Category Archives for Interviews

An Interview with Hayes Wicker

January 17, 2012

Dr. Hayes Wicker, has been in ministry for over 41 years and has served as senior pastor at First Baptist Church, Naples, Florida since 1992.  He earned a B.A degree from Grand Canyon University and the M.Div. and D.Min. degrees from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He has served as President of the Florida Baptist Convention.

SBC Today: What do you think are the greatest challenges confronting the SBC?

Hayes Wicker: We are dealing with what appears to be a “generation gorge” and not just a “gap.” Those who are younger and who tend to be more innovative must respect those who are proven leaders, while older traditionalists must honor those who love Jesus even though they may adopt different approaches to sharing the gospel.

Denominations tend to become institutionalized, then fossilized and no longer a dynamic, organic Body. Bureaucracy must not replace the local church. At the same time, we must be cooperative and recognize that we still have the most workable denomination in history. Leaders at all levels must not lose touch with the local church, listening to local ministers of churches of all sizes.

We need genuine revival and repentance. We must seek brokenness as we humble ourselves before the Lord, admitting our pride and tendency toward self-sufficiency. Prayer must become a new priority.

As I was meditating on God’s unique message to pastors in 2 Timothy this morning, the Lord seemed to apply these principles to the SBC:

  • We need a new sense of urgency concerning “the last days,” realizing that we must swim against the current of the world (2 Timothy 3:1-5) and return to teaching eschatology.
  • We must not in any way dilute “the Word of Truth” (2 Timothy 2:15) but “guard God’s treasure” of doctrinal truth and “sound doctrine” (2 Timothy 1:14; 4:3).
  • We should resist being “entangled” in the current world system (2 Timothy 2:4).
  • Local church pastors must recover preaching and teaching of the Word of God, not seeing this as old fashioned or irrelevant. There must be recommitment to expository preaching which takes seriously God’s inspired Word (2 Timothy 3:16, 17), seeing each text as a wellspring and not a springboard.
  • Pastors and church leaders must toughen up and man up as we “endure hardship” (2 Timothy 4:5). We are called to be warriors, not wimps. Things will get worse.
  • Each of us need to “do the work of an evangelist” (2 Timothy 4:5). I am deeply concerned that we are losing the emphasis on personal evangelism and the training and reproduction of soul-winners. The Pastor must set the pace as a personal evangelist.

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An Interview with Stephen Rummage

January 9, 2012

Dr. Rummage is the Senior Pastor of Bell Shoals Baptist Church in Brandon, Florida. He earned a Ph.D. in Preaching from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. He has been a faculty member at both New Orleans Seminary and Southeastern Seminary. He co-authored Planning Your Preaching and Praying with Purpose with his wife Michele, and co-authored Engaging Exposition with Danny Akin and Bill Curtis. He also hosts a daily Bible teaching ministry that airs nationally on Sirius/XM radio.

SBC Today: What do you think are the greatest challenges and opportunities for the SBC?
Stephen Rummage: Our greatest challenge is that we continue to lose ground to the lostness that pervades our communities, our nation, and our world. I am very thankful that Southern Baptists have established where we stand on issues like the inerrancy of Scripture, the exclusivity of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ, and the need for confrontational evangelism. These theological commitments must translate into practice in our collective work as a Convention to reach lost people for Christ. Otherwise, people all around us are just going to keep going to Hell while we congratulate ourselves on how orthodox we are. We have an incredible opportunity in this generation to reach people with the gospel of Jesus Christ. I don’t want to fail in meeting that opportunity.

SBC Today: What are your thoughts about a possible SBC name change?
Stephen Rummage: I place a high degree of trust in the people that Dr. Wright named to the task force to study the possibility of changing our name. I guess I’m like a lot of other people in that I have a kind of emotional attachment to our current name. However, I can understand the rationale for a name change, especially with respect to the first and last parts of our name. “Southern” fails to communicate adequately our actual reach and constituency. “Convention” seems antiquated. Being known as “Baptist,” however, is a non-negotiable as far as I’m concerned, because the word speaks of our theology and identity.
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An Interview with Robby Gallaty

January 3, 2012

Dr. Robby Gallaty is Pastor of Brainerd Baptist Church in Chattanooga, TN. He earned an M. Div. in Expository Preaching and Ph.D. in Expository Preaching from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. His interest in discipleship led to his organizing Replicate Conferences. He is author of two works addressing discipleship, Creating an Atmosphere to Hear God Speak and Unashamed: Taking a Radical Stand for Christ.

SBC Today: What do you think are the greatest challenges confronting the SBC?
Robby Gallaty:
The future effectiveness of the Southern Baptist Convention depends upon our obedience to the Lord’s Great Commission as local churches. One way to become more effective involves some transitional emphases at the mission sending SBC agencies, the IMB and NAMB, as well as the state conventions. The SBC has always been a “grassroots” convention with Baptistic doctrine emphasizing the local church. As a younger pastor it’s encouraging to see a concentrated emphasis shifting from the organization as a whole to the individual local church. One example is the area of missions where the churches are being challenged to adopt unreached, unengaged people groups. This year our church is adopting five unreached, unengaged people groups. The strategy will be for Brainerd Baptist Church to provide resources, both short and long term teams, and full-time families who will move to these areas. We plan to commit to do our part. Still, we will never fulfill the Great Commission unless we all work together. There is no room for building our own kingdoms, names, or ministries in this effort of obedience. We are called to build God’s kingdom, understanding that the sum total of all efforts in the local churches far surpasses what can be accomplished individually.

SBC Today: What do you see as the greatest opportunities opening to the SBC?
Robby Gallaty:
As I have already mentioned, the empowerment of local churches to become the missions sending agency is an incredible opportunity. Empowering and mobilizing people in the local church cannot be underestimated. God has always and will always work through people. The Millennials (ages 20-29), as the largest generation since the Baby Boomers, are potentially an incredible resource to leverage to reach the nations. The younger generation along with the advent of technology—Twitter, Facebook, and Skype—offers an impactful amalgam to reach the world population now more than ever before. We are able to be creative in delivering the Gospel, without changing the message in taking the Gospel to another context, whether it be local or global.
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