I prayed, “Lord, find us faithful stewards of the resources you entrust to our care.” Whether it is the assets of our family estate; or the above-the-tithe gift to a ministry the Lord is using; or encouraging our local church to tithe its offerings to the Cooperative Program; or leading our state convention toward maximizing our efficiencies and effectiveness for gospel transformation, I pray, “Lord, find us faithful stewards.”
Is it possible that our gracious Lord would find us so trustworthy of what He channels through our lives that He would be pleased and glorified to bless others through our stewarding more resources?
Personal stewardship is not a light thing. It is a core value of biblical discipleship. How can we not be generous when the Lord has opened up His hands toward us? The Lord is so good to those of us who live in this nation. We are so blessed. The images of those clinging to the C-17s attempting to take off from Afghanistan. Horrific. How many of those people were believers — like us?
Those of us who sleep at night with a sense of peace, those of us who worship openly with fellow believers without the threat of a gun pointed to our heads — people, we are blessed. So, what does our Lord require of us? In a word, “faithfulness” to our God and toward others.
In this issue of The Pathway, you will find the semi-annual report of cooperative stewardship from MBC churches toward the Cooperative Program. We do not publish this report to guilt some into giving more. However, it is an accountability measure that gives each of our churches and church members clarity as to their church’s faithfulness to the missions and ministries we do through the MBC and the SBC.
2020 and early 2021 has been a devastating time for many people and a host of our churches. When you see a church that gives nothing to CP in this report, please pray for them. Their burden may be heavy during these days, and your intercession may be the cry in the throne room of heaven that encourages them to persevere in the name of the Lord Jesus. Let us be faithful to the Lord and to one another in prayer and resources.
Today, I am thrilled to shout out a big Missouri Baptist welcome to Dr. Richard J. Melson, his wife Tammy, and third-born son Mark to Missouri. Dr. Melson was chosen by unanimous acclamation by the SBU Board of Trustees as the new president of Southwest Baptist University. They have another son who lives and works in Los Angeles, and a daughter who is a nurse in Dayton, Ohio. I hope you join with me in welcoming the Melsons to Missouri Baptist life. They plan to be in our state serving the Lord the first week of September.
The journey of the SBU search committee comprised of trustees and the faculty senate president, an administrator and a staff member, has been a joy to observe. The search committee members from a broad array of perspectives coalesced into a team unified around the mission to seek the Lord and to find God’s leader for this unique moment in history for Southwest Baptist University.
Carter/Baldwin, a professional search firm from Georgia, led them in a focused, enthusiastic process that brought several world-class candidates before the search committee. Missouri Baptists are grateful that the team of Christ followers, led by Bill Peterson at Carter/Baldwin, found the right guy in record time, especially with the extraordinary challenges facing SBU.
Dr. Melson writes, “As Christian institutions face cultural headwinds and external forces, we must stand unapologetically for biblical truth and present clear mission, vision and value proposition for Christ-centered transformational education. Many Christian students and parents are choosing public universities based on the perception of cost, brand strength and job placement, but few have fully considered the consequences of this choice. The modern-day secular university is a humanistic institution designed to deconstruct who we are, what we think, what we believe, what we feel and what we do. In contrast, the Christian university exists to glorify God by integrating faith and learning, building upon biblical truth, and partnering with families, churches and communities to develop and equip the next generations of graduates with a biblical worldview who will serve and lead in the church and the marketplaces around the world.” (Dr. Melson’s statement to the SBU board of trustees, August 19, 2021).
Pastors, you should call the SBU president’s office now and schedule this new leader to preach the word at your church. All of our entity heads and all of our state missionaries would love to speak at your church to share the miraculous, transformational, synergistic message of Cooperative Program ministries supported by Missouri Baptist churches. We can do more together.