Hello BRN Family it is good to be with you today!

Every year thousands upon thousands of Southern Baptists meet for the SBC Annual Meeting. This year, it is Indianapolis, Indiana, next week. The two-day annual meeting is the only time in a year that the convention sets the work and agenda of the SBC for the year to come.

Every year the meeting is blessed with exceptional worship, preaching, and testimonies that give you a highlight of what Southern Baptists cooperatively do every year together. But, on a down note the meeting can be marked with some type of controversy and confusion. Television and newspaper media, as well as people posting on social media, give their opinions of the business conducted at this meeting. Some people leave happy, some leave disappointed, sometimes some leave and never come back.

It is always a meeting with highlights and lowlights. But that can be expected, for in many ways this annual meeting is perhaps the largest business meeting conducted anywhere in the world, and anytime you have this many people meeting for business not everyone is going to come away having felt their voice and opinion heard.

No matter what happens at this meeting, several things will remain true. First, the Great Commission will not take a back seat because of the business conducted at this gathering. Jesus communicated that the Great Commission is the plan for the church; there is no other option or strategy.

Second, no SBC church will relinquish their autonomy or convictions about who they are and what they practice week in and week out, because of the actions of this meeting. Churches send messengers, not delegates. Messengers do not carry with them delegated authority. Meaning, messengers represent their churches, but even they cannot speak with absolute authority about every conviction of people within their own local church. Thirdly, I’ve never met a Baptist who believed 100% of what another Baptist believes.

Our main concern as Baptists should always be how do we stay faithful to Christ, His Word, and His mission in conducting ourselves in the place that He has planted our lives and His local church. I’m not naïve; I do not believe we will ever agree on everything as Baptists, but I do believe we can stay true to our convictions and the beliefs we embrace through the Baptist Faith and Message.

Finally, no matter what comes out of Indianapolis next week, may we as Pennsylvania and South Jersey Baptists remember that God is holding us accountable to carry the gospel to the 14 million lost souls who do not yet know Jesus Christ throughout our two-state region. My prayer is that we will not become distracted nor disconnected from each other to accomplish what can only be done collectively in this endeavor.

So many good things are happening here in our region. I am asking all of you to pray for the SBC meeting in Indianapolis. Let’s pray that we will stay focused on our mission of accelerating the movement that our King, Jesus desires. Let’s pray “for such a time as this” that we will become even more united to fulfill His mission across Pennsylvania and South Jersey.

Let’s remain united in our mission. Let’s continue to reach the vision of every church becoming so healthy that it reproduces disciples, raises up and sends more leaders, starts new ministries in our communities and cities, and starts more new churches than ever before.

I will give you an update next week from Indianapolis. Thanks for listening in today, and God bless you.