In the weeks leading up to the 2019 Annual Meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), I prayed for grace, peace and wisdom for our convention. The Lord answered this prayer.
In this edition of the Baptist Messenger, you will see stories and highlights from our meeting, which I would encourage you to consider.
There are three aspects of our meeting of Southern Baptists that I want to underscore.
First is the issue of confronting the sexual abuse crisis. Leaders in the SBC intentionally put this front and center. In a united effort to lament the past sins and shames of sexual abuse within our convention, we took time to pray together, repent, to call on the Lord’s help. We also put concrete steps in place to prevent sexual abuse and to care for abuse survivors.
These came in the form of votes to enact more accountability and transparency, and other steps, all of which I enthusiastically support. The work does not stop with what was done at this meeting. In the time ahead, the Caring Well resources prepared by the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission and other resources will be key for our churches in preventing abuse and protecting the vulnerable. This October in Dallas, there will be an entire event dedicated to this topic, which I would ask you to consider attending (visit ERLC.com for more information).
Next, I want you to know that Pastor Stephen Rummage, who is new to our state as current pastor of Oklahoma City, Quail Springs, represented us well in delivering the annual meeting sermon. More than that, Brother Stephen represented Jesus well, as he faithfully preached about the power of the cross. He said, “If we fail in reaching this generation with the message of the cross, wherever else we might succeed, we fail. If we will simply preach the cross, we can’t lose.” Please take time to view his sermon online at www.sbcannualmeeting.net/sbc19.
Finally, I want to point out what I consider to be a highlight of the SBC meeting. That is the International Mission Board’s (IMB) missionary sending ceremony on Monday June 10. The Lord truly moved in our midst in this time, as together we sent out 26 missionaries to the ends of the earth. Some of these faithful will be serving in places we cannot name.
Please pray for our IMB missionaries, and please plan to attend the IMB missionary sending event that is happening right here in Oklahoma on Tuesday evening, Nov. 12 at Oklahoma City, Quail Springs. Paul Chitwood, the new president of the IMB asked Oklahoma to be the first state in many years to host a sending event, so your prayerful participation is greatly needed.
Ultimately, this is why we cooperate as Southern Baptists—to get the Gospel to the nations. The work of international missions is why I personally am a Southern Baptist and why I am leading us to increase the number of missionaries we send by 20 percent and to increasing our Cooperate Program allocation goal in 2020 to send $500,000 more to the IMB.
God truly blessed us at the 2019 annual meeting. I thank God for answering my prayer, and I thank God for each one of you, my brothers and sisters in the SBC.