SBC LIFE invited SBC President Steve Gaines to share his vision for the SBC annual meeting to be held in Phoenix, Arizona, June 13–14, 2017.
SBCLIFE: What drew you to the theme, “Pray . . . for Such a Time as This,” and what do you hope to see as an outcome of this year’s SBC annual meeting?
Steve Gaines: I am convinced that prayer should be the number one priority for every Christian. Talking with and listening to God as we read His Word are the most important things we do. Without these disciplines, we cut off the flow of the Holy Spirit’s power. We cut Him off from speaking to our hearts and giving us direction. The Southern Baptist Convention needs to be a people of prayer. Only then will God send the power we need to fulfill the Great Commission.
SBCLIFE: What drew you to Esther 4:14 and Luke 11:1 as our theme verses? What do you hope to see through their use at the annual meeting and beyond?
Gaines: Esther 4 is the text God used to allow my name to be presented as a candidate for SBC president. Luke 11 records the only thing Jesus’s disciples asked Him to teach them—how to pray. Our Convention and our world are in need of prayer. In combining these verses together, I want to call us to pray . . . for such a time as this.
SBCLIFE: The artwork for this year is visually compelling. What is the message you hope to convey through this visual imagery?
Gaines: God’s time line is running out, and I believe man’s time is running out. Jesus Christ is coming back, and I personally believe He could come back at any moment. If we live like we believe that, our lives will be more productive, more pure and holy, more Christ-like. People are dying and they’re entering into eternity. If they don’t have Jesus, they’re going to hell. That motivates me to be about my Father’s business—to pray, tell people about Jesus, win people to Christ, and help them become solid disciples.
SBCLIFE: Why should a Southern Baptist attend the annual meeting in Phoenix?
Gaines: Just like we want people to attend our church meetings, we should want to attend the gathering of the SBC. We come together to learn what God is doing through the various SBC entities, but we also gather to pray for our nation and be encouraged. I believe so many pastors and church members are discouraged right now. It’s a great time to see godly brothers and sisters and be reacquainted with them. Most importantly, it’s a time to worship the Lord and be recharged so that you can go back to your place of service to be a better leader for the Lord Jesus Christ. We will devote our Tuesday evening session again this year to prayer for revival and spiritual awakening.
SBCLIFE: Any concluding challenge for Southern Baptists?
Gaines: I want to encourage all of us to pray for spiritual awakening across the Southern Baptist Convention. I also want us to pray that we will be a soul-winning denomination—to really tell people about Jesus Christ. We must share with people what the Bible says about Jesus with the purpose of leading them to faith in Christ. I pray we will emphasize biblical stewardship. We must encourage our people to bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, to give so that it might be given unto us, so that we can have more missionaries and fund all that we do through the Cooperative Program.
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