath Lambert helpfully shares… “Media reports have already trumpeted that Southern Baptists have rejected a requirement for pastors to be qualified men. This is simply not true. What is true is that the SBC affirmed its confessional statement on this issue, and only failed to reach the required super-majority by a few points. Even opponents of the Law Amendment have been at pains to make clear that their procedural opposition to the amendment had nothing to do with their commitments restricting the office of pastor to qualified men.” – Heath Lambert

Commissioning of new international missionaries: The highlight of the convention for me was the commissioning of 83 new international missionaries in a commissioning service on Tuesday morning! This is a highlight every year at the convention, but this year was extra special. Our own Todd and Michele Linn were commissioned to be career missionaries in Zambia!! Todd and Michele have been such incredible blessings to our church over the last four years as they have been with us in membership. They have years of local church ministry experience that they are now going to take to the mission field to be a part of the “greater works” that Jesus himself shared with us about in John 14. Please know that the Linn’s are not officially going to the mission field until the end of September. God is going to use them in marvelous ways for his glory and we have the honor and the privilege of being their “sending church.” We will be here in Evansville, praying for them, encouraging them, and supporting them in any way that we can.

Thank you church family for allowing me and the other messengers of our church to go and represent us. I was glad to go, but I am glad to be back because we have much to do for the Lord through our church family! I am excited for our future together as we hold fast to the truthfulness of God’s Word, and as we share it freely with all that we minister to!

I love you and I love being your pastor!

Posted by Alan Scott with

Family Ministry Moments - July 2024

main image

Recently I was buying some mulch for my house at the hardware store.  I looked at the cashier, a young man, and thought,  ”I know this guy”.  After searching my memory, I asked him, “Did you play Upward Basketball because I think I coached you?” He said, “Yes, I thought you looked familiar.” Turns out this soon-to-be high school sophomore, along with my son, was on a team I coached a few years ago.  After catching up for a minute I paid for my mulch and went on my way.  You might assume this was just a chance encounter, but it happens more than you think.  I can’t tell you how many kids I see out and about from Upward, AWANA, Kids’ Life Groups, etc.  Just a few weeks ago a young man stopped by the church to use the restroom while on a run, you guessed it, I coached him also.  

These random meetings can stick with me for a while, it makes me think about all the kids that I have coached or taught in some capacity over the years. I have been at Oakhill for 17 years and coached Upward for 10 years.  That is a lot of kids!  Many of them I do not get to see grow up, but some I do; like the students from when I was a youth pastor.  All of those students are grown and have their own kids, some in our children’s ministry.  It is an immense blessing to see these students grow up and live for the Lord.

All of this has me thinking about purpose.  We know that our chief purpose is to bring glory to God, but within that purpose, there are other purposes– like investing in the next generation.  In Psalm 145 David extols the greatness of God at length.  He encourages his people to praise God and lift high his name because the Lord is worthy. He also tells them in verse 4, “One generation shall commend your works to another, and shall declare your mighty acts.”  This means that the older generation must invest spiritually in the younger.  This is congruent with all of scripture.  In the Old Testament, we see many monuments erected so that Israel would remember what God did and how He saved them.  In Joshua 4 the people are commanded to make a monument after crossing the Jordan River so that when their children ask why this pile of rocks is here they can tell of God’s goodness to them.  

We see this principle in the New Testament as well.  Jesus famously rebuked His disciples in Mark 10 for not allowing children to come to Him.  Jesus knew the importance of investing in children.  Likewise, in Titus 2 Paul encourages older men and women to live as an example to the younger generation.  The elders have a responsibility in both word and deed to invest in children.  This is what it means to leave a spiritual legacy.  One of the main purposes in life is to pass on the faith to the younger generation.

The first place this responsibility falls is within the family.  Parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc. have the responsibility of investing in their own family.  This is a biblical command; however, families are not meant to do this on their own.  The responsibility falls to the wider church to support the families. We are all called to invest in future generations in some way.  You have heard the saying, “It takes a village”.  While this African proverb has been co-opted by politicians in recent years, it doesn’t make it any less true.  Our village is our church!  We need to invest in each other spiritually so we can raise up the next generation for the glory of God.

This means we look for ways to pour into one another. It may be an official program like AWANA, Upward, or the Student Ministry. We must be committed to investing in children in these formal settings.  We can also do this informally through our relationships.  As we come together to meet, worship, and disciple we can influence each other through our examples and our encouragements in the faith.  These kinds of investments are important because they create a strong bond in our “village”.  

My encouragement to you today is to pray about how you can impact the next generation.  It is such a blessing to see young men and women who have come through our ministry out and about in the world.  While they might not all be following the Lord, I know for certain that while I was able to influence them, I pointed them to Jesus.  That’s what this is all about, pointing the next generation to Jesus.  How can you be a part of this great mission for the glory of God?

Posted by Bryan Gotcher with

Previous12345678910 ... 368369