The Operating Committee of the Executive Board of the Arkansas Baptist State Convention (ABSC) is beginning its search for the next executive director with seven days of prayer.
“We want to be intentional about our focus on prayer. We know this is a very strategic and important moment for our Convention,” said Chris Johnson, senior pastor at First Baptist Church in Van Buren and Operating Committee member.
Pray First: Seeking God’s Direction in our Search for the Next Executive Director will begin Tuesday, May 30. For six days, the Operating Committee will gather at 6 a.m., read scripture and pray together via Zoom. On the final day, which is Monday, June 5, Operating Committee members will pray on their own. Each day will have a prayer focus.
“We are praying intentionally and seriously for what God has for us for the future. We are trusting Him in this, and we need His leadership in this,” Johnson said.
Bill Panneck, senior executive pastor at Central Baptist Church in Jonesboro and chairman of the Operating Committee, said this is a critical time in the life of Arkansas Baptists.
“We want to find the Lord’s perfect choice for the new executive director. We’re praying He will lead us to that person with great clarity,” Panneck said.
Though not part of the Zoom gatherings, Arkansas Baptists are invited to participate in the seven days of prayer.
“We, as a committee, are praying seriously and we’re inviting you to join us,” Johnson said.
The prayer prompts can be found by clicking here or seen below.
Day 1: Death to Self
This process is not about us or about a candidate. We pray for our agendas to be surrendered to God’s agenda.
“I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loves me and gave Himself up for me.” Galatians 2:20
Day 2: Wisdom
Controversies in the SBC (Southern Baptist Convention) at large mean we need wisdom from God and a leader who exhibits this quality.
“Who among you is wise and understanding? Let him show by his good behavior his deeds in the gentleness of wisdom. But if you have bitter jealously and selfish ambition in your heart, do not be arrogant and so lie against the truth. This wisdom is not that which comes down from above, but is earthly, natural, demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil thing. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy. And the seed whose fruit is righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.” James 3:13-18.
Day 3: Courage
To paraphrase Charles Stanley, we are praying for a leader who has the courage to obey God and trust Him with the consequences.
“For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” 2 Timothy 1:7
Day 4: Spirit led
In this process, we need to depend on God’s spirit to lead us as well as to lead our next executive director.
“And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; being strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy; giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light.” Colossians 1:9-12
Day 5: Faith
We need the faith to trust God and God’s timing and we need to pray for a man of faith and vision.
“Without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.” Hebrews 11:6
Day 6: Burden
We have a burden to see people in Arkansas come to know Christ, and we pray that our next executive director will have this same burden.
“Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved.” Romans 10:1
Day 7: Unity
We seek the Lord so that we may have unity as a committee, Executive Board and State Convention as the process unfolds.
“Being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” Ephesians 4:3