Saturday morning at the Baptist World Centenary Congress has seen thousands of delegates witness the induction of the new president of the Baptist World Alliance. Rev Billy Kim led the hoardes of Baptists in welcoming David Coffey as their new head.
A more focused-themed morning at the congress than previous mornings saw all delegates arrive at the NIA in Birmingham to pray for and witness the new era opening for the BWA.
Denton Lotz, the BWA General Secretary described a paradigm shift in the worldwide Church. He said, "The north needs to be re-evangelised, the whole world in this era is a mission field, and thousands of missionaries are being sent out across so many nations."
"Also in the Baptist Church, fellowship has moved towards partnership...as well as a male dominated council moving towards one which involves men and women. God has gifted us all of these," continued Lotz.
He declared, "Every Baptist is a missionary, this is who we are as Baptists. We have to wake ourselves as evangelists, and we have to energise the world to see that Baptists still are evangelists and are mission people."
To the delegates he urged, "We are called to holiness, it is a holy life of believers who must call all people to sanctification. Today's world has confused human sexuality, also to a great extent terrorism is very much an act of rejection of the western culture. We as Baptists are opposed to pre-marital sex...we are opposed to homosexual families - we believe in a monogamous relationship between one man and one woman. Let us be a holy people. We belong to Christ and therefore belong to one another."
The new vice-presidents of the BWA were then introduced, and Rev Billy Kim thanked all Baptists for their overwhelming love and prayer during his period as president from 2000-2005.
It was Kim that led the induction of Britain's Rev David Coffey as his succeeding president.
Coffey was brought up on stage along with his wife to accept a blessing from Kim and the Baptist leaders, and was later joined on stage by his whole family in a heart-felt acceptance of the new position.
"It is with gratitude...that I humbly accept the call," declared an emotional Coffey.
"I seek the annointing of the Holy Spirit at this time, but there is no higher calling than to be called as a disciple of Jesus Christ."
Coffey also led the thousands of Baptists in a huge round of applause for exiting President Kim, and testified him as a great leader and one "whose shoes are far too big for me to fill."
The new BWA President concluded his acceptance speech by saying, "May God grant us all the grace we need to live by him alone. Amen."
To welcome the new president, the stadium sang out 'Be Thou My Vision' in full voice, followed by an empowering prayer by Rev Billy Kim for Coffey and the Baptist denomination.
The entire Coffey family was obviously hugely touched by the new position entrusted by the BWA, and on stage they joined together in a huddle to pray together.
Rev Billy Kim concluded his period as BWA President with one final message to all Baptists worldwide: "Support him (Coffey) as you have
supported me, with your love, and with your prayers.
Thank you God."