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The Open Door


This has been an exciting fall season around the Georgia Baptist Convention. I enjoy this season, not just for the beauty of changing leaves and the invigoration of cooler temperatures, I enjoy this season of the year because I enjoy being a Baptist. Our associations have their annual meetings during this time, and I have the joy of being in a number of those meetings and seeing first-hand the work of our churches as they serve the Lord in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and the uttermost.

I can tell you, from what I have observed, associational ministry in Georgia is alive and well. The annual meetings in which I have been preaching have been marked by enthusiasm in attendance and worship. Each church hosting the meetings has been filled to capacity. Reports of the various ministries have been given. More often than not, an associational choir overflowing the choir loft brought the special music. If you canít preach after that, you canít preach!

I have reported outstanding meetings around the state, and I have not even said anything about the food. Oh my, do Georgia Baptists ever know how to cook and eat! There is nowhere else in the world that you can get hold of food like we have in Georgia, unless it is one of our neighboring states.

Let me tell you something else that I have observed about Georgia Baptists. We are a people who love missions. We love to give in support of missions, but we also like to get involved in missions at home and across the oceans. A lot of very fine work is being done across our state to minister to the needs of people and to share the name of Jesus Christ.

At the annual meeting of our convention you will be asked to approve a partnership with the cities of St. Petersburg and Moscow in Russia. The needs for the Gospel there are great. You have some wonderful IMB folks who are serving there, and we want to come alongside them to join and encourage their efforts.

I hope that you will make these two international cities a part of your missions plan for the future. We have a wonderful team of folks in Mission Volunteers that is anxious to assist you in being a part of this mission effort. In particular, our leaders in Russia have asked us to work closely with the Russian Baptist churches to assist them in planting new churches to reach the masses of people who have yet to receive the Good News of Christ.

Just two months from now we will begin a new decade. My prayer for Georgia Baptists and for Southern Baptists is that it will be a decade of true Great Commission resurgence where we give greater percentages of our receipts to missions through the Cooperative Program than ever before in our history, a decade where we see more and more Southern Baptists becoming involved in going on mission in their own community, in the state, the nation, and across the world.

I am praying for a decade where we will see more saved and our baptisms finally coming off of a fifty-year plateau. I encourage our pastors to lead the way. Let us pray that we will see the revival we have been praying for.