The 2019 Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) annual meeting is quickly approaching, and I hope to see many North Carolina Baptists at the meeting and SBC Pastors’ Conference in Birmingham, Ala., this June.
It makes me proud to think that a North Carolina Baptist will be presiding over this year’s SBC annual meeting. I have much admiration and respect for our SBC President J.D. Greear, and I am thankful for how God has used him as pastor of The Summit Church in the Raleigh-Durham area.
I’m also thankful for how J.D. has led our Southern Baptist Convention in recent days in light of the sexual abuse cases that have been brought to light. J.D. has done the right thing in taking the stand that he has in working to put some things in place to prevent abuse from happening while appropriately ministering to and caring for abuse victims.
Working to combat sexual abuse and care for victims will be addressed at this year’s SBC annual meeting and is in keeping with the meeting’s theme of “Gospel Above All.” As J.D. told the SBC Executive Committee in February at a meeting where I was in attendance, “We serve a God who laid down His life to protect the vulnerable. How dare we proclaim that gospel with our mouths and then turn a blind eye when the vulnerable in our midst cry out for help?”
Under the “Gospel Above All” banner, J.D. has also challenged everyone in our convention to a renewed emphasis on personal evangelism through the “Who’s Your One?” initiative. This is one of the strongest emphases on personal evangelism our convention has seen in some time. I hope every member of every church in our state will commit to praying for and being intentional about sharing the gospel with that one individual you know who is far from God.
My “one” is a woman who works at the dry cleaning business that I frequent. Although she is from another ethnic and religious background, the Lord has opened up opportunities for us to have gospel conversations as I see her on a regular basis. Who’s your one? Is it a friend, a family member, a coworker or neighbor? No matter who it is, God can use you to reach them.
In addition to the SBC annual meeting and pastors’ conference, I encourage you to pray for the various evangelistic outreach events in the host city as part of the North American Mission Board’s “Crossover” initiative.
I’m looking forward to seeing colleagues, missionaries and friends from North America and other countries in Birmingham, and I hope to see many of you there.
“For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures” – 1 Corinthians 15:3-4 (NKJV).