25 years of answered prayer with Byron McWilliams

In November, the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention will mark 25 years of answered prayer at its annual meeting at Cross City Church in Euless. Each month until then, the Texan will feature a brief conversation with past SBTC presidents about how they have seen God answer their prayers for the convention over the past quarter century and how they are praying God will bless the convention moving forward. This month, we feature past SBTC president Byron McWilliams (2009-2011).

What were some of your earliest prayers for the SBTC?

From the earliest days of the SBTC I have prayed for growth. Whenever I would receive the Texan [newspaper] and witness the growing number of churches affiliating, I felt like this prayer was being answered. I have also prayed for our convention to maintain a pristine biblical fidelity that aligned with what it meant to be a New Testament gathering of churches. God has continually answered this prayer, as the SBTC is a confessional fellowship of churches that are likeminded in faith and practice and stand on the inerrancy of Scripture as the basis of all we do.

How have you seen God answer some of your prayers regarding the convention?

We have grown in ways I could not have imagined 25 years ago. We are now a convention of thousands of churches uniting with one mind and heart for the purpose of advancing the gospel of Jesus Christ. Yes, things are different in many ways. Leadership has changed, strategies have come and gone, cooperative giving has continually increased, founding fathers have gone to glory, but the call and stance upon inerrancy that drew me to the SBTC from the start remains the same. 

“May we not lose our effectiveness in linking arms and loving this world to Jesus Christ as we evangelize the lost.”

During your service as president, how were you praying for the convention? 

The SBTC, under the tremendous guidance of Jim Richards [who now serves as executive director emeritus], has always been top shelf. This leadership strength continues today with Nathan Lorick. As SBTC president, I gladly received wisdom and tutelage from Dr. Richards, praying for him and the rest of the SBTC staff regularly. The SBTC was growing rapidly, and my prayers continued to center around biblical fidelity and faithful practice. I also prayed for myself, as did others—of which I am eternally grateful—because the last thing I wanted to do was drop the ball in leading the convention with what I prayed would be integrity of heart and skillfulness of hand (Psalm 78:72).

What is your prayer for the next 25 years of the SBTC?

My prayer for the next 25 years is that we [as Southern Baptists] would once again adopt the missional embrace of William Carey and that we would, “Enlarge the place of your tent and let the curtains of your habitations be stretched out; do not hold back; lengthen your cords and strengthen your stakes. For you will spread about to the right and to the left, and your offspring will possess the nations and will people the desolate cities” (Isaiah 54:2-3). May we never compromise on the inerrancy of Scripture. May we not lose our effectiveness in linking arms and loving this world to Jesus Christ as we evangelize the lost. May we recapture Carey’s encouragement to expect great things from God and attempt great things for God.

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