The Annual Meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention will be in Orlando, FL on June 15-16 and there is a pastor’s conference on June 13-14. Below are 5 reasons why I will be in attendance this year.
5. Raise awareness at First Baptist Church of Evergreen. This wonderful church where I am blessed to serve, for various reasons, does not have a strong grasp (or interest?) in issues regarding Southern Baptist life. While this might be a good thing in some respects, it is unfortunate in others. I would like for my beloved church to have a greater appreciation and commitment to the Cooperative Program, to Lottie Moon and Annie Armstrong, to understand the history and legacy of the greatest missions minded denomination, and to appreciate more why they are worshiping and serving at a local Southern Baptist Church. If just one church member wonders, “why is Pastor Philip going all the way to FL for a SBC meeting?”, then that is a good thing.
4. Because I still believe. Reason number 5 is heavily dependent on this particular reason, and it is simply that I still believe in the future and purpose of the Southern Baptist Convention. I believe, and this is very important, that God will continue to work in the hearts of very imperfect men and women to support churches, missions, and evangelism in order to most effectively win people for Christ. The SBC has had both a wonderful and tainted history. I have many friends and acquaintances who are in effect finished with the SBC and have moved on to other things, which is exactly what they should do if they no longer can support the SBC with a clean conscience. As a matter of fact, I probably have more friends in that camp than I do those who share my position. I understand and respect their position. I just don’t share it.
3. My wife and I will be experiencing a week of spiritual renewal. This will be the first time Andi and I have been away together alone for a multi-day trip since our honeymoon. Although I loathe the thought of being away from my boy and girl for 6 days, I anxiously await the time alone with my wife and look forward to praying with her, discussing issues with her, and just being close to her for a few days all by ourselves.
2. Great Commission Resurgence Task Force Report. I have written plenty about this task force and their report. It seems only fitting that I should be there in person to see how it is received by Southern Baptists from around the country.
1. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. God, in His providence, has timed the opening of Universal Studio’s Islands of Adventure new “island” called the “Wizarding World of Harry Potter” on the Friday of the week when I will be there for the convention. Prayer really does work!! (I’m kidding of course. Well, not kidding that prayer works, but that I was praying for it to open during the time I was down there). So, my brother will be flying down at the end of the week and we will be reviewing the new, highly anticipated island. It doesn’t get much better than that!