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FIRST-PERSON: Countdown to Columbus

EDITOR’S NOTE: Ronnie Floyd is president of the Southern Baptist Convention and pastor of Cross Church in northwest Arkansas.

COLUMBUS, Ohio (BP) — One week from today, Columbus will begin to teem with the people called Southern Baptists. Thousands of us will gather from across the country and some from across the world. Our convention is always a joyful time to reunite with friends as well as a time to make new friends.

Whether you are able to join us in Columbus or not, allocate some time this week to pray for our time together. There is so much at stake in this year’s convention. With all that is going on across America and the world, the significance of our 2015 Southern Baptist Convention is great.

Therefore, we call on each person as well as our churches to allocate time to pray for our Columbus convention. What Southern Baptists will do in Columbus matters not only to us, but to other evangelicals, America and the world. This is why we must pray.

As you prepare to come to Columbus, prepare to participate in what is most important. Not for yourself, but for the Kingdom of God. While attending the Southern Baptist Convention is always a great time of exploring new places in a different city, is this the most important thing?

Absolutely not! We need to prepare to participate in what helps forward the work of the Gospel through Southern Baptists. Hearing what God is doing through our work together is always a great experience. These reports will be shared by the leaders of our Southern Baptists entities and Executive Committee.

There are four key moments that can help shape the outcome of our 2015 Southern Baptist Convention:

1. The Presidential Address at 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday, June 16

The presidential address has always been a significant time in each annual convention. This year, we have returned the scheduled time of the address to the morning session. Please pray for me as I prepare and deliver this address.

2. The National Call to Prayer at 6:45 p.m. on Tuesday, June 16

This will be one of our greatest moments this year in the Southern Baptist Convention meeting. As 11 pastors and many more join me in leading us in this important night of prayer, you will not want to miss any of it. I urge you to adjust your schedule in order to be part of this significant experience.

3. Church and Mission Sending Celebration: Joint Commissioning Service at 9:40 a.m. on Wednesday, June 17

This experience will be highly impactful to each of us as we celebrate what God is doing through the work of our two mission boards. It will be a tremendous time to meet some of our future missionaries, sending them out to the mission fields in North America and the world. David Platt, president of the International Mission Board, will bring the main message during this gathering.

4. The Supreme Court and Same-Sex Marriage: Preparing Our Churches for the Future at 3:35 p.m. on Wednesday, June 17

With the expectancy of the final ruling of the Supreme Court regarding same-sex marriage, we are allocating 40 minutes for a dynamic panel discussion on what this issue means for each of us personally, for our churches and our nation. Our convention will conclude by 5:15 p.m.

Stream it live anywhere at sbc.net: If you are not able to join us, a live stream of the convention is available during each session at sbc.net. Join us via the Internet on Tuesday and Wednesday, June 16-17.

The time is now.

Many have worked toward this week over the last year. I do pray and hope everyone will come with great anticipation of what God is going to do among us.

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  • Ronnie Floyd