By Allen Palmeri
SPRINGFIELD—The architect of the original “Great Commission Resurgence” (GCR) message will be one of two headliners here for the Oct. 25 Missouri Baptist Pastors’ Conference.
Danny Akin, president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, N.C., on April 16, 2009, delivered a message entitled “Axioms of a Great Commission Resurgence” in a chapel service at the seminary. The theme has since grown into a primary emphasis within the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) with a task force set to present recommendations during the June 15-16 annual meeting at Orlando, Fla., that could have significant impact.
Ed Stetzer, president of LifeWay Research and LifeWay’s missiologist in residence, is the other headliner for the “Kingdom First” conference.
“Ed’s gifts are definitely in looking at how churches are being effective and how they can be the most effective they can be in evangelism,” said Doug Shivers, president of the Pastors’ Conference and pastor of Boulevard Baptist Church in Springfield. “In Dr. Akin’s case it’s more of a theologian’s perspective, an analysis of what we can be convention-wide to be useful. They both have been used by the Lord on how we can refocus and do evangelism—not critics, but helpful critique.”
Akin’s words in April 2009 resulted in his joining forces with other leaders to draft “The GCR Declaration,” which called on Southern Baptists to renew their focus on the Great Commission. At last year’s SBC annual meeting in Louisville, Ky., messengers responded by giving SBC President Johnny Hunt the authority to appoint a task force on the matter. That group will put forth its recommendations within a matter of a few days after months of discussion, debate and buildup.
Stetzer, who holds two doctorates, is a widely known expert in Southern Baptist circles who has trained pastors and church planters on five continents. An author who writes frequently on missional matters, Stetzer is a visiting professor at both Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and Southeastern Seminary and has taught at 15 other colleges and seminaries.
The “Kingdom First” theme is meant to encourage pastors to live as subjects of King Jesus. The morning sessions are crafted toward helping the pastor as a disciple. In the afternoon, the goal will be to challenge the pastor to see Christ’s kingdom expand.
A website on the event is already operational at www.mbcpc.org.