Last Monday and Tuesday I spent some amazing time with my brothers and sisters of the SBCV at our Annual Homecoming (our yearly state convention gathering). Those two days were unlike any other experience I have ever had at a state convention gathering for a denomination. Sure, there was the business meeting aspect of it sprinkled in, but the focus of our time was spent honoring and glorifying God through worship and teaching and prayer. From those two days I came away with 3 lessons that I “re-learned” while I was there.
God’s Word. We Southern Baptists like to refer to ourselves, and we are referred to by others, as “People of the Book.” The authority of Scripture is cornerstone in our theology. The Baptist Faith & Message 2000 frames Its significance this way:
The Holy Bible was written by men divinely inspired and is God’s revelation of Himself to man. It is a perfect treasure of divine instruction. It has God for its author, salvation for its end, and truth, without any mixture of error, for its matter. Therefore, all Scripture is totally true and trustworthy.
I was encouraged over and over again during Annual Homecoming how imperative this is to our message and mission. God’s Word is the foundation upon which everything is built. We must stand for it and stand by it as preach the Gospel to the world. I’m grateful to every preacher and breakout session leader that reminded me of this. I think Alistair Begg’s sermons on Monday night and Tuesday morning brought this truth to light and to the forefront for me. His challenges increased my resolve to stay true to the Word!
Pray! I have shared before that prayer has become central in my relationship with God in ways it had never been prior to our family setting out on this journey of planting The Rising Church. While I was reminded of this truth and the importance of prayer in my life and ministry during these 2 days, it was the experiences I had in prayer that have left a lasting impression on me. Monday night the SBCV leadership talked about and highlighted the priority of church planting in our convention. As part of this, they had those of us who are church planters stand up to be recognized. They then had pastors and church leaders gather around us, laying hands on us to pray over us. I was overwhelmed by God’s power and love in that moment to know that I am not alone and there are so many people and churches praying for our family and our church plant. I still get excited and overcome when I think back on that moment.
Go! Pastor John Marshall concluded our event as the final preacher to speak words of encouragement and challenge to us. It may be one of the most passion-filled, truth-inspired sermons I have ever witnessed. He started by reading the Great Commission from Matthew 28:19-20 but never got past the word, “Go!” He reminded us of our calling, our commission, the ministry God has given every believer to “Go and make disciples.” He preached with such compassion and conviction that I don’t think I will ever minister the same having heard his words. My soul stirs and jumps inside by chest as I recall his charge for us to be faithful to the commission that is recorded in all 4 Gospels and the book of Acts: Go!
God’s Word. Pray. Go. While this list may not be exhaustive, these 3 principles that I “re-learned” during my time at the Annual Homecoming have rejuvenated by passion for the call God has placed in my life to plan The Rising Church. These 3 things, coupled with being completely dependent on God and led by His Spirit, will prayerfully fuel the ministry that He has called us to for years and years to come.
Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen. – Ephesians 3:20-21