ATLANTA (BP)–In my opinion, the decision Southern Baptists made at our annual meeting in 2002 as we adopted a new vision called “Empowering Kingdom Growth” was the finest and most timely, strategic decision made in the history of our denomination.
Just when many were asking if it was still possible to experience real revival, just when people began to believe that Southern Baptists were so in touch with themselves that they were out of touch with God, just when it seemed our focus was more on building our own kingdom than upon building the Kingdom of God, Southern Baptists made a statement of commitment. We said to God, “Above all else, above personal aggrandizement, above having my way, above developing my kingdom, I commit to a new vision which will shape my personal future and the future of our denomination. I commit myself to do all within my ability to see that God’s Kingdom comes and that God’s will is done on earth as it is in heaven.”
I am personally engaged in that commitment. Georgia Baptists are devoted to the EKG vision.
While some are asking, “What does EKG mean?” we are challenging our pastors to go to their study with their Bible and diligently seek what God’s Word says about the Kingdom of God. We need to preach on this theme. When studying, enough will be discovered on the subject of the Kingdom of God to preach for the rest of our days. Further, this study will cause us to align our lives with the will of God. We are too easily distracted. Our focus should be simplified. Can we not say, “Father, my greatest desire is to proclaim the King and His Kingdom”?
In Georgia, we currently are pursuing EKG through our “Healthy Kingdom Churches” emphasis and through participation in “What Now, America?” which we call “What Now, Georgia?”
“Healthy Kingdom Churches” focuses upon helping Georgia Baptist churches experience 10 qualities of healthy churches. These qualities drawn from Scripture serve as a measuring rod and as a meaningful stimulus to our churches that are seeking to be as healthy as they can be to the glory of God and His Kingdom. A diagnostic tool has been developed for use by the local church to analyze its alignment with Scriptural qualities. Leadership teams and mentoring churches are being developed to assist churches that wish to engage in the process. We believe that healthy churches more effectively empower Kingdom growth.
Further, the “What Now, Georgia?” emphasis is enabling us to put Empowering Kingdom Growth into action. EKG is the right vision for Southern Baptists, but it must be more than a vision. It must be an action.
The genesis of “What Now, America?” was for the purpose of putting the EKG vision into action. The “What Now, America?” task force began four years ago to pray for a great movement of God among Southern Baptists. We longed to see the revival we have been praying for, a revival unlike anything witnessed in the past 100-150 years.
Prayer led to great goals. These include one million baptisms, 2,500 new church starts and 100,000 new units in Sunday School among our Southern Baptist churches in one year. In Georgia, we have prayed and prepared for a great year in 2005 with 50,000 baptisms, over 100 new church starts and 3,500 new units in Sunday School. With God’s help we will see the greatest year in our history. We hope you will join us in prayer for revival in Georgia.
J. Robert White is the executive director of the Georgia Baptist Convention.