The Baptist Church is a church of love. Just as the Bible teaches of hope and how Jesus loved the church and died for it and will come back for it. The church spends more than $86 million for gifts to missions. Every visitor is treated with a Bible as a way of appreciation of their acceptance to fellowship with the church. The church has a continuous pastorate program in which the pastors, as well as leaders, visit the members by voluntary invitations. All these activities are done following trust, passion as well as the conviction of the Christian faith and the belief in the Bible CITATION Lar01 l 1033 (Elrod, 2001).
The Black Church’s vitality is very crucial to its welfare. There is a need for possessing a bigger conversation; involving the people concerned with the future generations of the Black evangelists in the America at large. The Baptist church has been existing for quite a long time in America there is a need to come up with meaningful services that hold the broken communities together. To build the vitality of the church, there is much emphasis on physical attending of the church services and not being too much attached to the television evangelism CITATION Cha151 l 1033 (Dates, 2015).
Church vitality is the backbone of any church, and it involves all the activities as well as programs that are set forth to assure the continuation of the church. In other words, it is what keeps the church existing. The Baptist church has a plethora of activities as well as programs that keep it rolling despite challenges of shrinking number of membership. For instance, the Baptist Church has been organizing several leadership studies through seminars. The New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary is one of such examples. During the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary (NOBTS), there are core values that are embraced with regards to the teaching of the leaders. The spiritual vitality is part of these core values, in this approach the leaders are taught on the need to belong to a worshipping community that values personal spirituality as well as a gathering of seminarians who praise and adore God as well as his Word. The seminary has a mission educating, changing the world through fulfillment, commissioning as well as following the commandments via the local churches as well as their ministries. The leaders are also taught on the servant leadership that is the model of Jesus (Garner & Thornell, 2011). This helps the leaders to be better in exerting leadership as well as influence through the care and encouragement of the people around them.
The core values and specifically the spiritual vitality, the mission as well as servant leadership are linked directly with how the administration is handled at NOBTS. The relevance of spiritual vitality is very crucial in character development in the leaders. Some courses are taught specifically to boost the spiritual vitality of the leaders, for instance, Spiritual Formation. Qualified theological professors teach these courses in small groups. The small groups ensure there is a very strong attachment to the teacher and the learner, and this increases the efficiency of the program tremendously CITATION Ste15 l 1033 (Echols & Sherrer, 2015).
Fellowships have been being conducted by the Baptist Church from the very moment it started. These fellowships offer the members with a warm as well as an emotionally free moment where they can express themselves fully as they share a faith. The youths have been reported to be moved so much by the fellowships since they are interactive. During the fellowships, there are also pastoral sermons that assist much in strengthening the belief of the followers. The fellowships are very much connected with the Bible study programs in which the members of the church learn in details about the Biblical teaching of the Christian faith. By sharing the Bible study time, the followers can learn a lot and understand the grace of the Lord as well as the connection of Christianity and day to day life CITATION Cas14 l 1033 (Chaney, 2014).
The Baptist Church is technologically oriented. It maintains an E-journal in which the church interacts sharing vital information. This information includes but not limited to pastoral messages during certain Church Calendars, birthdays, weddings as well as other information. By doing this, the church becomes integrated into an interactive family that shares God’s grace in a friendly manner. The church members are very connected with each other and are conversant with the church programs as well as activities. The learning activities, as well as seminary meetings, are announced through this journal. Since the journal is accessible through the internet, it allows very quick and extensive dissemination of the information. More interestingly, the church also organizes scholarships for camping kids, where they are taught about the church as well as a continuation of the Christian faith. All the important Church events are announced on the e-journal, and this makes the information to reach a very wide population of believers as well as nonbelievers. This serves as a way of getting unchurched people into the church. By doing so; the church fulfills the teachings of Jesus; making more disciples (Fbcsyracuse.org, 2015).
The multiyear decrease in the membership, as well as baptisms in the Southern Baptist Church, is evident as outlined by the 2015 report from research by LifeWay. Between 2013 and 2014, the Southern Baptist Church as lost over 200,000 members. This decline is marked as the largest decrease in over 100 years. The meeting by SBC officials in 2015 outlined that the leaders have three steps to consider if at all they are to help to assure the survival of SBC as well as its growth.
One of the suggested remedies was that the leaders need to become more severe in their evangelical role; sharing the faith in a distinct manner. It was noted that the American pastors have a tendency of not engaging in personal evangelism (Goodhew, 2012). Very few of them tend to tell others of their faith or even invite their families, friends, and co-workers to the church. In other words, many of these leaders (SBC evangelicals) affirm that witnessing personal faith is important, however, according to the research by SBC’s LifeWay only about a quarter make any such effort. Since evangelism is multifaceted, it involves but not limited to raising the children into the belief, retention as well as continuous regeneration process that assures the continuation of the church. Moreover, an assessment of Temple Baptist Church and Rockford Community ministries showed that global ministries play a crucial role in encouraging the current members of the congregation to join in these activities, therefore, reaffirming the projects already in place and propels the church to a Global Mission Church (Moe, 2004).
Another suggested step was emphasized the rigorous following of the SBCs doctrines. It was seen that some of the South Baptist Church doctrines have been compromised by the adoption of other churches doctrines as well as their influences. For instance, there has been a lot of deviant to the Orthodox Churches as a result of the 1980s -1990s Conservative Resurgence by the Southern Baptist Church. There is a loss of the firm conviction and attachment to the Christianity doctrines by some of the SBC’s leaders as well as the parents. The strong belief in Christ as Lord and Savior has been replaced by a simple Biblical teaching that Cristian Smith, a Notre Dame Sociologist referred to as Moralistic Therapeutic Deism. In this school of thoughts, the overwhelming gospel of Christ is downgraded to a rather cheaper American creed that states that, believers have hope for seeing heaven simply because they are Americans, their right surpasses the wrong and God loves his children. This has been the message carried out by all media that deal with Christian-themed shows and programs. However, this is never Christianity since the gospel of Jesus is more complex than this.
Thirdly the SBC has to understand that the church and politics, especially the Republican Party’s politics, are two distinct entities, and the church comes primary concern. Ben Carson, one of the presidential candidate as well as a Seventh-day Adventist has raised controversy in his critical interest in inviting some young SBC pastors. He was viewed as one taking the church as a political agency, and, therefore, the invitation organizers declined to go and meet Carson. The church needs to focus on the primary teachings of the gospel and avoid cases of being watered down by the politicized gospel that is currently sweeping across the world CITATION Tho151 l 1033 (Hankins, 2015).
The church has a strong attachment to the people of the African origin who have an interest in religious and cultural matters. The strong association makes the church continue thriving even during the tempting times when tele-evangelism is so rampant. There has been a strong attachment to the church to great religious researchers as well as writers who have assisted in keeping the literature of the church productive and within reach future generations CITATION Kei10 l 1033 (Herper, 2010).
Chaney, C. (2014). The Benefits of Church Involvement for African Americans. Journal of Religion and Society, 4-5.
Dates, C. (2015). Don’t Give up on the Black Church. Leadership Journal, 4-5.
Echols, S., & Sherrer, J. (2015). Leadership Studies at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. Journal of Religious Leadership, 1-6.
Elrod, L. B. (2001). Pastor says church’s vitality flows from its emphasis on love. Baptist Press, 1-3.
Fbcsyracuse. (2015). E-Journal. First Baptist Church, 1-5.
Garner, S., & Thornell, J. (2011). Scattering seeds: Cultivating church vitality. Herndon, Va.: Alban.
Goodhew, D. (2012). Church Growth in Britain 1980 to the Present. Farnham: Ashgate Pub.
Hankins, T. S. (2015). Here are three reasons why Southern Baptists are on the decline. The Washington Post, 1-3.
Herper, K. (2010). Journal of Baptist Sytudies. Journal of Baptist Sytudies (2010), 84-86.
Moe, J. (2004). An assessment of the Rockford community, community ministries and Temple Baptist Church leading to congregational vitality and health.