Missouri Baptists begin march toward humility
JEFFERSON CITY—The difficult moments that have characterized Missouri Baptist life in 2007 need not be hindrances during a season of solemn assembly marked by five statewide prayer meetings, according to the host pastor of one of the gatherings.
Brian Credille, pastor, Cornerstone Baptist Church, Jefferson City, is looking forward to a fresh move of the Holy Spirit as he welcomes participants for the Oct. 15 meeting, which is the fourth of the series. Miner Baptist Church, Sikeston, hosted the first one Sept. 20, followed by First Baptist Church, Branson, on Sept. 27. The third will be Oct. 4 at Highview Baptist Church, Chillicothe, and the fifth will be Oct. 18 at Immanuel Baptist Church, Hannibal. All meetings are scheduled to begin at 7 p.m.
Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC) Interim Executive Director David Tolliver helped lead the first two meetings. He said his desire is to attend all of the meetings.
“We are praying that every Missouri Baptist church and association will find the prayer meeting closest to them and participate,” Tolliver said.
MBC Worship Specialist John Francis was at the first meeting and plans to be at Cornerstone and Immanuel Baptist. Steve Tanner, director of missions, Grand Crossings Baptist Association, is also involved in leading the meetings.
“I’m very optimistic about the future, because I know that the Baptist people of Missouri have a real heart to reach out and share the love of Christ,” Credille said. “I know that’s there, and I know David Tolliver. I’m very thankful for his leadership. He is a person of humility. I have seen that, and I think he is doing a fine job of leading us in that direction—coming back to what is most important, and humbling ourselves before God.
“He’s setting the tone by being a person who has a servant’s heart. People need to see that in their leaders, and I think he is showing that in encouraging these solemn assemblies to bring people together in humility and confession. I think that’s exactly the right tone to be setting.”
Francis is working in tandem with Tolliver to lift up the adoration of God, a sincere heart to worship, as the first priority of the meetings.
“We’re seeking the presence of God, and He inhabits the praise of His people,” Francis said. “So we want to come together and praise God to cry out to God for His healing, for His help, and for His blessing upon our Convention.
“We need to go in with an attitude of expectation—not our own expectation, and not our own agenda. No matter what happens, we are to approach God with a joyful heart, and worship Him first. That’s why we’re going to spend some time just adoring Christ, just loving on God.”
Credille agreed with Francis that forgiveness and love need to be in play. Prayer requires a holy approach. Humility is a high calling.
“This is an opportunity to do what the Scripture tells us to do, to humble ourselves and to seek God’s face,” Credille said. “I think that’s what we need to do as a Convention more than anything. There’s more that we agree on than we disagree on, and if we can get the egos and the pride out of the way, I think we can focus on the mission of God. That’s what we have to do, and that starts with humility. We have to humble ourselves before God before we can see what God is doing around us.
“And so I’m hopeful. I’m praying that that’s what these assemblies around the state will help to do within the heart of our Convention.”
The five statewide prayer meetings are preliminaries for a major Solemn Assembly Oct. 28 at Osage Hills Baptist Church. That 5 p.m. meeting will take place on the eve of the 173rd annual meeting of the MBC, scheduled for Oct. 29-31 at Tan-Tar-A, Osage Beach.
“As we get right with God ourselves, then I think we’ll be able to more clearly understand what it is that God wants in decisions and directions—just praying that our Convention will become completely focused on the kingdom of God and the mission that God has for us,” said Credille, who added that he hopes that as many people as possible will take part in the Cornerstone meeting.
“I do think it will make a difference in what’s going to happen at the convention at Tan-Tar-A. I think God honors it when His people are willing to humble themselves. I think He will bless that and give us a good convention.”
Tolliver added: “I am excited to see Missouri Baptist pastors like Jonathan Jones, pastor to the Esther Baptist Church in Park Hills, who is leading that great church to pray specifically for the upcoming annual meeting of the MBC every Wednesday evening between now and the time of the convention. And Jonathan has already committed himself to participate in the Solemn Assembly.”