I'm still unpacking the goody bag from the Florida Baptist Convention (and looking for my toothbrush, but that's another story), and I'm filled with joy to be a part of an incredible state convention. This was my third time attending the FBC, and first I had some kind of responsibility. Thank you for the opportunity to serve on Credentials, I enjoyed getting to meet pastors, messengers, and guests from all over Florida.
My six takeaways from the convention:
1. Wayside Baptist were incredible hosts - Thank you so much Wayside for letting us invade your space, overwhelm your cafe, beg for your wi-fi password, and navigate your parking lot. Your volunteers and staff were incredibly kind, gracious, friendly, and helpful. We had nothing but smiling faces and willing help to get around campus.
2. We are led well - Not only have we had two years with Stephen Rummage at the helm as our convention president, but we have a trustworthy, diligent, visionary, and convictional leader in Jacksonville who has created an incredible culture among Florida Baptists. When Tommy says they are "Right beside you" in the churches, they mean it.
3. There are some great ministries in Florida - I get it, when you think of Florida you think about Mickey Mouse, Beaches, and the Golden Girls. That's true. But beyond that, we are blessed with some ministries that are doing great work. One More Child is leading the way in foster care, adoption, fighting child trafficking, and striving to connect churches to the incredible needs in our state. Lake Yale hosts life changing summer camps. Baptist College of Florida continues its educational mission and being faithful to the Word. We're baptizing people on the beach, connecting with other ministries through conferences and training, and Write Beside You is going to help Florida churches connect with schools in our communities.
4. Uneventful conventions are a sign of health - I've only ever attended one state convention meeting that got really awkward. When there's not a lot of drama, not a lot of floor debate, not a lot of emotional moments, it's not bad. Those are signs of great health for a convention. It's healthy when we see people recognized for their character and leadership and step into roles without opposition. It's reassuring when questions are asked in a charitable way.
5. Pastors Conferences are worth the time - If you have time, get to the Pastors Conference at your state convention meeting. You'll find your soul nourished, you'll be encouraged, and you'll get to step back for a couple days and be fed. The life of a pastor is one of constant giving and pouring out into the lives of others. After a while, you're going to run dry. You need to be refueled. You need to be fed. You need to be reminded of the strength of your call and the faithfulness of God to you and in your life.
6. Miami, you were fun - I'm not gonna lie, I loved me some Cuban food and Cuban coffee. I may or may not have had half a dozen Cubanos at the convention. Miami is a reminder that the nations are in our backyard. And in the Florida convention, we get to see the incredible diversity in our state. Our program was in English, Spanish, and Creole. I loved meeting Haitian pastors and first generation Americans whose parents fled Cuba or immigrated to serve the Lord in Florida. It's a reminder that the Kingdom is bigger than our little bubble. But Miami, your traffic is nuts.
Scott M. Douglas
A blog about leadership and the lasting legacy of family ministry.