Celebrating God

Dec 19, 2023

by Brian Kirby
Pastor, IBC Berlin, Germany

            I love to celebrate! In my family as I was growing up birthdays were a chance to be surrounded by friends, family, and fun. I looked forward to my birthday — not just to get some great gifts but to feel like it was “my special day.” I have continued this tradition of never working on my birthday and instead taking the day off to celebrate my friends, my family, myself, and my God. These are days filled with phone calls, texts, cards, coffees, meals, and time for reflection and journaling. They have helped me mark chapters in my life and take time to appreciate the people and the blessings that God has put in my life.

            As we, the International Baptist Convention, celebrated this year our 60th Annual Convention Meeting (and 65 years as a Convention), I felt like this was an opportunity for us as a “family” to celebrate our journey with God, both as a group and as individuals. Over these 60 years of meeting annually, we have seen the business of the Convention take place, but even more than this, we have seen moments of deep connection, friendship, and care for one another. We have opened ourselves up over these many years to learning more about God and ourselves as we set goals, strategies, and plans in place to see more people reached for Jesus through the IBC.

            On Monday night of the ACM, our General Secretary Tim Faulkner took us into our theme of “Celebrating What Matters Most” by having us focus on “Celebrating God.” In Romans 15:17-18, the Apostle Paul writes “Therefore I glory in Christ Jesus in my service to God. I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me….” 

            We took time during this ACM to hear “God stories” where people in our IBC family shared via video the things that they had seen God do in their lives. We heard how the power of Jesus Christ, preached, taught, and shared in our churches has made the gospel come alive and change peoples’ lives. The “good news” took on face, body, and voice, and we were able to celebrate in tangible ways the amazing power that God possesses to shape and change lives.

            This ACM was special for me because it marked an anniversary for me as well. I attended my first ACM 30 years ago! As a young 23-year-old journeyman missionary of the International Mission Board, I walked into a room full of interesting ministries, unusual characters, and powerful testimonies. It changed my life and shaped my journey. God used the IBC to call me into life-long ministry, and the IBC and I have continued to cross paths in Paris, Rome, and now Berlin. I celebrate the IBC and God not only for the lives of others I have seen changed but for my own journey which they have shaped. Soli Deo Gloria!

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