I loved family reunions when I was growing up. Those reunions always landed on or near my Grandpa Davis’ birthday. My Grandpa Davis was my hero. He and Granny Davis were faithful saints and I loved them dearly. Granny Davis was the greatest prayer warrior I’ve ever known, and Grandpa Davis served as treasurer at Little Escambia (Ala.) Baptist Church for over 40 years.
I remember that nearly 100 kinfolks would show up and pack out the church. Afterwards, we’d head to Granny’s and Grandpa’s small house for dinner-on-the-grounds. It was always a blast seeing cousins, aunts and uncles I only got to see once a year.
I feel the same way about our annual Summit gathering of Tennessee Baptists. Sure, I see a lot of pastors, ministers, and their wives and families throughout the year as I travel across the state, but there is nothing like seeing everybody gathered in one location for a time of worship, fellowship and discussing Kingdom work. That’s why I want to extend a personal invitation for you to attend The Summit beginning Sunday evening, Nov. 12, and concluding at noon, Wednesday, Nov. 15.
The easy thing to do is not to come, but here are three reasons why I hope you’ll be at our Tennessee Baptist “family reunion.”
You need it. Pastors and ministers need to step away and take a breather. We need renewal. We need to hear God speak through the message of others. I think back through the years of annual meetings I’ve been to and remember brothers who encouraged me through their preaching and who God used to renew me in my spirit. I can promise you this: God will use men like Bartholomew Orr, Ronnie Floyd, David Platt and others to challenge and encourage you. Their excellent preaching is nestled among a sweet time of worship where the music will prepare your hearts and minds for being refreshed by our Savior.
We need each other. Too often we develop tunnel vision. We lock in on what we’re doing locally and we concentrate more on the tree right in front of us and lose sight of the fact that the tree we’ve been given by God to tend is actually part of a larger forest. We need to hear what God is doing across our state and around the world. We need to spend time with each other, talking with others who share a common ministry experience. We need to laugh together. We need to cry together. We definitely need to pray together. There have been a number of times I’ve gone to a convention and received a much-needed ministry boost just being with people who relate to the highs and lows I face in ministry.
We need to be stewards of God’s “business.” Yes, it is a fact that part of Summit is that it is a big ol’ business meeting, but think about what we are discussing. We are collectively making decisions about budgeting and how best to use the financial resources God has given to reach people for Christ in Tennessee and around the world. We hear reports on how those resources have been used through the various TBMB ministries that support your churches and extend your church’s ministry through our Tennessee Baptist partner ministries. We set direction for the future. We need to come together in a spirit of unity and a bond of peace so that we can focus on our Great Commission calling as Tennessee Baptists. There is too much at stake for those across our state who are swimming in spiritual despair and are counting on us to deliver the gospel that will rescue them into newness of life.
I have never felt a greater sense of urgency in our calling as Christians and as Tennessee Baptists. God is moving across our state and through His people. Yes, sometimes it is hard to step away from the plow, but we need to celebrate the harvest He’s providing and to renew our commitment to return to the fields determined to spend our lives doing the Master’s work. I believe The Summit offers both celebration and renewal.
I hope to see you there as we continue this joyful journey together.