from the Executive Director, SBC of Virginia ~ Brian Autry
Over 20 years ago, a noted pastor highlighted a verse I go back to from time to time as my hope and prayer for the Lord’s churches: “So the church throughout all Judea, Galilee, and Samaria had peace, being built up and walking in the fear of the Lord and in the encouragement of the Holy Spirit, and it increased in numbers” (Acts 9:31, HSCB). I pray that churches across all of Virginia, DC, the USA, and around the world will see God move in such a way. I love the directness and clarity of the description given to God’s work through His churches: churches were built up, edified, strengthened. They walked in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit. God’s people multiplied!
The SBC of Virginia was founded as a Gospel partnership of Southern Baptist churches, worshippers of God, saved by Jesus, seeking to walk in the Holy Spirit—committed to God’s Word. Like Paul’s first missionary journey, SBC of Virginia churches united together to make disciples, plant churches, and reach people with the Gospel.
When Paul set out on his second missionary journey, the Bible tells us, “He traveled through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches” (Acts 15:41, HCSB). Do you see that? After planting churches, they were strengthening the churches. The same is true about our Gospel partnership and coalition of churches known as the SBC of Virginia. I believe the Lord wants to strengthen and revitalize churches. Here are three aspects to revitalizing churches:
■ Personalized plan. We must seek the Lord and His wisdom as we share the Gospel and serve the community. Concrete, clear, and tangible next-step goals can help.
■ Strategic partners. Simply put, you are Not Alone. We are a partnership and coalition of churches where pastors, leaders, and churches can help one another.
■ God’s power. I believe our team can help with the first two aspects, but most of all, I want to make sure that we recognize our need for God’s power. In our weakness, God’s strength can be displayed for His glory. We need to start here.