A pastor has warned attendees of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Annual Meeting against using things like “politics,” “social justice” and “music” to grow their congregations instead of the Gospel.Juan Sanchez, senior pastor of High Point Baptist Church in Austin, Texas, gave the Convention sermon on Wednesday morning in Anaheim, California. Sanchez preached about Ephesians 4:11-16, noting that in the Bible passage, Paul of Tarsus writes about the foundational importance of prophets and apostles.
“The foundation of the Church is the apostles and prophets because that is the group to whom the Father revealed that Jesus is the Christ,” Sanchez explained. “The foundation of the Church is this revelation of the Father that Jesus is the Christ. He is King, He is Lord. It is through Jesus that God will bring together all that has been broken.” Sanchez then warned against using other means to increase membership numbers, telling those gathered that “we cannot build the Church on any other foundation.” “If our primary end is merely church growth,” said Sanchez, “we will be tempted to build on other foundations. We’re tempted to build our churches on a foundation of music styles, or age-graded ministries, or even politics or social justice or even our own personalities.” “Growth that comes by something other than the Word of God about Jesus is not lasting, nor is it God-glorifying. As a friend of mine says, ‘what you win people with is what you win them to.’” In keeping with this reasoning, Sanchez said that “if you win them with music, you’ve won them to music. If you win them with children’s ministry, you’ve won them to children’s ministry. If you win them with politics, you’ve won them to politics. If you win them with your personality, you’ve won them to you, but not to the Lord Jesus Christ.” Sanchez also focused on verse 14 of the passage, which talks about no longer being “tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive.” “If this does not describe the Church in the last two years, I don’t know what does,” said Sanchez. “The Church has been tossed about by every wind of doctrine, by human philosophies, by conspiracy theories, by worldly opinions.” “And is it possible that the reasons our congregations have been so thrust by the winds and the waves, is because we have not ground them in the Word of God?” Sanchez saw healthy spiritual growth as being a “corporate” effort, noting people in his life who, while not being famous or prominent, nevertheless helped his faith development growing up. “I heard the Gospel, I saw the Gospel, I repented of my sins, I trusted in Christ, all through the ministry of people that you have never heard of,” he said. “That’s what I love about the Church of Jesus Christ.” Sanchez’s sermon took place on the second day of the SBC’s Annual Meeting, held June 14-15 at the Anaheim Convention Center, with the theme of “Jesus: The Center of it All.” On Tuesday, the SBC messengers voted to elect Pastor Bart Barber of First Baptist Church in Farmersville, Texas, to be the new president of the SBC following a runoff ballot. Barber will succeed Pastor Ed Litton, who was elected last year and made headlines when he announced that he would be the first SBC president in decades to not seek reelection.