By Randy C. Davis
TBC Executive Director
There are those people who touch your life and have an impact that shapes who you become. Charlie was one of those for me.
I’ll never forget Charlie. Charlie died in his mid-90s. He served as treasurer of Little Escambia Baptist Church for well over 40 years. Every year on the Sunday closest to the birthday of this faithful Baptist layman, more than 100 of his family and friends gathered for worship and then headed to Charlie and Essie’s house on Upper Creek Road to enjoy the world’s biggest “dinner-on-the-grounds” under the trees for the annual grand celebration gathering.
My middle name is Charles. Charlie Davis was my grandfather. Getting together with the Davis clan of 25-plus cousins, uncles and aunts (and dozens of people who I had no clue who they were) supplied good memories lasting a lifetime.
Alan Cole, retired CEO and president of a furniture manufacturing company, Baptist layman very involved in international missions, and a personal friend, recently shared this nugget of wisdom with me: “Organizations meet, negotiate, and enter into transactions. Families gather, talk, and build relationships.” Profound … and dead on.
The Tennessee Baptist Convention will gather in just a few days at Brentwood Baptist Church for the Summit and for the 140th anniversary of our network of cooperating and like-minded churches. That’s a long time to be “doing” Great Commission work together and it is God’s grace that has given us such longevity.
But as important, we are, through Christ, a family that gathers, talks, and builds relationships. The relationships forged through the years have carried out the vision of our pioneering forefathers. Let’s consider what those insightful and faithful Baptists did long before we gather next week at Brentwood Baptist Church. They planted hundreds of churches that have now multiplied to thousands of churches. They established effective benevolent ministries and strong educational institutions. The greatest local and global missionary organizations since Pentecost have been organized and launched because they gathered, talked, and built relationships. Their early meetings may have been simple and fairly rudimentary, but because of their like-minded ambition to see the kingdom of God spread across Tennessee, we’ve been given a heritage of service to God and service to others.
We have an opportunity to extend that legacy for the glory of Christ. Sure, we have decisions to make, business to conduct, and a vision to share, but Lord willing, we’ll gather as a family of Tennessee Baptists and enjoy a healthy amount of laughter, hugs, fellowship around meals, and memories will be made that’ll last a lifetime.
I miss those Davis family gatherings, and we won’t be under a big tree at the edge of an open pasture, but I look forward to my Tennessee Baptist family gatherings every year.
Can’t wait to see you next week!
It is a joy to be with you on this journey.