This coming June 16-17, thousands of Southern Baptists will gather in Columbus, Ohio, for our annual meeting. In light of the approaching convention, I want to share 7 reasons why I believe pastors should join us in Columbus.
1. Gospel Legacy. This will be the 158th session of our 170-year history. That’s right… 170 years and 158 meetings. It’s important for us to understand the faithful gospel legacy that has been passed down from generation to generation since 1845. We have not been a perfect denomination. In fact, we have a tainted past when it comes to subjects like racism and abortion. But we have sought to repent of our past and chart a biblical way forward.
When faced with a liberal trajectory, faithful men and women fought to bring our convention back to understanding the biblical inerrancy of the Holy Scriptures through what is known as the Conservative Resurgence. Over the last 170 years, many under the banner of Southern Baptists, have contended for the faith once for all delivered to the saints. The task of continuing this great gospel legacy now rests with us.
2. A National Call For Prayer to All Southern Baptists. One of the highlights of this year’s meeting is a prayer gathering. On Tuesday night, June 16, Dr. Ronnie Floyd and other SBC pastors will lead our convention attendees in a time of intentional prayer over many different matters concerning our denomination and country. Thousands will unite under one roof, asking God to bring about a great awakening across the world and accomplish the Great Commission in our lifetime. This extraordinary gathering of men seeking God through prayer and petition is one not to be missed.
3. Church and Mission Sending Celebration. The SBC was formed on the belief that churches could do more for missions together than they could apart. The North American Mission Board and the International Mission Board are two key entities that work with our churches to identify, equip, and launch missionaries and church planters around the world. In effect, they help churches plant churches.
On Wednesday morning of our annual meeting, we will witness the commissioning of a hundred missionaries around the world. We will see their faces, hear their stories, and pray for them as they take the next step toward landing on the field for the name of Christ. Kevin Ezell and David Platt will lead this service along with Ronnie Floyd. This sending service will be a powerful moment for our pastors and is sure to be a ceremony unlike any other of our time.
4. The President’s Panel: The Supreme Court and Same-Sex Marriage. The Supreme Court is set to take up the issue of same-sex marriage with a decision this summer, most likely late June. As new realities approach concerning same-sex marriage, a panel will convene at this year’s SBC intended to help prepare churches for what will follow the Court’s decision. The decision will have an impact on every local church in our denomination, and as pastors, we must be informed on how to best lead through these days, gaining ground on the forefront of the culture wars.
5. Events Surrounding the Annual Meeting. When pastors attend a SBC annual meeting, they don’t just go for the meeting. The meeting consists of 3 1/2 days of jam-packed, edifying events. Here are a few of the events you do not want to miss:
6. Network and Fellowship with other Pastors. Seeing old friends and meeting new ones is always a personal highlight of my time at the SBC. The opportunity to network beyond one meeting a year is one of the great realities of social media. But no amount of social media can replace the time you are afforded with someone face to face. Brothers need brothers, and the SBC meeting is a time to eat together, laugh together, and talk ministry together. For this, I’m thankful.
7. A Time to Refocus. Each year, thousands of SBC pastors and laypersons, representing thousands of churches throughout our country, gather together to worship our King Jesus. For two days, we subject our hearts and minds to our mission as a denomination to train pastors, equip churches, and launch missionaries. These are our priorities. This is what we do. It’s our DNA. Though oftentimes we drift into our own small kingdoms, forgetting our priorities, the annual meeting helps us reengage in our calling with renewed passion. We go back home to our churches and get after it in the name of Jesus.
So I invite you to Columbus. Come, join us as we gather together for a few days to worship our risen King Jesus, launch missionaries, hear about the training of a new generation of pastors, and pray for God to move and work like never before.
I hope to meet you there!
Here’s a detailed look at this year’s annual meeting:
SBC Mtg Highlights (Click to download or click on image to enlarge)
The Great Commission given to us by Jesus Christ is a command for his Church to carry the good news of the gospel of Christ to every urban center, street corner, African bungalow, and farmhouse across the globe. We are called by God to take the gospel to the nations, giving people the opportunity to turn from sin, believe in Christ Jesus, and have the opportunity to spiritually mature in him.
In recent years, the North American Mission Board has restructured, retooled, and reengaged with the primary task of planting churches. I am thrilled at what NAMB, under the leadership of Kevin Ezell, is doing to mobilize churches to focus on key influential cities, where most of the population in the U.S. live.
But it takes lots of people and lots of money over a long period of time to plant healthy churches. Championing church planting in key and influential cities must be elevated. I gladly give each year to the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering and encourage your church to give as well. But we must not delegate our church planting to just giving money and not sending people.
B21 is happy to announce a new addition to our stellar lineup of panelists for our lunch panel at the SBC in Columbus: Dr. Albert Mohler.
Dr. R. Albert Mohler Jr. serves as president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary – the flagship school of the Southern Baptist Convention and one of the largest seminaries in the world.
Dr. Mohler has been recognized by such influential publications asTime and Christianity Todayas a leader among American evangelicals. In fact, Time.com called him the “reigning intellectual of the evangelical movement in the U.S.”
In addition to his presidential duties, Dr. Mohler hosts two programs: “The Briefing,” a daily analysis of news and events from a Christian worldview; and “Thinking in Public,” a series of conversations with the day’s leading thinkers. He also writes a popular blog and a regular commentary on moral, cultural and theological issues. All of these can be accessed through Dr. Mohler’s website, www.AlbertMohler.com. Called “an articulate voice for conservative Christianity at large” by The Chicago Tribune, Dr. Mohler’s mission is to address contemporary issues from a consistent and explicit Christian worldview.
The best movie I took my daughters to see in the past year was Big Hero 6. The story is about an orphaned genius named Hiro who loses his brother Tadashi in a fire, but befriends Tadashi’s invention – a loveable healthcare robot named Baymax. Baymax, Hiro, and a rag tag group of 4 other self-professed nerds team up as superheroes to find the man responsible for the explosion. The movie is gripping, tragic, funny and inspirational.
What I found most intriguing was the conclusion when Baymax sacrificed himself to save Hiro and a girl named Abigail. As we watched the film, my daughters gripped my arms with tears streaming down there face. It was heartbreaking. But, the film ends with Baymax being brought back to life (his computer chip was placed into a rebuilt robot so that he could live on).
Baptist21 is happy to announce the addition of Dr. Russell Moore, President of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission. The ERLC is an entity of the Southern Baptist Convention that is dedicated to engaging the culture with the gospel of Jesus Christ and speaking to issues in the public square for the protection of religious liberty and human flourishing. Their vision can be summed up in three words: kingdom, culture and mission.
A widely-sought cultural commentator, Dr. Moore has been recognized by a number of influential organizations. The Wall Street Journal has called him “vigorous, cheerful, and fiercely articulate” while The Gospel Coalition has referred to him “one of the most astute ethicists in contemporary evangelicalism.”