Those among us who were around in the ’80s will recall the melodic refrain from singer-songwriter Ray Parker, Jr., asking, “Who you gonna call?” The question comes on the heels of strange happenings in the neighborhood and we all know the answer is … “Ghostbusters.”
Ghosts are not our problem today, but there are strange things happening in our contemporary culture:
• Love has grown cold among people with differing perspectives.
• Same-sex union has become the law of the land and is becoming commonplace.
• The transgender movement has been elevated and is being celebrated.
• Legalized abortion is practiced and widely defended as a woman’s right.
• Violence continues to be widespread and wickedness in multiple forms is on the rise.
When the question comes to us about who we can call to address our nation’s greatest moral and ethical failures, the answer will depend on one’s perspective.
• Some will say to call a politician — because in their view these are political issues that can be best handled with policy initiatives.
• Others will prefer to call a social worker — because these issues indicate a societal problem and will require a social solution.
• Still, some will send out their call to an educator — believing all that ails humanity will be addressed with more education.
God has a different answer to a culture in moral and ethical decline. God’s solution is to call a preacher.
In Jonah, we hear the voice of God saying about the city of Nineveh, “Their wickedness has come up before me” (Jonah 1:2). Prior to that concise descriptor, God had summoned Jonah to, “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it.” Jonah was called by God to preach against the wickedness of Nineveh. It is understood from reading the book of Jonah, and the larger context of scripture, that if Nineveh would repent then God would relent. Nineveh could be spared from God’s terrible wrath if the people would hear and heed the message of the preacher.
God’s solution to widespread and unchecked wickedness in human society is to call a preacher. But why call a preacher?
1. Because God loves people: God’s love will always call humanity away from wickedness to righteousness. Human flourishing stands in stark contradiction to sinful rebellion.
2. Because people need to hear God’s message: God’s message is that our sin deserves death and hell, but God’s grace offers rescue and deliverance. While not everyone will respond to His words of grace, those words must be proclaimed.
3. Because God saves sinners: God sent His son, our Savior Jesus, to live a sinless life in our place, die on a rugged cross, be buried in a borrowed tomb, rise from the grave as the One who came to seek and to save that which was lost. God saves sinners and He uses preachers to deliver His gospel.
Your Kentucky Baptist Convention hopes to launch an initiative being referred to as “Calling Out the Called” at the 2021 Annual Meeting in Elizabethtown. This initiative starts with the assumption that God is always calling preachers to serve churches as ambassadors of His gospel mission. We know God is also calling missionaries, ministry leaders, worship leaders, student and children’s ministers and more.
Each of these is to be acknowledged and celebrated. But we must also remember that we need more preachers to fill the pulpits of Kentucky Baptist churches and advance the mission of Christ in our state.
Please join us in praying that God will be pleased to call out many — hundreds and possibly thousands of preachers — from Kentucky Baptist churches who will answer His call.
Todd Gray is executive director-treasurer of the Kentucky Baptist Convention.