By Lonnie Wilkey and David Dawson
Baptist and Reflector
HENDERSONVILLE — Praise, fellowship and prayer were the focal points on the first day of the the 2017 TBC Summit.
The annual event opened on Sunday night with two memorable events — the Sunday Night Service and the All Nations Worship Celebration — being held simultaneously at First Baptist Church Hendersonville and Long Hollow Baptist Church, respectively.
The Sunday Night Service, which is a relatively new tradition at Summit, began with a 45-minute concert by the Tennessee Men’s Chorale, followed by a worship service that included a message from Bartholomew Orr, the senior pastor of Brown Missionary Baptist Church in Southaven, Miss. Following the service, there was a time of fellowship.
In his message, Orr challenged the roughly 800 attendees to “raise the dead” — not in the literal sense, but in reference to those who have no spiritual life.
“I see a lot of dead men walking, as I call them,” said Orr, “but God has given us the mandate to raise the dead.”
Orr said “(Christians) don’t need to be pallbearers; we need to be armor bearers.”
Orr used the passage from II Kings 13:21 — when a dead man comes back to life after being thrown into the grave of Elisha — to demonstrate the power of those who have been anointed by the Holy Spirit.
“When you combine the power of God with the passion of man,” he said, “we can get a complete victory.”
Orr encouraged attendees to “stay righteous” before God, and to “stay ready” to point people to Jesus.
Meanwhile, seven miles away at Long Hollow Baptist Church in Hendersonville, people were treated to a “glimpse of heaven.”
Nearly 1,000 Tennessee Baptists of all races and ethnic backgrounds from at least 34 countries gathered for the “All Nations Worship Celebration.”
William Burton, ethnic church planting/evangelism specialist for the Tennessee Baptist Mission Board, noted the gathering was a historic occasion for Tennessee Baptists. “It was the first event connected with the Tennessee Baptist Convention that was aimed specifically for people from all nations,” he said.
“The meeting reflects the reality of what Tennessee and Tennessee Baptist churches look like,” he continued. “God has amazingly brought the nations to us. What used to be international missions is now home missions for us.”
Rod Garro, Hispanic minister at Long Hollow, welcomed those in attendance. “It has been my dream to see people of all nations gathered in this worship center,” he said.
Roc Collins, director of strategic objectives for the Tennessee Baptist Mission Board, stressed the Five Objectives, strategic long-range plan that has been adopted by Tennessee Baptists, and especially Objective 1: Seeing at least 50,000 Tennesseans annually saved, baptized, and set on the road to discipleship by 2024.
“It is for every Tennessean no matter where their roots are from,” Collins said. He noted more than 100 people groups live in Tennessee, but “there is only one Lord.”
Steve Freeman, pastor of Grace Baptist Church, Springfield, and president of the Tennessee Baptist Convention, said the service at Long Hollow provided a “glimpse of heaven.”
“We are so excited about what God is doing in Tennessee and you are at the helm and cusp of a revolutionary move of God,” he said.
The service featured music from an All Nations Choir comprised of people of all nationalities and a message from Malok Deng, pastor of the Sudanese Ministry Bible Church, Nashville.