Reflecting on the 2018 Annual Meeting in Springfield, I am overwhelmed at the goodness of the Lord. We had an amazing meeting. We were led with excellence by Dr. Ken Parker. We elected a new president, Dr. Jeremy Muniz, who will help us carry forward the vision of cooperatively making disciples (that means reaching lost people and coaching them in how to life by faith), multiplying churches (here and over there), and developing leaders (for today and tomorrow).
Missouri Baptists are not the only state convention experiencing a visitation of the Holy Spirit in our gatherings. Some of the other state conventions are seeing something very special from the hand of the Lord, and there are some common threads.
My friend, Bill Elliff, a pastor in the Arkansas Baptist State Convention, attended their meeting in Jonesboro. While attending the Arkansas meeting, Bill articulated so well a description of our meetings. You would have thought he was present at Crossway, our host church. “It seems like God is giving us an incredible season across our state and among our people—a season of balanced, powerful, presence-filled ministry,” he said. “It appears we are aligning ourselves to head in the right direction, blessed by His power.”
Elliff further added, “There are certain ingredients, it would seem to me, leading us there: 1) We are praying more in reliance upon God and consciously inviting and trusting in His presence; 2) we are laying down prejudices that have hindered us for decades (which pleases the One who made and loves every people, tribe, and nation; 3) we are living for the great mission of making disciples and multiplying churches both here and around the world, and intentionally focusing on reaching the next generations (which would insure continued viability and sustainability); and 4) His people, and churches, are seeking to aggressively cooperate together and with Him in these directions!
“These are some of the things, it would seem to me, that open pathways for God to bless us with His manifest presence and power. May it continue and increase!”
Elliff concluded, “Most importantly, this could be a precursor to the revival and spiritual awakening across our state and nation that we all long for and desperately need. Such an invasion of His Spirit would ACCELERATE His work among us in astonishing, God-glorifying ways.”
I believe Bill “nailed it.” What the Lord is doing among His people is not so much about our systems as it is about personally humbling ourselves before Him, being obedient to His Word, and being tender toward one another. He is transforming us from the inside out. That leads us to set aside our egos, our personal agendas, in order to follow Him in all things. And when we do so individually and corporately, the Lord has a way of making Himself known just as it says in John 14:21.
It is that time of year once again to express our thanks to the Lord for His goodness. There are a few things I would suggest to accentuate our gratitude:
1) Make a volitional personal choice this year to top the gratitude you expressed to God last year. Just think, “Lord, what can I do this year differently to thank You for the amazing gift of salvation and Your loving kindness?”
2) Find a creative way to express your gratitude to God by attentiveness to others who are lonely, going through tough challenges, or who are lost, without Christ. For example, be tender to those around you in the neighborhood or church or market who have experienced the loss of someone they love or are currently dealing with a life-threatening situation. Maybe you can find a senior adult or veteran who needs to be valued. Take the initiative.
3) Make an offering worthy of Him. This offering could go to a myriad of places. But may I suggest you focus on your local church and/or those projects your church is collectively working on like the Missouri Missions Offering or the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for international missions. This is the time of year some people think about making year-end gifts. Go for it!
4) Use this season to make sure your life estate is honorable to the Lord. The trustworthy folks at the Missouri Baptist Foundation would love to help you with this. Every Baptist needs a plan that honors the Lord and takes care of you, your family and the ministries you cherish. Call 573.761.0717.
Want to be an MBC trustee?
Would you like to have an opportunity to serve on an MBC board? The MBC Nominating Committee welcomes volunteers who are willing to serve. How do you start the process? By filling out a profile sheet that can be found at https://mobaptist.org/executive-office/nominating/profile-sheet or by calling the MBC executive office at 573.636.0400.
On the form, be careful to include the percentage of undesignated offerings your church sends to the Cooperative Program through the Missouri Baptist Convention. This is an important factor when the Nominating Committee is considering nominees. If your church has fewer than 1,000 members, your church is limited to 2 board members.