Skip to main content

Interview with Dr. Turner Part 2

Here's part 2 of my email-based interview with Dr. Turner:

What ideas do you have for helping churches partner together to accomplish Great Commission tasks outside of the traditional channels of Association and State Convention?

First, I believe that the most effective thing a church can do to help fulfill the Great Commission is to participate in the Cooperative Program of the SBC. If you are in a very large church, and want to fulfill the Great Commission, at best you can only make a difference in a few of the countries of the world. And you are unlikely to ever consider some people groups, such as Haitian immigrants in the U.S. or Kiowa Native Americans. In this very large church, you might be able to do a good work in a third world country, but even your church will be limited in its ability to reach France. Through the Cooperative Program, you can participate in an honest effort to fulfill the Great Commission. So, I would suggest that the Cooperative Program be the foundation on which you build a Great Commission focused church. In addition to the CP, your church can partner with other churches to help fulfill the Great Commission, and while it is not necessary that you work through your associations and state conventions, they will enhance and serve your efforts. Why search for a church who wants a partner in reaching Peruvian urban dwellers, when your state convention and association exist to help do this?

Have we as Southern Baptists gotten too involved in American politics to the detriment of fulfilling the Great Commission?

Yes! We have elected “our candidates” over and over, to find they appoint liberal judges, scorn our values, and become ineffective quickly. While I have no illusions about “unchristian” candidates either, I have decided that I’d rather have power with God than influence in politics.

If you were to choose a seminary program today, would you relocate or serve a church and utilize distance learning opportunities?

If I were choosing a seminary, I would relocate and go to school full time, but that is because I am a “get it over with” type of guy. Distance learning is a good option for many. My only concern about it is that it limits the opportunities to be exposed to lots of different approaches to ministry. I have always profited from talking with and learning from those who have already done the things I have to do.

Do you think we need a complete seminary program in Arkansas?

I wish we had a complete Master of Divinity or Theology degree offered in Arkansas. And I have worked with OBU and Mid America on this. However, it does not seem likely to occur anytime soon.

Do you see it as likely, with the possible economic changes, that more churches will go to bi-vocational ministers in the coming years?

There is some indication that this may happen, but I do not think that the economy is the reason. If anything, I think the economy will cause sincere believers to reorder their priorities in a Biblical way. The reason churches may go to bi-vocational ministers is that very few young men are surrendering to a pastoral ministry. Seminaries are at record enrollments, but few are preparing for the pastorate. Preachers should begin to add a call to ministry to their invitations.

What advice can you give to ministers about their marriages and families? What about to churches seeking to strengthen marriages and families?

I have strong feelings about this. We all know children of ministers who have abandoned the faith. But these individuals are memorable because they are exceptions, rather than normative. One piece of advice is that a minister should not use his family to excuse his laziness, poor planning, or weakness in some are of ministry. We should never say, “I am not going to sacrifice my family for my church” when in reality, we are unwilling to do the hard parts of our jobs without regard to our families.

But there must be balance. Whenever possible, you should involve your family in your ministry. I was not able to go to all of the band concerts and ball games in which our sons participated, but they went with me to make hospital visits, and evangelistic contacts, and pastoral visits. We even invented a game that sharpened their analytical skills and observational skills on these visits. And we prayed together for the people we visited. One of our sons is a missionary with the IMB, and the other is an active, supportive layman in his Southern Baptist church.

Additionally, we never expected our children to do anything or refrain from anything because I was in the ministry, but frequently we reminded them that we lived the way we did because of Jesus’ sacrifice for us and expectations of us.

Churches seeking to strengthen marriages should develop strong Sunday School ministries with good teachers. A Sunday School teacher will know his/her class well and will minister effectively to the members and their families. The most effective marriage counseling will come from a caring Sunday School teacher who will explain to husbands that deer season is not synonymous with being single again.

The conclusion tomorrow...


Popular posts from this blog

Book: By the Waters of Babylon

Worship. It is what the church does as we strive to honor God with our lips and our lives. And then, many churches argue about worship. I have about a half-dozen books on my shelf about worship, but adding Scott Aniol’s By the Waters of Babylon to the shelf has been excellent.

First of all, Aniol’s work is not based on solving a musical debate. While that branch of worship is often the most troublesome in the local church, By the Waters of Babylon takes a broader view. The starting point is the place of the church. That place is a parallel of Psalm 137, where the people of God, Israel, found themselves in a strange land. The people of God, again, find themselves in a strange land.
Second, in summary, the book works logically to the text of Scripture, primarily Psalm 137 but well-filled with other passages. Then it works outward from how the text addresses the problems submitted in the first chapter into how worship, specifically corporate worship, should look in the 21st century Weste…

Put Down That Tablet! Exodus 35

Moses assembles the people of Israel at Sinai one last time before they set out into the wilderness, headed for the Promised Land. He gives them a reminder of some portions of the commands of God and emphasizes the construction of the Tabernacle (Exodus 35 link).He also gives the one Biblical mention of tablet-type mobile devices in Exodus 35:3, where the command is given not to use your Kindle Fire on the Sabbath Day. Some of you just groaned. Some of you skipped the one-liner, and others just missed it. I’ll address you all in turn, but first let us address the person who thought this might be the hidden meaning of that command. After all, we are so easily distracted from our worship and commitment by all of the digital noise around us, why would we not take this text in this manner?The quite simple answer is: because it is not about digital devices. In total, the command to focus the day on Yahweh, Covenant God of Israel and all of Creation, and if your device subtracts from your f…

Book Review: The Heart Mender by @andyandrews (Andy Andrews)

The Heart Mender: A Story of Second ChancesEver read a book that you just kind of wish is true?  That's my take on The Heart Mender by Andy Andrews.  It's a charming story of love and forgiveness, and it's woven into the historical setting of World War II America.  For the narrative alone, the book is worth the read, but the message it contains is well worth absorbing as well.However, let's drop back a minute.  This book was originally published under the title Island of Saints.  I read Island of Saints and enjoyed it greatly.  Now, Andrews has released it under a new title, with a few minor changes.  All of this is explained in the Author's Note at the beginning, but should be noted for purchaser's sake.  If you read Island of Saints, you're rereading when you read The Heart Mender.  Now, go ahead and reread it.  It will not hurt you one bit.Overall, the story is well-paced.  There are points where I'd like more detail, both in the history and the geog…