ST LOUIS (BP) — Interviews with the three Southern Baptist Convention presidential candidates and the launch of a new missions blog spot will highlight the Cooperative Program booth in conjunction with the 2016 SBC annual meeting June 14-15 in St. Louis.
The offerings will be included in three days of dialogue and celebration of the Gospel advancement the Cooperative Program affords among Southern Baptists, said Ashley Clayton, SBC Executive Committee vice president for Cooperative Program and Stewardship.
“We are approaching this year’s annual meeting in St Louis with two overriding objectives: engaging in conversation about the Cooperative Program and celebrating Gospel advancement through SBC efforts,” Clayton told Baptist Press. “The panel discussions at the CP stage are designed to give face-to-face access with many of our entity leaders and an opportunity for pastors and messengers to hear directly from SBC leaders about important and relevant issues.”
The booth will display the partnership the Cooperative Program ensures, SBC Executive Committee President Frank S. Page said.
“We have a partnership in the Gospel and we are bound together by our commitment to the Great Commission,” Page said. “Our ties to each other are stronger than time and distance, and stronger than our circumstances. Wherever God has called you, as Southern Baptists, we are not alone.”
The booth will operate June 13 from 8 a.m.-9 p.m., June 14 from 8 a.m.-6:00 p.m., and from 8 a.m.–1 p.m. June 15 in the SBC exhibit hall.
Interviews with SBC presidential candidates will occur June 13 beginning with a 9:30-9:50 a.m. session with candidate David Crosby, pastor of First Baptist Church of New Orleans, and immediate past SBC president Fred Luter, who will nominate Crosby. Interviews continue from 10:20–10:50 a.m. with J.D. Greear, pastor of The Summit Church in Raleigh-Durham, N.C., and Jimmy Scroggins, Greear’s nominator. Candidate Steve Gaines, pastor of Bellevue Baptist Church in Cordova, Tenn., will be on stage from 4:30–4:50 p.m., with former SBC president Johnny Hunt, who will nominate him.
TalkCP.com, an interactive, missions-focused blog site for Southern Baptists, will officially launch June 13 with blog posts by SBC Executive Committee President Frank S. Page, International Mission Board President David Platt, North American Mission Board President Kevin Ezell and others.
“Our goal is to create a CP stage and platform much like the one we have every year at the annual meeting,” Clayton said, “except it is digital and available throughout the year … not just three days in the summer.”
Other CP booth offerings will include an 8:30 a.m. June 13 panel discussion on “Pastoring Your Church Through Cultural Conflicts,” with Greear, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission President Russell Moore and City Church of Tallahassee, Fla., pastor Dean Inserra.
National African American Fellowship President K. Marshall Williams, Page, Gaines and others will be featured in a 9 a.m. June 13 discussion on “Current and Future SBC Issues.”
The full schedule is available on the “SBC Annual Meetings” app and available for free download on the App Store, Google Play and at http://m.core-apps.com/sbc_am2016. The schedule is also accessible through sbcannualmeeting.net.
Reports of other entities’ and ministries’ plans for the exhibit hall surrounding the SBC’s annual meeting follow:
INTERNATIONAL MISSION BOARD & NORTH AMERICAN MISSION BOARD — To simplify the connections for churches to engage in Southern Baptist missions, NAMB, the IMB and the SBC Executive Committee will once again share the same booth. Those who visit can learn more about getting their churches involved in taking the Gospel to unreached people groups internationally and in church planting in North America.
IMB: For more than 170 years, the IMB has partnered with Southern Baptist churches to take the Gospel to the nations. And visitors to IMB’s portion of booth will have an opportunity to literally walk through the legacy of Southern Baptists’ history that has built the opportunities for the future — a legacy of innovation, endurance, passion, commitment, risk-taking and stewardship.
Visitors also will discover how the entity is partnering with churches to creatively expand pathways to get the Gospel to unreached people and places. The exhibit will challenge attendees to think about “missions” in a new way by leveraging the seasons of their lives and their God-given skills to go overseas as a student, professional, church planter, retiree or in other creative roles.
NAMB: In the past five years, NAMB has focused on equipping churches and helping those churches discover the next generation of missionaries in their pews. Evangelistic church planting and church planter support have been major highlights. Using creativity and human connection, IMB and NAMB both will focus on stories of gospel transformation, connected through the light of life.
“The power of the Gospel is demonstrated in so many ways,” said Dustin Willis, NAMB senior director for marketing and events. “Evidence of that power is seen in changed lives. The power of those changed lives compels mission, borne in relationship, fostered in community — those are the stories we will highlight at the combined IMB, NAMB exhibit at the SBC.”
Messengers at the St. Louis annual meeting will have the opportunity to take their next steps in missions, both individually and as churches, with IMB and NAMB at the exhibit.
LIFEWAY CHRISTIAN RESOURCES — LifeWay’s 8,000-square-foot Christian store will offer a wide selection of books, Bibles and other Christian products, many at clearance prices. Other LifeWay areas will present interactive displays highlighting LifeWay’s church resources. Among special features of the LifeWay exhibit:
— Small group experts from LifeWay’s Resources Division will help messengers plan and select appropriate materials for small group Bible studies.
— Messengers will also be able to obtain information about the free LifeWay Breakfast scheduled for Wednesday (June 15) at 7:00 a.m. in the America Center Dome. The breakfast will feature a leading change in the church and attendees will receive resources worth more than $100. Reservations can be made at www.Lifeway.com/SBCbreakfast.
— LifeWay Films will have information about a special screening Monday evening (June 13) of a new documentary, “The Insanity of God,” that examines experiences of persecuted believers.
— A special story time for kids will be held in the B&H Kids area Monday and Tuesday (June 14) at 1:30 p.m. and Wednesday at 11:30 a.m.
— Book signings by numerous authors are scheduled in the LifeWay store throughout the convention including all three candidates for SBC president: David Crosby, Steve Gaines, and J.D. Greear. Also signing books will be Mark Dever, Jimmy Draper, Robby Gallaty, Keith and Kristyn Getty, Jack Graham, Greg Laurie, Anne Graham Lotz, David Platt, Ed Stetzer, Don Whitney, and Rhonda Kelley and Dorothy Patterson.
— Exhibits will feature LifeWay “OneSource” endorsed products and providers designed to give individuals and churches trusted purchasing options for items such as church signs and furniture, copiers, buses, and background checks.
GUIDESTONE FINANCIAL RESOURCES — GuideStone’s Wellness Center once again will offer free health checks, valued at up to $150, allowing messengers and family members to have their blood pressure, cholesterol and glucose measured. Medical professionals will be on hand to answer any questions about the results.
In the main booth, representatives will offer reviews of participants’ retirement accounts and answer questions about GuideStone’s life and health plans, property and casualty coverage, and other GuideStone services. Churches will be able to order free materials for Mission:Dignity Sunday, to be held June 26, to support GuideStone’s ministry to retired ministers and their widows in urgent financial need.
GuideStone will give away copies of President O.S. Hawkins’ book, “VIP: How to Influence with Vision, Integrity, and Purpose,” to the first 500 families at GuideStone’s Wellness Center. GuideStone also will make available free copies of “The Jesus Code: 52 Scripture Questions Every Believer Should Answer” and “The James Code: 52 Scripture Principles for Putting Your Faith into Action.” Quantities are limited.
ETHICS & RELIGIOUS LIBERTY COMMISSION — Those who visit ERLC’s booth can pick up the latest issue of the newly relaunched Light Magazine, featuring content from Russell Moore, J.D. Greear, Thomas Kidd, Sen. Ben Sasse, and others. The theme of this issue is “Religious Liberty and the Common Good.”
ERLC will give away a pastor travel pack with signed copies of the most recent books from your ERLC authors and a craft coffee set with resources for churches. Also, ERLC will give away two complimentary registrations to the 2016 ERLC National Conference on August 25-26th in Nashville. This year’s conference theme is “Onward: Engaging the Culture without Losing the Gospel.” Attendees can register to win by signing up for the ERLC’s “The Weekly” at the booth. The Weekly is a weekly email rundown of top news stories and commentary on today’s most pressing issues.
GOLDEN GATE BAPTIST THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY — Golden Gate Seminary is poised for a name change if messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention give final approval. If the vote is affirmative, the seminary’s exhibit will change from “Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary” to “Gateway Seminary” immediately afterward. The display will focus on the benefits of Gospel-centered education offered at the seminary’s five urban campuses in the Los Angeles, San Francisco, Denver, Phoenix and Portland areas. Alumni and friends also can purchase tickets at the booth to the institution’s luncheon, if space is still available. Tickets are $10 and can be reserved by emailing [email protected] or calling 888-442-8709, ext. 315. The event will be held on Wednesday (June 15) in America’s Center immediately following the morning session.
MIDWESTERN BAPTIST THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY — Visitors to Midwestern Seminary’s exhibit area will experience personal interaction with the school’s senior leadership, faculty and staff. Stop by to learn more about the school’s growth and vision for the days ahead. Admissions team members will also be ready to answer questions about the many opportunities for training in ministry and mission. A host of programs and initiatives will be highlighted: most notably, Midwestern Seminary’s 81-hour M.Div., doctoral studies and online degree programs. Additionally, booth giveaways will include 2,500 “For the Church” T-shirts with individual state designs as well as some new designs which will be unveiled at the annual meeting.
NEW ORLEANS BAPTIST THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY — The NOBTS booth highlights main campus programs, distance learning options and the Entrust Mentoring Community. The seminary enlistment team is on site to guide potential students as they seek to answer God’s call to ministry and prepare for service. Alumni are invited to visit the booth to reconnect with faculty and staff and to hear the latest news from campus. This year, NOBTS will launch the #PrayNola initiative by asking booth visitors to join the seminary in praying for local churches, church plants and ministries in the Greater New Orleans area. In keeping with tradition, small bottles of Louisiana hot sauce are available to those who visit.
SOUTHEASTERN BAPTIST THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY — Whether you want to begin your theological education or find resources for your church, the SEBTS exhibit has something for everyone. Chat with admissions staff about the many degrees from The College at Southeastern and SEBTS. Spend time with faculty, including Bruce Ashford, Chuck Lawless, Jaime Dew and Charles Quarles, to get insights and suggestions for your ministry. Find out about helpful resources for your church, such as Southeastern’s new GO Certificates — theological education for lay leaders. There will be book giveaways, ministry presentations and more.
SOUTHERN BAPTIST THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY — Throughout the annual meeting, the Southern Seminary exhibit will have a variety of giveaways providing resources for pastors. One giveaway is a new resource by SBTS Press: “More Faithful Service,” featuring contributions by R. Albert Mohler Jr., Hersheal W. York, Daniel S. Dumas and others. Along with promotions and interaction opportunities with seminary faculty, the seminary also will distribute the latest issue of Southern Seminary Magazine. Themed around the future of Christian higher education, the magazine features articles by Mohler, profiles of SBTS alumnus Greg Thornbury and Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin. Convention attendees can connect with alumni, professors, friends and prospective students at the exhibit’s seating area, as well as purchase tickets for the annual alumni luncheon on Wednesday (June 15). For more information, go to http://www.sbts.edu/support/sbc-alumni-friends-luncheon/.
SOUTHWESTERN BAPTIST THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY — Southwestern Seminary will reflect its ongoing passion for preaching the Word and reaching the world. Free books and resources — including a guide to landmarks and restaurants in St. Louis — will be distributed, and SWBTS representatives and faculty will be available to discuss the seminary’s programs and answer questions. The booth will also feature several seminary-produced videos highlighting successful students and Southwestern’s global impact.
WMU — National Woman’s Missionary Union’s exhibit will feature ways churches can engage their members in discipleship through a comprehensive and holistic approach. Five distinct sections of the exhibit will help visitors discover ways to learn, pray, give, serve and support missions. Highlighted opportunities will include ongoing WMU missions discipleship programs for preschoolers, children, youth and adults; hands-on missions opportunities sponsored by WMU; fair-trade products from WorldCrafts; and Bible studies and books on missional living from New Hope Publishers. Visitors can also register to win a number of giveaways.
BAPTIST GLOBAL RESPONSE — This year, BGR is focusing the theme of its booth on the plight of global refugees and forcibly displaced persons. The booth will feature a display of practical items and goods, such as food packages, hygiene kits and shelter materials, that represent the aid Southern Baptists are supplying to those displaced by the crisis in Syria and Northern Iraq. BGR hopes to raise awareness among convention attendees about how God is using Southern Baptists to help during this unparalleled human disaster, and it wants to suggest practical ways they can meet needs and share Christ’s love.
SOUTHERN BAPTIST HISTORICAL LIBRARY AND ARCHIVES — Governed by the Council of Seminary Presidents, the SBHLA is the largest and most accessible collection of Baptist material in the world. The SBHLA exhibit will feature historic photographs of Baptist life, events, churches, ministries and missions. In addition to information on the library and archives, the booth also will have brochures on church archives and information on baptistheritage.com, a website sponsored by the Association of Librarians and Archivists at Baptist Institutions (ALABI). Say farewell to Bill Sumners, retiring director of the SBHLA after 33 years with the collection and welcome the new director, Taffey Hall.
SOUTHERN BAPTIST FOUNDATION — How can I help this generation touch the next generation for Christ? What will your legacy be? Can I make an impact for Christ? How can I support Kingdom work after I am gone?
These are just a few of the questions that await SBC messengers at the Southern Baptist Foundation’s booth. Visitors will be challenged to think about the causes that they love and how they can give to them. Resources and services to facilitate giving, glorifying God and advancing His Kingdom will be showcased. For more information, please visit the booth or email [email protected]
SEMINARY EXTENSION — Seminary Extension has been training volunteers, leaders, teachers and pastors for Southern Baptist churches since 1951. It’s original mandate from the Southern Baptist Convention was to offer opportunities for theological education and ministry training to people where they live. It still meets that mandate today. For those interested in studying with Seminary Extension, please stop by the booth for more information. The SBC’s annual meeting provides Seminary Extension the best opportunity each year to visit in person with those they have been serving and serving with through the years. Director Randal Williams and student services associate Carmen Ferreira will be in the booth each day.
GLOBAL HUNGER RELIEF — The Global Hunger Relief booth will inform pastors and church leaders on the global hunger crisis, as well as provide free resources to aid their churches in becoming involved in live-saving solutions. Nearly 800 million people around the world live with constant hunger, and 1 in 6 in North America are undernourished. This tragedy is a reality for SBC churches and their communities. Seven Southern Baptist organizations – Baptist Global Response, SBC Executive Committee, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, International Mission Board, LifeWay, North American Mission Board and WMU — have partnered together to see lives and communities changed forever through Global Hunger Relief.
Visitors to the booth will receive information for free downloadable resources to equip your church to participate in Global Hunger Sunday, including an article from ERLC President Russell Moore, videos, small group curriculum, and more. They will also have an opportunity to talk personally with Southern Baptist workers engaged in the battle to alleviate hunger around the world.