A Thanksgiving Gift

I am grateful to our Lord that the convention this year was right on message in terms of Great Commission ministries. During the four sessions Tuesday and Wednesday morning, we were able to focus on the theme of Intentional Evangelism with unmistakable clarity. Jerry Wilkins, Paul Matthews and Les Hughes all helped that missional effort in a tremendous way.

Our elected leadership, Henry Cox, president as well as vice presidents Roger Willmore and Jimmy Jackson set the attitudinal tone for our meeting. The president’s address was vintage Henry Cox. He passionately challenged us to stay on mission with the Great Commission. His fellow Baldwin County pastor, Jerry Henry, closed the convention with a scriptural appeal for us to face the future with courage and not fear.
Alabama’s own Ted Traylor offered a wise and salient perspective concerning churches becoming practical and personal in missional and intentional endeavors both locally and globally. The testimonies of Roger White from Liberty Baptist Church in Crossville as well as the warm-hearted story of intentional evangelism offered by biker Mike Patterson reminded us to be open to reaching people different from us culturally.

The video testimony of Sammy Gilbreath was a truly transparent moment for us to consider. Sammy is a man who lives life to the fullest even though he has a rare heart condition, which is challenging the most learned people in the world of high tech medicine. Sammy is a walking testimony of how God can use adversity to the advantage of His Kingdom. Sammy’s life is an intentional evangelism testimony in every possible way.

During the report of the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions, we sought to set the stage to advance the cause of Great Commission ministries through the appeal for each church to become intentionally and missionally committed to Someone and Something for the Savior. If every church will reach at someone for Christ in 2007 and report through the Annual Church Profile and every church gives something through the Cooperative Program and report it as well, then we are well on our way to becoming a convention united and dedicated to being on mission with the Great Commission.

Every person who sang and every group who presented their testimony through song inspired us to stay on mission. I especially want to thank the Alabama Singing Men and the Alabama Singing Women for their commitment to share their ministry with us on Tuesday evening. They always encourage me with their beautiful tribute to our Lord.

The reports from our entities echoed the theme of missions and ministries in various ways. The cooperative spirit demonstrated by our college and university presidents made us proud. It is so good to have them standing before us shoulder to shoulder and working together with the common goal of training a new generation of leaders who have their faith and learning integrated in their lives in a most scriptural and healthy way.

Yes, this convention was a memory maker for me. It was also a motivator for me in my own personal life. I want to be one who lives in such a way that I can reach someone for Christ and do something for Him each and every day. That is my desire, and I know that Alabama Baptists share that ambition too.

Join me in praying for all of our churches and furthermore, let us pray for our newly elected officers of our convention. They will need our prayers as they assume some additional responsibilities for Christ and His Kingdom’s agenda. All of us can be prayer partners with our new president, Roger Willmore and the vice presidents, Jimmy Jackson and Mike Shaw.

Thank you, Alabama Baptists, for your commitment to our One Mission, the Great Commission; our One Program, the Cooperative Program; and our Many Ministries, Great Commission Ministries. I am proud of you, and I thank God for you. I am pleased that the Lord has allowed me be a state missionary with you during this challenging time in human history.

Executive Director of Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions

State Missionary Rick Lance was elected in June of 1998 to serve as executive director of the State Board of Missions and treasurer of the Alabama Baptist Convention. Rick leads state missions efforts and facilitates Great Commission Ministries for the Convention's 3,200+ churches and more than one million Alabama Baptists.

Rick and his wife, Pam, are members at First Baptist Church, Montgomery. They have two daughters.

Any requests for Rick Lance to speak in or visit your church should be directed to Billie Davis at 1-800-264-1225, ext. 253 or (334) 613-2253, [email protected]

For questions about Dr. Lance's Facebook and Twitter accounts or his blog site, you may contact his social media assistant, Keith Hinson, at 1-800-264-1225, ext. 289 or (334) 613-2289, [email protected]