I hope many of you were able to attend the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention’s annual meeting in Lubbock. It was a relational and spiritual blessing in our (my wife and myself) lives .
Allow me to use this post to tell give you some personal observations. The next post will deal with some spiritual warfare issues related to this previous post.
I have attended conventions for years – state conventions, national conventions, and evangelism conferences. Some things never change. Most of those have been as an employee of a convention and as such I was assigned certain duties that did not allow much time for being in the convention meeting hall itself. Thus, from my assigned booth I have observed many, in the words of the King James, “going to and fro”.
THE HALL FELLOWSHIP
I have learned that one does not have to have an ‘assignment’ to miss what is happening in the convention meeting! For some, it is like the morning walks at the local mall – they go round and round! It reminds me of Billy Preston’s “Will It Go Round in Circles.” Billy Preston was an entertainer raised in part in Houston, TX and at age 12 was leading a choir of 100 in his father’s church. He later chose a secular route to exhibit his many musical talents. You may listen to it on You Tube here, and get an added bonus of Eric Clapton’s guitar. And, understand this is a bit ‘tongue-in-cheek’. The value of a convention for many is to fellowship with old friends. We Baptists love to fellowship and it is an important part of what happens.
The Eating Meetings
“I see you found the food” was one comment. Yep. We Baptists not only like to fellowship, we like to eat. And some are willing to provide a meal for a nominal cost in order to share their ministry with those attending. Great fellowship around the table and an affinity ministry or one’s Alma Mater. Alma Mater is Latin for “nourishing mother”, so it is appropriate.
The Convention Meeting
Lots of paper went to recycle. Ballots were likely unused. The unity of the meeting was such that even when issues were discussed people were not unkind. The Spirit of the Lord was obvious in the meeting.
So What Set This One Apart?
God met with us in Lubbock. It is that simple. Lubbock is not a strong area for the SBTC in terms of number of churches. There are fewer churches there than in other places. Yet one could not have hoped for a more friendly and cooperative environment. The Lubbock Baptist Association led by their fine Director of Missions, Larry Jones, and the SBTC congregations were excellent hosts.
On the last night of the annual meeting, there were two evangelistic events. The last number of recorded decisions I have is 726. I personally helped three people – a man, a woman, and her ten-year old son. They were coming “to have a new beginning”. I went over the gospel to make as certain as is humanly possible they understood and were committing their lives to Christ. They themselves checked the “profession of faith” box on their decision card. When I looked at the cards they filled out to see if we had follow-up information, I saw that all three had different last names. A blended family with a new beginning in Christ.
The next morning in the Executive Board meeting Jack Harris gave a report on Crossover. When completed, the chairman of the board asked one of the pastors to lead in a prayer of gratitude to God. Some in the room were in tears. The pastor prayed, said “A-men”, then gently broke into “Praise God from Whom All Blessings Flow”. Everyone was moved with gratitude to God. It wasn’t what “we” had done, nor what the “SBTC” had done. It was a God thing and everybody knew it. Yes, we worked and prayed. But God is glorified.
You may read more of the convention reports in the on-line version of the TEXAN here.
The difference? I’ve been to many meetings. In this one, there was an obvious awareness that God had met with us and answered the prayers and efforts of so many. Indeed, To God Be The Glory, Great Things He Hath Done!!