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The news reports are filled with bad news. You do not need to look for it, it will find you! There is something about a car wreck that makes everyone slow down and stare. That is what many think they will see as messengers from Southern Baptist churches gather in Nashville this week.

I have no doubt that there will be some contentious debate and potential for divisive decisions. If you read the New Testament, you will discover that the first churches with all their positive traits had some heated discussions and some strong leaders parted ways. A lot was written in Scripture calling believers to unity and love because that is not our default setting. Because even in the best of us, there lingers some of the worst in us—-and it boils over when things get hot! That is not good, but it is a reality that we will struggle with until we reach heaven.

Now, for some good news.

No matter which Presidential candidate is chosen to lead the SBC, they all are committed to sound doctrine and to sharing the Gospel. Are some preferred over others? Do I have more issues with one? Of course, yet while there is a better choice from my perspective, none is a bad choice.

Then there is outstanding news from the international mission field. I heard a sermon yesterday from our IMB President, Paul Chitwood, who told how in the awful pandemic year of 2020, when so many churches in America were struggling and numbers declining, that across the oceans, there were wonderful increases in baptisms, attendance, church plants, and Gospel impact! Our God is working though the missionaries that we support in amazing ways!

A final good news report: I am more passionate and better equipped for working with Haywood Baptists than ever! You invested in sending my wife and I to Nashville and it will pay dividends. I have learned so much and I am more convinced than ever that the local church is headquarters for where God does His work! Yet, we are better together. None of our Haywood Baptist Churches can reach the world for Christ alone, but in partnership we can—-and God has sent me to help equip and exhort our churches onward in that task of Kingdom impact!

Pray for us this week. There will be challenges, but God is a great God. To Him be all glory and praise!

Yours for the Gospel,

Dennis Thurman, Haywood Baptist AMS

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