By David Dawson
BRENTWOOD — This year’s Summit, the annual gathering of Tennessee Baptists, opened on Sunday night with three Baptist bedrocks: Praise, preaching and prayer.
Two simultaneous worship events — one at Brentwood Baptist Church, Brentwood, and the other at Tusculum Hills Baptist Church, Nashville — served as the official “tip-off” for the 2021 Summit.
At Brentwood, several hundred people attended a Sunday night service that included praise music led by Brentwood Baptist worship leader Travis Cottrell and a message from Tennessee pastor and author Robby Gallaty. Gallaty is senior pastor of Long Hollow Baptist Church, Hendersonville, where a great revival has taken place in recent months. The church has seen more than 1,500 baptisms since December of last year.
At Tusculum Hills, the annual All Nations Worship Celebration was held. The event drew an estimated crowd of 1,000, representing nearly 30 language groups.
The two worship events have served as the “opening act” for Summit for the past several years.
Mike Glenn, pastor of Brentwood Baptist Church, began Sunday night’s worship service at Brentwood with words of welcome, followed by a greeting from Randy C. Davis, president and executive director of the Tennessee Baptist Mission Board.
The Brentwood Baptist Church worship ministry, led by Cottrell and backed by a full orchestra and a large choir, led the congregation through a selection of songs that included “Who can satisfy my soul” and “King of Kings,” among others.
Gallaty then delivered his message, “An Audience of One.”
Citing Enoch as an illustration of faithfulness and focus, Gallaty encouraged the crowd to live like Enoch, who “didn’t try to please anyone but God.”
Gallaty said that it is impossible to “please God and fear man” at the same time. He said many pastors — himself included — can often get caught up in worrying about their approval ratings.
Gallaty noted that Proverbs 29:25 warns that: “the fear of man is a snare.” He said that, ultimately, only God’s opinion matters.
Gallaty also said that it is impossible to “please God and promote self” at the same time. He said that he has, in the past, struggled with this concept, and noted that he endured a period of time when he promoted his church’s attendance on social media outlets.
But Gallaty said he came to realize that “people aren’t interested in how much our church grows; they are interested in how much I care about them.”
He said he has seen too many people who have lived their whole lives “trying to climb the ladder, only to find out that the ladder is leaning against the wrong wall.” Gallaty warned pastors not to “put your charisma above your character.”
Gallty also said that it is not possible to “please God and criticize others” at the same time. He said this especially pertains to social media, where so many people seem to have unlimited amounts of “keyboard courage.”
He said pastors need to stay away from saying anything online that they wouldn’t say to another pastor face to face. “God has an eternal logbook,” Gallaty said.
Gallaty said living by faith is the only sure way to please God. He noted that faith extends long beyond the moment of salvation. “Faith is a lifestyle,” he said.
Gallaty concluded his message by encouraging pastors to prioritize “silence and solitude” in their relationship with the Lord. He said it was in these moments in his personal life when God revealed to him the path that led to the revival that has taken place at Long Hollow over the past year.
“Every great movement of God begins by not moving,” he said.
The service concluded with a call to prayer, with pastors and others invited to come to the altar. A large number of the congregation participated in the prayer. B&R