Solemn assembly scheduled before annual meeting
JEFFERSON CITY–Before the gavel falls to open the 173rd annual meeting of the Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC), Missouri Baptists will be joining together to pray, repent and seek God’s holiness not just for the MBC, but in each of their lives.
At 5 p.m. Oct. 28, the Sunday before the annual pastors’ conference begins at Tan-Tar-A in Osage Beach, Osage Hills Baptist Church will open its doors for a solemn assembly, a time of prayer and repentance patterned after the Old Testament practice.
David Tolliver, MBC interim executive director, said the purpose is to cleanse each person and to earnestly seek unity and revival before doing the business of the Convention.
“Getting the body of Christ together to pray in one place is the Old Testament pattern,” he said. “I’m thrilled we are doing this so close to where we’re meeting to do God’s business.”
Gregory Frizzell, director of prayer and spiritual awakening for the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma (BGCO), will be leading the solemn assembly.
“It is a time when God’s people are brought together especially to allow the Lord to examine their hearts thoroughly and with a purpose of total surrender to his lordship,” he said. “It is a time of repentance, confession and prayer, but above all it is a time of renewal, new beginnings and, when done properly, a time of real joy.”
While it can certainly be said that Missouri Baptists are not the most unified of groups, Frizzell said one goal of solemn assemblies is to bring God’s people together in His name, for His purpose.
“Conviction and changes can be painful at first,” he said, “but when people surrender to the Lord there is healing of wounded hearts and relationships.”
Frizzell will lead Missouri Baptists in a time of worship and reflective questions designed to make one examine the heart for any sin that needs to be confessed or area that needs to be yielded to God. There will be personal prayer and opportunities for group and corporate prayer as well.
“Hopefully, it will end with praise and celebration of God’s grace and new beginnings,” he said.
All the great awakenings of history involved exactly this kind of corporate prayer and repentance, Frizzell said.
“Great revivals start from small remnants, not large numbers,” he said. “If a good remnant across Missouri will go deeper with God in repentance and prayer, God will begin a work that will ultimately end in real revival.”
Before coming to the BGCO, Frizzell pastored Georgian Hills Baptist Church in Memphis, Tenn. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Union University in Jackson, Tenn., his master’s from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Ft. Worth, Texas, and his doctorate from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. Besides writing 20 books, Frizzell has conducted prayer conferences in most of the 50 states and in South America, Europe and India. He is an appointed missionary through the North American Mission Board and is the president and founder of Gregory Frizzell Prayer and Renewal Ministries, Inc.
Coming prepared is vital to the success of a solemn assembly, Frizzell said.
“I’ve seen them really set off some sparks of genuine revival,” he said, “and I have seen them be basically a good meeting but not much past that. A lot has to do with the heart preparation and willingness of those involved to let it truly be a new surrender to God. Solemn assemblies are not magic; in fact, it’s almost dangerous to do one lightly. To pretend of repentance is a mockery of God himself.”
The MBC has sent copies of Frizzell’s book, Returning to Holiness: A Personal and Churchwide Journey to Revival, to every MBC church in the hope that they will use the principles to prepare for the solemn assembly. In addition, five regional prayer meetings with 7 p.m. start times are scheduled across the state to bathe the annual meeting and solemn assembly in prayer. Those are: Sept. 20, Miner Baptist Church, Sikeston; Sept. 27, First Baptist Church, Branson; Oct. 4, Highview Baptist Church, Chillicothe; Oct. 15, Cornerstone Baptist Church, Jefferson City; and Oct. 18, Immanuel Baptist Church, Hannibal.
“We are praying every Missouri Baptist church and association will find the prayer meeting closest to them and participate,” Tolliver said. “Let’s come together, begging for the forgiveness and blessing of God for His Missouri Baptist Convention.”