Thursday, July 21, 2016

Connect with God, at home and in the community

For the past few days I've been privileged to be part of the General Baptist 2016 Summit in Bowling Green, Kentucky. The theme of this summit has been "Connect...with God...At Home...In the Community." It ended last night after three days of wonderful meetings, informational workshops, and excellent worship. Attendance was great, and there has been a magnificent atmosphere throughout the event.

This year I was invited to lead three workshops: "The Healthy Small Church." "Bivocational Ministry for the 21st Century," and "The Healthy Pastor." I've had the opportunity to meet some wonderful church leaders who are passionate about what they are doing as well as the opportunity to learn from other speakers at the plenary sessions.

I always enjoy working with General Baptists. Several years ago I participated in two leadership events hosted by Oakland City University, a GB related school and made connections with several of the leaders of this great denomination. One of the reasons I enjoy working with them so much is their commitment to the Great Commission and to the local church. Another reason is the cross-section of people who attend their meetings. It seems that they have many young pastors and church leaders who are really on fire for ministry. I always enjoy continuing our conversations after a workshop because they are like sponges wanting to soak up more information. Quite frankly, I learn a lot from them and am always energized by our interactions.

The focus of this conference was on connecting with people. We can't influence people if we don't first connect with them. Too many churches want to do ministry but really don't know the people they are called to serve and how they can best serve them. When we first connect with them and learn their needs and hopes we will be better able to provide meaningful ministries to them.

I also greatly appreciated the focus on connecting with our families. Sometimes our families get left out when we think about doing ministry. As I've often said, if we fail our families we will have failed as ministers. This conference understands that and there was a major emphasis on connecting with our families and ensuring that our family relationships remain strong.

Of course, none of this really matters if we haven't first connected with God. Our relationship with Him is foundational for everything else we do. Without that relationship with God as our foundation everything else is building upon sand.

The final service was very moving as several people responded to the invitation to consider God's call to ministry and to the mission field. A number of young people to answer that call signifying a great future for General Baptists as it moves into the future.

I want to thank Franklin Dumond for inviting me to participate in this year's Summit and to everyone who worked so hard to make it happen. Great things are happening in this denomination and even greater things will continue to happen in the future.

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