ORLANDO–As Florida Baptists gather for the Florida Baptist State Convention meeting, President Erik Cummings, has one prayer: “That we are able to come together and experience God’s presence and power in the spirit of unity while celebrating and embracing our diversity.”
That prayer is seen in the theme of the two-day event scheduled for Nov. 11-12 at First Baptist Church in Orlando. “One Family Gathering,” promises to be a time when a unified Florida Baptists will celebrate all that God is doing in the state and around the world.
Cummings, pastor of New Life Baptist Church in Carol City said as he prayed for direction for a theme for this year’s gathering, he was led to Jesus’ unity prayer in John 17.
“With unity at the core of our faith, I believe that Florida Baptists have done, and will continue to do, great things cooperatively. It is my firm conviction that we must be “ONE” in order to reach a changing and growing Florida for Christ,” he said.
“Our ‘One Family Gathering’ will be a celebration and reflection of who we are. It is my prayer that all will be blessed by powerful worship, dynamic preaching, infectious fellowship and the presentation of exciting ministry opportunities as we continue to impact the diverse populations in our state.”
Calling all Florida Baptists from “the Panhandle to the Florida Keys” to the Orlando meeting, Cummings said, “These are exciting times, but also challenging times. The various culture wars often present a threat to our unity and negatively impact our witness.
“So, this November, let us gather as “ONE” and set a standard for ministry and missions in our nation.”
The annual meeting will feature Southern Baptists’ most dynamic and sought after speakers, including Ronnie Floyd, president of the SBC Executive Committee, who will open the meeting on Monday afternoon; and SBC President J.D. Greear, pastor of Summit Church in Durham, N.C., who will conclude the meeting on Tuesday afternoon.
For the first time this year, a transitional session on Monday afternoon from 2-5 p.m. will combine the concluding session of the Pastors’ Conference with the opening session of the state convention meeting.
Tommy Green, executive director treasurer of the Florida Baptist Convention, said the joint session “will be an exciting time of encouragement, worship, preaching and fellowship for all who are present. We are ONE Family and this unity will be expressed and experienced throughout the time we meet.”
The joint session will feature Floyd as well as a presidential theme interpretation presented by Cummings.
Then, Green and Cummings will deliver inspirational message during the Monday night session.
Two of Florida Baptists’ best known pastors Herb Reavis and Ken Whitten will encourage and challenge messengers on Tuesday morning. Reavis is senior pastor of North Jacksonville Baptist Church. Whitten, a former FBSC President, is pastor of Idlewild Baptist Church in Lutz.
Joining Greear during the Tuesday afternoon closing session will be former SBC President Fred Luter, Jr., who serves as pastor of Franklin Avenue Baptist Church in New Orleans.
During the meeting messengers also will transact business, including the consideration of a $30 million Florida Cooperative Program budget for 2020, the Committee on Nominations report and election of officers for 2019-2020.
Cummings, who is serving his first year as president, is eligible for reelection to a second-year term.
The proposed $30 million CP budget will designate 51 percent of all receipts to the Southern Baptist Cooperative Program and 49 percent to missions and ministries of the Florida Baptist Convention.
The budget is an amount identical to the 2019 budget and represents the same percentage distribution between national and state ministries. All receipts over the budget amount will be forwarded to the SBC. Read more here.
Also, messengers will consider two bylaw revisions from the State Board of Missions. These recommendations are revisions to State Board of Missions Bylaw 3 and 7 related to committee structure and responsibilities.
For more information and to register as messengers in advance go to https://flbaptist.org/state-convention/