November 14-16, 2010 I attended the Bible Conference and annual meeting of the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention (SBTC) in Corpus Christi, TX. Corpus Christi is a beautiful place to have a convention. The convention center, American Bank Center, is practically under the Harbor Bridge. Huge glass walls of the convention center overlook the bay. The T-Heads and sea wall provide a great place to drive or walk. Years ago my family and I caught our limits of speckled trout right on the seawall. It was a warm January and schools of speckled trout were moving back and forth along the seawall. We caught them with weighted popping corks, small treble hooks, and live shrimp.
The SBTC Bible Conference was outstanding. Officers Heath Peloquin, Nathan Lorick, and Bart Barber did an excellent job choosing the preachers and singers. Steven Smith of SWBTS, Dwight Singleton of Knoxville, TN, Russell Moore of SBTS, and Jonathan Falwell of Lynchburg, VA all did a great job preaching (I didn‘t get to hear some other speakers). Each preacher spoke to my heart.
Bart Barber led a discussion on cultural issues with Richard Land, Russell Moore, Kelly Shackleford. This meeting should have laid to rest any doubts concerning the importance of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC). Richard Land made plain the importance of cultural issues facing our nation today. He pointed out the crucial difference between Freedom to Worship and Freedom of Religion. Richard Land and Barrett Duke (also at the SBTC) are providing strong conservative leadership in the ERLC.
Byron McWilliams is pastor of the historic First Baptist Church, Odessa and is president of the SBTC. He did an able, gracious job as moderator. He preached well in the President’s Message. We heard Jeff Iorg of Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary, Richard Land, O. S. Hawkins of Guidestone, Gordon Fort of the International Mission Board. Jimmy Pritchard of First Baptist Church, Forney preached the Convention Sermon. Frank Page and Kevin Ezell spoke. NAMB missionaries were commissioned.
I did not have the opportunity of hearing all, but the speakers I heard were right on target. Last I heard, 803 voting messengers registered, and I’m sure a large number of visitors. It is amazing how much time, planning, effort go into a state convention.
493 salvation decisions were made during the SBTC pre-convention Crossover evangelistic emphasis. The SBTC operates on 45% of Cooperative Program gifts, and sends 55% on to the ministries of the Southern Baptist Convention. Jim Richards, SBTC Executive Director, has a huge job and is leading well.
I saw a number of old friends. A lady introduced herself to me and told how she and some of her relatives were influenced years ago by my dad’s preaching and ministry. Another lady spoke to me who had been a member of Doverside Baptist Church years ago when I was a teenager.
I attended the SWBTS Luncheon and the President’s Luncheon. Hey, a Baptist has got to eat!
To preachers and laymen - whenever you have the chance, attend the annual meeting of the SBTC. Why?
* You will be blessed and inspired. The singing and preaching will do you good. You will also get some good sermon outlines and illustrations.
* You’ll have great fellowship. Go to the luncheons. If you don’t know anyone, just sit down at a half filled table and introduce yourself. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at the folks you meet.
* You will learn much more about the ministry and missions of Southern Baptists.
* You can probably get a good sermon book by O. S. Hawkins at the Guidestone Display. Criswell College gave out a number of DVDs of sermons by W. A. Criswell.
* If you want to preach and serve more, it helps to get to know as many ministers as possible. If you are looking for a ministry opportunity - preachers recommend preachers they know.
* As you fellowship, you’ll hear some great stories.
* You will find we are reaching people around the world with the Gospel.
Those are just a few thoughts. The SBTC annual meeting will be held in Irving in 2011 and San Antonio in 2012. Read more about the SBTC by subscribing to the Southern Baptist Texan (click link in right hand column under "Sites I Mainly Agree With").
-David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, November 18, AD 2010.