HOUSTON – Instead of business as usual at the Southern Baptist Convention Annual Meeting held today and Wednesday, SBC President Fred Luter said he is hoping the meeting will spark a revival in the United States.
"We will have our first evening service in several years; but not just an ordinary service," Luter wrote in a letter to attendees prior to the conference. "Tuesday night will be an old-fashioned revival service! No business, other than doing business with God! No reports, no resolutions, no announcements, just dynamic music led by the gifted and talented Charles Billingsley, followed by the president's sermon."
Yes, the issues of SBC church's ties to the Boy Scouts of America, differences of opinion on Calvinism, and religious liberty are planned for discussion. However, the special session set for Tuesday evening at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston, where the two-day meeting is held, is designed to set the tone for something more.
"Our theme for this convention is 'Revive Us … That We May Be One!' I am convinced that America is ripe and ready for revival," said Luter. "Our nation, our states, our cities, and our communities are in trouble.
"People are looking for answers. Darkness is prevalent across our nation. Revival will not trickle down from the government, from politicians, or through religion. Revival does not come from the White House, the state house, or the school house," he explained in his letter. "Revival begins at God's house! Revival happens when the church stands up together in one accord and makes a commitment to be the church! I believe the spark to that revival fire across this country can happen at this Convention."
Luter asked for prayer in hopes that the special worship service on Tuesday evening will be the beginning of "the fruit of revival" in churches throughout the SBC.
Also, during the meeting, Dr. Richard Land is scheduled to give his final report as president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission as he concludes 25 years of service.
Reports are also scheduled to be given by Kevin Ezell of the North American Mission Board and Tom Elliff of the International Mission Board. Also scheduled, are reports from SBC's seminary presidents as well as LifeWay, GuideStone, and Woman's Missionary Union.
The meeting is scheduled to close with the convention sermon by Danny Akin, president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.
"I assure you he will bring a word from the Lord for our messengers," Luter stated.
On the web: http://www.sbcannualmeeting.net/sbc13/.