I am doing something I never thought I would do, and God is using it powerfully.
We are preaching a summer series on Southern Baptists’ statement of faith, The Baptist Faith and Message 2000 (BF&M 2000). There are 18 articles in the BF&M 2000; therefore, we have combined some to fit into this 13-week series.
We titled this series “WE BELIEVE: What We Believe and Why We Believe It.”
Instead of announcing we would be preaching on The Baptist Faith and Message 2000, here’s how I introduced the series:
We are beginning a 13-week series that will carry us throughout most of the summer. We will focus on what we believe and why we believe it. It is not just what we believe, but what we also covenant with some 50,000 churches and congregations in America, believing together and partnering with all Southern Baptists. So, it’s completely appropriate over the summer for us to say, “As Cross Church and as a Southern Baptist church, this is what we believe….” We will work through our common statement of faith. If you want to read more in depth on your own, this is called The Baptist Faith and Message 2000.
Yesterday, July 19, we preached our ninth message in this series and God is using it in the lives of our people.
Why I did this series & why I want you to consider a similar series
A few may think I have done this series because I am the current president of the Southern Baptist Convention. Candidly, that would make me run from doing it. But this past Easter, we built the entire weekend on the theme and declaration, “I Believe.” From this, we believed God wanted us to teach our people what we believe as a church.
Imagine where our country and world have been over this past year. The attacks on the Bible, Christianity and Christians have grown at an accelerated pace and are continuing. If there has ever been a need for teaching what we believe and why we believe it, it is now.
I determined there is not a better way to teach what we believe the Bible says about so many things than using the BF&M 2000 as a guide and help.
Our younger staff members embraced it immediately. They also want our people to understand doctrinal truth. We decided to use it as a summer series because it would allow consistency over the summer, but each message would be able to stand alone.
4 things that may be helpful
Keep in mind these things if you ever consider doing a series like this:
1. People are really learning what we believe and why we believe it.
Four years ago, we changed our church’s name to Cross Church. We did not do it because we wanted Baptist off of our name but because we were beginning our third campus and we could not keep adding names. Now we have five campuses.
When we changed our church’s name, I wanted to make it more than clear that we are a Southern Baptist church. Therefore, when we released our new website with this name change, we placed The Baptist Faith and Message 2000 on our website under “Our Beliefs”. Why? Because we believe it! Another choice we made on our website under “Our Partnerships” is to unashamedly make clear our partnerships with the Southern Baptist Convention.
Yet, I assure you, in our present series, our laypeople are really learning what we believe and why we believe it. The relevance of it in today’s world is absolutely remarkable.
2. We confess together verbally each article that we are teaching.
This took a little getting used to, but now we do it loudly and unashamedly. I sometimes stop and say a word while we are reading it, and then have everyone repeat a statement for clarity.
3. We arranged the 18 articles in the series as we felt it would benefit our specific church, relating to the timing in the year.
For example, on our Summer Freedom Sunday, June 28, we preached on Religious Liberty, even though it was only the sixth week in the series and it is listed as Article 17 in the BF&M 2000.
Additionally, if we have already done more in-depth teaching on some of these, we were more willing to combine them with others. Obviously, one could do a series on each of the 18 articles.
4. The outline of our series:
You are welcome to use this outline. Most of you will take it and improve upon it. Blessings to you! Our messages are live-streamed and then archived within 24 hours on crosschurch.com. The following is the initial outline I gave our staff team:
May 17: The Scriptures – Article 1
May 24: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit – Article 2
May 31: Man – Article 3
June 7: Salvation – Article 4 and 5
June 14: The Church – Article 6, 7 and 8
June 21: The Kingdom – Article 9
June 28: Religious Liberty – Article 17
July 5: Last Things – Article 10
July 12: Evangelism and Missions – Article 11 and 12
July 19: Stewardship and Cooperation – Article 13 and 14
July 26: The Christian and Social Order – Article 15
August 9: Peace and War – Article 16
August 16: The Family – Article 18
May God bless your teaching and preaching of His Word. Our nation desperately needs spiritual awakening rooted in sound doctrine; the masses in our lost world desperately need to hear of a saving faith found only in Jesus. Our Baptist Faith and Message 2000 helps us go forth with solid footing on every front.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Ronnie Floyd is president of the Southern Baptist Convention and senior pastor of Cross Church in northwest Arkansas. This column first appeared at Ronnie Floyd’s website, ronniefloyd.com.)