SBC Life Articles

Restoration and Revival through Prayer ~ Psalm 80:18–19

SBC President Fred Luter

Fred Luter, president of the Southern Baptist Convention, preaches during the Sunday evening session of the Pastor’s Conference on June 9, 2013. Photo by Thomas Graham.

With a desire to keep the focus on the power of revival and prayer, Southern Baptist Convention President Fred Luter expressed excitement about this year’s SBC annual meeting June 10–11 in Baltimore. Messengers also will elect a new president as Luter wraps up his second term.

Pointing to the annual meeting theme “Restoration and Revival through Prayer,” Luter noted the return of a Tuesday evening revival service—similar in style to last year’s—that has drawn positive feedback from participants.

“Last year our theme was about revival, ‘Revive Us . . . That We May Be One,’” Luter, pastor of Franklin Avenue Baptist Church in New Orleans, said. “The year I was elected, I got a report from LifeWay that all our numbers were down—our attendance was down, our giving was down, our young people were leaving the church . . . just across the board things were down. I had a personal conviction that we need to get back as a Convention to making the main thing the main thing.

“This Convention has always had a great emphasis and a reputation for evangelism and discipleship,” he said. “When I came here [to Franklin Avenue] as a young, green pastor, the local association sent workers and VBS teams to help us in evangelism and discipleship here. . . . For whatever reason, [the Convention] has gotten away from this.

“I wanted to again stay with the theme ‘Revival,’ but let’s undergird it with prayer,” Luter said.

Hearing from “a lot of our bivocational pastors who said they couldn’t attend, last year we reintroduced the Tuesday night session,” he said. “It was phenomenally successful. It was standing room only. . . . All we had was music and preaching.

“That was something that we thought went so well that we wanted to do that again. [On that Tuesday evening,] we just come for worship and the Word. That’s it. No business will be conducted.”

Luter selected the theme from Psalm 80:18–19: Then we will not turn away from You; revive us, and we will call on Your name. Restore us, Yahweh, the God of Hosts; look on us with favor, and we will be saved (HCSB).

Luter, elected in 2012 as the first African American to lead the SBC, appealed to those who haven’t decided yet whether they will make the journey to Baltimore to attend. For the second year, the Committee on Order of Business “has moved the IMB and NAMB reports earlier in the Convention day,” he said. “More people are hearing and seeing the message of our different entities.”

In addition to presiding over the Convention and preaching his Tuesday night presidential sermon, Luter will speak to the Southern Baptist Conference of Associational Leaders on Friday night, participate in several Crossover events on Saturday, and preach at Seventh Metro Church on Sunday morning, June 8. He will give his last message to the Convention as SBC president June 10 and turn over the gavel to the next SBC president at the close of business on June 11.

Adapted and expanded from the Baptist Press SBC annual meeting overview by Shawn Hendricks. Hendricks, managing editor of Baptist Press, is a member of First Baptist Church, Hendersonville, Tennessee.

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