MACON, Ga. – Anthony Wilson challenged Georgia Baptist leaders on Tuesday to help shape the destinies of people, even if it means taking extraordinary actions to get them to Jesus.
“If we’re going to reach the many lost souls in this state, we can’t do it by conventional means,” said Wilson, pastor of Church 180 in Hampton and second vice president of the Georgia Baptist Convention. “We can’t do it the way it was done before I was born. We have to do something unique. The message has to stay the same, but the methods must change.”
Wilson delivered that message at a meeting of the Georgia Baptist Executive Committee which met at Ingleside Baptist Church in Macon where Mission Board staffers also provided updates on several key initiatives underway in the state.
Wilson built his devotional sermon around a passage from Mark 2, which describes four men who carried their paralyzed friend to Jesus, each taking hold of a corner of his bed to transport him.
“All these men had the same desire,” Wilson said. “They wanted to get the sick to the Savior. They wanted to get the lame to the Lord. They wanted to get the burdened to the Blesser. Wouldn’t it be great if everyone in our churches had the same desire? If we’re going to be everything God wants us to be, we’re going to have to be people who have the same desire. One of the things that hinders our churches, hinders our communities, hinders even our homes is that everyone doesn’t have the same desire.”
In order to get their friend to Jesus, Wilson said, these four men shared the same dedication to changing their friend’s destiny. They accomplished that by fulfilling their duty, which was to hold up their corner of the bed.
“We live in a day and time when it doesn’t take much for people to drop their corners,” Wilson said.
Wilson said when the four men couldn’t take their friends through the door because of the huge crowd gathered to see Jesus, they took him on top of the house and ripped open the roof.
“These men made up their minds that if we’re going to get this man to Jesus, then we’re going to do something unorthodox,” Wilson said. “We’re going to have to do something extraordinary. We’re going to have to do something unique. We’re going to have to do something radical. If you want radical movement and radical things to happen in our churches, you have to be willing to do something radical.”
Wilson’s message was followed by updates on several Mission Board initiatives intended to help Georgia churches win the lost to the Christ, including efforts to expand Baptist Collegiate Ministry to more campuses across the state and an initiative that will provide new buildings for BCMs on several campuses.
“Our mission is to advance the gospel on every college and university campus in Georgia,” said Beverly Skinner, the Mission Board staffer who oversees collegiate ministry. “These are the things we have always been committed to – evangelism, discipleship, missions, church involvement and leadership development.”
Skinner said the Mission Board has BCMs on 36 Georgia college and university campuses and is in the process of getting BCMs on 22 additional campuses. The goal, she said, is to have BCMs on 86 campuses statewide.
The Mission Board’s chief operating officer, David Melber updated committee members on a revolutionary deal with private investors to construct new BCM buildings on five state universities with the possibility to expand to additional campuses in the future.
Under that deal, Georgia-based Covenant Capital Investors has leased BCM land at the University of Georgia in Athens, Georgia Tech in Atlanta, Georgia State University in Atlanta, Georgia Southern University in Statesboro, and the University of West Georgia in Carrollton where they will spend $100 million to construct multi-story buildings that will not only provide prime space to the BCMs but also for student housing, cafes, shops and gathering areas for students. The projects are being completed at no cost to Georgia Baptists.
“We’re just incredibly grateful for how the Lord has worked through the circumstances with Covenant Capital Investors,” Melber said. “They are likeminded brothers in Christ.”
Administration Committee Chairman Tim Oliver briefed the Executive Committee on work that’s underway to review the Georgia Baptist Convention’s 200-year-old governing documents, including the constitution and bylaws, and to identify any weaknesses that need to be addressed. Oliver said the plan is to present any proposed changes to the Executive Committee in September and to messengers to the Georgia Baptist Convention in November at the annual meeting.
Mission Board Executive Director W. Thomas Hammond Jr. told the Executive Committee that about 40 interested parties have requested information about the Mission Board’s office building on Sugarloaf Parkway in Duluth. That building is up for sale, and Hammond said he expects several potential buyers to make offers on the property.
Melber also told the Executive Committee that the Mission Board has a hotline in place for sexual abuse victims as well as a website that provides information for churches that want to take steps to guard against sexual abuse.
Those steps had been recommended by a special committee appointed to determine ways to protect against sexual abuse.
“The recommendations have been fulfilled,” Melber said.
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