The Intermountain Christian News asked me to write a short article for the December 2012/January 2013 edition about the Utah/Idaho Southern Baptist Annual Meeting. It was published yesterday. This resource is a good place to find out what’s going on in the inter-mountain region of Idaho, Nevada, Utah, Montana, and Wyoming. HERE (page 9)
My monthly column in the Times News will be published this weekend, look for it on Saturday, December 8. This article was published here on November 30, 2012 at www.PaulThompsonBlog.com. And was preached at Eastside Baptist Church on December 2, 2012.
Here is the unedited version of the article I was asked to submit for the Intermountain Christian News. I’m happy to be part of the family known as the Utah/Idaho Southern Baptist Convention.
The entirety of my adult life has been in ministry, and the majority of that has been in Idaho. Over the past twenty years I have only missed one annual gathering of the Utah/Idaho Southern Baptist Convention. That was only because of a family emergency. Aside from that, I don’t miss the joy of gathering with my extended family of faith.
I have witnessed faithful pastors preserver in the faith. My faith is stronger as a result of the investment of many defenders of the faith who labor in the Utah/Idaho region.
This year was like many of the past years. I always look around the rooms to see who is there. I usually start with looking for those who know my parents, because I know there is a bond that historic and joyful. (Plus my mom and dad will ask me if I saw ‘so-and-so’.)
I also look for those who I have built long-lasting friendships; brothers and sisters in this common faith who are legendary in faithfulness to the Lord. I look for them so I can say hello, if even for a short moment. I like to hear and see how their children are growing up.
Then there is a new joy; a pleasure of meeting the new pastors/ministers to the Utah/Idaho region. I see my family in many of them (20 years ago.) I find it a great pleasure to encourage them and pray for them as we part, hoping to see them again next year.
The Utah/Idaho SBC gathered at Canyons Church in Salt Lake City, this year under the leadership of convention president (and pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in Idaho Falls, Idaho) Kirk Baker. Kirk is rather new to the Utah/Idaho SBC but lead with conviction and boldness for a spread of the gospel and longing to see the church of the Lord, Jesus Christ strengthened and expanded.
The agenda was light on business but not negligent. The gathering was saturated with Scripture, bathed in prayer and proclamation of truth was spoken from the authority of that same Scripture. Kirk conducted the business sessions with clarity and humility. The messengers inquired with interest and conviction. From my vantage point, the exchange of questions and answers were handled with interest and integrity. The spirit of the brethren was sweet and refreshing. May the Lord be praised.
Utah/Idaho Southern Baptists adopted a bold vision by asking God to double the number of churches in Utah and Idaho. May the Lord increase his church. May the Lord increase the Utah/Idaho SBC to 300 churches strong by the year 2020. This vision will call for us to share Christ where he is not yet been shared, start churches where there are not yet churches and strengthen churches who are in need of strengthening. The “2020 Vision” was presented to, and adopted by the messengers of the 48th annual meeting of the Utah/Idaho Southern Baptist Convention.
This vision will cause us to look to the Lord for help. This is not a vision that will happen in an atmosphere of maintenance or selfishness. I’m thankful to the Lord to be part of such a bold mission. May the Lord continue to move us toward maturity in him as we advance the gospel banner.