By Randy C. Davis
TBC Executive Director
I travel – a lot. I’ve made my way back and forth across Tennessee this year several times and then some. Most often those trips are made to preach in your churches or associational meetings, to stop and have lunch with a pastor or church member just to visit, or to attend a meeting where small groups of people are gathered to discuss Kingdom work. I enjoy all these opportunities to connect with brothers and sisters in Christ who share an identity as Tennessee Baptists. But as much as I enjoy connecting with you out across our state one-on-one or in small groups, I love when we all come together in one place for our annual Summit. That’s why I’m excited about next week and the 141st gathering of the Tennessee Baptist Convention taking place at First Baptist Church, Millington.
Yes, I recognize to some extent it is a big business meeting, but frankly that is actually cause for excitement. We get to wrestle with, set direction for and make strategic decisions – life-changing, soul-saving, Kingdom-impacting decisions that give shape and direction to how we as Tennessee Baptists will cooperatively work together for the advancement of the Great Commission. It’s important business, God’s business, and it isn’t to be taken lightly. It blows my mind that our great Savior would allow us to touch His work at all, but since He does, let’s handle it with great reverence, holy care, and respect for each other.
I love gathering together because it is a time to celebrate the past. Listen, let’s not take for granted that this is the 141st consecutive year for Tennessee Baptists to gather. That’s a legacy that stretches back to the 1870s. Tennessee Baptists gathered together in smaller groups before that. Think of all that has historically transpired over the course of those years. Our predecessors in the faith endured wars, economic hardship, epidemics, persecution and much more, but pressed on in faith. As a result, they have left to us a network of dissimilar people unified by the blood of our Lord working together for the cause of Jesus Christ. We owe it to them and our posterity to celebrate the continuing work of Tennessee Baptists.
I love gathering together because it is a time to celebrate the future. I am optimistic and enthusiastic about the present and future Great Commission work of our TBC network of churches. I believe we have a clear direction in our Five Objectives. I believe each of the five contributes to reaching spiritually lost people in Tennessee and around the world, and in the process, strengthens the local church. As a result of participating in an endeavor of such eternal significance, I believe we are spiritually strengthened individually. There have been some amazing things happen across our state over this past year that give us a glimpse of what the future could be. I’ll be sharing some of those stories in my report.
I love gathering together because we need to gather together. In a day when it seems as if the level of cultural darkness is radically escalating, we need to laugh, weep, pray, worship, and encourage each other – together. Satan would like nothing more than to divide us or distract us from being unified in spirit moving forward in the name of Jesus Christ. More than ever we need to love one another and be known for our love. The best way I know for us to grow together is to be together, and being together is why I love the Summit.
It is a joy to be on this journey with you.