My No. 1 desire is to see the spiritually lost people of Tennessee won to saving faith in Jesus Christ, and it is weeks like last week that give me hope that together as Tennessee Baptists, we might see that happen.
Summit, our annual gathering of Tennessee Baptists, is so much more than just a meeting. It has become a rich time of worship, challenge, fellowship, focus, business and celebrating what God is doing across Tennessee to bring people to salvation through Tennessee Baptists and their churches.
Personally, I need it. I need the concentrated reminder of God’s faithfulness, and I need to see each of you, together, focused on the work our Savior has given us to do. I draw encouragement and energy from seeing co-laborers I love gathered with focus, excellence and unity, working cooperatively for the advancement of the gospel.
I feel encouraged every year, but there was something a little different about this one. There was a real sense of deep honesty as we addressed tough issues like pastoral mental and emotional health in the pastors’ conference and again on Tuesday.
If we didn’t address anything else during our time together, I believe openly discussing this issue is among the most important items we could have engaged. Our churches are only as healthy as our ministers, and our ministers are under attack. Let’s keep this conversation going, and you’ll be hearing more from me in 2020 about this issue.
Messengers dealt with other important issues once the convention part of Summit convened and acted “decently and in order” as the Bible counsels us and as TBC President David Green reminded us as he dropped the opening gavel. David did a fantastic job serving as president this year, culminating in his presiding over our annual meeting.
The objectives of the convention are effectively and orderly accomplished because there are a number of committees working behind the scenes to guide the meeting and guide the business of the meeting. I have a deep appreciation for the ministers and laypeople from churches across our state who go above and beyond to serve on committees and boards. What they do is important in helping Tennessee Baptists accomplish Kingdom work.
The venue in which we meet is also important to the success of our time together. I appreciate the wonderful help and hospitality offered by First Baptist Concord Pastor John Mark Harrison and his great staff. It was my privilege to serve this church as interim pastor before his arrival and I love the people of this great church.
I also want to express my deep appreciation to our TBMB staff for the monumental effort each one invests in bringing together the countless pieces required for Summit. I appreciate the excellence and the spirit of service with which they do their jobs. They are the heartbeat behind our “We Serve Churches” mission statement.
Finally, all glory to God for all of it. God does not have to bless anything we do or include us in anything He desires to accomplish, but He does. Stand and wonder. Tennessee Baptists, we are blessed beyond measure with God’s presence and direction, His gift of resources to accomplish His work, His power to see people saved and His joy in being in His service. Dear friends, let’s rally to His calling and let’s win Tennessee for Jesus by all means.
It is truly my joy to be on this journey with you.