I’ve had the privilege of serving as the chairman of the SBC Committee on Order of Business this year. Our committee has worked diligently alongside SBC President Ronnie Floyd to ensure that this year’s meeting is one of the most impactful gatherings Southern Baptists have ever experienced. Here is what’s different about this year’s June 16–17 meeting:
Everything about the meeting has been driven by the vision of our president to display visibly the unity we have in Christ. From a joint seminary report and presentation time on Tuesday morning to a joint missionary commissioning service on Wednesday morning, our leaders will stand together demonstrating the unity of the Southern Baptist Convention. If Southern Baptists are going to reach the world for Christ, we will do it together.
The great diversity of our Convention will be on display at this year’s meeting. Convention worship leader Julio Arriola, a native of Mexico, will lead us in inspiring and refreshing times of worship. Those who have been chosen to pray and read Scripture passages during the sessions represent not just our ethnic diversity, but also the diversity of our ministries—small- and large-church pastors from rural and urban areas, representatives of our associations, state conventions, and seminaries—every person chosen intentionally to represent our diversity.
Great Commission Emphasis
The entire Wednesday morning session will emphasize our commitment to the Great Commission, culminating in a joint missionary commissioning service. We will celebrate what God is doing through IMB and NAMB in what will be the centerpiece of the annual meeting.
We have managed to fit almost every committee report, election, and major business time into the Tuesday afternoon session. While time for business is important, we wanted to make it as efficient as possible in order to maximize the time during the rest of the program for elements that will enrich those who gather. For example, we were able to add a special president’s panel on Wednesday afternoon on “The Supreme Court and Same-Sex Marriage: Preparing Our Churches for the Future.” Wednesday afternoon will provide a great resource for messengers to think deeply about cultural engagement.
Ronnie Floyd has sounded a clarion call throughout the country for extraordinary prayer in anticipation that God can bring another spiritual awakening. In light of this, we will have dedicated times of prayer throughout the annual meeting. These moments will culminate in a powerful prayer gathering on Tuesday night. This time of focused prayer we pray will be catalytic in the life of the SBC.
Celebrating What God is Doing
God is at work through Southern Baptists all around the world, from the work of local churches to national and international church planters. We will tell the story and celebrate what is happening through every aspect of Southern Baptist life. We hope each messenger will walk away from the annual meeting refreshed and encouraged about what God is doing through the SBC.
Come to Columbus
The annual meetings with the highest attendance in the past were those during the height of the Conservative Resurgence. As a young Southern Baptist, I am so grateful for the thousands who attended those meetings and secured a better future for our Convention. How thrilling would it be now if Southern Baptists would gather again in great numbers to commit ourselves to the future as we seek to reach the world for Christ together. I believe this year’s annual meeting will be a high point in the history of our Convention. Join me in Columbus to participate in what God will do!
Andrew Hebert is chairman of the Committee on Order of Business for the 2015 SBC annual meeting and is lead pastor of Taylor Memorial Baptist Church in Hobbs, New Mexico.