The politics of Jesus can be messy. We may wish there were no politics involved in Kingdom work. And, yet, there most always has been and likely always will be.
In other countries, pastors are often ridiculed or openly persecuted for the work of sharing the news of Christ and his love, even after they have been assured they can work in safety. Pastors, missionaries and other ministry partners often work in conditions that are not only less than ideal, but they would make most of us cringe at the danger.
The politics of Jesus — and the difficulties that come along with those politics — is what helps make alliances and conventions so important. And that is why we as Christ-followers should care and pay attention to where we align ourselves within a local church.
The Baptist World Alliance is one such example of churches around the world voluntarily aligning themselves together for the cause of Christ. Of course, there are others, including state and national conventions, that allow our voices to be heard when it comes to issues and supporting missions on a collective scale.
In the last few years, and certainly in recent months, there has been much criticism of some of these alliances/partnerships by Christians who are concerned that the “politics of Jesus” has become just that — far more political than outreach focused.
While those criticisms may have merit, it doesn’t mean that we should lose heart. A good friend of mine, local Director of Missions Mitch Fisher, reminds me, “We remain part of these alliances and partnerships because it allows us to remain part of the conversation.” In other words, just because conventions and alliances aren’t perfect doesn’t mean they don’t serve a greater purpose.
It’s likely a fair argument that alliances like the Baptist World Alliance — along with national, state and county conventions and associations — do far more good for the cause of Christ than they cause controversy or harm.
But what is not up for debate is that Kingdom work is hard and sometimes dangerous work. As summer begins to wind down, may we continue to support the men and women throughout the world who work tirelessly and fearlessly to share the good news of Christ with others.
Christopher Dixon is the Chief Operating Officer of eLectio Publishing (electiopublishing.com) and the pastor of West Finley Baptist Church near Fordland, Mo.