LOUISVILLE, Ky. (BP)–With the closing of the 25-year-long Bold Mission Thrust emphasis, the Southern Baptist Convention was in desperate need of a captivating, compelling and clearly biblical vision. Empowering Kingdom Growth has filled that void. The focus on becoming Kingdom individuals, families and churches has been inspiring. Each denominational entity must discover Kingdom vision, passion and commitment based on the teachings of Jesus.
Empowering comes from being intimately connected to Jesus Christ and filled with the Holy Spirit. We are empowered by experiencing the presence of God in personal and public worship. We recognize that we are completely dependent upon Holy God.
Empowering comes as we work together in the mission of our Lord at all levels and by all means. In Kentucky, we are asking every entity, association, church and KBC staff member to focus on connecting all people to Jesus Christ. We have discovered that it is important for some staff to pray while others plan and for groups to pray for the work of other groups.
In order to assist churches in connecting all people to Jesus Christ, nine KBC staff members participated in “Thy Kingdom Come” training conducted by the South Carolina Baptist Convention. It provides a spiritually focused planning process for local associations and churches. The South Carolina Baptist Convention has graciously permitted the process to be customized to each state convention.
The KBC staff has enlisted a variety of 15 churches and associations to pilot the “Thy Kingdom Come” planning process. If the pilot is successful this fall and winter, it could be used to provide a track for Kingdom growth. We are especially excited about how the process might be used by God to assist churches in turn-around growth. With a strong emphasis on three months of guided prayer, the prayer group will experience the power of God and begin to hear from God through the Holy Spirit, and the congregation will be empowered as they learn to manage conflict and learn how to prevail in spiritual warfare.
If God wants to empower His church, why is it not happening? Jesus said that those who hunger and thirst for righteousness shall be filled. We must ask God to give us a hunger for righteousness and passion for souls that cannot be filled with anything else. Kentucky Baptists have set some big goals for reaching (in baptisms, a 46 percent increase) and developing people for Jesus Christ. Pray that individual Kentucky Baptists will be discontent until they are empowered for Kingdom growth and refuse to be distracted by any inside or outside influence.
As a former member of the South Carolina Baptist Convention staff, it has been gratifying to observe the growth of Empowering Kingdom Growth from a vision in the heart of Carlisle Driggers for the South Carolina Baptist Convention into a vision and process that has national and international appeal.
Pray fervently for Christians to see the vision and experience the passion for Empowering Kingdom Growth.
Bill F. Mackey is executive director of the Kentucky Baptist Convention.