President’s Perspective: Why Does the Church Stay Indoors?

Do you sometimes feel frustrated because you can’t solve all the problems you see around you? It’s easy to feel helpless when you hear about a single mom who needs a job or when you see someone standing at an intersection, holding a cardboard sign. It’s easy to feel helpless when you read about places in the U.S. and around the world where 98-99 percent of the people have no relationship with Jesus Christ.

None of us can help everyone, but what if, for one day, we decided to do something to help someone?

What if, for one day, you met a need for someone?

What if, for one day, you served someone?

What if, for one day, you showed someone God’s love?

Here’s the real kicker: What if it weren’t just you doing that? What if there were hundreds like you doing that? Does that sound like something that would interest you? If it does, then I hope you will come to our annual meeting Nov. 7 in Columbia. Hundreds of South Carolina Baptists will scatter into the city of Columbia to serve people in the name of Jesus. None of us can help everyone, but, for one day, we will all try to help someone!

There’s a story in the New Testament that shows the amazing things that can happen in just one day. In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus had been out in the countryside, teaching, healing people and casting out demons. In Chapter 5, He healed a man with the dreaded disease of leprosy. Word began to spread about this miracle worker from Nazareth. When He returned home to Capernaum, everyone wanted to see and hear Jesus. Mark tells us in his Gospel account: “So many gathered that there was no room left, not even outside the door, and He preached the word to them” (Mark 2:2).

There was a man in Capernaum who desperately needed to see Jesus that day, but he couldn’t get to Him. It wasn’t just the size of the crowd that hindered him, it was his legs. They didn’t work. This paralyzed man was fortunate, though. He had four friends who had a deep conviction that Jesus could heal him. They believed so deeply that when they could not get to Jesus because of the size of the crowd, they came up with the harebrained idea to go over the crowd! As Jesus was teaching, suddenly there was a noise overhead. Dust began to fall, and then a sliver of light broke through the roof. The trickle of dust turned into chunks of debris, and suddenly sunlight began to fill the room. That’s when four heads appeared through a hole big enough to allow a grown man. Jesus must have smiled and marveled at their faith as He saw what was happening. Luke puts it this way: “When Jesus saw their faith, He said, ‘Friend, your sins are forgiven’” (Luke 5:20). When everyone left that day, “they were filled with awe and said, ‘We have seen remarkable things today’” (Luke 5:26). One day made a difference for that one man!

I want us to have that same experience on Nov. 7. Maybe we can’t help everyone in Columbia, but we can help someone. Samuel Chadwick once wrote: “Why does the church stay indoors?” I love that question! Starting Sept. 1, go to www.scbaptist.org, click on the tab to register for the SCBC annual meeting, and sign up for our one-day mission trip to Columbia. Let’s get outside the walls of our meeting place and go serve the city!

— Keith Shorter is pastor of Mt. Airy Baptist Church in Easley and president of the South Carolina Baptist Convention.