DALLAS, TX — The 2018 annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention opened this morning at 9:35 a.m. Atlanta time. Nearly 9,000 messengers were registered through last evening, about double last year’s final total.
Georgia Baptists can watch the event live here. Viewers can also follow along on the meeting’s full program by scrolling on the information to the side of the live feed.
This year’s theme is “TESTIFY: Go. Stand. Speak.” Among other matters, the session will mark the 100thanniversary of women being allowed as messengers to the annual meeting.
Index Senior Editor Gerald Harris and Editor Scott Barkley are on site, recording the overall meeting with a focus on Georgia Baptists making the news and messengers sharing their opinions on what could be the most sharply divided Convention in years.
Thus far, Managing Editor Joe Westbury filed two stories over the weekend on how Georgia Baptists studying at Southwestern Seminary took to the streets to share Christ with residents as they went door to door. That outreach, coordinated with Harvest America’s Crossover element, included 100 Southwestern seminarians plus 75 others from the remaining 4 Southern Baptist seminaries.
By Saturday, the final of 6 days of Crossover, those Georgia Baptists were among the Southwest seminarians who contacted 13,129 homes, participated in 1,993 gospel conversations, and recorded 213 professions of faith.
At 2:30 a.m. Monday morning, Barkley posted his story recounting the Sunday evening Greg Laurie Harvest America rally from AT&T Stadium in Arlington. The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported that about 35,000 attended the event which serves as home to the Dallas Cowboys. However, an estimated 82,000 attended a similar event just two years ago in the stadium that seats 90,000.
Southwestern seminarians who participated in the weeklong evangelistic outreach expressed disappointment that the crowds were less than in 2016 but credited it to a society that is more resistant to the Gospel. While they were graciously received on their weeklong witnessing encounters, they reported they did encounter a mindset that embraced all religions and saw little need to choose Christianity over others.
Barkley, who assumed the editorship on June 1 following the announcement of the pending retirement of Senior Editor Gerald Harris on Dec. 31, also posted a story detailing a Prayer Guide for a special prayer meeting that occurred on Monday night. The story was posted to allow Georgia Baptists statewide to participate and pray accordingly from their homes.
On Monday, Harris posted an extensive interview with newly elected Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee Chairman Mike Stone. Stone, who was elected president of the Georgia Baptist Convention in November, is pastor of Emmanuel Baptist Church in Blackshear.
Later that evening Harris reported on a sermon delivered by James Merritt at the Pastors’ Conference. Merritt is pastor at Cross Pointe Church in Duluth. The title of his sermon was “Unashamed” and his text was Romans 1:16 where the Apostle Paul declares that he is “not ashamed of the Gospel.”
To round out his day, Harris ended his coverage by reporting on a Georgia Baptist-sponsored prayer meeting at the Omni Hotel in downtown Dallas calling for renewal and revival in what he described as “a season of further unrest and decline” in the SBC. He posted that story at 2 a.m. this morning.
Readers are encouraged to check back at the Index website for regular updates from Harris and Barkley as well as from Baptist Press.