February is a busy travel month for many of us who serve as your state missionaries. Some of our staff are leading conferences, workshops and consultations across the state as we seek to help Alabama Baptists become even more effective in fulfilling the Great Commission.
Other state missionaries will be traveling for other needs such as continuing education, networking with other Christian leaders, pulpit supply and mission trips.
Yet with all our many commitments, many of us are able to and indeed will attend the Alabama Baptist State Evangelism Conference. Sammy Gilbreath, the Evangelism Office staff and numerous other employees of your State Board of Missions have worked hard to plan this annual event. This year’s SEC will be held at First Baptist Church, Montgomery, on Monday and Tuesday, February 25-26.
The keynote speakers include Ergun Caner, Frank Cox, Geoff Hammond, Roger Mardis, James Merritt, Lawrence Phipps, David Platt, Herb Reavis Jr., Charles Roesel, Matthew Tanner, Bobby Welch and Don Wilton.
Sammy Gilbreath has also lined up a variety of effective leaders for breakout conferences on a variety of topics related to Kingdom ministry. Among the faculty are numerous state missionaries and also notable Christian leaders such as: Charles T. Carter, Debbie Childers, Norman Flowers, Jonathan Green, Al Hood, Jay Johnson, Allen Oakley, Bob Waldrep and Sheila West.
What’s the purpose of the State Evangelism Conference? Well, it’s not simply a preaching festival, though you will hear much excellent exposition of God’s Word. Rather it’s an event in which Alabama Baptists are encouraged to be more evangelistic and proactive in sharing their faith.
I hope to see you there. Details are available online at www.alsbom.org/sec.
DISASTER RELIEF MINISTRY
Alabama Baptists have been hard at work ministering to the needs of those who suffered damage during the tornados and storms of February 5. We are grateful for those “quick-responders” in the form of disaster relief teams who have ministered to hard-hit areas such as northwest Alabama and northeast Alabama.
Those who led in the efforts are many. We’re especially grateful for our partnership with directors of missions such as David Patty of Sand Mountain Association and Robert Smith of Muscle Shoals Association who have labored in and led the long hours of disaster relief efforts during the days since the storms swept through parts of Tennessee and Alabama.
Just as your state missionaries promote giving through the Cooperative Program as we travel the state, we likewise promote gifts to associational missions. It’s because of strong Baptist associations that quick response and mobilization is possible.
My state missionary colleague, Tommy Puckett, does provide statewide leadership and facilitation of disaster relief efforts from a statewide vantage point. But the associations are where the water hits the wheel through volunteer involvement, training and lightning-quick mobilization.
PRAYER IS THE KEY
Samford University has responded effectively and quickly to the needs of Union University, its sister school located in Jackson, Tenn., and affiliated with the Tennessee Baptist Convention.
Union is led by David Dockery, who grew up as an Alabama Baptist and someone I claim as a friend. The devastation faced by the school is significant, and I appreciate Samford’s efforts to assist.
Among all the opportunities to volunteer and give, let us not forget the most important dynamic of all: prayer. Pray for those who have suffered loss and for those who minister alongside them in the wake of the storm.
But pray also that, wherever believers find themselves — whether in the midst of a State Evangelism Conference or in the aftermath of storms — that we will be drawn closer to Christ and become more committed to sharing His message with the whole world.