This was my second year to attend the SBC annual meeting. Being a younger pastor, it is always a joy to experience this event. The conversations are still new and relationships are fresh. This meeting in particular provided another opportunity to see old friends and meet new ones. As I reflect on the meeting, I consider this one to be insightful in many regards.
First, pastors of normative sized churches led the SBC Pastor’s Conference – no “big names” or fancy show just the straight exposition of God’s Word. I appreciate the work of Dave Miller and others who put this meeting together. I was challenged by Bart Barber’s message on unity and peacemaking. While I wasn’t able to attend every sermon, I look forward to catching them online.
Second, once again the International Mission Board Dinner was powerful. David Platt retold the story of Baptist Missionary Adoniram Judson. The point in telling the story was simple: we are here to sacrifice for the cause of Christ. On Tuesday night the IMB commissioned several missionaries going to the field. The reality of the moment sunk in when the lights were darkened to conceal the faces of many missionaries. This was due to security reasons. The commissioning was a powerful reminder of the reason for the SBC.
Third, I was able to reconnect with many friends (pastors, missionaries, etc). Seeing friends like Steve Ellis (missionary to East Asia), Brandon Smith (spokesperson for the CSB Bible), Travis Hester (founder of Kingdom Growers) and many others really encouraged my heart. This is one of the primary reasons to attend the annual meeting, in my opinion. Hearing how God is moving among neighborhoods and nations strengths my desire to make more of an impact!
Fourth, the Anti-Gospel Alt Right resolution was passed. For those who have never heard of the “alt right” this resolution may not mean much. The alt right is a group of radical white nationalists and most of their views (political, religious, social, etc) are explicitly racist. Their actions are anti-gospel at its core and must be condemned. Though there were issues concerning the Resolution Committee failing to consider the implications for not allowing the original resolution to be reported out, I am thankful that the revised resolution was passed. The ground stir among social media, younger pastors, and the messengers was awesome to witness.
Lastly, as I was boarding my flight back to Texas I sat next to a brother from the Philippines who serves with the Nehemiah Teams through the IMB. He shared with me his desire to reach the nations with this wife. Listening to his story challenged me to consider my own calling to contribute to God’s global mission.
These are a few of my thoughts from the convention. I am thankful for the opportunity to attend once again. The good news is that 2018 Annual Meeting will be in Dallas! As they say, everything is bigger in Texas and 2018 is expected to be huge!