I once heard a radio Bible teacher say that balance is a vital character quality for men and women of God. While we need to be biblically accurate and courageously convictional, the ditches of life can impede our journey of faith. In response to the warfare, the Lord gives us all we need to “hold up the arms” of a brother or sister engaged in the tough stuff of life—to encourage and to walk beside them.
Sharon and I have been recent recipients of your holding us up in intercessory prayer. Through her hospital stay, you helped sustain us with our goal to present a clear gospel message to those with whom we visited.
With the theme of “Steady” resonating in our hearts (from Exodus 17:8-16), I want to welcome you to the 2018 Annual Meeting of Missouri Baptists. I’m so grateful to Pastor Eddie Bumpers (a super encourager himself) and the people of Crossway Baptist Church for hosting this year’s gathering of Missouri Southern Baptists from across our great state.
If you’re a messenger, thank you for representing your local church. Your attendance, your voice, and your vote make it possible for the 1,800 affiliated churches of the MBC to cooperate in ministries that reach across our state, across the nation, and around the world. If you haven’t registered yet as a messenger, now is the time to do so.
If you’re just visiting, your registration is important too. We warmly welcome you and encourage you to join us in worship, fellowship, and business activities.
The Lord is moving among Missouri Baptists, and I sense that He has great things in store for us as we submit to His will, obey His word, work together for the cause of Christ and encourage one another by holding each other steady.
Allow me to point you to a few special activities at this year’s meeting.
First, you’ll note in the middle of this issue of The Pathway, a compressed format, with the Annual Meeting beginning at 3:30 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 22, and ending at 4 p.m. on Tuesday. This enables many messengers to reduce their hotel stays by one evening while still attending the full slate of worship and business.
After the Tuesday afternoon session, a reception will be hosted in CrossWays Kid’s Zone Gym just west of the main auditorium. At the reception, messengers and guests will have the opportunity to go a little deeper in the realm of relationships and wisdom with Ken Sandee, our Tuesday afternoon featured speaker.
Second, we have some amazing speakers: Darryl Gaddy of Victory Fellowship Community Church in Detroit; Herb Reavis Jr., pastor of North Jacksonville (Fla.) Baptist Church; Ken Graves, founding pastor of Calvary Chapel Bangor in Maine; Ken Sande, president of RW360 and founder of Peacemaker Ministries; and our own Ken Parker, who is completing his final term as MBC president.
Third, don’t miss the times of worship and corporate prayer. This year both Southwest Baptist University and Hannibal LaGrange University are bringing their traveling troubadours to lead in some of the sessions. Mark Mathes, minister of music at Crossway, is leading worship Tuesday.
Fourth, be sure to take part in our business sessions. We’ll be adopting the 2019 MBC budget, electing new trustees for our entities, voting to accept new governing documents from the Missouri Baptist Children’s Home, and deciding on various resolutions and motions.
Fifth, we are electing new officers to serve our convention. We are so blessed by the Lord to have great people who understand servant leadership and are willing to be presented to the messengers for nomination. The elections begin Tuesday morning.
Finally, take time to fellowship. There are numerous receptions, meals, and, of course, a fantastic exhibit hall where you can network with fellow Missouri Baptists. On Monday night, the entities have their fabulous receptions at the Double Tree Hotel on North Glenstone. You will have an opportunity to meet Dr. Eric Turner, the new president at SBU. Along with our entities, the state Campus Missionaries are hosting a Monday night reception at the Double Tree. Come and learn from all these ministries about the importance of your cooperative and prayerful support.
For several years, we have experienced an overarching spirit of unity and encouragement at our MBC Annual Meetings. We believe this year will be no different. It will be an extraordinary time of celebrating what the Lord is doing among us and a time of personally challenging us to lead our churches to seek the Lord, be holy, and strategically reach our towns, cities, state, nation and this planet with the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Sharon and I look forward to seeing you in Springfield. Be a messenger from your church. Pray for each other, and let’s help one another be steady in our faith journey.