From opening remarks by Morris H. Chapman in the President's Address to the SBC Executive Committee, February 17, 2003
Empowering Kingdom Growth is not in and of itself a revival. Empowering Kingdom Growth in and of itself is not a spiritual awakening. In fact, Empowering Kingdom Growth in no way implies that we will empower ourselves or that we will empower others. Who has the power to empower God's people? Only God Himself.
Empowering Kingdom Growth has not been promoted as a program. We have called it a process, and I've discovered that it's a lot more easily understood to be a program than a process. First of all, we're accustomed to talking about programs, not processes. Second, we're accustomed to defining programs, not processes. And the Empowering Kingdom Growth Task Force is coming to the realization that there may not be a real definition to process. Why? Because process is fluid; process flows; process moves. Process is an opportunity to wait before the Lord and seek His wisdom, and step-by-step say, "Lord, give us that next step. Lead us on the right path. Turn us away where we're wrong. Correct the mistakes we make. Forgive us of our sins. Give us a heart for the things of God."
Empowering Kingdom Growth is a banner. It's a theme. It's a vision — we used the term vision as the Task Force cast it before the Southern Baptist Convention this past summer, and the convention adopted Empowering Kingdom Growth as a process or as a vision that we would try to come together as Southern Baptists to become involved in something that would bring glory to the Name of Jesus; to bring thousands into the Kingdom of God; to set us about doing all the things we need to do for Jesus' sake as a denomination and as individuals to know the presence and the power of the Lord Jesus in a new and fresh way.
I want to know the power of God. I want to know His power for living each day. I want to know a power for influencing others for Christ's sake. I want to know His power to be what I ought to be to those whom I encounter. That's Empowering Kingdom Growth. The very essence of it is that we cannot do it without the presence of God's Holy Spirit.
We don't know what is going to happen. It's up to God as to whether it goes anywhere. I mean, this has more opportunities to bog down and be stuck in the mud and go nowhere of anything I've been a part of in over thirty-five years of ministry among Southern Baptists – because no one is there ready to pull it out of the mud.
But what do we hope and pray Southern Baptists will do? It is that each would ask, "Dear Lord Jesus, am I a Kingdom person?" That each would ask, "What is my passion?" What is your passion? That's a tough question if we're honest, if we give true reflection, if we look deep into our souls.
We pray that every Southern Baptist would come to that place of asking the question, "Am I a Kingdom person," and then be willing to continue, "If not, how can I be? Lord, I'll search Your Word until I can become that person." If I am, if I really believe I'm a Kingdom person, then I must ask "How shall I live? Lord, what shall I do? Have I failed to do what I should have done? Have I left undone those things that I should have been doing? Am I a Kingdom person?"
We hope Empowering Kingdom Growth will serve as a catalyst — a catalyst for God to permeate the hearts and souls of all Southern Baptists, until there's a fresh, refreshing movement of God in our lives. Then we will find ourselves not as burdened down by life but lifted up in the joy of the Lord. Then we will see Him high and lifted up so that we have something other than programs about which to speak — we will find ourselves talking about the Lord. Someone has said your passion is what you talk about. And how often in our experience have we found ourselves or listened to other people as they talk about the church, as they talk about an organization in the church, yet very rarely getting around to talking about the very crux of it all, the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who He is, and Whose we are.