Pastor Rick Warren, founder of Saddleback Church and best-selling author of The Purpose Driven Life, today announced the launch of a four-part video series addressing the unprecedented decline of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC). "SBC at the Crossroads" begins its staggered release today with, Part 1: "Denial or Revival?"
Grieved by the largest decline of the SBC in more than a century, Warren believes the loss of nearly a half million members over the past year shouldn't be ignored. In the short video series, he suggests some of the contributing factors which have led to the SBC's decline, and offers a biblical pathway for revitalizing individual hearts and churches, resulting in denominational renewal and revival.
"The SBC is in crisis," said Warren. "Over the course of 17 years, the denomination has lost 3 million members. This isn't a glitch or the result of a pandemic; it's a trajectory we've been on for a while. Some SBC leaders seem unable to admit it or talk about it, but denial is dishonesty. We should be worrying about it."
Acknowledging that the causes of decline in the SBC are many and complex, Warren firmly believes that the principles the Holy Spirit laid out in starting the early Church are the pathway to revitalization. Drawing on his experience working with thousands of churches over the past 43 years, he asserts the Convention must remember its foundation, repent and return to the things that once made it strong and healthy.
Warren's new video series will focus on the biblical pathway for revitalizing hearts, churches and the denomination. Titles include:
Part 1: "Denial or Revival?" (available now)
- Contributing factors to the 17-year decline of the denomination and biblical steps to recovery and revitalization;
Part 2: "What is a B.A.P.T.I.S.T.?"
- Baptists' historic identity and the 7 unique distinctives that once made the SBC a powerhouse of Great Commission growth;
Part 3: "New Testament Case for the Ministry of Women"
- New Testament passages that support the Great Commission ministry of women following a three-year study; and
Part 4: "Acts 1-2 Twelve Step Recovery for Churches and the SBC"
- Holy Spirit-led principles from Scripture that reveal a pathway for renewing churches to revive a declining denomination.
"If something is worth saving, you fight for it," explained Warren. "My Southern Baptist roots are deep. I have Southern Baptist pastors on both sides of my family going back four generations. They brought me to Christ, they educated me in college and seminary, and they supported me in ministry. I urge the SBC to reflect on Revelation 2:5, which says, 'Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first.'"
Earlier this month, Warren was installed as first-ever Chancellor of Spurgeon's College of London, the leading evangelical college in the United Kingdom, founded by esteemed Baptist preacher Charles Haddon Spurgeon. Dr. Warren's appointment was due in part to the fact that his understanding of the meaning of ordination and conviction from Scripture on ministry leadership are identical to Spurgeon's published views.
Pastor Warren is scheduled to give a 3-minute appeal to SBC messengers from the Convention floor at the Annual Meeting in New Orleans on the afternoon of June 13, 2023.
To learn more about Pastor Rick Warren's stand for the renewal, revitalization and revival of the SBC and/or be informed of the release of each video in the four-part series, visit SBCStand.com. Guests to the site will find related video transcripts, essays, interviews and other multi-media content.