Brenden and Jonee Blair, members of the New Hope praise team, take the lead during worship at the Inspirational Rally Sunday, Nov. 10 at New Hope Baptist Church in Fayetteville. The Rally preceded the annual meeting of the Georgia Baptist Convention the following day and also included a message by evangelist Jon Reed. SCOTT BARKLEY/Index
FAYETTEVILLE – Sunday night’s Inspirational Rally kicked off the three -day gathering for Georgia Baptists culminating in the Georgia Baptist Convention Monday and Tuesday at New Hope Baptist Church in Fayetteville.
Worship was a highlight of the evening, led by Flint River Baptist Association’s mass choir and praise team, and featured music by Joe and Kim Stanley, Brenden and Jonee Blair, Jon Huff, and Sonya Knight.
A welcome from host pastor Rhys Stenner preceded a welcome from Robby Foster, Georgia Baptist Convention president and pastor of Northside Baptist Church in Valdosta.
“We’re very thankful for what God is doing here, but we’re very thankful for you too,” Stenner said. “It encourages us to be a part of something bigger.”
As Foster lead into a time of prayer, he said, “We’re just going to have a night of praising Jesus. Let’s begin by asking God to unify our hearts and pray for one another. We cannot do anything without the leadership of the Holy Spirit.”
A sneak peek
Before Georgia Baptist Executive Director Thomas Hammond introduced the renewed focus of the Mission Board on pastor health and wellness and church strengthening, messengers watched a video sharing what Hammond learned through his Listening Sessions.
Tim Dowdy, Georgia Baptist lead strategist for Pastor Wellness, also spoke to that emphasis on. Hammond’s presentation was just a sneak peak of what will be unveiled this morning during his Executive Committee report.
“The reality is if there’s nothing pouring into you, you’re going to become dry very quickly,” Hammond said. He acknowledged that in order to have a strong pastor, he must have a strong wife and kids. Therefore, part of the new Mission Board structure will emphasize the health and wellness of a pastor’s family.
“What you did this morning [pastors] was the most important thing that happened in Georgia today,” Hammond added, referring to the sermons delivered from pulpits around the state. “Thank you for all you do every day for the kingdom.”
Evangelist Jon Reed delivered the Inspirational Sermon. His message came from Mark 14:1-9, on the woman with the alabaster box.
Before he dove into the sacrifice – the woman breaking the alabaster box full of ointment that was worth a year’s wages and pouring it on the Savior’s feet – Reed pointed out three things for his audience to notice. They included the rivalry, the room, and the response.
What this woman did was extreme, extravagant, exciting, expensive, exactly the right sacrifice, and exposing.
And essentially, what she was doing was “making a big deal about Jesus.”
“There are people in your congregation that are counting on you to make a big deal about Jesus,” Reed said. “We have an opportunity every time [we preach] to make a big deal about Jesus.”
“I believe at some point, she pulled out the calculator, did the math, and said, ‘Well, Jesus is who He says He is,’” Reed said.
He continued, “When you figure out that Jesus is God, the only response is to give Him everything.”
He encouraged his listeners to take whatever thing of value they are holding onto and to break it before God.
“These men leading us, if we follow them, we can reach not only Georgia, but the we’ll reach this whole world,” Reed said. “But it’s going to take pastors who are willing to break it. It’s going to take men and women who will walk into the room, past a bunch of naysaying people, and do what God’s called you to do.”
Reed concluded, “What are you holding on to that prevents you from your next step? What’s your security blanket? If you keep doing what you’re doing, how many people are going to come to know Christ? What if you broke it? What if you stopped burying all those talents and spent your life glorifying Jesus?”
He added, “Maybe we’ve been doing it all wrong. Maybe we need to stop unscrewing the top and just break it.”