NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–Southern Baptist Convention President Frank Page called Sept. 17 for continued prayer for a convention-wide and nationwide revival, and gave a glimpse into what he believes it would look like.
Page, pastor of First Baptist Church in Taylors, S.C., made the comments during his presidential address to the Executive Committee.
“As I travel around the nation and even around the world, I’ve had a question asked of me … that I have sometimes fumbled in answering. ‘Frank, when revival comes, what will it look like?'” Page recounted. “I’ve had to answer academically because I have never seen one on a nationwide scale. I can only tell you what I’ve heard about, what I’ve read about historically.”
Focusing on the words of Acts 1:8 — “when the Holy Spirit comes” — Page said he believes a revival will have at least three key elements:
— A love for God’s Word.
“I believe when the Holy Spirit comes, when revival really comes, the Word of God will be loved, and the Word of God will be followed,” he said.
Page said he is asking Southern Baptists, upon his leaving office next June, to launch a massive focus on reading the Bible in one year. He said he wants to see “millions of Southern Baptists” reading it together.
“I believe it can have a dramatic impact on our lives,” he said. “… I ask you join with me … in reading the Word of God together and living the Word of God together.”
— A focus on evangelism.
“When the Holy Spirit comes, the way of Christ will be shared,” Page said. “[Former SBC President Bobby] Welch pointed out over and over and over of the need to be soul-winners, and I have tried to carry forth that clarion call, that indeed when the Holy Spirit comes we will be witnesses.”
Page said he is excited about working with the North American Mission Board on a “long-term, multifaceted, flexible evangelism strategy” that will be presented at the SBC annual meeting next year. It will “pull our churches together to say not only what we should do but here’s how we can join together.”
“We desperately need to be a convention that is serious about soul-winning,” he said. “… I believe [it] will be one of the greatest strategies that we’ve ever seen.”
— A unified focus.
Before Page spoke, the Great Commission Council — which is made up of presidents of SBC entities — gathered around and prayed for Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary President Paige Patterson and his wife Dorothy for what GCC members called an “unprecedented attack” on the couple.
“It gave me great hope to know that even among that group of wonderful servants of God, that we have made a covenant … that we will lift up one another and not tear down one another,” Page said. “It is not just enough for our entities and their staffs to make a pledge that we will not attack one another. I have called on Southern Baptists, whether it be in blogs or in hallway conversations or in telephone conversations or in hushed tones … to make a covenant that we will not attack one another, but we will lift high the name of Jesus and we will encourage one another.”
Page said, “When the Holy Spirit comes, our differences will fade by the greatness of that which pulls us together, and we will focus on the mission that Christ has called us to remember.”
Michael Foust is assistant editor of Baptist Press.