By Randy C. Davis
President & Executive Director, TBMB
Historically significant milestones are often years in the making, and we have one rising on our horizon.
Look with me through the months ahead to November, Summit 2024. We just finished Summit 2023 so you may wonder why we’d already be looking 11 months down the road.
Time seems to pass at a sprinter’s pace and I assure you that your Tennessee Baptist Mission Board staff and TBC Arrangements and History Committees have already been working for months toward this important gathering of Tennessee Baptists and time of celebration.
Murfreesboro is the location, and it was the first place our Tennessee Baptist predecessors gathered in 1874 to constitute a network of churches that became the Tennessee Baptist Convention.
We gather next year Nov. 10-12 to celebrate 150 years of God’s faithfulness to us, and to celebrate the work that’s been done by Tennessee Baptists across our state and around our world. There will be a yearlong celebration between January and Summit that will culminate in “The Boro.”
We’ll begin the sesquicentennial on Saturday, Nov. 9, by serving people and sharing the gospel in Murfreesboro and surrounding communities. This opportunity is currently in the collaborative planning stage with Associational Missions Specialist Wes Rankin and the Concord Baptist Association. This will be an expansive demonstration of being the heart, hands, and feet of Jesus. Think SBC Crossover Volunteer style.
On that Sunday evening we will gather at New Vision Baptist Church for our 7th Annual Tennessee Homecoming, and this one will be an incredible time of celebration. IMB president (and Tennessee native) Paul Chitwood will preach and new IMB missionaries will be commissioned.
If you’ve never been to a commissioning service for new missionaries, plan to bring your church and witness this special moment. Something about commissioning missionaries just seems right in celebrating our past and kicking off our future. It will remind you why we continue cooperating.
David Dockery, President of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and former Union University President will be our keynote preacher on Tuesday. We are fortunate for the opportunity to hear this insightful and wise leader of Baptist life. It’s always fascinating to discuss Tennessee Baptist history with Dr. Dockery, and I am confident he will have a fresh word from the Lord.
The 2024 Summit will also mark a time of celebration and transition from the Five Objectives, the priorities upon which Tennessee Baptists have been focused for the last decade, to recently articulated and convention-affirmed Acts 2:17 Initiatives. Though there is transition, we will continue to pursue Great Commission work together, which is at the heart of both the Five Objectives and Acts 2:17 Initiatives.
You may have noticed I used the word “celebration” several times. The days together in Murfreesboro will be the kind of celebration that includes cake, possibly even balloons. We will revisit the last 150 years and acknowledge the ministry “trees” planted by our forefathers that now provide the shade we currently enjoy. We will also begin planting our generation’s ministry trees that will provide shade and bless our great-grandchildren and beyond.
We’ve got a little while before November, but the months will pass quickly so begin now, get it on your calendar and make plans to be in Murfreesboro for our Tennessee Baptist Convention 150th Celebration.
It is a joy to be with you on this journey.