Autumn is here and with it comes one of our busiest times of the year and one of The Pathway staff’s favorite.
The crisp, cooler weather and turning leaves are always a signal for the plethora of association meetings held statewide leading up to the annual gathering of Missouri Southern Baptists, this year at Tan-Tar-A. With these meetings come wonderful opportunities for The Pathway staff to get out among “the folks” – face-to-face – and hear what is on their hearts and minds. I tell the staff that much of what we discuss in the office is theoretical, but when we fellowship with the people of our convention it all becomes real.
It is a refreshing experience for us for two reasons: We see how God is working in the lives of Missouri Southern Baptists, giving us great story ideas to share with Pathway readers in order to “build up the body of Christ,” that is the Church. It also allows us to connect in a personal way, one that is not possible through e-mail or by phone, providing us with a sense of encouragement as we go about the ministry with which God has entrusted to us.
God is doing amazing things through Missouri Southern Baptists. Contrary to much of the doom and gloom we are fed everyday through the news media, God is blessing and bringing victory to people’s lives and he is using Missouri Southern Baptists to do it. While there are churches that are confronted with a variety of struggles, the overwhelming majority of Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC)-affiliated churches are winning people to Jesus and ministering to people in many ways as they winsomely engage our rotting culture.
With everything that has happened to the MBC over the past 15 years, you would think that its people would be ready to throw in the towel. Not Missouri Southern Baptists. I recently told an out-of-state friend that Missouri Southern Baptists will never quit and with humility and faith remain committed to loving God and carrying out His Great Commission. Whether it is people flooded out of their homes or helping those who no longer have a home after being swept away by a tornado, Missouri Southern Baptists will express their love and support in a variety of ways.
I believe this is occurring because their pastors are faithfully preaching the whole counsel of God’s Word, “in season and out of season.” Scripture says we are to be “doers of the word, and not merely hearers” and this is reflected in how Missouri Southern Baptists are ministering to their communities, all across Missouri, around our nation and throughout the world. I am reminded of what the Apostle Paul told Timothy, “For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with gratitude; for it is sanctified by means of the word of God and prayer. In pointing out these things to the brethren, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, constantly nourished on the words of the faith and of the sound doctrine which you have been following (1 Tim. 4:4-6).”
Missouri Southern Baptists have been through a tough patch in recent years. Let us not forget, amidst our stumbling, that God blessed our faithfulness a decade ago when we affirmed the Bible as His inerrant, infallible Word. That was a battle worth fighting and winning. But that time has passed and God has placed our feet on His path. New generations of Missouri Southern Baptists are arising. I am encouraged by the commitment of our young pastors with their expository preaching of God’s Word.
Missouri Southern Baptists will gather Oct. 31-Nov. 2 to worship, fellowship and conduct business. I believe it will be a sweet time. I hope you will make plans to attend to hear how God is changing lives through Missouri Southern Baptists. I hope to see you there!
DON HINKLE / EDITOR