By Lonnie Wilkey
Editor, Baptist and Reflector
Another Summit has come and gone.
Tennessee Baptists gathered at Brentwood Baptist Church last week to hear some outstanding preaching, conduct convention business, and to fellowship and rejoice over what God has been doing in and through the Tennessee Baptist Convention this past year.
Sadly, after a great attendance last year in Chattanooga, our registered messengers dipped below 1,000 this year, one of the lowest attended conventions in recent years.
For those who registered online but did not make it, you missed a good convention. For those who simply did not come, you missed a good convention as well.
God blessed through the messages delivered this year, not only during the annual meeting but the Pastors Conference which preceded it.
TBC Executive Director Randy C. Davis made an excellent presentation of the ministry of the TBC Executive Board on Tuesday evening prior to Larry Robertson’s President’s Address.
Davis was thankful that the Five Objectives (his vision for the next decade) were overwhelmingly approved by messengers earlier that day.
He told messengers that “we are finished with analyzing the past. We must compassionately move ahead to what God has for us today. Those monumentally huge objectives are absolutely impossible without God’s Holy Spirit doing what only He can do.”
He is absolutely right. It is time to move forward.
Tennessee Baptists proved we are still Baptists. There were moments of disagreement, particularly over the move to a 50/50 distribution of Cooperative Program funds with the Southern Baptist Convention.
People who want more money to go to SBC causes (primarily international missions) were passionate as were people who are concerned about funding for Tennessee Baptist entities. I give both sides of the issue credit. Discussion was handled the way it should have been — directed to the issue and not personalities.
Let me emphasize that the Vision 2021 Transition Team did nothing wrong. They presented their report based on what messengers at two previous conventions had called for — moving toward 50/50.
It was not their fault that after that decision was made, some people apparently had a change of heart when they realized that ministries important to them would have to make sacrifices to make this happen.
You cannot make such a radical move in a relatively short time without serious implications. Every TBC ministry has had or will have to make adjustments. The TBC Executive Board already has led the way by making some dramatic cuts and adjustments to their budget.
Others will have to as well.
But as Dr. Davis reminded us, we must move forward.
Moving forward means we must do it together, whether you want more funding for the SBC or TBC.
Actually, it does not have to be either/or. It can be both/and if our churches will commit to increasing Cooperative Program giving.
Even slight increases will mean more dollars for every TBC and SBC entity.
It’s up to us. Read outgoing TBC President Larry Robertson’s column below.
Tennessee Baptists made a decision to “jump” at this year’s annual meeting. Now, it’s time to take a leap.
Didn’t have much room left for Thanksgiving thoughts after all, but be sure to thank God during our season of Thanksgiving for the blessings He has given. I, for one, am truly blessed beyond measure. To Him be the glory!