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Hemphill: Focus of EKG must be on God, not the denomination

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–Saying that Empowering Kingdom Growth is “not a slogan,” Ken Hemphill told Executive Committee members Sept. 22 that Southern Baptists’ newest initiative requires a focus on God, not the denomination.

“I do not believe that God wants to make a name for Southern Baptists, or for the Executive Committee, or for LifeWay or for any of our seminaries,” said Hemphill, the EKG national strategist. “I believe God wants to make a name for Himself.”

Delivering an impassioned message to the Executive Committee during its fall meeting, Hemphill told EC members that Empowering Kingdom Growth calls all Southern Baptists to reflect on their spiritual health.

Hemphill asked those present to consider signing EKG Personal Covenant cards, which begin, “Recognizing that I was created for God’s glory and to be a Kingdom agent, with the promise of His empowering, I joyfully make the following covenant.” The cards list a series of pledges, such as, “I will live in such a manner that the Father’s character is evidence in my actions, words and deeds.”

Empowering Kingdom Growth must include “a mighty movement of the Holy Spirit,” Hemphill said.

“It is not about our denomination empowering anyone to do anything,” he said. “It is about God through His Holy Spirit [empowering] us for His Kingdom activity. It is His desire and His purpose to build His church, and it is by His Spirit through His own unique precious possession, His people, that He will achieve it.”

Hemphill read several biblical passages showing that God seeks glory for Himself. In Exodus 19, Hemphill noted, God calls the Israelites his “possession.” In David’s prayer in 2 Samuel 7, God says He redeemed the Israelites to “make a name for Himself.” And in Ezekiel 36, Hemphill pointed out, God desires for the nations to know that He is the Lord.

“I believe that God wants to showcase a people as such a unique people that the nations will be drawn to Him,” Hemphill said. “That is my prayer for Empowering Kingdom Growth.”

EKG must work on three levels, Hemphill said: 1) the personal level; 2) the local church level and 3) the association, state and national levels.

Associational, state and national bodies must work together in partnership “to assist our churches, and this will require that we are more concerned about God’s name and God’s Kingdom than we are about our name and our agenda.”

Empowering Kingdom Growth, he said, is “about the revitalization of our people, of our families, our churches, of our cooperative spirit at every level for a great cause — the rule and reign of Christ.”

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  • Michael Foust