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“See You in Saint Louis”; Ferguson Tensions Show Need for SBC’s Crossover

“See You in Saint Louis”

by Ronnie Floyd

Call to St. Louis

Screen capture from “Call to St. Louis” video (https://vimeo.com/138310250).

Coming off our largest Convention meeting since 2012 in New Orleans, our Southern Baptist family began to dream and cast the vision for our next gathering in 2016 in Saint Louis, Missouri. More important than the size of our gathering in Columbus, our great and mighty God met with us powerfully.

Save the Date: June 14–15, 2016

Will I see you in Saint Louis on June 14–15, 2016, for our Southern Baptist Convention? Please mark your calendar now for this upcoming and dynamic experience with our Southern Baptist family.

Pastors and church leaders, set your calendars now for this gathering. Make these dates non-negotiable and decide now to be in Saint Louis for our 2016 Southern Baptist Convention and bring people with you.

Seven Reasons to Come to Saint Louis Next June

  1. We need to be with our family, our Southern Baptist family.
  2. We need to be inspired to believe again that God can awaken America spiritually and the world can be reached for Christ.
  3. We need to hear the Word of God proclaimed, pray and worship together by the thousands, and have our spiritual lives set on fire again.
  4. We need to hear the wonderful testimonies and reports about what God is doing across America and the world through our work together.
  5. We need to hear how our church’s financial investment in the Cooperative Program and Mission Offerings is being used to share the Gospel.
  6. We need to be encouraged to know that when we are together and working together there is hope in America and this world.
  7. We need to join together by the thousands as we pray for our nation at this critical time, calling out to God to revive His church and awaken America so we can reach the world for Christ.

See the Vision: Get Metro Saint Louis on Your Heart

Metropolitan Saint Louis needs the saving message of Jesus Christ. Our nearly two thousand Southern Baptist churches in Missouri need the encouragement of our greater Southern Baptist family.

Why Should We See the Vision of Metro Saint Louis?

  • 2.73 million people live in metro Saint Louis
  • One out of seven Missourians live in metro Saint Louis
  • 50.9 percent of the population is unaffiliated with any religious body
  • 17.9 percent of the population of metro Saint Louis is affiliated with an evangelical church
  • Saint Louis is one of our North American Mission Board’s Send Cities

Southern Baptists, how do we not go and make a difference in metro Saint Louis? You see, when we speak of metro Saint Louis, we are also talking about East Saint Louis, Illinois. Two states will be impacted by our gathering next year.

How can your church participate in Crossover Saint Louis a few days ahead of our convention? They will be able to assist new church plants or help established churches. This all leads up to the major Crossover event on Saturday, June 11. Then, your church members can stay and attend our convention on June 14–15. Please strongly consider this.

Stand Together With Us to Reach the World

When you fly or drive into Saint Louis, you will notice the Gateway Arch as you enter the city. It stands 630 feet wide and 630 feet tall. This remarkable structure has been known historically as America’s gateway to the West, with Saint Louis the Gateway City.

In 2016, Southern Baptists need to converge on this city from all over the world and see it as our gateway to reach the world for Jesus Christ.

Billy Graham said many years ago, “An awakening can bring about the evangelization of the world in our generation.”

Andrew Murray wrote, “The one who mobilizes the Christian church to pray, will make the greatest contribution to world evangelization in history.”

Now is the time for Southern Baptists to lead. God is not finished with Southern Baptists, America, or the world. Let these words encourage your life today, as you lead others into the future.

 


Ferguson Tensions Show Need for SBC’s Crossover

by Vicki Stamps

Ferguson Tensions Show Need for SBC’s Crossover

SBC President Ronnie Floyd addresses Baptist pastors and leaders during a Crossover Saint Louis planning meeting at First Baptist Church in Ferguson, Missouri, on August 10. Floyd urged that churches mobilize for the evangelistic effort preceding the Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting in June 2016. Photo by John W. Phillips.

More than two hundred Southern Baptist pastors and leaders gathered at First Baptist Church in Ferguson, Missouri, on the day violence had broken out in the early morning hours during the one-year anniversary weekend of the shooting death of Michael Brown by a Ferguson police officer.

Baptist leaders from the Missouri and Illinois sides of the Mississippi River met to hear plans for and the challenges of Crossover Saint Louis, which will precede the Southern Baptist Convention’s 2016 annual meeting, June 14–15 in Saint Louis.

“This has been a city in crisis for more than a year,” SBC President Ronnie Floyd said during the sessions at First Baptist in Ferguson. “When we set up this meeting, we didn’t realize it would be the anniversary of that horrible event. But God did.

“The entire metropolitan area needs an awakening,” Floyd continued. “We need to pray for an outpouring of God’s Holy Spirit. God is getting His people ready and this is our moment to make a difference.”

On August 9, after an estimated one thousand protesters had marched peacefully in Ferguson, police returned gunfire from a suspect around 11:15 p.m., critically wounding the man. Dozens of protesters were arrested throughout the day on Monday, the Saint Louis Post-Dispatch reported, and a state of emergency was declared in Ferguson, located just northwest of Saint Louis.

The Baptist leaders’ meeting included a panel discussion of the Crossover week of volunteer evangelism and service prior to the SBC annual meeting, and an announcement of the 2016 Pastors’ Conference theme —“You Will Live This”—by John Meador, the conference’s president and pastor of First Baptist Church in Euless, Texas.

“The challenge is to live as never before,” Meador said. “We’ll deal with the subject of hardship because if you are not experiencing it now, you soon will be.”

“These are both critical events,” Floyd said of Crossover and the Pastors’ Conference. “Ninety percent of the people in this area of 2.7 million people are lost, and God wants us to make a difference. God loves the people in this city, and He died for it. We want this to be a life-changing event. . . .

“We must unify around Him and pray that He will empower us to spread the Gospel and reach the world,” said Floyd, senior pastor of Cross Church in northwest Arkansas.

Jim Breeden, director of missions for the Saint Louis Metro Baptist Association (on the Web at stlbaptist.org), outlined the focus of Crossover Saint Louis in three broad categories.

“First,” he said, “we are going to partner with the new church planters throughout the city; next, we are going to work with existing churches; and third, we will bless this city.”

Breeden used three local school districts that have lost their accreditation as an example for outreach.

“We are going to help those school districts,” he said. “Some of our churches are already working with them and the doors are wide open. We are going to bless those districts. We all know the problems of Saint Louis. Now, we want to be on the solution side.”

John Yeats, executive director of the Missouri Baptist Convention and SBC recording secretary, has issued a call to pastors to take up the challenges.

“There are so many lost in the area,” Yeats said. “This is a way to work together with the state and national conventions to pray for God’s grace to penetrate the lost pockets of the city and for us to make a concerted effort to make a difference. I challenge all of the pastors in the state to make this a priority like never before in our history.”


Ronnie Floyd is pastor of Cross Church in Springdale, Arkansas, and president of the Southern Baptist Convention. This article was first posted on his blog on July 13, 2015; Vicki Stamps is a contributing writer for The Pathway, newsjournal of the Missouri Baptist Convention, and is a member of First Baptist Church in Ferguson, Missouri.

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September 2015 Edition
Volume 24, Issue 1
September 2015