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Thoughts on SBC Anaheim

“So what did you think of the convention?” is a question I have been asked a lot lately since my return from the SBC in Anaheim, California. The truth is I came back encouraged.  Reading all the rhetoric going into it caused me a level of concern that was somewhat lifted afterward.  While there are certainly issues that are being debated among us, and strong personalities that intend to sway us, when a convention of messengers gather the collective will of the assembly becomes clear.  It was clear that everyone rejoiced in 52 more IMB missionaries who were commissioned and celebrated for their commitment to go into all the world for the gospel of Jesus Christ, and for many in hard-to-reach places.  It was clear that when the worship team led the gathered saints in songs of faith that we were unified praising the One who makes us one.  It was clear that in addressing the report and recommendation of the Sexual Abuse Task Force that we are repentant and resolute in righting the wrong and correcting the way we address it in the future.  While there are still important topics to debate and decide on that have potential of dividing our tribe, I believe the demeanor of our engagement and the tone of our communication is key in whether we can do so in a way that honors the Lord Jesus and advances the Great Commission.  I was pleased to see more focus on what unites us than distract us from the main thing.  It is my commitment to be in prayer for our new president, Bart Barber, our elected officer, as well as the many new and current members of the Executive Committee, as they lead us forward as a convention.  The times ahead are definitely challenging, but if we keep our eyes on the Lord, He is faithful and will provide us the wisdom, strength, and a way forward together by His great grace. 
– Dr. Gary Mathes