June 27, 2006
Dear Southern Baptists!
Thank you a million times a million for the unspeakable privilege of serving you the last two years as president of the Southern Baptist Convention. While I earnestly plead for your continual prayers, please, please begin now to pray long and hard for our new president, Dr. Frank Page.
Recently I've been asked several questions from across the Convention which, in a fashion, summarizes these days.
"What came out of this year's meeting at Greensboro?"
While the Convention dealt with a number of important issues and items, it most definitely had several defining conclusions. There was a spirit of oneness and a unity of purpose as the Convention did, in fact, very enthusiastically reconfirm that the Great Commission and soul-winning evangelism are still the main thing for the SBC and that the Cooperative Program is the best way to collectively finance the cost of world evangelism.
Additionally, the Convention voted almost unanimously that they wanted pastors and people who are leading them not to be persons blinded by a theology that encourages and promotes drinking alcoholic beverages of any kind.
"Were there any surprises at the Convention?"
Oh yes! Undoubtedly, the greatest surprise to almost everyone was that several Southern Baptist pastors actually came to a microphone and publicly promoted the drinking of alcoholic beverages and wanted the SBC to do the same! Actually, I never thought I would see that take place, and it is not only a surprise but an outrage! My father was addicted to alcohol, which contributed to his early death. He advised me that if I would never take the first drink I would never end up like he did. I did not, and he was correct!
I understand one pastor's blog site indicates he believes his drinking assists him in soul-winning! What a pathetic joke! These blogging Baptist pastors just blew their collective cork!
From my vantage point, as presiding officer of the Convention, I took a slow and deliberate look at the number of ballots raised in support of such foolishness and comparatively, there was hardly anyone who was in favor of encouraging the use or promotion of the use of alcoholic beverages. In fact, the overwhelming voice and raised ballot vote made it clear that Southern Baptists do not want leaders that use or promote the use of any type of alcohol.
We have many outstanding young pastors and others on their way to leading this Convention to its greatest days, and they are smart enough to know they will not do it as "sipping saints," but as sober soul winners! God help us to never, ever elect a user or promoter of the use of alcoholic beverages to any leadership position, and I am personally sorry and ashamed if we have any in those positions now!
The next three months of our attempt to witness, win, and baptize one million is of large interest to many. Accelerate — Accelerate — Accelerate! Just as I urged on page 13 of the Convention program, we need to do a number of things to go all out these last three months: Have a revival, do another associational baptism rally, have a local one-day Crossover, conclude this church year with a major event centered upon reaching the lost and baptizing. In short, "Do all you can with all you have where you are ... NOW!"
The other most-asked question is, "What will Bobby Welch do after being president of the SBC and 'retiring' as pastor of First Baptist Church, Daytona Beach?"
My deep commitment to the Lord is to give the best of the rest of my life to multiplying soul winners to reach the world through the SBC. My quest is to see the Convention do MORE then ever before — MORE going and MORE giving! I plan to do this by encouraging MORE going and giving through state conventions, pastor's conferences, evangelism conferences, local churches, and association-wide meetings. Already a number of these are scheduled, and I am preparing to do all of these meetings I possibly can in the future.
By the work of Christ, you of the Southern Baptist Convention can win this world now!
To that end ...
With You In His Certain Victory!