Let me admit something. I did not grow up being involved in Southern Baptist life. In fact, I did not attend the annual meetings of the Southern Baptist Convention or the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma (BGCO) until I was well into my 20s.

It’s not because I was out of church. I was saved as a child and in church for the most part, but my involvement was minimal and certainly not far-reaching. When I finally did decide to become more involved, I was not yet working in vocational ministry or in a leadership role.

I became involved because someone invited me, and because I felt the Lord’s leading to do more, to do my part. And every year since, these times of annual meetings, and events like them, have blessed my life more with each passing year.

The next opportunity we have, as Oklahoma Baptists, to gather is the 112th meeting of the BGCO on Monday and Tuesday, Nov. 12-13, at Edmond, First.

From the official installation service of Hance Dilbeck as state executive here in Oklahoma, to important ministry reports, to great preaching and music, to officer elections and other key business, the 2018 Annual Meeting promises to be historic and impactful.

Someone once said that a key to living well is simply showing up. So whether you would be a first timer or a long timer, whether you are a minister or lay person, we need you. We want Oklahoma Baptists to make a point to attend this time. Hance Dilbeck also has encouraged churches to take part in the foster care rally on the evening of Nov. 13, which also promises to be a powerful time.

The stakes of whether or not people decide to show up are high. Because if we are not careful, Christians can allow the enemy to talk ourselves out of participating and, thus, render us less effective. “I’m too young” or “I’m too old” or “No one knows me.” These phrases rattle around in our respective minds, keeping us on the sideline.

Instead, we need to remember that God has given you unique and special gifts that serve the Body of Christ and fellowship of believers here in Oklahoma. If every person plays their part, we are better together.

While we pray that Oklahoma Baptists will come to Edmond, First to take part in this year’s annual meeting activities—the Pastors’ Conference on Monday morning and afternoon, the Annual Meeting Monday evening and Tuesday, the Church and Foster Care conference on Tuesday evening, as well as the various connected events—there’s one other we need to ask to show up.

That’s God Himself. Apart from His presence, all of our efforts would be in vain (Psalm 127:1-2).

Together, let’s plead with the Lord through prayer to be present with us Nov. 12-13 as we meet. Let’s ask the Lord to do a fresh work in our hearts, in our churches, in our state.

This is our appointed time to serve for His glory in the Church in all generations, so let’s use it wisely (Eph. 3:21).