It is not every day that I take the opportunity to put a good friend in a tough spot but that’s just what I’m about to do. Here we go.
It is my intention to nominate my longtime friend, Jared Moore, for the position of 2nd Vice President at the upcoming Southern Baptist Convention Annual Meeting in Houston, TX.
Our convention in these days manifests all the historic challenges presented by a body so diverse in composition, contrasting in perspective, and geographically diffused. Added to these difficulties is the current quarrel between the neo-traditionalist and reformed polarities. While none of this is a challenge to our Lord nor does it hinder His plans for His Kingdom one iota, on this side of the veil the problems loom large before our eyes.
And here I am, trying to throw Jared further out into the fracas. “With friends like these…”, right?
My reasons for offering this nomination are simple and hardy.
My friend Jared is a man of demonstrated Christian character, thoughtful Christian reflection, and devoted service to the local church. I remember still the day I saw the change of regeneration evidence itself in my friend’s life. At that time I recollect thinking I had never seen such an immediate and radical change in an individual life as I did in Jared’s conversion. As nearly fifteen years have been added to that day I am happy to say the Lord has allowed me to see others whose conversion has been as profound as Jared’s but they are nonetheless extremely rare.
I consider it a fine gift of the Lord to myself that he has allowed Jared and I to remain in one another’s lives over these years and I attest that the marked change manifested in my friend’s life has been matched by increasing measure of the fruits of the Spirit. These characteristics are wedded in Jared to a penchant for careful Christian thought (evidenced by his academic career) and classic Protestant work ethic (revealed in his labors in ministry). Downstream from these characteristics, I have often heard and read Jared point to the sufficiency of The Baptist Faith and Message to define Southern Baptists – a vital call in days of theological conflict.
Jared’s years of service have been given to the out-of-the-way places which comprise the bulk of Southern Baptists historically. Over nearly thirteen years and from Baxter, TN to Hustonville, KY (look those places up; not exactly the fashionable sectors to pastor in – I’m sure no one would consider them “strategic pulpits”) Jared’s life has been given to churches which those eager for fame and career advancement would consider too obscure. I would personally like to see more of this kind of pastor serving in SBC leadership. Jared fits that bill to a T.
Finally, Jared is passionate about the gospel and committed to the Cooperative Program. W.A. Criswell once said, “To lift Him up, to preach His name, and to invite souls to love Him and to follow Him is the highest, heavenliest privilege of human life.” Jared’s ministry and mindset show he is committed to doing just this, both as the pastor of a local congregation and a member of the Southern Baptist Convention. The Cooperative Program remains the backbone of Southern Baptist unity and ministry; Jared is a vocal proponent of our CP and I trust his election would see Jared enthusiastically promoting this critical element of SBC work. His church follows him in this commitment, giving 16% of their undesignated receipts to the CP and 2% to the local association. I should probably note that I once fancied myself to be more knowledgeable about the workings of our convention than Jared. Those days are over. Jared’s interest in the SBC stems from his concern that the convention be growing toward greater and greater health. This interest has manifested itself, in part, in acquiring knowledge of how the SBC sausage is made. This concern shows itself particularly in connection with SBC Voices and I encourage you to familiarize yourself with Jared’s writing there before the vote comes.
So there you have it. I’m just mean enough to nominate Jared Moore for a demanding position serving the width and breadth of Southern Baptists as second vice president. I hope you’ll be just mean enough to vote him in. See you in Houston.