Episode 041

Pursuing Unity, SCOTUS Nominee, & Idolizing Success

Feb 28, 2022

In an online event hosted by the ERLC, a group of panelists addressed racial reconciliation. President Biden has made a historic nomination of federal appeals court judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the U.S. Supreme Court. And for many pastors, the temptation to idolize prominence and success has always been there but has intensified during the pandemic.


In an online event hosted by the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC), a group of panelists addressed ethnic relations under the title “Pursuing Unity: A Discussion of Racial Reconciliation Efforts and the SBC.”

“It doesn’t matter how many books you read, how many conferences you go to. None of that will do better than dinner table ministry,” Chicago pastor Jon Kelly said.

Kelly urged viewers to consider their five to 10 closest friends and ask themselves why everyone “looks like me, votes like me, thinks like me in such a diverse world.”

You can view the panel at ERLC.com

President Biden has made a historic nomination of federal appeals court judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Jackson, who serves on the District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals, is the first African American woman nominated to the Supreme Court. Biden had pledged during the 2020 presidential campaign he would select a Black woman for the high court.

If confirmed by the Senate, Jackson, 51, would become the fourth female justice on the current court, marking the first time the Supreme Court has had that many women among its nine members.

“We should not miss the historic nature of this nomination of Judge Jackson,” said Brent Leatherwood, acting president of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, in written comments. “America remains a land of opportunity, and that is no small thing in our current world.

“That said, seats on the U.S. Supreme Court are vitally important positions in our constitutional system. Because of that, Judge Jackson must receive a thorough vetting by Senators – particularly on issues related to the First Amendment – to gain a better sense of what guides her judicial philosophy.

“Matters such as abortion, religious liberty and the family are especially relevant right now. Gaining clarity on them will be key during this process. Ultimately, while it is true her confirmation would not change the makeup of the court, most Americans do not want a new justice that would dramatically alter the direction of the court.”

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For many pastors, the temptation to idolize prominence and success has always been there but has intensified during the pandemic. Pastors have watched members leave their churches during the pandemic to join the megachurch down the road that has a more engaging pastor, better music, more flashy stage set-up, or fill-in-the-blank. It’s tempting to want to compete by mimicking whatever the successful pastor down the road is doing.

Andrew Hebert says in a piece on Baptist Press.

What makes a real difference in ministry isn’t our charm, charisma, or leadership capacity. Rather, it’s our humility, brokenness, mercy, and hunger for righteousness. What matters most is not how many social media followers we can get but what kinds of disciples of Jesus we are. What matters most is our character.

Relax, pastor. You don’t have to be cool to be a good pastor. The expectations are much higher than that. You are called to exhibit nothing less than the righteousness of the kingdom through the power of the Spirit. Christlike character is the one thing without which your ministry cannot be successful.

Find more stories at BaptistPress.com.

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