2015 Annual Session Highlights
The President’s Address:
Dr. Jerry Young, President
135th Annual Session - Memphis, TN
September 10, 2015
A Focus on the Denominational Model, Evangelism and Comprehensive Christian Education
I have come to this moment with an acute sense of the times in which we live. I come to this moment with a tremendous sense of the challenges that we face as a church in this secular, humanized culture. I come here with an acute sense of the challenges the church has because, in the words of John Stott (1), “The world is challenging the church.” And in the language of some of the boys I played with in Lamont, MS, they used to say, “Put your money where your mouth is.” Or they would say, “You either need to put up or shut up.” There is the challenge that the world offers the church that says essentially, “Either you put up or you shut up.”
The world is challenging the church. Dr. Stott’s argument is that it challenges the church because man is still wrestling in darkness and he is still looking for a sense of transcendence. He wants to transcend his modern existence. And where he lives, he finds restlessness in his own heart, and he can’t find any real peace. He lives in a million dollar home and sleeps in the best bed and yet he finds no rest. We live in that age where men declare that we have learned how to guide missiles to the moon and misguide men walking on the street.
We live in a difficult time in the history of our country where the church is challenged. I am tempted to just simply quote you a scripture and do all I can do and then ask Dr. Frank Ray or Dr. Tellis Chapman to close it for me. [However,] I feel an obligation to see if I can, in the next few moments, try to unpack this vision that God placed in my bosom. I feel some kind of obligation to say to you that I did not dream up this idea of transforming us from just a convention model to becoming a denomination with a witness here in America and in the world abroad. [I am obligated] to say that I didn’t think that up on my own - it was dropped in my spirit. I wrestled with exactly what God was saying to me, and as I have wrestled with Him - I’ve got to be honest with you - I felt like my name was Jacob. And I kept wrestling and I finally told God, “Don’t break my leg, I think I hear you!” And I want you to know today that I’ve come here to declare that I believe it is time for National Baptists to move away from a model that allows us to have three meetings and then go home and then come back again...
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