We live in a world where everyone wants to know the answer to the question, “What’s in it for me?” I remember a conversation with some concerned parents one time who demanded that we consider what is best for the youth in the church. I was young and somewhat arrogant. I’m sure my answer seemed curt as I quickly responded too loudly, “I don’t care what’s best for the youth, all I care about is what’s best for the church.”
Now, years later, I would answer that same concern with much more patience and compassion. However, my sentiment remains the same. At First Mount Moriah Baptist Church — the church God has called me to pastor — we spend a lot of time talking about being “A Church With Kingdom Priorities.” This simply means that we want the things that are most important to God to be most important to us.
I fully believe that if we’re faithful to do that, we will accomplish what is best for the church. I also believe that what’s best for the church is what’s best for students, senior adults, babies, and everyone else (Matthew 6:33). Prioritizing the needs of any individual or group above the needs of the kingdom only leads to grief, strife and turmoil. Too many churches are distracted from kingdom priorities because they spend all of their time worrying about individual preferences.
We need to focus on things that matter, like reaching every person alive with the gospel, equipping people for effective ministry and finding unity in diversity. We have an enemy that looks for every opportunity to divide us and pull us down, and he has caused a lot of damage by elevating personal preferences above kingdom priority.
That’s why this is not the time to stand down. This is not the time to give in to our enemy’s schemes. This is the time to stand together in unity and ENGAGE! We must overcome! “To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne” (Revelation 3:21, NASB).
As I close out my term as SCBC president, I am encouraged. I believe that we are headed in the right direction. I believe that we can accomplish great things for the Lord — if we will focus on what’s best for His kingdom.
— Bryant Sims is pastor of First Mount Moriah Baptist Church in Greenwood and president of the South Carolina Baptist Convention.