LAKELAND–Florida Baptists will gather to celebrate “Blessed Be the Tie” that unites the family of believers in Christ when the 2021 Florida Baptist State Convention convenes in Lakeland Nov. 8-9.
The annual meeting will be held at Lakes Church. It represents the first time in two years that the FBSC met after it was cancelled in 2020 due to the pandemic.
The theme, “Blessed Be the Tie,” taken from the treasured gospel hymn, was selected by Erik Cummings, president of the Florida Baptist State Convention. He chose the theme “after much prayer and thought, with an eye on what is presently happening in our culture and communities,” he said.
“How we as Florida Baptists, need to move forward as a community of faith who are banded together by our love, mission and purpose to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is my prayer that we will be known for our ‘faith” and not our “fights.’ This is not a mission that can be accomplished as lone rangers but as churches who are committed to collaboration,” he added.
The scriptural theme for the meeting references Phil. 1:27, when Paul exhorts the church at Philippi to “stand firm” and “strive” together for the advancement of the gospel.
As he anticipates the annual gathering, Cummings, pastor of New Life Baptist Church in Carol City, said he is foremost looking forward to the fellowship among messengers and guests. “It will be exciting to see our brothers and sisters in Christ together in worship. We were able to have great momentum following our 2019 meeting, but then we all were interrupted by Covid-19,” as the pandemic forced the cancellation of the 2020 FBSC meeting.
“I am also looking forward to hearing from each of our speakers and the messages they will share with Florida Baptist about our efforts as well as what they sense is vital to our work in the days ahead. I have been greatly blessed by all of these men, and how God has used them to be strong proclaimers in their pulpits and beyond.”
Speakers for the two day-event are:
Manuel Barahona, pastor, Westside Baptist Church, Boynton Beach
Tommy Green, executive director-treasurer, Florida Baptist Convention
Erik Cummings, pastor, New Life Baptist Church, Coral City, President’s Address
James Ross, pastor, The Church on Bayshore, Niceville, Convention Sermon
Ted Traylor, pastor, Olive Baptist Church, Pensacola
Adrian Taylor, pastor, Springhill Missionary Baptist Church, Gainesville
David Uth, pastor, First Baptist Church, Orlando
Having been reelected to a second one-year term during the 2019 FBSC meeting in Orlando, Cummings’ term as FBSC president was extended to include a third year of service when the 2020 meeting was cancelled. The terms of all other officers, as well as elected leaders serving on FBSC boards and governing bodies, was extended for another year as well until messengers return during the 2021 annual meeting.
“My prayer is that our pastors and churches will experience a fresh encounter,” said Cummings. “I have been blessed to serve these three years, and I pray that we will renew, revive, restore, and reset our commitment to being a Kingdom family and that God will ‘strengthen the tie that binds us together.’ It will take commitment and work to establish and maintain relationships, partnerships and fellowships that will continue impacting our great state with the gospel of Jesus Christ.
As he reflects over the past three years, Cummings said he has been amazed by the uniqueness of the Florida Baptist family.
“We have some of the most gifted and respected church leaders in the nation, right here in Florida. We are diverse and large, I think we have an advantage over many of the other state conventions, because the nations are here in Florida,” he said.