By Chris Turner
Director of Communications, TBC
BRENTWOOD — It will be a convention of milestones when Tennessee Baptists gather for the annual Summit next week at First Baptist Church, Millington.
This year is the 180th anniversary of the Baptist and Reflector, the convention’s newspaper and one of the oldest continuously published newspapers in the country; it is the 90th anniversary of the Cooperative Program, which was created in 1924 in Memphis (and launched in 1925) at the annual meeting of Southern Baptists; and it is the Tennessee Baptist Convention’s 35th anniversary of partnership missions. It also brings to a conclusion the term of Michael Ellis, the TBC’s first-ever African-American president.
“It has been an amazing year of traveling across our state, preaching and seeing God at work,” Ellis said. “It is a real privilege and a joy to be serving as president as Tennessee Baptists come to West Tennessee for the Summit. It is going to be a great meeting and I look forward to the Pastors Conference speakers and then being together with our larger Tennessee Baptist family.”
The theme for this year’s Summit is “Reach Now … Whatever It Takes,” based on I Corinthians 9:19.
The Pastors Conference begins at 1 p.m. Monday followed by a dinner intermission and then begins again at 6:30 p.m. Speakers include Jack Graham, pastor of Prestonwood Baptist Church, Plano, Texas; Bartholomew Orr, pastor of Brown Baptist Church, Southaven, Miss.; James MacDonald, senior pastor, Harvest Bible Chapel, Elgin, Ill.; Ted Traylor, senior pastor, Olive Baptist Church, Pensacola, Fla.; Kevin Hamm, senior pastor, Gardendale First Baptist Church, Gardendale, Ala.; and Grant Gaines, pastor, Calvary Baptist Church, Jackson.
“I want to express appreciation to the president of this year’s Pastors Conference, Steve Gaines, and the other officers for their selection of speakers,” said Randy C. Davis, executive director of the Executive Board of the Tennessee Baptist Convention. “His team has assembled an excellent group of top-flight pastors and godly men who are leading their churches by example. I’d strongly recommend messengers and guests take advantage of that opportunity.”
Other meetings Monday include The Good Cup, a gathering of Tennessee Baptist Ministers’ Wives; Black Church Development Annual Celebration; Young Pastor’s Dinner; Tennessee Baptist Religious Education Association Training and Banquet; Send Denver information Dinner; Hispanic Pastor’s Fellowship; and a full complement of TBC Executive Board committee meetings.
The annual Summit will begin at 8:15 a.m. Tuesday with worship music and call to order is scheduled for 8:29 a.m. Charlie Worthy, International Mission Board missionary to Italy and the field liaison for Tennessee partnership missions in Italy, will open the session with Scripture reading and prayer. Each of the sessions will begin with Scripture and prayer led by a partnership missions missionary in recognition of the 35th partnership missions anniversary.
Mark H. Luttrell Jr., Shelby County mayor, and Terry Jones, Millington mayor and member of FBC, Millington, will both welcome messengers, followed by a greeting from FBC Pastor David Leavell.
Davis will deliver the Treasurer’s Report at 8:52 and Recommendation 1, the 2015-2016 Cooperative Program Allocations Budget (see printed budget on page 2) will be brought to the messengers at 9:07 a.m. Recommendation 2 will follow and is related to initiating a new partnership missions emphasis with the Baptist Convention of New England and the State Convention of Ohio. Partnership missions specialist Kim Margrave will present information related to the partnership. Recognitions and reports will follow and the election of a new TBC president will be held at 11:30 a.m. As of press deadline, Roc Collins, pastor of Indian Springs Baptist, Kingsport, is the only announced candidate.
The afternoon session begins at 1:15 p.m. followed by reports from TBC institutions and election of officers. The session also will feature two of the five executive director reports by Davis, who will also recognize any new church staff members in attendance. The miscellaneous business session will begin at 3:26 p.m. and the session will close at 4:32 p.m.
A special banquet will be held at Crosspointe Baptist Church, about one mile from First Baptist. The banquet is a celebration of partnership missions but will feature music by award-winning recording artist Larnelle Harris. The banquet is sponsored by Baptist Memorial Hospital, Memphis, and the cost is $5, but reservations must be made in advance.
The evening session begins at 7 p.m. and will open with a recognition of the missions partnerships in which Tennessee Baptists have participated over the past 35 years. Davis will present the third executive director’s report and Harris will perform again for messengers and guests with a mass choir comprised of choirs from across West Tennessee. Michael Ellis will conclude the evening by delivering the TBC president’s address.
Wednesday’s concluding session will commence at 8:30 a.m. and feature a recognition of veterans since Nov. 11 is Veteran’s Day. Randall O’Brien, president of Carson-Newman University and decorated veteran, will offer the recognition of veterans and opening prayer. Final committee reports will be delivered and recommendations and motions made earlier will be resolved. Davis will deliver the last of the executive director’s reports and Kevin Ezell, president of the North American Mission Board will deliver the keynote address beginning at 11:15 a.m.
The closing gavel will drop at 11:52 a.m.