Baptist Messenger: SBC St. Louis: Awaken America, reach the world

ST. LOUIS, Mo. (BP)—When Southern Baptists depart St. Louis after their annual meeting in June, says SBC president Ronnie Floyd, he will be praying they do so with a “deep burden for our nation, a new commitment to racial unity and an extraordinary commitment to evangelize America.”

With the theme of this year’s June 14-15 gathering being “Awaken America: Reach the World—Agree, Unite, Pray,” Floyd continues to point to passionate prayer as a critical tool for a “nationwide and global spiritual awakening.”

“I pray that our SBC messengers encounter the living God through moments of worship, preaching, challenge and prayer,” Floyd said.

For the second year, Floyd will lead a Tuesday evening session devoted to prayer. “A National Call to Prayer for Spiritual Leadership” will feature a diverse group of Southern Baptist leaders and pastors with special guests Keith and Kristyn Getty. Floyd has also invited African American pastor Jerry Young, who is president of the National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc., to participate in the evening session. Young also will be among the speakers at a special session, “A National Conversation on Racial Unity in America,” that will take place that morning.

As Floyd wraps up his second and final term as SBC president in June, messengers will elect a new leader. At least three candidates are expected to be nominated for SBC president: North Carolina pastor J.D. Greear, Tennessee pastor Steve Gaines and Louisiana pastor David Crosby.

During this year’s Crossover evangelism outreach leading up to the annual meeting in St. Louis, an estimated 3,500 Southern Baptist volunteers are expected to converge on the metropolitan area June 11. Along the I-70 corridor through Missouri’s largest city are neighborhoods unreached with the Gospel, Jim Breeden, St. Louis Metro Association’s (SLMBA)  executive director, said. “We have 12 unreached areas of St. Louis that don’t have a Southern Baptist church within a three-to-five-mile radius.”

During Crossover, volunteer teams will visit five of those unreached areas to share the Gospel. SLMBA hopes to recruit church planters long-term via the evangelism outreach, Breeden said.

Messengers gathering in St. Louis will consider a variety of recommendations. Among them:

• A recommendation amending SBC Bylaw 26 regarding questions to SBC entity leaders from the floor during the annual meeting. The recommendation is intended to provide consistency in the time allotted for messengers to ask questions. The EC will present the recommendation to messengers during the SBC’s meeting.

• A one-time transfer of funds from the North American Mission Board (NAMB) to the International Mission Board (IMB) to assist IMB personnel leaving the board during its “organizational reset.”

• A new name for Golden Gate Seminary. If messengers give approval to the name change, the new name will be Gateway Seminary of the Southern Baptist Convention. To take effect, the bylaw amendment, which was approved during last year’s annual meeting in Columbus, Ohio, must be approved again by messengers in St. Louis.

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