In just a little less than two weeks I’ll board a plane, fly to Arizona and participate in the Annual Meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention. Since I began serving as Associational Missionary in 2009 I have attended every year but one if my memory is correct. This year I am arriving early and am planning to participate in Crossover Phoenix, a one day evangelism blitz that is connected to Greg Laurie’s Harvest America Crusade that is planned for Sunday June 11th at University of Phoenix stadium. I am also registered to serve as a counselor at the Harvest America event. It should be a great opportunity to see many people connected to the Gospel.
I have grown to look forward to the Annual gathering of the SBC for a number of reasons:
· The opportunity to attend luncheons and events that provide up to date information on the state of our mission entities, seminaries, and other SBC agencies.
· The opportunity to participate in the annual gathering of the SBCAL (Southern Baptist Conference of Associational Leaders). This helps me learn from some great associational leaders and network with great practitioners. This year I was asked to serve as the South Region Ministry Consultant for the SBCAL, and it is a great privilege to do so!
· I enjoy the pastor’s conference that precedes the Annual meeting. This year those who will be preaching represent smaller member churches.
· I enjoy the camaraderie that goes along with travelling with, eating with and dialoguing with my ministry peers.
· I enjoy getting free books, which are usually available in abundance.
· I like participating in the business sessions, and watching the way our polity serves us, and helps us without limiting us, hindering us, or bullying us.
· I like the exhibits. I like meandering around the big bazaar of displays.
· I like the direction of our Executive Committee. I believe that the National expression of the SBC “gets it.” I appreciate that our leaders behave like they understand we belong to a declining denomination that needs to interact with the reasons that is happening.
The Southern Baptist Convention is far from perfect, but I can say with all sincerity that we have some great ideas that God is still using. Perhaps the greatest is our idea of Cooperative Missions, and participating in the Annual Meeting of the SBC is a meaningful part of my commitment to that. I am thankful to the Middle Baptist Association for helping me attend as part of your care for me.