The most dangerous thing a person who calls themselves a leader can ever do is to draw power unto the leader, rather than empower the people he or she is leading.
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HOUSTON | A luncheon hosted by the North American Mission Board today had one foot planted in the past – celebrating Southern Baptists’ Conservative Resurgence of the 1970s and 80s – and one foot in the future, highlighting church planting as the most effective way the denomination can penetrate spiritual darkness.
“We feel like this is a strategic moment for Southern Baptists,” NAMB President Kevin Ezell said to the crowd gathered for the Send: North America lunch. But this strategic moment wouldn’t be possible without other moments from Baptist history, he added. Ezell invited Paige Patterson and Paul Pressler, knwon as the architects of the SBC’s return to conservative doctrine, to join him on the stage and thanked them on behalf of church planters and younger Southern Baptists.
The presentation that followed mixed old-school sleight of hand with modern technology. Illusionist “Harris III” took the audience through a timeline of Southern Baptist history, emphasizing landmark moments like Annie Armstrong’s leadership of Woman’s Missionary Union. The multi-media journey also pointed to the trends, specifically mass urbanization, that are driving NAMB to plant more churches all over the continent, but particularly in cities.
HOUSTON | All three took center stage at different moments today in the Southern Baptist Convention Exhibit Hall.
HOUSTON | “Can I just share my testimony for just a minute?”
Southern Baptist Convention President and New Orleans native Fred Luter drew on his experiences after Hurricane Katrina to encourage listeners at the SBC Pastors’ Conference June 9.
“One day you can be pastoring thousands and thousands of people, and the next day, you can be without a congregation,” Luter said, alluding to the storm that devastated his city and his church, Franklin Avenue Baptist.
“One day, you’re in a city where everybody knows your name…and the next day, you’re in the city where you’re only known by your FEMA number.”
Luter’s message, from Psalm 34, focused on taking heart when you get to “the other side of ministry,” when afflictions and trials of all kinds threaten to discourage and overwhelm the righteous.
“Every child of God sooner or later in life will face the other side of ministry,” he said.
He spoke like a pastor to the crowd assembled at Houston’s George R. Brown Convention Center, exhorting them to pay special attention to the word “but” in Psalm 34:19. “Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all.”
‘That word ‘but’ is a sanctified conjunction,” Luter said to laughter from the audience. “It negates everything that was said before.” He told the crowd that just when it feels like everything is about to go under, “God can put a ‘but’ in your situation.”
He ended his message with an illustration from his favorite movie franchise, James Bond. Animatedly, he described how the super spy manages to get himself out of every scrape he ever gets into. While watching a documentary one day about the making of James Bond movies, Luter said he realized how that was possible: The writers write it that way in the script!
Holding up his Bible and smiling joyously at the crowd, Luter said, “You know how I know you’re going to make it?
“It’s in the script!”
NEWS | Meredith Flynn
The Southern Baptist Convention will kick off in just a few hours, and the Illinois Baptist will be in Houston all week with live coverage here on ib2news.org, and at Facebook.com/IllinoisBaptist and Twitter.com/IllinoisBaptist.
We’re anticipating the re-election of Fred Luter, currently running unopposed, to a second term as SBC President. And in the wake of a report by the Calvinism advisory team that formed last year, Reformed theology could get a lot of attention from speakers on the platform and in the audience. SBC Executive Committee President Frank Page, who appointed the advisory team to study how Southern Baptists can cooperate despite theological differences, is likely to share the group’s finding during his report Tuesday.
Boy Scouts, marriage, and a continuing discussion of gender-inclusive language in the NIV Bible are other topics that could come up on the convention floor.
You can watch all the action, beginning tonight with the Pastors’ Conference, at sbcannualmeeting.net.