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First Thoughts

| Heath Lambert |
As We Pursue Excellence Together No Person May Ignore or Reject Correction but Must Respond Positively to It Correction is Hard Anyone close to me can tell you how much I really dislike correcting people. It is one of the hardest parts of my job. But, because I am committed to regular, truthful, and loving communication, I am committed to providing correction when it is necessary. Years ago, a member of my team did something I specifically requested he not do. I hated to have a corrective con…
| Heath Lambert |
Because Silence Creates Trouble We Will Communicate to Stay Ahead of Problems and to Resolve Problems Staff Problems Are Communication Problems Almost every problem you can imagine in any relationship you have traces back to some communication failure. Years ago at First Baptist, several of us in leadership trusted a staff person to work on an important set of problems with a few key people on our ministry staff. As the months passed, however, the problems were increasing, and the relational …
| Heath Lambert |
The People You Work with Are More Important Than the Tasks You Are Accomplishing A Problem of Priorities One of my first meetings during my first week as Senior Pastor at First Baptist Church was with a leader on our staff who had received dozens of complaints from the people who reported to him. The complaints painted an ugly picture: He was angry, loud, accusing, forceful, and generally created a hostile work environment. Several women who reported to him were afraid to come to work. This e…
| Heath Lambert |
A Broken Church and A Broken Team When I became Senior Pastor at First Baptist Church in Jacksonville the church was facing overwhelming challenges. Decades of decline in membership created a number of punishing financial realities, the most obvious being $90 million in financial liabilities the church had no idea how to pay. But the most challenging difficulties we faced were related to our staff. Many problems existed. For starters, the staff was far too large. Back then, we had a paid staf…
| Sean Perron |
These appear to be the darkest of times. It is no secret that we have a mental health crisis. Week after week, we are confronted with the stories of devastation. The headlines sometimes don’t hit home, but they don’t have to. We know personal stories. We know our friends who are despairing of life itself. We see families pierced with the pains of anxiety, eating disorders, attempted suicides, and unstable emotions. Real people made in God’s image who are harming themselves and harming others….
| Heath Lambert |
“Prince William is having an affair!” “Another woman is pregnant with his baby!” “Princess Kate can’t be seen in public because William hit her!” “She is filing for divorce, and another royal marriage is ending!” Those were a few of the reports making the rounds in the last few weeks as the world was ripe with speculation about the reason why the Princess of Wales had not been seen in public for months. Those reports were widespread and viewed by millions of people all over the globe. Of cour…
| Heath Lambert |
Part 4: We Must Have Solutions That Understand the Way Our Convention Works No Right to Fatigue During the release of the most recent update from the Abuse Reform and Implementation Task Force (ARITF), the chairman, Josh Wester, observed a sense of fatigue setting into the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) in our response to sexual abuse. He warned against an attitude that desires to move along too quickly. I appreciate Pastor Wester’s service, the hard work of his committee, and his words of…
| Heath Lambert |
Part 3: The Southern Baptist Convention Is a Powerful Force for Good Popular to Condemn The Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) is going through a difficult time. Scandals, numeric decline, disgraced leaders, and bumbling responses to all the above make it unpopular to praise our convention. In times of difficulty, enemies make their voices heard. It is popular to condemn the SBC as everything from a once-great organization whose time has passed to the embodiment of evil in the contemporary rel…
| Heath Lambert |
Part 2: Not Everyone Offering Help Is Our Friend When I was in the fourth grade, my mom celebrated Christmas by getting drunk, grabbing a gun, and chasing me and my twin brother out into the snow. The next day, we were being interviewed by social workers, and not long after that, we were moved to a different town and placed in foster care. That probably sounds reasonable. My mom’s behavior was clearly wrong and had to be addressed. It was unthinkable to leave two young boys in such an environ…
| Heath Lambert |
Part 1: Abuse Is a Real Problem, but Is Not What We Were Told From Confusion to Clarity Any encounter with sexual abuse leads to an explosion of pain, shock, and confusion. That was true for me in the fifth grade when my 300-pound older stepbrother dragged me out of bed and sexually assaulted me. Pain, shock, and confusion also struck our convention when we first encountered the abuse that had taken place in some of our churches. But over time and by God’s grace, clarity grows out of confusio…

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