By Barbara Denman
ORLANDO, Fla. (BP) — More than 220 Florida Baptist pastors and leaders were challenged by Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee President Ronnie Floyd to mobilize messengers "for the sake of the Gospel" to attend the SBC annual meeting, June 9-10, 2020, in Orlando.
During the Aug. 21 meeting held at First Baptist Church in Orlando, Floyd asked for the pastors to "begin a journey of casting a vision" that will bring "thousands and thousands" to the annual meeting.
"It is important to make it a big deal," he said. "The more people coming to the convention means more people will hear our message."
Floyd shared his goal of having 12,000 in attendance in 2020.
"Let's encourage and empower our people and say, 'let's do something big for the sake of the Gospel,'" he said.
Floyd urged pastors to bring laypeople to the meeting, a group that has dwindled in attendance in recent years. "Laypersons bring a reality to our 'la la land'" where many pastors reside, he said.
The 2020 meeting, Floyd said, will celebrate the 175th anniversary of the convention meeting. He said the anniversary "needs to be a wake-up call" and "bring us back to the message, bring us back to the mission to bring the world to Jesus Christ … advancing the Gospel to every person in the world."
Along with Floyd, SBC President J.D. Greear; David Uth, senior pastor of the host church and president of the 2020 SBC Pastors' Conference; and Tommy Green, executive director-treasurer of the Florida Baptist Convention, shared their excitement to mobilize Southern Baptists during the upcoming meeting.
Greear announced the theme of the 2020 annual meeting, "Gospel. Above All. Always," noting that it is a continuation of the 2019 theme, and previewed the meeting's logo. "We are a gospel people with a gospel message and the gospel is the most important, above all."
The Orlando convention will offer opportunities to champion church planting and bless the city with the Gospel, said Greear, pastor of The Summit Church in the Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina, area.
The nations have come to Orlando, said Uth, and the SBC presents "an opportunity to touch the nations for Jesus."
Green shared that the annual Crossover evangelism event held prior to the SBC will be emphasized on a larger scale in all Florida churches – "from Pensacola to Key West…. By casting the net across our churches, we will see a great movement of God."
In closing, Floyd shared the need "to transform the culture within the SBC for the purpose of reaching the world for Christ."
He suggested "Five keys" to lead to transformation: living and breathing gospel urgency; empowering all churches, all generations, all ethnicities, all languages; telling and celebrating what God is doing; loving others like Jesus loves; and prioritizing, elevating, and accelerating generosity.
Barbara Denman writes for the Florida Baptist Convention (flbaptist.org/).
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