Over the weekend, Dr. Thom Rainer, President and CEO of LifeWay, conducted an informal survey on Twitter regarding people’s thoughts about the name “Southern Baptist.”  Specifically, Rainer asked,

What do you think when you hear ‘Southern Baptist’?

The answers are quite telling. Below is a Wordle put together by Tony Kummer who added the following words:

Why does this matter? Bottom line, Twitter users are influencers. They are tech savvy, well education, and super connected. Social media has great power to reflect and move public opinion. . . . This is a chance to see ourselves through the eyes of others. At least in some measure, we are giving Jesus a bad name.  It’s time for some healthy humiliation and repentance.

southern-baptist-worldleIf you look past legalism, legalistic, don’t, and boycott, you will find Jesus and the gospel in 4 point font. Does it bother anyone else that we are more known for Disney and chicken than Jesus and the gospel?  Yeah, I know this is not “scientific,” but that is besides the point.  While I am grateful for the accomplishments of the Conservative Resurgence, I am not sure this is the kind of “accomplishment” we intended to have.

This is a snapshot of why the SBC vehicle does not need a paint job but to be stripped down and rebuilt, starting with the engine of the Cooperative Program. We cannot keep changing the tires with new evangelism initiatives; we need a new delivery system that delivers what we are for rather than what we are against.  The day when Jesus and the gospel are descriptive of Southern Baptists is the day when church doors are opening instead of closing, the day when cooperation wins out of controversy, the day when we blog about brokenness and repentance rather than boycotts and resolutions, and the day when a younger generation embraces the future as Baptists rather than walking away from it.

Let me ask a follow up question to Dr. Rainer’s here on P&P:

“What do want people to think when they hear ‘Southern Baptist?'”

I’d love to hear your responses.