Three Southern Baptist leaders, in a “Prayer Summit for Spiritual Awakening” at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, challenged pastors-in-training to seek a fresh movement of God and lead their congregations to experience the same.
Ronnie Floyd, president of the Southern Baptist Convention and pastor of Cross Church in northwest Arkansas, opened the prayer summit in New Orleans Seminary’s Leavell Chapel, preaching from Isaiah 63-64.
“In the book of Isaiah, there was a situation in chapters 63 and 64 much like what we see in our culture today,” Floyd said. “People are realizing ‘we can’t fix ourselves.'”
In Isaiah’s time, Floyd said, the people had wandered from God much like the American church has wandered from God. In his day, Isaiah called the nation to a great awakening, a return to God. The United States, he said, needs the same today.
“The number one need in America today is the church of Jesus Christ to wake up and experience a mighty manifestation of the Holy Spirit of God,” Floyd said.
As SBC president, Floyd is leading a Join the Movement call to prayer, urging people to join in prayer for a great awakening in America and for the effort to reach the world for Christ as well as a commitment by Southern Baptists to gather in Columbus, Ohio, for the annual convention meeting there, June 16-17, 2015.
After the Oct. 30 chapel hour at NOBTS, Floyd teamed up with local pastor and former SBC president Fred Luter and the current president of the Louisiana Baptist Convention, Lafayette pastor Steve Horn, for a question-and-answer luncheon and time of guided prayer with NOBTS students along with faculty and staff and people from the surrounding community.
NOBTS President Chuck Kelley, who emceed the luncheon, asked Floyd, Luter and Horn to describe three steps or places to start in seeking to experience an awakening or new work of God in their ministry setting.
Luter answered first, focusing on the issue of faithfulness.
“Number one, be faithful to God,” Luter said. “God called you. Your mama didn’t call you. Your daddy didn’t call you. Your mama didn’t, daddy didn’t, your friends didn’t. Be faithful to God.”
Hard times and difficult situations and temptations can lead pastors to consider leaving ministry, Luter said.
“But if God has called you, you’re not going anywhere,” he said.
Second, Luter said to be faithful to family.
“I cannot stress this enough. Never put the church before your family,” he said. “I would not be where I am today if it had not been for the prayers and support of the love of my life, the apple of my eye, my prime rib, my good thing, my wife, Elizabeth.
“When I was going through that really tough time following Hurricane Katrina, she was the one who prayed for me, that encouraged me, that said, ‘Baby, we’re going to get through this thing,'” he recounted.
Third, Luter said to be faithful “to the church you’re serving.”
“Don’t go to a church with a resume in your back pocket, with the understanding of ‘I’m just going to put this church on my resume before I go on to something bigger and better,'” he said.
Luter said when he went to Franklin Avenue Baptist Church in the late 1980s the church had 50 members and he was paid $150 a week. But he was faithful to where God had called him; nearly 30 years later, Franklin Avenue is a thriving community of faith. Luter said when he reflects on his ministry thus far, which includes pastoring one of the largest churches in Louisiana and serving two years as president of the Convention, it all has hinged on faithfulness.
“I contribute it to one thing: faithfulness. I’ve been faithful to God, faithful to my family, faithful to my church,” he said.
Click here to read more.
SOURCE: Baptist Press
Frank Michael McCormack