I told the congregation on Sunday that we have decided to postpone our vote on the baptism and membership issue until September 19, mostly because so many of us travel during the summer. It seemed wise to our deacon chair, Lee Stephenson, to pick a date far enough in advance that people could get it on their calendars and make plans around it. So, September 19 it is—a Sunday—and the plan at this point is to go ahead with our usual Sunday morning schedule and then come back in the afternoon for this important meeting.
When I made the announcement on Sunday I saw heads nodding around the sanctuary. It seemed to make sense to most people to wait until everyone could be here. There are those (and I count myself among them) who will be glad to get this vote behind us, but not if it means leaving anyone out. If we are going to make this decision as a congregation let’s make it together.
So I said, “This issue has been on the front burner for a while. It has reached a rolling boil, and generated a lot of heat and steam. For the summer, at least, let’s move it to the back burner, take a deep breath, and take some time to do what is most important in the world: to love God, love others, and love one another. At the end of a summer like that—a ‘summer of love’—we ought to be in a good place to make a decision.”
If you are a member of First Baptist I would encourage you, especially, to take the time to listen to my explanation of what the practical implications of this decision would be. It’s available on the church web site, and takes about an hour to listen to. I know: that’s a long explanation. But if you would take an hour to do that and then spend at least that much time in prayer, listening for what God has to say on this issue, I think you would be well informed and ready to vote in September.
Thank you for your patience and understanding as we try to make this big decision together.