In less than two weeks, thousands of Southern Baptist messengers will make their way to St. Louis for our annual meeting (June 12-15, 2016). A messenger is a person that represents an affiliated Southern Baptist church at the annual convention. Angie and I are excited to attend this year’s meeting and represent our beloved church family. We intend to participate in the pastors’ conference, the convention sessions, and many other meetings during the week. Each day at the convention generally begins early and ends late.
You can be involved in this year’s convention in two ways. First, you can watch the pastors’ conference and convention sessions online at sbc.net. Second, you can pray for God’s Spirit to unite and guide the decisions of Southern Baptist leaders and messengers. I invite you to pray and ask God to bless this year’s convention in the following ten ways.
- God to use Dr. Ronnie Floyd. Dr. Floyd is the convention president. His presidency concludes at the end of this year’s annual gathering. Dr. Floyd has led the convention to focus on revival and spiritual awakening.
- God to save people during Crossover St. Louis. Before the annual meeting begins, many Southern Baptists’ leave church buildings, hotel rooms, and convention rooms to share the Gospel. Evangelism matters to Southern Baptists. The evangelism mandate isn’t for people to “come and see;” it’s for us to “go and tell.”
- God to empower the next convention president. Three solid men are being nominated for president. J.D. Greear pastors The Summit Church in Durham, North Carolina; Steve Gaines pastors Bellevue Baptist Church in Memphis, Tennessee; and David Crosby pastors First Baptist Church in New Orleans, Louisiana. Messengers will select the next president on Tuesday afternoon of the convention.
- God to equip His servants for ministry. The annual gathering of Southern Baptists’ offers multiple opportunities for ministry training and personal conversations. Messengers will listen to sermons, attend panel discussions, and participate in breakfast, lunch, and dinner training events.
- God to direct the steps of pastors and ministers. Many pastors and ministers arrive at the annual meeting with resumes in hand, praying for God to relocate them. Ministry is often hard and discouraging. As pastors and ministers pursue new places of ministry, it’s important that they run to God’s next assignment, not from their present challenges.
- God to protect thousands of messengers. Security detail is a necessary reality at large gatherings of people. It’s common for groups to protest and disrupt the Southern Baptist Convention. I appreciate the many dedicated men and women who protect the thousands of messengers and leaders each year.
- God to anoint the preaching of His Word. The Southern Baptist Convention believes in the authority of the Bible. Over the course of four days, many sermons will be preached. Every preacher that stands before God’s people needs to be rested, prepared, and convicted about proclaiming God’s message.
- God to unify the different generations of leaders. Different generations of Southern Baptist leaders need to serve together, not against each other. Older leaders need to learn from younger leaders, and younger leaders need to learn from older leaders. Southern Baptist leaders are co-labors, not competitors.
- God to revive His people and churches. A major focus of this year’s convention is revival and spiritual awakening. Dr. Floyd plans to lead the convention one evening to pray and ask God to revive our churches and awaken our country.
- God to allow the convention to keep the main thing the main thing. The Great Commission is the main thing of the Southern Baptist Convention. God has called His people to be engaged in evangelism and discipleship. Thousands of Southern Baptist churches will fail to reach even one person this year. If our convention is going to push back spiritual darkness and lostness, that statistic needs to change.
On Wednesday night, June 22, I plan to present to you my annual report from the convention. My desire is to keep you informed about what it means to be affiliated with and supportive of the Southern Baptist Convention.
I invite you to watch and pray, as God’s people gather in St. Louis.
Fulfilling the Great Commission,