Religious liberty. Casino gambling. Marijuana cultivation.
Those are the Big Three issues that will be hotly debated beginning today (Monday, Jan. 8) as Georgia legislators return to Atlanta to cut deals and write bills.
Then there are other important issues such as exploitation of women and children through sex trafficking and the expansion of the sale of alcohol on Sunday in the state.
They and other issues will remain under the watchful eye of Georgia Baptists through the ministry of the Georgia Baptist Mission Board’s Public Affairs Ministry. State Missionary Mike Griffin directs the ministry and will be present for much of the next 40 days as the eyes and ears of Georgia Baptists as laws are debated and voted on.
But a critical role that pastors can play is to become involved by knowing and praying for their local representatives. A personal relationship can go far when a representative recognizes a voice on a telephone call or name on a letter expressing praise or concern of an upcoming piece of legislation, Griffin says.
In addition, the breakfast serves as a non-partisan opportunity for legislators to understand who Georgia Baptists are and realize they are praying for them throughout the session.
The Public Affairs representative said that the meeting “is one of the highlights of the legislative session. It is unique for a couple of reasons.”
“First, it is not about legislation or a political agenda. They will have enough politics once the Georgia General Assembly has convened.”
“Secondly, it is about inspiration and encouragement for the legislators and our constitutional officers. Our men and women who serve our state need to know that Georgia Baptists love them and are praying for them and their families.”
“We encourage any Georgia Baptist ministers who would like come with their Legislator to attend this ministry opportunity. They will be glad they did!”
Pastors will have an opportunity to build relationships by attending the annual Legislative Prayer Breakfast, an easy walk from the Gold Dome of the state Capitol.
Registration encouraged for Breakfast, required for Pastors Day at the Capital
The breakfast is held from 7 a.m. until 8 a.m. in the Empire Room, high atop the “Sloppy” Floyd Building in downtown Atlanta. From its 20th floor perch guests can gaze down on the Capitol Building as the sun rises over the city and the lives of Georgians who will be impacted by the actions of the legislative session.
Frank Cox, pastor of North Metro First Baptist Church in Lawrenceville, will be this year’s keynote speaker. Cox is a member of the Georgia Baptist Public Affairs Committee and has been a strong supporter of Georgia Baptists being a positive influence on state government. Special music for the event will be provided by State Missionary Jon Duncan and David Carnes.
The breakfast is free but pastors are encouraged to contact Karen Wheeler in the Mission Board’s Executive Office for more information or to make a reservation. Wheeler can be contacted at (770) 936-5204 or at email@example.com.
The hour-long event serves as a precursor to three other upcoming events promoted through the Public Affairs Ministry.
The annual Georgia March for Life will be held on Jan. 19. The memorial service is slated for 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. at Liberty Plaza near the Capitol. James Merritt, pastor of Cross Pointe Church in Duluth, will serve as guest speaker while Kurt Scoble will serve as worship leader. For more information visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/2018-georgia-march-for-life-memorial-service-liberty-plaza-atlanta-tickets-39774160585.
The other two upcoming events are Pastors Days at the Capitol which are scheduled for Feb. 1 and March 1. Each event will be scheduled from 9:30 a.m. until 2 p.m. and provide an educational forum and prayer tour of the state Capitol building. Registration for the limited space is also being handled by Wheeler. The two events are identical so there is no need to attend both, Griffin noted.