SBC VP Bill Henard on active church membership

Bill Henard is the pastor of Porter Memorial Baptist Church in Lexington, KY. He was elected First Vice President of the Southern Baptist Convention in June of this year. Recently he preached a message entitled, “Getting our Faith and Church to Connect: Expectation,” based on Acts 2:41-47.

Pastor Henard addresses the problem of inactive members in this message. He proposes contacting the 2500 inactive members of Porter Memorial and addresses the problem of having only 1000 of its 5000 members showing up on Sunday. He starts getting specific in his application around the 23:15 mark.

While much more biblical insight could be shed on this subject than is possible in one sermon, and the problem is much more serious than perhaps was suggested, I am very grateful that Pastor Henard addressed this issue in a straightforward manner. He “wants membership to mean something.” Amen. He has given the church something important to consider and think about by admitting the reality behind the statistics and calling for some practical, corrective steps (such as requiring a new members class for membership).

This is the kind of honesty and integrity that needs to become widespread throughout the SBC. Until honestly admits what is true of its membership, it will not be in any position to start addressing any problems that exist in the way that membership is regarded. He rightly points out that our refusal to address the “inactive” membership problem suggests that we really don’t care about people.

Pray for Pastor Henard and Porter Memorial Baptist Church. May the Lord continue to lead them forward in reclaiming meaningful membership, and may their example inspire courage and conviction in other pastors and churches to do the same.

Tom Ascol has served as a Pastor of Grace Baptist Church in Cape Coral, FL since 1986. Prior to moving to Florida he served as pastor and associate pastor of churches in Texas. He has a BS degree in sociology from Texas A&M University (1979) and has also earned the MDiv and PhD degrees from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Ft. Worth, Texas. He has served as an adjunct professor of theology for various colleges and seminaries, including Reformed Theological Seminary, the Covenant Baptist Theological Seminary, African Christian University, Copperbelt Ministerial College, and Reformed Baptist Seminary. He has also served as Visiting Professor at the Nicole Institute for Baptist Studies at Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando, Florida. Tom serves as the President of Founders Ministries and The Institute of Public Theology. He has edited the Founders Journal, a quarterly theological publication of Founders Ministries, and has written hundreds of articles for various journals and magazines. He has been a regular contributor to TableTalk, the monthly magazine of Ligonier Ministries. He has also edited and contributed to several books, including Dear Timothy: Letters on Pastoral Ministry, The Truth and Grace Memory Books for children and  Recovering the Gospel and Reformation of Churches. He is also the author of From the Protestant Reformation to the Southern Baptist ConventionTraditional Theology and the SBC and Strong and Courageous. Tom regularly preaches and lectures at various conferences throughout the United States and other countries. In addition he regularly contributes articles to the Founders website and hosts a weekly podcast called The Sword & The Trowel. He and his wife Donna have six children along with four sons-in-law and a daughter-in-law. They have sixteen grandchildren.
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