The Arkansas Baptist State Convention will meet in Hot Springs for our 169th session preceded by the Pastors’ Conference, October 24-26. I have personally attended almost thirty of these events. I have been inspired, informed, challenged and changed by the positive reports and sermons each year. This meeting is a celebration of the cooperative and collective work of Arkansas Baptist churches, entities, and institutions.
The great majority of those gathered in Hot Springs feel the way I do about Southern Baptists and Arkansas Baptists. My hope is that in Hot Springs we will find the huge common ground that we have in Christ, the Gospel, and our church polity, and be willing to offer grace in those few areas we do not. Winston Churchill said of democracy, “Democracy is the worst form of government, except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.” This could be said of Southern Baptist polity, the Baptist Faith and Message and the Cooperative Program. These are not perfect systems or documents, but compared to everything else that has been tried, I am convinced the ABSC is the best way for the local church to fulfill our biblical mandates.
So, come to Hot Springs on October 24, 25 and 26! Guests are welcome! You don’t have to register or sign up, unless you are a designated messenger from your church. Every Southern Baptist in Arkansas should come to at least one annual meeting to see what it is all about. While you are there let me encourage you to do the following:
- Come with a heart to worship and hear from God.
- Attend all the sessions you can. Much work goes into the reports as well as the worship and preaching.
- Walk through the exhibit area and utilize the resources these ministries offer.
- Meet someone new. This is a big family reunion. You will find some of God’s choice servants at this meeting—godly church members and ministers who love the Lord and His church.
- Look for someone to encourage. Some brothers and sisters have some heavy burdens and a voice of hope and encouragement along with prayer might make a huge difference in their lives.
- Stop and get to know one of the hosts from FBC Hot Springs. Most of these folks are volunteers, like many of you, that are opening their hearts and doors to us.
- At your hotel and the restaurant, leave a tip. But more than that, be kind and courteous, beyond what is expected. Share the Gospel.
When we leave town may it be said of us, “those Baptists sure act and talk and serve and love like Jesus.”