LOUISVILLE, Ky.?Actions do speak louder than words?and Johnny Hunt believes it’s time a lost world sees Southern Baptists match their words with love in action.
That’s the conviction behind the theme of the 152nd session of the Southern Baptist Convention in Louisville, Ky., June 23-24?”LoveLoud: Actions Speak Louder Than Words.”
“Across America, people are thinking less and less of Christian groups,” said Hunt, pastor of the Atlanta-area First Baptist Church in Woodstock and president of the Southern Baptist Convention. “I think it’s because we always talk about what we believe and don’t spend near as much time demonstrating it. If it’s really all about the glory of God, we ought to be doing things that cause people to see our good works and glorify our God in heaven.”
With that in mind, Hunt said, the watchword for the annual meeting is Matthew 5:16?”In the same way, let your light shine before men, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven” (HCSB).
The “Conservative Resurgence” in Southern Baptist life made it clear that Southern Baptists are “a people of the Book,” Hunt said. “But ever since, it seems like we have done less with what we believe than we were doing before. The numbers all substantiate that.
“We can stand, week to week and in our annual meeting, and talk about what we believe or we can begin to love loud and let people see a demonstration of our declaration,” Hunt added. “We have declared that we are a people of the Book, but it’s time to demonstrate what that means. The world is still waiting and watching.”
‘CALL TO ACTION’
The annual meeting program has been designed as a call to action for a “Great Commission Resurgence,” Hunt noted. Just as the Conservative Resurgence was driven by a plan to elect presidents who would make conservative appointments, a Great Commission resurgence also requires a specific plan of action.
“My presidential message will be a ‘State of the Convention’ address,” Hunt said. “I will focus on what, from where I sit, we must change if we are to see a Great Commission resurgence among Southern Baptists.”
Hunt’s address will be reinforced by a message from Daniel L. Akin, president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, N.C., who laid out what he sees as “12 axioms” of a Great Commission resurgence. Akin’s call to action will be followed by messages on three critical issues:
?Vance Pitman, senior pastor of Hope Baptist Church in Las Vegas, will speak on the vision of the Kingdom of God.
?David Platt, senior pastor of The Church at Brook Hills in Birmingham, Ala., will talk about connecting with the culture.
?Jeff W. Crook, pastor of Blackshear Place Baptist Church in Flowery Branch, Ga., will address the issue of evangelism.
Among the highlights of the annual meeting:
?The North American Mission Board will cast special attention on God’s Plan for Sharing (GPS), the denomination-wide evangelism emphasis that launches nationally in 2010.
?Crossover ’09 will mobilize as many as 1,000 volunteers throughout Louisville and its surrounding communities June 19-20. Teams will survey and witness door-to-door through assigned neighborhoods, with priority given to areas where new church starts are planned. Some 40 SBC churches in the Long Run Baptist
Association will participate in 32 block parties in Louisville neighborhoods. Prayer journeys and Compassion in Action projects also are planned. About 1,000 Southern Baptist volunteers from around the nation are expected to come to Louisville to support Crossover events, with the goal of generating 2,000 salvation decisions. For details, visit crossoverlouisville.com.
?John Marshall, pastor of Second Baptist Church in Springfield, Mo., will deliver the convention sermon on Wednesday morning.
?The International Mission Board report and presentation is scheduled for Tuesday evening, June 23. The North American Mission Board report and presentation is set for Wednesday evening, June 24.
?Tourist attractions are highlighted o