I have to admit my cynicism many years ago the first time I heard a church business meeting being referred to as a “ministry celebration.” I remember thinking, “What’s there to celebrate? The pastor presents financial numbers, the church votes, the upcoming calendar is discussed, we go home—end of story.”
I’ve since come to realize the error in such small-picture thinking. I’m not trying to convince you to show up to your next church business meeting wearing football-style eye black and one of those foam “We’re No. 1!” fingers, but what happens at such gatherings is truly worth celebrating. Behind all those financial tables and reports and such is an ongoing story about how God is using your congregation to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ in your community.
Or to put it another way: God has used and is using your church to change the eternities of people all around you. Such statements can become well-worn platitudes that speed into our ears and zoom right past our hearts, but the reality is, there’s no greater impact a human being can have than to redirect the eternity of another.
This month, the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention will gather for its Annual Meeting. Messengers will witness many of the happenings common to church business meetings: financial numbers will be presented, officers will be elected, ministry updates will be given. But I hope you’ll see this meeting as more than that—it will be an opportunity for us to gather and celebrate how God has used this convention of churches over the past quarter-century. Not only that, we will have an opportunity to celebrate what God can do through this family of churches over the next 25 years so that He may use us in ever greater ways.
I want to encourage you about what God is doing right now. You may not think about it this way, but God is writing Texas history, American history, world history—and kingdom history—every moment of every day. While many of those moments may seem mundane and not worthy of recording for posterity, none are wasted in the hands of our Creator.
Unbeknownst to the whole wide world, a grandmother living in a Texas Panhandle town you’ve never heard of is telling the guy at the grocery store checkout counter about Jesus. Somewhere in Southeast Texas, a shift worker is leaving the refinery after working an all-night turnaround and leading a men’s breakfast Bible study. When we gather in November, you will have the opportunity to hear stories like these of how God is using our churches to impact the kingdom by connecting in our communities.
And that is worth celebrating. Let’s do that when we gather for our Annual Meeting this month.
Eye black and foam fingers are optional.