Open Letter

December 10, 2007

Windermere Baptist Conference Center released an open letter to Missouri Baptists urging everyone to tone down the rhetoric and work together for ministry (for some background posts on recent attacks on the life-changing ministry of Windermere, see previous posts here, here, here and here). Here are some highlights from the letter:

As the trustees of Windermere Baptist Conference Center, our duty demands we work to protect and expand the life-changing ministry of Windermere. We are surprised and hurt by the harshness of the rhetoric that has come from MBC leaders and publications. These statements have been harmful to the ministry efforts of Windermere and the overall witness of Missouri Baptists. Therefore, we are publicly urging that together we end this war of words and actions and seek to be fellow Christian's working together or side by side to do God's will (see Mark 9:38-41).

... As we documented in a January 5, 2006 press release, numerous attempts have been made to damage the life-changing ministry of Windermere, such as trying to dissuade speakers and organizations from attending, and disrupting Windermere's financing arrangements and construction.

Despite the opposition, Windermere Baptist Conference Center is wrapping up its best year ever as more people have been guests on campus. Well over 30,000 people have been guests year-to-date and about 18,000 were served this summer. We have a conservative estimate of more than 1,500 life-changing decisions made this year. That should give everyone cause to celebrate as we have watched God doing great things through this ministry. Clearly, His Spirit is alive and working at Windermere. The Windermere ministry is under the banner of Jesus Christ.

... As we enter the time of celebrating the birth of Jesus, we call upon our Baptist brothers and sisters to stop the harsh rhetoric. It is our prayer we can find a common ground where we can pray together for God's will and then join together in following that will. The life-changing ministry of Windermere is much more important than politics or who has control. The impact of this place over the years to come needs to be available for all Missouri Baptist.

We echo the recent call by Southern Baptist Convention president Dr. Frank Page in a Baptist Press column entitled "For Christ's Sake, Stop!" He argued, "Our witness is being diluted and energies expended on other activities, especially on internecine conflict." He added that media coverage of the conflicts is often read by lost people. Thus, he urged, "For Christ's sake, for the sake of the lost, stop!" Dr. Page also criticized the use of character assassination and personal attacks that have become part of discourse from Christians. We join Dr. Page in his much-needed call for civility and Christ-like treatment of others. We promise our best efforts and hope the leadership of the MBC becomes a part of this change. May God bless all of us as we seek and follow His will.
This is a plea that I hope all Missouri Baptists will heed. It is time to stop the attacks and instead focus on sharing the love of Jesus.