Multiplication and reconciliation topics of Advance Now panel

AUSTIN—In keeping with the theme of the Holy Spirit at the SBTC Annual Meeting, a panel discussion sponsored by the SBTC missions department focused on the role of the Spirit in the work of growing the church and in creating an ethically diverse body.

“The Holy Spirit is playing a special function in this particular period of time, where he’s drawing people to Christ, and he’s empowering those who come to Christ to carry out his mission in the world,” said panelist Tim Hawks, pastor of Hill Country Bible Church in Austin.

As church leaders and church planters are seeking and being empowered by the Holy Spirit, the natural result should be growth, said Bob Roberts, pastor of Northwood Church in Keller.

“Church multiplication should be the most natural thing for a living church,” Roberts told the crowd at the Advance Now dinner. “Healthy things reproduce, and healthy things multiply.”

To pastors attending the panel discussion, Roberts said, “It has to start with you.”

Though many churches today define successful multiplication in terms of size and numbers, Von Minor, pastor of Restoration Community Church in Dallas, reminded leaders that it is the Holy Spirit who will add the increase, and the role of church planters and pastors is to be faithful.

“There seems to be this thirst to compare yourself to what’s happening at this church or that church, but I’m learning from my mentors to just do what God’s calling me to do and the rest will work out in his perfect will,” Minor said.

As conversations about racial reconciliation sweep across the nation, the panelists agreed that churches need to be examples in their communities of unity by reflecting the diversity around them.

“God is doing a work of exalting his son, drawing a multi-ethnic people to himself through the gospel preaching, the Spirit attending that,” said Juan Sanchez, pastor of High Pointe Baptist Church in Austin.

“What we need to understand is that the triune God is building together this multiethnic assembly, so our role is to preach this Christ and the Spirit’s role is to draw this multi-ethnic assembly.”

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