As I write this article for The Christian Index, I am experiencing the afterglow of a marvelous convention annual meeting held at Roswell Street Baptist Church in Marietta. Roswell Street did an amazing job in providing for every imaginable need of Georgia Baptists during our annual meeting.
The Sunday evening rally began with outstanding worship by the church choir and orchestra under the leadership of Rev. Joe Buckner. Our hearts were stirred by the music and we were prepared to be led in the theme of spiritual renewal. Dr. Glenn Sheppard brought a wonderful message calling upon all of us to devote ourselves to spiritual renewal and holiness as we gathered at the altar on our knees in prayer. The wonderful spirit of that moment prevailed throughout the entire convention meeting.
Dr. Don Hattaway provided unexcelled leadership as the president of our convention. We were inspired by every message including the one delivered by Dr. Hattaway that was focused upon the book of Jonah.
Rev. Claude King of LifeWay in Nashville led in a focus on prayer during each session of the convention. Rev. King’s great heart for prayer communicated to all of us the need for more consecrated prayer and devotion of our hearts to spiritual renewal. Keith and Kristyn Getty and their musical ensemble lifted our hearts to heaven with glorious praise and worship.
Two of our fine pastors preached wonderful messages. Rev. Barry Snapp preached the missionary sermon and Rev. Brad Waters preached the doctrinal sermon. Both messages were filled with the obvious Spirit of God and inspired us deeply.
The three presidents of our colleges and university brought messages about the great work going on at Shorter University, Truett-McConnell College, and Brewton-Parker College. I am so thankful for Dr. Don Dowless, Dr. Emir Caner, and Dr. Steve Echols, our presidents, as they provide godly leadership for our schools. Our Georgia Baptist colleges and university have never been in better hands than they are right now.
We were blessed by the dynamic preaching of Dr. Ronnie Floyd the president of our Southern Baptist Convention. Dr. Floyd pointed out the need for carrying the Gospel to Georgia as 70% of our state’s population is without Christ.
In the Tuesday afternoon session, the Jubal Chorus and orchestra provided worship music, and it was marvelous. The closing message was brought by Dr. Robert Jeffress, pastor of First Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas. Dr. Jeffress pointed out the desperate spiritual condition of our nation and our world. He cited the devastating decisions made by the Supreme Court regarding prayer in schools, abortion, and same-sex marriage that have undercut the moral fiber and spiritual stability of our nation. Then, bringing the message of hope, he stated that there has never been a better time for Christians to be witnesses for Christ because the needs are so great.
In this annual meeting I was pleased to present the reinvention of our convention including our new name, the Georgia Baptist Mission Board, and the plan to go to field-based staff and field-based practitioners for greater coverage across the state for the myriad ministries that are so vital to our work. We are excited about our future as Georgia Baptists.
I heard many positive remarks from our messengers about our future and our plans moving forward. My prayer is that God will continue to have His hand upon the ministry of Georgia Baptists and that more than ever we will be effective in taking the Gospel to Georgia, our mission field.