Thank you, Tennessee Baptists, for making Summit 2013 a truly great gathering. Here’s a “top ten” list of “take-aways” from Chattanooga:
- SUMMIT: the Gathering of Tennessee Baptists is more than a new descriptor of our annual meeting. The name is a cosmetic addition yet it describes well a change in substance of our church network’s yearly reunion.
- With 1,333 messengers registered representing 532 churches, we have renewed hope that our churches are becoming once again fully engaged in work across our state. That is the largest number of messengers to the annual meeting of the TBC since 2007. With our visitors, we had upward of 2,000 people attend the 2013 Summit. That marks the best overall attendance in recent memory.
- The ethnic diversity throughout the Summit was obvious, especially Tuesday evening. The complexion of our gathering Tuesday evening is how our TBC will look 10 years from now if our churches are successful in impacting lostness across Tennessee for Christ.
- A genuine spirit of unity was also obvious. While there will be issues as we conduct Kingdom business where we experience a divided vote count, we can never afford to be divided about our unified Great Commission vision to win the lost. Our President, Dr. Dean Haun, set a gracious tone at the outset of our annual meeting in maintaining that same gracious spirit until the final gavel.
- The Lord used TBC Pastor’s Conference President Steve Freeman to put together a great lineup of powerful preaching, wonderful music, and warm worship. It is a joy to see the equippers of the saints edified and encouraged. Good job, Bro. Steve!
- As many watched our annual meeting online as in person. An average of 1,426 tuned in to each session of the annual meeting through our online video streaming. The viewers came from dozens of states and several countries beyond North America interested in the direction Tennessee Baptists are taking.
- The TBC staff “knocked it out of the park” after months of preparation. Our team worked hard, stayed by their posts, demonstrated warm hospitality, and exemplified what it looks like to serve with excellence. I am very proud of every one of our staff and how they gave themselves to ensuring that the 2013 Summit was a blessing to the attendees.
- The Chattanooga Convention Center was a departure from the normal church venue for our annual gathering. We have received very positive feedback and will be evaluating the convention hall experience in the days ahead. The next two years have the Summit once again being held on church campuses. There is a strong possibility that the 2016 Summit will be held once again at a convention center in East Tennessee.
- “The Good Cup” ministers wives luncheon saw their largest attendance ever. As a matter of fact, some had to be turned away because of lack of space. I appreciate Lana Rose and her group putting together these special events to bless the unsung heroes in Kingdom work—the wives of ministers.
- David King, in his “Wide Eyed Wonder” blog post, recently made this comment: “The Summit is a great place to catch up with fellow pastors and friends. It’s like a high school reunion, except its good.” One of the great benefits of the Summit is indeed the fellowship. Right on, Pastor David!
I look forward to seeing you at the 2014 Summit at Brentwood Baptist Church, November 10-12.
It is a joy to be with you on this journey.