October 4, 2007 Publishing Good News since 1884 Volume 124 Number 235

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SBC San Antonio: Pray for 'His Holy Spirit revival'


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SAN ANTONIO (BP)—Let us pray.

"It's our only hope," Southern Baptist Convention President Frank Page said, reflecting on the prevalence of prayer planned for the SBC's June 12-13 annual meeting in San Antonio's Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center.

Each of the SBC's five sessions will have a prayer focus:

Tuesday morning: "Lord, Transform Your Churches."

Tuesday afternoon: "Lord, Bring Us to Confession and Repentance."

Tuesday evening: "Lord, Unite Us in a Cooperative Mission Task."

Wednesday morning: "Lord, Send Revival to Our Convention."

Wednesday evening: "Lord, Energize Our Evangelistic Efforts."

"The central focus for my presidency and therefore for this meeting is to seek from the Lord spiritual awakening—His Holy Spirit's revival," Page said. "And that is always prefaced by and enabled by and empowered by prayer."

A second key facet of this year's convention will be the unveiling of a general outline for a 10-year evangelistic strategy in the SBC, said Page, pastor of First Baptist Church in Taylors, S.C., who was elected as SBC president last year in Greensboro, N.C.

The North American Mission Board's newly elected president, Geoff Hammond, has become part of the planning process, Page said, and "it looks like we will be able to unveil a general outline of a 10-year evangelistic strategy which brings associations, state conventions, NAMB and other entities into a true focus in calling churches not just to win souls but, better, showing them how."

The evangelistic strategy will be "flexible, multifaceted," Page said. It will encompass "the more traditional people within our convention and the more contemporary or non-traditional people, old and young, various styles and philosophies of evangelism and church planting, Calvinists, non-Calvinists, various people groups ethnically and various groups from the geographical areas across our country.

"Obviously, every Baptist entity is autonomous," Page said. "But we are coming together to say here is a common direction for 10 years to equip churches and people to win the lost to Christ."

The evangelism initiative must be in the context of "a massive emphasis on prayer and spiritual awakening," Page said, "but at the same time we've got to put a tool in the hand, a plow in the hand to say here's how you do it."

This will be the SBC's third annual meeting in San Antonio, following sessions in 1942 attended by 4,774 messengers and 1988 with 32,727 messengers, the third-highest total in SBC history during the Conservative Resurgence movement to return the convention to its biblical roots.

Among the other highlights of the convention:

The 300th anniversary of Baptist associations, to be marked during Tuesday morning's session, will be led by Tom Biles, president of the Southern Baptist Conference of Associational Directors of Missions and director of missions with the Tampa Bay Baptist Association.

Page will deliver his presidential address to close out Tuesday morning's session. Rob Zinn, senior pastor of Immanuel Baptist Church in Highland, Calif., will deliver the convention message Wednesday morning.

The International Mission Board's presentation will be Tuesday evening and the North American Mission Board's Wednesday evening.

The theme of the convention reflects Page's call to prayer: 2 Chronicles 7:14, "... and My people who are called by My name humble themselves, pray and seek My face, and turn from their evil ways, then I will hear from heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land" (Holman Christian Standard Bible).

A time of prayer during the SBC's three Tuesday sessions and on Wednesday morning—to be led by someone in Baptist life specializing in prayer—will include several minutes when messengers pray in groups of two of three for revival in the SBC.

Scheduled to lead the prayer times are:

Tuesday morning: Rosevelt Morris, director of the South Carolina Baptist Convention's office of prayer and spiritual awakening.

Tuesday afternoon: speaker-author T.W. Hunt of Spring, Texas.

Tuesday evening: Gregory Frizzell, prayer and spiritual awakening specialist with the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma.

Wednesday morning: Eddie Cox, director of the International Mission Board's international prayer strategy office.

Asked if he believes revival in the SBC is possible, Page said he does, noting that God voices "no equivocation" in 2 Chronicles 7:14.

"I am convinced that the way to turn it around—baptisms, soul-winning, church transformation—is going to be through a movement from God that 2 Chronicles 7:14 tells us must be prefaced by our humbling, praying, seeking His face and repentance," Page said.

It is probable that "in our current culture we're going to continue being in love with things, activities that are not of God, priorities that pull us away," Page said. "I believe God wants us to have a broken heart. And so far, I've seen no broken hearts except on rare occasions.

"But if enough of God's people get serious about those requirements, those prescriptions for revival, then I believe revival can occur," Page said.

For the fifth consecutive year, online registration is available to churches for their messengers. Churches can register their messengers online at www.sbc.net to avoid waiting at the counter upon arrival at the convention. By registering online, the SBC website gives a church a messenger reference number form to be printed out and presented by each messenger at the SBC registration booth in exchange for a nametag and a set of ballots. The appropriate church-authorized representative must complete all online registrations.

The traditional registration method also is available for those churches that are unable or may not opt to access the online registration. Registration cards are available from state convention offices.

Messengers wishing to propose resolutions must submit them at least 15 days prior to the annual meeting, giving the Resolutions Committee a two-week period in which to consider them. Detailed guidelines on submitting resolutions are available at www.

sbcannualmeeting.net (by clicking on "resolutions").

Shuttles will be available to and from most San Antonio hotels for the SBC sessions and the Sunday-Monday Pastors' Conference in the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center and the Woman's Mission Union meeting in the Marriott Rivercenter Hotel.

However, the Marriott Rivercenter, Marriott Riverwalk, Hilton Palacio del Rio and the LaQuinta Inn & Suites Convention Center will not be shuttled as they are located adjacent to the convention center.

Hotel shuttle tickets will be available at the convention center information desk for $10, with children 12 and under riding free when accompanied by parents who purchase tickets.

Childcare (birth-3 years) and children's conferences (ages 4-12) have been planned for the San Antonio meeting, with registration information available at www.sbc.net, the Southern Baptist Convention's website.