JACKSON, Tenn. – April 3, 2009– Starting a life in ministry with excitement is easy, but it takes perseverance, guidance from others and enablement from God to be faithful for the long term, Johnny Hunt said April 1.
Hunt, pastor of First Baptist Church of Woodstock, Ga., and president of the Southern Baptist Convention, spoke at Union University to a packed crowd in the G.M. Savage Memorial Chapel, encouraging students to exercise their spiritual gifts to advance God’s kingdom as they leave Union and enter new fields.
“I can’t set a fire in a human heart,” Hunt said. “I can’t save a soul any more than I can create a star. But I tell you what I can do. If you’ll listen, and allow God to speak in your life, God can take this message and fan the flame of your devotion, fortify your spiritual life and give you Christ-honoring steadfastness that will go the journey.”
Hunt used 2 Timothy 1:2-6 as his text and told students they needed four components to endure in their ministry until the end. First, they need affection. They need to appreciate fellow Christians and laborers that God brings into their life, and they need to recognize such people as God’s gifts for them.
Second, they must faithfully petition God. Hunt said they should pray for others and build a prayer team of support so others will regularly pray for them.
Third, they need devotion. They must remember what God has done in the past and recall those that God has used to help them along the way, Hunt said. Such remembrance brings hope that God will continue to provide in the future.
Fourth, they need passion. Those seeking to pursue lives of ministry must allow God constantly to fan the flame that he has started in them, Hunt said. They cannot continue simply on the enthusiasm that comes from a good start, and must work hard to make sure that the flame is fanned along the way.
In all of these things, he reminded the students of the importance of faithfully proclaiming and sharing the good news of the gospel message.
In another meeting, Hunt affirmed his commitment to the call for renewal in Southern Baptist life across generations that has been articulated in the book, “Southern Baptist Consensus and Renewal,” by David S. Dockery, president of Union University. Hunt said that he joined with Dockery and Danny Akin, president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, in calling for a Great Commission resurgence across the SBC.