State convention season is here!
I spoke at the Baptist Convention of New York’s annual meeting in late September to kick off a full season of state convention travel.
My goal is to represent the Southern Baptist Convention to as many states as possible. The reason for this is simple: It is a time when I can touch the lives of a large number of pastors and church leaders.
Our cooperative ministries will only thrive when trust is strong among the churches, associations, state conventions, and the SBC. I strive to encourage our state convention leaders in the common work for Christ in which we’re engaged. Trust is built when these relationships are strengthened.
Our state conventions serve as partners in many ways. First and foremost, they are involved in reaching people in their respective states with the Gospel. They also provide specialized ministries to a large number of our churches.
With more than two-thirds of our churches facing slow-growth or no-growth challenges, many of our churches are hurting. In most instances, when a church needs help, it is the state convention to which it goes for training, encouragement, and assistance across a wide range of needs.
State conventions also serve as partners as the conduits through which our Southern Baptist missions and ministries receive Cooperative Program funds to do the work God has entrusted to them. They have taken significant steps in forwarding a larger percentage of CP funds to these SBC ministries, for which we are grateful. Partnerships developed over the decades remain strong as we join together to do the work of God at every level.
It took me a little over a year in my current role to get to every state convention and visit with the executive directors of those conventions. I have found these men to be deeply called and passionate about winning people to Christ. Interestingly enough, most come from the states they serve and have a deep passion for their home base. They also have a clear vision for reaching the nations with the message of salvation through Jesus Christ, both here and abroad.
I have often said that if we lose the base, we have lost the battle. We need to work as partners in encouraging one another. While we have many, many churches in our state conventions, particularly in the South, we desperately need to understand the lostness that surrounds even those churches.
If there was ever a time when we need to be strengthening churches to reach the lost, it is now. Our state partners are true helpers in that needed ministry.
Join me in praying for the work of our state convention ministry partners.
• Pray for your state convention executive director.
• Pray for the church planting and other ministry specialists employed by your state convention.
• Pray for the ministry entities and the collegiate ministries of your state convention.
• Pray for and participate in your state’s missions initiatives.
• Pray for me as I continue my assignment of building relationships and hopefully deepening trust as we encourage one another in the good work of our Lord.
I am thankful for our state convention partners and pray this fall will be a time of deepening resolve and commitment to the work of our Lord.