Georgia Baptist pastors pose together in the Appropriations Committee Hearing Room of the state capitol. PUBLIC AFFAIRS/Special
ATLANTA — As nearly 100 Georgia Baptist pastors walked through the halls of the state capitol and met with legislators, Mike Griffin described the energy as palpable and indicative of those wanting to make religious freedom issues a stronger part of their church.
“In terms of enthusiasm, it’s one of the best we’ve ever had,” said Griffin, Georgia Baptist Public Affairs representative.
The day started in the Appropriations Committee Hearing Room in the state capitol. After an introduction by Griffin and Georgia Baptist Executive Director W. Thomas Hammond Jr., pastors heard from several legislators before given the opportunity to find their own representatives in their office – or the hallway – for further discussion on issues on interest.
During lunch on the 20th floor of the James “Sloppy” Floyd Building across MLK Jr. Drive, pastors heard from Harrison Smith and Matt Sharp of Alliance Defending Freedom.
“They did an excellent job of talking about the importance of addressing religious liberty issues from the pulpit and the opportunity for partnership with ADF,” Griffin noted.
During lunch Griffin, Hammond, and GBC President Robby Foster presented the Legislator of the Year awards to Rep. Ed Setzler (R-Acworth) and Sen. Renee Unterman (R-Buford). That recognition came for their work with pro-life causes, particularly in leading toward the passage of the LIFE Act, more commonly known as the heartbeat bill, last spring.
Griffin added that a surprise guest joined the group after an invitation by Brad Hughes, chairman of the Georgia Baptist Public Affairs Committee.
“Lynn Johnson, assistant secretary with the U.S. Department of Children and Families, spoke on the role of churches and the faith community in getting involved through adoption and foster care,” he stated. Adoption and foster care is one of the five areas of focus for Mission Georgia.
“It was a great Pastor’s Day,” said attendee Tom Vann, pastor of Rentz Baptist Church. “I was blessed to be present for the Legislator of the Year awards and there was much helpful information given on how churches can be involved. Mike Griffin is a valuable representative of the GBMB.”
Griffin determined the day a success.
“Overall, it was a great day. The interest and enthusiasm was tremendous. People are excited about getting educated and leading their churches toward having a greater impact on legislation and policy.”
Scott Barkley serves as editor of The Christian Index.