September 29, 2002
JEFFERSON CITY–Messengers to the 168th annual session of the Missouri Baptist Convention will hear messages from the current and a past president of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) and music from a local and international cast of vocalists and musicians.
The convention, to be held at the University Plaza Convention Center in Springfield, begins at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 28 and concludes at noon Oct. 30. The theme of this year’s meeting is "The Joy of the Lord is our Strength," taken from Nehemiah 8:10.
Among the featured speakers are Jack Graham, president of the SBC and pastor of Prestonwood Baptist Church, Dallas, Texas; and Tom Elliff, former SBC president and pastor of the First Southern Baptist Church, Del City, Okla.
The Oct. 28 session, titled "Strengthened through His Sovereignty, based on 1 Corinthians 10:31, will include a report on the pre-convention Crossover Springfield event, the president’s address from Bob Curtis, pastor of Ballwin Baptist Church, Ballwin and the installation of David Clippard as the MBCs new executive director.
"Strengthened through His Son," taken from John 15:5, is the title of the Oct. 29 morning session featuring the Southwest Baptist University Chorale conducted by Gary Gerber, reports from the MBC Executive Board, the election of a new president, and the annual convention sermon, delivered this year by Robert Griffin, pastor of Parker Road Baptist Church, Florissant.
"Strengthened through His Salvation," based on Ephesians 2:8-9, is title of the Oct. 29 afternoon session featuring music from the South Haven Baptist Church Choir and a message from Elliff.
Elliff, a native of Paris, Texas, is well-known in Southern Baptist life, having served as SBC president in 1997-98 and president of the SBC Pastors’ Conference in 1990. He is a graduate of Quachita Baptist University and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He has been awarded honorary doctorate degrees from Southwestern Baptist University and Mid-Continent Baptist Bible College. The author of six books, Elliff has led evangelistic crusades and conferences in more than 16 different countries, including China, Cambodia and Norway.
"Strengthened for His Service," based on Matthew 28:17-20, is the theme of the Oct. 29 evening session that will focus on missions. Music will be provided by the Belarusian National Choir.
"Strengthened through His Scripture," taken from 2 Timothy 3:16, will be the theme of the final session on the morning of Oct. 30. Messengers will hear reports from various MBC agencies, elect a new first vice president, second vice president and recording secretary and hear a message from current SBC President Jack Graham.
When Graham, a native Conway, Ark., was first called as pastor of Prestonwood in 1989, the church already had 8,000 members. But under Graham’s straight-forward preaching, the membership has continued to grow to approximately 20,000. In addition to running five worship services a week, the church also provides a national television ministry, "Prestonwood Presents."
Like Elliff, Graham is well known to Southern Baptists, having served as president of the SBC Pastors’ Conference in 1992 and as a member of the SBC Executive Committee since 1999. The author of four books, Graham is a graduate of Hardin-Simmons University, Abilene, Texas, and holds both the master of divinity and doctor of ministry degrees from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.