DALLAS, TX – Get ready. Stop and write this message on your personal calendar for October 1, 2018: “10 AM (EST) - Register for a Birmingham, Alabama hotel on October 1, 2018.” Do what I am asking or be homeless in Birmingham. As that date approaches there will be more details at www.sbc.net. You will thank me, this time next year, for reminding you about this one-of-a-kind world event.
Book Stacks Taller Than an Eight-Year Old
I’m inviting you to a 2-day business meeting on June 11-12, 2019 in Birmingham, Alabama which is unlike any other meeting you have ever experienced! Crazy uncles. A carnival-like atmosphere. Free book giveaways that will stack-up higher than an eight-year old. Preaching that will melt your heart. Singing that will make your soul rise. Representatives from some of the 47,000 churches that makeup the Southern Baptist Convention will gather to hear reports and vote on recommendations, a budget, resolutions, and elections.
Eating an Elephant One Bite at a Time
Come experience how our network of autonomous, self-governing convention of 47,000 churches cooperate together to accomplish God’s will through 13 organizations. The national network of churches is so large that it is a miracle that we can accomplish so much in just two days of business. It is like eating an elephant one bite at a time. Monumental but doable. (Not that I have a craving for eating elephant meat.) You learn about and could one day serve on one of the following organizations.
International Mission Board
North American Mission Board
Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission
Gateway Baptist Theological Seminary
Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary
New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary
Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary
Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary
Women’s Missionary Union (an auxiliary)
GuideStone Financial Resources
LifeWay Christian Resources
Become a TV Sensation
If you decide you want to ask a question of one of the heads of an agency, approach a microphone. One of the many cameras in the auditorium will find you. In a split second, your face will fill the screens in the auditorium and be streamed live, worldwide on the Internet. First impressions matter, so be careful of what you say on screen and how you say it. Still, never fear. Your question, your vote, and your presence are equal to anyone else in the building. However, remember before you show-up, next year, in Birmingham, Alabama, have your church pre-register you as a messenger from your church. They always want you to identify yourself by name and church membership before you speak at the convention. Your annual church profile (ACP) needs to be completed this fall too if you’re going to represent your church home. Remind your church clerk or secretary to file the ACP this fall and pre-register you next spring.
Offered Instructions to J.D. Greear
If you come next year, what happened to me might happen to you. For example, I could tell you that I offered Dr. JD Greear, pastor of Summit Church, vital instruction mere hours before his election to president of the national Southern Baptist Convention. It would be true . . . sort of?
Let me explain. You see the day after JD preached the closing sermon at the 2-day pastor’s conference which comes before the annual business meeting, JD and I had a chance encounter outside a set of elevators. I told JD how encouraged I was by his message. He in turn engaged actively in our conversation. During our brief conversation, JD entered my elevator which was going the opposite direction he and his friends were intending to go. I repeated what his friends were saying, “JD this elevator is going down, you need to go up.” After my explanation and instruction, JD said to me, “Thanks. Have a good day.” So, I did offer JD Greear instructions mere hours before his election to the presidency of the Southern Baptist Convention. Though, my instructions were not as important as you might have thought. Ha!
But Seriously folks
Seriously though, you will have sanctified celebrity encounters all day long and every day you are at the annual convention. On Wednesday, I leaned back in my chair and thanked a former president of the SBC for mentoring one of our new church planters in Ann Arbor. On Thursday, I greeted another president of one of our agencies at the airport while he was buying caramel popcorn with his wife. You will discover that those who we think are unapproachable are actually loving, humble, pastoral people serving you and serving the Lord in their roles of leadership. You could very well be one yourself some day.
Please, start saving now. Ask your church to help you go to the convention. Arrange your housing and travel itinerary. Pre-register as a messenger from your church. Next year will come sooner than you think. I hope to see you next year at the annual Southern Baptist Convention on June 11-12, 2019 and at all the other events that come before and around those incredible days. See you in Birmingham!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Tony Lynn is the State Director of Missions for the Baptist State Convention of Michigan. Before coming on staff at the BSCM, Tony served as lead pastor for more than six years at Crosspoint Church in Monroe, Michigan. He and his wife, Jamie, also served with the International Mission Board in Africa and in Europe.