Clippard to Missouri Baptists: ‘Build the wall’
By Allen Palmeri
January 25, 2005
LAKE OZARK – Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC) Executive Director David Clippard continues to preach that the key to Missouri Baptists advancing the kingdom of Christ is Nehemiah. The theme of the book of Nehemiah is revival. In other words, Missouri Baptists need to see the problem as God sees it, be broken by the condition of the city and then fervently pray for God’s hand to be on us.
“We have broken walls in our convention. I believe God will create a new heart in us if we respond as Nehemiah did in chapter one,” Clippard said Jan. 10 at the MBC staff retreat at Lodge of the Four Seasons. “This is our time on the wall.”
Clippard related how Nehemiah realized how unhealthy Jerusalem was in Nehemiah 1:3. When he surveyed the broken down walls and the gates that had been burned with fire, he called for Israel to rise up and build. Missouri Baptists must do the same, he said.
“What’s our convention like?” he asked. “The walls are broken down. Although there are some churches sprinkled throughout the state that are experiencing significant growth, as a whole we are a needy people. We need God to bring about a supernatural awakening in our land, just like He did for Jerusalem in the days of Nehemiah.”
Evidence of this is a steady 20-year decline in Sunday School attendance, a flat annual baptism rate of 13,000 that only went up slightly last year and from 1992 to 2002 a net increase of only 17 churches.
Clippard said numbers like that help to reveal the heart condition of our Missouri Baptist life.
“These things are a great burden for me,” he said. “I’m really struggling with this.”
In Nehemiah 2, Clippard said, the testimony of Jerusalem arising out of the rubble and rebuilding the city walls should be an encouragement to all of MBC people. God is and has always been in the miracle business.
“Can the Missouri Baptist Convention be rebuilt?” he asked. “Can it rise out of the ashes?”
Yes, he emphasized, noting what is recorded in Nehemiah 5:15-16.
He said his first goal for the convention is “revival that is genuine.” Other goals include: 100 new church starts in a consecutive 10 year period; 350,000 in small group Bible study, up from approximately 129,000 now; Evangelism Explosion ministry in every Missouri prison in the next seven years to reach our inmate population; 1,000 new worship leaders; family ministry that lowers the divorce rate in Missouri Baptist churches to one-fourth or less of what the world’s rate is; 5,000 Missouri Baptists on a mission field in one year; $22 million in Cooperative Program receipts to fuel world missions; a $1 million Missouri Missions Offering and having Missouri Baptist churches look at the MBC as the genuine partner in fulfilling the Great Commission it is designed to be.
“We must pray. We must build. Build as Israel did. With enemies mocking the rebuilding, Israel built with a trowel in one hand and a sword in the other until the walls were complete,” Clippard said.