By Randy C. Davis
President and executive director, Tennessee Baptist Mission Board
I want to know where I am going, how I’ll get there and when I’ll arrive. I’m wired that way. I admit I can be a bit obsessed with what’s coming next. A flaw? Maybe, and I have learned to “enjoy the moment.” However, that has not delivered me from the need to look down the road.
I always want to be moving forward.
That’s my hope for Tennessee Baptists and our great network of churches called the Tennessee Baptist Convention. We’ll gather next week at Brentwood Baptist Church for Summit 2021 under the theme developed by the TBC Arrangements Committee: “Forward Together, With One Heart.”
The theme implies both the powerful work of God to unify our hearts around His purpose in His power, and that together we will make a resolute decision to “expect great things from God, attempt great things for God” (William Carey).
There is no denying the greater Southern Baptist Convention is rife with division right now. There are real challenges that need addressing and resolutions found. But while we give careful attention to those challenges, we cannot set aside a conscious effort to move forward together in pursuit of Great Commission objectives.
God commands it. Jesus expects it. The Holy Spirit directs it. Any way you slice it, Tennessee is a mission field, and eternity is at stake for millions of our fellow Tennesseans.
I believe there is a spiritual harvest to be reaped, if we’ll move forward together with one heart. Significant milestones lie on our horizon. In 2024 we will celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Tennessee Baptist Convention and that first gathering of Tennessee Baptists who convened in Murfreesboro to launch what has become a legacy of advancing the gospel in Tennessee and around the world.
Also 2024 we’ll mark the 10-year anniversary of the Five Objectives, affirmed by messengers at the 2014 Summit held in Brentwood. Their overwhelming affirmation sent the message that they wanted their churches to see more spiritually lost Tennesseans come to Christ, legacy churches revitalized, new churches birthed, global missionaries sent, compassion ministries expanded, and unified fellowship enjoyed. Through it all, Tennessee Baptists are determined to stand firm on the Word of God without compromise or apology.
And with the approaching 10th anniversary of the Five Objectives, we want to look beyond the horizon. Here at the TBMB, we will begin an extensive process of praying over and articulating the “preferred future” of the TBC. It will be an exciting time of dreaming and redreaming as we seek God’s direction ahead.
However, before we chase down the road after the future, I am going to take some time and enjoy the moment. I missed being with my Tennessee Baptist brothers and sisters in Christ last year when we had to cancel Summit due to COVID-19. I’m looking forward to seeing you and celebrating with you as we worship, fellowship and do God’s business.
Forward together, with one heart. It’s more than a theme. It is a calling to which I pray God will unify us, recharge us and send us out again to be salt and light in a world desperate for truth.
It is a joy to be with you on the journey. B&R