3 questions with Micah Fries, young Southern Baptist pastor in Missouri

Communications Staff — October 26, 2009

Micah Fries serves as senior pastor of Frederick Boulevard Baptist Church in St. Joseph, Mo.

1. What are a few things you would like to see happen in the Southern Baptist Convention over the next 5-10 years?

While I am both indebted and grateful to the SBC, I recognize a few areas that I think could be strengthened, or which might be in need of realignment. Greatest among those areas would be a renewed commitment to the primacy of the local church.

I am incredibly grateful for the work of many organizations within SBC life. At the same time, if we are not careful I think we can become satisfied to hand off ministry to others because we convince ourselves that we are too small, too poor or simply unable to engage in it ourselves. The unfortunate result of that behavior is that we can hand off authority to the organization and although we may still call ourselves a bottom-up organization, instead we become a de facto top-down organization. We move from being a convention of churches to becoming a denomination, in the traditional sense. As we think about realignment in our convention, recapturing the authority and primacy of the local church must be paramount.

2. What is God teaching you about pastoral ministry right now?

I am concerned with how invested the local church has become in merely facilitating her own existence. It seems to me that the longer our churches exist in ministry, the easier it is to fill our time by simply perpetuating internal ministry almost exclusively and rarely engaging those who have not yet believed the Gospel.

We often preach a strong commitment to Romans 10:14-17 but our behavior proves us to be little more than eloquent mouthpieces. It should be noted that a significant part of pastoral skill must include a great commitment to serving those within the body, but we should also remember that it can seductive to do little more than that. If I am going to have a great commitment to the Gospel, I must love my own people but I must equally be committed those who are not yet a part of the Kingdom.

3. What role do you see social media playing in local church ministry over the next 10 years?

A few years ago I heard someone say that blogging was the 21st century’s equivalent to the Guettenberg press. While that statement may have been a bit premature, I think it is that social media as an entire medium is creating a significant cultural shift in terms of impact on speed and ease of communication, among other things. For instance it can help create an increasingly educated laity as they have more consistent access to information that previously was difficult for them to obtain or even find, for that matter.

Additionally, social media can facilitate the advance of prayer needs. It can also help create a sense of intimacy with personal contacts on a worldwide scale, which in turn can tighten relationships for the sake of global mission. In my own personal context, I have found it extremely valuable in connecting on a personal level with a number of our church members, many of whom I might rarely have had much interpersonal contact otherwise.

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