EDITOR’S NOTE: Ronnie Floyd is president of the Southern Baptist Convention and senior pastor of Cross Church in northwest Arkansas.
SPRINGDALE, Ark. (BP) — There are times a family just needs to be together. And 2016 is one of those times for our Southern Baptist family. This is a season when our family gathering should be a high priority for us all.
Our family reunion will be in St. Louis on June 14-15, 2016
I realize your options for conferences are plentiful and you may not enjoy going to a convention. They may seem boring or even at times, irrelevant. We changed the format for our 2015 Southern Baptist Convention in Columbus. It was done in a new and fresh way and was engaging to all who attended. The response to this new format was fabulous.
I am confident that if we set aside our own personal preferences, we will all find value in the convention. This is a critical time for us to come together as a family. Why is it so important?
Four reasons our family needs to come to St. Louis in 2016
1. Bringing home 600-800 missionaries from across the world should call all of us to the highest level of concern. (See related Baptist Press story on the International Mission Board’s budget shortfall.)
Hundreds of men, women and families who have served our Lord faithfully and fruitfully as missionaries from our churches are affected. Southern Baptists should want to come together to find out what is happening and how we can reset for an even greater day in mission expansion in the future.
Every church that gives through the Cooperative Program or to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for international missions should ensure their presence in St. Louis. Each church’s messengers can then go home and share the reports with their church family.
If we are going to take our vision of reaching the world for Christ seriously, we are in a critical drawback to accomplishing this goal. Therefore, this is a time to come together on June 14-15, 2016.
2. We live in an America that is searching intently for a direction and future in 2016.
In November of 2016, our nation will vote for the next president of the United States. Worldviews are colliding fiercely. Religious liberty, the sanctity of human life, and the clear understanding of family are each at stake. Beyond that, we are witnessing lawlessness at an unprecedented level and racial tension is ever occurring.
Our Southern Baptist family needs to come together in 2016 before this presidential election. Our nation has never needed us more to pray, but also to be the voice of hope.
3. We believe we need God to awaken America and empower us to reach the world.
“Awaken America, Reach the World” is the theme of our 2016 Southern Baptist Convention on June 14-15, 2016. I do not know of two greater needs in our lives today.
We need to see God awaken America! We need spiritual awakening. We need to pray for the third Great Awakening to occur in our nation. Yes, a genuine Jesus revolution!
We need to receive such power from God that we again have our vision on reaching the world for Jesus Christ. It is time to move beyond talk and sermons; now is the time to escalate our intentionality from attitude to actions to reach our world for Christ.
I say it again to each of us: This must begin with where we are right now, from rural areas to towns and cities. Until we are burdened to reach our world, we will not be burdened to reach the world for Jesus Christ.
4. Investing in the ministry of the Gospel and its expansion throughout metropolitan St. Louis.
Metro St. Louis is a city in deep need of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The city is experiencing racial tension that will find its ultimate answer only in Jesus Christ. The lostness of the city continues to grow.
Dr. John Yeats, executive director of the Missouri Baptist Convention, informed me this week that during the week of Crossover St. Louis and the week of the Southern Baptist Convention, 27 new churches will be planted in metro St. Louis, increasing the number of churches in the region significantly. I love this vision and we need to pray, encourage and participate with them in this grand work.
Will I see you in St. Louis? It is my hope I will see you on June 14-15 in St. Louis.
There are times a family just needs to be together — 2016 is one of those times for Southern Baptists. Begin to plan now. Come on, we need you. It is time to be with our family.