He compared the convention to his 3 ½-year-old grandson, Evan, who is getting used to being a big brother to Elizabeth, who was 10 days old at the time of the meeting. The change can be difficult, but ultimately the new reality is good, he said.
Bunch described the beginnings of the BGCM, resulting from a “great, big fellowship that came all unglued…. Baptist life as we knew it was swept away.”
Out of that was born a brand new convention, embraced first by groups in Texas and Virginia. “We didn’t know it at the time, but we were learning to love our big, brand-new family.”
Since the group’s founding, BGCM has entered into partnerships with a variety of groups, including the North American Baptist Fellowship and the Baptist World Alliance.
Focusing his message on 1 John 3:14, Randall said “we will know we have passed from death into new life when we learn to love our brothers and sisters in the worldwide body of Christ.”
Christians also need to learn to love those walking in spiritual darkness, Bunch said, noting that it is the responsibility of those in the light to lead others.
“Somehow as a convention, we need to walk step by step with those who don’t have a clue why their heart is crying out and what to do with that cry.”
“Who will we extend a hand to?” Bunch asked.
Christians must also learn to love those “beyond our borders who don’t even know they have the right to exist,” he said.
He shared stories of those in the Dominican Republic who are unable to read and write and who have not registered with the government. “Those people were not given a name and are not considered to exist,” he said.
“We’ll know we have passed from death into new life when we are lining up to go on mission with Gary (Snowden, missions mobilization team leader) and others to those who don’t know they can claim our attention and voice.”
Bunch invited attendees to learn to love the new realities.
Jennifer Harris is the news writer for Word&Way.