How ’bout Six?
Daniel Jamison was a small church pastor who loved his church. Blossom Valley Baptist Church was kind and hard working. They loved their little community and did all they could to reach the souls living there for Christ.
The church budget was small and restricted Daniel from going to conventions that required overnight stays or airplane tickets. He always felt like it was his duty to attend when he could. He was proud of Blossom Valley Baptist Church and wanted its people represented.
The year came when the State Convention held their annual meeting in a town close to Blossom Valley. Daniel looked forward to attending. He remembered the meetings of his youth. He recalled how he would be so encouraged by the wise preaching and Godly advice he received from the speakers. He needed to sit under preaching like that again.
The day came and Daniel arrived. The new convention hall was shiny and beautiful with all the trappings of convention-going. The people were dressed well and there was an air of excitement in the crowd. Looking through the program that morning Daniel found the speaker he most wanted to hear. He’d been told so much about this gentleman and his great work with the mission board’s evangelism department. Daniel was hungry to hear what the Lord would say to him through this brother’s message.
The hour came and Daniel was found in the second row. The music was fabulous and inspiring, the prayers were uplifting and the atmosphere very respectful. The setting was perfect for a message from the Lord. The mission leader began his message with some off-color church humor that tore at the spirit which had so carefully been created by the preceding elements of worship. How could he have known though? Daniel watched as they escorted him in five minutes before he was to speak.
After the customary laughter the speaker settled into the meat of his message. Distressed that he hadn’t anchored his comments in a passage from the Bible Daniel still listened closely for the Lord to speak. Then it happened. The speaker drew out the tried and trite big church/big denomination insults.
“If you baptized five or less last year something’s wrong,” he shouted from the platform. “If you’re not reaching your community for Christ there’s something very wrong!”
Daniel felt like he’d been slapped with a cold, wet towel. His mind was locked on those words. He thought about the people of Blossom Valley and was glad they weren’t in attendance. He was hurt. They had worked hard all year to reach their little community. Nothing was wrong with their effort or the results. The numbers might not be as big as this big church apologist would like but that was in the Lord’s hands.
When Daniel came to himself he heard him say, “The problem is you’re not praying hard enough!”
Daniel was on his feet. Standing just fifteen feet away from the platform he raised his hand. There were thousands seated around him. Daniel Jamison, pastor of Blossom Valley Baptist Church stuck out like a sore thumb. After a few uncomfortable seconds the speaker finally focused on Daniel.
He asked, “Brother, do you have a question?”
“Yes,” Daniel said. “How ’bout six?”
“What do you mean?”
“You said that if we’ve baptized five or less there’s something wrong. How ’bout six, is that enough?” Daniel said.
“Well . . . it depends. Six is fine if that is all you can manage.”
“What if all you can manage is five? Is there still something wrong? Daniel asked.
From the corner of his eye Daniel could see the security personnel starting to gather. As long as the speaker was amused they probably wouldn’t move in.
“I know a church of 200 that went from baptizing four one year to baptizing 32 the next. They employed our denomination’s latest outreach strategy. You should have received a copy of it in the mail.”
“I pastor a church of 32 active members and we baptized four people last year,” Daniel said.
A few amens could be heard in the background. Everyone was listening closely to this encounter.
“Well, it sounds like your doing well in your corner of the kingdom,” the speaker said. He seemed nervous. It was obvious there were more in the crowd that agreed with Daniel than with him. Daniel knew it wouldn’t be long now before the security came in to remove him.
“So it’s really not about numbers is it? We do our best and leave the results up to the Lord. So the church that baptizes five or less is doing just fine as long as they have been faithful witnesses. Wouldn’t you agree?”
That statement was not in-line with denominational policy and Daniel knew, as soon as he said it, that security would be speaking to him next.
“Brother, please come with us,” a young security officer said. As they were leading him out someone shouted, “Stay strong, brother!”