Our first ever “Go Georgia” event is now history, and what a wonderful event it was!
I want to especially thank Bill Ricketts, senior pastor of Prince Avenue Baptist Church in Athens, for opening the church to all Georgia Baptists for this opportunity to enrich ministry in their churches. The staff and volunteers at Prince Avenue were truly amazing as they worked diligently to meet every need and were successful in doing so.
It would be impossible to thank everyone who contributed to this gigantic effort, but suffice it to say, many were involved and worked together to give birth to a new training experience for Georgia Baptists that I am convinced will become an annual happening.
Dr. Jeff Iorg, president of Gateway Seminary, was the keynote speaker. He did an outstanding job delivering two inspiring messages on dealing with change. He used the move of Golden Gate Seminary, now Gateway Seminary, from Mill Valley, CA to Ontario, CA to launch his message about dealing with change in our lives and in our churches. His sermons definitely hit the sweet spot where most of us live day after day.
Change is inevitable. How we handle change will determine our future effectiveness. Dr. Iorg made the clear point that change in the church, and in the life of the believer, ought to expand the influence of God’s Kingdom.
I have known Jeff Iorg for more than 20 years. Without a doubt, he is one of the finest leaders I have ever known and is certainly a standout among Southern Baptist leaders.
Dr. Iorg understands what it means to be pastor of a local Baptist church. He has done that. He understands the value of state conventions. He was executive director of the Northwest Baptist Convention a few years ago. As a result, when Dr. Iorg speaks, he brings to his message a good dose of understanding regarding to Cooperative Program and how vital state conventions are to the core strength of Southern Baptists.
He was generous in his remarks about the faithfulness of Baptists in the pew as they support missions through the Cooperative Program. He thanked everyone for their faithfulness to the Cooperative Program, and then he said, “If you all were not supporting us faithfully through your Cooperative Program gifts, we could not have possibly accomplished all we have accomplished at Gateway Seminary.”
Those remarks endeared Dr. Iorg to Georgia Baptists. Here is a seminary president who values the ministry of the state convention, the effectiveness of the local church and association, and he values the faithful giving of Baptists through the Cooperative Program.
All of us should know by now that gratitude goes a long way toward encouraging people to give even more, to go even more, and to pray more than ever before for the sake of our Southern Baptist/Georgia Baptist mission to take the Gospel of Christ to a lost world. Thank you, Dr. Iorg for being a faithful servant of Christ and living what you preach.
Now, if you missed this first “Go Georgia,” I am very confident in assuring you that you will have another chance next year to participate, but be sure not to let another “Go Georgia” come and go without being a part of this amazing time together.