By L.A. Williams, Correspondent
Christian Action League
“I have set watchmen on your walls, O Jerusalem; They shall never hold their peace day or night. You who make mention of the Lord, do not keep silent.” — Isaiah 62:6
CHARLOTTE — The Rev. Mark Harris, pastor of First Baptist Church of Charlotte and president of the N.C. Baptist Convention, hopes to see hundreds of spiritual leaders embrace their role as “Watchmen on the Wall” next month as the national organization of the same name holds a pastors’ briefing in Charlotte on Aug. 9.
“This will be a day of inspiration, a day of equipping and a day of encouragement,” Dr. Harris said. “… The church is called to be salt and light, and we have got to participate in every arena … . It’s important for Christians to be informed and involved, and this is a place that they can receive information to equip them and inspiration to drive them.”
A leader in North Carolina’s successful push to protect marriage in the state constitution, Dr. Harris was invited to speak at the Family Research Council’s national Watchmen on the Wall briefing in Washington in May and came away from the three-day annual event with a burden to share the experience with pastors and other ministry leaders across the state.
“I was so moved by the things that I saw and the material I received that I was thinking that I would give anything to have all of our North Carolina pastors exposed to the wisdom and inspiration and equipping that was taking place,” he said. After talking with FRC President Tony Perkins, he immediately began to make plans for First Baptist to host a one-day regional briefing, the event set for 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 9, that will include many of the same speakers featured in Washington, D.C.
In addition to Perkins, pastors will hear from Phoenix Seminary’s Dr. Wayne Grudem, Justice Paul Newby of the North Carolina Supreme Court, Bishop Harry Jackson with High Impact Leadership Coalition and Lt. General William Boykin (U.S. Army-Ret.). Also speaking will be Dr. Jim Garlow of Skyline Church in San Diego, Calif., and Dr. Kenyn Cureton, the FRC’s vice president for Church Ministries. Senators Marco Rubio and Rand Paul have been invited to address the crowd as well.
Harris said he expects topics to run the gamut from national to state issues.
“The day after the North Carolina Marriage Amendment passed, when the president made his announcement in support of same-sex marriage, it was clear that we had shaken things up all the way to the White House,” said Harris, who has been promoting the upcoming event during recent visits to Bladen County, Hendersonville, Raleigh-Durham, Whiteville and Clemmons. “We need to see now what a major role North Carolina can play in the fall, standing for life, for marriage and family, for religious freedom and all those issues.”
Additionally, he said organizers hope to pull in pastors from South Carolina and Virginia. Launched in 2004 as an outreach to pastors and based on Isaiah 62:6, Watchmen on the Wall had engaged some 14,000 pastors by 2010, asking them to pray for the nation, preach unapologetically and partner with others, and empowering them with resources and information on critical public policy issues. The organization’s goal is to have 40,000 Watchmen pastors by 2015.
Dr. Harris would love to see many of them come from his home state.
As part of the $30 registration fee for the Charlotte briefing, which includes lunch, attendees will receive a Culture Impact Team Manual and a Voter Impact Toolkit to help them host a non-partisan voter drive.
“This is more than a bargain. The $30 is a nominal fee to help offset costs. What pastors can gain from this event will be invaluable as they lead their churches to take a stand and rise to the challenge of the Scriptures,” said the Rev. Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League. “God truly has set us up as watchmen, and we must not fail.”
To find out more and to register for the Watchmen on the Wall regional pastors briefing, click here