This week, the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma will meet in annual session at Moore, First. These meetings are always times of reflection on the victories of the past year and a fresh look at the opportunities for Kingdom impact in the new year.
God has been good to Oklahoma Baptists. We have experienced unusual strength and abundant blessings from His hand. We are healthy as a denomination. Our churches have a heart to reach the world, and they give generously to the Cooperative Program and mission offerings. We can but shout to the Lord with voices of thanksgiving for His generosity through our people and churches.
The theme of this year’s convention is “Finishing the Task.” The word “task” is singular because every other task must move us to the one task of reaching our lost world with the Gospel. In many ways, the work of our churches and the convention is like a funnel. We have many ministries and multiple activities. Yet, the many must forever pour through the bottom of the funnel that represents Gospel declaration to a lost world. We must forever be about finishing the task of telling every person on planet Earth about our Savior.
Two supporting themes will run throughout the convention-prayer and impacting lostness. My heart-cry to God and declaration to Oklahoma Baptists is simple. We must have a Great Commission Resurgence. Our churches must creatively and intentionally turn our ministries outward toward a lost world rather than inward toward our comforts and wants. The convention as a body of churches must constantly challenge ourselves to funnel everything toward impacting lostness.
Oklahoma is less Christian than ever in its 100 year history. We have more money, more programs and more creativity in ministry today than ever before. Yet, we are baptizing fewer and our growth has stagnated; there are even declines in some areas. How can we turn the tide?
I do not have all the answers, but of this one thing I am sure. We must pray with a new fervor as a people who are desperate for the hand of God to be upon them. Prayer, whether private or corporate, can no longer be a perfunctory act. It cannot be “a work” of the Christian or the church-prayer must become “the primary work.” Prayer must precede evangelism and missions.
A Great Commission Resurgence will be borne on the wings of prayer. Our hearts must be gripped with the passion found only in the heart of our Savior. Until we, through prayer, have our cold hearts warmed by vital intercession and interaction with Holy God, we will walk past lost people without the slightest urge to do anything about their lostness.
Prayer and Spiritual Awakening leader Gregory Frizzell and I will be leading 12 regional prayer nights across Oklahoma next year. September 4-6, we will hold a Prayer Conference at Moore, First. These times will be a clarion call to prayer. While these gatherings will be important, they will have no effect if they do not translate into intensified prayer among us.
It is time we unify our efforts and cry out as one to our Lord. It is time to repent of our prideful ways and fall upon His mercy. It is time to ask, seek and knock, that our strength may be doubled and our work empowered as we strive to impact lostness. It is time to finish the task.