Steve Gaines Reflects on Southern Baptist Convention Ahead of Annual Meeting

Leading up to this year’s Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting in Dallas, SBC president Steve Gaines answered questions from Baptist Press regarding this year’s gathering and lessons and rewarding moments he’s encountered during the past two years.

Nearing the end of his second and final one-year term as SBC president, the pastor of Memphis-area Bellevue Baptist Church in Cordova, Tenn., specifically addressed this year’s SBC election and some of the challenges the convention faces in the months ahead. See related story published Friday, (April 20). BP will release two additional question-and-answer sessions with SBC presidential candidates J.D. Greear and Ken Hemphill this week.

Below are Gaines’ written responses to BP’s questions.

Share your thoughts on this year’s SBC meeting, the theme, and why it was chosen.

Gaines: I’m looking forward to gathering with thousands of Southern Baptists in Dallas in June. Our theme for the 2018 annual meeting is: Testify! Go. Stand. Speak. This theme is based on Acts 5:20: “Go, stand and speak to the people in the temple the whole message of this Life.” The artwork has a definite Texas flare.

I want to challenge all Southern Baptists to boldly testify of the saving work that Jesus Christ has accomplished for all of us. I challenge all Southern Baptists to be willing to go wherever God tells you to go, stand for the truth of the Gospel of Christ, regardless of how counter-cultural it becomes, and to open your mouths and speak the words of the Gospel with lost people in a persuasive manner for the purpose of winning them to faith in Jesus. A real gospel conversation must include a gospel presentation and a gospel invitation.

As my former evangelism professor, Roy Fish, always said, “You can’t serve Jesus with a zipped lip.” Southern Baptists must verbally share the Gospel with lost people and win them to Christ.

How can Southern Baptists pray for this year’s meeting and the SBC? And share what you’d like to see happen during the meeting.

Gaines: Pray for the Lord’s manifest presence to envelop all of us, from the first prayer on Tuesday morning to the closing prayer on Wednesday afternoon.

Pray that the words of our mouths and the meditations of our hearts will be acceptable in God’s sight (Psalm 19:14). Pray that God will set a guard over our mouths and keep watch over the door of our lips (Psalm 141:3).

Pray that Jesus alone will be glorified and exalted.

Pray for everyone who preaches and for everyone who presents a report to be anointed with the Holy Spirit.

Pray that every messenger will be considerate and Christlike in all interactions with others.

Pray that all of us will be Godly examples to a lost world that will be watching and listening.

Pray that we will conduct the Lord’s business “properly and in an orderly manner” (1 Corinthians 14:40).

Pray that during our meetings we will discuss issues in a united, civil, Spirit-filled way.

Pray that when we leave Dallas, we will do so with a genuine unity of spirit and purpose — to reach lost people throughout the world with the saving Gospel of Jesus Christ.

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Source: Baptist Press