Posted by Mary Wimberley on 2010-04-21

Working with other believers can be a high-risk enterprise, but there is help, Baptist World Alliance president David Coffey told students and others at Samford University’s Beeson Divinity School Tuesday, April 20.

Qualities such as conceit and rivalry can make it easy to get it wrong in relating to believers, he said. “When we are quarrelling, our attitudes spoil our service and draw attention from Jesus Christ.”

A cure can be found in the passage from Philippians 2: 1-11 that advises to “have this mind,” which Jesus had, and serve like Him.

To serve like Jesus, one must relinquish privilege and power, render service and endure a cost, said Coffey, who spent a Sabbatical at Beeson in the 1990s.

“You are born to serve, not be served,” said Coffey, an ordained minister with the Baptist Union of Great Britain since 1967. “Jesus’ hands that performed miracles also washed the disciples’ feet.”

He warned against adopting “I did it my way” as a theme song.  “Your theme song needs to be ‘I did it His way,’” Coffey said.

For those who serve like Jesus, he said, there is also a joy to be shared.

“We are disciples of the now and the not yet,” said Coffey, adding that it is easy to despair of the now. Referencing scripture from the book of Revelation, he said that “God has given us a taste of the future, and the best is yet to be.”

In Heaven, he said, “There will be no more evangelical culture wars, no more broken relationships.  All will be peaceful in a perfect, beautiful city. This is the glory that we will share.”

 Previously general secretary of the Baptist Union of Great Britain for 15 years, Coffey was elected BWA president at the Baptist World Congress in 2005. In 2009, he was appointed the first global ambassador for BMS World Mission, the missionary society founded by William Carey.

Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. The Wall Street Journal ranks Samford 1st nationally for student engagement and U.S. News & World Report ranks Samford 66th in the nation for best undergraduate teaching and 104th nationally for best value. Samford enrolls 5,683 students from 47 states and 19 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference, and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.