BATTLE CREEK, MI – We Southern Baptists are known for many things, some good (commitment to the Word, missions, and evangelism) and some, well, not so good (prohibitions against dancing and card-playing). And then, there are those business meetings.
Most of us can probably share a personal experience regarding a church business meeting that would raise goosebumps on even the most seasoned and stalwart Baptist pastor (ask me sometime about the six hour, single issue business meeting I once sat through that went unresolved and continued the next day!). It’s no surprise, encouraging attendance at a state convention meeting can quickly elicit that classic Christian way of saying no - “Let me pray about it!”
Participating as a messenger to the annual meeting of the Baptist State Convention of Michigan (BSCM) is nowhere near as bad as you might think. In fact, in the seven years I’ve been attending and actively involved, I have found it to be a joy – even during those meetings where some difficult and contentious decisions had to be made. As I think about how to encourage others to attend this year’s convention, eight reasons come to mind.
The business portions are a small part of the meeting, but they are important. We don’t spend the entire convention in business session (thankfully!), but the items that are discussed and prayerfully handled are important for the advancement of the Kingdom in our state. Whether it’s adopting the budget, voting for officers, or debating motions, your voice as a messenger helps set both the tone and the direction of our convention of churches.
Hearing about works throughout our state. When you hear how God is moving in every corner of Michigan, from Iron Mountain to Detroit, you can’t help but be excited. Churches are being planted, revitalized, and mobilized so that the Gospel is proclaimed and holes are punched in this present darkness.
Visiting with, and making new, friends from around the state. Every year at the convention, I get to visit with brothers and sisters whom I have known for several years, as well as making new friends and connections. This is a sweet fellowship.
Worshiping and praising the Lord together. It’s wonderful seeing the people of God, from many different ethnic backgrounds and styles of worship, standing side by side, singing their praises to God. This is just a small foretaste of what we can expect before the Throne of God.
Receiving reports from state and national entities. The annual meeting of the BSCM allows you the opportunity to hear and see first hand how your Cooperative Program (CP) giving is being used for the cause of Christ, as well as an opportunity to ask any questions you might have. Chances are, if you have a question, you’re not the only one.
Being encouraged and challenged. Each year we have the chance to hear some good preaching from solid pastors from both in and out of our state. The messages they bring from the Lord not only encourage us to continue running the race, but also challenge us to rely more on God’s grace for that endurance.
Becoming connected. By being involved in the annual meeting, you will get to know other believers and churches who are in similar contexts as you, and who can be helpful partners in Kingdom work.
God is glorified in the unity of His Church. When the world sees us standing together despite our differences, the power of the Gospel is on display and God is glorified.
This year, I encourage you to join with your brothers and sisters from around Michigan as we meet at Grace Church in Jackson on November 9 for the BSCM Annual Meeting. You’ll be glad you did.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Roy Henry is blessed to be the husband to Aryn and father of Isaac, Reagan and Elijah. He serves as Senior Pastor of Faith Baptist Church in Battle Creek, Michigan, as well as the Recording Secretary for the BSCM and the NAMB Trustee from Michigan. In his spare time, he enjoys making the Grand Rapids bookstore circuit, discussing theology, and cheering on his beloved UGA Dawgs!