SAN ANGELO, Texas – In the years that I have been in ministry, I have always wanted to go to the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC). I have read in news magazines and textbooks in seminary about the meetings. There has always been something to make the trip out of reach, but my desire to have the experience has been great.
My first SBC meeting was this year in Houston, and I was not disappointed in any way.
As I begin to reflect on the week, several things come to mind. The first topic I would like to address is my children.
My wife and I have three children. They are 7, 6 and 3. Early on, my wife and I had to answer the question about whether our children would be attending the meeting. They were very excited about a trip to Houston; so were we.
We pre-arranged all the activities for the kids, and they truly had a blast. We participated in the conference for the kids on Sunday and Monday. We also participated in the preschool childcare Sunday through Wednesday, as well as Children in Action on Tuesday and Wednesday.
I was amazed how my 7-year-old walked the halls and spoke to his newly found friends. Our two girls in the preschool area felt like they were in Vacation Bible School for a second week in a row.
All of the workers would call them by name. They genuinely seemed to care about each child.
The second area I would like to comment on is our convention staff. I was very impressed that each of the staff members would spend time with the rest of us, as I know they had a hectic schedule during the week. Our staff and elected leadership seem to have a high priority for God’s will in their area of service. It was truly a blessing to visit with our leadership and hear their heart for our churches and missionaries. It makes me smile to be part of such a wonderful convention of churches.
The third area that comes to mind during my reflection is the program. From the Pastors’ Conference to the convention, to the various breakfast and lunch meetings, the SBC reinforced the importance of local and global ministry.
I was challenged most by the North American Mission Board’s luncheon on Monday. I also was very impressed with the revival service on Tuesday evening. That service was amazing! I will do everything possible in my church and town to seize the moments for effective ministry.
I give many thanks to all involved in the 2013 SBC. This was my first convention but it certainly will not be my last.
Thanks to the Southern Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers who provided childcare. You guys are stellar! Thanks to all our leadership who have planned and prayed over the last year to make this year’s SBC a smashing success. Thanks for putting together a program that speaks to all and meets them where they are.
My kids told me on the trip home that this was the best week ever. We are establishing this as a trip for our entire family every year from this point on. I challenge each pastor with children at home to do the same.
I am looking forward to 2014. I will see you all in Baltimore next year!
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Todd Peebles is senior pastor at Hillcrest Baptist Church in San Angelo, Texas. See SBC 2013 for more about the annual meeting.)