SOLEMN ASSEMBLY: One church's plans

EDITOR'S NOTE: In the following column, Southern Baptist Convention President Bryant Wright relays plans for a solemn assembly at the church he pastors in Marietta, Ga., Johnson Ferry Baptist Church. A call has been extended to Southern Baptist churches to hold a solemn assembly during one of the five Sundays in January.

MARIETTA, Ga. (BP)--In the midst of this Christmas season, I hope you are sensing the fullness of God's presence as we celebrate the birth of His Son, our Savior Jesus Christ. And as we look to the new year, it is my hope and prayer that Southern Baptists all over the world will return to their first love of Christ.

In response to the recommendations of the Great Commission Resurgence Task Force and in seeking to renew an intimate relationship with Jesus, we are urging the churches of the Southern Baptist Convention to observe a day of solemn assembly in January 2011 -- a time when we as followers of Christ seek forgiveness for our sins, repent, and "walk in the newness of life."

At Johnson Ferry Baptist Church, we will be providing opportunities for both personal and corporate spiritual renewal.

-- On Sunday, January 16, our student and adult Sunday Bible Study classes will be focusing on personal preparation for the corporate solemn assembly, which will take place on Sunday, January 23. Our children's worship service on January 16 will focus on this same theme at a level that is appropriate for children in Grades 1-3.

-- In conjunction with the Sunday Bible Study focus, our congregation will be following a 7-day prayer and devotion guide leading up to the services on Sunday, January 23.

-- Our team of intercessors will come together on Wednesday, January 19, and Saturday, January 22, to pray specifically for the worship services that are to take place on January 23.

-- On Sunday, January 23, we will be observing a special time of corporate prayer and repentance in all of our worship services, focusing on the theme, "Returning to Our First Love of Jesus." You may want to use another term -- "House of Prayer" or "A Call to Prayer and Repentance" or another theme that best fits your congregation.

-- Also on January 23, our Sunday Bible Study classes will be using special curriculum to help lead classes in reflecting on and sharing how God has spoken to them during the week of personal preparation.

The North American Mission Board has developed some good resources to help as you plan this special time of spiritual renewal. They are available at http://www.namb.net/sbcdayofprayer or http://pray4sbc.com.

May God bless His people as we seek to walk anew with Him. And as we return to our first love of Jesus, may He rekindle our passion for reaching the lost all over the world with the Good News of salvation through Jesus Christ.

Merry Christmas!

Bryant Wright

SBC President


To view other Baptist Press stories on the call for churches to engage in a solemn assembly in January, go to URL=http://www.bpnews.net/bpnews.asp?id=34226, http://www.bpnews.net/bpnews.asp?id=34079, and http://www.bpnews.net/bpnews.asp?id=34080.

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