Some time tomorrow, Tom Ascol will attempt, once again, to present a resolution to the floor of the Southern Baptist Convention calling “Southern Baptists to repent of our failure to maintain responsible church membership.” I do not know if the resolution will reach the floor, much less meet with approval, but as for Lakeshore Baptist Church, where I pastor, we have heard the call and desire to move toward a more meaningful, definite, love-motivated, Christ-honoring, joy-enhancing regenerate church membership.
This past Sunday Lakeshore Baptist Church celebrated our 97th anniversary. A handful of believers met together in 1911 to found the church in Lakeshore. In the sparse minutes of that meeting we learn that the moderator read from their Articles of Faith and their Church Covenant. The record also gave a definite list of five original church members. I pointed to these three pieces of data and appealed to the churches founders as examples to dedicate ourselves to upholding and valuing sound doctrine, our covenant promises to each other, and to maintain definite responsible caring church membership rolls for the glory of God. While I think we could receive a decent grade on the first point, we would need to repeat the class on the other two and probably enlist a tutor.
In the Homecoming sermon, I swallowed hard, acknowledged my own personal failure in leadership regarding our church rolls, asked for forgiveness, and publicly repented. My cards lay face up on the table and we pray that God would grant us the grace to lovingly move forward toward a more healthy church. At the risk of airing our dirty laundry, I am making the audio of the sermon available here. (1 hour 15 min.)