“The missional strategy of the Tennessee Baptist Convention is to take the gospel across the streets, the states and the seas,” said Randy C. Davis, president and executive director of the Tennessee Baptist Mission Board.
“We must live out this Acts 1:8 strategy mandated by our Commander-in-Chief, Jesus. It is not my neighbor or the nations. It is my neighbor and the nations,” he stressed.
Clay Hallmark, president of the Tennessee Baptist Convention and senior pastor of First Baptist Church, Lexington, observed that “recent surveys have proven what we already know to be true — Tennessee is a mission field.
“With 70 percent or approximately five million of our residents unchurched in Tennessee, it is imperative that we take the gospel of Jesus Christ across the street, across the state and across the seas. We are seeking to help ‘ignite’ our churches to pray and take the gospel to their neighbors, co-workers, relatives and friends as a priority. This is where the work of evangelism begins for each of us and for each of our churches,” Hallmark said.
Davis related that a pastor told him recently, “It’s great to be a Tennessee Baptist.” The TBMB leader agreed wholeheartedly. “At Summit 2022, coming up in the Memphis area at historic Bellevue Baptist Church in Cordova, we will celebrate what God is accomplishing through His church and look forward to the days ahead together.
“We will conduct kingdom business as a unified network of churches with dignity, respect and joy. This time together is vitally important as we seek to do Great Commission work together,” Davis said.
“I am looking forward to our family reunion,” Davis said.
Hallmark observed that “the presence of Tennessee Baptists at this year’s Summit will be pivotal to the future of our convention and our efforts to carry out our mission. We are looking forward to listening to and hearing from Tennessee Baptists as to what they deem to be the priorities of the TBMB in the coming years.
“The gathering of the Summit at Bellevue Baptist will be a time of preparation as we seek to Win Tennessee together,” he added.
Summit festivities begin on Sunday, Nov. 13, at 6 p.m. with the “Tennessee Reunion” in the sanctuary of Bellevue Baptist Church. The service will feature evangelist and author Bob Pitman, retired pastor of Kirby Woods Baptist Church in Memphis and Mark Blair with the Bellevue Baptist worship ministry team.
The All Nations Worship Celebration will be held in Bellevue Baptist’s fellowship hall at 5 p.m. For information about this event, contact Marybel Sotomayor at email@example.com or 615-371-7916.
The annual Tennessee Baptist Pastors Conference takes place the following day at Bellevue Baptist, beginning at 1 p.m. Speakers include Charlie Dates, pastor, Progressive Baptist Church, Chicago, Ill.; Ternae Jordan Sr., pastor, Mount Canaan Baptist Church, Chattanooga; James Merritt, pastor, Cross Pointe Church, Duluth, Ga.; Ed Newton, pastor, Community Bible Church, San Antonio, Texas; Anthony Payton, pastor, Come as You Are Community Church, Fort Wayne, Ind.; and Pete Tackett, pastor, Antioch Baptist Church, Johnson City. Justin Tucker, worship leader, Living Hope Church, Clarksville, will serve as worship leader.
Annual business meeting
The annual meeting of the convention, where business is conducted, will convene on Tuesday, Nov. 15. Messengers will hear inspirational messsages, ministry reports and conduct business.
Among the business to be considered is the reports of the Committee on Committees and the Committee on Boards (see pages 8-9), the report of the TBC Sexual Abuse Task Force and the introduction of the Acts 2:17 Initiative which will be a 12-18 month process “seeking the will of the Father for Tennessee Baptist churches’ work in the years ahead,” Davis noted. Acts 2:17 (NKJV) says, “And, it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, That I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, Your young men shall see visions, Your old men shall dream dreams.”
“For the past 10 years, Tennessee Baptists have pursued the Five Objectives which have served us well and have kept us on track for winning Tennessee for Christ,” he added. “But as we come to the end of that 10-year period and look toward the future, this is an opportunity for messengers to dream about what they would like to see the Tennessee Baptist Convention accomplish in the future.” Messengers will be given the opportunity to dream for the future during the Tuesday afternoon session.
Hallmark, who appointed the task force, is excited about their report. “This team has worked tirelessly for months to produce materials that will benefit abuse survivors and their families, local churches and even those who have been falsely accused,” he noted.
Each messenger will receive a copy of a new book titled Ministering Well which will become an easy to access, hands on reference guide of best practices, resources for ministry, sample policies and procedures, as well as a listing of trained experts at counseling centers from every area of the state of Tennessee,” Hallmark continued.
“In addition, a new website filled with resources and reference materials will also be introduced during the report. The SATF has worked with the TBMB to overview all of our policies related to sexual abuse prevention and ministry. The result will be the codifying of many of the policies already being employed by the TBMB, training and providing on-call staff members to answer questions and provide help to TBC churches, members and victims, as well as providing clarification to the credentials committee on the nature of a cooperating Tennessee Baptist church,” Hallmark said.
Messengers will elect a new slate of officers for the coming year. In what could be a break from tradition, Hallmark announced in the summer he would seek a second term. He said that he believes “a second year will give us some consistency in some of the major things we are attempting as Tennessee Baptists. My goal would be to see that the resources and website being created by the TBC Sexual Abuse Task force are implemented.”
Since the 1940s, TBC presidents have been elected to a one-year term on a rotating basis by the three grand regions of the state. The process has been by tradition as the TBC’s governing documents do not provide for the election of the president other than they must be resident members of cooperating Baptist churches.
As of press time on Sept. 12, no other candidates have been announced for either president or the vice president offices.
Messengers also will consider on second reading two changes to the Constitution and Bylaws that were passed on first reading last year. (See pages 10-12.) Both recommendations will need a two-thirds vote of messengers this year.
Featured speakers, events
Summit program personalities will include Hallmark, Pitman and Bartholomew Orr, pastor of Brown Missionary Baptist Church, Southaven, Miss., who will deliver the convention sermon.
As in recent years, a number of breakout sessions on topics of interest to messengers — including evangelism, church revitalization, retirement and outreach to women — will be offered on Monday morning only. A complete list of topics and speakers will either be published prior to Summit or posted on baptistandreflector.org.
How to register
Online preregistration for Summit 2022 opened Sept. 5 and will continue through the start of Summit. Visit www.TBCsummit.org to register online. Messengers may also register once they arrive at Summit.
Every messenger must present their credentials at the registration area once they arrive. B&R