I want to share five things to expect when you attend the 2015 Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting. Many will be attending for the first time, others will be attending their first in a few years, and some will be like me, annual attenders. By the way, you can still register, so perhaps this will encourage you to do so.
1. God will meet with us powerfully.
A few thousand people have been praying for our gathering almost daily, or at least weekly. In these final days before we gather, we pray and ask each of our pastors, church leaders and their churches to set aside a day to pray and fast for this gathering, June 16-17 in Columbus, Ohio. At the least, thousands of our churches could set aside two or three Sundays before our meeting to take five to ten minutes in their worship services to pray for our upcoming convention.
Many of our churches have set aside entire Sunday mornings to pray for revival in the church, awakening in America and to reach the world for Christ. More may do so before we gather in Columbus.
What I do know is that we have set aside moments to meet with God, especially on Tuesday night, when we will take the entire evening session for a national gathering of Southern Baptists to pray for the next Great Awakening and to reach the world with the gospel. Do not miss it. God will meet with us powerfully. May this evening become a catalyst for the next great move of God in America.
2. The schedule will be completely different.
Our Order of Business Committee and the Executive Committee leadership have worked with me in partnership to create what we believe will be a very creative and impactful schedule. Take a moment to download the entire schedule or at least some highlights of it.
We have created packages, things that we believe go together, to help all of us understand more the impact of what God is doing and wants to do through us. The tone will be set in our Tuesday morning session, so do not be late and definitely do not miss it. I hope you will pray for me as I begin preparing to deliver my address to our convention at approximately 9:30 a.m.
3. Multiple opportunities will be given to you continually.
Much occurs at our Southern Baptist Convention. While I rejoice in this and have attended many of them, they exist to complement what we do together inside the convention hall for two days, not compete with it.
I respectfully request all of the groups and leaders that are hosting something or offering something to our messengers to please remember this. Start and conclude before our sessions begin or after our sessions conclude. Let the people out in plenty of time to get into the hall.
Messengers, please be diligent in attending each session. You would be surprised to discover that many messengers never even make it into the hall to attend any sessions. Remember that your churches are funding your trip so that you can participate, listen and return with a report of what our Southern Baptist Convention is doing. This is why we convene, so please join us. We have changed the way we do things so that new people will be interested in attending and to re-engage all of us.
4. Outstanding work is preceding our convention.
At the present time, we have 81 of our 119 churches that are a part of the Metro Columbus Baptist Association involved in Crossover Columbus! This is due to the phenomenal leadership of their director of missions, Rich Halcombe, and the entire Ohio Baptist Convention staff team that is led by their executive director, Jack Kwok.
Preceding the convention, many of our churches from across the country will arrive early to assist in Crossover Columbus. Additionally, seminary and college students will be equipped to evangelize and lead various gatherings to impact the city. We could have up to 1,000 college students assisting in this and hundreds of them attending our convention.
There is still time to come and help. Everyone who will be there for the weekend before can come assist on Crossover Saturday, June 13. Give a few hours to touch Columbus for Christ. Discover what God is doing and how He can use you at crossovercolumbus.org.
Additionally, there will be many fabulous moments afforded to you before Tuesday. Here is a list of those various meetings from our outstanding Pastors’ Conference, led by Willy Rice, to the great leadership given to our Woman’s Missionary Union by Wanda Lee.
5. You will leave Columbus with vision and hope abounding.
I want to assure you, if you are in our sessions at the Southern Baptist Convention, you will leave with vision and hope abounding.
Can I guarantee that? Yes, because I am convinced the reports and presentations along with the various features will be outstanding. Additionally, I am convinced the business will be conducted diligently.
More than anything, I am convinced that God will meet with us powerfully. I pray you will leave with a burden for what God wants to do; but even more so, we appeal to King Jesus that you also leave with vision and hope abounding.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Ronnie Floyd is president of the Southern Baptist Convention and pastor of Cross Church in northwest Arkansas. This column first appeared at Ronnie Floyd’s website, ronniefloyd.com.)