SBC Executive Committee President and CEO Ronnie Floyd highlighted a group of Southern Baptist leaders speaking at the Advance Bible Conference last week at Hyland Heights Baptist Church in Rustburg, VA.
Floyd spoke on the final day of the three day conference (Jan. 24-27), with a message entitled “What time is it in the state of Virginia?”
Referencing two Scriptures in Romans 13:11 and 1 Chronicles 12:32, Floyd explained the word used for time in those passages is “Kairos,” and refers to a crucial place or decisive moment. Floyd said the global pandemic is such a moment for the Church today.
“We can think of 1,000 reasons why we don’t like a global pandemic, but God is working on people now like never before,” Floyd said. “We can’t wait for things to get better. This is an all hands on-deck situation. You can’t sit this one out. The church must answer this moment in history.”
Floyd went on to state that the Church has become too comfortable and passive regarding the things of God, but should instead become proactive about reaching 4.5 billion unreached people in the world with the Gospel now.
“Jesus is nearer tonight to coming again than he’s ever been, and so the urgency should not be decreasing for the Church but increasing for the Church.”
Before leading the closing prayer for the church and its local community, Floyd outlined three action steps for Hyland Heights of having a united prayer effort, having a heart to reach every local person for Jesus Christ and moving forward with a deep sense of urgency for Gospel mission.
Josh Carter, lead pastor at Hyland Heights, said he has sensed God moving mightily in his church and wants them to step into the crucial time Floyd preached about. Carter chose the theme of “Advance,” for the conference based out of Philippians 1:12-13 as Paul wrote to the Philippian church about how his imprisonment served to advance the Gospel.
“Our prayer is that God would use this specific moment as a catalytic moment in the life of our church,” Carter said. “We believe with everything going on in our world today that now is the time for the church to shine the brightest and not shrink back or turn inward.”
Other speakers from the Advance Conference included Dr. Jim Henry, former President of the Southern Baptist Convention; Dr. Rob Wilton, Leader Pastor at Vintage church Pittsburgh and Send City missionary for NAMB and Dr. Tara Dew, adjunct Professor for Minsters’ Wives at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and wife of NOBTS President Jamie Dew.
Each night of the conference featured an opening worship set followed by a message from the guest for that particular night. Covid-19 restrictions allowed around 500 socially distanced church members to attend. Guests pre-registered for each night via the church’s website.
Carter said he hopes the practical action steps outlined by Floyd and the other speakers will be implemented by his congregation for the rest of this year as they try to advance the Gospel.
“Coming out of this pandemic God doesn’t just have something for us to learn, but he has something for us to do … God is not shocked by this moment, but has called us to this moment, for his glory, and to advance the Gospel.”
Written by Timothy Cockes, a freelance writer and graduate divinity student at Liberty University