Clippard notes opponents, opportunities in annual address to MBC messengers
By Norm Miller
November 9, 2004
RAYTOWN — “We are facing some opponents that are coming right at us. And, ready or not, here they come,” David Clippard told the 1000-plus crowd gathered at the 170th Missouri Baptist Convention annual meeting.
Clippard, executive director of MBC, said “By comparison, the legal issues we are pursuing don’t even make the scorecard in this battle.”
These issues creep toward the Convention with the determined stealth of a praying mantis, he said. “Some are within striking distance now.”
Preparing to address the Convention, Clippard had read through the Book of Jeremiah and recalled, in his own words, what the Lord told Jeremiah: “‘Quit praying for these people. Man, they’re toast…. I’m calling my servant, Nebuchadnezzar, down from the north to carry them off.’ Now folks, if God’ll do that to his chosen people, are we any better?”
Reflecting the MBC’s theme, “Restore All Things,” Clippard read Jeremiah 15.19: “Therefore, this is what the Lord says: ‘If you repent, I will restore you that you may serve me.’”
One issue stalking MBC churches is tradition. Not all tradition is bad, he said, but good things can get in the way of doing the best things.
One of those best things is global ministry. Clippard said, “Lord, restore unto us our missions vision.” Among the world’s 24,000 people groups, there are 10,000 that have yet to hear Gospel, he said. Noting Acts 1.8, Clippard asked if God had given Missouri Baptists a commandment greater than their ability to fill it. “I don’t think he did.”
“My dime in the offering plate bought me a piece of the action in world missions,” Clippard said, recalling his days as a Sunbeam and touting the Cooperative Program.
“Lord, restore unto us a biblical basis for the way we do ministry,” Clippard said, noting another best thing.
Reading numerous verses from Acts, Clippard cited multiplication, not simple addition, as the ministry characteristic of the early church.
“Dear ones, we will never reach our world by adding to the kingdom,” he said. “And I fear that our tradition of adding people to the church is keeping us from multiplying the church.”
Clippard decried the work load some pastors face due to traditional Southern Baptist thinking. He referred to Ephesians chapter 4, saying, the pastor’s job is to equip the saints for the work of the ministry. “Our ministry, our mission, our mandate is to grow, and not by addition but by multiplication.”
His passion for Missouri and the brief moments at hand caused Clippard to abbreviate his 4-point outline as he launched into a celebration of what God is doing in churches across Missouri.
Chadd Pendergraft, pastor at Split Log Baptist Church, ministers in an unincorporated town that has no zip code, Clippard said. Since January the church has baptized 60 people.
Clippard read part of a letter from Gary Taylor, pastor of First Baptist Church, O’Fallon, that detailed a record year of Sunday School growth of five percent in 2003, and the first quarter of 2004 is up to eight percent.
Providence Baptist Church in Park Hills, led by John Garland, pastor, reports a successful new members’ class and the training of 27 people in the Share Jesus Without Fear program.
Referring to the MBC staff, Clippard said, “The Missouri Baptist Convention staff, I promise you, is here to help you and assist you and love you in any way that we possibly can.”
Clippard lamented that he didn’t have more time to share more of what was on his heart, but departed the platform saying, “I love you. God bless you. Our greatest days are still ahead, Missouri Baptists.”