DULUTH — Georgia Baptists shouldn't leave this year's annual meeting early.
So says Thomas Hammond, pastor of Alpharetta First Baptist and Georgia Baptist Convention president. He spoke recently in a video with Georgia Baptist Mission Board Executive Director J. Robert White on November's gathering. Together, they discussed those appearing at Calvary Baptist Temple, where Pastor Kenny Grant leads.
Hammond explained why the theme "Unite Georgia" carries a considerable importance today.
"Unity is so important in the aspect of evangelism," he said. "Jesus said if we are one just as He and the Father are one, then everyone will believe that God sent Jesus."
The challenge to reach the lost has become incredible, expressed White, but not insurmountable. In relation, Hammond added that such an effort requires a singular mindset.
"[It involves] individual churches but also ... sister churches, together, unifying themselves to that cause."
Sermons attendees traditionally expect include the missions message, this year brought by Andy Childs, pastor of Ebenezer Baptist in Toccoa. Jim Perdue, pastor of Second Baptist Church in Warner Robins, preaches the doctrinal message.
Award-winning singer Charles Billingsley leads the inspirational rally Sunday evening. Joining him, an all-city choir will complete the evening's worship. Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee President Frank Page will address the crowd. Following him, keynote speaker and First Baptist Woodstock pastor Johnny Hunt addresses the crowd.
Hammond said Florida pastor H.B. Charles promises to be a tremendous addition. "He is one of the premier preachers around the country and God has given him a tremendous gift of Scripture," said Hammond.
Also appearing, singer Daniel Crews joins Christian Music Hall of Famer Al Denson in leading worship.
Hammond closed the video with an urgent message for those considering attending the meeting.
"The reality is our world is changing rapidly and the church is under great persecution and attack. ... Right now – today – we need each other more than ever before.
"My heart's desire is ... we'll band together as brothers and sisters in Christ and take advantage of the opportunity ... to win this great state to Christ."
And, he added, it's important to not limit that effort to Georgia, but take it to the world.
In closing, Hammond addressed a common practice of such gatherings for attendees to get on the road prematurely.
"Don't leave early. Don't miss the ending. Because it is going be something quite different than you've ever experienced before."
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