Rewind: State Convention, Pastors’ Conference 2003
By Allen Palmeri
December 16, 2003
ST. LOUIS — The nuclear family and a culture that promotes death were among the subtopics addressed at the Missouri Baptist Convention’s (MBC) annual meeting and the Missouri Baptist Pastors’ Conference held here Nov. 3-5.
Among the featured speakers were Monte Shinkle, immediate past president of the MBC and pastor, Concord Baptist Church, Jefferson City; David Clippard, MBC executive director; Kenny Qualls, associate executive director for the MBC, and David Baker, pastor, First Baptist Church, Belton. Following are briefs reports of the remarks made by all four at the event held at the Millennium Hotel.
Shinkle: A call for integrity in repentance
ST. LOUIS – In a Nov. 3 presidential address full of warnings about people who miss what God is saying, former Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC) President Monte Shinkle, preached before a gathering of about 1,500. His topic: the church of Sardis (Rev. 3:1).
Sardis had a reputation of being rich, but the reality was something else, Shinkle said. Sardis lacked integrity. It needed a word from God.
He noted that the MBC is no different than Sardis . Missouri Baptist churches need a word from God, too. God does not owe Missouri Baptists anything in the sense that His Word, not Missouri Baptist “success," is the standard by which we all are to be judged.
“God was around before Southern Baptists showed up on the scene," said Shinkle, pastor, Concord Baptist Church , Jefferson City .
He said Southern Baptists are masters at holding on to a program long after the proram has lost its power. The next step down that slippery slope is to try to pump life into the dead program by means of razzle dazzle.
“I’m about razzle-dazzled to death," Shinkle confessed.
Some pastors may believe that activity in a church means life. Shinkle is not among them.
“Activity doesn’t mean life," he said. “We say we are busy. If we were not so barren we would not be so busy."
Do decisions mean life? “No," Shinkle.
Do crowds, such as 1,000 or even 2,000 in a Sunday morning service, mean life? “No," he answered.
“The only thing I know that indicates life is the glory of God. The glory of God and the presence of God are inseparable."
Fading glory in a denomination as influential as the Southern Baptist Convention is possible, he said.
“You can say that you have glory but what does God say about it?" Shinkle asked.
Missouri Baptists need to repent, he emphasized.
“In the Bible, leadership was based on character, commitment and conduct. Today it’s charisma, because in a shallow generation that’s what people want."
The Romanian church, by American standards, is poor in material goods. The Romanian Baptist pastors Shinkle spoke with on a recent mission trip average about $150 a month, and an average church budget is $300 a month. But in comparison to the American church, could it be that Romanian Baptists are rich and Southern Baptists are poor? Shinkle asked.
Much like the church of Smyrna , where tribulation and poverty resulted in a body of believers being rich, Romanian Baptists are doing quite well, he noted.
Even though the church of Sardis was dead, some kept the faith. The same can be said for the churches of the MBC. In the midst of Missouri Baptists repenting, Shinkle said there is hope.
“I believe these dry bones can live again," he said with a closing word of encouragement in which he challenged Missouri Baptists to hold fast. If our hearts are right, he said, good days are coming. Strengthening what remains is our duty.
As the remnant begins to get stronger, repenting in all corners of the state, the issue of our day will remain the same.
“The question of the hour is, ‘What does God think of us?’"
Clippard: Despite adversity, preach Christ
ST. LOUIS – David Clippard sees a wide door for effective ministry opening up to Missouri Baptists despite a couple of lingering negatives that he believes “will be history" in time.
Drawing strength from the words of the Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 16:9, Clippard delivered the Executive Director’s address of the 169th annual meeting of the Missouri Baptist Convention before an attentive audience of 1,557—nearly a full house at the Millennium Hotel. Drawing strength from an inerrant, infallible Bible is important, he said, because our situation now in Missouri is the same one that Paul faced, in that “yet many oppose me."
Clippard listed the negatives. The MBC has 15 fewer positions than it did last year at this time. A lawsuit involving five “rebellious" entities continues to consume valuable manpower and energy. A disgruntled former employee is pursuing a complaint against the executive director.
Clippard said his response to all of the negatives is rather simple: preach Christ.
However, not all of the news is negative.
“All of our bills are paid and our Cooperative Program giving is up," he said. “That is a great encouragement to me and the staff."
Clippard has become known during his brief tenure as a leader who sets God-sized goals. One such objective is his vision of planting 1,000 new churches in the next 10 years, starting in 2004 and continuing on to the next decade.
Remind the audience that God can do it, he asked: “Do you sense the immensity of the doors of opportunity that are in front of us?
“Sense the opportunities, seize the opportunities and savor them."
Clippard emphasized the power of love when doing evangelism. He frequently refers to Missouri Baptists as “dear ones" and encourages believers to put their arms around unbelievers and “love on folks."
Clippard said he put 45,000 miles on a convention vehicle this year and has gone into nooks and crannies of Missouri where he has met “some of God’s finest." He looks forward to doing more of the same in 2004, because “our greatest days are yet ahead of us."
One of the many positives that Clippard noted in his address is Missouri ’s status as an established state convention with more than 2,000 churches. He said a new North American missions partnership with a “sister" state convention is being explored and may soon come to fruition. The partnership would be in addition to the convention’s existing mission work with Baptists in Romania, Iraq and Puerto Rico.
Perhaps Missouri Baptists are viewed as battling among themselves, Clippard said. Perhaps this “squabbling" is an image that has lingered throughout 2003. Is this an image that will last?
“No," he answered.
Paul was not bothered by the negatives, Clippard said. He maintained a positive attitude as he preached Christ.
“We need to do the same," Clippard said.
Qualls: Drink from pure fountain
ST. LOUIS – The wellspring of material pleasures and temporal delights may look good for a season, but Christians must find another way to quench their thirsts in life, according to Kenny Qualls, during his sermon at the Missouri Baptist Pastors’ Conference.
A fountain of worldly sewage is poisoning Christians, Qualls said. Families are being torn apart. Qualls, who serves the Missouri Baptist Convention as associate executive director of the Church & Family Equipping Team, called for the purification of Missouri Baptist life.
The heart of his message was Deuteronomy 6:4-6, where the people of God are encouraged to love Him with all of their heart, soul and strength.
“May the Holy Spirit seal Deuteronomy 6 in our hearts!" Qualls said. “There is another fountain," he continued in his message designed to help Missouri Baptists personally know the Lord, passionately love the Lord and purposely obey the Lord. Because we are failing to obey those three points, Qualls said, our families are in crisis.
“There is a fountain of living water," he said. “There is a fountain of the blood of Jesus Christ. And the only fountain that families can go under to rescue them in a culture in crisis is the blood of Jesus Christ, the living water of Jesus Christ.
“That’s why we sing, ‘Living water, rain down your life on me, cleansing me, refreshing me with life abundantly. River full of life, I’ll go where you lead, I will trust in You, I will trust in You, my God. There is a fountain who is the King. Victorious warrior and Lord of everything. My rock, my shelter, my very own. Blessed redeemer who reigns upon the throne.
“The answer for the family in crisis is the family in Christ. May God help us for His glory. Make it so."
Qualls said loving God by keeping His commandments — the instruction found in John 14 — is vital in our time.
“How will children be lovers of God if Mom and Dad are not lovers of God?" he said.
Baker: Pastors must protect the unborn
ST. LOUIS – David Baker, pastor of First Baptist Church , Belton, took six months to research the message he delivered Nov. 3 to the Missouri Baptist Pastors Conference.
Month after month after month, the sum of his research led to one simple image. Baker saw blood.
“We’re talking about killing children," he said.
On three separate occasions during his sermon, Baker said 50 million children have died in America since a law authorizing this practice was passed in 1973. Baker did not call it abortion. He called it infanticide.
Infanticide claimed 1.3 million lives in America last year, he said, and is a “stench" in the nostrils of God. More than 40 times in the Scripture, conception is identified as the moment when the soul is born. Infanticide is wrong because God’s moral law forbids it.
“We believe that man is made in the image of God," he said.
Baker said that because of America ’s governmental and ecclesiastical failure to protect the unborn, God has pulled back from this nation in some ways. Perhaps we are being judged, he said. At the very least it is a crisis.
A church growth expert once told Baker he should preach less on abortion so his church could grow more. Baker concluded that the expert was wrong.
“I guess we won’t grow, because I can’t get away from this blood."
Preaching on the blood of infanticide is not as widespread as Baker says it should be. Missouri Baptist pastors need to do more, he said.
“Where are the preachers who will stand in the pulpit and tell the truth?" he asked.