ALPHARETTA — More than 80 pastors, up 10 from last year, gathered at First Baptist Church of Alpharetta on Aug. 14 for two hours of networking and praying for the unchurched in the state and nation.
WIN Georgia, the spiritual emphasis of Georgia Baptist Convention President Thomas Hammond for the past 18 months, focused on prayer for Georgia Baptist churches and the state convention, pastors, and the nation.
Hammond, who will conclude the second of his two-year term as president in November, said he was extremely pleased with the attendance and the spirit of the pastors who carved out two hours from their busy schedules for the meeting.
“We had a great time of fellowship and prayer as we focused our hearts on winning Georgia for Christ. It’s always a blessing to pray with pastors and I am looking forward to the remaining four meetings,” he said.
Pastors met in the church’s gym to visit and renew friendships, enjoy a meal, sign up for the Pastors Prayer Network, and pray on the three topics.
Tim Watson, pastor of Center of Hope Christian Ministries in Doraville, said he appreciated the gathering.
“Because Atlanta is so large and I’m from the other side of town, I don’t get as many opportunities as I would like to meet other pastors. There is so much I can learn from others as I, in turn, share my personal experiences,” he said.
Then, as several pastors did, Watson directed the conversation to the Unite the Right rally and violent clashes in Charlottesville, VA Alt-Right just two days before. Alt-Right and White Nationalists from across the nation – many carrying Nazi flags and chanting the “blood and soil” Nazi slogan – descended on the city and a 32-year-old woman was killed when a White Supremacist allegedly ran his car into the crowd of counter-protestors.
“What is going on in Charlottesville is ungodly and we, as pastors, still have the responsibility to share the love of God even in spite of our cultural differences,” Watson said. “What happened in Charlottesville is a microcosm that is happening everywhere in our nation, it’s just not as blatant.”
Rando Acres drove from Loganville to participate in the gathering. Acres, pastor of Center Hill Baptist Church, said he was excited about joining with other churches to reach the lost in the state.
“Anytime I can gain wisdom from other ministers who have been doing it for far longer than I have is time well spent. It’s a priceless use of my time,” he stated.
Alan Morris, missionary for the North Central Area, said being with pastors who were coming together “to seek God’s face is the draw for me. We don’t do enough of this … like-minded pastors coming together to fall on our face and cry out to God.
“This is what we are taught in Scripture to do,” he added.
Hammond opened the meeting with quoting Leonard Ravenhill, an English evangelist and author who focused on the subjects of prayer and revival. He lamented Ravenhill’s observation on the times in which he lived in which there were “many players and payers but few prayers, many singers but few clingers, lots of pastors but few wrestlers, many fears but few tears, much fashion but little passion.”
Hammond then noted that “baptisms [in the state and on the national level] have hit rock bottom. The alarm has been sounded.”
He went on to explain the purpose of the meeting and stressed the importance of prayer, adding that “prayer is not preparation for the battle, it is the battle.”
Later in the meeting, Georgia Baptist Mission Board Executive Director J. Robert White added to that observation, saying “The heart of the problem is the problem of the heart. I urge us to pray that God will mobilize congregations to go into the fields that are already white unto the harvest and reap the harvest.”
Four other WIN Georgia sessions are set for the coming months leading up to the annual Georgia Baptist Convention meeting, which will be held Nov. 13-14 at North Metro First Baptist Church in Lawrenceville. The two-day session will be preceded with the annual inspirational rally the previous evening.
The upcoming luncheons and registration information include:
Salem Baptist Church, McDonough
Hosted by Rick Statham, Pastor, Convention 4th Vice President
1724 GA-155 N
McDonough GA 30252
RSVP: WGilbert@salemchurch.net or 770.957.4543 by September 7
Concord Baptist Church, Clermont
Hosted by Levi Skipper, Pastor, Convention 3rd Vice President
640 Main Street
Clermont, GA 30527
RSVP: firstname.lastname@example.org or 770.983.7272 by October 9
Second Baptist Church, Warner Robins
Hosted by Jim Perdue, Pastor, Convention 1st Vice President
2504 Moody Road
Warner Robins GA 31088
RSVP: email@example.com or 478.923.7101 by October 16
Springhead Baptist Church, Adel
Hosted by Joey Taylor, Pastor, Convention 2nd Vice President
1102 Springhead Church Road
Adel GA 31620
RSVP: firstname.lastname@example.org or 229.507.7375 by October 17