SAVANNAH — Hundreds of people gathered for the Inspirational Rally on Sunday night at Calvary Baptist Temple to kick off the annual meeting of the Georgia Baptist Convention. Almost 900 worshippers listened the singing of a Savannah-area choir as a prelude to the evening program. Later Charles Billingsley, singer and worship leader at Thomas Road Baptist Church in Lynchburg, VA, joined in several songs as the service progressed.
Few soloists and worship leaders can thrill the hearts of a congregation and engage them in worship like Billingsley. His rendition of “It is Well with My Soul” was soul stirring, if not celestial-like.
Thomas Hammond, president of the Georgia Baptist Convention, made the introductions and presided over the meeting. He presented Calvary Temple pastor Kenny Grant, who extended a welcome to the convention messengers and guests.
Frank Page, chief executive officer of the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee, brought greetings from Nashville and commended Georgia Baptists for giving more than $41 million through the Cooperative Program. He gave examples of how the money given through the CP is having a significant impact on pastors in Germany. He stated, “Germany has many Baptist churches on fire for the Lord.”
Page also indicated that God was mightily at work in Cuba and that while communism is trying to restrict the work of the Lord, multiple house churches have been started in recent years. He also talked about New York and Alaska having more Baptist churches than at any time in their history. In addition, he mentioned a Baptist college in Vermont (Presumably Northeastern Baptist College) that has a goal of planting a church in every town and hamlet in the state.
Page mentioned that one out of every five churches in the Southern Baptist Convention is now an ethnic church. He joyfully announced, “You are now a part of the most ethnically-diverse denomination in the world. We must make sure that we are forever a ‘Jesus’ convention. That is the thing that set us apart.”